Evolution Without Randomness
Nothing is truly 'random', so genetic variability must be determined by some mechanism.
Modern evolutionary theory claims genetic variability in gametes (sex-cells) is random. However, for the reasons discussed on the page "Random Chance" Is Not Science, I'd maintain that "random" isn't a valid concept in this context and is actually hiding a much more scientifically useful possibility...
the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures, as predators, changes in climate, or competition for food or mates, will tend to survive and reproduce in greater numbers than others of their kind, thus ensuring the perpetuation of those favorable traits in succeeding generations. Link
The theory states that gametes are a random combination of the parent's genes:
During meiosis, the pairs of homologous chromosome are divided in half to form haploid cells, and this separation, or assortment, of homologous chromosomes is random.
Reproduction is essentially the purpose of life for biological organisms; it's the ultimate goal. It's purpose is to produce viable offspring, but one bad gene can ruin the whole organism so it seems unlikely that natural selection would have left this process entirely to chance.
Random Offspring Is A Poor Strategy
The standard Darwinian theory hinges on the assumptions of huge numbers of individuals and very long timescales to explain evolution. Given enough time it could conceivably work, and randomly generated gametes could allow for evolutionary progress.
It's conceivable that random mutations could create all the necessary functional diversity necessary for evolution, but it seems unlikely that this is how nature actually works. Random mutations tend to degrade the genome, not enhance it. While an occasional random mutation can be beneficial, most of them are harmful.
Some beneficial mutations require leaps of complexity that randomness would struggle to produce. That's not to say it couldn't do it, but statistically speaking, it'd have to be a long process involving many failures. Every failure is a cost to the parent organism and is a waste of it's effort.
If your offsprings' quality is determined by random-chance that's going to produce an awful lot of failures at a significant cost. It could easily result in complete failure to reproduce.
If an organism could find a better way of shuffling it's genes during meiosis so it could avoid say 50% of those failures then it would have a massive evolutionary advantage. It would only have to do half as much work to produce the same amount of viable offspring.
It would therefore make sense that, if possible, nature would try to find a more efficient method to produce viable-offspring than just a random "shot in the dark" strategy.
An organism that could somehow choose which genes were included in it's gametes based on which would be most suitable for the environment would have a huge advantage over one which just produced random gametes.
For example, if the environment was too cold, an organism that could make it's offspring have more fur would have a massive advantage over one which produced offpsring with random amounts of fur.
The ability for environment to be taken into consideration when producing gametes would be such a profound advantage, it's essentially unthinkable that evolution wouldn't do it.
Instead of pure randomness then, the proposed mechanism is environmental feedback derived from the perceptions of the parents. This somehow informs the reproductive system on what type of offspring would be best suited to the environment.
In other words, I'm suggesting that: Evolution is not a "blind watchmaker", it's a "partially-sighted" one...
It's "partially sighted" because the parents perceptions are imperfect. They may wish for the wrong traits in their offspring.
The Missing Factor: Choice / Desire
In the Universal-Plan, the principle of free-will (Logos) is the second highest principle of creation after the creator. This means everyone & everything in creation has free-will. In other words, the creator has delegated the responsibility of creation to the creation.
Evolution is driven by the choices & desires of the creatures who are evolving.
If creatures choose their mates, why think they can't choose which eggs or sperm they release? Male sperm is constantly being produced anew, so there's every possibility that the genetic contents could vary over time due to the choices or desires of the father...
I'm suggesting: The DNA of the gametes produced depends on the desires of the parent.
This is similar to Lamarckianism, except that here it's driven by desire, not physical experience.
The female can also have choices even though her eggs were created during her gestation. Firstly, she could theoretically choose which eggs to release depending on environment / partner. Secondly the egg itself has choice over which sperm to accept. Eggs do select sperm, it's observable, what we don't know is what their criteria are.
I would suggest the mother has the ability to "program" her eggs by her desire / inner vision, to instruct them what type of offspring is required, and so to choose a sperm which would best achieve this vision.
Matter / Spirit
The genotype of the offspring is then determined by two factors, the available components, and the desired outcome:
- Available Genes: The available genetic material the parents have to work with. Matter.
- Desired Outcome: The desires of the parents for what offspring they would like to receive. Spirit.
If the parents have no particular desire or need for their children, perhaps then it's then effectively a statistically-random process, but in the event of a strong environmental-pressure / need we should see very rapid and directed evolution in a particular direction.
I have personal, and anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon among people I know... They strongly desired a child with particular features, and got one just like it. They got exactly what they asked for. I believe this may be a common experience for people.
3rd Party / New Genes?
If selection pressures are strong, and the parents desire features in there offspring not available in their own genome, then perhaps they are able to integrate 3rd-party DNA from sources such as viruses, or food, or previous partners (in the female) in order to produce the desired result.
Perhaps it's possible for the reproductive cells, under certain circumstances, to actually create entirely new, relatively complex genes or sets of genes to achieve a particular well-defined task (e.g. combating a new environmental toxin). The new genes don't need to be 100% perfect first time, but if the "reasoning" ability of the reproductive system is good enough, & it could get say 80% of the way to a solution in the first generation that would obviously confer a huge survival benefit.
It is the case that the mother in some species may store DNA from all of her previous partners, and her offspring may be a mixture of some or all. Her body can choose from a number of sources and put together a patchwork or 'photo-fit' of the offspring she desires.
If this theory is true then the human reproductive systems isn't just a dumb machine churning out random shuffles of DNA. At the cellular level, where the DNA is managed & copied, the cells would have some kind of "understanding" what's required, and work to a plan. The parts of the system would have to be considered as semi-intelligent agents.
I don't think this should be controversial, the body contains all kinds of autonomous subconscious systems which behave in intelligent ways.
The suggestion is that by some as yet unknown physical mechanism, the desires & visions held in the creature's mind inform the reproductive system of what it perceives the next generation should look like in order to survive best, and the reproductive-system translates that into bio-chemistry and DNA.
Choice Vs Random
Let's compare the two theories...
- Offspring are a random mixture of parental DNA. (Current theory)
Parental perceptions of the environment and their desires have no effect on gamete production.
Offspring will not be specifically adapted to their environment, therefore large numbers will be unviable.
- Offspring are constructed using available DNA to best fit the perceived environment.
Individuals collect DNA from various sources throughout their lives, and may incorporate it in germ-cells.
A patchwork of all available DNA is used by the reproductive-machinery, to match the image the parent has in-mind of their offspring.
The machinery weighs & balances the perceptions / directions of the two parents, to produce offspring which are as viable-as-possible.
Clearly the second system would confer a massive evolutionary benefit over the first...
The "blind-system", relying on random-mutation, simply could not compete with the "sighted-system". If the second system existed it would replace the first within a very short time.
I'm not aware of any studies specifically about this, but I'd suggest there's plenty of evidence that this occurs in humans, if it were to be looked-for. If it happens in humans, by 'Occams razor' we would predict it happens in all life. All life has choices, everything has free-will within it's context.
Obviously parents don't always get it right, and Natural-Selection will act on everyone in it's usual way. If parents desire maladaptive traits, they would be selected against.
This would provide a clear and simple mechanism for evolution to progress much faster, and be directed by those actually involved in it - i.e. all living things. No God of 'Random' is selecting your children for you, it's up to you and your force of will. If you focus and strongly desire particular traits in your children, your body will do the best it can to produce that.
This is a physical mechanism, by which the consciousness of the parent can direct the actions of the body... It's no different from how you use your will to lift an arm. Your will directs your body quite a lot of the time... There's no magic involved, just biology.
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