Genetics is the science of heredity: the study of how traits are passed on from organisms to their descendants. It is perhaps the most relevant field of science to the issue of creation and evolution. Which position on origins is most consistent with our modern understanding of genetics? Do all organisms on earth share a common ancestor as Charles Darwin believed? Or do all organisms trace back to a large number of separately created kinds which are not biologically related to other kinds? Can the science of genetics shed light on these questions?
DNA – the Blueprint of Life
The human body is composed of trillions of microscopic cells. Each cell is a tiny biochemical machine that carries out a specific task or tasks, working in concert with all the other cells to make life possible. This is also the case for plants and animals. Some organisms, like bacteria, are made of only one cell. In those cases, the cell has to do everything necessary to keep the bacterium alive. But in multicellular organisms, the cells are specialized – meaning they perform different functions to the benefit of the entire organism. Brain cells perform a different function from muscle cells, which perform a different task from white blood cells.
Inside each of these cells is an extremely long molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. In multicellular organisms, this DNA is generally divided into multiple separate sections called chromosomes. The chromosomes of sexually reproducing organisms come in pairs, and the number of pairs depends on the species. A healthy human being has 23 pairs of chromosomes.
The structure of DNA is a double-helix, resembling a twisted ladder. The rungs of this ladder consist of chemicals called nucleotides or base pairs. There are four different nucleotide bases: Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine, and Thymine, usually abbreviated by their starting letter: C,G,A,T. The A and T have a natural, albeit weak, chemical attraction to each other, forming a complimentary pair, as do C and G. So if the left strand of DNA has the C nucleotide base at a particular site, the right strand will naturally have a G at that same location. Therefore, if you know the sequence of nucleotides on one strand of DNA, you immediately know the nucleotide sequence on the other strand.
The order in which the nucleotide base pairs occur in DNA is not random; it actually specifies the instructions on how to build the organism. Just as the 26 letters of the English alphabet have been arranged in this article to provide the reader with information, the four-letter alphabet of DNA (C,G,A,T) is arranged in DNA to instruct the cell on how to function. This in itself is remarkable. We may be impressed at the information human beings can put on a Blu-Ray disk. But the instructions necessary to make you are encoded at the molecular level in your DNA!
Your DNA contains instructions in these long chains of base pairs on how to make eyes, hands, feet, bones, blood, skin, brain tissue, a heart, and so on. Human DNA has about 3 billion base pairs for each of the two copies of DNA, so 6 billion nucleotides in total. I am not sure which is more impressive, that we have so many base pairs, or that it is possible to contain all the information to make a person in only 6 billion base pairs.
The way in which DNA encodes the information necessary to build and maintain our physical body is fascinating, complex, and worthy of far more discussion than we have space for in this article. But let’s hit just a few of the basics. We have already seen that the language of DNA has a four-letter alphabet (C,G,A,T). Some of these letters are arranged into three-letter “words” called codons.
Just as the English word “cat” represents an animal, each three-letter codon in DNA represents something. Most of them represent a particular amino acid. For example, the codon TGG represents the amino acid tryptophan. Amino-acids are the basic building-blocks of living organisms. They can be connected into larger structures called proteins. And proteins can be used for all sorts of things. DNA also has “start” and “stop” codons that mark the beginning and ending of a protein sequence.
The genetic code is almost universal – meaning all organisms on earth use essentially the same genetic language. So not only does TGG represent tryptophan in human DNA, but also in the DNA of other organisms. But there are exceptions. For example, TAA codes for glutamine in paramecium DNA, but is a stop codon in human DNA. A large portion of human DNA is non-coding, meaning it is not in the form of codons and does not specify amino acid sequences.
Does the Genetic Code Imply Common Ancestry?
Is the nearly universal genetic code evidence for evolution? Some people say it is. After all, if all organisms on earth share a common ancestor, then naturally we would expect them to use the same genetic language, having inherited it from that ancestor. And they do use basically the same genetic language.… Therefore, they must be descended from a common ancestor. Right?
Students of logic will recognize this as the fallacy of affirming the consequent. For example, blueberries are blue. So if the sky is made of blueberries, then it would be blue. And the sky is indeed blue. Can we conclude therefore it is made of blueberries? The problem is that there are other hypotheses that also imply a blue sky. And therefore, the observation that the sky is blue does not reasonably count as evidence for a particular hypothesis when another competing hypothesis also predicts a blue sky.
