What is Natural Selection?

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Natural Selection is one of the main concepts found within the theory of evolution. It was discovered by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace though Darwin championed the idea in his book "On the Origin of Species".


Natural selection can be defined as the process by which random evolutionary changes are selected for by nature in a consistent, orderly, non-random way.



When coupled with descent with modification, Natural Selection can cause a population to evolve for fitness within a given environment over multiple generations.



Natural Selection is an observable fact. By carefully observing populations of living things with short life cycles you can actually watch it happen.



Want to learn more? Check out our notes for this video. Included are links to three examples of natural selection witnessed by researchers. There are many more as well. 

Written By: Stated Clearly
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      • In reply to #2 by Roedy:

        http://www.chick.com/bc/2007/butterfly.asp

        I sent the author of that piece an email:

        Your little article on the butterfly is a straw man. It is dishonest. You misrepresent what evolutionists say. It is perfectly fair to make whatever argument you want but not to lie about the positions of others…

        Religious fanatics don’t care that they are lying about others claims, they have invested all their credibility in their own claims that their model of the universe explains everything, and stand to lose all of it if they are forced to admit that it actually doesn’t explain anything at all.

    • In reply to #1 by BrandeX:

      http://www.chick.com/bc/2007/butterfly.asp

      There seem to be no depths that the Xtians won’t sink to in their absurd attempts to deny evolution. The butterfly argument so fundamentally misunderstands Darwin’s concept of irreducible complexity it’s risible. Of course butterflies are transformed by successive slight modifications from their ancestors like any other animal. The pupal stage, and whatever intermediate “goo” this involves, is nothing to do with this argument any more than the fact that all animals grow initially from a single fertilized cell anyway which also has no complex organs in it, just a set of genetic instructions that have evolved over millions of years.

      The pupal goo isn’t the precursor to these complex organs any more than the single cell isn’t. The less complex organs in the ancestor animals thousands or millions of years ago are the precursors and the gradually evolving genetic instructions are the template.

      This isn’t, or surely can’t be, just misunderstanding on the part of the Xtian author. It’s just lying pure and simple. Outright, blatant, sod the facts and the truth lying. Quite disgusting.

    • In reply to #1 by BrandeX:

      /sarcasm
      Pshaw, everyone “knows” that the existence of the butterfly is irrefutable proof that evolution is a fallacy!

      Butterfly? Hell, I always thought it was the banana!

      • In reply to #12 by serfdood:

        In reply to #1 by BrandeX:

        /sarcasm
        Pshaw, everyone “knows” that the existence of the butterfly is irrefutable proof that evolution is a fallacy!

        Butterfly? Hell, I always thought it was the banana!

        The butteranana is the main food of the crocoduck.

    • In reply to #1 by BrandeX:

      /sarcasm
      Pshaw, everyone “knows” that the existence of the butterfly is irrefutable proof that evolution is a fallacy!

      http://www.chick.com/bc/2007/butterfly.asp

      Wow! That is some high quality BS! I love it. Flutterbys are freakin’ magic! I mean… they don’t even properly assert the Irreducible Complexity argument. They didn’t even read the manual. Hey, I have fewer bones than when I was born… Darwin was wrong! I used to have gills and now I don’t… take that, science! And WTF? Metamorphosis isn’t even on the table for discussion… it’s not an example of evolution… but it could make a vain argument against evolution… but that’s not even what they do… it’s like they failed at making fail… wow this is some premium-grade idiocy! So juicy. Wow. Thank you, BrandeX. That’s quite a find.

  1. Devil’s advocate here. Let’s assume that DNA-based life is common as dirt in the universe. It gets spread from place to place on comets, space debris etc..

    Lets say earth is seeded millions of times as it cools, always with quite primitive life forms — things that can survive deep space. Because these seeds are all based on DNA, they can exchange genetic material.

    What happens to the idea of common descent? Is it pushed back to some hypothetical off-earth event? Do we say it only counts for evolution of complex creatures from a common earth ancestor, the Eve from which multi-cellulars eventually took off?

