Evolution Issue of the Month, 3 - Variation: Evolution's White Hot Furnace?

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Where’s the white hot furnace that powers evolution? For Darwin it lay in natural selection. The “Modern Synthesis” relocated it to genetic mutation. In the third of a series of articles published at http://www.takeondarwin.com, Contrarian Evolutionist author Shaun Johnston relocates it once again, to wherever variations in living creatures are created.

"Save our Selves..." cover

Save Our Selves from Science Gone Wrong, by Shaun Johnston

natural selection and genetic mutation are biology’s equivalent of quantum mechanics. They’re non-intuitive, and get presented to us in the form of abstruse mathematics.

Modern evolutionary theory is the opposite of what people assumed when they first wondered what made living creatures evolve, claims author Shaun Johnston in an article published by Evolved Self Publishing this month. What seemed obvious to those observers was, evolution came from variation. As variation accumulates, as new combinations of variations favor new lifestyles, species split in two.

"We may need to go back to that old notion of evolution being driven by variation,"Johnston says. "Darwin was wrong. Living creatures display much more variation than you’d expect if natural selection had been burning away all except a single optimal set of variations. And if natural selection is not what drives evolution, then random genetic mutation can’t be the source of variation—the majority of mutations are harmful; without something to burn away all those harmful mutations a species would quickly go extinct."

A theory of evolution based on variation could more easily account for how humans evolved. First, by the addition to an existing ape of variations for greater manual dexterity, capacity for speech, upright posture, greater intelligence, and so on; then by creatures carrying those variations separating out to become a new species.

This is a good news/bad news theory of evolution, Johnston points out. The good news is, this is how nature actually looks; it seems to come with abundant variation, ready for use. As it accumulates, lifestyles diverge and species separate out. And that’s why living creatures appear so spectacular—they’re the embodiment of eons of the creation of new variation.

The bad news is, if evolution consists of only the creation of new variation, and no selection, then variations must come as improvements ready to use, and that seems to amount to intelligent design. Whether or not that’s a problem depends on how you feel about intelligent design. Apart from that, though, Johnston concludes, locating the white hot furnace that drives evolution in whatever process generates variation seems a good idea.

Read the complete article. It is the third 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. Johnston is also developing a secular version of intelligent design as a separate project at evolvedself.com.

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