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Feedback archiveFeedback 2002

Were there only two optimal versions of any given gene in the human genome?

From Jonthan Sherwood from the USA. His letter is printed first in its entirety. His letter is printed again, indented with point-by-point responses by Dr Jonathan Sarfati, interspersed as per normal e-mail fashion. Ellipses (…) at the end of one of the paragraphs signal that a mid-sentence comment follows, not an omission.


To whom it may concern:

A question has occurred to me. If the creationist standpoint is that Adam and Eve carried the entire human genome between them, which has only degraded since the Fall, does this mean that there can be only two optimal versions of any given gene in the human genome?

To clarify: If all humans descended from Adam and Eve's genome, which may have been "perfect," and mutation and natural selection only degrade a genome instead of give rise to new traits, then the presence of three or more versions of a gene in the human genome that work as well as possible would be impossible to reconcile from the creationist perspective, correct? After all, there is nowhere to "evolve" to from those first genes but "down." A third or fourth or fifth equally viable version should not be able to arise if mutation and natural selection can only lose information.

Obviously, the definitions of "perfect" and "equally viable" are vague, and the makeup of a single gene fantastically complex, but am I right in assuming that creationism makes the prediction that there will never be more than two versions of a gene that are completely dissimilar, yet fully and equally viable?


To whom it may concern:

A question has occurred to me. If the creationist standpoint is that Adam and Eve carried the entire human genome between them, which has only degraded since the Fall, does this mean that there can be only two optimal versions of any given gene in the human genome?

You seem to have forgotten that humans are diploid, which means that two people could carry four different alleles for each locus.

To clarify: If all humans descended from Adam and Eve's genome, which may have been "perfect," and mutation and natural selection only degrade a genome instead of give rise to new traits, then the presence of three or more versions of a gene in the human genome that work as well as possible would be impossible to reconcile from the creationist perspective, correct? After all, there is nowhere to "evolve" to from those first genes but "down." A third or fourth or fifth equally viable version should not be able to arise if mutation and natural selection can only lose information.

We also point out that some mutations are neutral, e.g. that affect amino acids on the side chain far from the active site of an enzyme. A ‘sideways’ change (no change in complexity) is viable, because ‘optimal’ depends on the environment as well. There would have been a variety of environments even before the Fall. Carried to its logical conclusion, if there was only one type of perfection, then there would be only one type of organism. But it was the whole creation that God called very good, so the physical perfection would pertain to the ecosystem as a whole rather than individuals.

Obviously, the definitions of "perfect" and "equally viable" are vague, and the makeup of a single gene fantastically complex, but am I right in assuming that creationism makes the prediction that there will never be more than two versions of a gene that are completely dissimilar, yet fully and equally viable?

No you are not, because of the simple blooper you made above, aside from the philosophical considerations I outlined briefly.

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati.


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