Natural selection ≠ evolution
This is an important ‘equation’1 that all people should be aware of, namely ‘Natural Selection does not equal (≠) Evolution’.2 Christians should know it so they do not get conned, and evolutionists should know it as a reminder that they still have lots of work to do to be able to claim that they have a mechanism for evolution.
How often we hear an example of natural selection being used as proof of evolution. Changing sizes, colours, skin patterns and shapes are often paraded as evolution’s honour roll. This bait-and-switch tactic has been so often exposed for what it is, it’s a wonder that it is still used, or that people are still taken in by it.
The very term should put people on their guard that something is missing. If we think of the word ‘selection’, in our common, daily experience, we select from something pre-existing. Think of being asked to select cards from a pack. You could select cards from a pack every second for the rest of your life and all you would only ever produce is different groups of the same cards. You would not have created anything new—only re-arranged cards, or removed cards or added cards from another pack.
If an illusionist asks you to select a card from a pack, and surprises you with something new, you know it is an illusion, a sleight of hand. We need to learn to see the evolutionists’ sleight of hand when they claim to have pulled something ‘new’ out of the pack. Selection is always from a pre-existing series or range; it creates nothing new.
This illustration applies equally to ‘selection’ in the biological context. The all-wise Creator knew the different environments that His creatures would have to adapt to after the Fall and Curse, and particularly after the Flood of Noah, in order to survive. He included in the genetic information of each ‘kind’ of creature He created, a smorgasbord of variety in their makeup. This includes those features that would interact with the environment: the overall size of a plant, animal or person; the size of individual organs or limbs such as beaks and noses, leaf sizes, skin colours, hair and feather lengths, textures and colours. All of these and many more variations were programmed into the DNA of His creatures in order that as populations of the various kinds moved into new environments, expression of those variations enabled individuals to survive those environments. Individuals with those variations then passed them on to their young. When these variations and the habitat of the population expressing that variation are distinct enough, we might distinguish different ‘species’. In all of this selection process, new information is never added. It can be conserved or lost, but never gained.
The creationist chemist/zoologist Edward Blyth (1810–1873) wrote about natural selection about 25 years before Darwin misappropriated it to support his theory of evolution. Blyth clearly saw this remarkable phenomenon as arising from the providence of the all-wise, all-knowing, ingenious Creator God.
Knowing God’s love for beauty (reflected in men and women who are made in His image), God probably also had in mind the spectacular array of birds, fish, dogs and cats that we have varied by ‘artificial selection’ purely for the sake of ‘beauty’ rather than survival.3
But whether variation is selected naturally by the environment, or artificially by breeders for a particular trait, it remains just that, ‘selection’ from existing genetic information. Nothing new is created.
Patent law calls for a product to have an ‘inventive step’ in order for it to be patented. Mere changes in design of an existing product cannot be patented. Many legal battles over patent rights have been waged over this point. Evolution requires the same thing—an ‘inventive step’, a novel organ or body part, facilitated by new information in the DNA that wasn’t there before. Despite the huge resources thrown at evolution in universities and research institutions, natural selection has never been shown to bring about this type of ‘inventive step’.
Today’s Darwinists point to mutations as the mechanism which provides this novelty from which ‘Natural Selection’ selects. Evolutionists should then focus on mutations to defend their theory, instead of ‘Natural Selection’. When pressed for examples of novel genetic information or body organs created by mutation, they typically point to instances such as wingless beetles4 on islands, or the flightless cormorant on the Galapagos islands.5 The problem with these examples is obvious. While they may confer a benefit to the creatures in a specific, very unusual environment, nothing ‘new’ is added to the DNA or creatures’ body parts. They actually involve a loss or corruption of existing genetic information.6
Evolution desperately needs ‘Natural Invention’, ‘Natural Novelty’ and ‘Natural Creation’. ‘Natural Selection’ just does not pass muster as exhibit A for evolution. Rather, it is a wonderful tribute to God’s design, and His providence for a fallen world. Natural Selection ≠ Evolution.
References and notes
- This is not really an equation; the precise mathematical term is an inequality. Return to text.
- The mathematical symbol ≠ means ‘is not equal to’. Return to text.
- In the hands of sinful, fallible humans subject to vanity, etc. the world of show-breeding has taken things to extremes beyond anything that can be justified (or even classed) as aesthetic. This is especially so when it involves defects and deformities that cause serious health problems to the dogs themselves. See Cosner, L, ‘Parade of mutants’, creation.com/pedigree, Creation 32(2) 28–32, 2010. Return to text.
- See creation.com/beetle-bloopers. Return to text.
- See creation.com/galapagos-birds. Return to text.
- The Frog to a Prince DVD available from CMI shows well-known evolutionist Richard Dawkins stumped by a request to provide examples of addition of genetic information from mutations. creation.com/Dawkins-stumped. Return to text.