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Thoughts on the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution

Imre von Soos
Copyright©2007

        In the light of how the US National Academy of Sciences on the one hand and the great minds of scientific thoughts on the other perceive Reality and formulate the direction of scientific thought and research, I will present the particular theory of "biological evolution" that the NAS supports as its official stance, expressed by its exponents with conviction, while also insisting that this and no other should be taught in the US American schools, providing with it an injurious example for also other parts of the world, gaining there, however, no followers.

        The exponents even protest, that "Some legislatures and policy-makers continue attempts to distort the teaching of evolution through mandates that would require teachers to teach evolution as "only a theory"."

        Despite the essential precondition, that everything – science, religion and philosophy – should be taught in schools as "only a theory", and let each student work out his own dynamic reality on the foundation of what is expounded to him as experimental results and the various theories built on them, what is presented in the NAS exposι under the brand name of "evolution" – and vehemently suggested to be taught as unshakable facts – is quite obviously the rather shaky neo-Darwinian evolution theory, as promoted and elucidated by its exponents, but never so by Darwin himself. That this theory is strictly "only a theory", and a rather lousy one for that, will be seen not far further on.

        It is, no doubt, correctly stated by them, that "Modern biologists constantly study, ponder and deliberate the patterns, mechanisms and pace of evolution, but they do not debate evolution's occurrence. The fossil record and the diversity of extant organisms, combined with modern techniques of molecular biology, taxonomy and geology, provide exhaustive examples and powerful evidence for genetic variation, natural selection, speciation, extinction and other well-established components of current evolutionary theory. Scientific deliberations and modifications of these components clearly demonstrate the vitality and scientific integrity of evolution and the theory that explains it."

        The indisputable evidences of the galactic and solar developments; the formations of elements and their chemical compounds and the marvellous sidereal technologies of their dissemination observed to be uniform right through the Cosmos; the emergence of organic life on this planet, its expansion and propagation through a wide array of genetic technologies, and its upgrading through cephalisation; speciation, individual and species improvement, and the prevalence of the superior and extinction of the life-incompetent variants, together with the phylogeny of the species being reproduced by the ontogeny of their individual members, as also the fossil records render the concept of the incessant universal evolution – as against the instantaneous creation into a ready-made and running complex by an extraneous entity – a concrete, indisputable fact. While these facts serve as "powerful evidence for genetic variation" and also for "speciation", and are solid foundations for further thoughts in development regarding their why-s and how-s expressed as theories, these theories cannot be declared ex cathedra to be ultimate conclusions just because their foundations are indisputably solid, like the neo-Darwinists do it with their "concept of evolution through random genetic variation and natural selection", concept, for which they have misappropriated the term "evolution" in order to use it as the one and only possible concept of the evolutionary process that can exist, and confuse with its use any issue that may suggest a rational evolutionary process coupled with the natural prevalence of the superior and extinction of the life-incompetent variants. The real issue does not turn around the question of "evolution" against "immediate creation", as the neo-Darwinians are attempting to present it, but whether the universe, and thus every fraction of it, is a fragmented and through random, purposeless, irrational chance-happenings evolving agglomeration, or a rational unbroken and seamless holistic unity of relatively autonomous objects and forms in universal flux of events and processes.

        I have to remark here, that 'life-incompetent variants' refer not only to genetical misfits and fail-births, but mostly to originally life-competent members of a species, which stagnated in their evolution – while the other members advanced as part of the evolutionary progress of the whole ecological community – becoming, through their relative degeneration, life-incompetent within their actual ecology-niche and lebensraum, and are, in consequence, unable to survive on their own accord. However, the disappearance of the life-incompetents does not explain the evolutionary advance of the superior kind, because survival through adaptation is not synonymous with evolution. The neo-Darwinian theory is confusing variation, which is change, with evolution, which is progress.

        Here comes now the neo-Darwinian credo as presented by its exponents:

        "Evolution is the only plausible scientific explanation that accounts for the extensive array of observations summarized above. The concept of evolution through random genetic variation and natural selection makes sense of what would otherwise be a huge body of unconnected observations. .. DNA is the ultimate source of both change and continuity in evolution. The modification of DNA through occasional changes or rearrangements in the base sequences underlies the emergence of new traits, and thus of new species, in evolution."

        "The concept of evolution through random genetic variation and natural selection" might be plausible to the neo-Darwinists, it is, however, built on the proposition, that the genetic material – the chromosomal blueprint – is an originating and not a registering and conveying agent, and that its "random operational defects" – which they define as "natural causes" – produce "evolutionary" changes in the following generation, which are consequently "selected", this process "causing" the emergence of new species. None of these propositions are the direct products of an "extensive array of observations", only speculations based on appearances.

