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Creation: Mutations Refutations Part IV

Posted by Gregg on Jun 26, 2011 in apologetics, Christian Faith, Creation, homeschooling |

Gregg & Hallee in Kuwait

A Sunday guest post by my brilliant husband, Gregg.

Every Sunday, my clever husband offers me a “day of rest” by taking over the homemaker duties here. His primary topic, the Biblical Truth of Creation vs. Darwinism, is a subject that has broad reaching scientific, social, and metaphysical implications and is gaining more and more attention in our modern culture. For believers and non-believers alike, the primary purpose is to present scientific, historical, logical, and/or sociological data in an empirical and defensible fashion, as much as possible written in layman’s terms, and in a format suitable for supplementing any homeschool curriculum whether you choose to believe the Biblical account — or secular guesses — about the origins of human life on earth.

An Unbiased View of Darwinist Nonsense

I have been enjoying an old copy of Scientific American that lists the arguments that “Creationists [sic]” use to refute Darwinism. In this magazine is stated perhaps the most common straw-man position Darwinists use when arguing against the Biblical Account of Creation as well as the stock Darwinist answer to that straw man.

10. Mutations are essential to evolution theory, but mutations can only eliminate traits. They cannot produce new features.

On the contrary, biology has catalogued many traits produced by point mutations (changes at precise positions in an organism’s DNA)—bacterial resistance to antibiotics, for example.
Scientific American article by John Rennie, page 82

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

No Agenda Here

Whenever mutation is the subject of the debate, Darwinists implicitly acknowledge that natural selection alone cannot explain the appearance of new genetic information. Therefore, Darwinists must somehow explain the introduction of completely new genetic instructions (information) for feathers, life preserving secretions, highly specific and specifically complex symbiotic relationships, instinctual migration patterns, and other wonders that never existed in more ‘simple’ forms of life. Since there is no other viable, scientifically sound, logically cogent engine for evolution available, they place all their faith in mutation.

NOTE: Lately, though, mutation has been shown to be more and more of an evolutionary dead end as it relates to infusing any new information into the genome. Many biologists I have read appear to have, at least philosophically, reverted to pure Lamarkism. This does not agree with either science or logic and the stance defies even basic common sense. However, the mutation hypothesis appears to stand on much weaker feet of clay than the philosophical choice of Lamarkism, so there it is.

In the process of defending mutation as a mechanism for somehow creating new genetic code, Darwinists attack that straw-man version of the Biblical creation model nicely summarized and stated above, yet they have no answer whatsoever for the real scientific objections raised by the Biblical creation account.

Information Rich DNA

At issue is not the appearance of new traits, but rather of new genetic information. In no known case is antibiotic resistance the result of new information. There are several ways that an information loss can potentially confer resistance, as already discussed in previous posts. It can also be shown how new traits, even helpful, adaptive traits, can arise in various ways through loss of genetic information. This is cogent and to be expected from mutations.

None of this explains the infusion, addition, creation of new information in the genome.

William Bateson (1861–1926), who introduces the word “genetics” into the human vocabulary in 1909, disovered that embryos can grow body parts in the wrong place. From this discovery, Bateson theorized that there are underlying controls of certain body parts, and other controls governing where they should go. In common terms, these concepts are known in phylology as body types and body plans.

Ed Lewis investigated and discovered (and was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1995) a small set of genes that affect different body parts called Homeobox or Hox genes. Hox genes act like ‘architects of the body.’ Mutations in Hox genes can cause “dramatic” or “radical” changes. Drosophila, or fruit flies, have been subject to many experiments where poisonous industrial grade chemicals or radiation have induced mutations.

The problem is that the induced mutations are always harmful. For example, the commonly touted extra pair of wings on a fruit fly, are actually a hindrance to flying because there are no accompanying muscles. They prevent the fruit fly from reproducing. Therefore, these mutated flies would be eliminated by natural selection.

Mutations that arise in the homeobox (Hox) family of development-regulating genes in animals can also have complex effects. Hox genes direct where legs, wings, antennae, and body segments should grow. In fruit flies, for instance, the mutation called Antennapedia causes legs to sprout where antennae should grow.
Scientific American article by John Rennie, page 82

In moving legs from the abdomen to the head of an insect, we do not find any new information. Rather, a mutation in the hox gene results in already-existing information manifesting in the wrong place which would ultimately be harmful to the organism. Like more than 90% of mutations, this type of mutation would not be seen as “beneficial” in any light. The hox gene merely moved already-existing information for insect legs to the wrong place. The mutation did not produce any of the information that actually constructs legs, which in many insects such as flies, ants, and bees include a highly specifically complex mechanical and hydraulic mechanism that enables these organisms to affix themselves to surfaces.

These abnormal limbs are not functional, but their existence demonstrates that genetic mistakes can produce complex structures, which natural selection can then test for possible uses.
Scientific American article by John Rennie, page 82

Perhaps the most ridiculous stance described here is that “natural selection” can “test for possible uses” of “non-functional” (e.g.: completely useless) limbs that sprouted in the wrong loci of an organism. First of all, natural selection is utterly mindless. You don’t report to nature and natural selection suddenly announces a pop-quiz. To attribute the ability of natural selection to test anything at all is merely to commit the fallacy of reification.

Secondly, such deformities would serve as active hindrances to survival and reproduction (thus eliminating the possibility of evolution entirely), just as the irradiated fruit flies that spring an extra set of wings cannot fly or reproduce successfully. Natural selection would kill off such mutated flies in a single generation.

