Why Evolution is Wrong, post 4 of 10: The Problem of Extinction.

        Many students who have taken biology classes taught by evolutionists have heard the following phrase, or something like it: “natural selection produces biological diversity.”  I believe that the widespread use of this phrase is counterproductive because it is not the most accurate way of teaching the truths of nature as revealed by contemporary science.  This phrase implies that natural selection is responsible for creating diversity, which is not true at all. Biological diversity is already coded into our DNA; natural selection only guides its manifestation. If evolutionary theory is correct, genetic diversity actually arises through mutation.  Natural selection is a destructive force that eliminates “bad” diversity: mutations that do not increase an organism’s chance of survival.  Students who grow up hearing the phrase “natural selection produces biological diversity” often infer that natural selection generates brand new structures in organisms all by itself. This false idea, although extremely useful in convincing children that evolution is true, will only have to be re-educated out of them later on in life if they choose to study biology or genetics at a higher level. 

            Those who insist on teaching this phrase anyway would likely argue that we see many examples of diversity arising from selection all around us.  They would point to any of the usual suspects: color of fur coats in mice, the shades of peppered moths, and of course, variety in sizes of finch beaks. But as I have already pointed out numerous times, none of the genetic coding for these things was generated by natural selection. I feel like a broken record but I must say it again so that people get it. These genes were created either by mutations or by God himself. All that natural selection did was manifest them outwardly; perhaps for the first time.  But the genes themselves were already there.*

            If I had the time and desire I could spend the rest of this post excusing Darwin for the part he has played in starting this misconception of what natural selection can do.  I just admitted, at the end of the last paragraph, that selection does create displayed variety (like the variety within dog breeds), and this was all the evidence that Darwin had to work with before genetics and DNA were understood.  But what we should be teaching kids about today is genetic diversity.  We need to tell the kids that animals with more extreme characteristics actually have less diversity in the DNA due to generations of inbreeding. Therefore the “biological diversity” created by natural selection is extremely artificial. If all the diversity in life was created through random mutations acted on by natural selection, then this process must have been working constantly over the course of million of years to create a net increase in biological variety. I find this seriously unlikely considering the destruction to the gene pool waged every year by natural (and “unnatural”) selection. To put it in plain terms, the problem is extinction.  We are simply losing too much unique genetic code too quickly.

            Indeed, things are beginning to look bleak for life forms all over our planet. According to a Wikipedia article on extinction “some scientists estimate that up to half of presently existing species may become extinct by 2100.  Obviously this is one of the more pessimistic estimates: many other scientists would undoubtedly predict a much slower rate. Nevertheless, one can see the problem this poses for evolution.  Millions of years worth of evolution (supposedly) disappears along with each species that ceases to exist. If things continue in this way for too much longer (a few short million years or so), all life on the planet is eventually doomed.

            Evolutionists challenge this argument against their theory by saying that it’s not fair to assume that the present rate of extinction is the average one. Their response, also found on Wikipedia is the “Background extinction rate.” They describe it as follows:

             “the standard rate of extinction in earth’s geological and biological history before humans became a               primary contributor to extinctions. This is primarily the pre-human extinction rates during periods in        between major extinction events.”

            I have no objection to the idea of a “background” or “average” extinction rate. I do not deny that recent industrialization and exponential growth of the human population have rapidly increased extinction levels world wide.  However, according to punctuated equilibrium, a popular evolutionary doctrine, life evolves faster as a result of extreme selection pressure, like the one we’re living in now.  Therefore slower rates of extinction will result in slower raters of evolution (although they may not be perfectly simultaneous). If falling asteroids and large carnivorous reptiles are supposed to increase the rate of evolution, then why does the threat posed by humans not have the same result?  Finally, I believe that the background extinction rate itself occurs much faster than the creation of new species, or more importantly, genetic diversity. Scientists’ experiments on speciation, although very interesting, do little more than create breeding rifts between existing species. Regardless of their success, the destruction of genetic information, which is easy to observe, easily cancels out any gradual increase of genetic information, which happens so slowly that we barely even see it. 

* Even Jerry Coyne admits as much in page 117 of his book.


1 Response to “Why Evolution is Wrong, post 4 of 10: The Problem of Extinction.”

  1. 1 Jingle May 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    smart thinking!

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