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Creation 37(2):41, April 2015

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Evolutionary dilemma

The more we know about DNA, the tougher things get for modern Darwinism


© iStockphoto/Kondor83 evolutionary-dilemma
We do not fully understand how evolution works at the molecular level

On the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the structure of DNA, science writer Dr Philip Ball wrote an article in Nature1 saying, “we do not fully understand how evolution works at the molecular level.” Ball referred to advances in understanding how DNA works to make organisms. The old idea of DNA comprising genes that are simple strings of DNA ‘letters’ that each makes an RNA copy, and then a protein, is simplistic—to the point of being misleading, he said.

He wrote of gene networks where many genes interact to produce something. Also, most of the DNA does not produce proteins directly, but regulates the production of proteins (where, when, and how much). There are also changes to the DNA structure, not the actual ‘letters’, which affect organisms, and are heritable (a relatively new field called ‘epigenetics’). This means that the prevailing evolutionary dogma—that organisms have evolved via mutations (random changes to the ‘letters’) sorted by natural selection—does not explain what scientists are discovering. This dogma is also known as Neo-Darwinism or the ‘Modern Synthesis’.

All the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved

None other than the President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, Professor Denis Noble (Oxford University), has presented a paper where he set out to show “that all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved.” Noble says he hopes for a new theory of ‘evolution’ that will explain the evidence.2

Ball commented about a lack of willingness to face up to the implications of the evidence, “There may also be anxiety that admitting any uncertainty about the mechanisms of evolution will be exploited by those who seek to undermine it.” Well, his article certainly provoked that anxiety, with many coming to the defence of Neo-Darwinism.

Australia’s taxpayer-funded national broadcaster, the ABC, interviewed Australian academics who tried to counter such damaging thoughts that there could be something wrong with evolution.3 However, in stoically ‘holding the fort’, some gave away the game. They admitted the horrendous complexity of how DNA works, which is part of the problem for the neat evolutionary story-telling that students are exposed to at school and university. Some even suggested that the public should not be told of the complexity.

Professor Simon Foote (Macquarie University), who studies the genetic control of susceptibility to disease, asserted, “The central dogma is not wrong”, but then went on to say, “There are 60 genes involved in multiple sclerosis, each contributing a small fraction, probably interacting with each other, probably interacting with the environment.” Precisely! How did a network of 60 interacting genes, interacting with the environment (epigenetics?) acquire its normal function by random changes and natural selection?

It seems like ‘Mum’s the word’ for many academics; ‘we don’t want to spook the horses’!

References and notes

  1. Ball, P., DNA: Celebrate the unknowns, Nature 496:419–420, 2013; doi:10.1038/496419a. Return to text.
  2. Noble, D., Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology, Experimental Physiology 98(8):1235–1243, 2013; DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2012.071134. Return to text.
  3. Salleh, A., Leading science writer refutes DNA ‘tale’, abc.net.au, 25 April 2013. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Evolution's Achilles' Heels
by Nine Ph.D. scientists
US $17.00
Soft Cover
Genetic Entropy
by Dr John Sanford
US $25.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Dan M.
Evolutionists can have a crisis of belief also! When being honest with themselves according to the observations, they then begin to question their presuppositions and some have abandoned them altogether in favor for a creator (long list). Unfortunately these honest scientists find themselves out in the cold in a secular science industry as stated by one CMI scientist recently saying, "I'll never get a job anywhere else". Well you're right where God wants you and you don't need a job anywhere else. But it is sad how the secular science industry (taxpayer funded) bullies and berates anyone who has the guts to tell the truth and it hurts real science.
My older brother an evolutionist always says, "all the scientists believe in evolution". But he has not done his homework since this is simply not the case and I believe there are many more dissenters that are too afraid to lose their positions if they were to come clean.
We need to give our support and appreciation to these creation scientists for the guts to let the information lead them where it may.
If every christian gave to creation science ministries the cost of one or two latte's a month, they would have more money than they would need and then maybe WE can start building more museums to get our Lords message out there.
Thanks CMI, ICR, AIG, CSI and many others!
Matthew M.
The implications of this information are enormous. Why was this such a short article? Statements/quotes like these:

"prevailing evolutionary dogma—that organisms have evolved via mutations ... does not explain what scientists are discovering"


“all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved.”

are indeed admissions of a failed theory! That seems huge. Am I missing something? Combine that with some scientists wanting to cover it up shows the mindset of these people.

