Home » The Design of Life » More evidence that Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the origin of new species is wrong.

More evidence that Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the origin of new species is wrong.

From Jane Harris-Zsovan’s recent story at Design of Life blog:

Darwin’s theory of natural selection requires offspring to diverge from a common ancestor to create new species. It requires genetic differences to increase as descendants adapt to their environmental niches.

It is this ‘natural selection’ and ‘adaptation’ that creates species. And, as the newly created species continue to adapt, they should become more different over time. Following this line of thought, hybrids should be less viable than their parents.

Not only is there evidence that natural selection oscillates over time, but some hybrids, in both plant and animal kingdoms, are better suited to their environments than their parents.

In the case of the Darwin’s finches, even the ‘purebred’ finch populations show little tendency to sustain changes in size or shape of their beaks over the long term. This scenario is exactly what Darwinian theory doesn’t predict.

For more go here.

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21 Responses to More evidence that Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the origin of new species is wrong.

  1. I have written a lot about this in the last month and have to disagree with nearly everything in this post.

    Natural selection says nothing about the size of the gene pool. It never increases variation and most often reduces the variation in the gene pool of a population. It operates on what is given it. As such you get lots of species that can inter breed and are essentially the same species according to one definition of species. We have been through the list several times, such as tigers and lions, wolves and dogs, cows and bison, polar bears and grizzly bears that can inter breed.

    When they do so the gene pool expands but is still probably smaller than the original gene pool.

    This doesn’t obviate natural selection but show it as a process that culls the gene pool to form organisms that do not look alike but which are essentially the same species. They are sub species or variants and when they inter breed they are expanding the population gene pool but probably not to a greater extent than it was when natural selection caused these sub species to appear.

    Species do not necessarily become more different over time because they are always limited by the gene pool that natural selection can operate on.

    Because there are new environments the sub species are often better suited to the new environment but there is no increase in variation since the gene pool is probably smaller within the population of the sub species.

  2. Denyse,

    There are 350,000 species of beetles in the world according to Wikipedia. My guess is that this is greatly exaggerated. But let’s say that the number is 50,000. How did all these arrive here?

    I maintain that they all probably arrived via natural selection from some original gene pool.

    There are about 10,000 bird species. What is their origin?

    There are about 1300 species of cichlids. What is their origin?

    I would point to natural selection as the origin for most if not all.

  3. Jerry, “I would point to natural selection as the origin for most if not all.”

    I actually think that within this speciation some role is played by random mutation. However, I am not compelled by any claim that simple speciation, where there are no new systems or technologies developed, is caused by anything but natural causes, causes that we understand.

    What would convince me? Show me mechanisms that require hundreds, at least dozens, of coordinated mutations. Examples worthy of note are the bloodpressure management systems of the giraffe. Or show me irreduceably complex individual mutational events, such as the HAR1F gene in humans.

    We’ve got to get beyond philosophy, and into data. We must be content that the non-agency model is adequate until we find data that is at least difficult for a non-agency model to achieve.

  4. bfast,

    I guess that you and I agree on a lot of this. There are several cases where I do not think naturalistic variation can provide the gene pool for natural selection to operate on. I am sure there are many good example of which the giraffe may be one, bats another, humans etc.

    At the moment I am reading a chapter in a book by Henry Gee on the origin of birds. So far he has not given me an reason as to how birds could have arrived by naturalistic means. In fact birds required so many adaptations that it is unlikely they could have all happened simultaneously but all are needed for flight. But after the initial gene pool for birds arrived then it may be possible for all current species to descend from it by naturalistic means. In other words another example of downward evolution but we won’t know till all the genomes of birds are mapped and compared.

    It will also depend on genome analysis to see if there are any birds with complicated systems that other birds do not have and what differences there are in the genomes that caused these differences. It may be another generation before the genome analysis gets that far.

  5. “And, as the newly created species continue to adapt, they should become more different over time. Following this line of thought, hybrids should be less viable than their parents.”

    I think this is actually wrong, but in any case I’m sitting here trying to figure out the link between the first and second sentences of this extract, without success.

    Please explain it.

  6. Following this line of thought, hybrids should be less viable than their parents.”

    Does this help? http://findarticles.com/p/arti.....i_54336599

  7. If one forgets the term hybrid and looks at these mating as gene flow, then we now have an expanded gene pool and the population should be able to handle new environments much better.

    The two separate populations are most likely descended from a gene pool that was more expansive than both put together and over time the individual gene pools contracted as each sub population went their way.

