Some science behind the scenes

Theory of Evolution

Evolution is defined as 'change in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations'.

In science today this theory has become a purely physical theory based on genes.  But it was never intended to be.  At the time that the theory was proposed by such as Alfred Russell Wallace, the ideas at the time were based on evolution of the functions of species, from which form may follow.  There was, in other words, a 'Designer', although the term was simply a role not some attribution to 'God'. 

There was a system of the universe, a vast integrated set of functions, and the form simply followed on from the idea that form was needed to execute the functions.  You can't have a software program without a computer.

The current purely gene based physical interpretation of this theory does not stand up to scrutiny.

  • It is stated that a species which is not fit for purpose will die out because their design will be unsuited to the environment and they will starve or die from illness.  But most breeding cycles start very early in all species and stress sometimes has the odd effect of causing  animals and plants to breed and reproduce.  A stressed plant often produces seed – quite viable seed.  It is a known way to get plants to flower – to stress them.  Even human populations breed when the conditions would seem entirely unfavourable.  In effect, unfavourable genetic traits – unfavourable because they are unsuited to the environment  - aren’t eliminated, they are actually prolonged - reproduced in reality
  • It is thus not the strongest and fittest genetically that survive, but the strongest and fittest ‘mentally’.  For example, a rabbit in barely viable country may  reproduce and produce maybe 10 offspring.  The rabbit itself may die shortly after – unfit for its environment, but its genes will continue in its offspring.  In those rabbits there may be a smarter rabbit that decides to eat other sorts of plants or goes off elsewhere.  Its genes will survive, but the genes had nothing to do with its survival, it was just a smarter rabbit, a more adaptable rabbit. 
  • In effect, form then follows the function change.  The smarter rabbit says, “enough of grass, round here there is no grass, instead I will eat acacia, because here there appears to be a lot of acacia”, and it finds it needs a much harder mouth lining [like the giraffe] to eat acacia and Nature [I’ll call it Nature to make it easier] provides the changes needed – adapts the genes to give it what it needs to do what it wants to
  • It makes no sense to talk of “fortuitous mutations “, as if purely by chance, to a specific species in an environmental niche, requiring a new design, at that time, wonderfully,  suddenly,  the mutation it needs appears.  If you actually watch any species, placed in new environments or presented with new opportunities, they come up with lots of new learned behaviour, they don’t mutate.  Blue tits learned how to peck into foil milk bottle tops in the 1950s, and our squirrels are learning all sorts of truly amazing ways of getting to our bird feeders.  Presumably in time, if any of this new learned behaviour required a change in design it might follow, but  form follows function every time

So, if we summarise, the evolution taking place is of learned behaviour.  When a species stops learning and creating function, it is in danger of being removed and made extinct.  Learned behaviour is 'inherited', functions get attached to the Tree of Life, adding to overall functional power.  Over time, different forms may evolve to match the new learned behaviour. 

But form follows function every time.

Observations

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