Science & Non-profit

Darwin’s litmus test & Life’s logic, an extension to the theory of evolution through natural selection

Explanation for non-scientists

When Darwin wrote his theory of evolution, the imperfections of the fossil record were so great that his theory seemed to answer all the questions. However, with our current knowledge of the fossil record this is no longer true. Close examination of the fossil record shows that species, in unison, appear, and disappear, at the borders between rock layers and that they do not change in the meantime. So whatever it is that is causing new species to occur (speciation), it also causes the rock layers to be different, it affects all the species at the same time and it is inactive for most of the time. The new theory in this article is the first one that actually explains this pattern while also staying true to Darwin’s theory of evolution.


This article presents a simple test, based on the fossil record, which can be used to test the different speciation mechanisms that have been proposed for the theory of evolution. This article also presents a new add on to the theory of evolution that gives the necessary logical framework to many of the current theories in order for them to pass this test.

Jump directly to:

• Darwin’s litmus test
• The theory of evolution through natural selection
• Life’s logic, an extension to the theory of evolution
• The origin of water and oxygen on planet earth
• Global warming
• New insights

Keywords / Index

speciation mechanism, Darwin Better begin with this, Darwin’s litmus test, biostratigraphy, Cambrian explosion, Darwin's dilemma, phyletic gradualism, Lamarcism, problem molecular clock, Darwin, Patrick Matthew, Wallace, Thomas Malthus, allopatric speciation, peripatric speciation, parapatric speciation, sympatric speciation, founder effect, quantum evolution, punctuated equilibria, coordinated stasis, turnover pulses, ecological speciation, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetics, Life’s logic, selfish-gene, Gaia theory, The evolutionary force of great environmental change, genetic code, mutation, life, life item, individual organism, environment, opportunities, species, niche, sub-species, sub-niche, proto-species, mutation rate, optimum mutation rate, adaptive mutation, adaptation level, the theory of evolution through natural selection, still period, fine-tuning, evolutionary stalemate, stasis period, explosive period, zero-hour moment evolution, speciation, extinction, radical mutations, sub-species law, on the origin of species, origin water earth, origin oxygen earth, photosynthesis, plate tectonics, solar wind, global warming, Steve Jobs, Newton.


Author: Geert Poelman - Info at: http://www.geert.com
Note: this article is an updated version of the original published January 18, 2017
   – for the original see: https://www.academia.edu/30974227


It is a little known fact that Darwin wrote a validity test for his theory of evolution [1] by which future generations could test his theory. With today’s knowledge this test yields interesting and unexpected results. The beauty of the test comes from in its simplicity and indisputable logic. In this article I will first present this test, after which I will present a new add on to the theory of evolution that will enable many of the current theories to pass this test.

One of the fundamental parts of Darwin’s theory is the mechanism by which new species are formed (speciation). Darwin noticed that, although evolution cannot be observed directly in nature, it is possible to test the validity of its speciation mechanism. For each theoretically possible speciation mechanism leaves a distinct pattern in the fossil record. He wrote (between the lines in pencil, and in an essay only meant for publication in case of death): Better begin with this. If species, really after catastrophes, created in showers over world, my theory false.[2 p.108, 3 p.145, 4 p.182]. I found this to be such an elegant and powerful statement that I therefore call this fossil pattern test ‘Darwin’s litmus test’. And by using this test we can test the different theoretical speciation mechanisms.

Darwin’s litmus test is based on comparing the theoretically expected pattern in the fossil record of a speciation mechanism, with the pattern that is actually found. If the two patterns are virtually the same, then the speciation mechanism is possibly correct, but if not, then it is false. The things to look out for can be stated in a few simple questions.

  1. Does the fossil record of a species show periods of rapid change followed by periods with no change, or is all change gradual and consistent? (Note that periods of rapid change will appear as virtually instant in the fossil record).

  2. And if the fossil record of a species does show periods of rapid change followed by long periods with no change then:

  3. Are these periods in sync with those of the other species, or do they occur at random in comparison with those of the other species?

  4. Are these periods in sync with the borderlines between the different rock layers, or do they occur at random in comparison to these?

