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The Oxymoronic Impotence of Natural Selection

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

If evolution is true, then natural selection must do something in any theory of evolution by natural selection.

Natural and selection are a contradiction in terms, like—to borrow a phrase from Malcolm Muggeridge—a chaste whore.

Natural, as used in natural selection, means unguided and purposeless, which of course is the opposite of every meaning generally attributed to the term selection.

Put the two words together and we find the linguistic triumph of evolution: language used to imply one thing so that readers will infer another.

Implied: It’s all natural, merely nature operating on its own with no guidance or purpose.

Inferred: It’s all natural, but there is a true selection process going on that is actively working to select certain things to survive and which guides evolution in an unguided way to produce new things in nature.

Or something like that.

A bit of reflection on what natural selection actually “does” or “did” to explain any evolutionary development for any current life form may leave you surprised. Everyone knows that natural selection plays no role in the creation of any living thing. Natural selection’s role in evolutionary change must take place after organisms are born into their environment.

What gets touted as examples of natural selection in nature is always the removal of some organism said to be “unfit” to survive. Examples of unfit organisms removed by natural selection include light-colored moths which were preferred over dark-colored moths by birds, drought-resistant plants surviving drought over their lesser adapted kin; and short-necked giraffes starving because they cannot reach leaves like their lucky long-necked brothers and sisters.

A bit more reflection on these examples reveals a more subtle fact about natural selection: All of these instances of natural selection happen because the dark-colored moths, the drought-resistant plants, and the long-necked giraffes were born with adaptations to survive. Natural selection did nothing for them, except …, not remove them?, which is …, well, nothing!


If nothing is hard to believe, consider another fascinating fact: not one of the ancestors in the unbroken evolutionary chain of development for every current living thing was ever removed by natural selection. If evolution is the true creation story for human beings, every one of our ancestors, going all the way back to grandpa sea sponge, was adapted to survive and reproduce. Natural selection did not remove a one.

Ponder that fact for a moment. By definition, every ancestor in the unbroken line of descent for every current living thing was a survivor. And they survived because they were born adapted to survive in their environment and were not removed by natural selection! Every evolutionary change necessary for their survivorship came from inherited traits from genetic variation passed as to offspring generation after generation. Natural selection played no role at all!

Can that be true? Natural selection played no role at all?

It’s true.

Think about that.

For more explanation, see The Natural Selection Paradox.


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