[Originally published as part of the collection Let’s Squash Natural Selection begun in 2007]
In “Rebelling Against Our Selfish Genes” Dawkins adds weight to my argument that Christians should avoid using the term “Natural Selection.”
He says, “As Darwin clearly understood, blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection…” Then goes on to elaborate, “A process of trial and error, completely unplanned and on the massive scale of natural selection, can be expected to be clumsy, wasteful and blundering.”
Dawkins stresses that
Natural selection is the dominant force in biological evolution…As an academic scientist I am a passionate Darwinian, believing that natural selection is, if not the only driving force in evolution, certainly the only known force capable of producing the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature.
Even some evolutionists have taken issue with the concept of Natural Selection. In The Great Evolution Mystery (Gordon Rattray Taylor Harper & Row 1983) we find the following:
- 135: “In an earlier chapter we came across cases where new structures seemed to have appeared before they were needed. If this really happens it completely explodes the theory of natural selection and we need no further evidence to undermine it. What we need is a new theory.”
- 142: “The word ‘adaptation’ is therefore ambiguous, since it is cheerfully used to mean fitting better into a niche and, on the other hand, modifying, to fill some different niche as when we say, for example, that the mole is adapted for a life underground.”
- 182: “Such cases must mean one of two things, either fatal to the concept of a slow accumulation of variations. Either the same mutations occur repeatedly (in which case they can hardly be due to chance), or the genes are there all the time, but are unmasked in appropriate circumstances.”
Pierre P-Grasse’ (Evolution of Living Organisms-For A New Theory of Transformations, Academic Press. 1977) devoted an entire chapter to natural selection. From that chapter I found the following criticism:
- 107 “Directed by all-powerful selection, chance becomes a sort of providence, which, under the cover of atheism, is not named but which is secretly worshiped.”
- 109 “Natural selection remains the foundation of Darwinism, which postulates its universality and makes of it the agent responsible for the evolution of all living organisms.”
- 115 “In some environments and for some species it takes a great deal of imagination to discover selection at work.”
- 121 “Natural selection acts as a regulator of the genotype, performing a function of genetic hygiene. As to its role as effective agent of evolution, this is not certain. In fact, if it had the full power attributed to it, it would soon stop evolution.”
- 128 “Assigning to natural selection the effective execution of evolution means explicitly and implicitly attributing to it a meaning and end.”
- 138 “If selection consciously oversees evolution, how is it possible that, through the ages, so many lines have taken paths which endangered them?”
Someone in the Creation Research Society once proposed that we avoid the use of the term “microevolution.” A good summation of that argument is in the article “Avoid Using These Terms” at creationwiki.org. The author points out,
While either use of microevolution or macroevolution by creationists might be true for some specific examples, as a general rule, the use of these terms should be done with care. Many creationists caution against using either term on the grounds that they detract from the real issue, the gain or loss of information, and are misleading in talking about the size of the change instead of the direction of the change…many evolutionists argue that there is no real difference between the two terms.
(There is much more on this subject at the aforementioned link and Answers in Genesis supports this strategy.)
I concur with the need to avoid the use of “microevolution” and add that we now should follow the same strategy with “Natural Selection”. (Note: I capitalize “Natural Selection” because it is actually the deity of evolutionists.) But, using Natural Selection as an adjective, I propose that Natural Selection is to supernatural Creation as atheism is to theism.
A November 2005 Live Science article reveals just how important Natural Selection is to evolutionism. Under the title “Behind the Controversy: How Evolution Works” [Now only available via the Wayback Machine] Ker Than asserts:
Darwin’s theory of evolution by Natural Selection is one of the best substantiated theories in the history of science, supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology.
Mr. Than elaborates that in order to
understand the origin of whales, it’s necessary to have a basic understanding of how natural selection works: It is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring.
Mr. Than points out the obvious observation that organisms have variations (“Natural selection can change a species in small ways, causing a population to change color or size over the course of several generations. This is called “microevolution.”) and provides support for my argument that “Natural Selection” should suffer the same fate as “microevolution.”
Not willing to stop with a semblance of scientific rationality, Mr. Than proceeds to make an incredible claim:
But natural selection is also capable of much more. Given enough time and enough accumulated changes, natural selection can create entirely new species. It can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales.