Beyond Natural Selection And Random Mutation

"A very large yet undefined extension may safely be given to the direct and indirect results of natural selection; but I now admit.that in the earlier editions of my Origin of Species I probably attributed too much to the action of natural selection or the survival of the fittest.I had not formerly sufficiently considered the existence of many structures which appear to be, as far as we can judge, neither beneficial nor injurious, and this I believe to be one of the greatest oversights as yet detected in my work."

-- Charles Darwin, The Descent Of Man

We know that close contact with other living beings unites patterns of thought, emotion, biological appetites, and impulses. And that people do resemble their pets and vice versa. Biological theories have not been able to explain the "Power of Association" scientifically.

Natural selection is the most famous mechanism that can cause biological adjustments in organisms, but it may not be the most important element. Other factors that cause changes in species include: directed mutations and/or geographic morphism.

Experiments have shown bacteria can mutate in beneficial ways, due to directed mutations, without natural selection. Consider the results of the following experiments conducted on E. Coli bacteria. Researchers Dr. John Cairns and Dr. Barry Hall independent of each other confirmed that when bacteria are deprived of certain nutrients, such as the amino acids tryptophan and cysteine, they are able to, under hostile conditions, give rise to offspring which can internally synthesize these nutrients. This is a directed mutation (See Carins, J., "The origin of mutants," Nature, 335:142-145 and Hall, B., "Spontaneous point mutations that occur more often when advantageous than when neutral," Genetics, 126:5-16, September 1990). If simple bacteria can synthesize their own nutrients, imagine what humans can do!

Environmental factors directly affect the structure of living organisms - this phenomena is termed "geographic morphism." Within each landscape, the forms of plants and animals have local characteristics which can be, and often are, picked up by transplants of plant and animal strains and stocks from other landscapes. For example, in the 19th century it was discovered that for any given inhabited area of the world there was an average cephalic index (the ratio of the greatest breadth of the head to its length from front to back) of the human population. More important, it was learned, through measurements on immigrants to America from all over Europe, and on their American-born offspring, that this cephalic index corresponds to the geographical location, and immediately makes itself manifest in the new generation. Thus, long-headed Sephardic Jewish people and short-headed Ashkenazi Jewish people, after arriving in America, produced offspring with a specifically American cephalic index.

From intuitive observation, it is apparent that the landscape exerts and influence on the plant and animal life within its bounds. The mechanism of this influence is beyond our scientific understanding at this time. The source of it, however, we know: it is the cosmic unity of the totality of things, a unity which shows itself in the rhythmic and cyclic movement of Nature.

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