Natural Selection: Agent of Evolution?

Natural Selection: Agent of Evolution?

In a recent article I read by an evolutionary scholar, I  saw multiple references to natural selection as evidence for evolution. This is not uncommon. Evolutionists frequently tout natural selection as the primary agent by which the various types of life evolved.  This view was popularized by their founder Charles Darwin in his book On the Origin of Species. Does this view hold any merit? Is natural selection evidence for evolution? Let’s dig into it and find out.

In order to understand if natural selection is evidence is for evolution, it would help to understand exactly what natural selection means. The definition per dictionary.com is “the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind,thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations. ” This translates into English as organisms change over time to adapt to their environment and pass those changes on to their offspring.

In practice, natural selection plays on natural variations within an organism.  Take something like a Tiger, which comes in a well known orange, black and white pattern, also has a less common pattern, consisting of white and black colors.  Why is the orange variant more common? For the simple reason that white cubs stand out against the jungle background and are thus more likely to be killed.  This is natural selection in action. The white tiger is less well equipped to survive in the wild and thus is selected against in the gene pool.  However, regardless of it’s stripes, it is still a tiger.

If that was where it stopped, there would be little debate. No one disputes the fact that organisms change and adapt to their environment to an extent over generations. What is subject to debate is the extent of the change.  Evolutionists claim that natural selection has unlimited potential to change the gene pool, leading to the eventual evolution of a new kind of organism. This has never been observed, but evolutionists believe that, with enough time and mutations, this could be possible. Ironically, the entire idea of natural selection was formulated by a creationist named Edward Blyth. Blyth published three articles on the subject in the mid-1830s, articles Darwin must have read, as he mentioned his indebtedness to Blyth in the first chapter of his book. However, Darwin also took Blyth’s ideas and rebranded them as natural selection, without crediting him.

The problem with the idea that natural selection is the agent of evolution is that it only picks from existing information. In the above example of the tiger, natural selection does not select against purple tigers, because the tiger gene code does not contain the information for purple tigers. Natural selection can only work with information already existing in the genetic code. It does not add or subtract any information from the code. It merely influences the likelihood of a particular phenotype showing up in a population. Natural selection is also a net negative. It weeds out things that are less able to survive.  It does not select for a positive, it selects against a negative.  Suppose that tigers came in green, as well as white and orange.  The white would still be selected against, but natural selection would have no impact on the amount of orange versus the number of green tigers because both are beneficial to the tiger.

Creationists view natural selection as a simple means of variation within the created kinds.  No new information is added to the gene pool. The only thing that changes is the frequency with which the existing information is expressed.  This is most certainly not evidence for evolution, but it certainly can help explain how the originally created kinds diversified into the genera and species we see today. As the animals spread out from the ark, they began to differentiate to fit their environment. After generations of inbreeding, information was lost from the genetic code, resulting in somewhat set features, such as the grey fur of a wolf versus the brownish fur of a coyote.  This is exactly what we would expect if natural selection acted upon the originally created kinds. Natural selection is no help to the evolutionists, as much as they might try to spin it, but it does explain variations within the kind quite well.

 

 

 

 

 

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