The genetic system is not optimized to result in increase of fitness by natural selection

These are the words penned by one of the most respected population geneticists on the planet:

the genetic system is not optimized to result in increase of fitness by natural selection.


when we involve multiple loci, mean fitness can actually decrease as a net result of natural
selection and recombination, – Joe Felsenstein

And I’ll add, given that 90-99% of the “beneficial” mutations are actually functional compromises (like tape worms losing organs), the meaning of the phrase “fitness increasing” itself becomes dubious.

And that is one of the reasons I find creationism more believable than evolutionism.

As the historian Glick quipped: “Mendelism killed Darwinism”.

I’ll add that it doesn’t become dubious, as fitness is always contextual(species become fit to their environment, not to all possible circumstances), and was never meant or understood to be otherwise.

Well that just goes to show that your reasons for finding creationism more believable than “evolutionism” are based partially on a misunderstanding.


I’m sure Joe Felsenstein appreciates you quote-mining him and misrepresenting his position on evolutionary theory.


If I hadn’t said it before, Happy New Year, Rumraket. Thanks for your comment.

For those interested, Sal’s latest brutally dishonest quote-mining of Joe Felsenstein come from Dr. Felsenstein’s explanatory booklet of evolutionary population genetics here.


There’s no gutter so low some ID-Creationists won’t crawl into it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Glick attributed this quip to Jan Zavřel. Did you just read Basener and Sanford (2018), see the quote and citation to Glick and think Glick himself was the one who said it?

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Why not give the full quote for context?

It turns out that there the genetic system is not optimized to result in increase of fitness by natural selection. We would only expect such optimization of the genetic system if multiple genetic systems had competed, with choice among them according to their results. The system of inheritance that we have need only be good enough that there is a net increase if fitness most of the time. We are fit enough to sit here and read this book, but not we are not optimal organisms.

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Thanks for the correction. Yes, I got it from Basener and Sanford 2018.

Yeah, I don’t have Glick’s book which retails for $300. How did you get a hold of it.

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The rest of the quote is wrong for the reasons stated that 99% of the “beneficials” are function compromising. So if fitness is increasing due to 99% function compromising “beneficials” invading the population, how is that good?

All you have to prove a point are non-sequitur appeals to phylogenetic trees. Even assuming common descent, it doesn’t explain the rise of integrated complexity.

No, the rest of the quote isn’t wrong for that reason, it simply doesn’t follow. It’s not clear why it’s wrong at all.

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You can find copies for much cheaper than that, for example google books offers the full ebook for almost half that amount. It also offers large sections of the book in the free sample, which is where I found the relevant section (page 265).
I suppose I should have said earlier that Vitezslav Orel and Margaret H. Peaslee attributed the quip to Jan Zavřel, since they were the once’s who wrote that part of the book. Glick was one of the editors, not the author.


What is your opinion on what is “good” relevant for again?

What is integrated complexity? Define it in quantitative terms and show where this “rise” occurs.

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What orifice did you pull that number from Sal?

Evolution gives no points merely for retaining function. If degrading a function gives a better chance for survival and reproduction then it’s good for its possessor. That’s Evolution 101.

Evolving increased complexity can be beneficial because it often allows a population to be more fine-tuned to their environment. That’s Evolution 101 too Sal.

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Sal is a fine example of creationists never getting tired of quote-mining. But on a site where the quote-mined author is actually present? Now that’s chutzpah. Joe, are you getting this?


I don’t believe this for a second. Methinks @stcordova is just making stuff up.



Your position only makes sense when you are discussing/disputing with Atheists.

God’s participation in Evolution explains integrated complexity perfectly well for Christians of all varieties.

Does it make sense even then?


John Harshman noted:

But on a site where the quote-mined author is actually present? Now that’s chutzpah. Joe, are you getting this?
Thanks also to commenter evograd for citing a full four sentences to illumine what I was saying in the passage from which Sal took part of a sentence.

This particular quote-mined author gets busy and does not want to spend a lot of time complaining for every quote that the quote is in a context and the context may give a different picture. For a further discussion of mean fitness optimization, later in my online book Theoretical Evolutionary Genetics, see in the current 2019 edition page 378, where I discuss multiple locus theory and P.A.P. Moran’s example where fitness declines continuously from certain starting points. I end up saying that

The notion of an adaptive topography is thus compromised by recombination. There is no rule that mean fitness always increases, or even sometimes increases, nor is there any rule that the final mean fitness is above the initial mean fitness. Nevertheless in “real” cases it is often found that the net effect of selection in the presence of recombination is to increase the mean fitness of the population, comparing final to initial values. It is just that it does not do so in all cases. The genetic system is not perfectly designed to increase mean fitness (probably because evolution has had only a limited opportunity to try alternative genetic systems). But if one cannot be Panglossian and believe that mean fitness changes are always for the best, your very presence reading these pages is indirect evidence that there have, on the whole, been more increases than decreases of mean fitness in the course of evolution.

Creationists will of course complain that I am assuming that evolution happened.


A million thanks, evograd.