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 Darwin and Social Darwinism

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Tue 04 Oct 2016, 22:07

For whatever reason, clicking on the old BBC messageboard? I lost again my whole message Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

I start again.

As promised on the Fitzroy thread I tried to search for the discussion between Nordmann and me on the old BBC history messageboard.
Not easy anymore, as before you could search in Google advanced in the BBC messageboard content...but since quite a time not anymore...now you have to click on your name and in a painstaking exercise search in your own messages...but as it was lucky a recent thread I found it in a quarter of an hour...
And here it is:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/NF2233812?thread=7837494&skip=0

Will tomorow comment my own messages and perhaps those from Nordmann too.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Tue 04 Oct 2016, 22:17

Addendum to the previous message

An here it is in Chapter V of the Descent of Man from the book from Charles Darwin

http://literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-descent-of-man/chapter-05.html

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Wed 05 Oct 2016, 22:50

I think Darwin could have saved himself a lot of grief if, like Jacob Bronowski, he had entitled his work "The ASCENT of Man".
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Thu 06 Oct 2016, 22:09

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
I think Darwin could have saved himself a lot of grief if, like Jacob Bronowski, he had entitled his work "The ASCENT of Man".


Yes Gil, but you would have had perhaps still a "Social Darwinism"

About Social Darwinism the following article from Cor Hermans, the man mentioned in my BBC thread:
https://corhermans.nl/books-and-chapters/social-darwinism/

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Fri 07 Oct 2016, 12:06

Very nostalgic link you provided, Paul. I'd forgotten about Nik and his genetic theories (all of which presumed that DNA behaviour for some reason alters when one crosses a political border - especially the one between Greece and its less friendly neighbours).

But I am glad to see that I made the point that "Social Darwinism" is a double misnomer. A bit like "military intelligence". It irks me when what was always posited as a basically random process in nature is pretended to support quite deliberate policies directed against individuals by other individuals. It shows ignorance or evil intent on their part, and often both.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Fri 07 Oct 2016, 22:09

Nordmann,

thanks for the reply.Still reading before giving an answer.
Among others for instance this:
http://www.dianebpaul.com/uploads/2/3/2/9/23295024/darwin_social_darwinism_and_eugenics.pdf


Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 08 Oct 2016, 00:12

Yes, the way the idea gets misapplied seems close to Social Lamarckism - inheritance of acquired characteristics.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 08 Oct 2016, 21:25

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Yes, the way the idea gets misapplied seems close to Social Lamarckism - inheritance of acquired characteristics.


Gil,

if you read the Diane Paul link I provided
https://www.umb.edu/academics/cla/faculty/diane_pal
you will see that both the right and the left used Darwin to support their claims. And yes you can claim a view of inheritance of acquired characteristics by Darwin, but Darwin was in my opinion always more hesitant, never absolutely sure of anything. Again in my opinion a better approach of a scientist. I think it is therefore that a lot of people could adapt many of his thoughts to fit with their own constructed statements.
Galton, was more for the hard core genetic only heritance but he has also at the same time introduced the nurture versus nature debate.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Galton

Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 08 Oct 2016, 21:42

Yes, Paul, Darwin did postulate "pangenesis" (closer to his grandfather's version than Lamarck's, IMO), and it took Mendel to set out the real mechanism - and there were Malthusian overtones to his thinking, as far as one can judge.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 08 Oct 2016, 22:38

@nordmann wrote:
Very nostalgic link you provided, Paul. I'd forgotten about Nik and his genetic theories (all of which presumed that DNA behaviour for some reason alters when one crosses a political border - especially the one between Greece and its less friendly neighbours).

But I am glad to see that I made the point that "Social Darwinism" is a double misnomer. A bit like "military intelligence". It irks me when what was always posited as a basically random process in nature is pretended to support quite deliberate policies directed against individuals by other individuals. It shows ignorance or evil intent on their part, and often both.


Nordmann,

just finished my readings about Darwin and what was called later Social Darwinism. Already approching 11 PM on the European peninsula I am not sure if I will be able to finish my whole content of thoughts including "eugenics"...

