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 You are in / Foolish Faith / Read Book Online / Chapter 3 / Mutations - Evolution's Raw Material
"Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Crick (co-discoverer of one of the most important discoveries of 20th century biology) arrived at the theory that life could never have evolved by chance on planet earth."
»  Chapter Introduction
»  The Experts Say What?
»  Life from Non-Life
»  Mutations - Evolution's Raw Material
»  Fossils
»  Ape-Man
»  Radio Dating
»  Starlight
»  The Creation Model
»  Dinosaurs
»  Odds & Complexity
»  Chance Design?

Chapter 3:
Two Worldviews in Conflict
What do thousands of scientists believe about creation and evolution?

Mutations - Evolution's Raw Material

  • Today it is often alleged that evolution is central to the science of biology. Without the theory of evolution, it is said, the science of biology would completely break down. But the simple fact that living creatures can physically change and adapt to their environments does not necessarily help to explain the origin of living things in the first place.

  • The theory of evolution says that a hypothetical first living cell (like a bacterium) evolved, over billions of years, into a human being. But such a process meant finding a way to generate enormous amounts of genetic information (DNA), including the instructions for making eyes, nerves, skin, bones, muscle, blood, etc. Thus, the total information content of the genetic code (DNA) must have continually increased with the emergence of new genes (or instructions).

  • What mechanism could possibly have added all the extra genetic instructions required to progressively transform a one-celled creature into a human being? Evolutionists believe it was something called genetic mutations.

  • The English language can be used as an analogy to illustrate what a genetic mutation is: The message “The enemy is now attacking” could mistakenly be copied as “The enemy is not attacking.” Naturally, this mistake would probably result in harmful consequences. Indeed, it is unlikely that a random mistake might actually improve the meaning of the message; very likely the meaning would be damaged.[16]

  • In the same way, mutations are generally random copying mistakes in the reproduction of the genetic code (DNA), and as such, tend to be harmful. The code in DNA is simply a complex set of instructions that tells a creature’s body how to reproduce itself (much the same as a set of instructions that tells a person how to reproduce a car or spaceship). Random copying mistakes (mutations), then, are obviously unlikely to improve these instructions; rather they are much more likely to damage or destroy them, as the Encyclopedia Britannica acknowledges.[17] That is why many mutations cause disease and death.[18] In fact, according to one university biology textbook, the odds that a mutation (random copying mistake) might actually improve the instructions contained in the genetic code are so low that “a random change is not likely to improve the genome (genetic code) any more than firing a gunshot blindly through the hood of a car is likely to improve engine performance.”[19] But this isn’t surprising, since mutations are random mistakes.

  • However, evolutionists generally believe that occasionally a “good” mutation will occur, one which will improve the genetic code, despite the overwhelming odds as described above. It is thought that such “good” copying mistakes would scramble the instructions in the code in such a way as to improve it, thus generating the new information required to tell the body how to build a new physical feature. Such “good” mutations, the Encyclopedia Britannica says, would “serve as the raw material of evolution.”[20]

  • Evolutionists believe that over the last 4.5 billion years, an accumulation of trillions of these hypothetical “good” copying mistakes have continuously improved the genetic code, adding enough new information to transform a bacterium into a human being.

  • This is the equivalent of saying that random copying mistakes when re-typing the instructions to produce an automobile could eventually result in such an improved set of instructions, that instead of producing an automobile, the new and improved instructions would produce a working spaceship!

  • To summarize: evolutionists generally believe that new DNA information (genes) comes from “good” accidental copying mistakes, and these types of copying errors are what have generated the encyclopedic amounts of information necessary to transform the first self-reproducing organism billions of years ago into every living thing in the world today. In conjunction with a process called “natural selection,” this makes up the “neo-Darwinian theory of evolution,” today the most widely believed explanation among evolutionists for life’s origins.[21]

Has a "good" mutation ever really been observed?

