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Darwin’s views on human compassion (you might be surprised)

February 9, 2010

Ok–let’s play a word association game. I say, “Charles Darwin,” and the first thing that comes to your mind is?…

Most likely, it is not the word “compassion.”

In a thoughtful article from today’s issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, author Paul Ekman explores a little-acknowledged side of the great empiricist. Within his commentary about the origins of biological life are Darwin’s musings about the mechanisms by which compassion emerged in intelligent organisms.

Interestingly, however, Darwin goes beyond pondering about the survival advantages of compassion, and elaborates on the development of a general compassion for all living creatures:

…Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions….This virtue [concern for lower animals], one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they extend to all sentient beings.

As Ekman notes, “Even some scientists are unaware of Darwin’s commitment to the unity of mankind, his abolitionist convictions, and his intense interest in moral principles and human and animal welfare.”

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6 Comments
  1. Human compassion is the only truly expansive energy that is powerful enough to creative an expansive enough reality for us to evolve any further. I would be interested to see what you think of my work. Check it out.

    Thanks for the blog,
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    And take a look at Darwin’s own reflections from beyond the grave on http://www.charlesdarwinblog.com

  3. Q: Why do you think all the later editions of his book, exclude the full title?

    Which is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”

    Duh.

    “…his abolitionist convictions, and his intense interest in moral principles and human and animal welfare”

    This is truly either ignorance beyond belief or just pure Darwinist propaganda… again.

    How anyone could possibly get any more blinded to the reality of Darwin and Darwinism is a mystery indeed!
    Pathetic review is the best to be said of this article.

    ” great empiricist”?

    You have to be kidding, right?

    Q: What empirical evidence did Darwin ever present for his lame brain hypothesis?
    A: None whatsoever. Nothing at all beyond the usual speculation, conjecture, horrid logic and story telling we’ve all come to expect in the place of anything empirical from Darwinists.

    Worse, “At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked (18. ‘Anthropological Review,’ April 1867, p. 236.), will no doubt be exterminated.”

    Yes, how compassionate he was!
    Duh

    “The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. Darwon – The Descent of Man

    Ah, there is his wonderful opposition to slavery again!
    The man referred to blacks as being closer to gorrillas than humans.
    Racism anyone?

    Adrian Desmond and James Moore in their 1991 biography, .Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist”, stated, “But his [Darwins] notebooks make plain that competition, free trade, imperialism, racial extermination, and sexual inequality were written into the equation from the start—Darwinism was invented to explain human society.”’

    Another of this “great empiricist”‘s compassionate, saintly views, “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.” – Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871 edition),

    Or how about this Darwinian drivel, “All weak living things will inevitably perish in nature. In the last few decades, mankind has sinned frightfully against the law of natural selection. We haven’t just maintained life unworthy of life, we have even allowed it to multiply!”

    Give ya 2 guesses who wrote that.

    Evolutionist fanatic Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton University. Singer is also a prominent promoter of euthanasia, including as a moral obligation in the case of certain elderly/disabled people (though not, incidentally, his own mother when she had Alzheimer’s). (Groups of the disabled picket his lectures in Germany, since this country knows what eugenics is like in practice).

    In addition, he regularly promotes the idea of infanticide, the right of parents to dispose of babies, particularly handicapped ones. He readily accepts that babies in the womb are human. Rather than this being a reason not to kill them, he argues in reverse. If it is OK to kill a baby in the womb (abortion) because it has not yet aspired to the full ‘rights’ of ‘personhood’, why cannot one give parents the right to decide, say for a few months of a newborn’s life, whether they want to ‘accept’ the child or dispose of it?

    So much compassion has sprung from Darwin’s inane drone ideas.
    Like the Nazi Holocaust for example.
    Yes, compassion indeed!!!

    Conclusion:

    Darwinists, either the most deluded, gullible, ignorant, blind and unthinking people on earth, Or, the biggest liars and most evil bastards to ever walk the earth, Or, both.

    • Wrong about the title, wrong about his empirical work (he produced more factual evidence in his writings than possibly any other scientist), wrong about his compassion (he produced FACTS, not sentiment), wrong about his views on abortion, wrong about his racism (he wrote an entire addendum to ‘Journal of Researches’ on the need to abolish slavery), wrong about just everything else. You really ought to know your facts before launching into abusive tirades.

      “It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
      The Descent of Man

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