So, are there non-evolutionary reasons to expect that the genetic code might be the same for different organisms? Of course. In the creation worldview, God created all the basic kinds of organisms during the creation week. And God is logical and orderly. And so we might reasonably expect Him to use the same, or nearly the same, genetic code in these organisms. A common Creator accounts for the nearly universal genetic code just as easily as common ancestry.
In fact, the words used in this very article have approximately the same meaning as words used in other articles I have written. That is, all my articles use the same language. Can we conclude logically that all these articles have no author but are similar because they are descended from a common ancestor having gradually evolved as they were copied? If a person is unwilling to count the similarity in language used in articles as evidence of common descent, then neither can he consistently claim that the nearly universal genetic code is evidence of common descent.
A gene is a section of DNA that codes for a particular trait. There is a gene that determines blood type, several genes that code for the color pigments in eyes, and so on. Many genes are necessary to specify the instructions to produce a particular organ, such as a hand or eye. Other organisms have different instructions in their DNA; the instructions to make their physical traits. Of course, some of our genetic instructions are the same since we use many of the same proteins as other organisms. But the differences are why our physical form is different from that of other organisms. The complete set of all genes and all non-coding DNA in an organism is called the genome.
If we sequenced the DNA in two randomly selected people, we would find that their DNA is almost identical. This is why all healthy people have basically the same anatomy; two arms, two legs, two eyes, one mouth, etc. But a small amount of our DNA can differ from person to person, resulting in slight differences in our physical traits. These are why we have differences in hair color, eye color, height, and so on.
Each person has two copies of DNA, and thus potentially two versions of a gene at any given locus (position on the chromosome). It is the combined information from these two versions that determines our traits. One of these two genes we inherit from our father, the other from our mother. For the majority of our DNA, the gene version we got from father will be identical to that of mother since our parents are genetically very similar. But some genes exist in alternate forms, each of which is called an allele.
For example, the gene controlling blood type comes in three versions (alleles): A, B, and o. And since we have two genes for each locus, this leaves nine possible arrangements: AA, Ao, oA, BB, Bo, oB, AB, BA, oo. Three of these are redundant because order doesn’t matter (Ao results in the same trait as oA). So there are six unique combinations: AA, Ao, BB, Bo, AB, oo. When both genes are the same (as in AA) the combination is called homozygous. When they differ (as in AB), the combination is heterozygous.
In many cases, one allele will be dominant (designated by a capital letter) and the other recessive (designated by a lowercase letter). This basically means that when both alleles are present, the dominant one “takes over” and its trait will be expressed while the trait of the recessive allele is suppressed. In human blood type, A and B are dominant alleles, whereas o is recessive. So, if you get the A allele from dad, and the o allele from mom, your genetic combination will be Ao and your blood type will be A. Since A and B are codominant, if you have the AB combination your blood type will express both traits and will be “AB”. The only way to have blood type o is if both genes are the o allele.
When we consider the possible combinations of various genes, the situation becomes very interesting. Suppose a man has the heterozygous combination Ao; he will have blood type A. Suppose his wife has the heterozygous combination Bo; her blood type will be B. Consider what blood type their children might have. Each child inherits one of his two blood type genes from dad, and the other from mom. But there is no way to predict in advance which gene will be inherited. So, the first child might inherit the A allele from dad and the o allele from mom, resulting in blood type A, just like dad. The second child might get the o allele from dad and the B allele from mom, resulting in blood type B, just like mom. But the third child might get the A allele from dad and the B allele from mom, resulting in blood type AB which neither parent has. The fourth child might get the o allele from dad and another o allele from mom resulting in blood type o – again a blood type that neither parent has.
You may notice that some of your physical traits resemble your father and others resemble your mother, like the first two children mentioned above. But you also may very well have traits that neither parent has, like the last two children mentioned above. This is not because some new genetic information mysteriously evolved. All the information in your genetic code was present in your parents. You simply have a unique combination. And since it is the genetic combination that produces traits, you will have unique traits. Unless you have an identical twin or triplet, etc., your DNA is a unique combination of genes, and therefore your physical form is unique.