  5. And if they are in sync with both the other species and the borderlines between the different rock layers then:

  6. Do these periods of rapid change start and end exactly at the borderlines between the different rock layers?

  7. As question 4, but at the start, is there a very short period of very rapid change visible?

You will have noticed that I split Darwin’s elegant sentence up into five separate questions. For Darwin mostly had to contend with the thinking of Georges Cuvier who was one of the founders of the science of biostratigraphy [5 p.7-8]. Cuvier always insisted that fossils of species appear in unison and end abruptly at the borderlines between the different rock layers while they are also consistent within them. And this position directly contradicted Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s thought that Cuvier was wrong, but he was not entirely sure, especially in regards to the Cambrian period when the evidence seemed to point to a massive appearance of new life (the Cambrian explosion), this doubt has since then become known as Darwin's dilemma. But since the days of Darwin his theory of evolution has advanced quite a bit as many great scientists have contributed. So I had to split his original question up into five separate ones in order to be able to test the new theories as well.

Charles Robert Darwin and phyletic gradualism
Darwin knew that his theory of evolution needed an explanation of how one species can give birth to another species (speciation). And his answer was that it happened so slowly and so gradually that it could not be observed. He named this speciation mechanism phyletic gradualism’. So his evidence for phyletic gradualism simply was; we can tell from the fossil record that species do indeed give birth to new species, so therefore it must exist even if we cannot see it in action. But this only proves the existence of a speciation mechanism, it does not prove that the particular speciation mechanism that Darwin selected was therefore also the right one.

Darwin selected phyletic gradualism as his speciation mechanism because he based his theory on the observation that in nature all species have a slight variability within the species [1]. However, this variability within a species is not enough for great leaps in evolution to occur. So, as he was lacking a mechanism by which he could explain how this variability could suddenly increase when required, as well as how it could then later revert back to its usual level, he had no choice but to go for phyletic gradualism. Also note that Lamarcism [0], the accepted view at the time, is very similar to phyletic gradualism in the sense that they are both based on a continuous flow of immeasurably small steps over a very long period of time, the main difference between them being the driving force that causes these immeasurably small steps.

As the speciation mechanism of phyletic gradualism is independent of that what happens in the other species, and as it is also independent of the geological causes that form the layers in the rock, and as it is also very slow and continuous, the expected pattern in the fossil record for phyletic gradualism is exclusively gradual and consistent change (question 1 second part).

While this theoretical prediction was expectable in Darwin’s days as the fossil record was of such bad quality that no firm judgement could be made, with our current knowledge of the fossil record it is clear that the fossil record is in contradiction with the predicted result of phyletic gradualism [4 p.264-267, 6, 7]. So we must therefore reject phyletic gradualism as the main speciation mechanism at work in the process of evolution trough natural causes (Darwin would, I am sure, reluctantly agree).

At this point I must urge for some caution. Within some fields of biology it is generally excepted that phyletic gradualism is false, while in others it is not [4 p.264-267, 8]. Darwin’s theory of evolution is so well loved that it has become hard, if not impossible, to conduct a scientific discussion which contradicts Darwin. I therefore see no other option than to force-open the debate by making a few simple points which can all be debated on their own merit.

Firstly there should be a debate on the genetical mechanism by which phyletic gradualism is suppose to work. For the assumption that speciation could be caused by be very many successive mutations that are all extremely small in their effect, the genetic equivalent of phyletic gradualism, simply does not make sense with today’s knowledge. If anything it seems based more on Lamarcism [0] than on modern genetics.

Secondly there is the ‘problem’ with the molecular clock. The molecular clock is effectively based on phyletic gradualism (the assumption that the mutation rate is small and constant over time), but carbon dating simply proves that catastrophes lead to the mutation rate being temporarily higher, and thus offsetting the molecular clock [8, 9].

And thirdly there is a tendency not to question Darwin in any way as he is seen as such a great genius, and therefore, obviously, anyone who would do so must be a fool. And it is true that his theory of evolution is seminal to today’s biology and that it is one of the great achievements of modern science. But the fact that his theory is of such importance does not automatically equate that Darwin must have been an infallible genius to come up with it.

It is a little known fact that Patrick Matthew [10 p.364-365] published the essence of the theory of evolution almost three decades before Darwin published his version. And then there is of course the fact that Alfred Russel Wallace sent Darwin a letter with a perfect summery of the theory of evolution [11] before Darwin had even published his theory. So at least three people, independently of each other and roughly in the same time period, came up with the same theory of evolution trough natural selection. And lets not forget that one of the pillars of the theory of evolution came from Thomas Malthus [12 p.4,5]. Namely that the exponential growth potential of populations is held in check by the finite resources available to them.

