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Jeremiah 9:6

"'You live in the midst of deception; in thier deceit they refuse to acknowledge me', Declares the Lord."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Genetics

False Claims
Genetics is perhaps the field with the closest tie to evolutionary science. In Darwin’s time, scientists had no idea what DNA was, or how traits were passed down from parent to offspring. Darwin called this phenomenon, “inheritance”. Since the discovery of Genetics, evolutionary scientists have tried desperately to prove that macro evolution can take place through mutations to the genetic code. I’m not trying to discredit their work, I think they have made some incredible discoveries. However, they constantly claim that their discoveries are proving intelligent design to be wrong, and instead, showing that macro evolution can, (and is) happening. This post shows how what they are saying is false.

Define “Beneficial”
First of all, we will determine what macro evolution requires in order to work. Some would say “beneficial mutations” are all that would be needed. This is only true if you define “beneficial” correctly. If you define beneficial as giving an organism a capability it never had before, your statement would be false. If you defined beneficial as adding new DNA to the genetic code, you would also be wrong. And if you defined it as making a creature more fit to survive in its present conditions, you would also be wrong. What would really be required for macro evolution would be mutations that cause brand new DNA to be formed, resulting in increased complexity, and a function or feature that would ensure the survival of the mutated creature. This is kind of a combination of all three incorrect statements, and although we have observed some types of beneficial mutations, we have never observed one that would truly drive evolution forward.

Bacteria
The primary way evolutionary scientists have been trying to prove evolution through genetics is through mutations in bacteria. This is because bacteria can reproduce every 20 minutes, and colonies of bacteria can number in the billions, increasing the likelihood of one bacteria evolving a mutation. Because of this, in a few years we can observe mutations that would take millions of years in other animals. Because of the popularity of bacteria, (and for lack of sufficient time) I will concentrate this post on falsehoods about the evolution of bacteria. There are actually some technical complications with this method because of the way bacteria are more prone to mutations and such, but assuming that bacteria evolution is the same as macroscopic evolution, (evolution of larger animals), we still do not see the type of beneficial mutations needed to drive evolution. And it is doubtful that we ever will.

The Nylon Eater

One of the most popular so called example of a beneficial mutation comes from a bacteria in Japan that has developed the ability to feed on nylon waste. This “Nylon Bug” is the product of a frame shift, a drastic type of mutation that can change a huge section of DNA with the addition or subtraction of just one nucleotide. Here’s how it works, the ability to metabolize nylon comes from a new enzyme that the mutated DNA tells the nylon bug to produce. This enzyme is only 2% of the efficiency of the regular enzyme, but never the less, it gives the bacterium a new ability. The DNA that represents this enzyme is divided into sections of three nucleotides. Each three nucleotides (called “codons”) represent one type of amino acid in the enzyme. Like this, GCT TTA TAC CGT… You get the point. Now a frame shift happens when a single enzyme is inserted into one of these codons, and pushes a nucleotide into the next codon. For instance, if I inserted a “T” into the beginning of my last example, it would become, TGC TTT ATA CCG T. as you can see, this is a huge difference, and this is why evolutionists are so excited. They do admit that almost all frame shifts result in nonsensical random DNA codons that are very harmful, and for this I give them credit. But I would like to point out some disappointing facts about this type of mutation that evolutionary devotees don’t ever mention. First, although they claim that this is evidence that mutations can create new DNA, all the DNA except a few random nucleotides used to create the nylon bug was already there in the first place. The DNA was just arranged differently. As a result, information was not added to the bacteria, the information only changed form. The “new” information was just hiding under a different arrangement the whole time. As a result, scientists correctly speculate that this mutation could have occurred several times in the past, but since nylon did not exist before 1935, the mutation would have been fatal if it had occurred. But in order to evolve, creatures would need to evolve huge amounts of new DNA, it would not work to simply rearrange old DNA. Second, this mutation is actually not beneficial to the bacteria. The new nylon metabolizing enzyme gives the bacteria a new “economic niche” but if the “niche” is not reliable, it causes no advantage. In the case of the nylon bug, its new found ability replaces the ability to metabolize carbohydrates, so now it can only digest nylon, which is a manmade substance. And as I stated above, this new enzyme is only 2% of the efficiency of its predecessor. So really, this mutation is more harmful than helpful, and does not produce a more complex bacteria.

Pathogens

Pathogenic Bacteria are also used to combat intelligent design and push forward the evolutionary agenda. Pathogenic bacteria are the types that make you sick. In fact, any bacterium that lives by being harmful to other creatures is a pathogen. In case you were wondering, most bacteria are beneficial; it is only a relative few that are pathogenic. These few get quite a lot of attention, because no one wants another pandemic. And because news about bacteria evolving resistance to certain antibiotics is so common, it is a common myth that these bacteria are showing beneficial mutations in action. But these mutations have always been caused by a loss of information; this is not macro evolution, but bacteria that become more and more simple, harmful, and dependent on their hosts. This also explains why pathogens exist from the Christian perspective. God made the earth perfect, so we believe that pathogens were not in God’s original creation, instead they are a result of the same mutations we see today gradually “devolving” God’s original beneficial bacteria into pathogenic bacteria. Instead of seeing increasing complexity in bacteria, (which we would most definitely observe if evolution happened), we see that mutations from God’s original plan produce harmful, crippled, and disgusting bacteria that would, (at the rate they are generating) be much more common, and might have killed all living creatures by now if they truly did evolve.