  • That is, has a mutation been observed which has been seen to improve the genetic code by adding meaningful information (new genes, or “instructions”) to build (at least part of ) a new physical feature?

  • It is first necessary to briefly define what is meant by the term “information” in this context. The DNA code has already been defined as a set of instructions, analogous to an English message. The sequence of “letters” (or bases) in the code is not random or repetitive, but instead, like the letters in a written message. In other words, the code has meaning. For instance, a random sequence of English letters such as “nkntweioeimytnhatcesga” means nothing, but when the same letters are arranged “the enemy is now attacking,” it becomes a meaningful message, containing meaningful information. It is the specific arrangement of letters that makes the message meaningful to someone who understands the language, and this meaningful arrangement is, in itself, “information.” In the same way, it is the specific arrangement of “letters” (or bases) in the DNA code that makes the code meaningful to the body, which understands the DNA (genetic) language. This meaningful arrangement of “letters” in the DNA code is what makes up the information that tells the body how to produce a particular physical feature or characteristic, such as an eyeball or hair color.[22]

  • Today, there is a small handful of cases in which a genetic mutation has helped a creature to survive better than those without it. These types of mutations are referred to as “beneficial mutations.” But even these beneficial mutations do not improve the code in DNA: rather than adding any meaningful information, they destroy it. For example, Darwin pointed to a case in which a genetic mutation caused flying beetles on a small desert island to lose their wings (the “wing-making” information in the DNA was lost or scrambled in some way). However, due to this loss, the beetles had a better chance of survival because they were less likely to be blown into the sea. Thus, the mutation was “beneficial” to the beetle population because it helped them to survive better in their environment. This shows how even a beneficial mutation can be damaging to the DNA code; in this case the mutation involved a loss or corruption of the information (or genes) for making wings.

  • Textbooks regularly use examples of beneficial mutations as evidence for evolution. But the problem with using beneficial mutations to support evolution is that they are exactly the opposite of what is required, that is, they involve a loss or corruption of existing information. For instance, losing the ability to fly has nothing to do with the origins of flight in the first place, which is what evolution is supposed to be about.

  • To produce a beetle from a simple cell, it is obvious that an increase of new genetic information is necessary to create the eyes, the wings, etc. Thus, to support evolution, the preceding beetle example would have to be reversed. The DNA code would have to be improved rather than damaged — new meaningful information (genes) would have to be produced. This means that a new physical feature would have to arise that was never before present — beetles normally born without wings would subsequently have to be born with them.[23] But no such example exists.

  • Some of the most common examples given as proof of beneficial mutations are those that cause pesticide and antibiotic resistance in rodents and bacteria. For instance, the book Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, published by the National Academy of Sciences, states, “Many strains of bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics . . . [and] similar episodes of rapid evolution are occurring in many different organisms. Rats have developed resistance to the poison warfarin . . . [and] many hundreds of insect species and other agricultural pests have evolved resistance to the pesticides used to combat them.”[24] Examples such as these are almost always used by textbooks to show “evolution happening.” But like the wingless beetles, they are still the result of a loss of DNA information, or sometimes a transfer of existing information — not the result of new information.[25]

  • In fact, one recent discovery proved that in many cases bacteria already had the genes for resistance to certain antibiotics, even before those antibiotics were invented! Reuters News Service reported that one of the ways in which bacteria become resistant to antibiotics is by swapping genes among species. The mechanism by which they do this has been thought by many to have “evolved” in response to antibiotics. However, researchers have looked at preserved samples of cholera bacteria dating back to 1888. They found that the same gene-swapping mechanisms were already there — well before antibiotics were discovered or used by people![26]

Is there ever an addition of new information?

  • When one looks at all the textbook examples of evolution, there are none that cause an addition of new genetic (DNA) information. All appear to be downhill (information- losing) processes, contrary to what evolution requires. Refer to the box for an illustration by creationist scientists of how genetic information is lost, rather than gained, as creatures adapt to their environment.

