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Man under Darwin's laws?

Xuhua Xia xxia1 at unix1.sncc.lsu.edu
Sun May 5 21:26:03 EST 1996

Tri-Linh Lu (spab0265 at span.ch) wrote:
: Is man under the laws of evolution? Is there a social darwinism in our
: human societies? Are the weak people (the poor, the uneducated, the
: ugly, the handicapped or the primitive cultures like Amerindians)
: doomed to be eliminated with time?

First, if, by "laws of evolution", you mean the Darwinian laws of evolution
by natural selection, then it is certain that human populations are
under the laws of evolution because a human  population does exhibit
inheritable genetic variation that is correlated with the propensity 
of leaving offspring in the future generations. 

Second, the statement that human populations are under the laws of 
natural selection does not validate social Darwinism in any scientific
or moral sense. Advocates of social Darwinism want to create
selection pressure in favour of certain interest groups or in favour
of certain groups with certain phenotypic traits. If the selection
pressure is maintained, and if the phenotypic traits under selection
are genetically based, then the selection pressure is expected to result
in some genetic consequences. However, whether these genetic consequences
are desirable or not is entirely unclear.

Third, no evolutionists, even those advocates of social Darwinism, 
would argue that natural selection could ever eliminate poverty or
illiteracy. As to cultures, it is not clear whether Darwinian
evolution is adequate to explain the differential survival of 
different cultures.

Xuhua Xia                         | 
Museum of Natural Science         | Phone: (504) 388-2841
119 Foster Hall                   | Fax  : (504) 388-3075
Louisiana State University        | Email: xuhua at unix1.sncc.lsu.edu
Baton Rouge, LA 70803             |
USA                               |

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