And finally, it has been shown that the embryo develops into its basic body plan before Hox genes start switching. Gene switching in the Hox gene is meant to make very specific small scale changes and that is, in fact, what occurs under normal circumstances. This fact alone shows Mr. Rennie to be a rather UN-Scientific American in his response to his stated strawman argument.

The Thing about Genes

Macroevolution requires new genes (for making feathers on reptiles, creating life preserving secretions on Hippos, generating highly specific and specifically complex symbiotic relationships between diverse groups of living things, instructing organisms to follow instinctual patterns for migration or reproduction just to name a few.

Biologists have discovered a whole range of genetic mechanisms that can cause radical changes in the amount of DNA in any organism. Gene duplication, polyploidy, insertions, switching, etc. just to name some of the best known. The problem, for Darwinists, is that none of them explain Darwinian evolution. They all represent an increase in amount of DNA, but not an increase in the amount of functional genetic information that is present. None of these mechanisms create anything new. Not one.

Yet Rennie and Scientific American completely miss this distinction.

Moreover, molecular biology has discovered mechanisms for genetic change that go beyond point mutations, and these expand the ways in which new traits can appear. Functional modules within genes can be spliced together in novel ways. Whole genes can be accidentally duplicated in an organism’s DNA, and the duplicates are free to mutate into genes for new, complex features.
Scientific American article by John Rennie, page 82

This is stated with all authority as if already proven fact. The truth is, it is quite a stretch.

Duplication of any single chromosome is almost always harmful, as in Down’s syndrome, and Insertions are an extremely efficient way to completely destroy the functionality of existing genes. Biophysicist Dr. Lee Spetner analyzed examples of mutational changes that Darwinists claimed to show increases in information, and empirically demonstrates that they are actually examples of a net loss of specificity, which means they involve a net loss of information.

In plants, the doubling of all the chromosomes may result in an individual which can no longer interbreed with the parent type. This is called polyploidy. Although this result can technically be called a new species, because of the reproductive isolation, no new information has been produced, just repetitious doubling of already existing information. If a malfunction in a printing press caused a book to be produced with duplicate pages from beginning to end, the resutling book would not contain any new information. Furthermore, while rare in plants, it is unheard of in animals, so polyploidy as an engine for evolution in the animal kingdom isn’t even on the table.

Darwinist’s “gene duplication” notion is that an existing gene can be doubled, and while one copy does the normal work of the gene, the other copy is redundant and non-expressed. Therefore, the redundant gene is free to mutate unhindered by natural selection which would eliminate it under other circumstances. All rather convenient, no?

Richard Dawkins and his ilk often point out that natural selection is the only possible naturalistic explanation for the immense appearance of design in nature. Dawkins and other prominant Darwinists propose that random changes produce new functions, then this redundant gene becomes expressed somehow and is “fine-tuned” under the natural selective process.

The fact is that such “neutral” mutations are powerless to produce any genuinely new information. At the end of the day, the “gene duplication” hypothesis is just a bunch of hand-waving. It relies on a chance copying event somehow taking place, then genes somehow being switched off for no apparent good reason, then randomly mutating to something approximating a new function which has never been shown to occur, then somehow being switched on again for no good reason so that natural selection can further tune it. All of this happens in a vacuum of random chance where no design intervention or plan can influence the outcome. How awesome is that?

Furthermore, the premise relies entirely upon the idea that the mutations conveniently only occur in the copied gene. The fact is mutations can occur throughout the genome. Selective mutations in the target duplicate gene would be extremely rare if they even take place, probably mathematically impossible though I haven’t thoroughly reserarched it. In addition, the larger the genome, the larger the problem: the larger the genome, the lower the mutation rate the organism could possibly sustain without catastrophic error. Therefore, it would take even longer for any mutation to occur, let alone a desirable mutation, in any duplicated gene. And, of course, there simply hasn’t been enough time (even using the Darwinist timeline of a 15 billion year old universe and a 5 billion year old planet earth) for such a naturalistic process to account for the amount of genetic information that we observe in all living things.

The Truth

The truth is that there is no naturalistic or materialistic explanation for the diversity, beauty, elegance, and dense information found in living things.  None of the secular guesses hold water whether they are taught as fact or not.

The truth is that no human being either alive or dead, no matter how intelligent, has ever presented a plausible explanation for how the universe came to be absent a Creator. No one has ever presented a plausible explanation for how life in all of its diverse splendor and amazing functionality ever came to be absent a Creator.

The truth is that a secular humanist worldview coupled with a dogma of methodological naturalism colors all interpretations of scientific facts. This world view thus pollutes any conclusions drawn against those colored interpretations. The truth is that the philosophical and thus religious beliefs of secular humanism allow for an agenda that can flatly ignore facts and any evidence that contradict the humanist worldview. Contradictory facts and evidence amount to heresy in the context of the secular humanist religion.

The truth is that scripture reveals to us, and science confirms, that all creation points to the glory of God. The perfection of God’s creation surrounds us on a very grand scale. He made light and darkness, the heavens and the earth, the waters and the land, and every living thing in the known universe. He spoke it all into existence.

God made man, male and female created He them. God — not randomness and chaos — made you and I and everyone we know.

I commit to you that I will publish every single comment that meets this blog’s commenting criteria. You may want to review that criteria before adding your opinion here.

God Bless you and yours.

Gregg


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