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Evolution and Sexual Reproduction

If evolution is true then all kinds of reproduction evolved. However, the evolution of sexual reproduction is a problem for evolution. The theory of evolution predicts that species should clone themselves instead reproducing sexually.



According to the theory of evolution sexual reproduction evolved over time in species. However, when one understands how evolution works, it seems impossible that sexual reproduction ever evolved. Sexual reproduction is incompatible with evolution because it favors the species over the individual.

Proponents of evolution want people to believe that their theory is a scientific fact. They present and teach evolution as if it is lab-tested science. They want evolution to be accepted as a fact so that opposing evidence can be easily dismissed and ridiculed.

However, there are some serious scientific flaws with the theory of evolution. These modern flaws in the theory form a body of evidence that is very powerful, and can't be easily dismissed.

One of the flaws with evolution relates to the way in which many species reproduce. Many species reproduce sexually. This type of reproduction makes much more sense from a creationist perspective, than from an evolutionary one. The reason is that sexual reproduction works to preserve the state of a species, as opposed to serving certain individuals in that species.

To better understand this, we need to consider the theory of evolution itself. Evolution is based on the competition of individuals within a species. They compete at survival, and the fittest individuals have the most offspring. So evolution occurs over time through the survival of the fittest individuals within a species.

Another way of looking at this is that individuals within a species are in a constant struggle to pass on their genes. They are competing to have as large a share as possible in the gene pool. They are looking to pass on more of themselves than other individuals. The ones that can pass on more of their genes are more successful from an evolutionary perspective. The ones that pass on more of their genes, are the future of the species.

So then if one accepts this process of evolution as the origin of species, one needs to consider how species reproduce themselves. If species evolved from long ages of gene pool competition, then the way that they reproduce should reflect this. Through evolution, reproduction should be an entirely selfish process. All individuals in a species should reproduce by methods that give them the largest possible share of the gene pool.

Asexual and sexual are the two ways that species reproduce.

There are two main ways in which species reproduce; asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is basically cloning, and it's the main method of reproduction for many "simple" creatures. The other type of reproduction is sexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction involves a male and a female combining their genes to create offspring. It's generally believed that sexual reproduction evolved from asexual reproduction.

When we consider sexual reproduction, we see that it doesn't fit with the theory of evolution. In sexual reproduction the male and female combine to form a new individual. The male contributes half of the genes, and the female contributes the other half. The offspring are then made up of half of the genes of each parent.

Therefore in sexual reproduction the two parents must share in each of the offspring. Rather than getting to contribute 100% of their genes to the offspring, they both only contribute 50%. They become a genetic team, and must rear twice as many offspring to pass on the same amount of their genes.

How could sexual reproduction evolve in the first place?

How a system of sexual reproduction could get started is a mystery for evolutionists. Some evolutionists theorize that it evolved from different kinds of gene transfers that can happen in single celled organisms (1). They theorize that over time this led to distinct females and males that were dependent on eachother for reproduction.

This and similar explanations don't fit well with the competitive nature of evolution. Evolution would encourage a sexual arms race. This arms race would favor creatures that protect their own reproductive process, but also seek to spread their genes to others. Evolution would favor opportunistic individuals that can both clone and impregnate. Evolution would select against dedicated females of the species.

Over time asexual methods would quickly dominate the gene pool, and prevent the evolution of sexual reproduction. This is because of the selective advantage that individuals that clone have over those that don't. Rather than contributing 50% to each offspring, a cloner contributes 100%. A cloner can make more of themselves, more efficiently, than through sexual reproduction.

How could sexual reproduction be maintained in a species?

Even if it could get started, it's difficult to conceive of sexual reproduction being maintained for very long. The reason is that the female is better served to clone herself, than to let the male pass on his genes through her. There is tremendous evolutionary incentive for the female to "cheat the system", and leave out the male.

Sexual reproduction tends to favor the male, because he often gets to pass on his genes with little expenditure of time and energy. Sometimes his role is as simple as fertilizing the female. In such cases his contribution to the offspring is only his genetic material.

In comparison, the female of the species seems to be cheated from an evolutionary perspective. The females contribution in terms of time and energy is generally much greater than the males. Often she must gestate, birth, and then rear the young. Yet, she only gets to pass on 50% of her genes to the next generation. From an evolutionary standpoint, she's better off without the male.

Evolutionists have many ideas and theories that they use to explain this discrepancy. They will often point out that in some species the male contributes in ways other than giving birth. They suggest that the male earns his 50% by providing support for the female, and helping her to rear the young.

However these instances are so rare that they are irrelevant. Generally the males contribution is far less than the females. Even when his contribution is high, it still doesn't remove the incentive for both sides to cheat the arrangement as much as possible. Such a tenuous arrangement wouldn't exist long under evolutionary pressure, unless it was designed to.

Another evolutionary explanation is that the female benefits because she gets to mate with the strongest and most fit members of her species. This is because in some species the males put on elaborate displays to impress the females for mating. Other times the males will compete and fight over the right to mate with the females. Therefore, it's suggested that the female is advantaged because she gets to pass on her genes with the best males of her species.

