Does Natural Selection . . . Slow Down Evolution?

by Ken Ham on January 15, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

For years we’ve heard that natural selection (along with mutations) is the driving force of evolution. So much so that observed instances of natural selection—like in the article we will discuss below—are wrongly referred to as examples of “evolution in action” (in the sense of the “molecules-to-man” evolutionary belief system). So what do we make of a headline that proclaims, “Natural Selection Can Actually Slow Evolution, Scientists Say”?

Well, this story is reporting on research on “anther separation” (the gap between anthers in the flower) in wild radishes that found that, in addition to changing populations, natural selection can “preserve similarities between populations.” The popular science article explains how they thought about natural selection (which the article constantly equivocates with evolution) and how this new study “flips the script on that a little bit.”

Additive genetic variation – where several genes contribute to a trait – is required for traits to evolve. In what’s known as constraint, a lack of this variance tends to impede evolution even if it’s favorable to evolve.

Constraint is based on the idea that as species change over time, they can lose genetic flexibility in some ways, causing certain traits to stabilize across generations.

Where natural selection is considered to be the engine of change, constraint is the brakes.

But with these wild radishes, it turns out that they hadn’t lost the genetic variation for a small gap between anthers. Natural selection was simply “selecting” for a larger gap, without the other variation being lost (which is a good thing for the plants as they may need that genetic variation if conditions change to make other anther configurations more favorable).

Of course, all of this is good observational science as the scientists studied and measured the flowers of 3,437 wild radishes over six generations of the plants. But while the article mentions evolution over and over, no evolution was observed—the radishes remained radishes, with very minor variations because of genetic diversity already present in the genome. This is vital to understand, because evolution requires the addition of brand-new genetic information in order to change one kind into another. But that’s not what we observe; what we observe is variation within a kind because of genetic information present in that kind (created by God at the beginning).

The article never explains where the genetic variation in these radishes came from in the first place (they mention mutations, but mutations don’t create new genetic information—they corrupt already existing information!). And that’s a big problem (an insurmountable problem really) for evolution. If you can’t create the language system that is DNA, with a mechanism to create more genetic information along the way, nothing can evolve. But there’s no known naturalistic process that can do that! Molecules-to-man evolution is absurd.

Natural selection doesn’t slow down evolution—because evolution never happens in the first place.

No, natural selection doesn’t slow down evolution—because evolution never happens in the first place. Unlike the observable process of natural selection, naturalistic evolution has never been observed and never will be.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed Wednesday on Answers News with cohosts Jessica DeFord, Dr. Jennifer Rivera, and Dr. Tim Chaffey. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum, broadcast on our Answers in Genesis YouTube channel, and posted to Answers TV. We also covered the following topics:

  • What do Americans believe about evolution?
  • Good news! Court blocks bill that would force doctors to perform abortions.
  • Do Neanderthals need to be reclassified as Homo sapiens?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for January 10, 2024.

Be sure to join us each Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET) on YouTube or later that day on Answers TV for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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