Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Competition is a fundamental premise of Darwin’s natural selection model, not surprising because the main theme of his doctrine rests on individual supremacy.
Many arguments have been levelled against Darwin’s model of evolution and examples of socialised behaviour and cooperation between animals including altruism (unselfish acts) in human behaviour have been put forward to disprove the competition component of the organic model. I could do the same and run through previously argued points and highlight a few new ones. However, it is not for me or anyone else to disprove Darwin’s evolution model, instead it is up to Darwinists to provide the evidence and examples to give credibility to the natural selection model.
Darwin’s model of natural selection in a nutshell states that animals with a survival advantage are likely to produce more offspring and those without the advantage become extinct.
There is clear weakness in Darwin’s model of evolution, because the foundation on which it rests, the survival advantage, has never been demonstrated in nature, and in addition lacks clarity. The lack of clarity exists because of the absence of a definition of what a survival advantage is. It is insufficient to provide an argument of what it could be. Without a clear definition of “survival advantage”, it means something different to each individual, and therefore does not exist in reality but is an imagined feature. To deliver support for the natural selection model of evolution, Darwinists must show in at least one example an individual within a species that was or is so different from the others that the difference increased the organism’s survival chances. The important point in such an example is to clearly identify the survival advantage component.
The presence of a survival advantage by itself is not enough to rescue the natural selection model. The survival advantage must be such that it translates into a “genetic benefit” for following generations. To demonstrate that a survival advantage translates into a genetic benefit, supporters must in the very least state how much longer an individual has to survive compared to the average life time of the other members of the species. In addition and importantly the natural selection model also needs to stipulate what the increased ratio in offspring of an individual endowed with a survival advantage must be, before it can have an impact. When considering the number of additional offspring an individual with a survival advantage would deliver, one must take into account the reduction of fertility in aging animals (Baltes 1996; Baltes, Staudinger, & Lindenberger, 1999). In most animals, fertility peaks in the younger years. Darwinists must therefore explain how it is that a survival advantage or a longer life increases the number of offspring an animal produces.
The need for clarification does not end here. It is also necessary for supporters of the natural selection model to show that a genetic mutation in one individual can influence an entire species whose member numbers could range from the hundreds of thousands into the millions and even billions. An individual with a survival advantage will not pass its survival advantage on to its entire offspring but perhaps only to one or at best some of its offspring. The offspring of this individual will only receive a modified version. The trait will never be passed on in its original form. Mating with an individual without the same survival advantage modifies the genetic survival trait and most likely diminishes the desired characteristic. Remember that a survival advantage is a minute genetic change and when it first emerges is most likely insignificant. The challenge for Darwinists is to show that an insignificant genetic change that could lead to a survival advantage will not be bred out, when inheritors of the trait mix with other members of the species with dominant genetic traits established over millions of years.
The natural selection model suggests that better adapted organisms survive and the ones without the advantageous characteristics become extinct. Darwin’s model is again in contradiction with our observations of the environment. The example of the finches which Darwin produced categorically refutes the model because the finch species from which the different finch varieties on the Galapagos Islands emerged is still alive today. The fact that the original finch species is alive after new finch species emerged disconnects “change” in organisms from “survival advantage”. The survival of predecessors is also witnessed in the change from primate to human. Chimpanzees did not go extinct, and therefore it is impossible to argue that we emerged because we had a survival advantage.
Just like the invention of stasis to explain prolonged periods of time during evolution when there was no change in organisms, Darwin invented a new term to account for the emergence of a new species without the original specimens going extinct and named it “descent with modification”. Descent with modification is now better known as adaptive radiation. Providing names for different observations is helpful, because we can identify these distinct issues and discuss them. The naming of observations and describing them does however not explain them. Darwin’s fill-ins show without doubt that he was unable to categorically and comprehensively account for the change in organisms over the course of evolution.
For a hypothesis or model to have credibility, it must explain our observations of the environment in a concise manner that is testable. A scientific model must also have the ability to predict future developments. The lack of clarity and examples in the natural selection model renders it impossible to test and therefore to disprove. As long as the natural selection model remains impossible to test it is only a potential interpretation of evolution. Another deficit of the natural selection model is that it does not have the capacity to predict how organisms will change in the future. Without the organic model we don’t know how organisms will change in the future and an understanding of it does not alter this. Without the capacity to predict, its value is at best very limited.
In essence the only fundamental statement one could construe from the natural selection model is that, “the latest arrivals are the fittest”. This however does not explain behaviour or provide greater insight into the process of evolution.