As before, this explanation is inadequate. First, even if optimal mate selection occurs, it doesn't compare with a 50% loss in contribution to the offspring. Second, in a lot of cases, the competition to mate doesn't go beyond basic health and survival. There are many species of fish, plants, and insects in which the females have no way of ensuring that their mates are better. For these species mating is simply the luck the draw.

Many sexually reproducing species can also reproduce asexually.

It's sometimes thought that sexual reproduction evolved under some extreme circumstances, and became biologically fixed. In other words, through rapid evolution the ability to clone was permanently lost.

However, we know that this isn't the case. The females of many "complex" plants and animals can reproduce both asexually and sexually. Yet often when the female has the ability to cheat the system, she will still reproduce sexually. It's as if she's been programmed to ignore the evolutionary advantage of cloning.

There are many species that normally reproduce sexually, but also have the ability to clone themselves, producing viable offspring. This phenomenon is known as facultative parthenogenesis, and it's been witnessed in many complex species.

Parthenogenesis has been documented in fish, including many species of sharks such as blacktip, hammerhead, zebra, white-spotted bamboo, and reportedly others (2). It's been documented in Komodo dragons, reticulated and Burmese pythons, vipers, boas, and other species of snakes and lizards (2). It's also been documented in crustaceans, such as the spiny cheek crayfish (3). It's widespread among flowering plants as well.

Often times these cloning events occur in cases of female isolation, when there are no males around. It's been thought that this cloning ability is a protective mechanism against extinction, or to help single individuals colonize new areas.

What's clear is that there are few, if any, anatomical hurdles to cloning. Sexually reproducing species often have the ability to reproduce asexually built into them, as part of their reproductive process. Yet they still seek sexual reproduction, thus ignoring the evolutionary gain of cloning. It's as if their "programming" goes against the predicted outcomes of Darwin's theory.

Does research show an evolutionary reason for sexual reproduction?

Over the years scientists have tried to answer questions about the evolution of sexual reproduction. They've used models and experiments to test some of the conditions they think could have given rise to sexual reproduction. To their credit, many of them have been honest in assessing the evidence, and recognizing the "problem" of sexual reproduction (though evolution itself seems above any criticism).

Much research has predicted and shown that evolution favors asexual reproduction (4). In healthy populations, good mutations and combinations of genes are more efficiently passed on by cloning. Bad genes are also removed more efficiently. This is consistent with evolution, which is dependent on the fittest individuals efficiently reproducing themselves.

On the other hand, sexual reproduction sort of "shuffles" around the genes of a population. It doesn't create new or better genes, but it does mix up the genes better than asexual reproduction. This can be advantageous in certain circumstances such as when small populations are confined with pathogens or other stresses (4). It can also help keep old genes around that prove to be useful later on.

One can conclude that by shuffling up genes, sexual reproduction helps to even out and maintain a species. It prevents the rapid elimination of certain genes, as well as the dominance of other genes. This helps to preserve the state of a species by preventing a population from being easily altered by external pressures.

In this way we see that sexual reproduction is more consistent with creationism than with evolution. Preventing rapid change and divergence is what a Creator might do to preserve a species. A Creator might protect the nature of a particular species by preventing it from rapidly diverging from its created state.


References: (1) "Evolution of Sexual Reproduction"; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_sexual_reproduction, (2014); wikipedia.org. (2) "Parthenogenesis"; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis, (2014); wikipedia.org. (3) Milos Buric, Martin Hulak, Antonin Kouba, Adam Petrusek, Pavel Kozak; "A Successful Crayfish Invader Is Capable of Facultative Parthenogenesis: A Novel Reproductive Mode in Decapod Crustaceans", (2011), plosone.org. (4) Sarah Otto; "Sexual Reproduction and the Evolution of Sex", (2008), nature.com.

Comments: (2)
Topic: Evolution and Reproduction
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Jack
I find many things wrong with this argument, you say evolution isn't scientifically compatible as there is no "lab tests" but this is very wrong as we can see evolution happen with bacteria and other quick reproducing organisms. Evolution does not favor asexual reproduction as all of them are EXACTLY the same which means that one event could wipe out ALL of them.
Also it would NOT be beneficial to give more that 50% because sexual reproduction evolved as a means of creating more genetic divergence in turn leading to increased survival rates.
23rd October 2016 6:52pm
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Doug Buckley
Hi Jack, a bit of a late reply. I say that evolution isn't "lab science" and here's why. You can create or document mutation in a lab, but not complex beneficial mutations. This is why genetic engineering was developed, because random mutation and selective breeding are very limited in what they can do.

As to your second point, you're thinking of cloning like in farming. This is not natural asexual reproduction. Evolutionists believe that all diversity comes from mutation, and so reproducing sexually or asexually has little effect on this.
The difference is that in sexual reproduction the genes/mutations are mixed up within a species more. So if anything new mutations can't proliferate as fast. Sexual reproduction makes sense to maintain a species and prevent divergence. Asexual reproduction makes more sense for a species that needs to survive in a changing environment.
3rd January 2017 5:21am
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