DR. MUNRO is a whole-hearted selectionist, but a great part of his vigorous book is devoted to exposing the fallacy, not confined to Germany, that might is right, a fallacy which finds its theoretical foundation in a misunderstanding of Darwinism. Natural selection has worked so well, they say, in the evolution of animate Nature that we cannot do better than continue it In the kingdom of man; but, as the author reminds us, it has to be recognised that natural selection has resulted in efficient parasites, as well as in efficient Primates. It is preposterous to assume that the conditions of modern warfare represent a logical continuance of the struggle for existence as observed in wild Nature, for the sifting processes of the terrible four years that the world has wrestled through are in a different category, as Dr. Chalmers Mitchell has well shown, and have worked in great part in the wrong direction—dysgenically, not eugenically. Man cannot, indeed, hope to keep his foothold, still less make progress, without sifting, but Dr. Munro shrewdly lays bare the folly of thinking that man is shut up to Nature's methods. He must assist, improve on, or even counteract them; and civilisation has in great part consisted, as Sir Ray Lankester and others have made clear, in throwing off the yoke of natural selection. More positively, man must substitute rational, social selection for natural selection. Since Huxley's famous essay, many antitheses have been drawn between natural selection and the sifting methods which experience indicates as spelling progress for man, but there has been a tendency to conceive of Nature's tactics too crudely and without Darwin's subtlety. For Darwin quite clearly recognised that endeavours after the well-being of the family are included in the struggle for existence, as well as internecine competition around the platter of subsistence.
From Darwinism to Kaiserism. Being a Review of the Origin, Effects, and Collapse of Germany's Attempt at World-Domination by Methods of Barbarism.
By Dr. Robert Munro. Pp. xx + 175. (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, 1919.) Price 4s. net.
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From Darwinism to Kaiserism Being a Review of the Origin, Effects, and Collapse of Germany's Attempt at World-Domination by Methods of Barbarism . Nature 102, 503 (1919). https://doi.org/10.1038/102503a0