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Defining Evolution 10: Natural Selection

The video above will sum up the key points of this chapter- in this case, the problems with “Natural Selection” and why it is not in fact a mechanism of Evolution. The full chapter, which features Rent-A-Friend and his fellow Nacho-eating arm chair philosophers, can be read below. Enjoy! #JesusLovesYou

To read other parts of this series click here


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“Nowhere was Darwin able to point to one bona fide case of natural selection having actually generated evolutionary change in nature…Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.”
-Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crises (Bethesda, Maryland: Adler & Adler, 1986) pp. 62, 358.

Once again, a Thursday has come and my friends and I have slogged through it like a team of oxen pulling a wagon train through a muddy fiord. What gives us strength to carry on, though Friday is a day away and the weekend even further, is the knowledge that Nachos are just around the corner. I mean that both figuratively and literally, as the Nachos are our Thursday night fiesta, and Danny’s Bar, Grill, and House of Rabblerousing is only a few blocks from where any of us work. Except Carl and Tom. And I’m not entirely sure Blue Beard has a job.

We gathered once again at the round table near the dart board to continue the conversation we started some weeks ago about the historicity of the Darwinian Dogma.

“My good friends,” I said, standing tall, root beer in frosty mug in hand, “as you recall, I have given a gift to the world. I have provided the very first useful definition of Darwinian Evolution:

Evolution is an unguided, Natural process which increases the genetic information in an organism; Creating new Genes which did not previously exist.
These new genes then cause an increase in physical complexity and associated behavior, Both of which increase the organism’s ability to survive and pass on these traits to offspring.

“Seriously?” Carl blurted out. “Are you really going to read it to us every week? I think we’ve got it by now.”

“It’s a wonderful addition to science,” I said, undaunted, “and I think it bears repeating. Anyways, on prior Thursdays I explained this in detail to make sure it was clear, and to make sure you all knew why it says what it says. Now I am going to begin making use of it to show why Darwinian Evolution is a paper thin mythology which is proven wrong by science, starting with Natural Selection.”

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“I would like to suggest,” said Carl boldly, “that you are a big liar with pants in flames.”

“What do you mean?” I demanded.

Carl rolled his eyes. “I’m making reference to the playground colloquialism, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire.”

“Yes, I got that,” I said. “I’m asking why I am a liar.”

“You just said you are going to use Natural Selection to prove Evolution wrong.”

“I did, and I shall.”

“Which means,” said Carl, “you claim you are going to use evolution to prove evolution wrong.”

“Ah!” I exclaimed. “But this is exactly why I recite the old definition. Natural Selection is not synonymous with Evolution. It is merely proposed as a mechanism of Darwinian Evolution. I will show it fails badly as a mechanism. Even so I will try to play it safe by getting my definition of Natural Selection from Darwin himself. If you refuse to accept Darwin as an authority on Darwinian Evolution, don’t get angry at me. Instead, talk to your doctor about getting your prescription changed. Bill, would you do the honors?”

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“I’m not his doctor,” Bill replied.

“no, I meant, please read the passage from Darwin.”

“Oh. Gladly,” said Bill. He raised his portable electronic device to eye level and proceeded to read from Origin of Species, Chuck D, Chapter 4, version 6 (version 6 for Windows, Version 8.1 for Mac):

“This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection..”

The words of Chuck D, may he rest in peace under his huge marble statue.”

“Amen,” said Blue Beard, who may not have been listening.

“Listen carefully my friends,” I said, “and you will see that Darwin does not give Natural Selection any creative powers.”

“Hold on,” interjected Tom. “From what I’ve read, many people like to say that Natural Selection CREATES, or PROVIDES.” Tom pulled a notebook out of his man-bag and flipped to the desired page. “In the words of “The Understanding Evolution Team!

“Natural Selection can produce amazing adaptations.”

“It’s true,” I replied, pulling a notebook of my own from my man-bag, “that many Evolutionists DO attribute creative powers to Natural Selection. Yet when I consult a team of Evolutionists which include half a dozen PhD’s and the involvement of a college, a Museum, and a pro-evolution propaganda machine, they say this:

“Natural Selection cannot try to supply what an organism “needs.” Natural Selection just selects from whatever variations exist in the population.”

Thus, if it JUST SELECTS from whatever variations exist in the population, it can’t be said to CREATE those variations.”

“Hold on,” said Carl. “Who is this team of PhD’s you’re quoting in response to Tom’s team of PhD’s?”

