April 3, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

More Natural Selection Fails

Attempts to explain life by natural selection evaporate upon critical examination. And yet the theory lives on.

In his new book Darwin Devolves, Michael Behe alleges that natural selection might apparently allow organisms to survive in environments that would otherwise kill them, but it lacks the power to create novelty that actually helps an organism do something new. This is known to be true at the molecular level, he argues – something unknown to Darwin. It’s also true for all the alternative evolutionary theories, like evo-devo and neutral evolution theory. They all come down to the chance nature of mutation. Without foresight, a plan, or a goal that a mind can give, natural selection is powerless. Here are some recent examples that show the hopelessness and emptiness of trying to explain biological phenomena by natural selection (henceforth NS).

Cartoon by Brett Miller. Used by permission.

Evolving society: why humanity coheres (Nature). In this article, “Agustín Fuentes compares three books on the origins, trajectory and implications of our group behaviour.” Can it be explained by NS?

But all three books share two elements that restrict insight.

The first is a belief that stories of targeted selection are the key to the rise of our societies. All three proposals would have benefited from engaging with the theories of the extended evolutionary synthesis, which draw on what in my opinion are more accurate representations of developmental, genomic and epigenomic processes. With this, the books might have avoided their second shortcoming: a devotion to an anthropologically naive idea of ‘tribalism’ and its damaging associated assumptions that patterns of evolutionary differentiation underlie and explain forms of severe discrimination. 

Basically, Fuentes is calling NS theory a source of discrimination and evil in human society. He calls on his readers to “resist familiarity and push themselves to reach across paradigms to obtain the best and most accurate information and interpretation” – in short, to ditch natural selection (3 Oct 2015).

What makes evolution go backwards? (Science Daily). Any theory that makes evolution go backwards is not going to make Darwin smile. Evolutionists writing in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology provide examples of NS breaking things and degrading things – precisely what Michael Behe argues is the predominant trend in evolution.

Ejecting flagella could help microbes save energy during nutrient depletion (Science Daily). Score another point for Behe’s thesis that Darwin devolves. Bacteria can sometimes survive by throwing away their flagella (see paper in PLoS). If that’s NS, it’s like improving your gas mileage by taking off the car doors and hood, as Behe quips. Good luck growing “endless forms most beautiful” by this “mechanism” that made Darwin famous. Needless to say, it’s a lot easier to disconnect and junk an outboard motor than to get one by chance.

natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. –Dr Michael Egnor

Examples could be multiplied, but we give the mike to Dr Michael Egnor to share his view of the usefulness of natural selection. At Evolution News last August, he said:

As Jerry Fodor (an atheist philosopher) has pointed out, natural selection is an utterly empty concept. It does no work; it explains nothing. Evolution is driven by natural history and genetic and phenotypic constraint. “Natural selection” adds nothing to our understanding of the process. Of course things change and survivors survive. Any real understanding of change in populations entails understanding the natural history of the changes and the biological constraints imposed by nature. Some of this evolutionary change is best explained as accidental. Some is best explained as design, and the conjunction of accident and design is where evolutionary change takes place. “Natural selection” is meaningless junk science — dismal logic put to the service of atheism. Darwinism is the most effective engine of atheism in modern times, except perhaps for consumer culture, for which Darwin bears some responsibility.



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