Evolution Issue of the Month 8: Modern Synthesis and Creationism Both Faulted for Flaunting Common Sense

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In a comparison made between the actual progress of evolution and how it would have progressed if the mechanism had been genetic mutation and natural selection, the two progress in opposite directions. According to website http://www.takeondarwin.com, claims made for the Modern Synthesis are contradicted by what is known of the actual progress of evolution.

If you plot the actual capability of evolution as a graph over time, it’s the opposite of what you’d get if the claims of the Modern Synthesis were true.

In Evolution Issue of the Month 8 published on the website http://www.takeondarwin.com publisher Shaun Johnston applies the test of common sense to both Creationism and to the Modern Synthesis, the combination of genetic mutation and natural selection. In his estimation, both fail the test.

"How would you expect the capability of genetic mutation and natural selection to have changed over the past two billion years?" he asks. "What’s happened since then that would make mutation and natural selection a more efficient mechanism of evolution? Nothing. Everything of significance that’s happened since then would make them less efficient and slow their action down." As examples he lists the following:

  • As generations come further apart, there are fewer opportunities for selection in unit time.
  • As creature-size increases, breeding populations get smaller, limiting how fast mutations can spread, and how easily they can be distinguished against noise.
  • As genomes get larger, individual mutations make a smaller contribution to the variation within individuals, making them harder to identify and evaluate.
  • As clutch size gets smaller, natural selection has fewer individuals in each generation to select among, limiting its ability to discriminate.
  • As creatures’ features become more complex and come to involve control by multiple genes, individual single-point mutations are less likely to contribute significant benefits.

The effect of all these, Johnston says, will be to progressively slow down the neo-Darwinian mechanism. "But what we observe is, over time evolution seems to speed up. Plot this as a graph of capability against time and what you get is capability rising rapidly over time. See the first figure. Extend that line back to zero time and it would intersect the capability axis somewhere around the zero point. The common-sense inference is, evolution is driven by an agent with an initial capability of near zero (chemistry?) but able to grow in capability over time."

"By contrast, the graph of the capability of a neo-Darwinist agent declines over time, for reasons such as those listed above. Extrapolate that curve back to zero time and it rises to an elevated, God-like, value on the capability axis," Johnston points out.

Common sense finds the combination of genetic mutation and naturel selection very unlikely to be the agent responsible for the actual path of progress we observe in nature, Johnston concludes.

This is eighth in a series of articles written and published by Johnston reflecting on the failure of the Modern Synthesis to account for what we observe of the world around us and ourselves. The Take On Darwin website is maintained for students of the humanities who, Johnston feels, should rise to the challenge of identifying meaning in us having evolved.

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Shaun Johnston
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