    I have not read the long article that russ pointed to but apparently some hybrids/ meetings of different sub populations are positive and some are negative.

    But the important point is that these sub populations or sub species are just what natural selection does best, direct evolution in a downward fashion and not upward as Darwin would predict.

  8. 8

    Fellow IDists,

    I suggest reading this excellent article by Dr. Jonathan Wells at the Discovery Institute website. I think that, in the end, what matters is that Darwinism is squashed like the bug it is. While others may disagree with Denyse O’Leary, I think she’s right.

  9. Let me clarify for the list that the article was written by my colleague Jane Harris-Zsowan, not by me.

    I think her main point, which many would have a considerable interest in obscuring, is that hybridization may be a more fruitful source of new traits than Darwinian evolution, which mainly has a conservative effect. You may also be interested in her article on the beefalo.

  10. russ wrote (6):

    “Does this help?”

    Not really, no. The paper you mentioned states:

    “Our goal for this paper is to illustrate the potential for natural hybridization to lead to adaptive evolution and evolutionary diversification.”

    This doesn’t fit in with the tone of O’Leary’s anti-Darwin, anti-evolution comments at all.

    And for jerry: there is no “direction” to evolution at all – there is certainly no upward or downward evolution, just evolution.

  11. 11

    I lost all respect for natural selection with in the first 5 minutes I encountered it, in 9th grade biology.

    Ok so the bad dies and the good lives. Duh. But where did the good traits originate from in the first place!??! a Duh? Thats what “origins” is about. And the idea of chance didn’t even cross my mind because it was ridiculously too preposterous. I mean if I had no chance with that girl I had a mega crush on- then in no way could chance guide entire civilizations and species through the dark for millions of years without fail and even more unlikely with ever increasing success?!! How do, and why should the good traits get passed on successfully generation after generation?

    That is the real question of origins- that and when does evolution begin and stop- that is from monkey to man and fish to reptile.

    Historical lineages- guiding forces-design instructions and the time or moment when design takes place-

    Those are the real and only questions regarding origins- and Darwin was wrong on most of it (Cambrian explosion)- and what he was right on was only a very small part which was popularizing an already well know mechanism- natural selection. Darwin was a pigeon breeder and it didn’t take much imagination to apply that mechanism to all of nature. However it did take maniacal ego- and a small brain to think that that was it. Yet don’t expect people today to be any smarter then Darwin. To most of the fools of the world evolution is a good enough explanation for everything. Public school basically teach that..

    Hw did polar bears get their white fur? Evolution!

    How do eagles get their incredible sight? Evolution!

    How did the planets get aligned? Evolution!

    Wow! This is easy and fun. I am smart because I understand evolution!

    As you can see evolution is the god of the gaps for origins. If you don’t know how it happened then evolution did it. But evolutions real purpose is not to play the role of a gap stopper- its to take away people sense of importance- freedom and purpose- so that other people can legislate their way into control over your life.

    Mean while a lot of very smart people who are making a lot of money and protecting a lot of power using and abusing the old paradigm- know darn well that there is a lot more to the questions of origins. But you cant say that in schools because they say “we must fear the rise of the dangerous religious Christian fundamentalists.” Yeah. Right.

    As anyone can see there is nothing educational about teaching evolution the way it is taught in public schools. The kids would be better off staying home and playing video games… and in fact that is exactly what many of them end up doing. Sad but true.

  12. chuckhumphry wrote at #8 about Jonathan Wells’ article. Unfortunately, the article is not a good one from the ID viewpoint. Wells wrote:

    “Third, Dardel and his colleagues made their discovery using protein crystallography. They were not guided by Darwinian evolutionary theory; in fact, they had no need of that hypothesis.”

    But one of the authors of the very paper to which Wells refers (Dardel) has written to Panda’s Thumb to say

    “As principal investigator of the study under discussion, I’d like to strongly support the view advocated this page. In fact, I was completely amazed to see how our work has been misrepresented by M. Wells.

    Actually, we did indeed use darwinian evolution within this work (something unusual in structural biology). In order to obtain an enzyme with increased stability (a critical point for structural studies), we used selective pressure to obtain mutants of the enzyme. We selected for bateria with increased aminiglycoside resistance, by plating them on antibiotic containing medium. It turned out that some bacteria evolved such stabler enzymes variants which made this whole study possible !”

    It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that advocates of ID be certain of their ground when they write about the work of others, otherwise it just invites approbrium and sets back the cause of ID. There is no place in science for this sort of writing.

