The Mystery of Sex

Date recorded: 26 May 2014 | Speaker: Geoff Barnard | Event: ELF Workshop
Topic: ScienceEvolution


Regarding sexual reproduction, American science writer Carl Zimmer has written the following:

Sex is not only unnecessary, but it ought to be a recipe for evolutionary disaster ...It is an inefficient way to reproduce ... Animals that evolve sexual reproduction should be promptly outcompeted by nonsexual ones ... And yet sex reigns ...Why is sex a success, despite all its disadvantages?[1]

The advent of sexual reproduction is probably the greatest unsolved mystery in biology. In fact, Darwinism has no credible answers for it and, in the opinion of the presenter; the phenomenon presents the greatest challenge to the theory of evolution. In the first part of this highly illustrated and entertaining presentation, we try to answer the question “Why Sex?” This include a brief overview of asexual and sexual reproductive strategies in living organisms. In the second part of the talk, we try to answer the question “How Sex?” Here we focus on the issue of male and female. Without doubt, this is the crux of the matter since successful sexual reproduction requires perfect compatibility between male and female counterparts. It is not the survival of the fittest; it is the survival of the fertile.

[1] Zimmer, Carl (2011) Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea. Cornerstone Digital; New edition