Consider the ingeniousness of this solution. Suppose you wanted to create self-replicating machines, each of which has the same basic form, but with numerous slight variations from the others. And suppose you wanted to start with only two such machines. How could you generate such variety? A human engineer might try to include a hundred billion different instruction sets in the two machines – one for each variant. But each of these sets could be billions of instructions long which would be unwieldy. God’s solution is ingenious. He created slight differences in the instructions of the original pair, and made the traits dependent upon the nearly infinite number of unique combinations that will result. Due to the slight differences in our DNA, the number of unique children that can result from the different combinations of alleles in their parents is actually greater than the number of atoms in the universe!
Already we are beginning to see confirmation of biblical creation. Built into Adam and Eve was the genetic information available to produce the wide variation in traits we see in people today. All the instructions necessary to build your physical form are in your DNA, and came from your parents, who inherited this genetic information from their parents, and so on. We can see that genetics requires that human beings can only produce human beings, because this is the information present in their DNA. The different alleles allow for slight variations in offspring. A loss of information due to mutations can also result in variation of traits (as shown below). But the offspring will always be human beings.
Likewise, dogs (canids) contain the genetic instructions to produce dogs. This means that when dogs reproduce, they will inevitably produce a dog and nothing else. As with human begins, a small fraction of a dog’s DNA comes in multiple alleles, which can produce heterozygous combinations. This is why we see lots of variation within the dog kind. Wolves, foxes, coyotes, dingoes, and domestic dogs are all part of the same created kind. They have differences in fur length, coloration, temperament, size, and so on. But they are all basically the same type of animal: dogs (canids). Variation within a kind is the prediction of biblical creation, and is confirmed by our understanding of genetics.
On the other hand, if evolution is true, then both dogs and people evolved from fish. But from the genetic principles we have covered so far, this would not seem to be possible. The reason is obvious: fish contain the genetic instructions to produce fish, not dogs, not people. Therefore, the descendants of fish inherit the genetic instructions to produce fish and nothing else. Fish will never grow fur or paws, or learn to bark, because they do not have such instructions in their DNA. In the process of reproduction, organisms can only inherit genetic information that was present in their parents. Therefore, they cannot possibly produce traits outside the genetic limits of their created kind.
When Charles Darwin first published his ideas about evolution, proposing that all organisms on earth might be descended from a common ancestor, he knew nothing about genetics. He didn’t know about genes, chromosomes, codons, nucleotides, or DNA. He simply observed that offspring sometimes have traits that their parents do not have, and thought perhaps that still newer traits might arise, and that over time such gradual changes might result in a completely different kind of organism. But today, we understand that this could not happen because organisms get their genetic instructions from their parents. This always results in variation within a kind, but could never result in unlimited evolution because organisms are limited to the genetic information available in their parents. So if you want a dog with long fur, you can have that. If you want a dog with blue eyes, we can arrange that. But if you want a dog with wings, you are out of luck. The genetic instructions for wings are not present in the dog genome. For this reason, all organisms will always remain the same created kinds.
So, how then do modern evolutionists rationalize their belief? They appeal to mutations and natural selection. Both mutations and natural selection do occur, but can they really result in the type of evolution that Darwin proposed? Or do they confirm biblical creation?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines natural selection as “a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment.” When two organisms have differences in their genomes, they will have different physical traits. Often a particular trait greatly contributes to the survival of an organism in a particular environment, whereas a different trait would be more helpful in a different environment. There are many examples.
Gills are very useful for fish in their normal environment, but are not terribly useful on dry land. On the other hand, lungs are helpful to organisms that have regular access to air, but would be unhelpful in environments where air is not available. So we shouldn’t be surprised to find a conspicuous absence of fish in areas that lack a permanent source of water. If they had existed there, they would die in moments today since their traits are unsuited to that environment. Yet we may find many air-breathing animals in terrestrial locations, because their genes produce traits that are conducive to survival there. Natural selection explains why we do not typically find organisms with traits unsuited to their environment.
We know scientifically (by observation and experimentation) that natural selection occurs. For example, people sometimes attempt and fail to grow plants with traits unsuitable to their environment. Some plants can only survive in very warm climates, whereas others thrive in the cold. Some require a humid environment, whereas others require an arid one. Try planting a palm tree in Antarctica and see if it takes. On the other hand, palm trees thrive in Florida.
