June 29, 2007

Simi Linton on the Evolution of Adaptation


When Simi Linton began her blog not long ago I am certain that some server somewhere measuring the Blogoshere registered a spike in "the Force." Today she posts a reflection on "adaptation" where she observes:

“Survival of the fittest” means best fit of life forms and their environments. Attempts to create human perfection is wrongheaded and prejudicial. Instead, as a society we should focus on creating environments (physical, social, cultural etc) that increase survival, comfort and the active participation of all members of society.

She explains:

In the sixth edition of Origin of the Species, Darwin, discusses various criticisms of his theory of natural selection that have come to light since the original publication. He notes that a “distinguished German naturalist has asserted that the weakest part of my theory is that I consider all organic beings as imperfect: what I have really said is that all are not as perfect as they might have been in relation to their conditions.” (P. 288 The Origin of the Species, 6th edition, January 1872)

Here is an example of where Darwin shines as a very early proponent of the social model of disability. Whereas the German naturalist interprets Darwin as finding imperfection in individuals, Darwin recognized that individuals “perfection” can only be understood in relation to their environment.

For the full article, Adaptation is in the Air, follow this link to Disability Culture Watch:


Posted by rollingrains at June 29, 2007 10:27 AM