Pitt professor’s theory of evolution argues against Darwin’s theory
Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Bruno Maresca of the University of Salerno published a paper January 30 in the New Anatomist showing how the emerging understanding of cell structure supports the Pitt professor’s theory of evolution.
In the beginning (1859), Darwin created evolutionary theory. This theory was based on the belief that organisms gradually evolve. The premise behind this theory was that living things evolved based on selection of the fittest, inheritance, and variation. Darwin’s model of gradual evolution was very limited in explaining novelty — simply put, the emergence of new things.
For this reason, Schwartz outlines the limits of Darwinism in his book Sudden Origins. If one looks at fossil records, there is little evidence supporting a gradual change. On the contrary, evolution is often a sudden occurrence, starting on the cellular level. Animals did not gradually form teeth, for example; they were just there. In the same vein, it would be impossible to say that reproductive organs gradually came about. These jumps cannot be accounted for through Darwinism. Darwinism does not account for how organisms came into being, just how organisms survive.
The last 20 years of evolutionary biology show that organisms share the same regulatory molecules. According to Schwartz, there is no change at the molecular level. Rather, provoking novel features is all a matter of the timing of shuffling cards. For instance, the same regulatory gene that accounts for certain segments of the brains of vertebrates accounts for the spots on a certain butterfly.
This brings us to the research done by Maresca regarding stress proteins. There exists in the cell membrane a number of stress proteins that prevent mutations or possible errors from occurring.
The cell membrane’s physical state (MPS) depends on the cell’s ability to handle such errors. The cell’s competence is reliant on the temperature and/or diet available to it.
In general, stress proteins are able to sustain a balance within five degrees of the given environment. If a greater shift occurs, the stress proteins will most often become over-worked, resulting in the demise of the organism.
Plants are able to adapt to a change in temperature in about two months. If a sudden change occurs, however, the organism must rely on its heat shock response (HSR) to accommodate this change. If the sudden change is too much, the HSR is not able to cope and the MPS becomes too greatly disturbed, leading to the death of the organism.
An example of this would be a person’s response to the change in weather. When a human is exposed to a slight change of temperature, it is unpleasant for a while. However, after a couple months the body adapts to the weather and it is then considered normal. If that same person were suddenly exposed to severe heat or cold, he or she would die shortly due to the body’s inability to cope with such drastic change.
Such phenomena lead to mutations, and to the theory proposed by Schwartz. If a mutation occurs in a dominant gene, the organism will die. If it occurs in a recessive gene, then it lies inactive. As this recessive gene is carried, it will slowly be passed along from generation to generation. Eventually the population becomes saturated with the recessive gene, and by chance an offspring can have two copies and a novelty will occur.
Since it is almost impossible to predict when the mutation will manifest, the time and place of occurrence of the mutated gene is like shuffling a deck of cards. “If a novel feature doesn’t kill you, you know you have it,” Schwartz said. For example, if two copies of a recessive gene for lungs occur in an organism in the ocean, it will drown. Instead of organisms “adapting” to their environment, organisms are distributed through nature through the elimination of the “wrong” traits. No persistent mechanism actually promotes evolution as Darwin believed. It is the lack of an organism’s ability to maintain balance in the stresses of an environment that permits novelty to occur.
Schwartz has also published The Human Fossil Record, which is the first study of the history of human fossils, and The Red Ape, which outlines morphology and molecular approaches to phylogenic reconstruction.
Maresca, in conjunction with Laszlo Vigh, has worked out the role of membrane lipids and physical state in regulating gene expression.
Schwartz showed that his new theory of evolution has profound effects today as the environment continues to become diminished. As the degradation of the environment continues, the window of opportunity for organisms to survive and evolve will decrease. We have an urgency and responsibility to take care of what’s left of our world.