Here’s a news article about 400,000 antelopes dying off in a short period of time. Looks like it’s due to some sort of bacterial attack, though they’re not fully sure what caused this massive die-off.
There’s lots of questions that come to mind. Here’s one or two:
(1) How do we define the “fittest”?
Are they the “strongest”, the “fastest”, the most “aggressive”? What are they? Maybe they’re the “weakest.” Maybe they were so weak that they couldn’t forage with the rest of the herds, and so stayed behind and didn’t get infected. So, how do we define “fitness” here?
(2) In the annals of NS, no one has likely ever seen anything like this. The selection factor is 0.5 (half the population has died off). What other small, gradual change could be this destructive? And it seems it all has to do with bacteria. So, are the “fittest” the ones with the best “immune systems”? If that’s the case, with this kind of selection factor at work, you’d expect that the survivors, the ‘fittest’, would have incredibly good immune systems. Yet, something like this huge die-off happened not too long ago (1988). So, if something this lethal leads to hardly any change, then what great change is NS going to bring about when the selection pressure is far, far less.
Again, the “survival of the fittest” doesn’t befall the “strongest,” “fastest”, “most aggressive”, most “anything,” but, apparently to almost any member of the population. If 400,000 out of 800,000 antelopes die, and they’re none for the better, then what does NS do anyway? Have we wildly exaggerated what it is able to do? (Read The Edge of Evolution to find out more)