        By the definition of the National Academy of Sciences, "Evolution is a series of changes, some gradual and some sporadic, that accounts for the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural and designed systems. The general idea of evolution is that the present arises from materials and forms of the past. Although evolution is most commonly associated with the biological theory explaining the process of descent with modification of organisms from common ancestors, evolution also describes changes in the universe."

        As against this vague, to all variations, including to straight out degeneration applicable interpretation, I suggest, – supported, so I believe, by the great minds of scientific thoughts – that, the Universe being logical, evolution is a self-generated, conscious, rational, mental developmental process of individual elements towards higher stages of differentiation and complexity, expressed in continuously restructured abstract and concrete life forms, and is happening in every sphere of the Natural Order. Evolution represents for every entity the advancement of its mental power in overcoming its actual psychical and physical limitations. This applies as much to the elementary particles as to the universe as a whole, and signifies that neither is complete in its present state, but is continually evolving. It is anamorphosis: an organism's exercise of its potentialities of evolution to create for and out of itself an improved, new form of life, driven by its intellect-pressure, where survival – while a sine qua non – is not the prime mover, and where diversity and complexity and not burgeoning are the dominant tendencies. The higher the intellect, and the more differentiated and expanded is the consciousness, the higher is the evolutionary state and rate of progress of the individual element, that, while cannot control how it is acted on, is the unique master of its own reactions, and the unique agent for its own change – these being the reflections of its individual being –, and that readjusts and reorganizes itself constantly according to its external perspicacity and its internal character. Individual survival depends on individual intelligence that is hereditary, developable and cumulative. The self-attained psychical and physical improvements – or declines – are being registered consequently on the genetic material – chromosomal blueprint – and transmitted through the reproductive mechanism; meaning, that the evolutionary changes happen through and within the maturing and matured entity, that transmits its newly formed qualities to its descendants, who can develop them further, or even reverse and degenerate them according to their inner qualities, and transmit further a degenerative trend. Evolution is not to be confused with adaptation to altered environmental conditions, which, if it involves specialization, is even regressive; and neither with reproduction or heredity, which is evolutionary only if it is eugenic. The "survival of the fittest" – or rather, the "prevalence of the more capable" – is a natural condition for evolution, and it is a corollary of the life-competent's survival and the life-incompetent's extinction, both taking place at the individual level.

        On the other hand, according to the NAS, "One common misconception among students is that individual organisms change their characteristics in response to the environment. In other words, students often think that the environment acts on individual organisms to generate physical characteristics that can then be passed on genetically to offspring. But selection can work only on the genetic variation that already is present in any new generation, and genetic variation occurs randomly, not in response to the needs of a population or organism. In this sense, as Francois Jacob has written, evolution is a "tinkerer, not an engineer." Evolution does not design new organisms; rather, new organisms emerge from the inherent genetic variation that occurs in organisms."

        The above referred to "students" are joined in their "misconceptions" by a good array of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, not only on the field of biology, but also on those of nuclear to astrophysics. However, they do not think that "the environment acts on individual organisms to generate physical characteristics", but that each individual organism reacts to the conditions of the environment – which it is a constituting symbiont of – according to its own and particular mental characteristics, and readjust its own physical characteristics accordingly. That "selection can work only on the genetic variation that already is present in any new generation, and genetic variation occurs randomly, not in response to the needs of a population or organism", is a neo-Darwinist delusion, never maintained by Darwin. They even top it with the statement, that "evolution is a "tinkerer, not an engineer", invoking "evolution", "which" is a process, as an active agent, "who" is a "tinkerer, not an engineer", who "does not design". In other words, they are the followers of the Unintelligent Non-design Theory, UN. The paradigm sharers assert, that "The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments."

        They explain, that "In copying its DNA nucleotides, cells inevitably make a small number of mistakes. For this reason, a few nucleotides are changed through random error each time that a cell divides." This, of course, is an observational fact, as is also, that the overwhelming majority of the gene mutations are without any consequence, and even out of those which would be, only an infinitesimal fraction is in the generative direction. It has been also found, that many genetically manipulated plants have again re-manipulated themselves back to their natural state, all by themselves, and not due to a random genetic mutation of their parents. Genes do not act individually: there is a harmonious interaction between them, representing together the whole complex, the integrity of which they reinstate together. It is a well-established microbiological finding, that genomes are routinely scanned for damage and errors by repair-genes (and not by personified "natural selection" agents, and that these errors are repaired in order to keep them functioning properly and harmoniously. This should remove random mutation as the basis of evolution from the neo-Darwinist credo, but, like it is also with the bigoted onhangers of 'Creationism' a la Moses, it does not.

        The following three sentences in the explanation of the NAS are worth to be read very carefully: "Genetic variation is random, but natural selection is not. Natural selection tests the combinations of genes represented in the members of a species and allows to proliferate those that confer the greatest ability to survive and reproduce. In this sense, evolution is not the simple product of random chance." .. "Natural selection – a differential, greater survival and reproduction of some genetic variants within a population under an existing environmental state – has no specific direction or goal, including survival of a species."

        Note, how easily and conveniently is "invoked" into the theories and thus into "the statements of science that [should] emerge from the application of human intelligence to data obtained from observation and experiment", the mythical and "supernatural" "deus ex machina", while carefully hidden within clever semantic tricks. In this case it happens at the "selection" but not at the "variation". "Selection", a verb referring to an action, a 'doing', a process, becomes mysteriously a hypostatised entity, an acting subject, personified into a mythical "Selector", a cognitive and decisive agent, "who" is "working on the genetic variation that already is present in any new generation". This "Selector", by implication a subjective consciousness, who is neither identified nor qualified by the paradigm-sharers – and is neither scientific, nor empirical – has the supernatural ability to "test the combinations of genes represented in the members of a species", and the power of decision and implementation to "allow to proliferate those that confer the greatest ability to survive and reproduce"; a feat far beyond the capacity of the members of the paradigm-sharing community. Why this great Selector, having all those superhuman potentials, allows genetic variations to be random, and is entering only in order to select between them, while having "no specific direction or goal, including survival of a species", is under the same breath "allowing to proliferate those that confer the greatest ability to survive and reproduce", and at the same time doing it "not in response to the needs of a population or organism", adds a further mystery to the myth, and a most irrational one to boot. And this COWDUNG do the neo-Darwinists and their official representation, the NAS, call "important natural process explained by valid scientific principles"? Poor school-kids, poor public! Thus the neo-Darwinian 'Unintelligent Non-design' credo recapitulated in a few words: "God plays dice" with the mutations, but then "selects" arbitrarily, without rhyme and reason, between the "throws". Or alternatively: the Intelligent Designer is dead, long live the Unintelligent Whim-selector.

        Let us get it straight: the heavy hobble of the neo-Darwinians' theory about the operation of the process does not reduce on the indisputable factuality of evolution of a previous state as the way of becoming, or makes biblical instantaneous creationism, or any other credo or theory shine. It is exactly the replacement of an invoked "extraneous creator" with an invoked "extraneous selector" – both coupled with random events without responsible agents, followed by the arbitration of a higher power – that makes the neo-Darwinian credo hobble as much as do the "creationist" credos. As a matter of fact, wherever a causeless random event is suggested in a scientific theory, a mythical, extraneously acting agent is hiding in the background as a 'subject' disguised as a 'verb', without which the theory couldn't function. But where ad hoc incidents can initiate and dominate the progress of events, or even where they can happen at all, there can be no organization, no system, only general disorder without rhyme and reason can prevail and proliferate, levelling everything like a random number generator.

        Darwin himself held that new characteristics were acquired by an organism as a result of environmental influence and then passed on to its offsprings, a theory that has originated from Lamarck. This change, he believed, combined with what he called "natural selection", but also the "survival of the fittest", has resulted in the evolutionary progress in the lineage of that organism. Note that, according to Darwin, the change has happened by and in the individual organism itself, which, if the change has promoted its survival possibilities and its evolution, it was able to transmit to its offsprings, rendering them also "fitter to survive", which is synonym to "being selected by the natural conditions". Accordingly, "natural selection" should not be taken as an operating agent, but as a process, the statement of the natural condition that the superior kind prevails. In Darwin's times the nature of the genes was unknown, although Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk in Brunn was already carrying out experiments in 1850 – nine years before the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species – that led to his discovery of the basic principles of heredity and to the science of genetics. Although Mendel has presented his theses at the Natural Science Society in 1865, and his publications have reached principal libraries in Europe and America, they had no effect in the science community, and have surfaced only in 1900, sixteen years after his death, a particularly remarkable symptom. Out of the shotgun marriage of Mendel's "principles of heredity" – that had naught to do with variation through random mutation – and Darwin's "natural selection" – that had naught to do with a selecting agent – was born, in 1930, the neo-Darwinian credo.