As another example, consider fossils. We find fossils of fish in locations that today do not have water. From the fossils, we know that fish once lived in these regions, but today they do not. Why? Obviously, these environments are not currently suitable to their traits. Fish require water in order to survive, and therefore died when the environment dried up. Today palm trees will not grow in Antarctica because they are not suited to a cold climate. Yet, we find many fossils of palm trees in Antarctica. Why? Clearly, Antarctica once had a warm climate conducive to the survival of palm trees, and then the environment changed. Creationists and evolutionists agree on this. No one would be so absurd as to say, “Antarctica has always been cold, but palm trees once grew there because natural selection didn’t work back then.”
Many people have the mistaken impression that Charles Darwin came up with the idea of natural selection. He did not. It is a creationist concept. In 1835, the creationist Edward Blyth published a paper in the Magazine of Natural History that clearly explained the concept of natural selection. He explained that organisms best suited to their environment would naturally be the most likely to reproduce and pass on their traits. Blyth did not interpret this as evolution in the sense of common ancestry; on the contrary, he saw natural selection as a conservative principle of nature, one brought about by divine providence.
Charles Darwin knew of Blyth and borrowed this creationist idea of natural selection but with a twist. Darwin argued the natural selection would result in evolution – the transformation of one kind into a fundamentally different kind over time. He attempted to link natural selection with evolution in the minds of his readers, thinking that if he could convince people of one, then they would believe the other as well. This is a fallacious (but often effective) way to persuade someone of something false: simply “link” it with something that is obviously true. By coating poison with sugar, many people will swallow the bait.
It is a seductive trap. And many Christians have fallen for it. Since natural selection is readily observable all around us, and since people have been fooled into thinking that natural selection implies evolution, they fall for evolution. Or strangely, a handful of Christians have fallen for the trap in the opposite way. They rightly reject particles-to-people evolution. But since they have fallen for Darwin’s trap, they think they must reject natural selection too. This pleases the evolutionists because natural selection is easily scientifically demonstrated (as shown above), and they can write off creationists as anti-science loons who deny direct observation. The careful thinker will not fall into the trap one way or the other, but will realize that natural selection is not evolution. In fact, as we will see below, it is the opposite!
Natural Selection is the Opposite of Evolution
If Darwin’s idea is true, then single-celled organisms like bacteria eventually gave rise to all other life on earth: plants, animals, fungi, and even people. But we have seen that people have genes to produce people and nothing else. Whereas, bacteria have genes to produce bacteria and nothing else. Of course, we use some of the same proteins as bacteria, and so some of our genes are the same, or very similar. But there are many differences because human beings possess genes that bacteria lack. This should be obvious. Bacteria do not have the genetic instructions to produce hands, feet, bones, eyes, muscles, blood, hair, and so on, which is why they lack such traits. Therefore, if single-celled organisms similar to bacteria eventually became people, then they must somehow have gained brand-new genetic instructions.
This is essential if the Darwinian version of evolution has any truth whatsoever. Unless the single-celled microbe eventually gained the genes to produce eyes, bones, blood, and so on, it could never produce those things and could therefore never become people. Darwinian evolution requires the addition of brand new genetic information. It cannot occur without this.
I do not suggest that the addition of new genetic information is the only thing required for evolution to occur. Obviously, there are many additional difficulties. For example, every stage of the process of evolution must result in a fully functioning organism, otherwise the organism would not survive to pass on its genes. And yet, it is hard to imagine – even in principle – how the in-between stages of many organisms could be functional. What good is half a wing, or one third of a heart? It is hard to imagine how such partial structures could do anything but detract from survival. But my point here is that particles-to-people evolution cannot occur even theoretically unless new information is added to an organism’s DNA. This is significant because natural selection can only remove information from the genome of a species. It is in the opposite direction of evolution.
Consider this simplified example. Suppose we have two dogs, a male and female. Each has a heterozygous combination for fur length (SL): one gene (S) for short fur and one gene (L) for long fur. (Again, the actual genetics is more involved, but the basic principle is all we are interested in here). If these genes are codominant, then the dogs will have medium length fur. Some of the pups will obtain the long fur gene from each parent and end up with long fur (LL). Some will obtain the short fur gene from one parent, and the long fur gene from the other. These will have medium length fur (SL) just as their parents do. And some of the pups will get the short fur gene from each parent, resulting in the homozygous condition (SS) and will consequently have short fur.
