virus: STOP! not another tautology thread!

Richard Brodie (
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 07:35:58 -0700

Robin wrote:

>That was my tautology detector.
>The fit survive to reproduce. And what does "fit" mean?
>Something is fit if it survives to reproduce. It's circular.
>You can't test whether "good memes" will populate
>people's minds in the future at the expense of the less
>fit, if "good memes" are defined as those that will
>populate people's minds in the future at the expense of
>the less fit.

This really needs to be in the Evolution FAQ.

The point of Darwinism is that the future is created by the differential
success of replicators rather than by some other means (e.g., conscious
design, randomness with no histeresis). The word "fit" is coined to
describe those replicators that have better success than others. It is
no more a tautology than saying "heavy" is a tautology because it
describes things that are...well...heavy!