Discussions of the “Not So Fit”: How Ableism Limits Diverse Thought and Investigative Potential in Evolutionary Biology.

AbstractEvolutionary biology and many of its foundational concepts are grounded in a history of ableism and eugenics. The field has not made a concerted effort to divest our concepts and investigative tools from this fraught history, and as a result, an ableist investigative lens has persisted in present-day evolutionary research, limiting the scope of research and harming the ability to communicate and synthesize knowledge about evolutionary processes. This failure to divest from our eugenicist and ableist history has harmed progress in evolutionary biology and allowed principles from evolutionary biology to continue to be weaponized against marginalized communities in the modern day. To rectify this problem, scholars in evolutionary research must come to terms with how the history of the field has influenced their investigations and work to establish a new framework for defining and investigating concepts such as selection and fitness.