There’s a lot of assholes, in the real world and in way too many fiction narratives, who think “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” mean that the “strong” should destroy the “weak,” or that the “weak” deserve to die and must die for a species to remain healthy.
But here’s the thing:
Natural selection isn’t some sort of decree that needs to be actively upheld. Natural selection is just a name given to the simple fact that if something is suited to survive, it is more likely to pass on its genes. If its characteristics make it more likely to die before it can do so, then those characteristics will make themselves rarer in the gene pool by default.
There isn’t actually a “strong” and “weak” in nature. Sometimes the best thing suited to survive in an environment is slower, softer, even significantly less intelligent. Something that only has what it needs for the given situation. Something that doesn’t waste energy with any more anatomy than the bare minimum to get by.
If something is killed by freak circumstances, like industrial pollution, a meteorite, a mutant plague or a maniacal nazi-esque supervillain regime, then that’s not actually natural selection. That’s a fluke death that could happen to anyone or anything, even the allegedly “strong.”
If something is still going to go on living and reproducing without that crazy circumstantial interference, then it is, in fact, THE FITTEST it ever needs to be. That is by definition evolutionary perfection.
Nothing in particular inspired this post, it’s just a general peeve I have. People misconstrue “survival of the fittest” constantly, in all kinds of debate.