Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darwin on Survival, Descent, and Evolution


In chapter three of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, he makes the case—as the chapter title suggests—for his theory regarding “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” Darwin defines the term, “natural selection,” and its part in a process which he calls “the universal struggle for life” (Darwin 1255). In the chapter, “General Summary and Conclusion” from The Descent of Man, Darwin goes further to expound upon the basic thrust of his evolutionary theory regarding humankind: “man is the co-descendant with other mammals of a common progenitor” (Darwin 1260). He goes on to give various bases for a system of thought known as “Social Darwinism”: a theory that says “competition among all individuals, groups, nations, or ideas drives social evolution in human societies” (from Wikipedia).

That said, I would like you to do the following:

· Sum up, using Darwin’s words, the ideas of natural selection and the struggle for survival according to what he has written in “The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.”

· Pinpoint four statements of Darwin that proffer a basis for “Social Darwinism.” Rewrite them and explain how they fit in to the philosophy set forth by the Social Darwinists (see section on subject in your fun pack to help you elaborate).

· Your responses should be fully developed, typed, and according to proper format for heading, quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing.

· Please submit to me on hard copy by Friday, February 20, 2009.

Also, continue reading Out of the Silent Planet, chapters 5-10, and underline key passages that suggest the mentality of Social Darwinism.

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