Monday, September 29, 2014

"Darwin" Nonsense Engraved on the Floor

source

Engraved into the floor of the Academy of Natural Sciences in San Francisco is this line:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Darwin NEVER said this.

And he never would say this because it's actually not true.

You see, a lot of the species that have survived have barely changed at all for a very, very long time (ferns, sharks, alligators, turtles), while a lot of the species that appear to be changing all the time (primates for example), are being quickly pushed into extinction.

Survival of a species is not about adaptation, but about successfully breeding and surviving to the age of breeding. Sometimes adaptation is favored, but often it is not. And once a lot of adaptation has occurred, can it be really be said that a "species" has survived? Show me the wild progenitor of the cow. They are extinct. As a species they are no more, and yet the modern cow is one of the most common animals on earth.

In fact, the sentence engraved into the floor of the Academy of Natural Sciences is actually a corruption of a bit of nonsense reductionism done by Leon Megginson, a professor of marketing at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, who died in 2010.

This fake quote is so deeply embedded in the sphere of nonsense that the people who designed and manage the Academy of Natural Sciences in San Francisco let it get engraved into the floor of their entry way.

No, they never bothered to actually read Darwin to see that this sentence is not actually there.

In recent years, the Darwin attribution has been cut away, but apparently the "quote" itself is too big a remodel to easily fix.

Teach? Get it right?  Apparently, not at the Academy of Natural Sciences.


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