Two items appear
1 Natural Selection Does
Not Explain Evolution 129 Jerry
2 Natural Selection Does
131 John H Williams
Natural Selection Does Not Explain
(Investigator 129, 2009
selection is an old
idea popularized by Charles Darwin in his book titled The Origin of
Species published in 1859. Although hailed as a revolutionary idea,
Darwin actually simply applied the well-known fact of artificial
selection that has been practiced for centuries by farmers to the
natural world. Darwin knew that breeders interbreed animals and plants
with the traits that they desire in order to produce a strain that has
a greater level of the traits that they want, such as cows that produce
large amounts of milk.
repeating this process,
often by extensive inbreeding, after many generations a life form with
an extreme level of the desired trait can often be produced. For
example, if a breeder wants a seedless fruit he breeds those plants
that produce fruit with the fewest seeds with each other. By inbreeding
in this way breeders eventually were able to produce fruit that had few
or no seeds.
then concluded that
the same selective force must also occur in the wild except the reverse
— humans select for traits, nature selects against traits. This
process, called survival of the fittest, was at the heart of his
knew that certain
traits helped an animal to survive, such as the ability to outrun
enemies or attract mates. These animals had an advantage in the wild
and, consequently, were better able to compete and more likely to
survive and have more offspring than those lacking the traits that
helped them to compete in nature, enabling those traits that were an
advantage in the wild to become more common. Darwin saw this mechanism
as the basis for forming new species in the wild. Instead of
intelligent selection as humans achieved, selection occurred as a
result of the struggle for life by eliminating those life forms that
were less fit.
though, does not provide evidence for evolution because it can select
only for what exists. The problem for evolution is not the survival of
the fittest, but the arrival of the fittest. The only explanation still
on the table today for the creation of new genetic information is
mutations. Mutations are mistakes that occur when the genetic machinery
copies genes, such as during cell division or reproduction, or damage
that occurs to genes caused by mutagens, such as radiation from
radioactive substances as plutonium or x-rays.
of the fittest
does have a function in life, primarily as a conserving role. If a
mutation occurs that results in a life form being less fit, natural
selection tends to cause that life form to die earlier or not be born,
consequently not allowing it to pass on its genes to the next
generation. In theory this effect both reduces the mutation load in all
life and prunes out inferior animals.
Clear limits Exist in
Both Artificial Breeding and Natural Selection
problem is that
clear limits exist in what can be produced with artificial selection
and, likewise, clear limits exist with natural selection. Breeders have
been able to breed larger apples but have not been able to produce
apples that are larger than a mature watermelon. Nor have they been
able to breed a horse-sized animal from a dog.
reason breeding and
natural selection are able to produce new varieties in existing life
forms is because a great deal of genetic variation exists in all life
forms, as is obvious to all dog fanciers — all modern dogs came from
the wolf kind, an achievement due to the 6,000 years or more of
breeding efforts by humans.
believed that an
almost unlimited amount of variation is possible, a conclusion that we
know today is false. Darwin also accepted the Larmakian idea of
pangenesis, an idea that has also now been disproved (Bergman, 2006a).
Pangenesis theory concludes that the environment can change the genetic
information in the sex cells called gametes to allow animals to pass on
to their offspring traits, such as knowledge, that they acquired during
left to create new genetic variety is mutations, a conclusion that also
has been disproven, leaving no means of producing new significant
variations as molecule to man evolution demands (Bergman, 2006).
Mutations can produce only minor changes, such as blue eyes in humans
and, as documented by Behe (2007), clear limits exist in their ability
to produce variety.
that a great deal
of inborn variety exists in all life has actually been a major evidence
proving that the Genesis kinds are stable within clear limits, as is
illustrated by the following observation:
various breeds of
dogs did not exist and a paleontologist found fossils of animals
similar to dachshunds, greyhounds, mastiffs, and chihuahuas, there is
no question that they would be considered different species. Indeed,
the differences in size and shape exhibited by these breeds are greater
than those between members of different genera in the family Canidae
(Raven, et. al., 2005, p. 459).
incorrectly assume that this inborn variety which natural selection and
breeders select from is due to mutations instead of the natural variety
typical of the living world, as is clearly the case with dogs.
only that fitter animals are better able to survive in a natural
environment, a redundant statement somewhat like saying rich persons
have a lot of money. By definition, the more fit animals have a
survival advantage, an idea that does not help to explain the arrival
of the fittest, and thus fails to explain the origin of species as
Darwin claimed (Bergman, 2005). Darwin only explained the survival of
the species, and neither he nor anyone else has been able to explain
the arrival of the species.
Behe, Michael. 2007. The
Edge of Evolution. New York: The Free Press.
