Natural Selection to Survival of the Fittest
Charles Darwin felt strongly that observations made on large scale explorations such as his voyage on the Beagle showed conclusively that many clearly different organisms, animals as well as plants, were related to one another buy some unknown law. In other words Darwin was trying to prove that evolution existed. However Darwin does outline how a purely natural process of selection could produce similar effects, and thus explain the development of new species without reference to supernatural intervention. Taking that into consideration, I believe that by “Natural Selection” Darwin is trying to portray the struggle for existence and adaptation for survival among living things.
With Natural Selection, Darwin used this term to explain the casual mechanism, which is responsible for the operation of his theory. He would go about and abandon his term in favor of the term Survival of the Fittest. Although he received criticism from so many of his peers for using Natural Selection, the term is quite important because virtually all biologists used it as the explanation for the mechanism. A main reason why Natural Selection was not very popular was because evolution requires enormously long periods of time, that the everyday experience of human beings provides them with no ability to interpret such histories. Looking at Darwin’s position, Survival of the Fittest had a great meaning on the struggle for existence and Darwin’s emphasis on abundance.
First looking at Survival of the fittest, it’s a phrase that describes the outcome of a competition where there is no possibility of predicting the outcome in advance because of the complexity of the conditions of the competition. It describes only the effect or outcome of an event by its very nature and regardless of the situation in which it is used. For example, if it were used to describe the outcome of an auto race such as the Nascar, using the term, It will be survival of the fittest” would indicate that the victor would be unknown until the end of the race. Similarly, if discussing the survival of a business in a collapsing economy or perhaps the survival of a race of people during fierce wars would indicate that nothing would be known about the outcome until the end of the particular event.
Secondly Survival of the Fittest was used extensively because it was a better, more descriptive, explanation of the mechanism of which evolution occurred. The term contains an implicit assumption that survivors are an improved form of organism compared to those, which do not survive. Although intelligence is a key to improvements it is not however true for the field of biological reproduction. There is no human intelligence available to weed out the defectives and alter the process toward a more desirable end. As more individuals are produced that can possibly survive, there must in every case be a struggle for existence, either one individual with another of the same species, or with the individuals of distinct species, or with physical conditions of life.
Keeping that in mind, I came upon one of the greatest mysteries of biological history, the vanishing of the dinosaurs. Here Survival of the Fittest plays a routine role because the fittest were some form of bacteria. Does that mean that the smaller the organism the more chances of it to survive? A look at the fossil record shows that 99.99% of the survivors were simpler organisms and the survivors that we know of today are not the 0.01% of survivors that are more fit from a complexity standpoint and thus prove the methodology of the theory. So what does the term fittest mean?
It is speculated that the term “fittest” refers to an organism which has the best capability for acquiring and using all the available nutrients, all while developing or having a capability of fending off physical threats to its existence. However this concept would indeed be an explanation for a certain type of organism. For example, there are many coral deposits throughout the world, some which are immense in size such as the body coral, which is currently in Florida. Unfortunately marine coral is really not an organism, but rather a collection of organisms. Since there are really no such organisms in existence as described above, it must be concluded that this is not what the “fittest” is, in the sense of Darwin’s meaning.
The term “fittest” as contained in Survival of the Fittest can only be construed as the organism fitter than other members of organisms falling into a special group. This is consistent with the descriptions used by Darwin and also used by most evolutionists in the explanation offered for the mechanism of evolution. A quick look in the animal kingdom shows the rapidly reproducing Fruit Fly, with a serious deficiency that being the inability to penetrate the skin of even the thinnest of fruit, and thus release the sugars which begin the process which produces their food. These mechanisms are available in thousands of organisms, both in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Many mechanisms such as in the mosquito, stingers, bee/wasp, or a dissolving fluid such as produced by other insects abound in nature. It is inexplicable in the Darwinian sense, that some advice or method of doing this would fail to be developed over the past eons of their existence. It must be concluded that while they are survivors, they are not the fittest. This leads to the fact that Darwin’s theory has not explained the existing spectrum of living organisms either in the initial development from the mineral state or in the highly developed state in which it exists today.
In conclusion, Darwin stresses that nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life. Darwin also points that in looking at Nature, it is most necessary to never forget that every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost increase in numbers. He says that each lives by a struggle at some period of its life: that heavy destruction inevitably falls either on young or old, during each generation or at a recurrent intervals. We behold the fact of nature bright with gladness, we often see superabundance of food, and that the birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects or seeds and thus constantly destroying life.
Darwin makes it clear that the structure of every organic being is related, in the most essential yet often hidden manner, to that of all other organic beings, with which it comes into competition for food or residence and from which it has to escape, or on which it preys. This is obvious in the structure of the teeth and talons of the tiger, and in that of the legs and claws of the parasite, which clings to the hair on the tigers body.
After looking at all the examples it turns out that this is an unabated belief system which underlies the study of all the physical sciences. The most important of these beliefs is that all phenomena in the universe are capable of being measured or acknowledged, by one of the five senses of man. It ought to be noted that to evolutionists, there is no objection to philosophy being a part of science and the fact that it is absolutely unthinkable to them that religion be a part of it only shows a bias of the same sort that keeps Darwin’s theory alive. But we must not forget that neither philosophy nor religion is a proper consideration of the physical sciences and the theory of Charles Darwin. At last I must say this was a fascinating project and for years to come Darwin’s theory will explore many questions of nature and survival that are not yet cleared and will solve many mysteries that we have not solved.