EVOLUTION

Evolution: The Synthesis Perspective

Nash Popovic profile image

Written by Dr. Nash Popovic

If all the above is taken into account, it becomes clear that the current theory of evolution is incomplete. Too much selection, synchronisation, and amplification of the mutation rate take place to render credible the view that random mutations are the only source of evolutionary processes.

Those who believe in a God of chance may still maintain that given enough time, anything can happen by chance. The so-called ‘Infinite Monkey Theorem’[1] is frequently invoked in support of such a claim. However, this theorem hinges on the assumption of true randomness, meaning that the monkey does not repeat the same sequences. And yet, it is perfectly plausible that it can keep typing letters g and p, for example, or any other more complex pattern for ever, and never come around to accidentally complete the work of Shakespeare – in fact, the probability that it will end up in one of such loops is far greater than getting to write something meaningful. Lasting true randomness is a hard call in the physical world. Besides, the time available on this planet has been huge but not infinite. Considering these limitations, the challenge is to provide an interpretation that would give the evolutionary process a fair chance, rather than an astronomically small one.

We don’t think though that falling back onto a God the Watchmaker is a viable option. Let’s just bring here one reason among many for that. As already discussed, evolution does not happen gradually, but in leaps (rapid transformations) followed by long periods of relative equilibrium. If this has been God’s job, rather than creating for six days and resting for one, it seems that God has created for one day, and rested for six – or even longer. This is rather inefficient for an omnipotent entity. If an intelligence is involved at every evolutionary step, one would expect a steady progress – there would have been no need for the long periods of stagnation. So, what else?

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