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Darwin's Influence on Discrimination

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Darwin’s Influence on Discrimination

Many regard Charles Darwin as the Father of Evolution, a scientific breakthrough that is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in science. Little does the general public consider the social effects that his contributions made on racism, as well as sexism, not only in his lifetime, but also for the generations following his research. His recognition in one area of study automatically made him a voice that echoed for centuries against women’s suffrage, pro-slavery, and influenced Hitler’s ideology. Apart from his genetic research and theories of evolution, Darwin was not afraid to compare the human race to that of other animals. This analogy caused a lot of the discrimination that he blatantly labeled as scientific fact. In the Descent of Man, “Darwin noted that the inheritance of special tastes and habits, general intelligence, courage, good and bad temper, and so on is evident in dogs and other domestic animals, and that the same pattern is seen in almost every human family” (Paul, 226). Darwin was not afraid to make non-scientific comparisons between the human race and other animals. Although many of Darwin’s findings are scientifically rational, and others simply deny his theories because of their religious faiths, it is difficult to ignore the consequences of his “Origins of Species” or “The Descent of Man” writings. Although Darwin wrote that all men shared a common descent, he used societal observations to pinpoint the differences in mental faculties between races, while contrasting the culture of “the lowest savages” with European civilization. Young Darwin simply wanted a non-religious explanation of how our world came to be. “Evolutionary thinking enabled [Darwin] to rescue the idea of human unity, taking it over from a religion that no longer provided adequate support, and put the...

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