Darwin’s theory of evolution was adopted by those with progressive political agendas, particularly the improvement of the human race. It is not difficult to understand Darwin’s appeal to social progressives of the age. If Darwin allows us to understand the mechanism of evolution, might we be able to use that understanding to improve the quality of humanity? Or at least to prevent certain defective human beings from being born? these are contentious issues which will raise concerns for many readers. Yet we must consider how Darwin’s insights were applied by his successors, whether rightly or wrongly.
The first major attempt to apply Darwinian insights to safeguarding the human future was the eugenics movement which emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. The scientific basis of this movement seemed to be unassailable.… Read the rest