This is a great example of biblical variation within a kind. We started with dogs and ended up with dogs – no surprise there. And we ended up with several variations of the same basic kind of animal, owing to the various combinations of genetic information. Note that no Darwinian evolution has occurred even in principle, because we have not gained any new information. Indeed, the pups have only the genetic information frontloaded in their parents (S and L).
Suppose the environment becomes very cold. The dogs with the short and medium length fur are not as well insulated against the cold. In the wild, these dogs would not likely survive in such an environment. But the dogs with the long fur are better suited to that environment. The only dogs left have the homozygous combination for long fur (LL). So, when they reproduce, all their offspring will have long fur because that is the only genetic information available.
This is a great example of adaptation. The environment became cold and the dogs adapted to it. But this type of adaptation was not the result of short-furred dogs becoming long-furred. Rather, it was accomplished by the extinction of the short-furred and medium-furred varieties. The long-furred variety survived because its traits were already suited to the cold environment. No individual dog made any adjustments, but the net allele frequency of the group changed due to the environmental change.
But is this evolution in the Darwinian sense? Have the dogs gained any new genetic information? Clearly not. In fact, they have lost information. This hypothetical experiment began with dogs that had genetic information for long fur, short fur, or medium fur depending on the combination. But after the environmental change, the dogs only had genes for long fur. The genetic information for short and medium length fur has been lost. Far from gaining new information as evolution requires, we have actually lost information.
Since natural selection simply refers to the death of unsuccessful organisms and the consequent removal of the information in their genome, it never results in new genetic information. Natural selection can only remove information, and therefore it cannot – even in principle – drive evolution. By the way, knowledgeable evolutionists do not invoke natural selection as the creative, driving force behind evolution; rather, they invoke mutations as the “creative” mechanism, with natural selection merely removing the unsuccessful cases.
A mutation is a mistake in the genetic code. Just as an article might contain typos, DNA can have errors – places where nucleotides have been altered from God’s original design. In order for offspring to receive genetic information from their parents, this information must be copied. The copying process is excellent, but not perfect. Occasionally, one nucleotide base is accidentally swapped out for another. This is called a point mutation. Mutations scramble the genetic instructions in an organism. And since genes are the instructions for physical traits, mutations can result in malformed traits and disease.
However, some mutations appear to be completely harmless. The codon TCT represents the amino acid Serine, but so do the codons TCC, TCA, and TCG. So, if the last nucleotide in the TCT codon is mutated into any other, the resulting protein is completely unchanged. However, geneticists have discovered that codons can sometimes do more than simply specify an amino acid, but can function in controlling the speed of other cellular functions. Nevertheless, some mutations do not seem to produce a noticeable effect on the organism. Then again, some mutations are lethal. Under some circumstances, some mutations can lead to a fatality before the birth of the organism.
In between these two extremes are mutations that cause a non-lethal problem. This can be an inconvenience to the organism reducing its odds of survival, but not necessarily to zero. Natural selection therefore has a tendency to weed-out mutations to some extent, since less fit organisms are less likely to pass on their genetic code. But such selection is incomplete since the diseased organism still has some probability to survive and reproduce.
In some cases, even lethal mutations can be passed on to offspring. The mutation that causes Huntington’s disease often does not produce symptoms until a person is 30 to 50 years of age, and therefore might have already been passed on to children before its effects are noticed. Many mutations are recessive; no disease results if only one of the two sets of DNA has the mutated allele. But the person is still a carrier. These types of mutations can easily build up in a population because natural selection cannot act on or eliminate non-expressed traits. However, if both parents have the recessive mutation, there is a one-in-four chance that each child will end up with two copies of the mutation, resulting in the corresponding disease.
This, by the way, is probably one reason why God in Leviticus instituted a law forbidding marriage of very close relatives (Leviticus 18:6-17). Close relatives tend to have similar mutations, and there is an increased chance that the children from such a union would suffer a debilitating disease. Obviously, this would not have been a problem in the original creation. Adam and Eve were created by God, and were therefore initially perfect, without mutations. Their children would have had relatively few, and so intermarriage of close relatives would have presented no problems at that time. It took thousands of years for mutations to accumulate to the point where this would become problematic, as it remains today. This is exactly the reason why purebred dogs tend to suffer more health issues than crossbreeds.