“Oh, did I forget to site my sources?” I replied. I presented my own notebook and flipped to the desired page, showing it to Carl. “This quote was ALSO written by “The Understanding Evolution Team!”

“You got that quote from the SAME people I got mine from?” asked Tom in disbelief.

“Not merely from the same people,” I said, “but from the same page of the same website. Your quote and mine can be found only a few paragraphs apart. Carl, if you really want to know what it’s like to be me, imagine you could surf on over to any Creationist web site and find them saying, “God made the world and all living things in six literal days,” and then, a paragraph later find them saying, “But of course the world and all living things didn’t come into being in a single week.” That’s what it’s like.”

“This proves nothing,” said Carl sternly. “Just because a bunch of geeks writing a web site can make errors in writing doesn’t mean Darwinian Evolution is false.”

“That’s fair enough,” I said. “Let’s see if Darwin himself agrees with the team, or if Darwin would disagree with them. Bill, what does Darwin himself say about the creative powers of Natural Selection?”

Bill cleared his throat in dramatic fashion and then read aloud, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please turn in your hymnals to Origin of Species, Chuck D, Chapter 4, version 6. Quoting:

Some have even imagined that natural selection induces variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations as arise and are beneficial to the being under its conditions of life.

Close Quotes. Amen.”

“So, by ‘Induces Variability’,” said Blue Beard, “Chuck D is saying, some folks, whoever they are, think that Natural Selection makes new variations on a kind of plant or animal. But he says here that Natural Selection doesn’t create anything. It “preserves” beneficial variations, removes harmful variations, and, if I recall the previous quote, ignores the variations which are neither helpful nor harmful. ‘Sat about sum it up?”

“Indeed it does, Blue Beard,” I replied. “In short, Natural Selection is an editor. It either leaves alone, or it cuts out, but it does not write. It does not produce new information. It does not cause new genes it come into existence. Chuck imagines that variations arise SOMEHOW, but he makes clear that Natural Selection is NOT that somehow. Thus, by our very useful definition, Natural Selection is NOT evolution.”

“Oh, I get it,” said Carl, his words dripping with sarcasm and his mug dripping with root beer. “You wrote that definition of yours specifically so you could discredit Natural Selection as the Origin of Species. It’s a literary slight of hand. But scientists for more than a century have accepted Darwin at his word, which tells me clearly that your definition is wrong. It exists only so you can use it to attack well established Darwinian Science.”

“You’re welcome to disagree with my definition,” I replied, “but I think the past few weeks have shown that you have no basis on which to do so. Consider what Bill read, and then think about the Darwinian Tree of Life.”evolutionary history to shatner2 copy

“That’s right,” said Bill. “We agreed that the growth of the Tree of Life requires the addition of new genes which did not previously exist. The leaving alone of genes which already exist, or the removal of genes which already exist, will never cause the creation of genes which do not yet exist. No genes which exist now were brought into existence by a process which leaves existing genes alone or cuts existing genes out.”

“So however badly you want to defend the title of Darwin’s book,” added Blue Beard, “he admits in his own words that Natural Selection can NEVER be the origin of a species.”

“It could,” said Tom thoughtfully, “if conditions are right, drive a species to extinction.”

“True,” I agreed. “But again, if someone tries to define “Evolution” so that it includes extinction, they are using the word wrong and should really spend some time trying to find out what word they mean to be using.”

“In conclusion,” said Blue Beard, “Darwin tells us himself that Natural Selection is not, and can never be the origin of a species.”

“When we consider the genetic component,” added Bill helpfully, “natural selection only removes genes that already exist. It doesn’t do anything else.”

“Thus,” I said, “Natural Selection is NOT evolution and cannot cause evolution to occur. This bit of the book where in he explains that Natural Selection doesn’t create new variations, but only removes the harmful ones is in the sixth edition of his book, not in the first edition. And I don’t think I’m too far off when I suggest Darwin wasn’t bright enough himself to figure this out before he titled his book and sent it to the printers.”

The giant pile of Nachos held by our dependable waitress, Wendy, told me that I had said enough for one week. It was time to dig into the bounty that was the Thursday night Fiesta. Before we adjourned for the night, we agreed that the following week we would take a close look at more mechanisms of Evolution as were found in various textbooks- Genetic Drift, Migration, and Changes in Allele frequency. Until then, there were darts to throw, and song to be sung because the weekend was always a day away.

Happy Nachos! And thanks for letting me be your Rent-A-Friend.

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Written by Bryan Melugin

Bryan runs, teaches science and theatre, makes cartoons and puppets, and wants everyone to know and love Jesus.

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