Longtime friend of Dispatches Ron Brown asks an interesting question at his blog: What is the most misunderstood idea of all time? He offers an initial suggestion that the most misunderstood is Descartes’ famous statement cogito ergo sum, but I think his second idea is even more misunderstood:
* That evolution is driven by random chance. While genetic mutations occur at random, natural selection is the exact opposite of randomness.
* That evolutionary theory or Darwin himself ever argued for eugenics. Evolution is a theory of what is, not what ought. Further, in On The Origin of Species, Darwin specifically spoke against human eugenics.