3 comments:

Sean said...

I will say, first of all, that this is a well thought out article and well written at that. However, I do find a couple of things in here used to distort the nature of evolution, as well as some additional information that could be interesting.

My first objection, and one I have been discussing with George on another post, is the idea that a change in DNA causes either beneficial or non-beneficial mutations. And I think that it needs to be pointed out that mutations in and of themselves are neither. Nothing in the genetic sequence can be considered beneficial or non-beneficial. It is only the interaction with the environment with the results of these mutations that determine if anything is beneficial. So really, I have a problem with how you are defining a "beneficial" mutation.

Firstly, there does not need to be a change in DNA in order to create massive physical changes in a creature. Developmental biology has shown that increased or decreased amounts of chemicals, or the application of such chemicals over a differing period than the average norm can lead to very drastic changes in physical form without adding or deleting any DNA. Examples of this would be the loss or growth of a tail. So in fact, no new DNA ever needs to be formed in order to create mutations, and it seems to be only intelligent design proponents suggesting we need to see new DNA, when in fact it is not necessary.

Secondly, is the issue of complexity. This discussion I'm having with George over on the Worldview post. Increased complexity is something of a red herring for creationists because it is entirely subjective to the environment and present circumstances. I'll postulate to you what I did to George. Would you expect binocular vision to be more complex than monocular vision because of the fact that you make a brain deal with depth perception as well as everything else monocular vision deals with. It seems like adding this component would make binocular vision more complex, however, it is not beneficial for all animals to have such vision because in prey animals it reduces their field of vision. This would be an example of a beneficial mutation that is less complex.

To the last part of your definition I would only add that you don't necessarily have to have a beneficial mutation. A neutral one will survive just as well. And we don't need to add functions or features, just change them.

As far as the nylonase I found this to be a plausible theory put forth by Susumu Ohno, that a genetic duplication with a frame shift could cause such an occurrence.

However there was a recent study from the University of Hyogo, Japan that suggested there was in fact NO frame shift in the creation of nylonase. However the case, a frame shift seems to me a perfectly capable component of evolution seeing as in my statements above you do not need completely new DNA to evolve. In fact the entire basis for that chicken into a dinosaur experiment relies on the idea that the genetic material is still there.

Also, scientists have been able to create other forms of bacteria that digest nylon when placed in a nylon-only environment. However, these bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, use a different enzyme to break down nylon than the original Flavobacterium.

As far as everything else goes, this mutation into a nylon-digesting enzyme in a nylon only environment ARE examples of beneficial mutations because of the environment they are in. Again, the mutations are random, the environment decides what is beneficial. The context of the situation determines what is beneficial. And complexity really is an afterthought.

Elijah said...

Hey Sean, sorry I haven’t been keeping up very well. Life has been extremely busy lately and I don't have enough time to write the posts I want, let alone respond to your comments.

On your first objection, I understand that mutations cannot be "beneficial" or hazardous by themselves. it is totally up to the environment to determine what is beneficial. However, in this post I was re-defining what "beneficial mutations" would need to be like in order for them to drive evolution like people say they can.

I don't know much about developmental biology, but I would like to know how the traits that a creature evolves would be passed down to its offspring if the traits were not contained in DNA.

I think you are defining complexity differently than me. I do not think complexity has anything to do with the environment in which an animal lives in, or how well the animal is able to survive. Instead, complexity is how much information is needed to produce the animal, (through DNA) and how intricate the systems at work in the animal are. Evolution depends on this sort of increasing complexity, if not in individual mutations, in the evolutionary progress as a whole so even though monocular vision may be better that binocular vision for some animals, binocular is most likely more complex. and evolution had to produce both.

I do realize that neutral mutations would survive just as well, but as animals progressed to greater levels of complexity, animals would need to gain an edge on their competition in order to survive. So some times the only way to survive would be a beneficial mutation.

You also said that no new DNA is needed to produce a beneficial mutation. this is true, but at the same time people believe that all that evolution needs are beneficial mutations. But in reality, massive amounts of new DNA would have needed to have been produced in order to arrange the species in the evolutionary tree from simplest to most complex. And the point of this post was that we have never seen this required new DNA produced by a mutation in a form that is useful and beneficial to a creature.

Finally, I have no problem with losses in information causing temporary benefits to bacteria. I am looking at the bigger picture; that we have not seen any evidence for macro evolution in mutations, and instead, the very nature of mutations works against increasing complexity.

Sean said...

Here's a very interesting article you should probably read. It has to deal with the possible origins of life.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30729829/

It is far from proven, but it is extremely interesting and exciting.

 

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