Step 4: Removing Darwin’s Keystone

Darwin introduced natural selection in Chapter 4 of On the Origin of Species. He later referred to Chapter 4 as “the key-stone of my Book”.1 Modern theories of evolution continue to be referred to as the “theory of evolution by natural selection.”

But what does natural actually “do” in nature. That is, what does the “by” mean in “the theory of evolution by natural selection?

What if the keystone of natural selection could be removed from the arch of evolutionary theory? If it could, every current version of evolutionary theory would collapse. Regardless of the various ways evolution is framed today, every expression of evolutionary processes relies on natural selection as the crucial component of the process.

Recall from Step 3 that evolutionary processes to create human beings from the first living life form rely only on two easily understandable process steps:

  1. Heritable variation. That is, with each parent to child replication certain biological traits are “inherited” in the child’s genome. And these variations can be advantageous or injurious to survival. This is often refered to as “descent with modification.”
  2. Natural Selection. According to evolutionary theory natural selection is the mechanism in nature that “preserves” organisms with advantageous variations to reproduce and “rejects” those with injurious variations to die before reproducing.

We will look at the first process step–heritable variation–more closely in Step 5, and we will agree that nobody questions that the first step of the evolutionary process happens in nature. Darwin called the first step “descent with modification” and nobody questions the fact of heritable variation.

We will, however, consider the explanatory value of heritable variation in Step 5. But, the best way to grasp the explanatory value of heritable variation is to first examine evolution’s second process step: natural selection.

In Step 4 we will take a close look at natural selection, the necessary second step of the evolutionary process.

Surprisingly, we will find that it does not take a scientist to see that natural selection has no explanatory value for all existing life forms on earth. That is, natural selection is a real thing in nature, but it plays no role in the creation or preservation of all existing life forms.

One undisputed fact that must be fully realized: Natural selection acts only on already-existing organisms. Thus, natural selection cannot possibly play any role in the creation of anything. What then, does natural selection do?

Note that Creation Reformation offers a comprehensive look at the role of natural selection in The Natural Selection Paradox. Below we present the kernel of discovery on which The Natural Selection Paradox hinges. We urge you to read The Natural Selection Paradox, maybe in the abridged version.

Below we show in simple flowchart form the process of evolution. As we walk through an example of how evolution must work in nature, you will see the proper way to view natural selection. And you will not be able to un-see it.

Note that in our example time is indicated as passing vertically downward from an arbitrary time in the distant past (Time 1) to the present (Time 7). We indicate in the bracketed portion the steps of current evolutionary processes.

In the flowchart below, starting at “Time 1” Organism 1 reproduces to create a new organism at Time 2. In our example, the new organism is produced with heritable variation in the form of variation in its inherited DNA code. That is, Modified Organism 2 “descended with modification” from Organism 1, fulfilling the first step of evolution’s 2-step process. What this means, is that as shown at Time 3 there is created for the first time on earth a new creation.

Natural selection now must operate at Time 4 to either preserve Modified Organism 2 to reproduce, or to reject Modified Organism 2 (it dies by starvation, by being eaten, or by natural disaster) before reproducing.

We can grasp the idea that nature operates to “reject” certain organisms before they can reproduce. We see organisms that starve for lack of resources, organisms that get killed by stronger or faster organisms, and the occasional unlucky victim of the environment, such as natural disaster.

But what about those that are “preserved” to reproduce? What does natural selection do for those?

Study the flowchart below to find out. Focus on the fate of Modified Organism 2 as it lives through time subject to natural selection.

We see that if Modified Organism does not get “rejected” by natural selection it continues to live as it was created, that is, untouched by natural selection.

To help see more clearly that natural selection does nothing for all preserved organisms (those not rejected), imagine the flowchart exactly as shown above, but without the step of natural selection at Time 4. How does Modified Organism 2’s destiny change at Time 5 without natural selection operating in nature? Below we reproduce the flowchart with natural selection removed.


Do you see that the fate of Modified Organism 2 that descended with favorable variations remains in nature unchanged? That is, natural selection did nothing for Modified Organism 2. And we submit that natural selection does nothing for all the organisms born with favorable variations.

Human beings are said originate as a result of this evolutionary process being repeated over and over and over again to “Time 7,” the present time. We are “Modified Organism n” where “n” is a very large number.

Here in Step 4, therefore, we have demonstrated The Natural Selection Paradox: Natural selection plays no role in the process of creating an uninterrupted sequence of randomly changed genomes—and yet this process must exactly describe the history of every life form today.

The implications of the true nature of natural selection is that–if evolution is the true creation story–human beings must have been created by innumerable repetitions heritable modifications alone. Natural selection did nothing.

But what about repeated generations of organisms passing down heritable modifications generation after generation? Can we reasonably believe–as we must, if evolution is true–that they can create new life forms, including human beings? We will examine this question in two parts, Step 5, in two parts.