Great to hear the collaborative evolutionary aspect of “survival of the fittest” make prime time at last.
Interviewing D S Wilson on the BBC R4 Today programme this morning, Evan had to make a clumsy apologetic aside along the lines of “Dawkins is big around here” but the visiting American could see the battle lines drawn differently within the cognoscenti and the public political popular-science sound-bite arenas.
Darwin’s “fittest” has always referred to best fit with your environment (physical, biological, social, intellectual) , nothing exclusively to do with being fitter as in stronger, faster, better, than those you are competing against in your environment. Where group-selection occurs in the social environment, the best fit concerns mutual participation in the group and the group in the wider environment. As I’ve written many times before, the “selfish gene” title has a lot to answer for in public misunderstanding promulgated by the professor for public understanding of science.
Ironic then that the next news item, about Cameron visiting Salmond on Scottish home turf for their debate on the British union, was characterised as drawing-up “battle-lines”. Public learning is a very slow process, when there is a useless but victorious meme holding the tattered standard in the tournament arena. We should be feeding Dawkins to the lions.
Also fitting in hindsight was the earlier thought for the day (Das) … BBC links slow to update in the aftermath of the live programme – will come back and add links.