3.b.2. Criticism of Darwinism

The Darwinian theory considers as a driving force in evolution the adaptation to the environment derived from the combined effect of the natural selection and the random mutations.

There is a brief description of the Theory of Darwin in chapter 9.

Despite the general acceptation of Darwinism, it has posed quite a few problems from the scientific point of view, and there has always been a criticism of Darwinism.

Before getting into an enumeration of the chief critics of Darwinism, we would like to analyze why it beat onto the theory of Lamarck or other evolutionary theories. At the end of this section, after the cited enumeration, we will discuss the current difficulties for its rejection or substitution.

In the second half of the 19th century, the humanist rationalism had extended into all of the scientific circles and found itself at full peak. There were already sufficient indications that the Earth was much older than previously thought; the position of the human being in planet’s history needed a scientific theory.

Of course, the new theory had to comply with a seemingly scientific condition and had to radically remove itself from the religious ideas that had hindered the scientific development so much. The scientific community had not forgotten the old problems of Galileo and Miguel Servet. Let’s hope they always remember!

The Theory of Lamarck seems very logical and reasonable, but it suffered a problem: it offered a leading role in the life outside the human dimension. There was something inside the plants and animals that, faced with environmental modifications, evolved consciously.

On the one side, the powerful influence of the religious ideas still existing today could not allow losing monopoly of spirituality. On the other hand, the scientific community was not going to openly struggle with the establishment to shift consciousness and intelligent life to living organisms on an internal scale but different from themselves. Moreover, there was not any scientific proof of their existence. In this case, we could talk about the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis; any theory that could resolve the contradictions of the era with a minimum of rigor would undoubtedly triumph.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) (Public domain image)
Charles Darwin (Public domain)

In this context, the Darwinian Theory emerged showing the effects of the evolution of the species; there was no reasonable doubt that man descended from the ape, and, that we know of, no one has questioned it outside of the strictly religious realm such as the Creationist Theory. In fact, even the predominantly religious confessions do not directly attack or pose a sharp criticism of Darwinism.

Another aspect is that the title of Darwin’s work comes about the evolution of species and not life evolution for which it avoids having to define life; this concept is problematic because it is not well known whether the existence of life has scientific or rather a philosophical nature.

We are not trying to deny or diminish the enormous contribution of Darwin’s theory to modern thought in anthropology, but rather to make a positive criticism of Darwinism delimiting its extension to avoid defective implications in the development of society. It is worth pointing out that any theory of evolution has many consequences on philosophical and social thinking that pervade any number of individual attitudes and acts; for example, different approaches to particular problems of social justice or efficiency of the educational system.

Weak points allowing criticism of Darwinism are numerous and interrelated; nonetheless, we are going to try to mention them in order of importance from a methodological perspective even if it means to repeat some topics while presenting problems of a different nature:

  1. The Darwinian theory of natural selection tries to explain the disappearance of non-optimal genetic modifications by lesser, or lack of, the adaptation of individuals to the environment, but it does not say anything about the origin of variations or the processes in which they are carried out.

    This argument of criticism of Darwinism it the most relevant because it is implicitly denying or limiting the slightest expression of the very concept of evolution, given that the new beings have the same genetic information as their ancestors with supposed mutations that can have a positive or negative effect. Let us think about the idea of all humans were born with the same potential of intelligence.

    The process of evolution is not in the changes in the genetic information but rather the disappearance of the less favorable changes. In Darwin’s time, there was no genetic knowledge, but they knew that something goes from some generations to others.

    Likewise, they indirectly assumed that where there is no natural selection, there is no evolution.

  2. The second issue of criticism of Darwinism is that the main argument of natural selection alone, "what exists is because it has survived and hasn’t disappeared," is a tautology. The only possible criticism is to point out the total lack of scientific severity in it.

    NEWS ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

    The Spanish mountain cats, direct descendants of the wild cats of 20,000 years ago, see better during the day than the domestic cats..., but its real importance lies in that it proposes a new mechanism of rapid adaptation of the species in very few years (between 15,000 and 20,000) in evolutionary terms.

    The adaptation of animals to their environment takes place using the death of specific cells, in this case: neurons, during the second half of fetal development.

    El País 15-01-1993. Journal of Neuroscience

  3. This model only works in long-term in our timescale. It eliminates short-term evolution. That is how the ideas emerge, like the Homo Sapiens in their beginning moments, who practically had the same intellectual capacity as nowadays, unnaturally intensifying the problems of evolutionary leaps.

  4. Implicitly, the Darwinian Theory accepts the randomness of genetic modifications, hence the name of random mutations, denying the existence of a real driving force of evolution without any scientific proof, when logic appears to indicate the contrary. The lack of evidence it a clear issue of the criticism of Darwinism.

    NEWS ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

    ...complete sequencing of the small human Y chromosome.

    The surprise has been that a fourth is long palindromes: genetic sequences that are read equally from left to right as the right to left and consist of two arms. The investigators think that the palindromes, which contain all of the genes from the testicles, allow the interchange of information within the same chromosome and that thus the mutations are repaired or transmitted.

    El País 21-06-2003.

