The Edge of Evolution

by Max Andrews

Darwinism is a multipart theory.  Some parts may be right, others may be wrong.  It’s important to distinguish what is right and what is wrong.

  • Common descent (interesting, but trivial)
  • Natural selection (interesting, but trivial)
  • Random mutation
  • The critical claim of Darwinism is the sufficiency of random mutation

The problem of rugged evolutionary fitness landscape

A realistic landscape is substantially incoherent

  • Mutations have incredible difficulty/impossibility of getting to another level of fitness

What is our best evidence of what Darwinian processes can actually do?

  • The best evidence we have to assess the abilities of Darwinian processes comes from the studies of malaria, both in genetic changes of humans and in the parasite (plasmodium falciparum) itself.
  • Reasons
  • Detailed genetic studies
  • Sheer population sizes

Varieties of DNA mutations

  • Substitution
  • Deletion
  • Insertion
  • Inversion
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genome Duplication

Much Darwinian evolution proceeds by breaking old genes

  • Disabling a gene will occur at a rate hundreds of times faster than making a specific change in a gene
  • Very, very few of possible accessible mutations are helpful
  • Random changes are incoherent

What observation demonstrates about random mutations

  • Of those mutations that affect an organism, about 99% are detrimental
  • Of even beneficial mutations there were degradations

This is not an argument that Darwinism cannot make complex functional systems; it is an observation that it does not.

The Edge of Evolutions is between classes and genera (from a scale of fine-tuning, laws of nature, physical constants to species and environmental factors)


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