The evolutionary process isn’t a process

Scientific American invites essays from experts on topical issues in science and technology for their SA Forum. Here’s what their expert, Sean B. Carroll thinks is positive news about Americans’ views on evolution.

Is America Evolving on Evolution?

Article excerpt 1) : “Three-and-a-half billion years of life’s history has taught us one inescapable truth: as the Earth changes, life changes along with it.”

Article excerpt 2) : “In the evolutionary process a trait expands through a population when individuals possessing it survive longer and reproduce more than do those lacking the trait.”

My comment: Although many people were taught that the history of life extends across three-and-a-half billion years, others have learned that ecological variation requires life to rapidly adapt via ecological, social, neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction. There is experimental evidence of niche construction, and we see rapid ecological adaptation everywhere we look, especially if it is viewed in the context of  the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction. Simply put, what we see is that Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ lead to increasing organismal complexity in species from microbe to man.

One of Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ is that organisms must find food. Another of his ‘conditions of life’ is that organisms must reproduce. If we look at increasing organismal complexity from the perspective of evolution via acquisition of food and its epigenetic effects on genetically predisposed reproduction, we see what population genetics has taught us about biology, which is that mutation-driven evolution “just happens.”

Until recently, most students were taught that mutation-initiated natural selection caused evolution. Now, even Masatoshi Nei, author of “Mutation-Driven Evolution,” claims that “Mutation, Not Natural Selection, Drives Evolution.” In an interview for Discover Magazine, he reveals other things about evolution that Sean B. Carroll and other experts don’t seem to know.

For example, “Molecular evolutionary biologist Masatoshi Nei says Darwin never proved natural selection is the driving force of evolution — because it isn’t.” Sean B. Carroll tells us: “In the evolutionary process, a trait expands through a population when individuals possessing it survive longer and reproduce more than do those lacking the trait.” Nei tells us Carroll is wrong, and Nei has been telling others they are wrong since 1987.

Darwin told us that variation must be involved in species diversity, which became obvious when people looked at the diversity. Others decided that the diversity must be due to mutation-initiated natural selection across three-and-a-half billion years of life’s history based on calculations that indicated how long it might take for the evolution of microbes to man to occur.

Three questions arise:

1) How long do you think it might take for the evolution of microbes to man to occur via accumulated mutations without natural selection?

2) How long do you think you would last if you were unable to naturally select an appropriate source of nutrients?

3) How long do you think a species would last if it could not reproduce?

Ask the expert from Scientific American,  Sean B. Carroll. Then tell him what your attitude is about what he thinks are better attitudes about mutation-initiated natural selection.  If you ask me, or Masatoshi Nei, both of us would tell you that attitudes about evolution are based on ignorance of biological facts. To me, it is clear that even current attitudes about mutation-driven evolution are based on as much ignorance as they have always been. “We are all mutants” according to Nei.

My claim is that we have all ecologically adapted. I agree with the attitude that no mutants were naturally selected to evolve into humans.  I disagree with the idea that mutation-driven evolution “just happens”.

I think that Sean B. Carroll may be claiming that one of the two sexes mutated into existence. See: — and Carroll, S.B. (2008) The regulation and evolution of a genetic switch controlling sexually dimorphic traits in Drosophila.

See also: Kohl, J. et al. (2013) A Bidirectional Circuit Switch Reroutes Pheromone Signals in Male and Female Brains. “This model appears directly applicable to sex-specific processing of mouse pheromones…”

My summary: Conserved molecular mechanisms lead from sexual differentiation in yeasts to mammals.

Both articles were published in the same prestigious journal. In the past 5 years, the conserved molecular mechanisms of my model were extended by Johannes Kohl to the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled switch that Sean B. Carroll probably still believes somehow arises in the context of mutation-driven evolution.

I won’t argue such nonsense with the biology teachers who tout it, or their idiot minions — and they won’t answer the question of how an evolutionary process led to one of two sexes that is the naturally-selected mutant.

See also:  On the Origin of Novels? Encountering Literary Darwinism

Excerpt: “(Bear in mind that Darwinism requires no such suspension: it is simply true, believed-in or otherwise.)”

My comment: If Darwinism was simply true, why was it morphed into neo-Darwinism, and what, if anything, is true about neo-Darwism? How is it useful? Neo-Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis and selfish genes: are they of use in physiology? “If you learnt evolutionary biology and genetics a decade or more ago you need to be aware that those debates have moved on very considerably, as has the experimental and field work on which they are based.” (p 1014)

Author: James Kohl

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