I do wish people would actually read On The Origin Of Species before writing articles about the supposed flaws in Darwin’s argument for evolutionary processes. Darwin never wrote anything about “survival of the fittest” (that was a later commentator). He wrote about how evolution promotes adaptations that enhance an organism’s chances of survival and breeding. And in Victorian English, “fittest” did not generally mean “strongest” or “most healthy.” It meant “most suited to purpose” as in “this brush is fit for my beard.”

Darwin knew all about social animals and he saw their cooperation as a result of multiple adaptations that promoted individual survival by means of group collaboration. He understood that a great many group species exist, all the way from ant colonies to tribes of chimpanzees, and he saw how their cooperation was just as much an argument for natural selection as any other trait or characteristic.

So before we get all excited about attacking straw men, it is worth pausing to make sure we’ve got our basic facts right first.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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