Darwinism vs. Social Darwinism part 1 | US History | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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June 6, 2016
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Darwinism vs. Social Darwinism part 1 | US History | Khan Academy

TL;DR

Darwinism is often misconstrued in the form of Social Darwinism, a misinterpretation of natural selection used to justify social inequalities.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is Social Darwinism and how does it differ from Darwinism?

Social Darwinism is a misinterpretation of Darwinism that was used to justify social inequalities. It suggests that certain races or groups of people are more evolved than others, whereas Darwinism focuses on natural selection and the branching of organisms from a common ancestor.

Q: Is there such a thing as being more or less evolved in evolution?

No, the concept of being more or less evolved is a misconception. Evolution involves the diversification and branching of organisms from a common ancestor, not a linear progression of advancement.

Q: How does natural selection work?

Natural selection requires three key ingredients: variation among individuals, heritability of these variations, and differences in reproductive success. Organisms with traits that make them more successful in their specific environment are more likely to pass on their genes to the next generation.

Q: Is adaptation a result of natural selection?

Yes, adaptation is the process by which a population becomes better suited to its environment through natural selection. As advantageous traits become more common through generations, the population adapts to its surroundings.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Social Darwinism is a misinterpretation of Darwinism that was used to explain social inequalities in the late 19th century.

  • It suggests that certain races or groups of people are more evolved than others, leading to social hierarchies.

  • In reality, natural selection and evolution do not involve a linear scale of evolution, but rather the branching and diversification of organisms from a common ancestor.

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