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Lee Spetner’s non-random evolutionary hypothesis (NREH) vs. neo-Darwinian theory

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Product Details From Spetner’s The Evolution Revolution (2014):

The nonrandom evolutionary hypothesis (NREH) I am suggesting is a paradigm very different from the random mutation of the NDT. I am suggesting an evolutionary process in which individuals evolve, as opposed to the neo-Darwinian process, which purportedly acts on populations. Stress can induce epigenetic changes in an organism, changes that can activate a set of latent genes in both its somatic cells and its gametes. An organism will ooften undergo stress if its environment changes significantly. The stress may then induce genetic rearrangements, which may turn ON some hitherto latent, or cryptic, genes. These latent genes may elicit a response in the organism that is adaptive to the new environment. The response is not a chance phenomenon. The adaptive response is a capability apparently built into the organism to match the environmental source of the stress. The number of potential responses would of course necessarily be limited, as would the number of environmental conditions that could elicit those responses. The genetic changes may occur in the entire population or only in some large fraction of it. If the change is adaptive, and if the changes occurred in the gametes, the population will soon consist of only those individuals that made the genetic change — an example of natural selection. [3]

Genetic rearrangements are mediated by repetitive sections of the DNA (Shapiro and von Sternberg 2005, Shapiro 2011). The most important DNA components for genome rearrangement are the transposons, which consist of integrated systems of proteins and nucleic acids. Transposons, which used to be known as “jumping genes,” can change their location in the genome. They not only can jump around the genome themselves, but they can also control movement of other segments of the genome. They can replicate themselves and place the copy in another part of the genome (copy-and-paste), or they can just move without replicating themselves (cut-and-paste) (Shapiro 1999). These elements are the most abundant component of the human genome. They have been found to make up more than 42% of the human genome (Smit 1999).

Compare this abundance to that of the protein-encoding DNA, which makes up less than 1% of the human genome. [4] Moreover, the type of repetitive DNA is specific to each category of organisms, differing from one category to another — differing even more than do the protein-coding portions of the DNA. In particular, in mammals, one important type of repetitive DNA, the Short Interspersed Nucleotide Elements (SINE), which are responsible for some of the DNA rearrangements, are known to be unique to each order of mammals (Shapiro 2002).

Nonrandom genetic changes triggered by an environmental input can account for the examples of evolution that have been actually observed (as opposed to inferred), whereas random mutation such as DNA copying errors cannot. Genetic rearrangements can produce the genetic differences that have been observed between closely related organisms. A cell has the ability to shift pieces of its genome around, sequestering genes that are not needed and revealing those that were previously hidden and that have promise to be adaptive in the current environment. Moreover, the genetic rearrangements that will reveal the adaptive genes are known to be triggered by inputs from the environment.

An organism thus has the built-in ability to adapt to a new environment heritably by altering its DNA. These adaptations occur just when they are needed, because they are triggered by an input from the new environment. Since they are triggered by the environment, their occurrence in a population is not rare. They will occur in a large fraction of the population, leading to rapid evolutionary changes — possibly even in one generation! If such adaptive changes had to be achieved by random DNA copying errors (point mutations), they would require long expanses of time, if they could be achieved at all. It is not clear that there even exist long sequences of potential point mutations leading from the pre-adaptive to the adaptive form where each successive mutation grants to the phenotype greater adaptivity than what went before it. There may very well be no such potential sequences. It has never been shown that random point mutations could ever produce the required transitions even in unlimited time. Darwinists are always tacitly assuming such sequences exist. The burden of proof is on them to show it, and they have not and apparently cannot.


3 Note that I embrace natural selection but reject Common Descent, which cannot be accounted for by natural selection. Natural selection can be very effective when the adaptive genetic change occurs in many individuals rather than in only one.

4 I give the example of the human genome only because the most extensive genome study has been made on the human. I would expect that the same is true of all animal genomes, and perhaps of plant genomes as well. [pp 47-49]

See also: The Evolution Revolution: Physicist Lee Spetner Shows Why Convergence Challenges Neo-Darwinian Evolution which discusses his thoughts on convergence.


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6 Replies to “Lee Spetner’s non-random evolutionary hypothesis (NREH) vs. neo-Darwinian theory

  1. 1
    Stephen Sparrow says:

    Edging closer and closer to Lamarck.

  2. 2
    Jim Smith says:

    Lysenko tried Larmarckian theory and millions starved.

    Natural selection can produce microevolution but otherwise is responsible for stasis not change.

    Natural genetic engineering, if it really plays a role in macroevolution, is evidence of design because of the law of conservation of information and the no free lunch theorem.

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    How does Spetner link these two together?

    Stress can induce epigenetic changes in an organism, changes that can activate a set of latent genes in both its somatic cells and its gametes. … The stress may then induce genetic rearrangements, which may turn ON some hitherto latent, or cryptic, genes.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Bon O’H:

    How does Spetner link these two together?

    The word “and”.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    The NREH was proposed back in 1997 with Dr Spetner’s “Not By Chance”. The “Evolution REvolution” provides the evidence that supports it.

  6. 6
    Jim Smith says:

    I watched the video and read the linked article:

    Physiology and the revolution in Evolutionary Biology
    Prof Denis Noble, Presenter and Editor




    It gives a good overview of developments in non-Darwinian inheritance. Mainstream scientists have falsified Neo-Darwinism and the modern synthesis. Mutations are not random, genetic change is not gradual, and acquired characteristics can be inherited by several mechanisms.

    What are the implications for intelligent design? If the argument for ID is that design is a better explanation of the evidence because Darwinism doesn’t work, do the ID theorists now have to address all these other forms of inheritance to show that they could not arise naturally and or show they can’t produce macroevolution?

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