The concept of survival of the fittest came up in one of my classes today. And, as usual, the discussion entailed a number of radical oversimplifications. It seems to me like the phrase "survival of the fittest" more often undermines a clear comprehension of evolution than aids it. First, it is almost completely nonsensical to discuss evolution in terms of humans. We most likely aren't evolving -- civilization undermines that process. And that's a good thing. Evolution only selects for 'better' in the very narrow sense of having children who have children. Like other ways of attempting to simplify success (amount of money, sports victories, relative number of people killed at war) trying to interpret successfulness in evolutionary terms works, but only if you snip off the part of the concept that describes the reasons success matters.
Secondly, as it was used in this class, the case is often used to implicitly or explicitly devalue people who have skill sets, who represent value, outside the speaker's preferred area. In this case, the prompt was "Would you rather have a genius kid, or a kid with street smarts?" -- followed by an explanation that, sometimes, if you know enough stuff it trips you up and makes you unable to apply any of it.
I want to really tear into this argument, but my phone is about to die. I will return to the blog later.