DARWIN: The Origin of Species [Introduction—Ch. 6, Ch. 15]

Great Books of the Western World

In this video, we will explore Charles Darwin’s seminal work on evolution titled, On the Origin of Species, and hopefully dispel some of the confusion surrounding his ideas. For example, many people mistakenly regard Darwin’s theory of evolution as a declaration that life is progressing towards a perfect species. The phrase – ‘survival of the fittest’ – is responsible for this mistake. In common usage, the word – ‘fit’ – has positive connotations; being fit is better than being unfit. However, in the realm of Darwinian evolution, being the fittest simply means being the best adapted to a particular environment. If an environment favors weak, cowardly, and lazy organisms that know how to exploit the welfare system, then such organisms are considered the fittest. Indeed, in modern America, the lazy and the uneducated generally beget more children than the educated and the ambitious. In order to reverse this trend, the…

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