Mutations destroy genetic information. Natural selection destroys genetic information. There is no evidence that the opposite occurs – which must happen for evolution to graduate from fantasy to speculation.
“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” – Genesis1:25
The “kinds” in Genesis are not “species,” of course. The term “species” is a modern one with some arbitrariness. We observe an awesome and distinctive variety among the flora and fauna of the planet. The distinctiveness derives from genetics, whose foundation is the DNA molecule. Interestingly, evolutionary fantasy was established as “fact” before the molecular foundations of genetics were discovered in the 1950s. If DNA had been understood first, and then someone came up with the idea of Darwinian evolution, it is possible that the fantasy wouldn’t have gotten off the ground.
The genetic information in a cell in contained in structures called “chromosomes.” The key elements of the chromosome carrying the codes for replication, physical structures, metabolic and regulatory processes, and all the biochemistry of life are the DNA molecules. DNA molecules consist of specific sequences of nucleotides – fairly complex molecules in their own right. The order of the nucleotides determines the structure of the proteins manufactured by the cell for its sustenance. Each nucleotide can be thought of as a symbol. A gene is a large functional piece of a DNA molecule.
The genes code the proteins. Proteins are used as enzymes to catalyze the reactions of life that wouldn’t otherwise be possible at body temperature. Proteins also serve as structural material, they help control vital cell functions, they facilitate transport of key small molecules, and in muscles they convert chemical into mechanical energy. Proteins are also used for information transfer between cells, for processing nerve impulses, and work in the immune system. Any organism requires thousands and thousands of proteins, which are coded by a similar number of genes. A human has about 30,000 genes – a number far smaller than biologists once expected, because there are about 100,000 distinct proteins. A given gene can code for multiple proteins and processes, and a given physical trait may required the combination of several genes. The genius of such a coding system goes far beyond any human construct.
The genome consists of all of the DNA in all of the chromosomes of the cell. The genome of a single-celled creature, like a bacterium, represents a few million symbols. The genome of a large creature, like a mammal, contains a few billion symbols. Think of the genome as a book – free of typographical errors – that describes the creature and how to make the creature work in all of its molecular, chemical, structural, and mechanical detail. In these terms, the “book” for a bacterium would be about a thousand pages in length. The “manual” for a mammal would be about 2,000 volumes of 1,000 pages each! That’s an enormous amount of information. Enormous research efforts are underway just to decode or “read” the genomes of various creatures.
In order for evolution to be plausible, there must be evidence that mutations and natural selection, over the course of merely a few billion years, can build the required level of information necessary to go from particles to people! The human has so much more complexity than the bacterium, of course, which is reflected in the information content of the genome. But even the bacterium is incredibly complex in comparison with naturally occurring chemicals – analogous perhaps to the complexity of the works of Shakespeare compared to the gibberish a monkey might type if left alone with a keyboard. Occasionally, the monkey will hit on an English word. It would be incredibly rare for a meaningful sentence to arise. The odds against a monkey producing a work of literature are so astronomical as to be equivalent to impossible.
Most DNA sequences are polyfunctional and therefore polyconstrained. Imagine writing a book or a computer code with a very specific message or set of instructions when you read left to right, but an entirely different and yet functional message when your read right to left. And yet another message by skipping certain sections and combining them with sections chosen from another sequence. Any misspellings would not only damage the first set of instructions, but would damage all of them. There also appears to be 3-dimensional organization within chromosomes and within the whole nucleus that is optimally balanced for the control of cellular processes, including replication. Such multi-level complexity makes evolution – based on mutations / natural selection – utterly ridiculous. What we see in the genome is data compression combined with incredibly overlapping and nesting control schemes – many of which have yet to be understood by microbiologists.
The most fundamental type of mutation (according to evolutionists) is a copying error, where one nucleotide is copied incorrectly, resulting in a gene that codes a protein with a different amino acid somewhere in its structure. This usually makes a minor and inconsequential change in a protein’s functionality. But sometimes this can cause a disease such as sickle-cell anemia. There are other types of mutations that involve swapping or reversing short sections of nucleotides.
The cell has “proof-reading” capability to reduce the rate of point mutations. In the 1950s and 1960s, geneticists calculated that a mutation rate of even 0.5 per individual (that means an average of one mutation for every 2 children in the human race) would produce “error catastrophe” for the human race. Namely, that the mutational load would eventually increase without limit until the extinction of the human race. In the meantime, diseases, reduced fertility, deformities, and early death would be on the increase. For organisms to survive from generation to generation, it has been shown that a rate much higher than that would lead to all kinds of degenerative health problems – which have been observed more and more in recent decades.
More recent results indicate that the average increase in the mutational load per child is at least 200! (See Sanford for references and extended discussion.) The implications are staggering, provoking such comments in the literature as . . .
“It is something like the population bomb, but with a much longer fuse.”
“ . . . deleterious mutation rates appear to be so high in humans and our close relations that it is doubtful that such species could survive.”
“We find that the accumulation of new mildly deleterious mutations fundamentally alters the scaling of extinction time . . . causing the extinction of populations that would be deemed safe on the basis of demography alone.”
The bottom line is that the human race is already in error catastrophe. It is headed toward extinction. We die of “old age” as individuals because of errors in somatic (body) cells that hinder maintenance and replication. The entire race is dying because of errors in the genome, which build in each generation. Natural selection cannot weed out enough of the errors because it operates at the organism level, while multiple, insidious errors continue to arise at the genetic level. Thus, mutations and natural selection result in the destruction of species, just the opposite of the evolutionist’s hope of creating new and improved species. (Sanford goes into great detail on these issues.)
The evolutionist supposes that a mutation occurs that will increase information content and make the resultant organism more survivable than the rest of the population. First of all – there is no example given in the evolutionary literature – no, not one – of this ever happening. (See Spetner.) Shouldn’t there be some laboratory evidence of this? Furthermore, any “useful” mutation will be swamped by a much larger number of deleterious mutations.
Besides, just what is a “useful” mutation? To build new genes, and thus new biological structures, requires the integrated complexity of thousands of new nucleotides, arranged in just the right sequence. Impossibility upon impossibility.
Even if the “right” mutation happens, though, the organism must survive to reproduce. Then natural selection must operate. The typical thought is that an environmental change is so severe that only the mutated offspring’s descendants survive. Alternatively, it’s postulated that the population grows exponentially so that a mutant’s higher reproductive capacity eventually dominates the population.
But this is all wishful thinking. Calculations can be done to show that a given mutant’s genome has a good chance of randomly disappearing. One also has to imagine gazillions of changing environmental conditions necessary for natural selection to pressure the old genome out of existence. Where is the quantitative discussion of all of these environmental miracles that are so finely tuned to favor a mutant genome over the rest of the population? With rare exceptions, mutations just don’t have anything to do with environmental pressures. The descriptions in the evolutionary literature are wonderfully vague and qualitative – and written for popular consumption. They don’t attempt to approach the scientific and mathematical rigor that you see in ANY other field. Additionally, populations don’t typically expand exponentially. They run into barriers that limit growth. Yet populations of the millions of species on this planet do survive – for the thousands of years since creation. Any complex genome will experience error catastrophe and extinction if given the millions of years of alleged evolutionary history.
As far as evidence is concerned, mutations decrease an organism’s viability. No parent wants a mutated child, despite the apparent opportunity to initiate a more advanced species! Natural selection, to the degree it operates, works to cull out variety in a population’s collective genome. If some members of the population are more adaptive when the environment worsens, then the genetic variety of the rest of the population would tend to be destroyed. Natural selection cannot add to the complexity of the genome.
Natural selection is simply not-so-random death. There is nothing about it that speaks to the construction of ever-increasing complexity. For those that say it does – where’s the beef?
The fossil evidence is dominated by finds of tremendous numbers of fossils buried by some type of catastrophe. (The flood of Genesis? Yes, but that’s not our focus in this article.) There is no fossil evidence that supports that species became extinct through the competition that Darwin insists is necessary for the emergence of new and improved species. You see, to “create” new species by evolution, the older species must become extinct or at least separated geographically. So evolution is also a concept of extinction of species. But there is no fossil evidence supporting extinction of any species by competition with the new and improved creature.
Lee Spetner, Not By Chance, Judaica Press, 1998.
J. C. Sanford, Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome, FMS Publications, 2008.