The Preservation of Favoured Races

That’s the subtitle of Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. It’s full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. And his next book was titled The Descent of Man, one entire chapter was dedicated to ?The Races of Man.? In that book, Darwin wrote:

At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes…will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla (1874, p. 178).

Related article: Was Darwin a Racist?

Another interesting thing to consider is that at this same time, one of the British Empire’s primary motivations was the fear of Social Entropy or the decomposition of social structure and the disappearance of social distinctions. So is it any wonder that people would so easily latch onto an idea that said we are drifting towards more complexity rather than to simplicity?

And finally, does Darwin’s theory and those that followed lead inevitably to Nihilism?


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