  13. Denyse,

    When gene pool A exists and then a sub population of this gene pool gets isolated in a new environment it is likely that this sub population will change to adapt to the new environment. So we will call the gene pool of this sub population B and its gene pool will be a subset of population A.

    Now a second population gets isolated in a different environment and adapts to that environment and its gene pool is C. Both B and C are subsets of gene pool A which is bigger than either.

    If members of gene pool B mate with members of gene pool C they will form gene pool D which probably includes gene pool B and C but is smaller than A.

    So the hybrids in gene pool D have traits that are not in B and C but are in A.

    All this is standard Darwinian processes. So to say that this process adds more traits than Darwinian processes is not true since natural selection is not the only Darwinian genetics process. Genetic drift and gene flow are two others. Natural selection gets most of the press but these other two have equal status in the modern theory.

    The formation of B and C was by natural selection but D was formed by gene flow.

    Most here shy away from this line of thinking but it explains most of the species in the world. It does not create complexity and novelty which is the achilles heel of the Darwinian theory. Natural selection works just fine. The problem is that it hasn’t anything new that is complex and novel to work on.

    In my example, each of the gene pools could be augmented by mutations to the gametes of individual members. So they could expand a little by this process. But as Behe has shown it is extremely unlikely that any set of mutations will ever create complexity or novelty.

  14. jerry:

    I must very friendly reassert that in my opinion you have a very imaginary conception of species. You seem to think that species differ only for superficial traits, or for the combination of some traits. Your conception of species is more apt to describe differences in sub-species, races in a species, ot just polymorphisms between single individuals of a species.

    There are many kinds of cats, but they are all cats. There are many kinds of humans, but they are all humans.

    Interbreeding is not ususally possible between different species, although as we know there are many exceptions, but they don’t seem to play any important role in speciation.

    A species means a very different plan from another species. Classifications are somewhat artificial, and a species is less general than say, a class or family or phylum, but certainly the species level implies deep differences at many fundamental levels. Some species are more similar (such as tiger and lion), and others are completely different, even in the same family.

    I think the real molecular basis of the difference between species, even similar ones, is not yet understood, but it certainly amounts to much more than a trival reshuffling of alleles.

    Species are very targeted, intelligent, efficient and polymorphic programs, they are for all we can understand designed, exactly as designed are families, classes, phyla. Certainly, different species in the same family can be viewed as design variations in a more general design, exactly as we can observe in human artifacts, but that does not in any way mean that they are the product of random variation, with or without natural selection.

    Moreover, I find that there is often too much overrating of the concept of allele. I don’t always understand the hype. Take genetic drift, for instance. It is only a random possibility that, if two alleles coexist in a population in reasonable percentages, one of the two can become fixed, randomly, at the expenses of the other. And so? Which are the alleles we are talking of? How did they form, and become represented in significant percentages in the population? How are they regulated? What is their function?

    To have a new species, we don’t need reshuffling of existing alleles. We need new proteins, which means new DNA information, CSI in other words, and especially, a new asset of procedures, regulations, networks, forms, spacial plans, functions, nervous control and structure. Species are different, very different. May be going from a tiger to a cat does not require all the adjustments Berlinski counts to go from a cow to a whale, but I am pretty sure that they are many just the same. Many and complex. And each one of those differences is extremely more complex at the molecular level.

    So, maybe the standard theory of RM + NS could still be salvaged for more trivial differences, like those between races, but I am not so sure. Bur species? No, absolutely not…

  15. gpuccio,

    I have read in the last year about 50 different discussions of what a species is. So I am well aware of the problems of defining species and all the various definitions. I just read a discussion of it yesterday in a book by Henry Gee which started with Dobzhansky and Mayr as they formed the modern synthesis in the late 1930′s till today and its problems. Most species are very close to other species.

    Did you read my post about beetles and birds. Do you really think that the 300,000 species of beetles and the 10,000 species of birds have significant differences? I am aware of penguins and humming birds since i have pictures of myself with each up close. Are they designed or are they the result of natural selection working on different environments.

    No one will believe that each of the above species is designed? I doubt that there are significant protein differences but the proof will be in genome studies. These so called species are just variations of a common gene pool and I bet a lot of them could inter breed just as chihuahuas and wolfs can.

    There is all sorts of evidence of this process working. Read the article that Russ linked to on hybrids for a couple examples.