I see Darwin’s greatest achievement, not in having the idea, but in the sheer size and quality of his work in order to support it. For without that his theory would have never been so generally accepted. So Darwin was a very clever, good and hard-working man, but he was no infallible genius.

After Darwin
Since Darwin wrote his theory there have been (very) many new theories that have taken it further. Fortunately there is no need to discuss them all in this article, except that is for making one important point:

[0] Allopatric speciation, peripatric speciation, parapatric speciation, sympatric speciation, founder effect, quantum evolution, punctuated equilibria [7], coordinated stasis, turnover pulses, ecological speciation, phenotypic plasticity and epigenetics are all part of the solution, but they also leave many unanswered questions. This creates a vagueness that allows scenarios to be devised that fail Darwin’s Litmus test. And because of this it could even be mistakenly concluded that these theories are therefore false.

Darwin’s theory of evolution, in contrast, was so compelling precisely because it was very clear and it therefore seemed to answer all the questions at the time. And the key to this achievement was that Darwin had encased his theory in an integrated logical framework that gave the reader complete clarity about the whole picture, as well as setting clear limits about its scope. Modern biology lacks this approach, as it prefers a multitude of articles all giving lip service to each other but never daring to make bold statements or to exceed on what is excepted and expected. It is academically very sound, but it cripples science.

The next part of this article solves the aforementioned vagueness problem of the current theories by strengthening and extending Darwin’s logical framework.

Life’s logic, an extension to the theory of evolution

So here I present a new extension to the theory of evolution that is inspired by; the selfish-gene theory [13], the Gaia theory [14] and a theory of mine called ‘The evolutionary force of great environmental change’ [15]. It is a bit of a strange mix, but it gels remarkably well once you get your head around it.


Genetic code is something physical that causes its own reproduction, dependent on the availability of its required opportunities. It is viable when the likeliness of it naturally decaying is less than the likeliness of it replicating or remaining intact. In other words, when without limitations, it will rise exponentially in frequency.

A mutation is an event that creates or alters genetic code.

Life (on earth for example) is the combined results, of all the mutations in the past, which persists through the generations. It is important to realise that life is more like a mathematical sum than a physical entity. It resembles a design whereby the mutations are the creative sparks that lead to its conception. Note that in the context of this article it makes no difference whether it is purely the laws of physics that create it (like ‘the design of a raindrop’ for example), or alternatively if there might be some intelligence involved somehow. That is a discussion for which there is no scientific proof either way.

A life item is that part of life that resulted from a single mutation. Please note that life items are not the same as mutations. The act of creation and its result are not the same thing. Furthermore, procreation can copy the result of a mutation into the genetic material of many individuals, but it still remains only one life item (which is shared by all its individual carriers). Also note that life items and genes are not the same thing. A mutation for example can cause a gene to have several copies of itself within one genome, but the result of this mutation is a separate life item and it is independent of the life items that form the gene. So for this example the life item is more like the copy and paste command on a computer. One analogy that might help you is to see a life item as a single command in the source code of a computer program, whereby the compiled software can then run on many different computers at the same time.

An individual organism is a single physical unit, with its own genetic code, that is part of life. The physical form of an organism, if unimpeded by extraordinary effects, is determined by the life items that it caries. It is only via individual organisms that the physical world interacts with life and its life items. And it is trough procreation by, as well as the survival of, individual organisms that life items are carried through the generations.

An environment is the myriad of opportunities in the physical world that individual organisms can exploit over the lifetime of many generations. For example, the presence of grass in an environment could be seen as an opportunity. But this is too simple. Grass is present in many different types of locations in an environment. It makes a big difference if it grows up a cliff or on flat land. And the location is only one of the many factors that make up an opportunity. Note that I use the term ‘opportunities’ to mean the collections of similar opportune moments that individual organisms regularly encounter during the lifetime of many generations. I do not mean a single opportune moment at a specific time and place for example.

