Even Darwin recognized that the natural selection theory had serious problems
Even Darwin recognized that the natural selection theory had serious problems. For example, Gould (1980,
p. 32) noted, "Darwin lived to see his name appropriated for an extreme view that he never held-for Darwinism has often been defined, both in his day and in our own, as the belief that virtually all evolutionary change is the product of natural selection." According to Gould, Darwin openly objected to this "misunderstanding" of his position. In the introduction of the 1872 edition of his Origins of the Species, Darwin stated:
As my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection.... in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous at the close of the introduction-the following words: 'I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.' This has been of no avail. (Quoted in Gould, 1980, p. 32)
A major reason that Darwin took this position, Gould (1980, p. 32) concludes, was because ". . . organisms display an array of features that are not adaptations and do not promote survival directly." Darwin attempted to explain away, or in some way account for these mechanisms, but largely failed and he knew this. In respect to Homo sapiens, Grasse (1977, p. 85-86) pointed out that, although the source of selection, namely mutations, differentiate individuals, yet
... the human species, despite the magnitude of its population and the diversity of its habitats, both of which are conditions favorable for the evolution of the human species, exhibits anatomical and physiological stability. In wealthy western societies natural selection is thwarted by medical care, good hygiene, and abundant food, but it was not always so. Today in underdeveloped countries, where birth and death rates are equally high (tropical Africa, Amazon, Pakistan, India, Patagonia, some Polynesian islands), natural selection can exert its pressure freely; yet the human type hardly changes. In the population of the Yucatan, which since the Spanish conquest has been subjected to terrible vicissitudes, one can find Mayan men and women who are the exact replicas of their pre-Colombian ancestors from Palanque of Chicken Itza. For several millennia the Chinese have numbered hundreds of millions. The conditions of their physical and social environment have favored intensive selection. To what result? None. They simply remain Chinese. Within each population, men differ by their genotype, and yet the species Homo sapiens has not modified its plan or structure or functions. To the common base are added a variety of diversifying and personifying ornaments, totally lacking evolutionary value.
For many, a key impediment to the acceptance of evolution, according to Gould, is that Darwin argued that evolution has no purpose, but is merely a process which both happens to result in increased numbers of animal types in the future and improves their survival chances, and nothing more. Numbers were assumed to be the only measure of success. The more successful species would have more of its offspring around; more would be reproduced, and more would survive. From this vantage point, bacteria are far more successful than elephants, thus more evolved. In the selectionist's view, any harmony and order in the world arises solely from an incidental and accidental result of individuals universally selfishly seeking their own advantage-see Wilson (1975). In contrast to this view, it is obvious that purpose is everywhere, and one who asks why in the natural world can usually find empirically supported, logical answers. As Darwin stressed, evolution has no direction, nor does it inevitably lead to higher or more complex life, although most evolutionists have written and argued as if it causes only movement upward, from amoeba to humans. Selection selects only for adaptation to local environments, and in their view this adaptation is achieved only by cold cruel selection-some die, others live. Its "goal" is survival only, and those who are more likely to survive are better adapted, and thus are more likely to pass on their traits to their better offspring (Gould, 1989).
Natural selection would not evolve upward, for example, bacteria into humans, but at best would evolve simple bacteria into better adapted bacteria, or flies into better adapted flies. The fossil record shows no evidence of anything beyond this. No clear example has ever been found of a lower clearly less adapted animal in the fossil record which can be shown to be evolutionarily related to similar, more advanced type of an animal living today. There exist hypothetical cases and examples of differences for which reasons for assumed changes are speculated, but no example exists of an animal that lacks wings, and evolves such step by step because these wings are clearly an advantage for it in escaping predators. Not one wingless fly has ever been uncovered, although millions of modern type flies preserved in amber have been uncovered. The many examples we have, such as flies trapped in amber or animals preserved in other ways, finds that, aside from the introduction of a few mutations producing deevolution, there is virtually no difference between the fossils and modern examples.
The easy-to-grasp and compelling natural selection argument is used to help explain all biological data, but it may actually explain very little. Human life consists of many activities which are mentally pleasurable. Walking in forests, listening to music, creating poems, doing scientific research, aesthetic enjoyment of nature, and myriads of other activities are often not related in the least to survival or adaptation in the Darwinian sense. Some writers have struggled in vain to "explain" by natural selection the existence of creations like music and art, all of which involve extremely complex body structures to accomplish. Music in its many variations is loved the world over, and yet certain music preferences have not been shown to increase reproduction rates or to facilitate survival. Many, if not almost all of our most rewarding activities and "peak experience producers" are not only unexplainable by this theory, but contradict it.
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*Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., NWT College, Route 1, Box 246A, Archbold, OH 43502.