But perhaps first about your message...
In the BBC time I only wanted to emphasize that Darwin was a child of his time and although he had introduced by observation the way how the world was evolved he was still open to all kind of contemporary influences from other scientists and sociologists. And as I presume he was open minded he listened to other opinions, which he many times incorporated in his own work. He was also a child of his time as he followed the way of thinking of that time of the preponderance of white race. He also wrestled with the problem of the weakening of the human "race" by, contrary to the animal world, seeking to support the weak, which in time would lead to the degeneration of the "race". All the right parameters were not yet known in that time (not sure if they are today really understood) to make a valid approach to this statement. But in my opinion Darwin was so fair to admit that he didn't understood it yet.
And as I see it the author of the Fitzroy book that I mentioned and who has done it seems a meticulous research pictured also Darwin in that light as a child of his time...


As for "Social Darwinism" a double misnomer...
I agree with you and had it to admit already in the BBC time...but what I had in mind and still have was the term "Social Darwinism" as coined by the historians as the body, which was rightly or wrongly attributed to all the movements and trends of thought affirmed as related to the Darwin theories. I want to say once a term is coined, although the content and connotation is wrong it nevertheless is accepted by the broad community as relevant for the discussion on a certain phenomena.


I was for the first time introduced to "Social Darwinism" by reading the book of Peter Watson:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Watson_(intellectual_historian)
https://www.amazon.com/Terrible-Beauty-Cultural-History-Twentieth/dp/1842124447
In fact the pages 39 till 52
And I am so lucky that you can read them on Amazon from page 39 till 46
https://www.amazon.com/Terrible-Beauty-Cultural-History-Twentieth/dp/1842124447#reader_B00F50E60K


Will elaborate further tomorrow...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sun 09 Oct 2016, 10:24

You are still crediting Darwin and "Darwinism" with a role in the formation of the eponymous theory concerned with defining "elitist" segments of society and the largely discredited and essentially flawed logic behind their raison-d'être. In fact the theory long predated Darwin's work (and life), and though Watson is quite correct to list those who expanded on the theory throughout the 19th and early 20th century, he generally fails to indicate the extent to which many of these theorists exhibited a basic misunderstanding of what Darwin had deduced concerning species' evolution - both in terms of what we now understand as genetics and in terms of the end result of the process (in Darwinian theory there is no "end result", only a point in time in which the effect of the process can be examined).

If it could be possible to conduct a discussion concerning this theory of social elitism and flawed ideas of racial "perfection" that did not conflate it with what is essentially a sound, well reasoned, evidentially supported and - crucially - totally unrelated process then there is much to be said. However as long as the misnomer is applied such discussion will inevitably lead to fallacious reasoning (as Nik exemplified in his contribution on the BBC messageboard with his version of Darwinism supporting a notion of Greeks of genetic "good stock") which clutches erroneously at appropriated scientific terms and even scientists' own names in order to dignify and falsely justify what, upon even cursory examination, is nothing more than conjecture and assertion masquerading as reasoned theory. And none too pretty assertion at that.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sun 09 Oct 2016, 22:03

Nordmann,

I agree that they all misused the Darwin evolution theory for their own purposes. I even have the impression that Sir Galton did it too. But for some odd reason most historians seems to have coined it as "social Darwinism".
It is a bit the same as the Italian fascism that used the Roman-Catholic "corporatism" and deformed it to something not related anymore to the original...but there no historian would call the Italian Fascism "social corporatism"...

My intention was indeed to start here a thread about "eugenics", as I have started already or replied to in several fora...but you are right it has certainly nothing to do with the evolution theories of Darwin, nor as you emhasized with the misnomer of "Social Darwinism"...
Therefore I will start a new thread tomorrow about that subject.

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sun 09 Oct 2016, 22:39

Why not just rename this one? As thread starter you can always edit your original post and change the title there. It would save you repeating posting links etc.

My understanding is that eugenics, even among devotees of so-called Social Darwinism, was by no means always an "a priori" conclusion. Even those who mistakenly applied a misunderstanding of genetic theory to perceived social and racial distinctions did not automatically conclude that either of these could necessarily be engineered to desired ends through genetic manipulation or what amounts to "human husbandry". It took an especially warped mind indeed to make that extra fallacious leap.

In the end of the day eugenics, whether one supported or criticised the actions it encouraged towards "purifying" the gene pool, appealed mostly to those who were either overtly political or, probably more commonly, naive enough not to realise they were really dealing with political rather than scientific precepts. The Catholic Church, which had a head start on everyone when it came to social engineering at the copulation level, actually demonstrated this rather succinctly when the leaders decided that even to discuss eugenics was a "sin". When sex and procreation are shunted firmly into the political spectrum this was perceived by them as a dangerous foray into what they regarded as their exclusive territory. When eugenic theories expanded beyond suggestions of mass-sterilisation programmes and into drastically enforced social restructuring to ensure only those who had "approval" could breed then the church recognised this as usurpation of a large chunk of their own theology and dogma. Only then did it become truly sinful in their view.

However, while eugenics may now be discredited - or at least recognised for the politically manipulative doctrine that it always was - the background hogwash that is "Social Darwinism" continues to excite feverish and flawed theorist minds into finding new ways of presenting it in the hope that one day enough people will be fooled enough of the time to lend it political clout. The most recent example I came across was in India where a leading Hindi politician used the very term to justify the caste system. That just about sums it up, in my view.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Tue 11 Oct 2016, 16:43

An awful notion, I agree, but designer babies may well on the cards. But how will a designer world environment be furnished to accommodate them?
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Tue 11 Oct 2016, 21:19

Nordmann,

thanks for the reply. But nevertheless I would prefer to start a new thread about eugenics. By the protoganists of the eugenic movement Darwin is many times mentioned, but in fact Darwin has only mentioned the problem of the modern evolution of man, referring to people as Galton and others, who had posed the problem. He has never proposed a solution nor in the positive or negative sense. It were others, who extended the evolution laws to the human species, including now the physiognomy as the intellectual capacity of the modern human, dividing them into, in the extreme case, in top brass and undesirables...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Tue 11 Oct 2016, 21:33

Paul :
Would you include in "eugenics" those who are seeking to restrict the number of children by financial means? It's a common suggestion on some Green parties websites, I'm sad to say.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Wed 12 Oct 2016, 20:52

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :
Would you include in "eugenics" those who are seeking to restrict the number of children by financial means? It's a common suggestion on some Green parties websites, I'm sad to say.


Thanks for the question Gil.

I did in the time a whole research for the self imposed birth control of the families in Western Europe, especially in France. It was indeed sparked in the time by the question why there was at the end of the 19th century a stagnation in the population increase in France, compared for instance with Germany and the UK.
I see now that I mentioned already the event on the old BBC board:
http://historum.com/european-history/69436-compared-demographics-between-france-uk-germany-2.html



As an aside: this estimated contributor passed away last year.
But in the wiki about the transition this particular specificity of France is not mentioned, perhaps because of the controversion around the theory...?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition


All the previous Wink to say Gil, that indeed as one learns from the study of Vandewalle there was throughout history a desire from families to restrict their offspring for economic reasons...at least in the industrialized Westernized communities...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Wed 12 Oct 2016, 21:10

Sorry Paul but I had to remove the embedded paste from the other messageboard in the above post. It contained a lot of code that ruined the formatting on this page and pushed the right margin some screens further to the right.

If you're pasting things from html sites it's best to restrict it to text only. Otherwise you transfer also that site's own table and screen definitions - which rarely suit the one you're pasting into.

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Wed 12 Oct 2016, 21:50

Worth posting the warning in your last posting in "technical etc?"
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Wed 12 Oct 2016, 23:11

I might draw up a set of guidelines for links, images, videos and cut'n'pastes. We've been through it all a few times but if they were all assembled in one easy to find spot it would help.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Thu 13 Oct 2016, 21:19

Excuses Nordmann, it will not happen anymore.

