PART 3: DARWINIAN THEORY

NOTE: I am in no way supported by, or affiliated with any of the sources, resources, or references used in this post.

QUOTES AND DIALOGUE

In 2016 I had become very suspicious of Darwinian claims and had decided to conduct a search for any critical dialogue on the topic. The following discussion is one of the first presentations I encountered which featured a secular scholar criticizing Darwinian Theory.

I believe Darwinian Theory is false and below are some quotes I’ve read through.

“Neo-Darwinian evolution is uniformitarian in that it assumes that all process works the same way, so that evolution of enzymes or flower colors can be used as current proxies for study of evolution of the body plan. It erroneously assumes that change in protein coding sequence is the basic cause of change in developmental program; and it erroneously assumes that evolutionary change in body plan morphology occurs by a continuous process. All of these assumptions are basically counterfactual. This cannot be surprising, since the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis from which these ideas stem was a pre- molecular biology concoction focused on population genetics and adaptation natural history, neither of which have any direct mechanistic import for the genomic regulatory systems that drive embryonic development of the body plan.” – Davidson, Eric H. “Evolutionary Bioscience as Regulatory Systems Biology.” Developmental Biology, vol. 357, no. 1, September 2011, pp. 35-40.

→. “Domain shuffling aside, it remains a mystery how the undirected process of mutation, combined with natural selection, has resulted in the creation of thousands of new proteins with extraordinarily diverse and well-optimized functions. This problem is particularly acute for tightly integrated molecular systems that consist of many interacting parts, such as ligands, receptors, and the downstream regulatory factors with which they interact.” – Thornton, Joseph W., and Rob DeSalle. “Gene Family Evolution and Homology: Genomics Meets Phylogenetics.” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, vol. 1, no. 1, September 2000, p. 64.

“Contrary to widespread belief, there is no compelling empirical or theoretical evidence that complexity, modularity, redundancy or other features of genetic pathways are promoted by natural selection.” – Lynch, Michael. “The Evolution of Genetic Networks by Non-Adaptive Processes.” Nature Reviews Genetics, vol. 8, no. 10, October 2007, p. 810.

“In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect.” – Grassé, Pierre-P. Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation, Kindle Edition, Elsevier Science, 1977, p. 87.

“No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution.” – Grassé, Pierre-P. Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation, Kindle Edition, Elsevier Science, 1977, p. 88.

RANDOM INFORMATION AND JUNK DNA

Members of the scientific community once assumed that a substantial portion of the human genome was “junk DNA.” Many believed that junk DNA was evidence of evolution. However, throughout the years there have been several developments in this field of research.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/06/junk-dna-not-so-useless-after-all/ (Junk DNA — Not So Useless After All)

It is thought that in contrast to microevolution, macroevolution requires a major increase in genetic information. Assuming that higher genomes are mostly functional and integrated (as ENCODE seems to suggest regarding the human genome), how might additional random information affect a higher genome’s overall performance?

If random information were added to a computer program’s code, would the program continue to function without impairment? If random information were added to a higher genome’s code, would the genome be more likely to improve or decline in functionality? (Recall the quote listed above from “Gene Family Evolution and Homology: Genomics Meets Phylogenetics.” The quote is preceded by an arrow “→”).

Notice some of the circumstances which might accompany random additions to the human genome.

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=38317 (Medical Definition of Trisomy)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_eye_syndrome (Cat eye syndrome)

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/mecp2-duplication-syndrome/#causes (MECP2 Duplication Syndrome)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8p23.1_duplication_syndrome (8p23.1 duplication syndrome)

If it’s true that macroevolution requires major additions to a genome, what is the likelihood of macroevolution occurring in nature? Alternatively, what would happen to an advanced organism if you were to remove some of its integrated components? How can there be earlier, radically diverse (evolutionary) stages of an advanced organism if the organism requires a full roster of specific, integrated genetic architecture to function?

THE FREQUENCY OF DELETERIOUS MUTATIONS

Another issue to consider is the frequency of deleterious mutations and their impact on the human genome. This is a topic I first encountered when reading Dr. John Sanford’s book “Genetic Entropy.” Below is a video of Dr. Sanford presenting this topic to National Institutes of Health.

I do not agree with everything Dr. Sanford has said or concluded. However, I do believe he is correct about a number of issues.

At one point in time it was assumed that a large number of deleterious mutations were in fact neutral because they occurred in areas thought to be junk DNA (and thus had no impact on fitness). However, as ENCODE has revealed, areas once thought to be junk are in fact functional and, with the discovery of poly-functional DNA, it appears that the human genome is even more integrated than previously thought.

