Misconception: “Natural selection gives organisms what they ‘need.’ ”

Response: Natural selection has no intentions or senses; it cannot sense what a species “needs.” If a population happens to have the genetic variation that allows some individuals to survive a particular challenge better than others, then those individuals will have more offspring in the next generation, and the population will evolve. If that genetic variation is not in the population, the population may still survive (but not evolve much) or it may die out. But it will not be granted what it “needs” by natural selection.

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Misconceptions: Evidence Regarding Evolution


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Spanish translation of Understanding Evolution For Teachers from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology.