With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.
~ “The Descent of Man” – Charles Darwin, 1871
Simply horrifying… Even though Darwin reluctantly acknowledges that humans have some instinctual sympathy he feels there is a work around in that the ‘weak’ are too dumb or incapable of marrying. He goes on elsewhere to predict that the inferior ’savage and ape-like’ races (eg. Africans, Aborigines, etc) will ultimately succumb and make way for the vastly superior Caucasian race.
Adolph Hitler took Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection in Humans as a mandate to perform ‘cleansing’ for the benefit of mankind. Institutions such as Hadamar executed Hitlers “Aktion T4” Euthanasia Program as a means to rid mankind of the burden of the handicapped and invalid.
Today (I mean like right now) our US tax dollars are being given to to an organization founded by a staunch proponent of Negative Eugenics Margaret Sanger. Eugenics is just another word for what Darwin and Hitler promoted… Genocide of the weak to promote a superior race. Ms Sanger was an outspoken proponent of birth control and abortion as a means to rid humanity of inferior specimines. She wrote several books on the subject and spoke frequently to the women’s auxiliary of the KKK. In 1916 she founded what is now known as Planned Parenthood.
Modern genetics proposes an ‘easier to swallow’ implementation of Eugenics in the form of Prenatal Diagnostic Testing and Genetic Manipulation which allow you to know if your child will have any genetic defects so you can nip it in the bud, or through Genetic Manipulation you can just engineer yourself the perfect baby.
Even Darwin acknowledged that Humans were set apart. We have this innate, instinctual tendency toward grace and sympathy. While Darwin viewed this as a fatal weakness, I know it to be a divine gift. The weak, hungry handicapped and poor are those we are called to care for. Further, it is often true that those that are so burden have enormous blessings to offer those that are ‘healthy’. It’s truly a symbiotic relationship. While we can help the less fortunate meet basic material needs, they often can help us satisfy deep spiritual needs. Believe me, I am continually blessed by someone with the burden of a ‘genetic defect’ as Darwin might call it.
I know (virtually any way) many atheists who willfully acknowledge this human tendency toward love. As a matter of fact, many athiests see this tendency as an argument against God. They question how a loving God would allow evil and suffering. The bottom line is that humans are unique creations, different than bugs, and lizards and apes. That is a variable that Darwin left out.