Natural Selection is not an Agent

2017 Oct 19

Natural selection in biological processes is a diversion. Natural selection is credited with being the agent of biological change by evolutionary thinkers. However it has no agency.

Darwin introduced the concept of natural selection as an analog "to man’s power of selection" note. This selector is a power of the environment around an organism.

Darwin, C. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection. London: John Murray, 61.

Through selective breeding, humans are able to dramatically affect plants and animals. However, humans do not add any variation or invention to these biological entities. At best if desired variations happen to occur naturally, humans can create an environment where they can be sorted for preservation. All adaptive change to the artificial environment being enforced by the humans comes from the organisms being farmed.

Therefore in biological systems, the agency for change is in the organisms.


The environment never acts on behalf of the organisms, so it is not an agent. The environment does not take an active role in the change of the organisms to produce any specified effect, so again it is not an agent. At best, the environment is just a context in which the organism acts on behalf of itself.

In the wild, plants and animals also change. However again, the environment never causes this change. An organism may stay put, or it may change its environment (as it is able) as it seeks success in living. If it finds purchase in a significantly new environment, it may adapt to better thrive there, according to the abilities within its genome. Through multiple generations the allele combinations within the population can change so that it becomes better adapted. This process occurs by the organism's own agency through reproductive time. It occurs from latent ability of the organism to support variational change. Natural selection’s only contribution is a sorting effect in the environment which reduces the quantity of less viable instances.

Biological changes that we can reproduce by agricultural experiment depend on the existing abilities of organisms to develop variational change. As far back as we can go, we see that organisms already had this ability to adapt. And we also see that the range of variation is limited within any particular genus. All scientific experiments demonstrate that organisms are only able to reproduce more of their own kinds. note

The only point at which a new kind of organism could emerge from an old one is during the stage of embryonic development. However, all changes in this process, specifically, all deviations from normal in the embryonic developmental control networks will invariably result in death. All evidence shows there are no exceptions, therefore, like will never reproduce unlike.

So existing organisms are able to reproduce themselves by their own agency. This has always been the case. (We have no demonstrated mechanisms for anything else.) Therefore, the idea of common descent evolution that is powered by natural selection - this idea is impotent.

Finally, why have organisms always existed with great adaptability and robustness? This kind of characteristic does not come by accidents. It requires foresight, which is beyond the realm of naturalistic processes. There is only one known mechanism in operation in the present day which produces the effect of foresight, and that is design by an intelligent mind.

2017-10-19 updated 2021-11-07   © 2021 Larry Grove