One of the biggest myths in Evolution is;survival of the fittest.
Creationists and Evolutionist alike believe that such an idea came from Darwin,that it meant only the strong survive,and that Darwin applied it to the
The phrase was 1st coined by the English philosopher,Herbert Spencer after he had read Darwin's Origin of Species and noticed the similarity with the
natural selection theory.
Darwin,after reading Spencer's Principles of Biology,started to use the phrase along side his own in later publications of the Origin of Species.Of
it he said;
I have called this principle,by which each slight variation,if useful,is preserved,by the term natural selection,in order to mark its
relation to man's power of selection.But the expression often used by Mr.Herbert Spencer,of the Survival of the Fittest,is more accurate,and is
sometimes equally convenient.
What is important to note is that Darwin viewed the word 'fittest' not in relation to the strongest,but in
relation to that which was most suitable in adapting to the enviroment.
(It should also be noted that the survival of the fittest view is not consistent with the Theory of Evolution.Any organism which is capable of
reproducing itself on an ongoing basis will survive as a species.)
It was Spencer who,from his own theory,came up with what we know as Social Darwinism.He created the model that applied the law of the survival of the
fittest to society.Humanitarian impulses had to be resisted as nothing should be allowed to interfere with nature's laws,including the social
struggle for existence.
He believed that over the course of many generations the evolutionary process would ensure that human beings would become less aggressive and
increasingly altruistic,leading eventually to a perfect society in which no one would cause another person pain.Anything that interfered with the
'natural' relationship of conduct and consequence was to be resisted and this included the use of the coercive power of the state to relieve
poverty,to provide public education,or to require compulsory vaccination etc.
Such a view is not compatible with Darwin's natural selection which is a open-ended process of change based on random variations that prospered or
failed depending on their adaptation to environmental conditions.
The mistakes in the origin of this theory lead many to blame the Theory of Evolution for undermining moral standards and for giving the "strongest"
a just excuse for taking/doing what they want.
[edit on 3-10-2008 by jakyll]