What Darwin deserves being famous for is being a wonderful naturalist, friend and family man.
Rosendale, NY (PRWEB) June 16, 2012
There isn't much for Darwin to be very famous for, says author Shaun Johnston in an article published by Evolved Self Publishing this month. Evolution and humans evolving from apes had been headline news for 15 years before Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species." Darwin had taken his theory of natural selection directly from the popular science of his day, livestock breeding. Yet his theory failed to account for where either species or variation came from. Within 50 years his name had dropped out of sight. He only became very famous when his theory was combined with genetics in The Modern Synthesis. But, Johnston claims, that too turned out to be not the best idea anyone ever had.
Johnston explains what he thinks is wrong with Darwin's account of evolution in "On The Origin of Species." Darwin defined evolution as creatures becoming more adapted to their environments. In fact, adaptation can as logically be the result of the process of evolution, as its cause. Whatever the mechanism driving evolution is, it will almost inevitably make creatures better adapted over time. Turning that around, as Darwin did, to claim that what makes creatures better adapted must be what drives evolution was faulty logic. Anyway, one could say creatures generally become more independent of any one part of their environment over time--look at humans. But Darwin had to define evolution in terms of creatures being made more adapted because that's all his theory of natural selection could account for.
The key to evolution turned out to be variation, Johnston says, not natural selection. If enough new variations kept appearing that alone could drive evolution. On the other hand, if there weren't any new variations then natural selection had nothing to work on and evolution would stop. The key either way was variation. Eithor way, natural selection didn't work. But it has had one lasting effect: it means we inherited from Darwin a very impoverished idea of what evolution consists of--nothing more than adaptation.
Combining natural selection with genetics doesn't work any better, the article concludes. Natural selection doesn't select for "fitness," it selects for whatever has creatures passing their characteristics on to future generations by leaving more progeny. That selects for creatures that are more aggressive in competition, more deceitful and promiscuous in mating, and more nepotistic and prone to murder other's progeny. But that's not what we see in nature, either in other creatures or ourselves. Whatever it is that drives evolution, it's not merely "selecting" for something among available options, certainly it's not selecting for those qualities, it's creating new variations.
Read the complete article. It is the second in a series of articles written by Shaun Johnston, publisher of the Take On Darwin website, that draw attention to flaws in the arguments used to support the Modern Synthesis. Subjects to be covered can be seen here.