Survival of the fittest (letter)

Survival of the fittest (letter)

Arthur Negus

Archbishop Hickey is quoted as alluding to a supposed law of nature called "the survival of the fittest" (October AD2000).

Survival of the fittest is a tautology, i.e., saying the same thing twice. It was first enunciated by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903); not, as is usually believed, by Charles Darwin. Alas, poor Herbert, who had some claim to being a professional philosopher, could not see that a tautology is not a law of nature but a statement of the obvious!

Survivors are those who, being so fit, survive; non-survivors are those who, being so unfit, do not survive. Yet innocent school pupils are taught such self-evident stuff as being a scientific law driving the emergence of new species.

ARTHUR NEGUS
Tuggerawong, NSW

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