I just sent the following email to a journalist at the Observer:
In your piece Darwin's theory turned bosses into dinosaurs in today's Observer, you re-quote the oft-quoted Darwin quote: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change."
I wonder if you have an original source for this quote. I have never been able to track one down. A search for the phrase 'responsive to change' yields zero hits on both the Complete Works of Darwin and Darwin Correspondence Project websites.
I suspect Darwin never said any such thing.
Richard Carter, FCD
The Friends of Charles Darwin
In fact, I'm pretty damn sure Darwin never said any such thing—even though the quote appears all over the internet (in particular, in stories about economics). If anyone out there knows the original source for the quote, please cite it in the comments.
- Minutes after I asked for an original source for the quotation, I receive several answers in the comments. Then Michael Barton points me to this amusing photo.
- Nick Matzke has since identified the source of this ‘Darwin’ quote.