Hypothesis: Social Darwinism is the canary in the mine for Naturalism. The theories are functionally the same, with the same epistemic connection to the sciences, the same peculiar exultations and degradations of human life, the same disastrous intrinsic logic, and the same eventual condemnation as obvious perversions of science – though this condemnation will be driven far more by the horror of social outcomes than by the scientific findings that will be demanded of and dutifully proven by the sciences themselves.* Social Darwinism was simply the more volatile and fragile version whose logic worked more quickly and – even taken into account the horrors of the two World Wars that dominate its mature dominance of the public mind – with less violence and loss of life.
Even before the conclusions of Naturalism play out, Social Darwinism can play the role of a Cassandra, giving us pause in the face of a philosophical and governing idea that claims to both be based on the sciences and yet always comes up short when we ask for the hard evidence that demands its acceptance. We’re all supposed to just know that science is a bona fide Naturalism just as we were just supposed to know that Darwinism demanded the active cultivation of favored races and the elimination of impure breeding stock. Both theories start from the same twilight consciousness that takes the philosophy as being so obvious in the lack of all justification.
*Since whenever it meets up with politics – i.e. with what matters to us – science will always do what it’s told.