UC Berkeley published an online series entitled “Understanding Evolution.” Following links through “Evolution 101” and “Mechanisms: the process of evolution,” one finds a page entitled “Evo 101” and a heading entitled “Natural Selection.” Here, UC Berkeley, a leading US university, describes the process of evolution called natural selection in four steps.
Reviewing UC Berkeley’s four steps, one first reads a surprising statement that begins the description of natural selection:
Darwin’s grand idea of evolution by natural selection is relatively simple but often misunderstood. To see how it works, imagine a population of beetles:https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolution-101/mechanisms-the-processes-of-evolution/natural-selection/
Before we imagine a population of beetles, imagine something more curious: why is it that at a premier college level something as basic as evolution by natural selection requires the ironic disclaimer that natural selection is “often misunderstood?” We say ironic, because as UC Berkeley goes on to show, it is not that natural selection is “misunderstood.” It is more likely that natural selection as taught by them is perfectly understood and it clearly does nothing for the origin and existence of every living organism!
Let us explain using UC Berkeley’s materials verbatim.
We reproduce below screen shots of each of the four steps UC Berkeley cites to illustrate how natural selection works. Following each step, we offer our commentary in brackets:
[CR: Note that the first step of the process of natural selection starts with already existing organisms who have arrived on earth with “variation in traits.” This is Darwin’s “descent with modification.” The descent with modification which produced the green and brown variation in the beetles happened due solely to genetic mutations during reproduction of the beetles. As such, natural selection played no role in the origin of these organisms. So far natural selection has done nothing in this four-step process.]
[CR: This is the only step in this four-step process that has anything to do with natural selection. In this step certain organisms (in this example the unlucky green beetles) are eaten by pesky hungry birds. In Darwin’s words, natural selection “rejected” the green beetles and they are eliminated from the already-existing population of beetles. “Differential reproduction” refers to the difference in reproduction due to the green bugs being eaten (and no longer able to reproduce) leaving the lucky brown bugs unchanged in their ability to reproduce freely. Note that in this stage of the process natural selection has acted in nature only on the green beetles.]
[CR: “Heredity” just means that the surviving organisms reproduce more of the same of the already-existing organisms. In this case, the already-existing brown beetles remain unchanged and untouched by natural selection to reproduce more brown beetles. That is, the brown beetles continue living unhindered by the pesky hungry birds; for the brown beetles it’s as if the pesky hungry birds did not exist. The brown beetles live and reproduce as if natural selection did not exist.]
[CR: The “end result” is not surprising. Eventually all the green beetles get eaten while the already-existing brown beetles continue to reproduce more lucky brown beetles unhindered by the pesky hungry birds. That is, the “end result” for the brown beetles is what it is solely because they were born brown. The end result for the brown beetles is, then, not changed by natural selection at all. The same end result happens for the brown beetles whether or not the pesky hungry birds existed or not, which is to say whether natural selection existed or not.]
UC Berkeley ends with a casual statement of satisfication:
If you have variation, differential reproduction, and heredity, you will have evolution by natural selection as an outcome. It is as simple as that.Ibid.
It is as simple as that?
If UC Berkeley is correct, then evolution indeed happens, but it is not by natural selection: In UC’s example, natural selection played no role in the origin or existence of any of the brown beetles!
Need we explain?
Do you see why UC’s example supports CR’s view on natural selection? Review the four steps above, and answer this question: What did natural selection do to facilitate either of (1) the origin of, or (2) the continued existence of the brown beetles?
You should clearly see that the answer is Nothing!
If you are still not convinced, consider the inquiry in two steps with two even more simple questions:
Question 1: What role did natural selection play in the origin of the brown beetles?
Answer 1: None. The brown beetles arose (presumably, according to evolutionary theory) from random mutations as they descended with modification from prior beetles. Natural selection cannot play any possible role until there is a brown beetle to select.
Question 2: What role did natural selection play in the continued existence of the brown beetle?
Answer 2: None. The only beetles affected by natural selection in this example were the green beetles. Natural selection did nothing for the brown beetles except to “stand back and watch” (if we are to personify the term as Darwin did) as they happily exist unhindered. The lived experience of the brown beetles is the same whether natural selection acted (to eat the green beetles) or not. That is, imagine that natural selection did nothing in this example, in which case “evolution” of the brown beetle is not changed. Any evolution of the brown beetle is due solely to the random mutations that made it brown in the first place.
Thus, UC Berkeley has demonstrated The Natural Selection Paradox, which Creation Reformation originally published:
Natural Selection does nothing to explain the origin and existence of all current life forms.The Natural Selection Paradox, Creation Reformation
UC and CR agree: It’s as simple as that.
But more importantly, if, as UC Berkeley shows, natural selection plays no role in the origin and existence of all current living life forms, including human beings, why should anyone believe in evolution?