    I suspect at some point the theory of evolution will have be broadened to encompass life everywhere, not just on earth. I think we should be careful in anything we say now, not to embarrass ourselves later with a purely earth-centered theory a result of a Christian exaggeration of our own importance.

    Our default position is that physics and chemistry behave as here on earth unless demonstrated otherwise. I think we should hold the same default position for biochemistry and biology.

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Devil’s advocate here. Let’s assume that DNA-based life is common as dirt in the universe. It gets spread from place to place on comets, space debris etc..

      Lets say earth is seeded millions of times as it cools, always with quite primitive life forms — things that can survive deep space. Because…

      Panspermia. A legitimate if currently unpopular hypothesis that life originated elsewhere instead of here on Earth. Most notable proponents, Fred Hoyle (credited with naming The Big Bang) and Chandra Wickramasinghe. Wikipedia will tell you more.

      • In reply to #6 by OHooligan:

        In reply to #3 by Roedy:

        Devil’s advocate here. Let’s assume that DNA-based life is common as dirt in the universe. It gets spread from place to place on comets, space debris etc..

        Lets say earth is seeded millions of times as it cools, always with quite primitive life forms — things that can su…

        I think the jury is still out on Panspermia. I’m no biologist but it occurs to me there is a problem with life arriving from outside Earth.
        Correct me if I’m wrong but there is compelling evidence for a single ancestor? And that ancestor was a very simple organism compared with even the most basic bacterium. So how did a lifeform so primitive come to be riding a comet to Earth?
        People often give the examples of extremeophiles that can survive even in space but these organisms are usually fairly complex, evolved organisms and we are talking about a common ancestor before archae here aren’t we?
        As I say I’m no expert but I would like the opinion of somebody who has studied this.

    • In reply to #3 by Roedy:

      Devil’s advocate here. Let’s assume that DNA-based life is common as dirt in the universe. It gets spread from place to place on comets, space debris etc..

      Multiple Genesis Scenario seems likely, but there is no evidence that any particular life form on Earth is descended from two independent Genesis Events.

      What would that evidence even look like?

      I’m, not worried. If there is strong evidence, the scientists will accept it and the theists will say that it is proof of God.

  2. I learned all I needed to know about natural selection in a 7th grade ballroom dance class. They did a “lady’s choice” and it got down to me standing in front of four girls sitting on their butts.

    • In reply to #7 by whiteraven:

      I learned all I needed to know about natural selection in a 7th grade ballroom dance class. They did a “lady’s choice” and it got down to me standing in front of four girls sitting on their butts.

      Technically that would be sexual selection, which sort of counts as a subset, as a lot of sexual selection traits actually lower survival rates, and is selected by other members of the species rather than by natural conditions.

  3. These are tricky topics to condense so briefly, but I think this one is pretty good. I also liked the animation, particularly the brief visual of the bug’s elytra opening just as it’s nabbed by the chameleon.

    Has anyone found any outright mistakes in the content?

    Mike

  4. Watching this video with a critical eye, I can only point to things I like. Everything is explained clearly and in a way I believe panders to (without patronizing) your target audience. It’s also worth a view from anyone interesting in these things. Just watched it with a bio-engineering student, and neither of us realized the common ancestor to broccoli, kale, etc, was known. Great example. The lizard eating the tan-colored bugs off the green leaf, excellent. There’s something great in the pace of your presentation, which for some reason I think is great for learning. As Dawkins career shows, the skills of story telling are very important in educating people.

    Common Ancestry was one of the things that blew my mind as a kid, caused me to daydream in wonder. I’m happy to be reminded of that, and that kids can still have their imaginations ignited by reality.

  5. Been looking at lots of kids educational vids on evolution lately, so I can’t remember if others have also made the crucial point re: nature “It may not have an intelligent brain like a farmer…” & “Even though it may not have a thinking mind…”

    I think that is a very important point to add that I may not have seen in the others.

    Visually, the font for the definition would be better sans-serif and centered. I don’t think the right words were underlined at the right time to reveal the contrast between random / non-random. Something wrong there… probably centering the paragraph will help… dunno felt strange.

    I reckon adding some farmer pix from different human ages to put time into the perspective would be great.

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