What Do You Mean By “Evolution”?

In his famous book, On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin promoted the idea of natural selection; “the process which acts to preserve and accumulate minor advantageous variations within living organisms.”1

 And this phenomena, he believed, was the driving force for molecules-to-man evolution. On page 109 of his book, Darwin writes:

“It is a truly wonderful fact – the wonder of which we are apt to overlook from familiarity – that all animals and all plants throughout all time and space should be related to each other…”2

Natural Selection Defined

Is natural selection a sufficient mechanism for “goo-to-you” evolution, as Darwin thought? No. Contemporary scientists, although not abandoning the general theory of evolution, have found that natural selection is not sufficient to account for the genetic diversity of living organisms today. Consider this example from CMI’s, Dr. Jonanthan Sarfati:

The natural selection of fur-length in a population of dogs, residing in a cold weather climate

The illustration above is an example of natural selection in a cold weather climate (say northern Canada). The dogs in the first row possess the genetic information for both long and short fur (LS). The dogs in the second row represent the offspring of the first row. As illustrated, some dogs inherit the genetic information for long and short fur (LS), some only short fur (SS), and others only long fur (LL). The dogs in the third row, have inherited the information for only long fur (LL) and thus they will express that gene physically. Therefore, these long-furred dogs are well-suited for a cold weather climate and so they are more likely to thrive and reproduce than the dogs with a thinner coat.

So then, as time passes, the LL gene will continue to be inherited and spread, whereas the dogs with shorter fur, being less apt to thrive/survive in the cold climate, will die off and be weeded out of the population. Thus the cold weather climate has “naturally selected” the LL gene for the entire population of dogs in that region. This is just one example of natural selection.3

Does Natural Selection = Evolution?

Some will point to the example above and say, “

See! This is evidence for evolution, as the dogs have ”evolved” thicker coats to better survive the cold climate.”

 The truth of this statement however, will depend on what is meant by “evolution”. If this hypothetical person is thinking of evolution as a ‘natural process that preserves advantageous genes’, then I would agree. In fact, I would be an evolutionist!

But, if this person is thinking of evolution as a process that begot man from molecules, then his statement is demonstrably false. Natural selection can only “select” existing genes from the gene pool. It cannot create or add new genes. But, in order for true “evolution” to take place (in the “particles-to-people” sense), an enormous amount of genetic information would need to be added to the genome – natural selection does just the opposite.

Define Terms Adequately

There is much confusion on what “evolution” actually means. But I think separating the term “natural selection” from  “evolution” will go a long way in focusing the argument on origins. Many confuse variations within a kind of organism (natural selection) with “fish-to-philosopher” evolution. This is hilariously evident in Richard Dawkins who, in a PBS interview, said:

“Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”

article from http://standtherefore.com