When creationists write about — and always criticize — Social Darwinism, they inevitably select what they see as undesirable activity and then attribute it to Darwin’s theory of evolution. They never attribute such behavior to evolution itself — the existence of which they deny. They blame it on Darwin personally, notwithstanding that he never advocated any of the social movements they associate with him.
It never matters to creationists that racism, eugenics, genocide, communism, and “ruthless” laissez-faire capitalism — for which they claim Darwin’s theory is responsible — all preceded Darwin’s existence. Facts don’t matter to creationists. They blame Darwin anyway.
What? You have a question? We hate interruptions! Well, okay, go ahead. You ask: How can creationists blame Darwin for both communism and capitalism? We don’t understand it either, but they do. See this from the Institute for Creation Research: Darwin’s Influence on Ruthless Laissez Faire Capitalism.
Besides blaming Darwin for humanity’s dark side, creationists attribute humanity’s better attributes to their peculiar views. So to them, if something is bad it’s Darwin’s fault, and if something is good it’s because of their religious and creationist beliefs. It’s rather simplistic, and it totally ignores the consequences that evolution itself may have had on what we call our human nature.
The creationists are as whacky about “social Darwinism” (a field we regard as pseudo-science) as they are in understanding the actual science. The result is that we rarely pay attention to “news” about the social consequences of Darwin’s theory — except to ridicule the creationists.
But today we found an article in London’s Daily Mail that seems related to all that, although it’s really not. The headline is Men who are physically strong are more likely to have right wing political views. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Men who are physically strong are more likely to take a right wing political stance, while weaker men are inclined to support the welfare state, according to a new study.
Researchers discovered political motivations may have evolutionary links to physical strength. Men’s upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, according to the research.
Makes you think, doesn’t it? Okay, all you hollow-chested left-wingers with pencil-thin arms, and all you broad-shouldered conservative, muscle-bound brutes, pay attention as we proceed with the article:
… Professor Petersen and Professor Sznycer [Michael Bang Petersen, of Aarhus University in Denmark, and Daniel Sznycer, of the University of California] hypothesised that upper-body strength – a proxy for the ability to physically defend or acquire resources – would predict men’s opinions about the redistribution of wealth. The researchers collected data on bicep size, socio-economic status, and support for economic redistribution from hundreds of people in the United States, Argentina and Denmark.
Their paper is in Psychological Science, but you can’t even access the abstract unless you’re registered. So phooey on them. Let’s keep reading the newspaper article:
In line with their hypotheses, the data revealed that wealthy men with high upper-body strength were less likely to support redistribution, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to support it.
So what? All that tells us is that if someone is wealthy, he’s unlikely to favor redistribution. We could have guessed that. The article continues:
Professor Petersen said: ‘Despite the fact that the United States, Denmark and Argentina have very different welfare systems, we still see that – at the psychological level – individuals reason about welfare redistribution in the same way.
We could have guessed that too. Come on, guys, get to the good stuff! Here’s more:
In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursue the self-interested position on redistribution. Men with low upper-body strength, on the other hand, were less likely to support their own self-interest.
Professor Petersen said: ‘Our results demonstrate that physically weak males are more reluctant than physically strong males to assert their self-interest – just as if disputes over national policies were a matter of direct physical confrontation among small numbers of individuals, rather than abstract electoral dynamics among millions.’
That is interesting. There may be a genuine pattern here. But what about the ladies? That’s coming up:
However, the researchers found no link between upper-body strength and redistribution opinions among women. Professor Petersen argued that this is likely due to the fact that, over the course of evolutionary history, women had less to gain, and also more to lose, from engaging in direct physical aggression.
Also, at least in our limited experience, women have other ways to get what they want. One last excerpt:
Professor Petersen [said]: ‘Many previous studies have shown that people’s political views cannot be predicted by standard economic models. ‘This is among the first studies to show that political views may be rational in another sense, in that they’re designed by natural selection to function in the conditions recurrent over human evolutionary history.’
So, class, what did we learn from this? Anyone? Anyone?
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