Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Most evolution is free of selection, therefore Darwinism must be false


Darwin’s lack of systematic thinking began to show its ugly head as the discipline of population genetics progressed. Darwinism’s contradictions appear when we consider the paradox of interference selection, the ability to blend favorable traits, and existence of widespread protein polymorphisms.

At the molecular level, Kimura, Ohta, Jukes, King, Nei and others mathematically demonstrated most evolution must be neutral. Why is that? And why do man-made Genetic Algorithms defending Darwin avoid the issues raised by the neutralists, and further, why is it that creationists are the building certain computer models based on population genetic literature and not Darwinists?! Instead Darwinists like Dawkins and the Avida-ists build Genetic Algorithms that actually dispense with the core findings of population genetics and neutral evolution.

First consider the problem of selection interference. Suppose one individual is fast and the other is smart. Each individual possesses functionally good traits, but in the world of Darwin, the most reproductively successful wins. Suppose the environment is such that the fast one is selected over the smart one. Oh well, selection destroys an otherwise good trait! Reminds me of sickle-cell anemia, tay-sachs disease, blind cave fish, wingless beetles, etc. Selection interference is a real problem.

A solution to selection interference is to presume that selection isn’t acting too strongly and that most selection in the wild is NOT of the Truncation variety. Truncation selection is the sort of selection we see in anti-biotic and pesticide resistance where all varieties are wiped out in one generation except those possessing a single trait or small set of traits. Obviously truncation selection will wipe out huge amounts of potentially favorable traits because only a few traits are selected for. In the case of antibiotic resistance, truncation selection actually selects FOR dysfunctional traits (in the form of broken bacterial parts) in exchange for survival (this phenomenon is what Behe calls “the first rule of adaptive evolution”, namely adaptation is primarily through loss of function, not emergence of function).

Truncation is portrayed in computer genetic algorithms (GAs) like Weasel. Many man-made GAs focus on problems which are amenable to Truncation Selection and which don’t have selection interference issues. Whereas in the wild, the problem of selection interference is real and truncation selection precludes evolution.

Why does truncation selection preclude evolution? We have the problem of slightly deleterious (harmful to reproductive success) mutations that might one day become beneficial. We have to hope blind luck preserves them against the force of selection because if they get selected against, that yet-to-be-functional future trait will be precluded. Darwinists, in an honest moment, will concede this embarrassing fact: TSZ Allan Miller says natural selection has to fail for evolution to work. I agreed with Allan, and so did Michael Lynch, Mae Wan Ho, and Stanley Salthe, and for that matter lots of first rate population biologists. But the popular science media won’t point that out such problems will they?

With respect to slightly beneficial mutations we have to hope that selection interference won’t wipe the trait out (like fastness prevailing over smartness), so selection must be weak. In the case of potentially beneficial but presently neutral or presently deleterious mutations, we have to hope selection is weak as well. Thus for evolution to work, selection must be weak, and Darwinists are in the embarrassing position of having to hope selection actually doesn’t work for evolution to proceed!

But there are further mathematical contradictions with Darwinism. Consider again the individual who is smart and another individual who is fast. In order that selection not wipe out both good traits, we could suppose selection treats them as equally favorable. Not such a bad problem with 2 traits, but what about 100 or 200 or 1,000,000 “traits” spread around the population (if we admit selection even at the nucleotide level since codon bias and intergenic sequences have significance)? One can’t even in principle select for all of them simultaneously without effectively making selection on these “traits” weak. [by trait I do not necessarily mean phenotypically expressed traits but genetic characteristics]. Particularly bad is when several independent but competing traits are in the same individual (like an individual who is smart but not fast), they end up being effectively neutral! Similar considerations drove the geneticists like Kimura to suspect most protein varieties (polymorphisms) occur because of the absence, not presence, of selection.


