Social Darwinism is an idea that was espoused by its pioneers as a direct conclusion of the theory of evolution. By their arguments, if you believed in evolution, you had to believe in the racism, social inequality and colonialism, all of which are examples of “survival of the fittest”, the fundamental concept upon which Social Darwinism was founded. Such extreme doctrines that claim to be logically derived from scientific tenets influenced millions and increased the amount of injustice (in today’s sense of the word) in the world. Perhaps the most disastrous event from such Darwinist philosophy was the rise of Nazism, which killed millions. But was such mass murder really justified? Is Social Darwinism indeed scientifically sound? Is today’s society a misconception when it claims that all are equal? Not necessarily.
The theory of evolution is a biological theory that seeks to explain the set of facts available for the transformation of life from a single-celled organism to a complex organism such as humans. Its explanation of how good mutations get passed from generation to generation and bad mutations are lost in the process uses the concept of “the survival of the fittest”. Survival of the fittest is a phenomenon that has been occurring in nature for millions of years but that alone (the fact that it has been dominant for millions of years) does not imply that it should continue. Neither does it imply that humans must enforce such a principle by means of racism and other forms of discrimination. As Peter Singer puts it, “Darwin described nature and you cannot draw ethical conclusions from a description”. Darwin himself said that there were no moral implications from his theory.
The theory of evolution itself only provides explanations for natural phenomenons and hence, it is not justified to make conclusions from the theory and extend these ideas to human society. Simply put, it is not logical to take a scientific theory and derive social, philosophic or moral conclusions from the theory. A scientific theory is an explanation of a phenomenon, not a proposal for how the phenomenon ought to occur.