On Natural Selection
2012 by Dale Bryant
Still need proof of Darwin’s theory? Read on. The fact that new species develop according to adaptation and inheritance is known as the Theory of Selection, whether it be naturally or artificially induced. It was proposed by naturalist Charles Darwin in the mid-1800’s and is known as “Darwinism”. It’s a common misconception that Darwin was the originator of the Theory of Evolution. Actually, the idea of the formation of new species by descent was proposed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck 50 years earlier and is called “Lamarckism”. It was even suspected by Aristotle. Darwin only explained the descent of organisms by means of Natural Selection, in his book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”, and only used the term 'evolution' once in this work. In fact, this theory was independently developed by Alfred Wallace at about the same time. Darwin actually put off publishing the results from his observations in his book for twenty-one years, until he was convinced that there was no other explanation possible.
The fact that breeders of dogs, cats, horses, tomatoes or strawberries breed their stock to achieve some desired result – whether it be a tastier strawberry, a smaller dog, a faster race horse, etc., is the proof. You might think that it is "only a theory", but that implies that theories don't provide proof. All scientific ideas and natural laws are backed by theories. The Theory of Selection is a mathematical constant: that is, the relationship of available space for an organism to exist and the number of organisms competing for that space. Obviously, some organisms thrive while most others die off, an invariable consequence of the mechanism of the 'Struggle for Existence', a.k.a. 'Survival of the Fittest'. The fittest, according to genetic adaptation and inheritance, tend towards survival while the least fit tend towards extinction. Very sensible, is it not? In fact, the seemingly endless variety of organisms, still very much in transitional states today, as can be seen in the rudimentary, atrophied hind legs of whales and dolphins, or the now defunct internal organs of many species, including the appendix of man--can only be explained by the Theory of Selection; otherwise it is left to the unfathomable realm of miracles.
The Theory of Selection is a self-evident law of nature and requires no further proof any more than you require further proof that more than one breed of dog exists. The fact that people from around the world look differently, or that there are German Shepherds, Chihuahua’s, Beagles and Irish Setters, is all the proof of the Theory of Selection you should require. These breeds, or, sub-species, were intentionally created – bred from a common ancestor of the genus' Canis (dog) and Lupus (wolf). In fact, some breeds of dog are so distantly related that they cannot reproduce together – although they belong to the same genus, they have, through Artificial Selection (selective breeding induced by man) become distinctly separate species. Selection induced by nature is called 'natural selection' and works in exactly the same way, only much more slowly.
Darwin also provided proof of another weighty philosophical question when he explained natural selection; that is, the question of how arrangements serving a purpose can arise mechanically without causes acting for a purpose. If you’re at all familiar with some simple math and statistics, you’ll see the logic in it immediately. If you still require proof at this point, you either don’t thoroughly understand the theory or are not sufficiently acquainted with the fundamentals of biology; and if that is the case, you really should familiarize yourself with those two components before coming to any conclusions on the subject.
Oh, just one more thing... I realize this little essay of mine smacks of sacrilege but that is not my motive at all. Like most of my writings, it was only meant to spark a little controversy and bring your blood to near boiling (contrary to popular belief, I like to have a little fun too!) But, unfortunately, like the rest of us, I was not present at The Creation (though I feel I could have given the Creator a few pointers) but, alas, the truth is, I have an agreement with God--I don’t tell Him how to design universes--and He doesn’t tell me how to interpret the obvious.
I need to stop here – hell, I’m in deep enough as it is!... would it help if I said I didn’t mean it (yes, I did), and I won’t ever do it again (yes, I will)--I promise (no, I don’t!)....
I’ll end with my favorite quotation on the obvious, as it applies to nature: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s a duck.”