A model of non-random genetic mutation
(Update, December 3: Wikipedia seems to back
up Scott C.’s information, and thus his theory. However, reader Steve D. indicates in a subsequent exchange with me that Wikipedia’s information is misleading, or rather is written in an ambiguous manner which I misunderstood. This doesn’t take away from Scott’s main point about the possibility of non-random mutation, but from his further argument that the rapid differentiation of New World sparrows supports non-random mutation.)
(Note, December 2, 8 p.m.: See Scott’s further comment in which he introduces a remarkable story I never heard before, about the introduction of English sparrows into the United States in the mid nineteenth century and their extremely rapid speciation in varied environments, suggesting, he argues, the purposeful adaptation of an organism to an environment rather than chance accidental mutations some of which “work,” which would take far longer than the speciation of the North American sparrows did. However, sources are needed before we can accept this fascinating tale.)
Scott C. writes:
You are certainly correct that Darwinian evolution and Biblical creation are incompatible. However, the key to winning this debate would not be to take one side or the other, but rather to attack the presumptions underlying Darwin’s theory. [LA replies: That is my position. I do not generally argue for some Christian or non-Darwinian view of evolution, for the simple reason that I (along with everyone else) do not know how evolution happened; I look at Darwinism itself, to see if it makes sense and holds up on its own terms. And it doesn’t.]
This is what I learned when I studied genetics in college thirty years ago.
Along a chromosome, there are large sections of the DNA chain which are static, that is they do not code for any protein. At the beginning of a gene, there is a start codon, and at the end there is a stop codon—these are specific and universal. In between, there is a nucleic base sequence which translates into the amino acid structure of a protein. A large molecule travels along the chromosome, and when it gets to the start codon it attaches itself and opens the DNA strand so the messenger and transfer RNA can begin to build the protein. When the molecule comes to the stop codon, it completes the process and reseals the strand. The finished protein then goes on to fulfill its function in the cell.
Here’s the thing. Also along the chromosome, there is another nucleic base sequence known as a transposon. This sequence has the capability to extract itself from the strand, travel along the chromosome and reinsert itself. Now, if the transposon inserts itself in the middle of a start codon, then the protein will not be coded, because the large molecule does not recognize where to begin. Or if the transposon inserts itself anywhere along a gene, it changes the amino acid structure of the protein and thus alters its function.
In this way, the chromosome itself is able to regulate which proteins are produced and when, and what their structures and functions are. It’s a self-regulating feedback system, and there’s nothing random about it.
This knowledge destroys Darwin’s hypothesis completely. If mutation is not random, and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it is, then there can be no such thing as natural selection, because there’s nothing to select for. Think about it.
When I tried to point this out to my genetics professor in class, he became irate. He threw a book at me and screamed that mutation was random because Darwin said so.
I was not making a religious argument. I was making a scientific observation. If the premise of an argument is flawed, then the conclusion cannot be valid. Simple logic, really.
DNA is something like an organic microcomputer chip that somehow is able to process information about the environment and spontaneously self-organize in response to it. How it is able to do that remains a mystery, but this is what drives adaptation and speciation, not random mutation and natural selection. Darwinism is not only a myth, it’s a fraud.
But you are correct, it’s so firmly entrenched that it cannot be questioned. [LA replies: Of course it can be questioned. I question it all the time. Anyone can question it, if one is willing to accept the consequences.] And woe unto the undergraduate who dares to. I earned a C- in genetics. [LA replies: how did you do in your tests? I also—a little over 30 years ago, at the University of Colorado, when I had returned to undergraduate school in my late twenties—took a course on genetics, in which I repeatedly questioned the dogmatic, material-reductionist assertions of the professor. I got an A in the course. Of course we didn’t have PC back then, or at least not such as it became later. But also I did well in the tests. And I think the professor, though he was quite an arrogant chap, respected me for challenging him and offering a different, non-material reductionist point of view, because no one ever did that. I’m sorry for coming down on you so hard. But I cannot stand it when people make defeatist statements such as, “Darwinism cannot be questioned.” Question it!]
Your argument is very interesting. I just see one possible flaw in it. If mutation is not random, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no natural selection. Mutation and natural selection are two separate processes. Mutations could occur randomly, and then some are selected over others. Or mutations could occur non-randomly, and then some are selected over others.
Scott C. writes:
Well, I did okay on the tests, enough to earn a B, maybe even an A-. But I felt that the professor singled me out and graded my tests more harshly than others, because I questioned Darwinism and he didn’t handle it very well in front of the class. I caused him to embarrass himself and I suffered for it.
It’s been thirty years, but I remember this one question on this test that presented a genetic problem. I solved it in a roundabout way, but I did arrive at the correct solution. The professor noted that was not the way he wanted the problem solved and did not give me credit, even though I came up with the right answer. That lowered my grade to a C.
Anyway, as to your position on mutation and natural selection, I respectfully disagree. Yes, mutation can and does occur randomly, but I look upon that as a rare event. Like every other random event, it seldom occurs and is more often than not inconsequential. This surely cannot be the driving force behind what we call evolution. [LA replies: I did not say that mutation occurs randomly. I was speaking of the Darwinian theory of evolution, which says it occurs randomly, versus your alternative theory, which says that mutations are non-random. I said that whether mutation occurs randomly or not would not necessarily effect the subsequent process of the natural selection of the “better” mutations.]
The crux of the problem, and the center of the debate, lies in the meaning of the word “evolution.” Darwin believed it to be a long, slow process with species progressing from simple to complex, or primitive to advanced, or from lower to higher forms. But is that the way nature really works?
Go outside and look at a sparrow. You’re seeing a species that existed nowhere in the world prior to 1850. The sparrow is a bird indigenous to the continent of Europe—it did not exist anywhere else at the time. In the mid-1800s, America was undergoing a Shakespeare revival, and there was this group that wanted every bird named in Shakespeare to inhabit the United States. So they got a breeding population of 200 sparrows, 100 male and 100 female, from England and brought them to America. This is an easily verifiable fact, catalogued on the ship’s log. These birds were released to the wild and quickly multiplied and spread across the continent. Other breeding populations were brought in as well over the next decades.
In less than 100 years, the sparrow had adapted to each regional environment and formed over 20 new species. In the east, for example, there are woods, with brush and low hanging trees. There the sparrows are brightly colored, with short wing spans for darting about, and claws for grasping thin branches and beaks for the seeds and other food sources unique to the area. In the mid-West, there are grasslands and plains. There the sparrows are drably colored, with long wing spans for riding the winds, and claws for landing on the ground and beaks for the seeds and other food sources unique to the area. In the West, there are mountains and forests, with tall trees and little underbrush. There again the sparrows’ colors, wing spans, claws and beaks are adapted to the environment unique to the area, soaring updrafts, thicker branches, different seeds and other food sources.
The point being all of this occurred at a moment’s notice, as far as geological or even biological time is concerned. Over 20 new species appeared, each specifically adapted to the environment in which it inhabits, in a matter of only a few decades. Random mutation simply cannot account for that. Moreover and more importantly, is that evolution? No, but it is adaptation and speciation, which occurs much more rapidly and with much more specificity than most people, particularly scientists, to whom Darwin is as a god, realize. The environment changes, or a new environment opens, and biological species quickly adapt to those changes and opportunities. The only way to explain this phenomenon is by allowing for species, and by extension the DNA which comprises them, to in some way interpret information about the environment and deliberately mutate in response to that information, via a self-regulating feedback system.
People tend to think of natural selection as some external force acting on bodies, much like gravity. But is that really the case? I think not.
It’s an old conundrum, going all the way back to the Bible, whether order is imposed from without or organized from within. In the Old Testament, God is external, removed from the Creation—“In the beginning, God created heaven and earth.” In the New Testament, God is internal, as Jesus says, “I am the light and the life.” Meaning the light you see in the heavens is the same as the light within you.
Is a fish really a lower form of life than, say, a monkey? No, both are equally adapted to the environment they inhabit. Throw a fish in the jungle, or a monkey in the ocean, both will die. But if the ocean or the jungle changes, the fish and the monkey will adapt, perhaps even form new species as required by necessity.
The problem here really is one of a hierarchical order, which is ingrained in our thought. Is an amoeba really a more simplistic life form than say a human? No, an amoeba is actually remarkably complex, just as a human is. It’s just that each is adapted to a specific environment. Does an amoeba have a soul? I would argue that it does, as does every other life form. It may not be a human soul, but it is an amoeba soul.
Jesus says, “Suffer the little children to come unto me. For no man may enter the kingdom of heaven, except he be as a child.” I look upon every life form as a child of God. None is higher or lower than another. Of course, that contradicts everything Darwin wrote, and therein lies the problem.
Your information on the introduction and the rapid variation of sparrows in North Americas is new to me and quite fascinating, along with your argument that the changes were so quick they indicate purposeful adaptation rather than Darwinian chance mutations. Can you point us to your sources on the sparrows?
Jim B. writes:
Here’s a pretty good overview of some of the latest insights of biology and how they fit in with the “random mutation” idea.
And here’s a fascinating article by a geneticist (who I assume is a Darwinian; he wouldn’t have gotten very far in his career if he ever publicly questioned it) about how bacteria really evolve.
Jeff W. writes (12/2 morning):
If what Scott C. says is true, then it means that there is intelligence working at the chromosome level. How can tiny chromosomes be intelligent? They can be if they are being guided by intelligence and forces that men cannot detect. The vast majority of men have always believed that spiritual forces are at work in our world; modern materialist reductionists deny it, but they cannot prove that the unseen does not exist. Intelligence at the chromosome level would prove convincingly that the unseen does exist.
Darwin’s theory makes the forces of natural selection the protagonist. Those inanimate, purposeless forces determine which species will exist and what forms they will take. If intelligence exists at the chromosome level, however, then that intelligence becomes the protagonist, and the story of evolution becomes a story of that intelligence creating a proliferation of new life on Earth. If that theory were accepted, then men would be forced to deal with that creative intelligence, instead of making randomness and chaos their gods.
Peter G. writes (12/2 morning):
Darwinian theory seemed to be more about imposing a new order of logic. Evolutionary theorists won’t deny that the complexity of living organisms is awe inspiring, they’re just unwilling to follow a fundamental human tendency. That is to say, reflexive transcendence. When we observe categories of organization, man-made or in God’s creation, we inherently process as magnitudes of design. It produces spontaneous orders of thought, like appreciation of the aesthetic or functional—a trait more dominant in men.
God made it natural for man to recognize his existence.
Evolutionary theory is a mental system of resistance.
James R. writes (12/2 morning):
Just a side note on the “Model of Non-Random Genetic Mutation”:
Of course just because some (many?) professors will grade students fairly and even encourage questioning assumptions, not all do. It never stopped me in Uni, and most of the time I wasn’t downgraded for it, but there were a handful of courses where I was given poor grades not for poor work but because of my views. This was 15 to 20 years ago. It tended to be the sort of professors given to putting bumper-stickers like “Question Authority” on their cars who were the most dogmatic in this way.
Point being, just because one professor (yours, for example) didn’t behave this way, that doesn’t mean another (his, for example) didn’t.
I suspect this has gotten worse on major universities rather than better, but do not know.
The universities are a battlefield too many conservatives have neglected, all while knowing the problem. A lot of the ideas behind the problems we have flow out of the universities like sewage from a leaking septic tank, and have been for at least 40 years—probably much longer. David Horowitz is doing yeoman work on this. But it isn’t sufficient
Scott C. writes:
I learned about the American sparrow in a course in ornithology back in the early 1980s. I have long since lost the textbook, however I do know for a fact that the sparrow did not exist anywhere in the Western hemisphere prior to 1850. And that a group of people involved in the Shakespearean renaissance were responsible for bringing the bird to this continent. I also know that the more than 20 species of American sparrows did not exist anywhere in the world before then.
Adaption and speciation are real world phenomena. They occur far too rapidly and with far too much specificity to be explained by random mutation and natural selection. My point is simply that something else is going on. I believe that species, through their DNA, are constantly processing information about the changing environment and responding deliberately to that information. Somewhat like an educated guess, a mutation may be successful or unsuccessful, but I do not believe there is some external force in nature that determines whether a mutation is successful or not. To me, it’s simply a question of whether the mutation is or isn’t the correct response to changes in the environment. If it is, the species adapts. If it isn’t, the species goes extinct. However, that is not determined by some external force, but rather by some internal processing error.
Sometimes the environment changes so suddenly, or to such a degree, that species are unable to adapt quickly enough and thus go extinct. But this merely opens a new environment to other species that can move in and adapt. This is not “evolution,” in the way we normally think of the word. Rather, adaptation and speciation are simply responses to the changing environment.
The Wikipedia article on sparrows more or less backs up Scott’s information, and thus his point:
The Old World true sparrows are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In Australia and the Americas, early settlers imported some species which quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas. House Sparrows, for example, are now found throughout North America, in every state of Australia except Western Australia, and over much of the heavily populated parts of South America.
Wikipedia doesn’t say when the settlers brought the sparrows, so it could be any time between the 17th and the 19th centuries. But the main points has been established: if sparrows were introduced by European settlers in the New World, and if the New World sparrows are now so different from their Old World ancestors that they form, not just different species in the same genus, and not just different genera in the same family, but even a different family from the old world sparrows, then within four hundred years at most (more likely within 150 years based on Scott’s information) there has been a huge evolution or differentiation of sparrows in the New World, much faster than Darwinian evolution by random accidental mutation could account for.
Some authorities previously classified the related estrildid finches of the Old World tropics and Australasia as members of the Passeridae….
American sparrows, or New World sparrows, are in a different family, Emberizidae, despite some physical resemblance such as the seed-eater’s bill and frequently well-marked heads.
For example, Darwin discovered the 13 species of Galapagos finches in the 1830s. In the 180 years since then, no new species of Galapagos finch has appeared during that period. The Darwinians’ explanation for this embarrassment is: “You dummies! Don’t you know that evolution [Darwinian evolution by random accidental mutation plus natural selection, that is] is extremely slow, that it takes thousands of years, millions of years, for a new species to evolve?” Yet here is not just a new species of sparrow in North America, but an entirely new family of sparrows consisting of twenty new species, all descending from their European ancestors in a period between 150 and 400 years (though 150 years is the more likely figure). I am surprised that this spectacular information is not better known.
Wikipedia indicates far more than 20 new species of sparrow in the New World. The New World sparrows all belong to the family Emberizidae. Within that family, the American sparrows (i.e., North American sparrows) and brush finches consist of 19 genera and 79 species.
Steve D. writes:
I would urge you strongly to drop the discussion of sparrows and evolution as soon as possible, before you do any more damage to the credibility of your anti-Darwin position. Your correspondent Scott C. is simply wrong: American “sparrows” were already here long before the European variety was imported into New York by Eugene Schieffelin in 1851. John James Audubon, in fact, depicted a dozen members of the family Emberizidae in his Birds of America, which was published beginning in 1827. In the book, they are all placed in the same genus (Emberiza) and referred to by the older term “bunting” rather than “sparrow” … but they’re the same species that we call sparrows today. A good example is the Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis, which Audubon refers to as Emberiza savanna and “Savannah bunting.” They’re the same bird.
American sparrows, as pointed out in the Wikipedia article, are not particularly closely related to European sparrows, despite their similar body style and occupation of the same ecological niche. They didn’t evolve from European sparrows, by any mechanism, Darwinian or otherwise.
Like you, I strongly disbelieve in Darwinism, and think that reason is on our side. But mistakes like this simply taint every argument we make against Darwinism.
You’re not taking in the significance of the material I quoted from Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, sparrows did not originate in the Americas. If they were brought here by Europeans, whether in 1850 or, as Audubon’s work shows, much earlier, then the entire Emberizidae family branched off from the imported European sparrows sometime between the time they were imported and 1827. That leaves at most 200 years for the differentiation of an entirely new family of sparrows in the New World.
Thus your reference to Audubon’s discussion of Emberizidae in 1827, far from discrediting Scott’s thesis, supports and even strengthens it, as it shortens the time in which the new family of sparrows, consisting of many species, appeared.
This is a blog, not a scientific publication. I start a subject or post a reader’s comment, which may contain incorrect information at first, and I raise questions about that information, just as I did at the beginning of this entry, and that leads to better information. That is what human conversation is about. Thus I am not panicked, as you suggest I should be, at the thought of posting something that may be incorrect, because it can be corrected. We have to start somewhere in our understanding of things. If we started out already knowing the truth, there would be nothing to find out. In my experience, the journey of understanding a mistake that one has made and getting to the truth, or closer to the truth, is as much a part of the truth, as the truth itself.
Steve W. replies:
According to the Wikipedia article on Emberizidae:
The Emberizidae family probably originated in South America and spread first into North America before crossing into eastern Asia and continuing to move west. [LA replies: In the context of Wikipedia’s other statements about sparrows having all come from the Old World, I took the word “originated in South America” as meaning “differentiated” in South America from the European species that had been imported by people. If “originated in South America” means “evolved indigenously in South America,” then Wikipedia’s other statements, and my pro-Scott position resulting from those statements, are incorrect.] This explains the comparative paucity of emberizid species in Europe and Africa when compared to the Americas.
I hope you’re not simply hung up on the word “sparrow.” Properly, it does refer only to Old World birds, so in a narrow sense any “sparrows” in America must have come from elsewhere. But the birds referred to casually as New World sparrows are New World birds. They did not develop from Old World sparrows introduced into America. In fact, those birds that were introduced—including the House sparrow and the starling—are recognizably the same birds they were at the time of their introductions.
In North America, most of the species in this family are known as (American) Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. The family also includes the North American birds known as juncos and towhees. [emphasis mine]
What Scott C. had to say about the mechanism of protein synthesis and its implications for natural selection was fascinating, even though I didn’t quite follow it fully. But I’ve seen this sort of thing happen over and over again: someone who is actually well-educated in the subject makes a cogent point, and then a moment later claims as fact something that is not only outside of his expertise, but false. For most people, that taints him as a source and brings his original point into question.
I perfectly understand your point about your blog not being a scientific publication, but rather a conversation. It does worry me, though, that Darwinists will use any incorrect information on your blog to “debunk” your entire position. It’s an invalid argument, yes; but a lot of people will fall for it, who might not if that information wasn’t available on your site. I simply think it’s best not to give Darwinists the opportunity.
Ok, the major possible point of weakness you are bringing out is that Wikipedia may have misled me when it clearly stated that sparrows are not indigenous to the Americas and were brought here originally from Europe. If that is not true, if sparrows are indigenous to the Americas, then Scott’s argument falls apart. To resolve this, we have to get better and clearer information (and non-contradictory information) than is available at Wikipedia.
Steve D. writes:
I think, honestly, that this whole thing is a misunderstanding hinging on the use of the word “sparrow.” It’s true that sparrows, narrowly defined as “a member of the family Passeridae”, are not native to the Americas. But it doesn’t therefore follow that the birds we nowadays call “sparrows” must have descended from those true sparrows introduced from Europe. An American song sparrow, Melospiza melodia, isn’t actually a sparrow; but the fact that we call it one doesn’t prove that it must therefore have evolved from some Passeridae species. It’s just what we call them.
I’m familiar with the history of house sparrows being deliberately introduced into New York in the 19th century. I assume that’s what Scott was referring to. Other than the tree sparrow, which was introduced later but is rare in the United States, I’ve never come across any other evidence of introduction of European sparrows, deliberate or otherwise.
Ok, then the passage from Wikipedia which I quoted as my authority in backing up Scott,
The Old World true sparrows are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In Australia and the Americas, early settlers imported some species which quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas.
does not mean, contrary to what I thought it meant, that all sparrows came from the Old World. It means that the “true sparrows” came from the Old World. And evidently these “true sparrows” do not include the New World family Emberizidae, which we also call sparrows:
American sparrows, or New World sparrows, are in a different family, Emberizidae, despite some physical resemblance such as the seed-eater’s bill and frequently well-marked heads.
The implication, though not the explicit statement, is that Emberizidae are indigenous to the New World. Therefore my initial reading of the Wikipedia articles appears to have been incorrect. Thank you for the clarification.
Mark P. writes:
I don’t understand. What does this discussion actually prove and how does it relate to Darwinism? The fact that an interbreeding organism can produce splendid varieties of itself does not explain how a new population of organisms emerges. At what point do we see a sparrow that can no longer breed with the existing population of sparrows?
This is the key point. Explaining the mechanism by which an existing species changes over time is trivial. Human beings have long engaged in breeding experiments where they are the environmental actors that force the variation in, say, livestock. So what? What does Darwinism explain about the origin of the variety of animal life that we see on the planet?
Yes. The differentiation of varieties within a species, or of extremely closely related species within the same genus (which are so closely related that the question is raised whether they are truly different species or not), is irrelevant to the big question that Darwinism, or “evolutionary biology,” claims to have answered once and for all: how did new life form evolve on this planet? In reality, the Darwinists still have no answer at all to that question, and they systematically avoid broaching it. Just as Darwin did in 1859, they keep pointing to tiny little changes within an existing form, and falsely claiming that these tiny little changes are proof of “evolution.” This is one of the reasons I call Darwinism, or “evolutionary biology,” a transparent intellectual fraud.
However, the current discussion was dealing with a different issue. If the idea had been correct, that many new species of sparrow, indeed a new family of sparrows, had appeared in the New World in a period of a couple of hundred years, that would have suggested a rapidity of speciation which would be incompatible with the slow rate of speciation—consisting of accidental mutations naturally selected—that is posited by Darwinism.
Scott C. writes:
Well, in response to Stephen D., I was merely going by memory, didn’t do any research. I took a course in ornithology decades ago, because bird watching is a serious activity down here in South Texas. In fact, we have the recently constructed World Birding Center, which is a major tourist attraction for Winter Texans. Virtually every migratory bird flies through this area on its way south. I’ve seen pelicans, egrets, albatrosses, all sorts of birds. I even saw a pygmy owl once, and that is an extremely rare species. Many birders, as they are called, who have spent their entire lives bird watching have never seen one.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 02, 2010 06:30 AM | Send
As to Stephen’s contention the American sparrow originated here, to my knowledge that is simply not true. In ornithology, the textbook clearly stated the sparrow is a bird indigenous to the continent of Europe. That means it originated and remained there until it was exported to other areas, over mountains and seas. Since a sparrow certainly cannot fly across the Atlantic Ocean, it had to have been brought here by humans on ships.
There were probably several people, some early settlers, who brought sparrows to America. But these were most likely small populations limited to a few birds. Perhaps these were the buntings Audubon noted. However, it is a fact that a Shakespeare revival group imported a large breeding population of sparrows from England in 1850, because the sparrow is named in Shakespeare. This is recorded on the ship’s log. I remember reading about it in the textbook, because it struck me as odd, and I thought, “Why do people do things like this?”
Still, the salient point remains that a species was introduced to a new environment and quickly adapted to that environment, to the point of forming numerous new species, in a matter of decades. A sparrow on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and on the West Coast is noticeably different from a sparrow in the other areas, in terms of color patterns, wing spans, claw and beak shapes, because each species has adapted to the unique environment it inhabits.
Adaptation and speciation are ongoing events. The environment constantly changes or new environments constantly open, so biological species must be able to rapidly adapt in response to those changes or opportunities. If an environment remains relatively stable, then the species which occupies it will remain unchanged. The cockroach, for example, is virtually identical to the insect of millions of years ago, because it is so well adapted and its environment really hasn’t changed that much. Other species, like the American sparrow, are more recent, because they were introduced to new environments and immediately adapted to them.
In complexity science, there is a concept known as the “edge of chaos.” It is analogous to water. Below 32 degrees, water exists as a crystalline lattice, ice. Above 32 degrees, water exists as free floating molecules, liquid. However, at 32 degrees, there exists an equal volume of crystalline lattices and free floating molecules which are constantly melting and freezing.
Compare this to an ecosystem, say with a jungle and a plain. The edge of chaos would be the zone along the boundary where both environments, the jungle and the plain, coexist equally. Species which inhabit this zone possess the ability to adapt to either environment. The further removed from this zone a species is, far out on the plains or deep in the jungle, the less capable it is to adapt to sudden changes in its environment. Suppose a major event occurs, a flood or a fire that drastically changes either environment. The plains or the jungle species would be wiped out. The species along the boundary would then move in and adapt to the new environment, thus forming new species.
Also, note that the root of the words “species” and “specific” is the same. A species is specific to the environment it inhabits. When, not if, the environment changes, as it always does, so too do the species which inhabit it or else they become extinct. This is not evolution in the Darwinian sense, progress from a simple to an advanced form, or from a lower to a higher form. Rather, it is simply living species processing information about the environment and responding deliberately to its changes. This is a real world phenomenon that cannot be explained by random mutation and natural selection.