Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dawkins on Darwinian human affairs

Richard Dawkins may have pioneered and popularized the idea of cultural evolution but he does't always seem to have a good handle on the topic these days. For example, I was pretty disappointed with his treatment of Darwinian economics recently. In The Genius of Charles Darwin, Dawkins discusses social Darwinism, the efforts of John Rockafeller and the evolutionary business practices of Enron - and then concludes:

Darwinism in business seems to be little more than metaphor an analogy.

This material is 107 minutes in. Next, Dawkins asks:

Can Darwinism be applied to other areas of human affairs?

His answer to this question: eugenics. Dawkins goes on to explain:

I've always hated how Darwin is wheeled out to justify cut-throat business competition, racism and right-wing politics.
That's all very well - but this presentation about how Darwinism applied to human affairs is "little more than metaphor an analogy" is distorted and wrong. It's a missed opportunity to explain how Darwinism actually does apply to human affairs. If Dawkins really thinks that "Darwinism in business seems to be little more than metaphor an analogy", he's simply confused and mistaken.

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