I will try to post it again the normal way:
I did in the time a whole research for the self imposed birth control of the families in Western Europe, especially in France. It was indeed sparked in the time by the question why there was at the end of the 19th century a stagnation in the population increase in France, compared for instance with Germany and the UK.
I see now that I mentioned already the event on the old BBC board:
http://historum.com/european-history/69436-compared-demographics-between-france-uk-germany-2.html
My reply from 26 March 2016
Henri Beyle,
first of all welcome to the boards.
I did in the time for the ex-BBC hsitory messageboard some research for a question: Why the population decline in France at the end of the 19th Century?
Found also some mixed literature as mentioned by the other contributors.
I did yesterday some new research (in fact the whole evening!).
I had a vague rememberance of a society about eugenics and birth control in France and Switzerland and found indeed this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Robin
And all this started by the Malthus theories in Britain and Feminism...
goo.gl/K2Jyt3
goo.gl/AxNV6W
But it seems that birth control at the end of the 19th century was not the reason of the decline:
I found an interesting study giving as the real reason:
"French fecundity in the 19th century by Etienne Van de Walle
The demographic transition in France was nearly one century in advance of the other European countries...
In the article there is also a lot on the rural and urban contraception...
If I have time I will explain it more in detail tomorrow...
If you understand French you can read it perhaps all already for yourself...
Persée


I studied it even more in depth on the French forum Passion Histoire in my thread: French population decline during the 19th century:
http://passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=35819&hilit=taux+de+naissance+transition&sid=b2be483825bbbaae54eb12f21a2fb564

The reply of Alain g on 8 april 2014 which explains nearly all what I wanted to expose: 

Tous les pays d'Europe ont connu au 19è siècle le passage de leur démographie d'origine du 18è siècle (pré-transition), à ce qu'on appelle la période de la transition démographique.
Celle-ci a comporté deux phases avant d'arriver à la phase actuelle de forte baisse, conjointe, des taux de natalité et mortalité, donc de stabilité de la population, la période post-transition.
Les deux phases de la transition sont:
- Phase 1: taux de natalité très élevé commençant à baisser avec une forte baisse du taux de mortalité: la population est en forte hausse
- Phase 2: le taux de natalité baisse à son tour, la croissance démographique ralentit mais continue, pour rejoindre la post-transition et sa faible croissance

Le schéma:



Chaque pays a connu une application particulière de ce schéma et dans cette différence d'apparition des phases 1 et 2 de la transition démographique réside leur évolution propre et les différences importantes d'un pays à l'autre, plus que dans des guerres et des évènements à eux-seuls.
La France a anticipé en Europe la transition, elle a réduit plus vite que les autres son taux de naissance puis assez vite son taux de mortalité, les deux étant plus rapprochés que dans aucun autre pays. C'est ce que j'ai retenu. C'est ce qui explique son ralentissement démographique comparé au cours du 19è siècle, pour les démographes.
As an aside: this estimated contributor passed away last year.
But in the wiki about the transition this particular specificity of France is not mentioned, perhaps because of the controversion around the theory...?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition


All the previous to say Gil, that indeed as one learns from the study of Vandewalle there was throughout history a desire from families to restrict their offspring for economic reasons...at least in the industrialized Westernized communities...


Kind regards, Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Thu 13 Oct 2016, 21:58

Paul :
I think perhaps I did not make myself clear - I am speaking of those who wish to use financial pressures to force others to restrict their number of offspring.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Thu 13 Oct 2016, 22:14

Yes now I understand Gil. I will try to reply tomorrow.
Tomorrow having to go up at six o'clock AM for kidney dialysis I go now to bed...here near Bruges Belgium on the European peninsula of the big landmass of Eurasia




Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Fri 14 Oct 2016, 22:46

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :
I think perhaps I did not make myself clear - I am speaking of those who wish to use financial pressures to force others to restrict their number of offspring.


Yes Gil it is nearly the same debate as the eugenics one. as Nordmann says one has from the one hand the scientifical research and on the other hand the interpretations which are mostly political and as Paul Ehrlich has experienced they are not that easy to predict.
http://people.howstuffworks.com/zero-population-growth.htm
The optimum population and its ideal population pyramid for a certain environment is not so easely to estimate.
It seems that 2.1 birth rate in the US can be responsible for a zero population growth. But in that population group the several age groups are also important. However my critique to certain doom thinkers is for instance the difficult estimation how long an aging component of the society will be available for the growth of the society. In my opinion aging people are more and better educated so that they can longer contribute to the productive process, needing in the modern society not anymore the physical strength as before (that work taken by machines) but more the brains to produce intellectual work. The same for the energy needed pro person. It is not so easy to predict, as more and more energy saving production is emerging as miniaturisation of the objects with the same performation with a less energy cost both in production and in consumption. I think that the total energy consumption pro person will tend in the future to an asymptote. But yes as this is only now in a compartimentisation of countries it will have to be extended allover the world and it is not sure if this future assymptote if applied for the whole world will be sustainable for the available world resources. But that is again a challenge for the scientists and perhaps we will need to make a choice on an individual and society base to work to a lower future world energy consumption asymptote.

