“Fittest” versus “Best Adapted”

We were all taught that Darwin used the term “survival of the fittest” to describe his theory of Evolution. The problem is, the term was not a part of his original theory. Rather, it was a term coined by Herbert Spencer, that was later appropriated by Darwin to describe natural selection. Worse still, Darwin appropriate the original theory from Alfred Russell Wallace, the originator

of the “natural selection” theory, that was really “best adapted reproduced”.The theory had nothing to do with strength, military or otherwise. It had to do with a species’ ability to adapt to its environment. Think giraffes being able to reach tall branches after a flood had destroyed crops on the ground. So, how did Darwin and Wallace’s theories about adaptability become a justification for eugenics, genocide, colonialism, and virtual slavery? Well, money might have had something to do with it.

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