A species is that part of life that is designed, as the result of the life items which are common to all its members, to exploit a specific subset (its niche) of the opportunities present in its environment. These are most likely complex interactions that might not be easily identifiable in the field. Not all the opportunities that a species can exploit are necessarily part of its niche, only those for which it is specifically designed to exploit them are part of its niche. The design of a species is itself part of the opportunity that it exploits, for it could not exploit the opportunity without its design. This explains why species that seem to exploit the same opportunity as other species, but for the fact that they are just more efficient at it than them, can claim this opportunity as part of their niche. Note that all the members of a species combined will often have many more life items than only those that define the species. So it is wrong to see a species as simply the collection of all its members. The diversity within a species, caused by the extra life items, is not part of the set of life items that define a species. Part of most species is a set of life items that prevents the interbreeding with other species. However, the existence of such a set is not required. If needed, one can extend the definition of a species by adding the need for a large enough part of its members of being capable of interbreeding for effective gene flow to be possible, and one could possibly also add some geographical isolation component. For this theory though, these extensions are not required.

A sub-species, is a subset of a species that has an extra set of life items that allow it to better exploit its own sub-niche in comparison to the other members of the species. Individual organisms can belong to several sup-species at the same time. Sub-niches can be caused by geographical factors (isolation from the rest of the species and/or adaptation to a different climate) or by a specialisation towards a subset of the species opportunities. Please note that an opportunity is in relation to life within an environment, and therefore not necessarily in relation to the resources within that environment. So for example, the possibility to procreate is a valid opportunity, and in species with sexual differentiation this has led to the sub-species of male and female.

A proto-species is a sub-species that could potentially evolve into a new species.

The mutation rate of a species is the likeliness of a mutation occurring within that species. And the optimum mutation rate is the best possible mutation rate in regards to its potential costs and benefits for that species. However, this definition is a bit of an oversimplification in the context of this article. For, while some mutations have little effect, others have great effect. And it is the ratio between these two types, as well as the frequency at which mutations occur, that determines their overall effect. So I will split this over simplified definition up into two new ones by speaking of the rates for radical, and non-radical mutations (still a gross over simplification, but one that will work within the context of this article).

Adaptive mutation is the possible existence of life items within a species, which allow that species to continuously adjust its actual mutation rate to that of the optimum mutation rate. And, yes, here to it is wise to slightly less simplify the definition by considering a mechanism that shifts the balance between radical and non-radical mutations. Please note that long-standing theoretical objections to adaptive mutation were proven to be based on a set of false implicit assumptions [15] and that there is in fact good evidence for its widespread existence [4,6,7,8,9].

When we take the sum total of all the opportune moments, that together make up all the opportunities of a species niche, which are successfully exploited. And we divide these by the sum total of all those that are available. Then we get the adaptation level of a species. So basically it is the level at which a species is adapted to its niche.

The theory of evolution through natural selection
Due to the inherent nature of genetic code to grow exponentially if unlimited, and the limited number of opportune moments within each niche that an environment has to offer the individual organisms as they mature. It is logical that procreation will produce far more individual organisms (offspring) than can possibly survive in order to procreate themselves (this overproduction is required to compensate for the losses).

The average success rate of each individual organism in exploiting opportunities is determined by their design, and the design of each individual organism is determined by the life items that it carries. So the life items are ultimately the cause of their own success rate in reproduction. Therefore life items that cause harm to their carriers will decrease in frequency (with the exception of segregation distorters [0]), while those that benefit it will rise in frequency.

New mutations occur regularly. Life therefore has a continues influx of new life items, and each one of these can potentially be an improvement to an existing design. And thus life evolves to become ever more sophisticated and ever more successful in exploiting the environments in which it resides. This, in a nutshell, is the theory of evolution through natural selection.

Still period
There is an inherent aspect of design that is actually very important, but which is mostly overlooked. Namely: that the more that a design is optimised for one function, the less good that that same design will be at all the other functions.

For example, the design of a sports car and that of a truck are very similar. But the more that the design of a sports car is adapted to transport goods, the less good that it will be at going fast. And visa versa for a truck. Transporting goods and going fast are functions that are in direct conflict with each other. Compromises are possible, but the result will always be something that is not as fast as a sports car and not as good in transporting goods as a truck.

This inherent aspect of design is of great importance for evolution. For, as evolution evolves a species to become ever better at exploiting its niche, it will become ever less good at exploiting all the other niches, and this true for all the species. So all the species are continuously getting better at exploiting their own niches, while getting less good at attacking the niches of the other species.

