What steps are required to build a snail? Can natural selection, as described by evolutionary biologists, accomplish any of these steps? These questions were investigated in a recent report by Biola University science philosopher Paul Nelson. His observations clearly show that natural selection is totally inadequate to the task.

And if natural selection couldn’t build a snail, it couldn’t build any other animal.

Dr. Nelson’s analysis was presented at the Society for Developmental Biology Annual Meeting on July 24.1 He began by reiterating the three essential components that natural selection supposedly needs in order to function, as described in the classic 1986 book Natural Selection in the Wild by population biologist John Endler:

  • First, organisms must have trait differences.
  • Second, they must leave more offspring with one version of a trait than those with a different version.
  • Third, they must transmit the trait versions faithfully each generation.

Nelson asked whether or not these conditions were met in the history of animals such as snails.

His poster presentation described why evolution’s required changes to animal embryos are not possible. When biologists or mutations alter genes or other DNA sequences that are used during embryonic development, the result is catastrophic. In other words, experiments have proven that generating trait variations in animal embryos—which must happen for evolution to build a new life form from an old one—kills the developing animal.2 This means that the first condition for natural selection, trait variations, cannot be met in core embryonic traits….

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