Consider a population of cattle where desirable traits are initially spread among many individuals and no one individual has all the good traits. How long would it take to blend all these desirable traits into one individual? Suppose further interbreeding was not pushed by human breeders, what would happen in the wild? Haldane recognized that selection for traits in the wild cannot be too strong in order for the traits to eventually blend. Based on this, he calculated it takes 300 generations on average for 1 trait to become fixed via selection. This is known as Haldane’s dilemma, the dilemma that there are speed limits to evolution by natural selection. The solution then is that evolution must proceed by means that are not Darwinian, but rather by means that are mostly neutral! Hence the notion of neutral evolution.

Kimura, Ohta, Jukes, King seized on Haldane’s ideas and pioneered the daring idea of neutral evolution. They focused particularly on protein polymorphisms and showed that the diversity of proteins (protein polymorphisms) cannot be explained by selection but rather lack of selection. They therefore concluded the following as stated in wiki:

“the theory that at the molecular level evolutionary changes and polymorphisms are mainly due to mutations that are nearly enough neutral with respect to natural selection that their behavior and fate are mainly determined by mutation and random drift”

But the math applies just as well to non-protein coding sequences, hence most of molecular evolution is neutral as well. So how does this reconcile with Darwinism? It doesn’t! For a brief time, there was an uneasy truce between the neutralists (like Kimura) and the Darwinists (like Dawkins). It was achieved by saying something like this:

neutral theory deals with molecular evolution and Darwinian evolution deals with adaptation

But such baloney goes stale quickly, and after Kimura passed away, Masotoshi Nei came along and dispensed with it. He pointed out if molecular evolution is mostly neutral, so also must be most of evolution! In carefully guarded and diplomatic language he stated it, but essentially trashed Darwinism. See: Prominent NAS member trashes Neo-Darwinism.

Nei uses the notion of “mutationism” to describe the theory he champions, but to the uninitiated it seems he could superficially be in agreement with the Darwinists. Not so. Dawkins fully understands the conflict:

It is hard to comprehend now but, in the early years of this century when the phenomenon of mutation was first named, it was not regarded as a necessary part of Darwinian theory but an alternative theory of evolution!

Richard Dawkins
Blind Watchmaker


If I weren’t a creationist I’d be in the neutralist/mutationist camp with Nei and James Shapiro, whereby mutation isn’t random and selection must be generally weak. One doesn’t have to be creationist or ID proponent to reject the deluded silliness of Darwin, Dennett and Dawkins (DDD).

Walter ReMine offered a curious observation. Why aren’t there large numbers of evolutionary computer simulations that bare out the problems with Darwinism? Instead of Avida and Weasel, why aren’t evolutionary biologists putting together first rate population genetic models that defend neutral theories over Darwinism? Instead we see simulations like Weasel where truncation selection and lack of selection interference are the order of the day. The best such simulations defending neutral theory over Darwinism are being done by creationists like the Mendel team where Haldane’s dilemma is painfully obvious, where genetic deterioration over time from slightly deleterious mutations is painfully obvious, where neutral theory gets vindicated.

And why is it that that creationists are more interested in hybridization experiments (see: De-origination of species) or that creationists are the ones pointing out Darwinsits aren’t doing fair accounting of the evolution of biological complexity (see: The price of cherry picking). With the exception of Atheists like Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini, why is it the creationists are pointing out the “science” of Darwinism is based on rhetorical ploys (see: Death of the Fittest and Blind Watchbreaker and Selection falsely called a mechanism).

Could it be the truth is too embarrassing to Darwinists? 🙂

Gee whiz, where are all of the NDE proponents that usually frequent the threads here?bpragmatic
August 4, 2013
09:02 PM
Nei's new book Published June 2013 Mutation-Driven Evolution ...the core of the book is concerned with recent studies of genomics and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution, and their relevance to mutation-driven evolution. In contrast to neo-Darwinism, mutation-driven evolution is capable of explaining real examples of evolution such as the evolution of olfactory receptors, sex-determination in animals, and the general scheme of hybrid sterility. In this sense the theory proposed is more realistic than its predecessors, and gives a more logical explanation of various evolutionary events. http://www.amazon.com/Mutation-Driven-Evolution-Masatoshi-Nei/dp/0199661731/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374796712&sr=1-1&keywords=mutation+driven+evolutionlifepsy
July 25, 2013
05:00 PM

Leave a Reply