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As an ex science teacher, everyday I think " If only they had learned ' that ' bit of science they would not be in so much trouble " Currently I think here in the UK that the people who fix the potholes in the road do not understand the massive expansion power of water when it freezes, and the importance of eliminating any tiny hole that could fill with water and start off the breakdown cycle once again.

What example of the failure of science teaching are YOU thinking at the moment?.

Mcflewster 7 Mar 26
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The theory of evolution. Everyone I have met who doesn't "believe" in evolution has not understood it.

Heraclitus Level 8 Mar 27, 2019

Can you explain to me the difference between 'survival of the fittest' and 'survival of the most flexible'?

@Mcflewster Survival of the fittest is perhaps an unfortunate wording by 19th-century scientists. It really refers to the most fit to survive and propagate in a given environment. In that sense it actually does mean that those who are the best able to adapt to their environment, and very importantly, to changes in their environment are the most likely to survive and pass on their genes to future generations. Some people prefer to use the word "flexible" rather than "adaptable". However, I find the phrase "flexible" to the environment more awkward than "adaptable" to the environment. Also, I prefer to reserve the term "flexibility" to what I consider a more appropriate use of the word such a Cognitive Flexibility which is an aid to the survival of the fittest or the most adaptable, but not the same thing.

@Heraclitus Perhaps both words are needed because if conditions around you change then you have to be flexible to make the most of what is available , but you have not actually adapted yet. Then comes adaptable over a longer period?

@Mcflewster No real disagreement there. That is a good way to look at it.

@Mcflewster "Fittest" is a general term...it can mean which organism is most "flexible" or "adaptable"...but certain genes have different "frequencies" of appearance...so a relatively
inflexible/rigid/narrow-scoped-niche organism can turn out to be the "fittest" for survival.

As Homo sapiens has.

For example; Raccoons are doing so well because they're very "adaptable" to both diet and habitat...so they're good survivors because they're "flexible".

Humans evolved a very narrow niche, however. We're essentially "naked" so we evolved a need for clothing. We're stuck with requiring 12 or more years of education to compete for survival because we're overcrowding our habitat...so the strongly educated will survive better. We've become so dependent on technology, farming, hospital-health care and media, that few - if any - of us can survive without in raw climate situations.

Consider the Cetaceans. Very flexible and adaptable. No technology. No money. No hospitals. Advanced communication. No farming. No clothes. The children play all day. The adults make love all day.

No "formal" education required....and if it weren't for us competing with them for food, they'd probably be the dominant being on the planet.

If there's a massive climate disaster, and most - if not all - land plants and animals perish....evolution will rewind 50-100 million years...and its likely Cetacean lifestyle will occur among the animals that start over - and crawl up on the land-scoured landscape of the future.

So the next dominant land species might live just like Dolphins do today....on land.


The major rejection of climate science. The slow - but steady - adoption of alternative energy - the reluctance of the wealthy to go E.V. (Tesla, Bolt, Leaf)... the world's lowest gas/fuel tax to keep America addicted....all are signs, to me, that I "failed" in my 45 years of teaching science - to educate enough about its' importance.

I don't feel that badly. I'm living an ecological lifestyle...my Tesla "ECO CAR" is in the garage, and I hardly ever throw anything "away"....but it does trouble me where America is in terms of science awareness.

Robecology Level 8 Mar 26, 2019

For me it's "natural forest succession patterns are a major influence on what species can be successfully planted on specific sites" Ignoring that is usually a waste of time and money as the planted trees often will not survive

Have never thought about this concept.