I think you need a much more detailed article to outline the drivers behind these quotes. What exactly has been disproved that THEY admit? You have lots of different articles on this site, but a comprehensive summary article is best for defense of the faith, since most of us cannot talk intelligently about DNA. I need something I discuss with the layperson, and quotes of despairing evolutionists are great if I can understand their origin.

Don Batten
I suggest you begin with the first article recommended in the related reading at the end of the article.
As developments unfold we will certainly follow up with more articles.
You might also find my article on the origin of life helpful (it explains the problem for evolution in a hopefully understandable way).
Charles T.
Denis Noble has come under withering attack - some of it very personal - from prominent Darwinists, for his outspoken views on the Modern Synthesis. Jerry Coyne, for instance, here cited by University of Toronto biochemist Lawrence Moran on his Sandwalk blog:

"Although he’s an FRS and famous, he wants more: he wants his field to be central to evolution. But such misguided hubris is not the way science is supposed to be done....However famous Noble may be in physiology, he’s a blundering tyro when it comes to evolutionary biology...his arguments are so rotten that they stink like old herring. They’re not even wrong."

Moran will be attending the upcoming Royal Society Meeting on New trends in evolutionary biology; he's asking for readers' suggestions on questions he should ask the speakers. Here's part of his take on Noble:

" He's very annoyed at biochemists and molecular biologists for getting so much attention (and money) over the past few decades. He has constructed in his mind a false image of evolution. He thinks it's entirely adaptationist and gene-centric and that's what he rails against. He doesn't like Richard Dawkins."

Moran on attending Noble's lecture at the FRS congress:

"I'm not going to ask any questions after this talk. I'll report back on how many people seem to agree with him."

Noble, in his writings refers to the work of Claude Bernard and his pioneering work in physiology, "Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine" to which creationists ought to give serious attention.

Don Batten
Sounds like Moran is a 'true believer' (in evolution as a religion). Apparently science is not about questioning things when it comes to evolution, which just goes to show that evolution at its core is a religious idea.
The Altenberg 16 article reviews a meeting of prominent evolutionists who question the adequacy of neo-Darwinism. Denis Noble is hardly alone.
Thanks for the heads up about Claude Bernard.
Paul S.
So keeping their faith (in evo) is more important than revealing facts? They are not scientists.
Egil W.
Interesting to read what the evolutionists are saying among themselves.
I've heard that a 'double layer' of code in DNA is verified or accepted. Is this a part of epigenetics? How such a double layer of coding affect the chances of evolution to be possible?
Don Batten
There are multiple dimensions of information in the DNA code, as explained by Dr Robert Carter: Our 4-D genome.
On top of that, a given code sequence can be read in multiple different ways, plus different post-reading editing producing different proteins. We have about 23,000 'genes' but our bodies can produce many more than 100,000 proteins, so on average each 'gene' produces over four different proteins. Evolving just one protein is difficult enough, but doing that while evolving three others besides????!!! And the different regulatory networks that are needed as well?
The headaches for evolutionists are multiplying exponentially at present!
J. B.
Hi Dr Don and all at CMI!

It might be very revealing, how Richard Dawkins emotionally and emphatically refuses to answer an epigenetics question on the youtube clip :

" What Dawkins did before talking to Wendy Wright to keep himself calm " (First 17 seconds)

Many thanks for your great work and may God bless your efforts!
Warren C.
Yes, great website, and great work! Thanks for the inspiring and informative resources. It's great to be given some honest, straightforward material that supports faith in God's word (rather than have honesty censored out of the conversation!)
"The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind of wisdom do they have?" Jeremiah 8:9

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