Don's Weekly Columns

Discovery Troublesome for Evolution

The July, 2003 Smithsonian magazine, (pp. 66+) in an article entitled “Close Encounters of the Sneaky Kind”reports a discovery that has almost unbelievable implications for the evolutionary theory. The admits that the discovery runs counter to the “accepted dogma,” to such an extent that it even asks, “What is wrong with this picture? Absolutely everything.” However, the article does not develop in-depth exactly why the discovery is so counter to the norm, and it certainly does not discuss at length about what the discovery means for the foundation of evolutionary thought.

To understand the importance of the discovery, you have to understand the foundational pillars of evolution: “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection.” In short, evolution teaches that in nature, competition for breeding rights weeds out the weakest of the gene pool. Battles for supremacy ensure that the strongest specimens win out, and then pass on their genes. Thus, as the strongest breed and pass on their genes, this ensures the ever upward evolutionary journey. Now, there are lots of problems with this theory, even thought it does sound good, in theory. And now, this discovery calls that theory into question in a very strange and powerful way.

Here is what has been discovered. In animals as diverse and wide ranging as dung beetles to orangutans, it has been discovered that the weaker members of the species are in fact, very successful in breeding in spite of the fact that they may even have been defeated in combat for the breeding rights! In one dung beetle species in Panama, the dominant male fights all comers, and seemingly wins the breeding rights to the female that he has sequestered underground. He then stands at the entrance of the tunnel leading to his prize.

 Meanwhile, what scientists are now calling “satellite males” or “sneaker males,” that are no match for the dominant male jealously guarding the tunnel entrance, digs his own tunnel at an angle that intersects with the females hiding place. He digs into her chamber, breeds with her, and then makes his escape, all while “Brutus” guards what he thinks is the secure “bridal chamber.” This scrawny specimen then proceeds to go to other chambers passing on his genes to female after female. This same scenario, in different form, is played out in all sorts of different animals throughout the world. In other words, it only looked like “the fittest” was passing on his genes!

The implications for the evolutionary theory are profound, and far reaching. As the Smithsonian article says “everything” is wrong with what has now been discovered. This discovery violates every tenet of evolutionary doctrine about sexual behavior. It will be fascinating to see how the evolutionary world copes with this important discovery. For now, they seem to be deeply troubled, but are not showing exactly how troubled, perhaps hoping that those who believe in creation will not catch onto what has been found. It will be fascinating to watch, and we will keep you posted.

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