There is also something else that is of great importance to evolution. Species use the most effective way to evolve, and they do so by effectively using a system of calculated risks. They try out many different design variations at the same time and only pursue the most beneficial ones. Now in order for a design variation to be selected as one of the most beneficial ones, it needs to find the best compromise between two conflicting risks. Too big and it will most likely result in disaster, and too small and it will most likely result in being outperformed by the competition as they will have found better design variations. So the magnitude of the design variation is the key to success here.

Now, by combining this point with the point I made previously, we can deduct one more important point. Namely that as a design gets ever closer to the perfect design, like the sports car from our example, the optimum magnitude of the variation gets ever smaller.

We call this whole process ‘fine-tuning’, and when this is the main force in the evolution of a species, we say that it is in a still period (a period of little change).

Summarised in more biological terms.

In a still period the competition, between all the species for all the available opportunities, is fierce and of high quality. A radical mutation could enable a species to exploit an opportunity outside of its niche. But the resulting life items would initially come with harmful side effects, as well as offsetting the fine-tuning that was already done. This initial damage would then need to be fine-tuned away over time by other non-radical mutations. But before the potential extra benefit of the new life item could actually become beneficial, the individual organisms that carry it would already have gone extinct as the competing species for that opportunity would be fine-tuned to perfection (the same logic holds true within a species and its niche).

So in still periods, ever higher levels of fine-tuning, result in ever lower levels of mutation rates for ever less radical mutations being advantageous (and if one assumes adaptive mutation then this is equates to a self-enforcing cycle).

Evolutionary stale-mates
In still periods, species try ever less radical design improvements to evolve. So it is quite possible that at some stage a different radical improvement would have actually been better, but that this potential improvement was simply never tried. And, as later on in the process species no longer try design improvements of such a radical magnitude, this potential improvement will never be tried. This is what I call an ‘evolutionary stalemate’.

Stasis period
Now the more that a species evolves and fine-tunes to a state of absolute perfection, the more that the limitations of the physical world start to interact with evolution.

Genetic code is a physical entity. It is therefore bound by the limitations that the physical world places upon it. And practically speaking there are only so many possible mutations that could be beneficial for any possible design improvement. This number of mutations is therefore by definition an integer number. Designs to are also inherently integer. An organism can only have so many legs, fingers and so on. And the result of all this is that the adaptation level of species is also integer in nature.

If we combine these physical limitations with the fine-tuning of a species, then it becomes clear that evolution will effectively come to a halt once a species is as well evolved as the integer nature of the adaptation level will allow. When this happens we say that the species has entered a stasis period (a stasis period is the later part of a still period where evolution has effectively come to a halt).

Now at this point a species is as best adapted to its niche as is physically possible, and the evolution of the species has effectively come to a halt. No more to say you would expect. But, as always in biology, there is the unexpected. Mother Nature always loves to set her claws in a good theory.

Explosive period
Geology and astronomy come into the fray. These sometimes completely change the circumstances on earth. And when this happens we speak of a great environmental change. The result of which is that many of the old niches no longer exist, while at the same time many new ones have been created. Actually it is even wrong to call them niches at this early stage, as the species that will occupy them do not even exist yet, but we will ignore that for now.

So all the species, that evolved to be so perfectly adapted to their respective niches during a still period, are no longer so. Most of them will now be seriously maladapted for the new niches that now exist. We call this an explosive period (the period just after a great environmental change). This period might only be short, but it is actually the most important period for evolution. An explosive period is basically the zero-hour moment in evolution. In this period new species are formed (or transformed), while others go extinct. But before we discuss this, it is best to explain an interesting experiment [16] that was done.

You might have been at the seaside and looked at all the different types of barnacle growing at different distances from the water line. Now barnacles need water to grow and the lack of water can even kill them. So the further a barnacle grows from the waterline, the worse it gets for it. So the species that grow at the greatest distance from the waterline are the hardiest. They can survive what the others cannot. Now you will notice that these most hardy species all grow at quite a distance from the waterline, so at the very edge of survival. There are none closer to the water line. This instead is where the less hardy species grow. Now you might assume that this is jolly descent of them. They appear to leave their weaker beach companions a place to live. But this is not the case. Ecologists did a removal experiment [0] whereby they continuously removed the weaker species from the beach. And the result was that the hardier species then also started to appear in the area much closer to the waterline. In fact, in this area, they did a lot better then they do in their actual niche. And the reason is simple. The ‘weaker species’ are actually better adapted for this part of the beach. They grow quicker than the hardier species and thereby smother the hardier species to death if they attempt to grow closer to the water line.

