Saturday, May 30, 2009

Empowering Natural Selection

Natural selection never created anything, at least not in the colloquial sense of that verb. This is not a criticism of evolutionary theory--this is evolutionary theory. According to evolution, biological designs just happen to occur, and the better designs (i.e., those that leave more progeny) tend to persist into the future whereas the worse designs (i.e., those that leave fewer or no progeny) tend to disappear. This winnowing process is called natural selection, and you can see that it doesn't create anything. Natural selection in no way induces or entices the improved mutations to occur.

The human body, for instance, must have arisen from a very long sequence of small, unguided modifications, with no outside help. The ill-suited modifications died off and the successful modifications pushed on, via natural selection, but those modifications just happened to occur. And those modifications were incredible. How did those mind-boggling designs arise in the first place? One problem here is that the biological design space is enormous and filled mostly with useless, non functional designs. How did evolution create the rare gems—the functional and successful designs that then could be selected for? Evolutionary history must have been one long, seemingly unending, sequence of miracles.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the evolution genre is so euphemistic. The absurdity of mutations and such creating mind-boggling designs over and over is avoided with such euphemisms as "selective pressure" and "environmental pressure." In evolutionary theory, such pressure does not act to produce new designs, as the euphemism implies. It only acts after the new design has already been created. Evolutionists explain that they use these euphemisms merely as convenient shorthand, but such teleological language also helps to mask the underlying absurdity.