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Jeffrey O’Connell and Michael Ruse of Florida State University have written Social Darwinism published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. The book is described as follows:

It begins by discussing the meaning of the term [Social Darwinism], moving then to its origins, paying particular attention to whether it is Charles Darwin or Herbert Spencer who is the true father of the idea. It gives an exposition of early thinking on the subject, covering Darwin and Spencer themselves and then on to Social Darwinism as found in American thought, with special emphasis on Andrew Carnegie, and Germany with special emphasis on Friedrich von Bernhardi. Attention is also paid to outliers, notably the Englishman Alfred Russel Wallace, the Russian Peter Kropotkin, and the German Friedrich Nietzsche. From here we move into the twentieth century looking at Adolf Hitler — hardly a regular Social Darwinian given he did not believe in evolution — and in the Anglophone world, Julian Huxley and Edward O. Wilson, who reflected the concerns of their society.

But before the authors get into the above topics, there are some interesting comments by early Darwinists that make several striking points about the moral implications of Darwin’s claims in his On the Origin of Species (1859) and later The Descent of Man (1871). Ruse is an atheist but rejects the New Atheism movement describing it as “a bloody disaster.” While the radical atheists reject everything related to religion, Ruse is irrationally accommodating:

Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing … the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group … [T]he new atheists are doing terrible political damage to the cause of Creationism fighting. Americans are religious people … They want to be science-friendly, although it is certainly true that many have been seduced by the Creationists. We evolutionists have got to speak to these people. We have got to show them that Darwinism is their friend not their enemy. We have got to get them onside when it comes to science in the classroom.[1]

Ruse insists that atheism can account for morality, but he never tells us how. Ultimately, who says what is moral or immoral and why should a molecule to man evolved Homo Sapien care or obey other molecule to men evolved Homo Sapiens?

In 2014, when Dawkins was asked what a woman pregnant with a Down Syndrome child should do, He said, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Recently Dawkins was asked about his comment by British radio host Brendan O’Connor who has a child with Down Syndrome. Dawkins backed off his “immoral” claim and said it would be “would be wise and sensible” to abort a Down Syndrome child because having such a child potentially would increase the amount of suffering in the world. “Toward the end of the discussion, O’Connor sarcastically reminded Dawkins, ‘You know children who are so-called “perfect” can cause terrible suffering in the world as well, but I suppose we have no way of checking, have we?’” Down Syndrome children didn’t start the French Revolution, World War I, World War II, and had no hand in the holocaust and yet they are being singled out as not fit to live:


In Denmark, only four Down syndrome babies were born in 2016. In the neighboring country of Iceland, the eradication of Down syndrome babies has reached near 100%. France has gotten in on the race, too; most recently, the country banned a television commercial featuring Down syndrome children because it upset the mothers who previously aborted them.

Dawkins cannot make a moral case one way or the other. And who gets to decide what’s wise? By what standard? Given materialistic wisdom standards, it can become a slippery slope that any symptom deemed abnormal that might cause other people to suffer becomes justifiable to eliminate. What’s true for individuals could also be true of the nation as a whole. Don’t think this is an impossible outcome:

The agenda of the globalists is to create a global citizen by ending national sovereignty, and borders, and impose a centralized digital currency linked to a social health credit score, in which no one would be able to buy, sell, or travel without it, (the banking side of the Biblical “mark of the beast”). Access to money may only be granted to those who are vaccinated. Donations to church may be denied as worship centers are designated as terrorist, racist organizations. Worship will be to the all-powerful unelected global government. (Source)

The journalist, political activist, playwright (Pygmalion/My Fair Lady), and lover of all things Stalinist,[2] George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), wrote, “Extermination must be put on a scientific basis if it is ever to be carried out humanely and apologetically as well as thoroughly… What we are confronted with now is a growing perception that if we desire a certain type of civilization and culture we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it.”[3]

Darwin understood the moral problem inherent in his theory, that while “he believed in substantive ethics,[4] … he didn’t think it had any external justification.”[5] That’s because it didn’t and couldn’t given the operating assumptions of his theory.

Thomas Huxley (1825–1895), “Darwin’s bulldog,” had the same problem. He could not account for morality given the operating assumptions of Darwin’s claims. So, where did he go to account for morality? Ruse and O’Connell write:

“He opted for selective Bible-reading, ‘without any comment,’ to instill moral principles.” A progressive Victorian but a Victorian nevertheless, Huxley insisted that the reading “be selective: the Old Testament was as much vice as virtue. Who would want the lasciviousness of Lot’s daughters or Joseph’s seduction [at the hands of Potiphar’s wife] taught?”… In a late essay, Huxley went so far as to argue that morality is opposed to evolution and that we must strive against our innate animal drives.[6]

But by what standard did Huxley claim that Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters and Potiphar’s sexual advances toward Joseph were morally wrong and not adaptive evolutionary practices? Here’s a fuller account of Huxley’s borrowed morality:

But my belief is, that no human being, and no society composed of human beings, ever did, or ever will, come to much, unless their conduct was governed by the love of some ethical ideal. … And if I were compelled to choose for one of my own children, between a school in which real religious instruction is given, and one without it, I should prefer the former, even though the child might have to take a good deal of theology with it.

Hence, when the great mass of the English people declare that they want to have the children in the elementary schools taught the Bible, … I do not see what reason there is for opposing that wish. Certainly, I, individually, could with no shadow of consistency oppose the teaching of the children of other people to do that which my own children are taught to do.

*****

[T]he great historical fact that, for three centuries [since the publication of the original King James Version, in 1611], this book has been woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in English history.

*****

I know that some of the pleasantest recollections of my childhood are connected with the voluntary study of an ancient Bible belonging to my grandmother. … What come vividly back on my mind are remembrances of my delight in the histories of Joseph and of David; and of my keen appreciation of the chivalrous kindness of Abraham in his dealing with Lot. … And I see, as in a cloud, pictures of the grand phantasmagoria [i.e., the imagery] of the Book of Revelation.

I enumerate, as they issue, the childish impressions which come crowding out of the pigeon-holes of my brain, in which they have lain almost undisturbed for forty years. I prize them as an evidence that a child of five or six years old, left to his own devices, may be deeply interested in the Bible and draw sound moral nourishment from it. (“[The School Boards: What They Can Do and What They May Do](file:///E:/Dropbox/Daily%20Articles/THE%20SCHOOL%20BOARDS:%20WHAT%20THEY%20CAN%20DO,%20AND%20WHAT%20THEY%20MAY%20DO),” 1870).

It’s no different today. Evolutionists have written voluminously on the moral question and how Darwinism can account for morality. To use Huxley’s methodology and his selective use of the Bible, I’ll do the same: All attempts have been weighed in the balances and been found wanting (Dan. 5:27).

Author: Gary DeMar

Gary—who served as President of American Vision for thirty-five years—is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. Author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, he has been featured by nearly every major news media outlet. Gary also has hosted The Gary DeMar Show, History Unwrapped, and the Gary DeMar’s Vantage Point Webshow and is a regular contributor to AmericanVision.org. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying being grandparents. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).