Secular Science Mutations Adaptations

QUESTION: Secular Science and Mutations and Adaptations

ANSWER:

Another important aspect of evolutionary theory involves combining natural selection with genetic mutations to provide an explanation for adaptation. Adaptation explains why life evolved specialized abilities that allow it to survive in particular niches in the environment. During the 1930’s evolutionary scientists combined Darwin’s idea of natural selection with that of the newly discovered science of genetics and called it Neo-Darwinism.

Secular Science – Neo-Darwinism
Of course, in accepting adaptation as part of the mechanism of evolution, the Humanist must overlook (or explain away) all the apparently meaningless adaptations existing in our world. Darwin admits, “I did not formerly consider sufficiently the existence of structures which, as far as we can...judge, are neither beneficial nor injurious, and this I believe to be one of the greatest oversights as yet detected in my work.”1

Huxley attempts to solve this problem for Darwin by explaining seemingly harmful or meaningless adaptations in such a way that they could rightly be labeled beneficial. His attempt becomes absurd, however, when he tries to describe schizophrenia as a useful adaptation. He claims that “genetic theory makes it plain that a clearly disadvantageous genetic character like this cannot persist in this frequency in a population unless it is balanced by some compensating advantage. In this case it appears that the advantage is that schizophrenic individuals are considerably less sensitive than normal persons to histamine, are much less prone to suffer from operative and wound shock, and do not suffer nearly so much from various allergies.”2 Huxley does not say whether he would rather be schizophrenic or suffer from allergies.

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Charles Darwin, as cited in Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (Boston, MA: Gambit, 1971), 73.

2 Julian Huxley, Essays of a Humanist (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1964), 67.

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