I could be mistaken, but I believe the likelihood of a neutral mutation decreases as the functionality and integration of a genome increases. Additionally, it is widely recognized that the majority of non-neutral mutations are deleterious. When combining this information together I think it’s fair to conclude that the vast majority of human mutations are deleterious. With that said, it is estimated that the human mutation rate is 100 or more mutations per person per generation.

https://www.nature.com/news/2009/090827/full/news.2009.864.html (Human mutation rate revealed)

If human mutations are predominantly deleterious and are accumulating at the rate indicated above then I believe the corrective ability of natural selection is decisively outpaced.

In the past, long before ENCODE, it was believed that human mutation rates would have to stay below single digit numbers just to maintain equilibrium.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1716299/pdf/ajhg00429-0003.pdf (H. J. Muller – Our Load of Mutation) SEE FINAL PARAGRAPH ON PAGE 155

As previously stated, scientists now estimate that the human mutation rate is 100 or more mutations per person per generation which is immensely higher than the aforementioned limit. Therefore, I do not believe humans are evolving, nor do I believe that humans evolved from lesser/lower genomes in the past.

Notice how origins-of-life research isn’t yielding the results that many people were anticipating.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/09/130905-mars-origin-of-life-earth-panspermia-astrobiology/ (Did Life on Earth Come From Mars? Two scientists present new data on great cosmic questions.)

DINOSAURS AND THE FOSSIL RECORD

Dinosaur soft tissue is another topic I've looked into.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/scientists-retrieve-80-million-year-old-dinosaur-protein-milestone-paper (Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper)

As discussed in the link above, scientists have found collagen in dinosaur remains. They suggest that these remains are 80 million years old. Information in the link below seems to suggest that collagen shouldn’t be expected to persist beyond 3 million years when stored at 0°C (refer to blue box at the bottom of the second page).

http://www.biochemist.org/bio/02403/0012/024030012.pdf (Biomolecules in fossil remains: Multidisciplinary approach to endurance)

(I’ve heard the iron preservation claim and I don’t believe it. Notice the skepticism of Matthew Collins in the seventh paragraph of “Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper”)

NOTE: At the moment it seems that the webpage for “Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper” is down. In the meantime, I would suggest the following article instead.

https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/cretaceous-collagen-can-molecular-paleontology-glean-soft-tissue-dinosaurs/ (Cretaceous collagen: Can molecular paleontology glean soft tissue from dinosaurs?)

Below are some other articles I’ve read through.

https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-dinosaur-bone-collagen-20170131-story.html (Dinosaur surprise: Scientists find collagen inside a 195-million-year-old bone)

https://phys.org/news/2009-11-ancient-muscle-tissue-million-year.html (Ancient muscle tissue extracted from 18 million year old fossil)

I’m not sure about the geological age of the earth, however, I do believe the biosphere is only thousands of years old and that the fossil record is largely the result of a global flood.

Below are more quotes that I’ve read through.

“Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.” – Kitts, David B. “Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory.” Evolution, vol. 28, no. 3, September 1974, p. 467. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2407167.

“We have no idea why most structures in extinct organisms look the way they do. And, as I have already noted, different species usually appear and disappear from the record without showing the transitions that Darwin postulated.” – Raup, David M. “Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology.” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, vol. 50, no. 1, January 1979, p. 24. Biodiversity Heritage Library, www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/21020.

Some believe that punctuated equilibrium succeeds in harmonizing the fossil record with Darwinian thought.

I think theories such as punctuated equilibrium are full of problems (e.g., punctuated equilibrium does not seem to offer an explanation for the genesis of new body plans), and, in my opinion, such theories are desperate attempts to try and salvage or prolong a false paradigm.

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

When one compiles various claims and theories espoused by considerable segments of modern-day society…

…one might notice a narrative which seems to suggest that people are apes from the planet Mars, possibly trapped inside a computer simulation—I totally disagree with this narrative.

Among other things, I’ve looked into panspermia hypotheses.

http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-04zzz.html/ (Francis Crick Remembered)

One might wonder why, after examining the structure of DNA, Francis Crick considered the possibility of directed panspermia. Could it be that he noticed intelligent design in the genetic code?

I will mention that although I study content from the intelligent design community (namely Discovery Institute), I do so in a strictly secular, non-political context. My religious/theological/political beliefs are not represented by Discovery Institute or the intelligent design community.

This concludes my post on Darwinian Theory. To return to the introduction page click here.