Er, yeah, I'm a bit confused here. What Darwin meant by fitness was the ability to survive and reproduce. What we generally mean these days by fitness is actually the fitness of genes in building organisms that are good at propagating those genes. What these scientists are calling fitness is simply efficiency in metabolizing food. So we have bacteria who metabolize less food more efficiently and ones who metabolize more food less efficiently. Apparently both of these are decent strategies for survival of genes throughout generations. But by the modern definition of fitness both of these bacterial strategies are both fit because they sustain genes throughout generations. Within the little lab niche they have going on both strategies can thrive, for reasons I don't know but they obviously do. It would seem that less food, more efficiency, but less resilience to poor reproduction is just as good as the alternative at propagating those genes on to the next generation and the subsequent generations.
I am inclined to say that these people don't know how evolution works. Both strategies are fit. The fittest always propagate most prolifically, but fitness isn't so black and white. What they call fitness and unfitness are arbitrary and not what the word actually means.
If a man happens to have the tendency of sleep with as many women as possible, and he gets 2 pregnant in his life, it is equally good an evolutionary strategy as a man who decided to marry his first girlfriend and have 2 children with her. Different strategies, same effect.
Last edited by Stabby; 03-30-2011 at 12:15 PM.
Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.
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