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What about natural selection?

“Nature encourages no looseness, pardons no errors”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

 According to evolutionists, the so-called Natural Selection has four main components:

  1. Variation.  Organisms (within populations) exhibit individual variation in appearance and behavior.  These variations may involve body size, hair color, facial markings, voice properties, or number of offspring.  On the other hand, some traits show little to no variation among individuals—for example, number of eyes in vertebrates. 
  2. Inheritance.  Some traits are consistently passed on from parent to offspring.  Such traits are heritable, whereas other traits are strongly influenced by environmental conditions and show weak heritability.
  3. High rate of population growth.  Most populations have more offspring each year than local resources can support leading to a struggle for resources.  Each generation experiences substantial mortality.
  4. Differential survival and reproduction.  Individuals possessing traits well suited for the struggle for local resources will contribute more offspring to the next generation. 

Source: Global Change

Well, these four points are in fact undeniable, provided they actually occurs in nature (yet, not to the extent of causing the “macro-evolution”, it simple causes sick, old, weak organisms to be eliminated, whereas the most health, strong ones succeed in reproduction, a process that only causes the maintenance of the already existent genetic content). Read, for example, this AiG link telling the reality of natural selection (also: ICR article  “Natural” Selection versus “Supernatural” Design; CMI’s Q&A; Creationscience).

The article proceeds:

“During the twentieth century, genetics was integrated with Darwin’s mechanism, allowing us to evaluate natural selection as the differential survival and reproduction of genotypes, corresponding to particular phenotypes.  Natural selection can only work on existing variation within a population.  Such variations arise by mutation, a change in some part of the genetic code for a trait.  Mutations arise by chance and without foresight for the potential advantage or disadvantage of the mutation.  In other words, variations do not arise because they are needed.”

Oh yeah, mutations.. What are they?

“In genetics, a mutation is a change of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organismvirus, or extrachromosomal genetic element. Mutations result from unrepaired damage to DNA or to RNA genomes (typically caused by radiation or chemical mutagens), from errors in the process of replication, or from the insertion or deletion of segments of DNA by mobile genetic elements. Mutations may or may not produce discernable changes in the observable characteristics (phenotype) of an organism. Mutations play a part in both normal and abnormal biological processes, including evolution,cancer, and the development of the immune system.” Wikipedia

When the genetics was integrated with ToE, mutations  became thus the  driving forces of evolution (even despite the fact they are mostly harmful or neutral!). The Wikipedia article goes on, and later it mentions some “beneficial” mutations, such as the CCR5-Δ32, which causes HIV-resistance; the defective gene which causes sickle-cell anemia, but also causes malaria resistance, and the bacterium that became resistant to vaccines, etc. Surely these aren’t the best examples for a process allegedly causer of improvement, enhancement on living beings, driving to “uphill” evolution. However, this is the “best” mutations can do, aside from being neutral. 

But, in the evolutionist world, mutations are dandy! As the Wikipedia states:

“Mutations can involve large sections of DNA becoming duplicated, usually through genetic recombination. These duplications are a major source of raw material for evolving new genes, with tens to hundreds of genes duplicated in animal genomes every million years.”

Not only the Wikipedia, but also renowned scientific papers, such as the Nature, which describes:

“Mutations can have a range of effects. They can often be harmful. Others have little or no detrimental effect. And sometimes, although very rarely, the change in DNA sequence may even turn out to be beneficial to the organism.”

What are the probabilities of an OFTEN HARMFUL/NEUTRAL factor actually leading to the origin of millions and millions of species, extant and already extinct?

The same Nature article declares some lines later:

Mutations are essential to evolution. Every genetic feature in every organism was, initially, the result of a mutation. The new genetic variant (allele) spreads via reproduction, and differential reproduction is a defining aspect of evolution. It is easy to understand how a mutation that allows an organism to feed, grow or reproduce more effectively could cause the mutant allele to become more abundant over time.”

Of course, “it’s easy to understand” that mutations are enhancing, except, of course, for the numberless genetic diseases, deformations, sterility, etc (it’s expected that any mutant organism should be ripped off by natural selection for not being “fit”). But nothing poses as a problem for a theory as plastic as the ToE!

Before proceeding with the article, I could not leave this part go unnoticed:

“For instance, genes control the structure and effectiveness of digestive enzymes in your (and all other vertebrate) salivary glands. At first glance, mutations to salivary enzymes might appear to have little potential for impacting survival. Yet it is precisely the accumulation of slight mutations to saliva that is responsible for snake venom and therefore much of snake evolution. Natural selection in some ancestral snakes has favored enzymes with increasingly more aggressive properties, but the mutations themselves have been random, creating different venoms in different groups of snake.”

