Darwin and Social Darwinism
NewSouth, Incorporated, Feb 1, 2013 - 50 pages
In this volume, excerpted from Charles Darwin: A Celebration of His Life and Legacy (NewSouth Books, 2013), Guy Beckwith compares the impact of Darwin's ideas on humankind to that of the Copernican Revolution. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) removed Earth and humankind from the center of the universe. Then Darwin dealt the human ego a second blow by making humankind the product of natural selection acting on chance variations, not necessarily the purposeful creation of a Creator. Beckwith details the Victorian world's strong opposition to evolution by natural selection after publication of On the Origin of Species. Yet Darwin's ideas not only persisted, they flourished. Why? Beckwith persuasively argues for two major factors: (1) Darwin's personal characteristics as a scientist and (2) the ease with the theory of natural selection was coopted by those with social and political agendas.
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