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Survival of the Fittest Is a Tautology

GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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9/13/2011 9:35:59 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
"Restated, the "survival of the fittest"means: the prolific breeding of the most prolific breeders. Put this way, does natural selection mean anything at all?

The modern position, therefore, is that natural selection and the survival of the fittest are no more than empty tautologies, while the struggle for survival play no important part in evolution.

Thus "survival of the fittest," or "natural selection," or "differential reproduction" sheds no light on the mechanism of evolution and is only another way of saying that some animals survive and prosper while others die out -- an observation of limited value."

-- Shattering the Myths of Darwinism (p. 123, 128, 129)
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OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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9/13/2011 10:02:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/13/2011 9:35:59 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"Restated, the "survival of the fittest"means: the prolific breeding of the most prolific breeders. Put this way, does natural selection mean anything at all?

The modern position, therefore, is that natural selection and the survival of the fittest are no more than empty tautologies, while the struggle for survival play no important part in evolution.

Thus "survival of the fittest," or "natural selection," or "differential reproduction" sheds no light on the mechanism of evolution and is only another way of saying that some animals survive and prosper while others die out -- an observation of limited value."

-- Shattering the Myths of Darwinism (p. 123, 128, 129)

I'm not really sure where this is coming from, but if it is indicative of serious doubts of evolution then I would seriously advise a reconsideration lest you lose all credibility.

Survival of the fittest is hardly a tautology, it's the guiding reproductive method of evolution and manifests itself in our psychological makeup. We're talking certain traits being selected for and over large periods of time that has an immense effect on a population as seen through computer experiments done by students in every Biology 101 course. The gene pool changes drastically when certain traits are literally wiped out and others proliferate.

I'm not going to argue the plausibility of "mainstream evolutionary theory" because there is no debate in the scientific community about it. The evidence is all around us and the only skeptics appear to be from the religious right and now conspiracy theorists.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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9/13/2011 11:38:03 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/13/2011 9:35:59 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"Restated, the "survival of the fittest"means: the prolific breeding of the most prolific breeders. Put this way, does natural selection mean anything at all?

The modern position, therefore, is that natural selection and the survival of the fittest are no more than empty tautologies, while the struggle for survival play no important part in evolution.

Thus "survival of the fittest," or "natural selection," or "differential reproduction" sheds no light on the mechanism of evolution and is only another way of saying that some animals survive and prosper while others die out -- an observation of limited value."

-- Shattering the Myths of Darwinism (p. 123, 128, 129)

Utterly retarded.
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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9/14/2011 12:10:59 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
its not a tautology. to understand "survival of the fittest" you have to understand what fitness means in this context. it is not an inherent quality of the organism.... no one is saying that the ones that survive and reproduce "are the best at surviving/reproducing" intrinsically. what they are saying is that the ones that survive and reproduce do so because they are the best at doing so among a population relative to a given environment. thats the part that you are missing. natural selection essentially means that those that are most compatible with the environment as it currently is will be more successful at living in it... and then if the environment changes then so will the traits that confer success in that environment. "fitness" is not defined concretely because it is different in every environment. it is literally a matter of "fit" between the organism and the environment it finds itself in. is it a tautology to say that a square peg fits in a square hole but not in a triangular one? i think not.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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9/14/2011 1:12:00 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/13/2011 9:35:59 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"Restated, the "survival of the fittest"means: the prolific breeding of the most prolific breeders. Put this way, does natural selection mean anything at all?

The modern position, therefore, is that natural selection and the survival of the fittest are no more than empty tautologies, while the struggle for survival play no important part in evolution.

Thus "survival of the fittest," or "natural selection," or "differential reproduction" sheds no light on the mechanism of evolution and is only another way of saying that some animals survive and prosper while others die out -- an observation of limited value."

-- Shattering the Myths of Darwinism (p. 123, 128, 129)

Moronic. Purely moronic.

"Survival of the fittest" was made up by Herbert Spencer, not Darwin.

Natural selection predicts that heritable variations lead to differential reproductive success.

