Natural Selection: Where Is It?
Darwin’s claim to fame is strangely
missing when the critical eye reads
scientific papers looking for it.
Natural selection, everyone knows, is Darwin’s prize theory. With natural selection, he could explain humans from bacteria. But for that much progress to come out of a blind, aimless process* that selects random variations,* it needs to show some true creative ability. Think of the fantastic organs and systems in a bird, a dinosaur, or a human being! What incredible amounts of programmed information must have arisen since the first cell. Surely there must be evidence for awesome creative power in Darwin’s “mechanism” of natural selection.
*Proof that natural selection is equivalent to the Stuff Happens Law.
Be Not Deceived
First, though, we need to know what natural selection is not, because secular scientists use the word “selection” for several non-creative processes. They also use other related terms that are non-creative. Natural selection is not:
- Artificial selection: choice by intelligent minds is opposite Darwin’s mechanism.
- Purifying selection: this eliminates harmful variations.
- Stabilizing selection: this keeps things as they are.
- Balancing selection: similar to stabilizing selection.
- Negative selection: this eliminates information.
- Conservation: means no change has occurred.
- Hybridization: combines existing information.
- Introgression: another way of inserting information from another species.
- Genetic drift: variation without innovation, aim or purpose.
- Polyploidy and Gene Duplication: copying existing genes or chromosomes.
- Subfunctionalization: splitting functions of a gene into two genes doesn’t add information.
Darwinians also use the following terms, but none of them come with the power to create. Evolutionists merely assume that they have the power to innovate wings, arms, and eyes.
- Environmental selection: blind nature has no power to innovate – only eliminate.
- Sexual selection: if this notion works at all, it only exaggerates existing information.
- Group selection: groups have no more inherent power to create than individuals.
- Kin selection: related individuals have no more inherent power to create than individuals.
- Multilevel selection: two or more units of selection have no more inherent power than one unit.
- Selection pressure: “stuff happens” is not creative. It doesn’t care which direction an organism goes.
What Darwin needs is “neo-functionalization,” a new function appearing from random variation. This is also called “positive selection” or innovation, or novelty. This is what Darwin needs to build people from bacteria: lots of novelty—and not just any new thing, but new things that work, that build things and create new designs by chance. Novelty must be based in huge amounts of new genetic information that specifies how to make the new trait. So when looking for natural selection in the original Darwinian sense, one must keep the eyes on the ball and not be distracted by these other concepts. Except for artificial selection, none of them – alone or in combination – has any inherent ability to create new complex, functional information.
Natural Selection: Where Is It?
It’s Not in History
Modern Synthesis, 1937 (The Scientist). This article discusses the history of neo-Darwinism, the “modern synthesis” that became Darwinian orthodoxy in the 1930s. It mentions natural selection (NS) several times. So where is it? Did Darwin have evidence? “Meanwhile, based on Darwin’s writings, biologists thought natural selection happened in populations, but didn’t have an idea how it worked at the level of organisms.” This, mind you, is decades after Darwin’s book. Then, almost 80 years after Darwin cooked up the theory, they finally cooked up a “model” of NS by applying both Mendelian genetics (Mendel was a theist, not an evolutionist), and Fisher’s population genetics (read about that here). Actual evidence that NS works is hidden in perhapsimaybecouldness words:
In his book Genetics and the Origin of Species, published in 1937, Dobzhansky argued that genetic mutations were sources of variability that, through natural selection, could lead to evolutionary change, and he suggested that these processes could lead to speciation of populations that are isolated long enough.
But all the actual experimentation on fruit flies showed devolution (downward, harmful change), not evolution. See Michael Behe’s book Darwin Devolves for much more evidence that natural selection is powerless to create upward progress through innovation.
It’s Not in Speculation
Exploding Stars Probably Didn’t Spur Hominins to Walk Upright (The Scientist). For once, some scientists are willing to call a Darwin just-so story “bizarre” and “weird.” Unfortunately, they do not apply those adjectives to natural selection itself. The just-so story is an idea that a cosmic ray shower sometime millions of Darwin Years ago burned the forests, leaving our ape-like ancestors without trees to climb in. They had to figure out how to get around in the newly-created savannahs, so they began to walk upright. Silly? Yes. But— writer Ashley Yeager continues the storytelling with more bizarre, weird NS ideas. Be on the alert for any actual evidence that NS “selected” any random mutations that started any of the major transformation required for upright walking.
The fossil record shows that, around the time that researchers think the transition to bipedalism was happening, apes seemed to be evolving traits associated with less aggression, such as smaller canine teeth. Lovejoy says he thinks that this was partly due to sexual selection by females for males that were better providers instead of better aggressors. Because walking upright might have allowed males to carry more food, this sexual selection therefore could also have favored bipedalism.
It’s an interesting hypothesis and has merit, Zipfel says. However, there’s evidence that early bipedal hominins may not have been monogamous, and there may be more than one reason for hominins to have stood up and started walking. In his mind, still, “the drivers of human bipedalism remain largely elusive.”
It’s Not in Word Counts
Genome-wide misexpression associated with hybrid sterility in Mimulus (monkeyflower) (bioRxiv). Look for evidence of Darwin’s miracle-working innovative power in this preprint on bioRxiv that uses the word “selection” 32 times. In every case, it is either stabilizing selection, purifying selection, recurrent selection with backcrossing (related to hybridization and introgression, or shuffling of existing genetic information), genetic drift, or speculation about what natural selection might do. No progress at all is found; just re-sorting of existing material.
It’s Not Within Populations
Genetic study provides novel insights into the evolution of skin color (Science Daily). This article mentions “strong natural selection” at work in human skin pigmentation, hair color, and the like. Those traits are small potatoes compared to a lung, a skeleton, and a heart.
Dr Kaustubh Adhikari (UCL Genetics Institute), said: “Our work demonstrates that lighter skin colour evolved independently in Europe and East Asia. We also show that this gene was under strong natural selection in East Asia, possibly as adaptation to changes in sunlight levels and ultraviolet radiation.”
But Darwin’s theory was about the origin of new species, not variations within one species, Homo sapiens. All humans are interfertile. All have the same genome. Why is Adhikari bringing up skin color as an example of natural selection? What is he, a racist?
It’s Not in Observational Science
Integrating vision and echolocation for navigation and perception in bats (Science Advances). In this paper studying how bats echolocate, two scientists “conclude that sensory integration is task dependent and that bimodal information is weighed in a more complex manner than previously suggested.” They have no need of evolution or NS to do their work. Not a single instance of any of that enters into this paper. It doesn’t appear in the summary in Phys.org, either.
Natural selection: Where is it? Only in words, not in evidence. Next question: Who needs it?
See also: “Darwinians Cannot Agree on What Natural Selection Is,” 2 April 2018.
“Time to Ditch Natural Selection?”, 3 Oct 2015.