reply to post by troubleshooter
No-one has yet demonstrated that a 'mutation' can lead to a beneficial change.
That is not correct. It is so absurdly, trivially, untrue that it hardly merits a response. Unfortunately there are more than a few people that are
confused about this that it just cannot be let pass.
The mutations that led to the human ability to speak was a beneficial change. The mutations that produced the eye was a beneficial change. Obviously,
since it was mutation that led to the proliferation so many plant and animal varieties, mutations are beneficial.
However, it has been demonstrated that organisms have the inate ability to change in response to environmental factors and that this ability is an
intrinsic function of the organism.
This statement just indicates that you do not understand biology in anyway, let alone evolution.
You are vaguely correct when you try to describe an individual organism's response to environmental change as an ability that is already within the
capability of that individual organism. But the individual is NOT changing, all an individual does is survive or not survive; breed or not breed. If
an individual breeds, then its descendants inherit the traits that that individual possessed that allowed it survive the environmental change; if it
doesn't then it doesn't have descendants to continue the disadvantage.
However, individual organisms do NOT 'change in response to environmental factors'. Dogs shedding hair in the summer is not, for example,
evolutionary 'change in response to environmental factors'. Mutations occur between
generations - individuals remain the same during their
lifetime - individuals do not change in response to environmental changes. Evolutionary change is across generations and has nothing to do with
It is POPULATIONS of organisms
that 'change in response to environmental factors'.
Obviously, a mutation is not what you think it is. A mutation is not a 'deformed', nonviable organism, like a cow with two heads or something. That
is not 'a single' mutation in one gene, but large scale damage to a whole section of DNA. A birth defect such as this is usually caused by some
toxin poisoning like excess radiation or cigarette smoke or powerful drug like Thalidomide. Some mutations do cause birth defects, true, but these are
very very rare.
The child is NEVER exactly like the parent. NEVER. Hundreds of small mutations occur between generations of every organism. I am not talking about
just eye color or height or stuff like that. Of these hundreds of mutations most, by a wide margin, do absolutely nothing. Of the few mutation that do
actually make a difference, some make a good difference, some make a bad difference.
If a mutation is good enough, it makes a difference to that individual organism that happens to carry the mutation, and it is passed on to the
descendants of that organism. If a mutation is bad enough, it makes a difference to that individual organism that happens to carry that mutation, and
kills it before it has a chance to breed, or makes its success at breeding less than other individuals in the population, so it is not passed on as
effectively. That is called 'natural selection' and it really is just that simple. A neutral mutation is passed on if its possessor is otherwise
able to breed - just sort of 'hanging around' in the gene pool - and it may someday prove useful to respond to some environmental change.
Evolution is "change over time". The accumulation of these tiny little changes, mutations, over time is evolution.
That's really all there is to random mutations and evolution at this level of discussion. You can say that a population that changes due to some
environmental crisis is 'merely' adapting using 'abilities' that it already had and you would be correct. But that 'ability' entered their gene
pool as the result of a random mutation sometime in the past.
A population doesn't 'choose' to evolve when it needs to respond to a new environment. A population evolves when it faces a new environment if its
previous accumulation of random mutations provides it with the 'key' to survival.