The accumulation of mutations in the genome is called genetic burden or genetic load. It is powerful confirmation of biblical creation and challenges evolutionism. The longer a kind of organism has existed on earth, the more mutations build up in its genome. If life on earth had been around for billions of years as evolutionists maintain, then organisms should have far more mutations than they actually have. The number of mutations in species whose genome has been sequenced is consistent with their biblical age of about 6000 years. https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/on-the-origin-of-eukaryotic-species-genotypic-and-phenotypic-diversity/
Given the disease-causing effect of mutations, it may be surprising that this is the mechanism evolutionists have invoked to supposedly drive particles-to-people evolution. Since human beings possess far more genetic information than single-celled bacteria, how could random mutations ever add such copious amounts of useful instructions to turn one kind of organism into another basic kind? After all, typos do not add brand new information to articles. On the contrary, they scramble existing information, thereby reducing it. In his book Not by Chance, biophysicist Dr. Lee Spetner has argued, “Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome.” Yet, in the evolutionary view, the human genome (with its six billion base pairs) is supposedly the result of such information-increasing mutations. The evolutionists’ belief in the driving mechanism for evolution would therefore seem to be without any scientific, observable evidence.
Indeed, it seems absurd on the face of it that random copying mistakes could eventually add copious quantities of brand new information to an organism’s genome. Why then do evolutionists invoke mutations as the mechanism? The answer is that no other known mechanism can alter the instructions in DNA, which is required for particles-to-people evolution. The only other option would be a creation-based origin in which the original kinds were designed and created with the genetic instructions already present, with heterozygosity built-in to produce subsequent variations. And evolutionists really don’t want to believe that.
So it’s not that mutations are the best way to drive evolution; they are simply the only way. And there appears to be no scientific evidence that they have actually done this or that they even can. We simply do not observe mutations that add large quantities of brand new information to the genome. Evolutionists who believe that this happens must believe this by blind faith.
There are several types of mutations besides point mutations, such as duplications – where a section of DNA is accidentally duplicated so that it now appears twice in the genome. Some evolutionists claim that this represents an increase in genetic information; after all, the DNA is now slightly longer. But a moment’s reflection reveals the absurdity of this claim. If a paragraph in a newspaper article is accidentally duplicated, has the information in the article increased? Could you learn anything from the duplicated paragraph you couldn’t learn from the original? The article may be longer, but the redundant paragraph does not add any new information to the article. You will not have any more knowledge from reading the longer version than the original.
Some evolutionists will argue that insertions at least provide a new template that could – in the future – theoretically gain information by subsequent point mutations on the duplicated section. But now we are back to point mutations supposedly adding new information which, according to Dr. Spetner, they never do. Furthermore, even if one or two information-increasing mutations were one day discovered, it really wouldn’t help the evolutionary position since there should be thousands of such examples if indeed the DNA of all life on earth is built from them. And despite evolutionist’s attempts to redefine the term ‘information’, this just isn’t the case.
Evolution supporters are quick to point out that mutations can be beneficial: that, on occasion, mutations can result in traits that actually help an organism to survive in a particular environment. This is true. It is also utterly irrelevant to evolution. Here is why.
Since human beings have a tremendously greater quantity of genetic information than bacteria, if human beings evolved from something like bacteria then obviously they had to gain brand new genetic information. This fact is independent of whether the mutations can convey a survival advantage. Only mutations that increase the quantity of genetic information can – even in principle – drive evolution. Yet, the most commonly cited beneficial mutations do not do this, and therefore cannot result in evolution in the Darwinian sense. Under certain conditions, a loss of genetic information can actually help an organism survive in a particular environment. But since evolution requires an increase in genetic information, these “beneficial” mutations are in the wrong direction to make evolution work. They are illustrations of decay, or “devolution”, but not evolution, and are perfectly consistent with biblical creation.
As one example, consider the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) which causes stomach ulcers. To alleviate this problem, doctors will often prescribe an antibiotic such as clarithromycin. The antibiotic is harmless to humans, but when absorbed into the bacterium, it binds to the internal cellular machinery, impeding the bacterium’s ability to synthesize proteins, eventually killing the bacterium. There is a mutated form of H. pylori in which damaged genes produce altered internal machinery that is unable to bind as efficiently to the antibiotic. Due to this inability to bind well, the mutated form of H. pylori is able to survive longer under high-antibiotic conditions than the healthy variety.
