Darwin made a mistake in proposing his natural-selection theory, and it is fairly easy to detect the mistake. We have seen that what the theory so grievously lacks is a criterion of survival that is independent of survival. If only there were some way of identifying the fittest beforehand, without always having to wait and see which ones survive, Darwin's theory would be testable rather than tautological.
There was a factory that produced a lot of nylon. The nylon got in the wastewater. A mutation occurred among the bacteria in the wastewater that — talk about good luck — conferred upon the bacteria the ability to digest nylon!
And it was totally good luck. One should not assume that the bacteria somehow mutated to eat nylon because it found itself in the presence of nylon. Evolution doesn’t work that way at all. Undoubtedly a similar mutation had occurred many times in the past, but in those instances there was no nylon lying around to be eaten (nylon didn’t even exist before the 20th century). In cases like that, the mutation would either have been neutral (neither harmful nor helpful) or deleterious (harming the organism).
In the case of the factory bacteria the random mutation was most definitely beneficial because there was nylon lying around waiting to be eaten.
“Fittest” really means “those who leave the most offspring.” In the wastewater, the nylon-eating bacteria experienced a population explosion, outcompeting the other bacteria that could not eat the nylon. This is an example of survival of the fittest.
We have seen that what the theory so grievously lacks is a criterion of survival that is independent of survival.
Wrong! The criterion of survival was that the bacteria had acquired the ability to scarf down a shitload of nylon.
So in this case there most definitely is
a “criterion of survival that is independent of survival.”
If only there were some way of identifying the fittest beforehand, without always having to wait and see which ones survive, Darwin's theory would be testable rather than tautological.
But of course there is
such a way! If I had been at that factory I could have looked at all the nylon and said, “You know, if some bacteria happen to acquire the ability to eat nylon via a mutation then they’re going to be happy campers — and the fittest of all the bacterial populations hereabouts.” And my prediction would have proved to be correct!
This paradigmatic case also demolishes the following:
”Selection, then, has not produced anything new, but only more of certain kinds of individuals. Evolution, however, means producing new things, not more of what exists.”
Good lawd! Right before our very eyes, evolution produced something that had never existed in the history of the world
— an organism that could eat nylon!
BTW, the first part of this guy’s quote is also wrong — evolution doesn’t work on individuals; it works on populations.