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The Surprising Limits of Natural Selection

A Scientific Problem

The mechanisms that theistic evolutionists propose as the means by which God created the world are themselves demonstratively not creative. That’s a big problem—a scientific problem.

Mutation and natural selection, for very many reasons, are now understood to have very limited creative power. In particular, they don’t seem to be very good at generating novelty: new form, and the new information necessary to build it.

Natural selection explains the survival, but not the arrival of the fittest.

These are true mechanisms. No contributor to Theistic Evolution doubts that natural selection and random mutation or random variation is a genuine biological process. What we do doubt is that those mechanisms have the power to generate fundamentally new forms of life and even fundamentally new proteins, which are part of the smallest unit of innovation in the history of life. To build anything new in life, you’ve got to have new DNA code, which would produce a new protein fold.

For some technical reasons, we don’t think that the Darwinian mechanism can generate novel protein structure, and many other scientists are questioning the idea that it can generate new biological form, new body plants for example.

Origin of Life

So, you hear lots of evolutionary biologists today saying things like natural selection explains the survival, but not the arrival of the fittest. It does a good job of explaining things like beaks getting a little bit bigger and a little bit smaller. Add that adaptation to environmental change, but it doesn’t do a good job of explaining where you get birds in the first place.

So, to attribute to that mechanism the creativity of the Creator is scientifically problematic because the mechanism lacks creativity. Why would you say that’s God’s way of creating when the mechanism itself lacks creativity? Leading people in evolutionary biology today are providing very good reasons for doubting precisely the capacity of that mechanism.

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