This might indeed be called a beneficial mutation since the mutated bacteria with the damaged internal machinery are better able to survive in an antibiotic-rich environment. Although, outside of such an environment the damaged genes offer no advantage at all. This seems to be the case with all of the so-called beneficial mutations; they are only beneficial in very specific circumstances, and are neutral or harmful elsewhere. In any case, none of these lend any support for Darwinian evolution because there has been no increase in genetic information. A poor man who spends more money than he earns is never going to become wealthy, even if his expenditures sometimes benefit him. Neither will the loss of genetic information in bacteria due to mutations (even “beneficial” ones) ever result in them becoming people. Mutations are simply in the wrong direction to drive evolution.
Natural Selection Cannot Guide Evolution.
On the surface, to think that all the amazingly intricate cellular machinery of life on this planet is simply the result of unplanned, accidental copying mistakes in the DNA seems absurd. Even the most ardent evolutionist must admit that life looks designed – more intricately designed than anything human beings have yet to achieve. We have only scratched the surface in this article. We have not discussed how the instructions in DNA are copied to RNA by enzymes, how the RNA is transmitted to ribosomes which then produce proteins based on those instructions, proteins which are then folded into the correct functional shapes. Nor have we paused to contemplate the fact that the instructions to produce all these helper enzymes and ribosomes are encoded in the DNA. (So which came first – the DNA or the enzymes needed to read it and produce proteins, including themselves?)
My point is simply that an honest person must admit that life certainly appears to be designed by God, just as the Bible teaches. It would take extraordinary evidence to convince a rational person that this design is merely an illusion. But we have found no such evidence, at least not from the field of genetics. How could anyone think that all the vast amount of information in our genome is merely the result of chance? And this is not only for our genome, but for the genomes of all organisms on the planet. How can mutations – which are random – lead to outcomes that at least appear on the surface to be extremely well planned and designed? The answer, according to most evolutionists, is natural selection.
Natural selection is supposed to act as a guiding mechanism for evolution. Although the mutations are random, the survival of the resulting organism is not. So, we are told, the reason that the mutations seem to constantly improve an organism is because the majority that did not have been eliminated. Natural selection is therefore invoked to “stack the deck.” It pulls order out of chaos and elucidates the appearance of design out of randomness.
But there are several problems with this reasoning. We have already touched on one: natural selection does not act on suppressed traits, such as those hidden in recessive alleles. Its efficiency in removing deleterious mutations is not nearly sufficient for the task of preserving only the infinitesimal fraction of hypothetical mutations that can supposedly drive evolution. Nor can it anticipate changes that might become useful in the future, which would seem to be necessary for the evolution of complex, interdependent structures. These issues deserve more discussion than we have space for here. But I want to address an even larger and more obvious problem: natural selection has no effect at all on the probability of mutations, and therefore does not improve the odds of particles-to-people evolution over what they would be if there were no natural selection. An analogy may be helpful.
Suppose we built some robots whose sole purpose was to flip a coin randomly and record the results. We task them with recording the results of ten consecutive coin-flips. What is the probability that a robot will record that all ten coin-flips landed “heads-up”? The odds are 1 in 1,024. So, if we had one billion of these robots, statistically, just under one million of them would record a sequence of ten heads-up flips. Just as the mutations that hypothetically drive evolution forward are far outnumbered by those that don’t, so the robots that experience ten heads-up flips are vastly outnumbered by those that do not.
Further suppose that we continue the experiment with ten more flips, representing the next generation of organisms. Each robot has inherited the record from the previous trial, just as descendants inherit the mutations of their ancestor. How many of the robots that previously recorded ten heads-up flips will also record that the next ten flips are heads-up? Statistically, 954 would record this result. If we continue to a third generation with another ten flips, only one robot will likely record all thirty as heads up. With an additional 10 flips (or more), it is highly unlikely that any robot will continue the trend of heads-up only, just as it is highly unlikely that random mutations could possibly produce new, functional genetic information.
Now let’s do the same thought experiment, but this time we add a removal mechanism which simulates natural selection. We start with a billion robots, as before, recording coin flips. However, this time, the robots are programmed to self-destruct if the sequence they record is not heads-up only. What are the odds that any robot will record a sequence of ten consecutive heads-up flips? As before it is 1 in 1,024. So after the first ten flips, just under one million robots report all flips as heads up. The rest of them self-destruct, and do not pass on their imperfect record to the next generation.
