At nine years old, I took an interest in Carles Darwin.
I was often in trouble with my teachers since I often questioned their methods and their knowledge. Most of my teachers, for some reason, were openly Christian, something I had to discuss. They didn’t appreciate this, however.
At nine, I read a biography of Charles Darwin since I had figured out that he ought to have some good arguments that I could use in my defence. Which he, safe to say, did. But what fascinated me more about Charles Darwin was the elegance of his theory on natural selection. In a way, I found it mind-boggling that no-one had seen such clear connections before him. Or, probably some did, but decided not to go up against the church.
These days, the phrase “survival of the fittest” is thrown around in public discourse right and left. But most people who use that phrase, or others that relate to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, is just plain wrong. Especially when used in conjunction with competitive markets, justifying dominance hierarchies, or weeding out the weakest.
Now, I don’t imagine that this blog post will make much of a difference, but I sort of feel that I have to jot a few things down for posterity.
So, there you have it.
No, evolution isn’t analogous to capitalism. And yes, individual weakness might very well benefit the species long-term. Collaboration and communication are potent evolutionary strategies and are often selected for above physical prowess and the ability to dominate on the individual level.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
- The peppered moth is a specific shade of brown which allows it to sit on tree trunks without being easily detected. However, a small percentage of these moths are born light grey. Obviously, these poor individuals get eaten instantly. But due to a climactic cycle in the forest, the bark of the trees turn a light shade of grey once in a few decades or so. The moths takes a huge hit these years, but they manage to live on as a species due to their light gray brothers and sisters. Most years, it doesn’t seem like the light grey butterflies themselves are especially “fit”, but they are still crucial to the survival of the species.