Excerpt: “The major deficiency is what is considered the central paradox for Darwinian evolution based on natural selection. How does a mutation in a single individual ever become fixed in a population?”
Fifty years ago, Dobzhansky wrote: ‘The notion has gained some currency that the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is “bird watching” or “butterfly collecting.” Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!”
Kudos to Jon Lieff for continuing to search the current extant literature and also ask the right questions so that he can provide others with detailed answers, which link Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ in species from microbes to man.
Conditions of life are biophysically constrained. Simply put, they are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. The biophysical constraints of conserved molecular mechanisms have become clearer. So has the need for all cellular life to recognize self vs. other differences, which — as revealed in this blog post — is a function of the most primitive naturally engineered immune system.
Organisms that cannot recognize self vs. other differences would be more likely to literally eat themselves to death or to eat their conspecifics, which would not lead from ecological variation to ecological adaptations. Eating conspecifics would also not be likely to lead from ecological variation to mutation-initiated natural selection via any known conserved molecular mechanisms.
Therefore, in this Q & A, it quickly becomes clear that Lieff-via-Miller is addressing the first and most obvious need of all organisms, which involves natural selection of what to eat. If natural genetic engineering did not enable the ability to naturally select what to eat, it seems unlikely that it might somehow evolve.
However, bird watchers and butterfly collectors have continued to tout pseudoscientific nonsense in claims that the ability to naturally select what to eat did evolve. “It must have,” they claim. “We have observed that it did.” Therefore, since it is obvious to them that natural selection of what to eat is the RESULT of evolution, the ability to naturally select what to eat must also have somehow EVOLVED to cause evolution — via accumulated mutations, perhaps?
NO! Finally, Lieff-via-Miller attests to the obvious fact that organisms must naturally select what to eat or they cannot ecologically adapt and that means mutations do not enable species diversity. Mutations aren’t fixed in the organized genome of any species. Ecological variation and ecological adaptations via amino acid substitutions are responsible for species diversity. Mutations are responsible for pathology unless you’re a bird watcher or butterfly collector.
Anyone who has followed the blog posts by Jon Lieff has probably already concluded that he is a decade or more ahead of the understanding of his contemporaries. However, he is also helping them to catch up, which means that eventually he may be only a year or two ahead of them. At that point, others can ask him to help them get their grants funded so that scientific progress will no longer be stalled by the bird watchers and butterfly collectors.