  5. Darwin did not scientifically show the randomness in all of the cases of the variation in genetic information, nor was it shown later; it became an axiom.

    As far as we know, modern Neo-Darwinism still have not told us which specific statistical distribution follow random mutations; it could be the uniform or normal distribution, that of Poison or that of Fisher. Without a doubt, it is a great secret of science or a metaphysical mystery.

    Under certain assumptions, the method of evolution using random mutations or modifications can be acceptable. We know some bacteria produce different bacteria in a tiny proportion. If there were a change in environmental conditions, such as acidity, those bacteria would survive. After numerous generations, these bacteria would make up the new population. At the same time, it would produce a tiny amount of the first bacteria, that, where appropriate, would again allow the survival of the species.

    The example is typically used to prove Darwin’s theory of evolution, but it is a case in which generations change at a fast rate with enormous quantities of descendants.

    This argument of Neo-Darwinism is not free of criticism since the attempted random mutations are not random modifications of elemental letters or units of DNA. They could easily be understood as pre-established modifications and generated in one or various parts of DNA making up an efficient set regarding characteristics of the new being and preserving the structural code in its totality. That is, the existent mechanism of natural selection does not itself deny other methods to create the diversity of descendants.

    NEWS ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

    The mysterious origin of the resistance of bacteria.

    It is not known yet from where the bacteria borrow genes to make themselves resistant to antibiotics. The results of the search for this genes on different grounds have shown to be negative, as explained by professor Jorge Laborda.

    El País 24-11-2010

    Furthermore, another severe issue of the criticism of Darwinism here is the fact that after taking as proven mutations are random, the academy accepts the opposite. That the mutations are random but by delimited groups with specific points –which would be utterly incompatible with the first randomness so proven according to the scientific method.

  6. In its day, there were criticisms of Darwinism about its lack of the scientific method; definitely, it is a theory supported by the inductive reasoning from the observation of particular facts and making inferences about generality.

    The inductive reasoning is perfectly valid but the generalization it makes should comply with specific requirements. One of the conditions is that if one example does not satisfy the theory, it implies its refutation. Let us cite the following cases:

    • Genetic changes obtained be new techniques are not random but guided; moreover, the mechanism of natural selection is not bringing about the appearance of the new beings, like in the agriculture field. We could argue whether these changes made by humans are natural or not, but we have to keep in mind that humans, except for contrary evidence, make up a part of nature just like viruses do.

    • Likewise, we are aware viruses make changes in the DNA of the invaded cells, to reproduce themselves. It would not be surprising if they could perform another type of changes; for example, with the intention of cheating the immune system in the future, that not even one of these modifications would be transmitted or that one of the reactions would not transmit in the genetic sphere as a defense against these aggressions.

    • Recently, new experiments in evolutionary genetics ➹ have been emerging that openly contradicts the Darwinian Theory of evolution. They are so numerous we cannot mention all here, some of them are throughout this book as literal quotes from biology news, which have been appearing after the initial formulation of the General Theory of the Conditional Evolution of Life in 1990.

      NEWS ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

      More than 200 of identified human genes seem to be the result of horizontal transference of the genes of bacteria (without passing through another organism in the evolution).

      El País 19-02-2001. Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

  7. Darwinism has, on the one hand, significant shortcomings when it comes to explaining reality. Darwin tried to give sexual differentiation a broader sense than pure specialization of specific tasks because he sensed that the necessity to do so; but he could not offer any explanation, except saying it exists because is one of the best methods of evolution.

    Of course, it does not explain why in superior animals the descendants of very genetically close individuals, such as in the case of siblings, is not feasible or presents severe glitches.

    We have the impression sexual selection, about which Darwin wrote a book, goes conceptually against natural selection. The first one explains the evolutionary tendency while the second one only illustrates the deletion of some branches of the real evolutionary process.

    Any farmer knows preeminence of sexual selection versus natural selection. It makes sense Darwin needed going to Galapagos Islands to convince the general public about the non-relevance of sexual preference; naturally, no farmer could correct him because they were not in Galapagos Islands.

    The irony of life is that present engineers, farmers or cattle dealers denominate natural selection to sexual selection of stallion or seed. Undoubtedly, it must be another conquest or adaptation of Darwinist Theory.

  8. Another critical shortcoming is the almost impossibility of producing the commonly called evolutionary leaps; it is difficult to logically argue a change in the basic structure of genetic code through mutations. The only option is to resort once again to long-term evolution with the added advantage that, when we talk about long-term, we automatically lose the temporal notion. However, the very concept of evolutionary leap impedes us from using long-term in evolutionary terms.

  9. We discuss other aspects related to sexual differentiation and evolutionary leaps in the section about objectives of evolution; they belong to the central argument of the Conditional Evolution and are absent in the Darwinian theory. It makes sense due to the temporal difference of both; but as we will cite much later, the criticism is that neither the Neo-Darwinian Theory nor the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis says anything on this matter. Quite the contrary, they do not exist. The life in the scientific realm has no objective and doesn’t make any sense at all!
    NEWS ABOUT THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

    ...that fusion of two bacteria occurred first, and later the mitochondria were added.
    The transition of prokaryotes to eukaryotes’ is the greater evolutionary discontinuity in the Earth’s history. The differences are enormous, and the shift is very sudden.