The interesting part of this experiment is that, if a species is placed in an environment where it can thrive, and it is not out competed by another species, then it will do well. Even if the species is not perfectly adapted for the niche that it is then exploiting.

Now in the explosive periods (the periods just after a great environmental change) many of the niches are new and there are no species that are well adapted to exploit them. So the situation is similar to the one I just described. So, as all the inhabiting species are all badly adapted for their new environment and the quality of the competition for the newly available opportunities by all the inhabitant species is therefore quite poor, the logical result is that many of the new opportunities are being un- or under-exploited. So, in explosive periods, the badly adapted individuals survive by exploiting the new opportunities as best they can, and they can thrive because there is no serious competition for these new opportunities from any other species.

So during the explosive periods there will probably be several proto-species within each of the new environments that could potentially evolve to exclusively exploit part, or all, of its new opportunities. Exactly which sets of opportunities will become the new niches in these new environments, will be determined by how quickly the different proto-species can adapt to exploit the new opportunities within them. For once a proto-species becomes superior in exploiting an opportunity, and it benefits enough from it to survive and multiply, this opportunity effectively becomes sealed off from the other proto-species and a niche's border has been set (speciation). This as the availability of the opportunity becomes to low for the other proto-species to exploit it sufficiently. The new species has basically won the race while the other contenders for this opportunity will probably go extinct (extinction). In this way new species and new niches are formed. So we can conclude that a proto-species chance of survival is substantially dependent on how fast it can evolve in order to out compete its competitors.

Radical mutations have the potential benefit of enabling great leaps in design (breaking evolutionary stalemates) which could prove decisive in winning the race. However, the radical life items created by these radical mutations are generally bad for the individuals concerned as they initially come with harmful side effects. So mutation rates for radical mutations are normally (in still periods) as low as possible. But, in explosive periods, a radical life item could unlock an unexploited opportunity for its first carriers and, if so, they would therefore do well in spite of the harmful side effects. Once, the radical life item would then get more widespread and the opportunity therefore became more exploited, the harmful side effects would be fine tuned away by other (non-radical) mutations as competition, between the carriers of this new radical life item, increased.

The severity of the harmful side effects of radical life items, during explosive periods, is less than during still periods. Simply because part of the harmful side effects are normally (in still periods) due to the fact that radical life items offset the fine tuning that was done to adapt a species to its niche. But in an explosive period the fine-tuning that was done, to adapt a species to its old niche, is no longer valid as that old niche no longer exits.

Life items which are only beneficial (and therefore prosper) when they are relatively rare in the population, result in a more divers gene pool as they can never become dominant. This in turn aids in the chaotic search for the set of breakthrough life items that are required for winning the race. For it increases the number of possible combinations as well as the number of possible mutations.

Conclusions on the underlying forces
These factors make that, within explosive periods, higher mutation rates for radical mutations are advantageous. While within each subsequent still period, continuous and ever more precise fine-tuning by non-radical mutations, makes, ever lower mutation rates for ever less radical mutations, advantageous. So, the level of environmental change and the optimum mutation rate are linked.

Please note that it is easy to describe these explosive- and still-periods as real periods in the physical world. But in actual fact any real situation is always somewhere in-between these theoretical extremes. So one should realise that, on a deeper level, they are more like evolutionary forces pulling a species in opposite directions.

Adaptive mutation
So far I have shown that a mechanism, which could change the mutation rates in response to an organism's living conditions, would be beneficial. Such a mechanism is called 'adaptive mutation' and adaptive mutation is generally considered not to be a viable mechanism.

However, the proof for this has come from theoretical models that were all based on a set of implicit assumptions that only hold true for stasis periods [15]. They are obviously incorrect for explosive periods. Furthermore there is quite a lot of proof that adaptive mutation not only exists, but that it is in fact universal in nature [4,6,7,8,9].

Geological long term
In the geological history of the earth, great environmental changes have occurred regularly, and each was followed by a long period with virtually no change (the geological time scale is less appropriate for bacteria and so, but the logic remains sound on a time scale more appropriate to them). This means that life continuously cycles from a short explosive period, in which radical mutations are more advantageous, to a long still period in which radical mutations are ever more disadvantageous.