Bergman, Jerry. 2005.
"Darwinism and the Deterioration of the Genome." CRSQ. September 2005.
_______ . 2006.
"Pangenesis as a Source of New Genetic Information: The History of a
Now Disproven Theory." Rivista di Biologia/ Biology Forum.
________ . 2006a. "The
Elimination of Mutations by the Cell's Elaborate Protein Quality
Control System: A Major Problem for Neo-Darwinism" CRSQ. 43(2):68-74.
Raven, P., G. Johnson, J.
Losos, and S. Singer. 2005. Biology. NY: McGraw Hill.
NATURAL SELECTION DOES
DISBELIEF CREPT OVER ME…BUT WAS AT LAST COMPLETE." (C Darwin, 1839,
John H Williams
(Investigator 131, 2010
Jerry Bergman and
addressed the process of natural selection (NS) in #129. We differ
strongly on its relationship to evolution, something that Bergman
doesn't believe in, and in this article I offer a brief critique of
Bergman's version, while providing material in support of mine.
14 Bergman gave a
veiled hint as to what he believes occurred in the very recent past:
a great deal of inborn variety exists in all life has actually been a
major evidence proving that the Genesis kinds are stable within clear
unclear what "stable
within clear limits" and "inborn variety" mean, or how the latter
constitutes "major evidence" which apparently proves something about
the kinds created by a deity in a mythical location. Bergman offers no
evidence to support this sweeping and unscientific statement!
KINDS STARTED, THEN
believes that all
life forms on Earth today are derived from the very same kinds created
during creation week, after which a vengeful tyrant decided to drown
all but eight humans and an unknown number of two-by-two "unclean
kinds" and "clean beasts by sevens" (KJV, Ch 7), including a menagerie
of dinosaurs on show at Ken Ham's Creation Museum, to start over,
courtesy of a "600 year old" Noah. For example:
dogs came from the wolf kind, an achievement due to the 6,000 years or
more of breeding efforts by humans."
For Bergman, the
Genesis kind, and 6,000 years is all the time he believes has been
available for his version of 'evolution', with no mention of fossil
evidence or the eons required to produce the grey wolf.
'Modern wolf' appeared
about 1.5 million years ago as Canis edwardi in the early Pleistocene.
There was also a C dirus, with a huge head and big teeth which lived
alongside the smaller grey wolf (C lupus). C dirus became extinct
during the last very severe ice age about 8000 years ago. Fossil
evidence from the Miocene (4.5 - 9 mya), shows when the wolf genus
split from the ancestors of foxes, while in North America around 1.8mya
they'd split from the coyotes (prairie wolf). All 14 living subgroups
of the Canidae can be traced back 300 million years to mammal-like
reptiles of the late Carboniferous. (Modern dogs can be traced back on
the basis of their DNA sequences to a very small founder population of
only four wolves).
could debate the
details on wolf origin given the above, but, unless there's been some
giant conspiracy amongst geologists, the fossils, stratigraphy and
radiometric dating don't lie, and the version presented by Bergman must
be viewed as the work of a biblical literalist who also happens to have
multiple science degrees. Having presented the wolf as a very recent
creation kind, I'd expect a reputable scientist to at least attempt to
refute scientific evidence which doesn't support his contention.
Bergman is inclined to
leaven his non-Investigator articles with Biblical quotations
(see below): it should be obvious that biblical quotes are not valid in
articles pertaining to scientific matters, and it would be useful if he
writes either as a religious
Young-Earth-Creationist/Intelligent-Design-apologist or as a scientist.
wondered why wild
animals such as the wolf were included in the Great Drowning, as
they're unlikely to have been complicit in human 'imperfection'. Also,
how were the "fowls of the air" dealt with, and how were the lucky twos
and sevens collected? One supposes that all aqueous creatures barely
noticed the dramatic rise in sea level: did they survive as per, or
were they judged too, and miraculously reduced to breeding pairs?
occurrence is supposed to have happened only a thousand years or so
before the emergence of the river valley empires of the Fertile
Crescent, leaving no time for those kinds to evolve, fossilize and
become extinct, compared to the 3.8 billion year span of life on Earth.
To fully understand Bergman's cosmology, and put in context his article
in #129, here's a sample from In Six Days:
of all the necessary parts as a functioning unit can produce life (Gen
1:24-27). God created Adam as a fully-functioning mature man, able to
reproduce his kind. The Sun, Moon and stars were created fully
functioning, moving in their orbits. The human cell is the most complex
machine ever known, far more complex than the most sophisticated
computer, forcing many to conclude that life could not have evolved,
but must have been created instantaneously as a fully-fledged unit by
God's design (Psalms 36: 6-9).
