There’s an item today at PhysOrg concerning an article in this week’s Science magazine. According to the study conducted on a bacterial population using a technique wherein mutations could be inserted anywhere along the length of the genome, each and every bacterial mutation had the same small effect on fitness of 0.5%, no matter if the mutation took place in a protein sequence or in a so-called non-coding section. I’m just bringing your attention to it. It would seem that for those who wish to use the RM + NS motif of Darwinian evolution, this study pretty much spells this motif’s deathknell. If the average mutation reduces fitness, how does any living organism improve? And, how can NS distinguish between mutations if they all look the same? Remember, per Dawkins, NS is what makes a random process no longer random. So, now, if one wants to posit that the accumulation of many such mutations can bring about improvement, then one has to maintain that the accumulation of bad stuff eventually makes good stuff—which, let us say, isn’t immediately obvious, and, one has to say this accumulation happened in a non-directed way.
Certainly, all of this is counter-intuitive. But, alas, that is exactly what Darwinism was from its beginning: the positing of the counter-intuitive in place of the intuitive. This study strongly suggests that the counter-intuitive remains counter-intuitive. And it becomes the other bookend to Michael Behe’s criticism of RM + NS in his The Edge of Evolution in undermining any remaining confidence one might have in the reigning neo-Darwinian motif. Isn’t it time to jettison the illogical? For me personally, “neo-Darwinism is dead” ( to quote Allen MacNeil). Now we can see why.