It is therefore reasonable to propose that life will have evolved mechanisms that take advantage of this continuous cycling between explosive and still periods. These mechanisms probably come in one of two types. The first type raises the mutation rates for radical mutations when required. And the second type provides a structure wherein radical mutations are more likely to result in successful life items. So for example: regulation of mutation rates (adaptive mutation), structuring mutations into functional groups (genes) under the auspices of some controlling mechanism, allowing multiple variants of a gene to be carried within a single individual (for example: diploid), evolving sexual reproduction.

Therefore, this continues cycling between explosive and still periods, and possibly in combination with these mechanisms, can potentially explain the high evolutionary speed of live on earth.

Sub-species law
Lets go back to our example of the sports car and the truck and let’s assume that they are of the same species. And let’s also suppose that this species has one gene for wheel size and one gene for roof height from the floor. Obviously for a sports car you would want the small wheel size variant for the wheel size gene as well as the low roof height variant for the roof height gene. But for a truck you would want to have exactly the opposite. The problem here is that random combinations of the variants for these genes will only rarely result in a perfect sports car or a perfect truck. Most will result in a bit of both, a sports car with the wheels of a truck for example.

So, when a species’ niche contains different sub-niches and the species is adapted for these sub-niches by using different variants for the same set of genes, then the following two statements must be true.

  1. Some of the individuals of the species will be adapted perfectly for one of these sub-niches, while the majority will be less well adapted with a few hopeless cases among them.

  2. A single individual of a species can never be perfectly adapted for more than one sub-niche simultaneously in relation to these genes, and the better that it is adapted for the one, the worse that it will be adapted for all the others.

I call this the sub-species law.

Notes of interest & Speculation

Better to begin with this & phyletic gradualism
Please note that my theory logically proves that the forces of explosive and still periods exist. But what it does not give is a mechanism by which the mutation rate can be altered in order to take advantage of these forces. Here I can only speculate. I am one step further than Darwin in having found the reason why the ‘variance’ as he called it might change to suit the period, but like him I do not to know the mechanism by which it does so. This is my ‘Better to begin with this’ warning so to speak which Darwin planed to put in his theory, but never did so for obvious reasons and instead opted to lay such emphasis on ‘phyletic gradualism’.

On the origin of species
Darwin named his theory ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life[1]. But although Darwin’s theory explains how the individuals of a species evolve over generations, it does not present a mechanism by which a species as a definable unit comes about [4 p.201]. This lack of a mechanism has lead to the currently accepted definition of species being merely descriptive (based on what is commonly true), while normally you would expect a definition to be based on the root cause of its existence. This is why my definition is different to the one you are probably familiar with.

The origin of water and oxygen on planet earth
This theory demonstrates the effects of geology and astronomy on biology, but the reverse can also be true. So I thought that I should put in a little teaser of how biology can affect geology and even astronomy.

Life (through photosynthesis) on earth stores the energy of the sun in energy rich carbon forms, part of which gets trapped into the earth’s crust (as: coal, crude oil, etc.). Due to plate tectonics these are then inserted into the earth’s molten core where they react with some of the oxides in the molten core. The result is a heavy part that sinks deeper into the earth’s core (causing plate tectonics?) while the other part, containing a large quantity of CO2, eventually makes its way up to the atmosphere/surface/sea. Here life, through photosynthesis, releases the O2 that originated from the core into the atmosphere. Part of this O2 is then converted into H2O at the edge of space in a chemical reaction with the hydrogen from the solar wind. As this H2O then rains down and is therefore removed from the edge of space, the dynamic equilibrium of gases at the edge of space is changed and the composition, as well as the quantity, of gasses that earth vents back into space is therefore different. So, summarising, the over abundance of H2O and O2 on earth is the result of life through photosynthesis in combination with plate tectonics and solar wind. The hydrogen part comes from the solar wind while the oxygen part of it comes from the earth’s core.

Global warming
Global warming is rapidly becoming more pronounced in its effects, and it is highly unlikely that the political will to do something serious will arise before a few million people are dead. At that point though, even very drastic steps won’t instantly reverse the exponential trend of things getting worse, for stopping global warming is a bit like turning an oil tanker. It will take decades before it will stop getting worse, and in the meantime things will have got a lot worse due to the exponential nature of global warming. So I expect that a few billion people will die before things calm down, but on the plus side there will be an enormous explosive period that can be studied in order to test the theory laid out in this article.

