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In his most famous book On the Origin of Species Darwin included four major arguments that new species appear that these new species have evolved from older species that the evolution of species is the result of natural selection and that natural selection depends upon variations and the maintenance of variation in spite of the tendency of natural selection to eliminate unfit variants 403 After Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859 Herbert Spencer1820-1903 took hold of Darwins theory of natural selection and applied it to society as well as evolution He strayed from biology to society Spencers ideas became known as Social Darwinism The theory of natural selection holds that only the most well-adapted individuals in a population will survive and reproduce These successful individuals pass on their adaptive advantage to their offspring Over many generations the process ensures the adaptation of the entire population to its environment This holds true in the jungle but it was Spencer who coined the phrase survival of the fittest to describe the competition among human individuals and groups He argued that human progress resulted from the triumph of more advanced individuals and cultures over their inferior competitors Wealth and power were seen as signs of inherent fitness while poverty was taken as evidence of natural inferiority In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Social Darwinism was used to argue for unrestrained economic competition and against aid to the unfit poor The theory was also used to justify racist and imperialist policies in Europe and the United States Social Darwinist ideas fell from grace in the early 20th century Herbert Spencers reputation as a philosopher and social theorist toppled with it Spencer once wrote of societyThese are the traits that societies have in common with organic bodies And these traits in which they agree with organic bodies and disagree with all the things entirely subordinate the minor distinctions such distinctions being scarcely greater than
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