  • One of the most commonly used examples of evolutionary change is one which involves a population of “peppered moths” in England. Indeed, many museums[27] and educational institutes worldwide use this as one of the most striking examples of evolution ever witnessed by mankind. The story goes like this: Prior to the industrial revolution in England, the peppered moth population consisted predominantly of light-colored moths (containing speckled dots). A dark-colored form comprised only a small minority of the population. This was so because predators (birds) could more easily detect the dark-colored moths as they rested during the day on light-colored tree trunks. With the onset of the industrial revolution and resultant air pollution, the tree trunks and rocks became progressively darker. As a consequence, the dark-colored moths became increasingly difficult to detect, while the light-colored form ultimately became easy prey. Birds, therefore, began eating more light-colored than dark-colored moths, and today over 95 percent of the peppered moths in the industrial areas of England are of the darker-colored variety.

  • In this example, it is obvious that “natural selection” only changed the ratios of black and light (peppered) forms. Both varieties were already present in the population, so nothing new was produced (i.e., no new information or genes were added). Thus, like the wingless beetles, the example of the peppered moths does not actually support evolution, since evolution requires the emergence of new genes![28]

  • While natural selection and beneficial mutations “may increase an organism’s adaptation,”[29] no one has ever been able to point to a mutation that has actually improved the genetic code by adding new meaningful information (new genes or “instructions” for building a new physical trait). All mutations appear to scramble the already-existing information (instructions), either by the reshuffling or duplication of existing genes, or simply by damaging the genes altogether.

  • Oxford professor Richard Dawkins is generally regarded as one of the most influential neo-Darwinists in the world. During an interview,[30] he was asked a crucial question: Could he point to any example today in which a mutation has actually added new genetic information? (If there is such an example, surely an Oxford zoology professor, promoting neo- Darwinism around the world, would know of it.) Dawkins appeared so perplexed by this question that the creation organization who produced the video says that “Dawkins’ response on screen makes a more powerful point against evolution than volumes written by creationists.”[31]

  • Another scientist, Dr. Ian Macreadie, winner of several scientific awards for outstanding contributions to molecular biological research, affirms that “all you see in the lab is either gene duplications, reshuffling of existing genes, or defective genes (with a loss of information). . . . But you never see any new information arising in a cell . . . we just don’t observe it happening. It’s hard to see how any serious scientist could believe that real information can arise just by itself, from nothing.”[32]

  • But because examples such as the wingless beetles and the peppered moths show physical changes in living creatures, they are still repeatedly used by evolutionists to promote the idea that primitive bacteria have changed so much in the distant past that today they have become people. Yet such examples simply do not support evolution — all observed examples of change are either genetically neutral or genetically downhill, being losses of information instead of the required gains. Losing bits of genetic information a little at a time surely does not help explain how the genetic code was built in the first place; one can’t build a business by losing a little bit of money at a time.

  • It’s not surprising that one of the most well-known evolutionists openly criticized the traditional neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. On the faculties of Harvard and New York University, the late Stephen Jay Gould was the author of over 15 books on scientific topics and contributed monthly essays to the periodical Natural History since January 1974. His essays have also appeared in other scientific periodicals and his work can be found quoted in educational textbooks at all levels.[33] He wrote that although he had been “beguiled” by the unifying power of neo-Darwinism when he studied it as a graduate student in the 1960s, the weight of the evidence pushed him to the reluctant conclusion that neo-Darwinism “as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy.”[34]

  • Today, there is a growing realization that the presently accepted concept of natural selection and mutations really explains nothing of evolutionary significance. One leading creationist summarized the situation well: “All of our realworld experience, especially in today’s ‘information age,’ would indicate that to rely on accidental copying mistakes to generate real information is the stuff of wishful thinking, not science.”[35] In everyday experience, information never arises without an intelligent source.


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