Humans and the sub-species law
The sub-species law is of great importance to the human species. The human species exploits many different sub-niches by optimising its basic brain design in many different ways. This is achieved by using different variants of the same set of genes. And, depending on which gene variants are used, humans will be better at some brain-related tasks, while at the same time therefore being worse at others. It is simply not possible to be excellent at all tasks simultaneously, as the variants for the genes responsible are mutually exclusive. So the human brain design is based on a set of compromises, and it can only improve its capability for one specific task, by sacrificing its capabilities for all the other tasks (see: sub-species law).

Grossly oversimplified we can name three basic brain functions between which the human brain design needs to find a compromise. Namely: (1) social skills, (2) memorising, and (3) understanding the interconnections between all that which has been memorised. So for a single human it is only possible to be: excellent at one of these (while being terrible at the other two), or to be good at two of these (while being terrible at the third), or to be reasonable at all three, or (if the gene variants just hinder each other) to be no good at any of them. Note that the last situation will be true for most people to some extent as getting a successful mix of gene variants is a bit like winning the lotto.

Lets focus at two important sub-species.

One sub-species of humans specialises in convincing other humans of their brilliance. These people have very good social and memorising skills (1 and 2). But they are therefore also very bad at understanding the interconnections between all that which they have memorised (3). However, they can easily hide this fact, by memorising all the answers to all questions that they might be asked about, or instead, by just blindly following a text based instruction set that helps them to calculate a plausible answer. So they can always claim to know the answer, even though they have no real understanding of the underlying concept.

The second sub-species of humans is very much the opposite of the first one. These humans are excellent at understanding the interconnections between all that they have memorised (3). But their social (1) and memorising skills (2) are therefore very bad. So they can find solutions to problems that no one else can, but they appear to be stupid as they only have a very limited common knowledge and they cannot defend themselves against sneering attacks. And even if they find the solution to some age-old problem, they will often not be taken seriously, as they know relatively little about the subject mater in general.

The first sub-species of humans you will have recognised as; teachers, professors, politicians, specialists, art-critics, doctors, priests, journalists, lawyers and so on. And, as it is this type of people who are in charge of the educational system, it is logical that they have shaped this system into what they honestly believe is the best possible system in light of their own experiences. The result of which is that the educational system is excellent for teaching students of the first type, but totally unfit for students of the second type.

You will have recognised the second sub-species of humans as; nerds, top programmers, self-made business people, artists, scientific geniuses and so on. This type of people, due to the sub-species law, do not have the required skills to become part of the social elite (the first type), but they are also the only ones who are capable of making the essential breakthroughs that drive civilisation.

So unfortunately it are the very people who society needs the most to succeed, who are also the very people who society suppresses the most. Most people simply cannot accept the fact that the nerds, with all their obvious defects, are the only ones who can solve the really big problems. It simply seems totally absurd to them. So, for example, they see the success of Apple under Steve Jobs (person of the second type) as a fluke, and they cannot understand why Apple’s success is stalling after his departure. And likewise they still smear Newton’s character while also not understanding that his success was in part due to the fact that he lived in a time where someone like him was not as heavily suppressed as they are now. Our elite gloats over, and demands recognition and respect for, successes that are actually not their own. So, in order to preserve this lie, it is very much in their interest to suppress the humans of the second type as much as they can.

Society subconsciously judges people on their educational accolades and social skills, but unfortunately this therefore excludes the very type of people who are actually excellent at solving problems. Western societies, and businesses, power ahead due to the achievements of their creative people, but they only do so because their treatment of them is slightly less bad than that of the other societies.


  1. Note: standard references for keywords were omitted as they can easily be found on the internet and the reader is encouraged to explore multiple sources.
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  3. Darwin, C. R. 1844 Essay, fair copy: Cambridge University Library DAR 113, 108 (1844). LINK, LINK - image 131
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  13. Malthus, T. An Essay on the Principle of Population As It Affects the Future Improvement of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Goodwin, M. Condorcet and Other Writers (London: J. Johnson in St Paul's Church-yard. 1798).
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