How can it possibly be a tautology when it has competing theories? The Theory of orthogenesis predicts that heritable variations will continue through generations regardless of how detrimental they are.
kogline
Posts: 134
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9/14/2011 2:35:01 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
yes it is a tautology, it is saying that the the best at surviving and reproducing, will survive and reproduce more.

by itself natural selection is not a mechanism of change.

natural selection is used to describe the phenomena that if you have a population of black and white beetles living in a darkly colored environment the black beetles will survive, and vice versa.

however in order for this to occur, there must be genetic variation. so the combination of having genetic variation, plus some random environmental change/factor is what leads to evolution.

i would agree that in the biology classes ive taken so far this distinction is sometimes glossed over. i think both natural selection and survival of the fittest are phrases that are more talked about in class than understood.

for example i remember one girl innocently asking how nature selected what species was fittest. i told her that nature was not a conscious entity and that the term just meant the best survivors survive.
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Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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9/14/2011 9:40:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
There are the last population of a dying breed. The breed has 500 left. A wild fire kills all but 10. Those ten just happened to be at the right spot of the environment, way from the fire. This was because they were sickly and couldn't move with the herd. The strongest died. The weakest lived. The weakest will breed and repopulate the species. "Survival of the fittest" fails. This is just one scenario. I could conjure up many possible scenarios where "survival of the fittest" logically fails.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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9/14/2011 11:23:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/14/2011 9:40:38 PM, Tiel wrote:
There are the last population of a dying breed. The breed has 500 left. A wild fire kills all but 10. Those ten just happened to be at the right spot of the environment, way from the fire. This was because they were sickly and couldn't move with the herd. The strongest died. The weakest lived. The weakest will breed and repopulate the species. "Survival of the fittest" fails. This is just one scenario. I could conjure up many possible scenarios where "survival of the fittest" logically fails.

Your objection would hold some weight if the theory of evolution stated that survival of the fittest occurs with a 100% chance, to every population, at all times, which it doesnt.

What youve just explained, is not survival of the fittest, but natural selection. It is nature, selecting a group of animals out to survive.

Considering the fact that "Fittest" in "Survival of the fittest" does not necessarily mean strongest, there are times when even the strongest, the fastest, the largest, die, because they did not hold an ability that another animal had. T-rexs were clearly stronger, faster than mice, yet when a meteor hit, the single quality in mice, the fact that they were small(And warm blooded), were better, were more useful than all the positive attributes that a T-rex had.

You are judging an animal by the qualities that you deem positive. Which is fine, i do that too. But sometimes, its not the fastest, or the most muscular, that helps you survive. Sometimes its as simple as being able to climb a tree, or being slow, saves you. And that is what natural selection is. It is nature, the environment, and NOT YOU, who chooses which attributes are the best.
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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9/14/2011 11:48:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If survival of the fittest is indeed a tautology, which it may be depending on how you define it, shouldn't that make it even harder to disprove? Survival of the fittest is an important concept of evolution much like the identity principle is an important concept of math: they're both tautologies, but they are still useful and have explanatory power.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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9/15/2011 12:06:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/14/2011 9:40:38 PM, Tiel wrote:
There are the last population of a dying breed. The breed has 500 left. A wild fire kills all but 10. Those ten just happened to be at the right spot of the environment, way from the fire. This was because they were sickly and couldn't move with the herd. The strongest died. The weakest lived. The weakest will breed and repopulate the species. "Survival of the fittest" fails. This is just one scenario. I could conjure up many possible scenarios where "survival of the fittest" logically fails.

That's called genetic drift and the bottleneck effect, and it is accounted for.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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9/15/2011 12:08:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 9/14/2011 11:48:04 PM, mongeese wrote:
If survival of the fittest is indeed a tautology, which it may be depending on how you define it, shouldn't that make it even harder to disprove? Survival of the fittest is an important concept of evolution much like the identity principle is an important concept of math: they're both tautologies, but they are still useful and have explanatory power.

How can a tautology have a competing theory? "Survival of the fittest" says heritable trait frequency will in part reflect how beneficial a mutation is. Orthogenesis says that heritable trait frequency will not be effected even if the trait is detrimental.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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9/15/2011 9:50:55 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Consider Newton's Law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." It is universally true, with no valid exceptions ever found. So, is it a useless tautology? Of course not, it is useful because it is a universal law. Evolution isn't a theory, it is a law of nature.