        It is misrepresentation when the neo-Darwinians use the name of Darwin, stating, that "it is by a Darwinian process of variation and selection in the formation and testing of hypotheses that science advances" (NAS), when he himself, in the Descent of Man (1871), published 12 years after the Origin of Species (1859), as also in his private letters, has clearly expressed, that he finds the idea of blind chance "abhorrent"; that he over-emphasized previously the idea of the "Survival of the Fittest"; and maintained, that "morality is the major evolutionary drive", and held the competitive individual to be the driving force of evolution, entering teleology into the evolutionary process as against blind chance. Darwin never was a materialist, and, the genius that he was, has presented his theories as open propositions, never allowing them to congeal into dogmas, especially not into 'Unintelligent Non-design' dogmas sporting his name.

        I am an architect and a civil engineer, very well familiarized also with the related professions, as also, through actual practice, with the properties and potentials of all its materials and trades. Using this knowledge, as also the purpose and requirements of the complex I am supposed to design, as the input of "fixed rules", and my ability, enthusiasm, love, creativity, intelligence and willpower, for the "flexible strategies", do I create and evolve my buildings, structures, hydro-electric schemes. The final thoughts, which are recorded on drawings – "genetic blueprints" – containing the summa information of the structure, are underlying the complex to be materialized through the same qualities of all the specialized contributors on the various hierarchical levels. What emerges is the effect of our "creativity" and "intelligent design", on the various hierarchical levels. None of us "plays dice" in doing his work, each functions pointedly and intelligently at his level of competence towards the fulfilment of the purpose and requirements of the complex, representing thus the underlying principle, creative thought and sustaining force of it. The existence of that ordered and functioning complex implies the existence of hierarchically ordered subjective intelligences as its designers and executors. Is our system of evolving and materializing a complex superior to that of the Universe?

        I have to stress the fundamental fact that the drawings – the "genetic blueprints" of the structures – containing the coded information of execution are but the means of communication between the designers and the executors of the object, and not its originating agents. The originating agents are, on all hierarchical levels, the individual subjective intelligences.

        By what rational thought process can it be implied that creatures happen to come about by an infinite chain of blind chance, who are then able to create and evolve their products intelligently, while themselves still being exposed to blind chance in their own evolution? Would it stand to reason that irrational causes could produce rational effects in the form of intelligent agents capable of initiating a chain of rational causation? Of course not! Because the "intelligent designer" – continuing here the set out instance and talking about myself –, has also taken, from childhood onwards, his genetic and environmental potentials as the given data, the "fixed rules", and his interests, drive, intelligence and will-power for the "flexible strategies" in his self-configuring – creating himself – into that particular "intelligent designer". And so did all the "intelligent specialized contributors" on the various hierarchical levels. And so have self-configured themselves all our ancestors, right down to the bacteria and "the electron with a soul" (Schroedinger), each providing its "descendants" with more and more improved genetic potentials for further self-configuring evolutionary move in a holistic escalation, where all motivations, designs and manifestations are intrinsically individual, none the results of some genetic manipulation of a weird, extraneous, invisible and undetectable deus ex machina, the neo-Darwinians' supernatural element, The Grand Selector.

        The "Intelligent Design Movement" of William Dembski and Michael Behe, while stating correctly that the kind of information inherent in the universe, and in biological evolution in particular, cannot be generated by purposeless, random causation, places the identity of the causative intelligence into an extrinsic and undefined "designer", easily consignable to the Biblical God of Moses, which is a fundamental error of theirs. This fact is used and misused in the attack of the materialistically oriented neo-Darwinists to the idea of intelligent design in the evolutionary process, claiming that it introduces what they define as a supernatural element – an extrinsic subjective intelligence –, which science – by their particular decree, or rather, by the particular decree of the paradigm-sharing communities – is not supposed to deal with, and which, consequently, does not exist. Should they deal with it, they would come at least to the same conclusions as I am presenting in the relation both to the biblical extrinsic Almighty and the neo-Darwinians' carefully hidden Deus ex machina.

        Purpose and requirements on the one side, and ability, enthusiasm, love, creativity, intelligence and willpower, on the other, representing an undividable unity, cannot be replaced by blind chance, the result of which, if any, can be then "consciously selected" by a third party. If a conscious and rational decision making subject is inferred to exist in one phase of a process, is there any reason for not inferring that the whole process is the consequence of the same cause and rational mental processes animated by the same subject and characteristics?



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