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Natural Selection 3
While natural selection occurred, nothing evolved and, in fact, some biological diversity was lost.
The variations Darwin observed among finches on different Galapagos islands are another example of natural selection producing micro- (not macro-) evolution. While natural selection sometimes explains the survival of the fittest, it does not explain the origin of the fittest (f). Today, some people think that because natural selection occurs, evolution must be correct. Actually, natural selection prevents major evolutionary changes (g).
f. “Darwin complained his critics did not understand him, but he did not seem to realize that almost everybody, friends, supporters and critics, agreed on one point, his natural selection cannot account for the origin of the variations, only for their possible survival. And the reasons for rejecting Darwin’s proposal were many, but first of all that many innovations cannot possibly come into existence through accumulation of many small steps, and even if they can, natural selection cannot accomplish it, because incipient and intermediate stages are not advantageous.” Søren Løvtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (New York: Croom Helm, 1987), pp. 274–275.
“It was a shock to the people of the 19th century when they discovered, from observations science had made, that many features of the biological world could be ascribed to the elegant principle of natural selection. It is a shock to us in the twentieth century to discover, from observations science has made, that the fundamental mechanisms of life cannot be ascribed to natural selection, and therefore were designed. But we must deal with our shock as best we can and go on. The theory of undirected evolution is already dead, but the work of science continues.” Michael J. Behe, “Molecular Machines,” Cosmic Pursuit, Spring 1998, p. 35.
g. In 1980, the “Macroevolution Conference” was held in Chicago. Roger Lewin, writing for Science, described it as a “turning point in the history of evolutionary theory.” He went on to say:
“The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.” Roger Lewin, “Evolution Theory under Fire,” Science, Vol. 210, 21 November 1980, p. 883.
“In a generous admission Francisco Ayala, a major figure in propounding the Modern Synthesis [neo-Darwinism] in the United States, said ‘We would not have predicted stasis [the stability of species over time] from population genetics, but I am now convinced from what the paleontologists say that small changes do not accumulate.’ ” Ibid., p. 884.
As stated earlier, micro + time ≠ macro.
“One could argue at this point that such ‘minor’ changes [microevolution], extrapolated over millions of years, could result in macroevolutionary change. But the observational evidence will not support this argument ... [examples given] Thus, the changes observed in the laboratory are not analogous to the sort of changes needed for macroevolution. Those who argue from microevolution to macroevolution may be guilty, then, of employing a false analogy—especially when one considers that microevolution may be a force of stasis [stability], not transformation. ... For those who must describe the history of life as a purely natural phenomenon, the winnowing action of natural selection is truly a difficult problem to overcome. For scientists who are content to describe accurately those processes and phenomena which occur in nature (in particular, stasis), natural selection acts to prevent major evolutionary change.” Michael Thomas, “Stasis Considered,” Origins Research, Vol. 12, Fall/Winter 1989, p. 11.
[From “In the Beginning” by Walt Brown]
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