Many ENV readers might have read, or at least heard of, a well-argued 1996 book by Lee Spetner, Not By Chance. Spetner, who holds a PhD in physics from MIT, has recently published a sequel titled The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Judaica Press, 2014).
Spetner goes through many examples of non-random evolutionary changes that cannot be explained in a Darwinian framework. He covers some of the natural genetic engineering mechanisms reported by James Shapiro, which can modify an organism’s genome during a period of stress. Of course the big criticism of Shapiro’s arguments is that he never explains how those “natural genetic engineering” mechanisms arose in the first place. Whatever the case, these abilities appear to be built-in mechanisms designed to allow an organism to adapt to a changing 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 s 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. (p. 49)
Spetner thus proposes what he calls the “Nonrandom Evolutionary Hypothesis” (NREH) where changes in populations occur due to nonrandom processes, as if they are preprogrammed to evolve in certain ways.
One of the best examples he gives for his NREH is the prevalence of “convergent evolution” in biology. More.
Now here’s a podcast from August:
Lee Spetner Takes Aim at Darwin, Malthus and Even Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria
On this episode of ID: the Future, Ira Berkowitz interviews M.I.T. Ph.D. Lee Spetner in Jerusalem. Together they explore key arguments from Spetner’s books Not by Chance and The Evolution Revolution. Spetner explains why he considers Neo-Darwinism less than a theory and offers a surprising take on Thomas Malthus. Spetner also argues that, contrary to Darwinist propaganda, the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria demonstrates a loss of information rather than a gain.
See also: Does convergent evolution point to libraries of patterns in life forms?
Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?