November 6, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

No Such Thing as Natural Election

On election day in America, both election and selection imply a chooser. Neither word applies in mindless nature.

We’ve stated before that natural selection is a contradiction in terms. “One might as well speak of natural voting,” we said (see “Time to Ditch Natural Selection?”, 3 Oct 2015). For 159 years, this vacuous phrase concocted by Charles Darwin continues to corrupt semantics in scientific literature, fallaciously personifying nature as much more than a voter – a ruler, a creator.

A cynic might joke that many voters act like sheeple, mindlessly following the Head Lemming off the cliff. Many evolutionary psychologists come close to that, using “evolutionary game theory” to describe the actions of their fellow humans. But if mindless evolutionary game theory applies to Homo sapiens as products of mindless natural selection over millions of years, it applies to the population – including the evolutionary psychologists writing mindless papers on evolutionary game theory. Without somebody somewhere having a rational mind to choose on the basis of true-or-false or good-vs-evil, natural selection implodes, just like the idea of a ‘natural election’ would. Darwinians don’t get it. Even highly intelligent scientists, who publish in leading journals, don’t get it. C.S. Lewis said, “The fact that some people of scientific education cannot by any effort be taught to see the difficulty, confirms one’s suspicion that we here touch a radical disease in their whole style of thought” (11 Feb 2018). He wrote that almost 75 years ago. The Great Myth marches on.

Physical interactions reduce the power of natural selection in growing yeast colonies (Giometto et al, PNAS). These three evolutionists use Darwin’s phrase 6 times, referring to the “power” of natural selection, the “strength” of natural selection, and the “efficiency” of natural selection. They also use Darwin’s similarly-nebulous word “fitness” 6 times in order to measure the strength of natural selection, defining it in tautalogical form as survival (see “Fitness for Dummies,” 19 June 2014). Someone should inform them that the Stuff Happens Law knows nothing of power, strength, or efficiency. Using vacuous terms decreases the fitness of scientific explanation.

Credit: J.B. Greene

On the deformability of an empirical fitness landscape by microbial evolution (Bajić et al, PNAS). The four authors of this paper pay homage to Saint Charles, saying in the concluding discussion, “Darwin was perhaps the first to recognize that the environment experienced by an evolving population can also be shaped by the population itself.” This concept personifies both the environment and the organism. Notice their Tontology in the first sentence: “thought of” – by whom? You?

Although the environment is often thought of as an external driver of natural selection, it can also be shaped by the evolving population itself, for instance through its metabolic activity or through interactions with the abiotic habitat or other species. These population-driven environmental changes can in turn modify the fitness effects of future mutations, closing in an eco-evolutionary feedback loop.

This is like plugging an extension cord into itself and saying a current is running, or short-circuiting a device and saying that the sparks affect the fitness of the circuit, and the circuit affects the fitness of the sparks. The only empirical support they offer for “innovation” in organisms is the lactase gene in humans and the citrate digestion mutation in E. coli. Both have been shown by Darwin skeptics to be invalid examples of creative potential in natural selection, because they merely affect changes in the regulation of pre-existing genetic information.

Natural Selection: How Selection on Behavior Interacts with Selection on Morphology (Travis and Reznick, Current Biology). These Darwinians use “selection” three times in just the title. They try to argue that Stuff Happens in behavior as well as outward appearance:

Behavior, like morphology, can vary among individuals, be heritable, contribute to fitness, and hence be subject to evolution by natural selection. For a long time, however, behavior has occupied a special place in the minds of evolutionary biologists, who have debated whether the evolution of behavior accelerates or inhibits the evolution of non-behavioral traits. Much of this attention has focused on behavior and morphology: do these features represent different facets of the phenotype that evolve together or does the evolution of one of these types of traits create the context for the subsequent evolution of the other?

They use a study on anole lizards in the Caribbean to support the notion that morphology and behavior both respond to natural selection, independently of each other. Once again, though, their empirical references do not refer to any kind of innovation, but only leg lengths of two species of lizards that inhabit different ecological niches. They offer no origin of species, no speciation, and no progress. Even young-earth creationists accept this kind of change.

The error goes far deeper, though. Travis and Reznick are trying to support a general biological principle: that natural selection drives behavior. This applies to us humans, too. Since natural selection equates to Stuff Happens, and fitness equates to survival and survival to fitness, we can conclude that they believe in ‘natural election’ as well as natural selection. When you vote, therefore, you have no control over whatever happens. You might as well wear a blindfold and punch at random. Whoever wins the election can be explained as natural outcomes of the Stuff Happens Law.

The Stuff Happens Law even created these three papers, because the authors (members of the species Homo sapiens who evolved by natural selection, they believe) were just behaving mindlessly the way the Stuff Happens Law fell out for them. No intelligence involved. Perhaps the outcome of the elections will confirm or deny this explanation. Yet these are the same kinds of thinkers whose predecessors put people of color in Human Zoos. We think those on the inside could have rightly made a case for switching places with their tormentors, given what the tormentors themselves believe about their own origins.

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