  16. jerry:

    I respect your views, as I believe you will respect mine:

    “Do you really think that the 300,000 species of beetles and the 10,000 species of birds have significant differences?”

    Yes, I do.

    “I am aware of penguins and humming birds since i have pictures of myself with each up close. Are they designed or are they the result of natural selection working on different environments”

    They are designed.

    “No one will believe that each of the above species is designed?”

    I do.

    “I doubt that there are significant protein differences but the proof will be in genome studies.”

    Let’s wait. Time and research are on our side.

    “These so called species are just variations of a common gene pool”

    I respectfully disagree.

    “and I bet a lot of them could inter breed just as chihuahuas and wolfs can”

    As a rule I don’t bet, but again I respectfully disagree.

    “There is all sorts of evidence of this process working. Read the article that Russ linked to on hybrids for a couple examples”

    Again, I disagree. A couple examples are perfectly fine, I said from the beginning that there are exceptions, and they are not extremely rare. But I definitely don’t believe in the role of hybrids, and of allele reshuffling, as an engine of speciation. I do believe that speciation is the final, richest, most stunning expression of the talent and creativity of the designer.

    300,000 species of beetles? May be even more! Why not? If one does not like beetles, one can well look at birds, flowers and so on. But even the beetle lovers deserve their part…

  17. gpuccio,

    If the 300,000 beetles are descended from a common gene pool then this is the final knife in the Darwinian paradigm. It reduces all Darwinian process to downward evolution and supporting Behe’s Edge of Evolution proposition. If you don’t see this, then I give up with you on this.

    Saying that all are designed is giving up because it says that all we can offer is special creation and such a point of view will not get you any seat at the table at any rational discussion of species formation. They will throw counter example after counter example at you.

    You are welcome to you opinions but I find no reason to accept any of them and lots of reason to reject them all.

    As Joseph said the other day. Life was designed to evolve. Darwinian process make great Intelligent Design because they fill millions of niches of life with variation that can adapt to each environment. It is truly worthy of a great designer who provides a mechanism to create an amazing richness of life through an automatic process once the gene pool is designed. An intelligence who designed such a system is powerful. An intelligence that has to create each little variation is weak.

  18. Portishead

    What are the chances that someone at Panda’s Thumb could inform Dardel that ID does not dispute the existence and operation of mutation and selection but rather disputes the practical bounds of the structures it can create? No part of ID disputes the notion that random changes can occur in enzymes produced by bacteria nor do they dispute that a given random mutation may be beneficial in a given context.

    What we want to know is whether believing that random mutation & natural selection is solely responsible for changing dinosaurs into birds or hippos into whales or prokaryotes into eukaryotes informed his work in any way. If it did we’d like to know how.

  19. DaveScot,

    The point is that Wells claimed that Dardel had no need for the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis, but Dardel says they actually did use it. If Wells was claiming that Dardel didn’t use any hypotheses relating to dinosaur-bird evolution or hippo-whale evolution etc. then he should have said so (despite the irrelevance of such transitions to the work of Dardel et al.).

  20. Portishead

    Exactly. Wells claimed Dardel had no need for the DARWINIAN hypothesis which is origin of SPECIES. Enzymes getting small modifications to make them more or less selective in binding is genetics. Obviously Dardel used genetics in his work but where did Darwin’s origin of species come into play? If you go look at the article Wells wrote he is quite clear what he meant by “Darwinism”:


    Second, the acetyltransferase story is about minor changes in an existing species of bacteria. But Darwin’s theory isn’t really about how existing species change over time. People had been observing those long before 1859, and most of the new insights we’ve gained since then have come from genetics, not Darwinism.

  21. 21


    Dr. Michael Egnor has written at length on Darde’s mistakes. Maybe you should give it a read?

    Dr. Dardel is both candid and mistaken. His comment that the use of Darwin’s theory is “unusual in structural biology” is obviously true, and refreshingly candid. He is, however, mistaken about the application of Darwin’s theory to his recent work. His assertion that “…we selected bacteria…by plating…” is artificial selection, not natural selection. Artificial selection is breeding, in this case microbial breeding. The principles of breeding date back thousands of years, and owe nothing to Darwin. In fact, Darwin claimed that non-teleological processes in nature could produce changes in populations just as teleological processes like breeding could. Even Darwin didn’t claim that his theory explained the outcome of intentional breeding. It’s astonishing that a modern professional scientist like Dr. Dardel doesn’t recognize the difference between artificial selection and natural selection.

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