The word was coined by English sociologist and philosopher Herbert Spencer in his book Principles of Biology, published in 1864.
Also, the term “survival of the fittest” was coined by British naturalist Charles Darwin in the fifth edition of “On the Origin of Species” (published in 1869), which argued that creatures that are best adapted to their environment had the best chance of surviving and reproducing.
In a letter to Darwin in July 1866, Alfred Russel Wallace expressed his concern that readers misunderstood the phrase “natural selection” to mean that nature was “selecting,” and suggested that this misunderstanding may be avoided “by adopting Spencer’s term” Survival of the Fittest.
Darwin responded quickly, stating that Wallace’s message was incorrect “as bright as the sun I completely agree with what you say about the benefits of H. Spencer’s brilliant notion of ‘survival of the fittest.’ This, on the other hand, had not occurred to me until I read your message.
However, one significant disadvantage of this phrase is that it cannot be used as a substantive controlling a verb “. He would have worked the phrase into the foe if he had received the letter two months earlier.
Since the “battle for existence” (a word he borrowed from English economist and demographer Thomas Malthus) is relative and thus not absolute, Darwin did not perceive evolution as the survival of the fittest; rather, he saw it as the survival of the fitter.
Instead, with a shift in circumstances, the winners in terms of species within ecosystems could become losers.
For example, fossil evidence suggests that the mammoth (Mammoths) was more fit during the most recent ice age (which ended roughly 11,700 years ago), but that as humans hunted it and the world’s climate warmed, it became less fit; fossil evidence suggests that the mammoth died out a few thousand years ago.
Variation, reproduction, and heredity were all important aspects of Darwin’s hypothesis of evolution through natural selection.
Variations in the physical characteristics of organisms that help an individual (or a species) in the battle for survival are kept and passed on (or selected) because the individuals (or species) that have them are more likely to survive.
The success or failure of a specific variant is not known at the time of its emergence; it is only known after creatures that carry it have grown and matured and passed it on to their offspring, or have failed to mature and reproduce.
Importantly, Darwin was influenced by the ideas of Isaac Newton, an English scientist and mathematician whose philosophy prioritised experimentation, mathematics, and logic over subjective sensory experience. Darwin’s evolutionary theory was an attempt to build a similar system for the living world at the time, a boundary in the biological sciences that had not yet been crossed.
If particular heritable qualities improve or diminish the odds of survival and reproduction for their bearers, it follows that those characters that benefit survival and reproduction will grow in frequency across generations (by definition of “heritable”).
“Evolution by natural selection” is the term used to describe this process. If the traits that lead to differential reproductive success are not heritable, however, no meaningful evolution will occur, whether “survival of the fittest” or not: if improvement in reproductive success is caused by traits that are not heritable, there is no reason for these traits to increase in frequency over generations.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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