Debate:Is Darwinism liberal or is it conservative?

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Today's New York Times carries an article—free registration may be required to read it online—entitled A Split Emerges as Conservatives Discuss Darwin.

"For some conservatives, accepting Darwin undercuts religious faith and produces an amoral, materialistic worldview that easily embraces abortion, embryonic stem cell research and other practices they abhor. As an alternative to Darwin, many advocate intelligent design, which holds that life is so intricately organized that only an intelligent power could have created it.... [but others argue] that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances."

One of the evolution-supports-conservatism voices is a professor Larry Arnhart, who

in his 2005 book, “Darwinian Conservatism,” tackled the issue of conservatism’s compatibility with evolutionary theory head on, saying Darwinists and conservatives share a similar view of human beings: they are imperfect; they have organized in male-dominated hierarchies; they have a natural instinct for accumulation and power; and their moral thought has evolved over time,

while a John G. West has written a 2006 book entitled “Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest.”

(I personally think that the descent-with-modification part of evolution is as close to a fact as facts ever get—when dealing with phenomena that are too big to perform experiments on and occur over periods much longer than a human lifetime. I think that scientists are not even close to understanding the sources of variation, that it is not at all clear that variation is "random" or, if nonrandom, what could be guiding it. And I don't think evolution fits neatly into either conservative or liberal ideology.) Dpbsmith 07:46, 5 May 2007 (EDT)


The obvious answer is: neither. But I guess it's a minority opinion here. Social Darwinism has nothing to do with Darwinism but the name, but it clearly fits better with a capitalistic (conservative?) view of society. Leopeo 11:07, 5 May 2007 (EDT)

Neither, of course, science is neutral towards politics and religion.

Middle Man

A third vote for the obvious "neither". Science is neutral with regards to everything except the evidence. Politics and religion, however, are not always neutral regarding science. Sometimes they assist in the work of science, sometimes they hinder it. If your religion or politics compels you to reject some part of science, it's not the science that's biased. Human 18:41, 12 May 2007 (EDT)

Neither. Even Social Darwinism is neither as it is just a misinterperted spinoff of Darwin's Natural Selection. --Snotbowst 21:10, 26 May 2008 (EDT)

Is Gravity Liberal or is it Conservative?

Despite what the Daily Show says, not EVERY fact has a political agenda. And anyone trying to take moral lessons from nature is advised to study wasps and parasites, and decide if that's REALLY what they want to be basing their morality on. --Gulik3 00:46, 21 May 2007 (EDT)

Perhaps[gasp!} it is merely an interpretation of the evidence. AlephNull 19:07, 16 March 2008 (EDT)