The famous evolutionist’s ability to “flight on fancy” about non-testable, imaginary scenarios on evolution… Do not notice the “might appear”, or “if” when they do their fantasy, regardless of these subjective words, they are actually  totally sure that these scenarios really happened! How trustworthy…

Returning to the main subject, the term “Natural selection” was derived from the “artificial” one, i.e., selective breeding made by men, in the agriculture, animal/plant breeding, selecting the most agreeable, productive, resistant varieties and discarding these with uninteresting features. Darwin himself inspired in this millennial custom to draw the main driving force of his original theory. Verily, selective breeding has “created” more productive plants and animals, improving the production of food and grains,  among other things. But, with respect to genetic variety, new content, etc, what artificial selection has proven therefore? Did the (artificial) selection caused the arising of new genetic information? The answer definitely is NOT!

If so, we would not face some intriguing problems, like it happens with dog breeding. Over many hundreds of years, humans have produced the various breeds by specifically selecting different traits to breed for; there are currently over 200 distinct varieties of dog, but all belong to the same species, and could theoretically breed with each other, though size difference between larger and smaller breeds renders some combinations unlikely.

Over time, breeding only for certain traits allows great predictability in what a dog’s offspring will look like—a Dalmatian mated with a Dalmatian will produce Dalmatian puppies, and so on. When this occurs regularly, the type of dog becomes an official breed. But this predictability comes at a genetic cost. The breeders have drastically reduced the amount of genetic information in the population of dogs—such as for other coat colours and lengths, or different sizes or temperaments. This caused painstaking problems for some breeds..

The bigger dog breeds become susceptible to hip dysplasia, others are plagued by heart problems. The King Charles Spaniel is prone to an extremely nasty condition, syringomyelia (SM), in which the skull is too small to house the brain. In the documentary, veterinary neurologist Clare Rusbridge described the condition: “A burning pain, a piston-type headache, abnormal sensations to even light touch, even items of clothing, a collar, for example, can induce discomfort for these animals.” She believes up to one-third of the breed could be affected by this condition.

Overall, there are 500 genetic diseases which are known to occur in dogs. This is fewer than those documented in humans, but in dogs they occur at a much higher rate. The problem is that when the gene pool has been so depleted, it is not possible to avoid breeding diseased dogs, because that would be impoverishing the gene pool even more, and could lead to new diseases and disorders in a breed. Rusbridge acknowledged this to be true. (source)

“Mutts”, or even crossbred dogs, have a much lower chance of having these diseases, because many are genetically recessive—a healthy copy of the gene will override a diseased gene. Because the diseases are also often breed-specific, even breeding two purebred dogs of different breeds will normally produce much healthier offspring than a purebred mating. The mutts will have lower instances of disease as well as being slightly longer-lived on average.

In Britain, an already bad situation has been compounded in many ways by the Kennel Club’s breeding and show dog practices. First, the gene pool of the breeds is artificially restricted to the descendants of the originally-registered dogs from the mid-nineteenth century—in some cases, only a handful of dogs. This means that genetic diversity cannot be re-introduced into a breed, even if this means making the population healthier.

Second, there is extreme selection for absolute perfection in appearance—breeders seek to produce dogs which adhere to the breed standard as closely as possible. This causes them to remove dogs that fall short of that standard, such as Dalmatians with non-standard markings, albino dogs, or Rhodesian Ridgebacks with no ridge, from the gene pool of the species, either by simply not mating them, or by culling them as puppies. This renders the overall population even more genetically impoverished.

Third, extreme inbreeding has been the norm—it is common to mate littermates, or to mate a female dog with her “grandfather”, or “mother” to “son”. Evolutionary geneticist Steve Jones criticized the practice: “People are carrying out breeding which would be, first of all, it’s illegal in humans, and second of all, it’s absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals.” Such close interbreeding is done to ‘fix’ certain desirable traits in the line, but it also makes the dogs more disease-prone.

Because there is no regulation against breeding dogs which are known to carry a genetic disease like syringomyelia, dogs with conditions like this, if they are popular studs, can go on to sire dozens of litters. This spreads the genetic disease throughout the breed.

All these factors together have made modern breeds very genetically impoverished—in some breeds, only 10% of the genetic variety that was in the breed 40 years ago has been passed down to the current descendants of the breed. For instance, the Pug breed in the UK, although it has 10,000 dogs, has the genetic information equivalent to that of 50 distinct individuals. In 2004, Dr Jeff Sampson wrote:

“Unfortunately, the restrictive breeding patterns that have been developed as part and parcel of the purebred dog scene have not been without collateral damage to all breeds … Increasingly, inherited diseases are imposing a serious disease burden on many, if not all, breeds of dog.”

How artificial selection depletes information.

In the example on the right (simplified for illustration), a single gene pair is shown under each dog as coming in two possible forms. One form of the gene (S) carries instructions for large size, the other (s) for small size.