    El País 14-03-2001

Given previous premises of criticism of Darwinism, there should be strong reasons for Darwinian Theory to persist throughout the entire 20th century with small conceptual modifications contributed by Neo-Darwinism and the Modern Synthetic Theory. In fact, these modifications suppose a mere update of the Darwinian Theory according to new scientific discoveries, as we will see when talking about them. Thus, the theory is still Darwinism for the general population.

The reasons should be similar to those that allowed its acceptance. Before we have discussed the formal requirements of a scientific theory’s independence from any philosophical or religious approach; nowadays this requirement is maintained with an additional problem. To refute the Darwinian Theory now, we would assume that not just rationalism of the 18th and 19th centuries but the whole scientific community of the 20th century have made a severe mistake in embracing an evolutionary theory so weak. Once more, the philosophers are right when saying scientific method is not foolproof, especially if there are sociological factors.

The novelty of the Conditional Evolution is the consideration of evolution as an internal improvement mechanism of living beings; which transmits to the descendants and that, given the complexity of involved aspects, uses multiple systems, methods or processes, depending for each case according to its specific conditions.

For a large part of society, acceptance of Conditional Evolution, or any other evolutionary theory assuming the existence of internal improvement mechanisms would mean a step back. Regardless the scientific method application, recognizing an intelligent or teleological evolution guided from the very interior of living beings sounds like a religious idea about life. It distorts the distinction of the human being and attacks the delightful anthropocentrism; in other words, it is unacceptable on principle.

Another significant part of society maintains its religious ideas, and as a result, the comments of the previous paragraph are equally applicable; again, it is unacceptable on principle.

In another way, the Theory of Darwin is a very convenient theory socially speaking and has an active idealist component; denying short-term evolution does not compromise embedding of some genetic traits related to the desired equality of opportunities.

Consequently, efforts have been made to keep evolutionary theory essence. Mentioned weakness in the previous points 1) and 5) are practically maintained, in spite of the introduction of genetics and knowledge derived from other advances in science we can talk about short-term evolution but only on a microscopic scale. These updates have been carried out first by Neo-Darwinism and, afterward, by the Modern Synthetic Theory; although the latter tries to distance itself a little more, in our opinion, it does not succeed much.

The updates have been possible due to lack of conclusive proof of the non-random nature of the modifications of genetic information, despite the knowledge about particular points of DNA change. Let us recall one of the leading issues of criticism of Darwinism is that the term natural selection sometimes is taken to an absurd generalization because of its tautological core.

The unknown has come to be considered random a priori, even against logic; although this tendency has changed due to the theory of chaos and fractal structures –incidentally, it is contrary to the famous example of the butterfly.

Despite better comprehension of sexual differentiation concerning its effects on germline evolution and sexual equality in society from a scientific point of view; lack of satisfactory explanations of previous points 7) and 8) allow methodological criticism of the essence of Darwinian theory within biology and genetics.

Despite better comprehension of sexual differentiation concerning its effects on germline evolution and sexual equality in society from a scientific point of view; lack of satisfactory explanations of previous points 7) and 8) allow methodological criticism of the essence of Darwinian theory within biology and genetics.

There have always been authors against the leading vision in evolutionary theory although they have not managed to formulate an alternative set of ideas capable of shifting it. On the other hand, the expression of their thoughts could convey a professional marginalization and risk of being described as being close to certain ideologies that have nothing to do with one or another scientific option; without a doubt, this is due to the imaginary philosophical or social repercussions. We say “imaginary” because the reality is not going to change by a better understanding.

The Conditional Evolution will suffer this risk by citing the inheritance of intelligence as a recurrent example. We want to take advantage of the occasion to the defense of that example because it has been, if not the principal, the direct cause of the development of the new evolutionary theory and, therefore, not having been chosen to attract attention intentionally. Furthermore, it is not easy to design models of evolution that can be statistically confirmable.

The list of authors would be too long, but we can make the first cite of distinguished English geologist Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873). Regardless of his attack on Darwinian Theory for religious reasons –educated in the Creationist Theory which was dominant in his time–, after reading Darwin’s theory, he expressed:

"You have deserted after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth the true method of induction..."

Adam Sedgwick, despite his creationist education, was not opposed to evolution or development in its broad sense. He believed that the Earth was extremely old, as Darwin recognizes in his notes from Sedgwick’s lectures at the university.

However, Adam Sedgwick maintained evolution was a fact of history, and he believed in the divine creation of life during long periods of time. His notable objections to the theory of Darwin were the immoral and materialistic nature of natural selection and the abandonment of the scientific method.

The Conditional Evolution understands natural selection is just one method of evolution, but it is neither unique, nor general, nor the most important. Also, from a conceptual point of view, this method occurs after the changes in the genetic information that allow the actual evolution.

On the page on Studies on evolution of intelligence, we discuss the EDI Study with its incredible results confirming the Conditional Evolution. Besides, we propose the Darwinout and Mensalina experiments to verify the extremes of the scientific theory, with a much more straightforward methodology than the EDI Study.