After the next ten flips, representing the next generation for the remaining robots, how many will report that all twenty flips are heads up? As before, the answer is 954. With an additional ten flips, we reach the third generation. Only one robot will likely report that all thirty flips were heads up – exactly the same result as before. The fact that all the other robots have self-destructed is utterly irrelevant to the probability of detecting thirty consecutive heads-up results. After an additional ten flips, it is unlikely that any robot will have survived. Natural selection has absolutely no effect on the probability of a successful outcome. It simply refers to the removal of the unsuccessful cases.
It would be absurd to think that the billions of base pairs necessary to produce the human genome just happened randomly. And yet that is exactly what is required for Darwinian evolution to occur. Natural selection does not guide mutations. It cannot improve the odds of those mutations that would theoretically drive evolution forward because it has absolutely no effect on them. Many people have the misconception that natural selection somehow “stacks the deck”: that it makes the unlikely evolutionary mutations far more likely. But it does not.
To drive home the absurdity of the notion that natural selection can guide evolution, consider this analogy. We take a standard deck of 52 cards and ask someone to shuffle this deck very thoroughly. After this is done, we then pull out the top card and turn it over. Then we do this for the next card and so on. As we do so, suppose we find that the cards are in perfect order, Ace, 2, 3, 4, etc. first of one suit then the next. The deck is perfectly ordered in a very non-random way! Now what conclusion should we draw?
The creationist conclusion is that the deck was not really shuffled randomly at all. It is ordered by design. The evolutionist conclusion would be that this result came about by random shuffling. The creationist asks, “But the odds of this sequence occurring randomly are only 1 in 8×10^67?” The evolutionist responds, “Natural selection has guided this result. Apparently, there are 8×10^67 other people pulling cards from a randomly shuffled deck right now. But they all died and failed to reproduce.” Would that answer make sense? The death of these other hypothetical shufflers – for which we have no evidence – does not affect the probability of our deck at all.
Most people presume that the works of Shakespeare were actually written by human intelligence and are not merely the result of typos that have accumulated over time. The entire works of Shakespeare contain 884,421 words, with an average of about 4 letters per word (using modern spelling), which works out to 3.5 million letters. The human genome is far more complex, consisting of 3 billion base pairs for each of the two sets of DNA. If it is absurd to think that the smaller sequence came about randomly, how much more absurd to think that the larger sequence came about randomly?
It seems that the basics of genetics confirm biblical creation and do not support the notion of Darwinian evolution. The genetic information necessary to form the traits of all organisms on earth were encoded in the DNA of the original Genesis kinds, with a great degree of heterozygous combinations. As organisms reproduced, novel combinations of gene versions unfolded resulting in a great degree of diversity but always remaining within the original created kind. Some of that genetic information has been lost over time as organisms with rare gene versions die. Mutations have also contributed to the loss of genetic information. Mutations do sometimes lead to novel traits. (Red hair in human beings is thought to be the result of mutation). But they never lead to a fundamentally different organism and are in the wrong direction for Darwinian evolution which requires brand new genetic information.
We have seen that natural selection is analytically true, but is always in the opposite direction of evolution. Natural selection results in the removal of genetic information of an organism through death in an unfavorable environment. Evolution requires brand new information.
Mutations apparently only accelerate the rate of genetic information loss. Such information losses can result in novel modified traits, usually to the detriment of the organism. But in certain environments, the results of a loss of genetic information can occasionally increase the probability of survival. This is one type of adaptation, but is the opposite of evolution which requires brand new genetic information to be added to the genome. Nor does natural selection affect the odds of favorable mutations. It simply refers to the death of the unsuccessful cases. But it has no effect on the odds of success.
Our brief overview of genetics seems to confirm that all organisms trace back to many original created kinds. The diversity we see in organisms today is largely due to the heterozygosity God placed in the genomes of the original organisms, along with mutations which God providentially allows. Again, we have only scratched the surface of the astonishing intracellular machinery that makes life possible. DNA is merely one aspect of creation. But it certainly glorifies the Lord.
 Red blood cells are the exception. Human red blood cells do not have DNA and do not reproduce.
 Sperm and Egg cells each have only one copy of DNA, hence 3 billion base pairs. Non-reproductive cells have 6 billion.
 Or UGG for the RNA sequence. Often, codons are listed by their RNA code, where the nucleotide thymine (T) is replaced by Uracil (U).