by Babu G. Ranganathan
Thanks to Charles Darwin, many have confused natural selection with evolution itself. Yes, Charles Darwin did show that natural selection occurs in nature, but what many don't understand is that natural selection itself does not produce biological traits or variations. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are produced. Natural selection only operates once there is life and reproduction and not before. Therefore, natural selection could not have had any influence in life's origin.
Natural selection is an entirely passive process in nature, not an active one. The term "natural selection" is simply a figure of speech. Nature, of course, does not do any active or conscious selecting. When a biological change or variation occurs within a species and this change or variation (such as a change in skin color, etc.) helps that species to survive in its environment then that change or variation also will survive and be preserved ("selected") and be passed on to offspring. That is called "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest." But, neither "natural selection" nor "survival of the fittest" produce any change.
Natural selection works with evolution but it is not evolution itself. Since natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are produced and which have survival value, the real question to be asking is what kind of biological variations are naturally possible. How much biological variation (or how much evolution) is naturally possible in nature? Darwin did not realize what produced biological variations and traits. Darwin simply assumed that any kind of biological change or variation was possible in life. However, we now know that biological traits and variations are determined and produced by genes or the genetic code.
The evidence from science shows that only micro-evolution (variations within a biological "kind" such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.) is possible but not macro-evolution (variations across biological "kinds", especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones). The only evolution that is observable and possible in nature is micro-evolution (or horizontal evolution) but not macro-evolution (or vertical evolution).
The genes (chemical and genetic instructions or programs) for micro-evolution exist in every species but not the genes for macro-evolution. Unless Nature has the intelligence and ability to perform genetic engineering (to construct entirely new genes and not just to produce variations and new combinations from already existing genes) then macro-evolution will never be possible.
We have varieties of dogs today that we didn't have a couple of hundred years ago. The genes for these varieties had always existed in the population of the dog species but they simply never had an opportunity for expression until the right the conditions came along. The genes themselves didn't evolve! What we call "evolution" is really nothing more than the expression of already existing genes that didn't have opportunity for expression before.
No matter how many varieties of dogs come into being they will always remain dogs and not change or evolve into some other kind of animal. Even the formation of an entirely new species of plant or animal from hybridization will not support Darwinian evolution since such hybridization does not involve any production of new genetic information but merely the recombination of already existing genes.
Modifications and new combinations of already existing genes for already existing traits have been shown to occur in nature but never the production of entirely new genes for entirely new traits. This is true even with genetic mutations. For example, mutations in the genes for human hair may change the genes so that another type of human hair develops, but the mutations won't change the genes for human hair so that feathers, wings, or entirely new traits develop. Mutations may even cause duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, etc. even in another part of the body!), but none of these things qualify as new traits.
Evolutionists believe that, if given enough time, random or chance mutations in the genetic code caused by random environmental forces such as radiation will produce entirely new genes for entirely new traits which natural selection can act upon or preserve.
However, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that random mutations have the ability to generate entirely new genes which would program for the development of entirely new traits in species. It would require genetic engineering to accomplish such a feat. Random genetic mutations caused by the environment can never qualify as genetic engineering!
Most biological variations within a biological kind (i.e. varieties of humans, dogs, cats, horses, mice, etc.) are the result of new combinations of already existing genes and not because of mutations.