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Member since Oct 24, 2008


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Re: “Letters to the Editor

As far as Hitler is concerned, you can no more attribute his actions to Darwin than you can to Spencer, Marx, God or Ben Stein. Ultimately, he did what he did because of a myriad of reasons; how he was raised, what he did read, the socioeconomic environment he existed in, his psychology, etc. If Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Turks had won WWI, it would've been very improbable that his seeds of hate would've ever found purchase at all. So to try to lay his atrocities at the feet of Darwin ignores all the other factors. If Darwinism, and Social Darwinism at that, was to blame then everyone who encountered it would've turned into people like Hitler. So sorry, Mr. Stein. Now God is a different matter. God is supposedly immutable and, by definition, an absolute being (i.e. idea). Nothing impinges on his nature therefore all the slaughter done by him or inspired by him can be entirely attributed to him without any reference to his situation, upbringing or class. Not that Hitler is excused from his acts; his moral depravity is just harder to pin down.

Posted by Preston Rogers on 10/24/2008 at 7:15 PM

Re: “Letters to the Editor

To CHG- The title to Darwin's acclaimed work is "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life". If you choose to expound on the title, then please get it right. The metaphor, “survival of the fittest”, is an oft misunderstood idea. Herbert Spencer popularized the phrase in reference to economics and its literal, misappropriated meaning birthed Social Darwinism, another misnomer. Biological fitness is not a ranking between species or organisms based on which is faster, stronger or hierarchically “best”. Rather, it is an expression of how well a species is adapted or “fits” into its specific environmental niche. It is not an absolute value as used in Social Darwinism. A species of butterfly that evolved an unusually long proboscis may thrive in its indigenous environment populated with long, narrow flowers, but would not be as fit as bees are in clover field. There is no intrinsic worth bestowed on either; their value is only realized in reference to their surroundings. Northern European Caucasians and Aborigines thrown into the center of the Australian outback would probably have differing rates of survival based on cultural and some genetic qualities, but that hardly means one is better or more fit in an absolute sense. Whether you choose to agree with it or not, all things are relative. Mankind seems to be the most “advanced” or evolved when looking at its current mastery and effect on the earth, but we are just one nuclear holocaust or viral outbreak away from illustrating that cockroaches, rats and bacteria are far more fit in the environment that would succeed such events. Preston Rogers

Posted by Preston Rogers on 10/24/2008 at 6:23 PM
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