In row 1, we start with medium-sized animals (Ss) interbreeding. Each of the offspring of these dogs can get one of either gene from each parent to make up their two genes.

In row 2, we see that the resultant offspring can have either large (SS), medium (Ss) or small (ss) size. But let’s suppose that breeders want large dogs. They would select the largest dogs in the next generation to breed. Thus only the big dogs pass on genes to the next generation (line 3). So from then on, all the dogs will be a new, large variety. This is artificial selection, but natural selection would work on the same principle, if large dogs would do better in their environment. Note that:

  1. They are now adapted to their environment, in this case breeders who want big dogs.
  2. They are now more specialized than their ancestors on row 1.
  3. This has occurred through artificial selection, and could have occurred through natural selection.
  4. There have been no new genes added
  5. In fact, genes have been lost from the population—i.e. there has been a loss of genetic information, the opposite of what microbe-to-man evolution needs in order to be credible.
  6. Not only genes for smallness were lost, but any other genes these small dogs carried. They may have had genes for endurance, strong sense of smell, and other things, but they are lost from the population. Genes on their own are not selected; it’s the whole creature and all the genes they carried.
  7. Now the population is less able to adapt to future environmental changes—if small dogs became fashionable, or would perform better in some environment, they could not be bred from this population. They are also genetically impoverished since they lack the good genes that happened to be carried by the small dogs. (Source)

The list of problem goes on, now, in the agriculture, another area facing the problems with the “bottle-necking”, depletion of gene variety. Example, in Ireland, during the 1840’s, a terrible famine took place (Irish Potato Famine), causing over 1.5 million people deaths, due to a plague (potato blight) that did lead to a total crop failure.

Why did the potatoes succumb to the disease? Potatoes came from the Andes mountains of South America, where many different varieties were grown, including some which could resist potato blight disease. When potatoes were introduced to Europe in the 1500s, this did not include varieties with resistance to this disease.

Therefore the crops in Europe were all susceptible to the disease when it arrived. (Ireland suffered the most because of its very high dependence on potatoes for the complex carbohydrate portion of their diet, whereas others had more grain crops). They succumbed because of the lack of genetic variety, which included the genes for resistance to blight.

The pattern has been repeated many times since. In 1970 in the U.S., genetic uniformity resulted in loss of almost a billion dollars worth of maize because 80% of the varieties being grown were susceptible to a virulent disease known as ‘southern leaf blight.’ (FAO)

Plant breeders have been very successful in increasing the yields of all sorts of crop plants—so successful that farmers have been replacing the local, traditional varieties with the new varieties. For example, in China, at least 9,000 varieties of wheat have been lost since 1949.

The ‘Green Revolution’ saw the development of high-yielding rice and wheat varieties and their rapid replacement of traditional, community-bred varieties (‘landraces’). For example, by 1984 in Bangladesh, 96% of the wheat grown consisted of Green Revolution varieties.

A single variety of the ‘miracle wheat’ accounted for 67% of all the wheat planted. This has contributed to the feeding of many millions of people. However, the loss of the traditional varieties, and the reliance on relatively few new varieties, poses problems.

Large areas of a uniform variety are susceptible to new strains of pests and disease for which the variety lacks resistance. These new pest or disease strains can be introduced from overseas, or new varieties can occur through normal reproduction which results in new combinations of existing genes. Just as with antibiotic resistance, these new disease strains do not arise through the development of new, functional genes,3 so this has nothing to do with particles-to-people evolution.

To try to keep ahead of new strains of pests and diseases, plant breeders introduce new genes from wild plants of the crop species, or from ‘landraces,’ into new varieties. New varieties generally last only five to seven years before they are replaced.

However, with loss of the wild types and landraces, plant breeders could lack the sources of genes for the further breeding needed to increase yields, decrease dependence on fertilizers and pesticides, improve quality, breed for drought resistance, cold/heat tolerance, salt tolerance, and many other things. So the loss of the genetic information needed to achieve these objectives is a serious problem. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that about 75% of genetic diversity in agricultural crops has been lost this century—largely by the replacement of landraces with the new varieties.

A term was coined due to this increasingly troubling question: The genetic vulnerability, used to indicate the condition that results when a crop is uniformly susceptible to a pest, pathogen, or environment hazard as a result of its genetic constitution, thereby creating a potential for disaster. Two important factors interact to increase the potential for crop failure: (1) the degree of uniformity for the trait controlling susceptibility to the hazardous agent or environmental stress, and (2) the extent of culture (often monoculture) of the susceptible variety. The greater the uniformity for a susceptible trait and the more extensive the area of cultivation, the greater the risk of disaster.

There is cause for concern when extensively planted cultivars of major crops are derived from limited gene pools and, hence, are uniform for a high percentage of traits with narrow based resistances to common pathogens or other agents. These concerns have prompted surveys of plant breeders on their perceptions of the gravity of the problem and a reevaluation of trends in international varietal development and distribution.

