carnivore s in their evolutionary past, and perhaps in their distant offspring’s futures. And your world’s fossil beds are full of species which were wonderfully fit for far longer than humans have been, but now are gone. Humans are lottery winners many times over. Rather than causing you to treasure everything, you seem to be convinced “winning lotteries” is a human birthright to be counted on for the future. On my world we have a term for species which behave in such a way: “extinct”.
The Bottom Line: Evolution maximizes fitness, but fitness is an entirely retrospective quality; it has no plan for the future.
Hello Mr. and Mrs. Adaptation Executor
Summary: “Fitness” is the currency of biology. But it is also something which is entirely context-dependent, and only determined in retrospect. We rarely, if ever, think about maximizing fitness during our own lifetimes. We do not go through life consciously calculating the odds of each situation to improve our survival chances. We do not use every encounter with the opposite sex to produce more offspring (though the goal of some of these encounters is to go through the same motions). We are generally unaware that we really are just executing our evolved neural programming - shaped in ancestral environments but giving us the same ‘feelings’ (neurotransmitters, hormones, endocrine cascades, etc.) that our ancestral blueprint deemed successful. Once organisms (including humans) are born, they seek the same mental states of their ancestors in whatever environment they are born into. Effectively, they become adaptation executors, not fitness pursuers .
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