Only the Bible explains the diversity of life
Evolutionists often misrepresent biblical creationists, saying that we claim that one species cannot change into another—that we believe in the ‘fixity of species’. They then present undeniable evidence that species can change and argue that they have shown us to be ignorant of scientific facts. This, of course, is nonsense. Those who base their understanding of the natural world on the Bible do not believe in the fixity of species. Rather, we believe in the ‘fixity of kinds’1, i.e. that one kind cannot change into another. (See Genesis 1:11–12, 1:21 and 1:24–25.) Hence finches may turn into other species of finch, or fruit flies into other species of fruit fly; but finches will never turn into hawks or fruit flies into wasps. Nor will apes ever turn into people.
According to the Bible, except for those preserved in the Ark, all air-breathing land animals were destroyed in the global Flood2 described in Genesis 6–8. God commanded Noah to take into the Ark pairs of every kind of animal. Noah did not take representatives of every species, but every kind. For example, there would have been a pair of the dog kind aboard, a pair of the cat kind, and seven pairs of the cattle kind—not just two, as this was a ‘clean’ animal (Genesis 7:2). In the centuries following the Flood, all of the different dogs (wolves, coyotes, jackals etc.), the different cats (lions, tigers, leopards etc.) and the different cattle (bison, yaks, domestic cattle, etc.) would have arisen from these kinds. But how did this happen?
Variation and selection
All animals have DNA,3 which determines what sort of animal they grow into. So, change the DNA and you will change the form of the animal! Animals inherit DNA from both the mother and the father, and the offspring have various combinations of their parents’ DNA. This, of course, is also true of humans and explains why we’re all different.
For example, some are taller, some shorter; some have darker skin, others lighter skin. All humans are descended from Adam and Eve, whose DNA was such that all their offspring, although different in many ways, are still all of the same species—Homo sapiens. The DNA of the animals preserved on the Ark, however, would have enabled greater variation in their offspring, to the point that different combinations of the males’ and females’ DNA have in many instances produced different (though still similar) species.
The Genesis account makes clear that God brought the animals to the Ark4 (Genesis 6:19–20). God chose the male and female of each pair and thus what mix of DNA would be passed down to each of the offspring. Immediately following the Flood, speciation could have been very rapid, perhaps arising within just a few generations. Later, this diversification would have been slower, as ‘survival of the fittest’ helped shape the emerging populations.
Breeders carefully select particular males and females for mating, generation after generation, in order to produce the particular characteristics they want. (See fig. 1.) In the wild, males and females best suited to their environment will thrive and produce the most offspring and, over the generations, their characteristics will come to dominate within the group. For example, bears with white fur living in the arctic will hunt more successfully than brown bears as they are better camouflaged. When practised by breeders this process is known as ‘artificial selection’; in the wild it is known as ‘natural selection’.
Both these processes act like a sculptor working on a statue.5 The sculptor carves away the material that he doesn’t want. Similarly, artificial selection and natural selection remove the DNA that produces undesirable characteristics, leaving just the characteristics that the breeder wants or, in the wild, those characteristics that enable the animals to thrive within a given environment. Moreover, just as the sculptor, if he keeps carving, will eventually run out of material, so artificial selection and natural selection eventually run out of DNA. After a while, no more characteristics can be removed and the breeder and nature cannot change the organism any more. This is why, however much you breed dogs or pigeons or horses, they always remain dogs, pigeons, and horses.
Animals can also adapt to their environments by selecting which parts of the DNA (i.e. which genes) will be used and which will not. So, instead of removing unwanted genes (as in the previous section), they are simply switched off. Similarly, genes that are wanted can be switched on.
In 1971, some lizards were moved from one island to another off the coast of Croatia.6 Although similar in climate, the two islands afforded very different types of food. The island from which the lizards were taken provided a diet mainly of insects, whereas the new island provided a diet mainly of plants. In less than 38 years, the lizards that had been moved to the new island had changed significantly. Remarkable changes were seen in their head shapes and head sizes, which scientists think arose to increase their bite force. Significant changes were also seen in their gut morphology (the internal shape of their stomachs). In fact, they had even grown a new ring of muscle in their stomachs to slow down the passage of food to aid digestion of the plant material. All this in less than 38 years! Such rapid changes clearly have nothing to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution, which requires that lucky, useful mutations accumulate over hundreds of thousands or millions of years, gradually changing the animals’ form.7
So that’s another way that speciation could have occurred—by programmed change, that is by changes driven by the program in the DNA which God put into animals when he first made them, and triggered by changes in the environment—in this case, a new food source.
Is this evolution?
No! Fundamental to the Darwinian process is the need to generate useful, new DNA. Microbes do not have arms, legs, hearts or brains because they do not have DNA containing the building instructions (the genetic information) to grow such things. If Darwin’s theory were true, and microbes turned into men, there must be a process in nature that can generate DNA with new building instructions. If scientists cannot point to such things happening today then the evolution story has no place in science.
Evolutionists claim that the work of breeders, and observations of speciation in nature, demonstrate the truth of evolution.8 But this is not so. When new varieties arise through artificial selection or natural selection, genetic information is not increased, but decreased. The new breeds and new species have fewer building instructions than the original animals, because the unwanted DNA information has been whittled away. How can examples of reduction of genetic information be evidence of a process that, fundamentally, requires an increase in genetic information?
Similarly, when animals like lizards change through switching genes on and off, there is no increase in genetic information: the process of adaptation occurs through using existing building instructions.