Gil, I am not against scientific studies as about birth rate and the government has the task to "educate" people in the reproduction process to give to the parents the necessary knowledge to make a thougthful decision, but as I said in the eugenics debate, it has to be always the responsability of the parents how many children they will have. Time and time again in history it happened that state control was not the best way to come to a desired solution. Education and information yes, but doctrinary compulsory measures no.

Overhere they tend now to gave a fixed amount pro child as child subvention contrary to as before more for the third, fourth and fifth child...And that would be a 160 euro/140 pound a month pro child. But there would still be more subvention for underpreviligated families.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 12 Nov 2016, 17:26

I receive on my E-mail box a warning that there is a new reply to this thread. And if clicking on it I see nothing new? Nordmann?

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 12 Nov 2016, 18:02

Some people wandered in without realising where they were, but they've been given their own room now, so it's ok.  Smile

There was a danger for a moment that actual Darwinian theory might have got confused with "Darwinism", which would be a shame after all the sterling effort that has been made by intelligent people (including Darwin) to demonstrate just how two totally different things they are, with only one in fact having anything to do with Darwin at all.

A bit like Malthusian Theory versus Malthusism. There's a certain mentality loves putting "ism" after someone's name, creating something that the person never envisaged, and often indeed would have them rolling in their graves if they knew what had been done with their scientific theory.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Sat 12 Nov 2016, 18:22

Apologies, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Mon 14 Nov 2016, 14:39

Your post was funnier before you edited it, Temp. I had pictured Charles D ceasing his revolutions in the crypt with a contented Victorian sigh.

Paul - you may be interested in the following link, which is to the current South African History Curriculum online resource tool, sponsored in part by the Department of Education there. Since emerging from white rule and apartheid, as you can imagine, the educators have had something of a challenge basically rewriting the entire curriculum, especially history, basically from scratch - there was so little from the old regime's version that could survive in most societies' school systems, at least those which place even the least value on intelligence, let alone truth, fact, or critical thinking.

What has emerged is rather unique. On the one hand it represents what happens when a new regime, wishing to place an emphasis on anything that contradicts blatant propaganda masquerading as history from the old regime, ends up so liberally adopting anything that might contribute to broadening the mind that it ends up incorporating some rather controversial stuff. On the other hand, if one doesn't know the "history" behind the curriculum itself, one could be forgiven for thinking that one set of blinkered views has simply been replaced by another.

But anyway, in amongst some highly controversial and sometimes even gob-smackingly wild assertions, you will be pleased to know that South African schoolchildren in Grade 11 are now learning the rudiments of Social Darwinism, and to quite a thorough degree too! This may disappear over time - it is so obviously there because the educators themselves come from a generation in which the flawed principles of Social Darwinism were used with a vengeance against them and now feel obliged to debunk them. However it may have escaped their attention that the very things they decry in their treatment of the subject are reproduced to various degrees elsewhere in the curriculum when addressing ethnicity, for example.

A fascinating period in that country's history, I feel. And in which it is almost refreshing to see such subjects back on the agenda for discussion, so many of them incorrectly deemed "resolved" or "belonging to history" in so many other so-called developed lands where recent events, if anything, have so fundamentally lent the lie to such a gross assumption.

South African History Online. Grade 11 Curriculum
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PostSubject: Re: Darwin and Social Darwinism   Mon 14 Nov 2016, 15:35

@nordmann wrote:


Your post was funnier before you edited it, Temp. I had pictured Charles D ceasing his revolutions in the crypt with a contented Victorian sigh.


Was it funny? I can't remember now - I was already a bit squiffy at the time (Saturday evening and cooking), so I thought I'd better delete it all to be on the safe side. I seem to remember apologising to Darwin for upsetting him so much. I really hope I didn't apologise to you too, nordmann: if I did, I'm sorry.  Smile
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