Social theory that draws an association between Darwin's theory of
evolution and the sociological relations of humanity is deemed Social
Darwinism. This type of theory asserts that societies develop and operate
under natural laws. Herbert Spencer wrote of Social Darwinism,
this law of organic progress is the law of all progress. Whether it be
in the development of the Earth, in the development of Life upon its
surface, the development of Society, of Government, ..., this same
evolution of the simple into the complex, through a process of
continuous differentiation, holds throughout (as cited in "Social",
19th and early 20th century Europeans, especially the social elites,
favored Social Darwinism. These views helped promote the idea that nations
were in competition with one another for survival. It was this premise
that encouraged the increased militarization and division of the world.
Colonial spheres of influence sprang up in response, as did violent
confrontations, rather than international cooperation ("Social", 2004).
Critics of Social Darwinism state that the real aim of this type of
theory "is to rationalize and thereby legitimize the unequal and
disproportionate divisions between and within societies" ("Social" 2004).
They feel that by using Social Darwinism, and the social survival of the
fittest, one could justify the haves and have-nots of the world. This
would figuratively â€˜clear one's conscience' about having more than others
and not sharing the wealth. In fact, some believe that Social Darwinism
actually promotes not helping those in need, as according to Darwinism,
these would be â€˜the weak' and need to be culled from the population.
Charity Organization Society and Settlement Movement:
The Charity Organization Society (COS) was founded in 1869. Duri...