How long would it
have taken that sky god to make a human being containing 400 trillion
cells? A nonosecond — it never happened!)
to Bergman, 'NS
Does Not Explain Evolution' (#129): so what does? For him it can't be
NS, apart from artificial selection via breeding over the centuries,
since he believes that no naturalistic evolution happened, but creation
did, the argument from incredulity being invoked and apparently
"forcing many" to dismiss evolution!
"SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"
referred to the catch-phrase "survival of the fittest", coined in 1864
by Herbert Spence in his Principles of Biology, and used by
Darwin in his 5th edition of On The Origin of Species by Means of
Natural Selection, "at the heart of his (Darwin's) theory". It was
intended as an expression that would succinctly characterize the
"preservation of favored races in the struggle for life" (the latter
part of Darwin's book title), which unfortunately developed into the
repellant and racist Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement. It
would have been far better if that misleading, incomplete and
unscientific phrase had not been invented! Bergman is almost certainly
fully aware of its problems and implications, and he ought not to have
NOT THE FASTEST, HIGHEST,
of the fittest
should not be confused with the Olympic motto, 'Citius, Altius,
Fortius'. Fitness is best defined as the average reproductive output of
a class of genetic variants in a gene pool (heritability) and should
not be confused with being physically strong or fit. Survival of the
fit enough is more accurate and pertinent. Berkeley University's Evolution
101 offers this example:
there is a variation of traits in a population of (let's say) beetles,
in which some are green and some are brown.
Books have been
about NS, and any article can never give more than a cursory
explanation. There are outstandingly good sources on the net, one of
which is the work of Douglas Futuyma, Professor of Evolutionary Biology
at New York State University and author of Natural Selection: How
There will be
differential reproduction, since not all individuals get to reproduce
to their full potential: green beetles are eaten more by birds, so will
reproduce at a lesser rate than brown beetles.
Heredity will favor the
survival of brown baby beetles, and that trait has a genetic basis.
trait, brown coloration, which allows the beetle to have more
offspring, becomes more common in the population. If this process
continues, eventually all beetles will be brown."
one of the key
driving forces in the evolutionary process, the one which makes sense
and which fits all the available evidence from paleontology, genetics,
biochemistry and allied fields. Science, biological science in
particular, rejects the bizarre notion that a human, wolf, panda or
whale appeared suddenly in finished form. Young Earth apologists like
Bergman occupy a strange biblically-defined universe, busily writing
articles and books, participating in conferences within a denialist
cultural groupthink in which the silliest questions (see mine above)
are answered to their satisfaction and published in journals such as
Creation Research Science Quarterly (CRSQ), "peer reviewed" by
creationists, for creationists!
EVOLUTION IS A FACT, AS
opinion, the best
reply to Bergman's 'creationist biology' is from a distinguished
biologist whose much-acclaimed books have explained so much to so many
readers, Richard Dawkins:
fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious debate, beyond sane,
informed intelligent doubt."
yet to meet a serious biologist who can point to an alternative to
natural selection as a driving force of adaptive evolution – evolution
towards positive improvement." (P8, The Greatest Show on Earth)
the most powerful argument for God's existence was…the argument from
design: living things were so beautiful, elegant and apparently
purposeful, they could only have been made by an intelligent designer.
But Darwin provided an explanation. His way is a gradual, incremental
improvement starting from simple beginnings and working up step by tiny
incremental step to more complexity, more elegance, more adaptive
perfection. Each step is not too improbable for us to countenance, but
when you add them up cumulatively over millions of years you get these
monsters of improbability, like the human brain… It should warn us
against ever again assuming that because something is complicated, God
must have done it."
Is Dr Bergman who
written extensively on NS:
debate with Christian
geneticist, Francis Collins).
A serious biologist" able to refute the
material on NS
in Dawkins' latest book?
to discount, for example, the fossil record on wolf, whale or panda
genera as having not evolved but instead made instantaneously?
Ayala FJ (2006), Darwin and
Intelligent Design, Facets Press, Minneapolis
Bergman J, (2007) Essay, In
Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Evolution, ed
Darwin C, (1958)
Autobiography of Charles Darwin (Ed. N Barlow) Norton, New York
Dawkins R, (2009) The
Greatest Show On Earth, Bantam Press, London
Dawkins R and Collins F,
God vs Science, Time Magazine, 13/9/06
Futuyma D, Natural
Selection: How Evolution Works (op cit)
Updike J, Extreme
Dinosaurs, in Big, Bad, Bizarre Dinosaurs, National Geographic,
Van Wyhe J, Darwin, Andre