Posts Tagged ‘New England Complex Systems Group’

New Study Claims Environment Does Not Affect Evolution

July 18, 2009

According to a study by evolutionary biologists discussed at Io9 at http://io9.com/5317283/species-diversity-not-caused-by-natural-selection, a study by the New England Complex Systems group published in Nature suggests that evolution can occur without any major influence from the environment. Instead, the origin of speciation is viewed simply as creatures having offspring and the effects of sexual selection. The authors don’t claim that environmental factors don’t affect evolutionary process, but they believe from their computer simulations that it is not the major cause. This seems to attack the very basis of Darwinism in that Darwin considered that it was competition for resources in the environment that drove evolution.

Now this study clearly does not support Creationism or Intelligent Design, as it seems to assume that naturalistic, materialist processes are the only forces involved in the emergence of new species and the process of evolution itself. Nevertheless, it does attack one of the most fundamental tenets of Darwinian evolutionary theory, that of Natural Selection itself. It also supports the observations of other critics of evolutionary theory, who were not Creationists or supporters of ID, such as the British science journalist and former producer of the BBC science series, Horizon, Gordon Rattray Taylor. In his The Great Evolution Mystery, Taylor considered the various cases of different species who shared the same environment, such as the various species of cichlid fish in the Great Lakes in Africa as part of his general argument that Natural Selection was unable to explain the development and emergence of different species. That, however, does not necessarily mean that the new theory is correct, and that all that is required for evolutionary process is sexual selection. It will, however, be interesting to see how this new study is accepted by scientists.