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Me again on Evolution

Ian D. Bruce ian at happy.milkyway
Tue Jan 17 11:16:26 EST 1995

I'm a little taken back at the slant on Darwinism. "Fit" is a very relative thing
most easily viewed in retrospect. "Fit" is not necessarily (or even likely) related
to "Fight" -- "Fit" applies to reproduction -- carrying the genes on through the
time in the genome -- nothing else. We have also come to understand that "over-
specialization" can be the downfall of a species -- since the environment (physical,
boilogical, social) changes over time and sometimes in dramatic and unexpected ways,
what appeared to be a useful adaptation may prove to be a species downfall. We
are also becoming aware that evolution is not simply a genetic dance, there are
other mechanisms acting on the reproductive viability of species which ultimately
are reflected in the gene pool. Patterns of behavior may not be genetically related, 
but would seem to undergo similar selection.

Bottom line -- survival of the fittest is easily misinterpreted -- you and I will
not be the judge of "fitness" -- time will be. Diversity is the only hedge against
extinction and it is not an individual thing its a population phenomenon. I would
suggest that trying to beat the odds is the surest path to extinction!


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