Secularists know that if they can convince people of evolution then they will think that there’s no need to believe in a creator God. As such, they search for the very best arguments they can think of, the ones which make evolution appear most scientific. What are these arguments? Invariably, they are examples of change where there is either no evidence of increased genetic information or clear cases of loss of genetic information. If they had real examples of evolution, they would surely present them. The fact that they don’t makes abundantly clear that such examples don’t exist.
Do mutations produce new genetic information?
Evolutionists argue that mutations can generate new genetic information. Indeed, they often claim to have observed such evolutionary processes in action1. Let’s look at some examples.
Soon after doctors started to treat patients with the antibiotic streptomycin, some bacteria became resistant to it through mutation. Streptomycin works by attaching itself to the ribosome (a machine inside the bacterium which produces its proteins) preventing it working properly. Various mutations were observed which changed the shape of the ribosome preventing the streptomycin attaching itself and interfering with protein production. However, these mutations had a downside, as the ribosome worked more slowly. Hence, although the bacteria gained resistance to streptomycin, this was associated with a loss of function. Significantly, the reduction of protein production would have been disadvantageous outside of the artificial environment created by the drug treatment.2
Warfarin is routinely prescribed by doctors to patients vulnerable to blood clotting. When used in higher doses, it can be a very effective pesticide3, and has been used to cull populations of rats. The warfarin is so effective in preventing the rats’ blood clotting that they die from internal bleeding. It works by interfering with the way the rats process Vitamin K, which is needed to clot the blood. However, within a few years some rats had acquired resistance. A mutation had arisen that led to an enzyme used to process the Vitamin K being unaffected by the warfarin. Again, however, there was a downside. The new enzyme processes Vitamin K very inefficiently, to the extent that the rats need around ten times as much Vitamin K to survive—even if there’s no warfarin around. These rats often die because there is not enough Vitamin K in their food. This is hardly a great example of an evolutionary process!4
Some people have gained a degree of immunity from malaria. They carry a mutation that causes blood cells infected with malaria to change shape (to become ‘sickled’) and be destroyed by the spleen, an organ in the body that filters the blood.5 Evolutionists have made much of this as a clear example of evolution. However, the mutation also makes carriers more vulnerable to a number of other diseases,6and only confers resistance to malaria if the person inherits the mutation from just one parent. In fact, if the mutation is inherited from both parents, the child will develop a serious disease called Sickle Cell Anemia7, which is often fatal.8 This is a very strange sort of evolution! The more people that carry the mutation, the more children will die from Sickle Cell Anemia. In practice, in areas where there is a significant risk of malaria, the number of carriers tends to be limited to only 18% of the population.9
Cornell University geneticist Dr. John Sanford commented:
“It must be understood that scientists have a very sensitive and extensive network for detecting information-creating mutations and most geneticists are diligently keeping their eyes open for them all the time. … Yet I am still not convinced there is a single, crystal-clear example of a known mutation which unambiguously created information.”10
At CMI we do not argue that information-increasing mutations could never happen.11 However, if evolution were true, there must have been countless billions of these in the past. Why, then, don’t we see them occurring all around us today?
References and notes
- Wieland, C., The evolution train’s a’comin’, Creation 24(2):16–19, March 2002; creation.com/train.
- Spetner, L., Not by Chance!Shattering the modern theory of evolution, Judaica Press, pp. 139–144, 1998.
- Catchpoole, D., Pesticide resistance is not evidence of evolution, August 2009; creation.com/pesticide.
- More, E., Rats! Another case of sickle cell anemia, Creation 17(2):44–45, March 1995; creation.com/warfarin.
- Wieland, C., One Human Family: the Bible, science, race and culture, Creation Book Publishers, pp. 138–139, 2011.
- Tsarus, G., et a., Complications associated with the sickle cell trait: a brief narrative review, Am. J. Med.122(6):507–512, 2009.
- Konotey-Ahulu, F., Sickle-cell anemia does not prove evolution! Creation 16(2):40–41, March 1994; creation.com/sickle.
- If both parents are carriers (heterozygous) then there will be a 25% chance of a child having the disease.
- The maximum frequency in a recent global study was 18%: Piel, F.B.,et al., Global distribution of the sickle cell gene and geographical confirmation of the malaria hypothesis, Nat. Commun. 1:104, 2010; doi: 10.1038/ncomms1104; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060623/.
- Sanford, J., Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, Ivan Press, New York, p. 17, 2005.
- Carter, R., Can mutations create new information? J. Creation 25(2):92–98, August 2011; creation.com/new-info.
References and notes
- See creation.com/speciation. Return to text.
- See creation.com/cab10. Return to text.
- Gitt, W., Dazzling design in miniature: DNA information storage, Creation 20(1):6, December 1997; creation.com/dna. Return to text.
- See creation.com/cab13. Return to text.
- An analogy used by Richard Dawkins. See Dawkins, R., The Greatest Show on Earth, Transworld, London, p. 37, 2009. Return to text.
- Herrel, A. et al., Rapid large-scale evolutionary divergence in morphology and performance associated with exploitation of a different dietary resource, PNAS 105(12): 4792–4795, 2008. Return to text.
- See creation.com/termites-lizards, October 2012. Return to text.
- Walker, T., Don’t fall for the bait and switch, Creation 29(4):38–39, September 2007; creation.com/baitandswitch. Return to text.