A major tenet of Darwin’s General Theory of evolution is that all modern life forms have
common ancestry in the distant past. Another assumption is that all life is descended from
early organisms that obtained energy from sunlight. There seems to be a major problem,
however: Such a major change in energy source could not have been instantaneous, yet
many incremental changes should have decreased fitness for survival of those organisms
which lived with an incomplete biological structure that would have become useful only in
future generations. If such a transition occurred, there must have been many stages in which
the new energy-conversion system was not yet functional. This would mean that an organism
that obtained energy from sunlight would have to support a biological structure that was
requiring maintenance without giving back any benefit, and this organism would, at the same
time, be competing with organisms that did not have this incomplete structure. Thus an
evolutionary boundary may have prevented such a major change from taking place. This
hypothesis is testable through mathematical simulations of the progress of populations of
The question that these simulations will attempt to answer is “Is it plausible for a large
population of organisms, which obtain energy from sunlight and live in a large body of
water, to generate, through mutations, an organism that uses an energy source other than
sunlight?” This organism must receive a benefit from this secondary energy source at
least equal to the energy needed to operate the additional biological structures involved.
It’s not essential that the original system (for using sunlight for energy) be abandoned.
(A dual energy source is allowed.) The term “target organism” designates the first
organism that meets this requirement of a fully functioning new structure.
The method for approaching this question is in simulating the creations and growths of
sub-populations of mutant organisms. Each group is made up of organisms that share
similar effects of non-harmful mutations.
Before proceeding, my approach to this question needs to be explained. Without claiming
any personal beliefs in any particular evolutionary theory, I submit, for the purpose of
these simulations, that the following two assumptions be operable and designated as
1) Any trait that positively effects the immediate survivability of an organ-
ism will result in the increase of population ratio of the organisms which
inherit that trait, compared with the population of a very similar variety
which doesn’t possess that trait, when the two groups live in competition.
2) Any trait that negatively effects the immediate survivability of an organ-
ism will result in the decline or extinction of all descendents which
inherit that trait, when they compete, over a long period of time, with
very similar varieties which do not possess that trait.
The reason for including these assumptions is to provide a foundation for a true test
of the hypothesis that through survival of the fittest, all animal life is descended from
organisms that relied directly on sunlight. The word “extinction”, in the second assump-
tion may seem extreme to some. When taken in the context of a world in which the
only life forms are simple and very similar organisms, it will be seen that extinction
is quite plausible for a group having a trait that decreases its ability to survive amid
very similar organisms not having that weakness. The degree to which one trait is
negative enough to cause extinction is irrelevant to these examinations as the appli-
cation of this assumption is in regard to the accumulation of many weaknesses over
many generations. The extinction of a sub-population with accumulated weaknesses
is natural in these cases of amplified weaknesses. (See the section on baggage.)
The phrase “immediate survivability” is used to emphasize the obvious point that
whatever unique trait an organism possesses is of no value if that organism dies
before passing on that trait through reproduction. Some hypotheses of evolution are
theoretical constructions based on looking back in time. A unique trait of a living
specimen might be analyzed and a hypothesis formed as to its origin in past genera-
tions. The purpose of these investigations, on the other hand, is to probe the future
potentials of simple organisms in a theoretical environment in which complex forms
do not exist. Immediate survivability is more important than a distant future potential.
The choice for this simulation is of an oceanic organism which obtains energy from
sunlight. Sunlight is a more consistent energy source than any other, in the long run,
in a world in which few, if any, other life forms exist. Simple organisms that rely on
chemical sources for energy won’t be considered in this examination, however the
principle of evolutionary boundary might apply just as well to such organisms.
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