Although some breeders and scientist are encouraged by the wider availability of crop gene pools into which exotic plant genes have been introduced, others are worried that genetic uniformity may be increasing on a global scale because of the widespread adoption of modern varieties with similar genetic backgrounds across continents where large numbers and mixtures of landraces were formerly grown.

Breeders can strengthen plant resistance against epidemics by broadening the diversity of resistance genes and “pyramiding” multiple genes from different sources and genes controlling other mechanisms of resistance. (source)

If random copying mistakes (mutations) originally generated all the information, surely it should not be too hard for highly intelligent scientists to create the required genes for breeding new improved varieties? However, with all that we now know about genes, no one can yet create a gene—for example, for rust resistance—from scratch. Plant breeders recognize that the information in the genes of plants is irreplaceable.

The evolutionist E.O. Wilson wrote: ‘Each species is the repository of an immense amount of genetic information. The number of genes range from about 1,000 in bacteria and 10,000 in some fungi to 700,000 or more in many flowering plants and a few animals … . If stretched out fully, the DNA [in one cell] would be roughly a meter long. But this molecule is invisible to the naked eye. … The full information contained therein, if translated into ordinary-size letter of printed text, would just about fill all 15 editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica published since 1768.’ Biologist David Janzen, University of Pennsylvania, said that destroying tropical forests for paper manufacture would be ‘like pulping the Library of Congress to get newsprint.’

Banking on genes

In recognition of the problem with crop plants, ‘gene banks’ for various crops have been set up around the world. For example, more than 80,000 rice varieties are maintained at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. The gene bank provides rice seed samples on request. When Cambodia got through the notorious evolution-inspired Pol Pot upheavals, the rice farmers could resume growing their lost varieties from seed supplied from the rice seed collection.

However, seeds held in gene banks are vulnerable because of the need to grow the seed periodically to produce fresh seed. Gene banks are labour intensive, costly to maintain, and not easy to raise funds for. Storage at –20°C enables some seed to remain viable for up to 100 years, but this depends on continuous maintenance of refrigeration facilities. From a survey, FAO estimated that almost half of all stored seeds need to be regenerated—that is, these strains are liable to be lost.

Also, only major crop plants are covered by such gene banks. Non-cereal plants which are an important source of food in subsistence agriculture in the tropics tend to be neglected in gene banks. For example, wheat accounts for 14% of all gene banks, whereas cassava, a major poor people’s crop, accounts for only 0.5%.

In addition to the large gene banks, there are ‘Seed Saver’ groups who voluntarily collect and grow traditional varieties no longer grown commercially by farmers. Folk involved in such seed saving actions network with one another to share rare varieties.

Organizations concerned with conserving genetic resources, such as The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) in Rome, Italy, now recognize the importance of getting farmers themselves to maintain their traditional varieties. Non-government organizations (NGOs) have been leading the way with this approach.

The greatest project with this desperately necessary purpose is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, as we read in the Wikipedia page:

Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Svalbard

Svalbard Global Seed Vault is located in Svalbard, Norway

“The Svalbard Global Seed Vault(Norwegian:Svalbard globale frøhvelv) is a secure seedbank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) from the North Pole.[4] It was started by conservationist Cary Fowler in association with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR),[5] and functions to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds in an underground cavern. The seeds are duplicate samples, or “spare” copies, of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The seed vault is an attempt to provide insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large-scale regional or global crises.”

Remember that Gene banks are a type of biorepository which preserves genetic material (again, it’s a funny thing that we may need to build these banks, if evolution/natural selection/miraculous mutations are around to create new genetic variations out of thin air, as it allegedly did during the Earth’s history).

What’s the mission of this Global Seed Vault?

“The Svalbard Global Seed Vault’s mission is to provide a safety net against accidental loss of diversity in traditional genebanks. While the popular press has emphasized its possible utility in the event of a major regional or global catastrophe, it will certainly be more frequently accessed when genebanks lose samples due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts and natural disasters. Such events occur with some regularity. In recent years, some national genebanks have also been destroyed by war and civil strife. There are some 1,400 “crop diversity collections” around the world, but many are in politically unstable or environmentally threatened nations.”

CONCLUSION

It’s seems (again) that the proposed premises of the “factual” Theory of Evolution insists on failing the tests and observations, despite that it “works” flawlessly in the computer simulations, papers and evolutionist’s mind. We can’t expect that either natural and artificial selections may cause the origin of new genetic varieties and content, by logic and fact this is only possible when caused by an intelligence acting behind it, which points to A Creator God over again.

 

God bless you!

One response to “What about natural selection?

  1. Kyle July 12, 2013 at 14:32

    Damn scientists. Always trying to find explanations for things.

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