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Genetic Entropy and the Gospel

Biological clocks say the earth is young!

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Published: 6 April 2021 (GMT+10)
Previously published in a CMI newsletter, September 2020
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Bad news! The human race is doomed. This is clear from the Bible. If you have ever read the book of Revelation and considered what will happen when Christ returns, you understand that we will only be here for a short time. The clock is ticking. Of course, we are not truly doomed, because there is a promise of Heaven waiting for the Christians. But the eventual demise of the human races is also clear from science. Our DNA picks up too many mutations for us to survive into the infinite future. Truly, without Christ, our days are numbered.

I have a strange position at CMI. On the one hand, I love my job. I love the people I work with and the wonderful people I get to meet as I travel to speak at the many churches I visit every year. Sharing the Good News about Creation and the Gospel is a joy. On the other hand, as a geneticist I get to deal with some very difficult and sometimes sad subjects. I read about genetic diseases, everything from hereditary blindness to Huntington’s disease. I see statistics about birth defects and Down syndrome regularly. In short, I am constantly reminded of the effects of the Curse in Genesis 3 and humanity’s yearning desire for redemption.

Our decaying genome

It has been my privilege to work closely with retired Cornell Professor Dr John Sanford for more than a decade. He was the first person within our ranks to write extensively on a subject called genetic entropy. This is an easy concept to understand, but the ramifications are profound. In genetics, we can see that mutations are too frequent. Mutations are ‘spelling’ mistakes in our DNA that occur when our cells reproduce. Every person born has maybe 100 brand-new spelling errors in their genome. Most of these mutations have only a very small effect. In one way, this has helped to preserve the human race for the past several thousand years of our existence. In another way, it is like our population is being slowly poisoned. If spelling errors are being introduced to a book every time a new one is printed, how many copies can be made before the book is entirely useless?

If mutations were rare and profound, maybe natural selection could remove them. A three-legged antelope on the plains of Africa would be ‘selected’ out quickly, for example, and thus it would be unable to pass its mutations to future generations. But a four-legged antelope that is only slightly smaller, slightly slower, slightly hard of hearing, etc., is just as likely to survive as other antelopes. In fact, most mutations are hardly noticeable, so they are invisible to natural selection. In other words, there is no mechanism in nature to remove them. This is the essence of genetic entropy, and it has rigorous theoretical, mathematical, and experimental support.

The genetic clocks are counting down

It is clear that complex organisms like antelopes and people cannot last for millions of years more. But that also means our species could not be millions of years old. Original and genuine creationist research has directly falsified a main pillar of evolutionary theory—the idea that species evolve or ‘improve’ over long periods of time. One could say all organisms are ‘devolving!’

Genetic entropy does have a positive aspect, however. When we apply the theory to deadly viral infections like influenza, we see that mutations building up in the virus population can sometimes lead to a reduction in its efficacy or even to eventual extinction. I am hoping and praying that the same would happen to Covid-19, but only time will tell.

This is exciting research and great witnessing material, and we could not be doing it without you. Your support allows us to pursue areas of science that the evolutionists would never even think of exploring. Even better, there are Gospel-related issues in the center of our work. There is no hope for the human race without Christ. This is real science and this is a message that everyone needs to hear.

Helpful Resources

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

Readers’ comments

Jonatan B.
The cursed is more literal than we thoughT, it's not just some figurative languange about our relationship with disconect with God. If we received Jesus is our Lord and savior, could it his atonement, fix this mistake in our DNA?
Robert Carter
Jesus is certainly a worker of miracles, and miracles certainly happen today, However:

1. The restoration of our bodies is promised for the future, upon our resurrection.
2. For now we live in a fallen world with the general consequences of that, including genetic entropy.
3. While God can heal all sorts of ailments today, in response to our prayers, there is no guarantee that this will happen in this life. The Apostle Paul, for example, prayed several times for an ailment to be removed and it wasn’t, because God had a purpose for it in his life.

After a person comes to faith in Christ, disease still strikes their body and injuries still occur. Genetically blind people generally stay blind. Genetically deaf people generally stay deaf. Mutations still build up in our bodies over time, sometimes leading to cancer but always contributing to the effects of ageing. Death and degradation are a part of the world we live in and there is nothing we can do about it. There is a lot of theology to unpack here and I am uncertain where to point you first. Perhaps our Death and Suffering Q&A page is a good place to start.
Thomas B.
On another forum I visit (will not mention, but one you're aware of. Paul Price has been on it), I notice Genetic Entropy (GE) debated quite a bit. Many of the evolutionists on there adamantly dismiss GE. It hasn't taken me long to realize they will easily dismiss ANY challenges to evolution, such as Irreducible Complexity (IC). Although I my technical background isn't as strong, I know enough to know they can't dismiss IC so readily. However it's a little more difficult to sort through their dismissals of GE. So how does one like myself sort through the technical arguments against GE on forums like this? Although my first reaction is that it's just another case of their stubbornness, I would like to be able to know how founded their rebuttals are.
Robert Carter
I have seen so much misinformation flying around other sites that my head spins. In fact, I learned some valuable lessons by watching how they operate. First, they through up some preposterous notion. Second, we answer it decisively. Third, they say it again, completely ignoring the rebuttal. Thus, they are either not reading our material (likely), they do not understand our material (doubtful), or they are deliberately lying. Either way, it does not look good for them. I would highly recommend our article Responding to supposed refutations of genetic entropy from the ‘experts’ as an example. You might also want to consider Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy.
Dan M.
I use your excellent articles as well as Dr. Sanford's book detailing genetic entropy to show my brothers, sister, and people in general that genetics supports recent creation and refutes Darwinian evolution. As far as I am concerned, genetic entropy is the death knell of Darwinian evolution and it settles the debate completely. Trying to convince others or even getting them to look into this subject is another story altogether. It's like trying to convince a salmon to turn around and swim back to the ocean so it will survive. But they are stubborn and resistive to real empirical science and keep struggling upstream to their demise. It seems people are driven to accept Darwinian evolution even though, (in my mind) it has been thoroughly debunked? When my brother said, "we know there is something greater than all of us out there" I try to use Paul's argument of the unknown god to at least get him to consider the gospel and know the true God. Another brother said He thinks creationists are afraid of evolutionists, to which I replied, it is the evolutionists that are afraid of us creationists since the scientific evidence best fits the biblical narrative. The refusal of any evolutionist to thoroughly examine and debunk the creationist science is a good indication that they already know the outcome. All they have is unscientific rescue mechanisms, character assassination, and ridicule of the creationist viewpoint to save their evolutionary religion. The secularists have done a good job of convincing the world that religion, (especially Christianity) is a cult and they alone have the truth, which is a lie, from the father of lies. God bless CMI and all the other creationist organizations who stand for God's word.
MICHAEL R.
A great article Robert. It would be nice if genetic entropy could be taught as part of the biology curriculum in schools, with the emphasis on the destructive effect it is having on populations. It would certainly give students something to think about. Unfortunately, I don't suppose the educational establishment would ever allow such a "dangerous" notion to be taught in schools. Keep up the good work, and may God bless all at CMI.
Scott F.
Robert and company, Thank you. I have read Dr. Sanford's book, Genetic Entropy, and have gifted it to several people. Speaking of the human race being doomed, I have now seen two credible-sounding articles in secular media on how endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment are rendering the human race infertile. These articles cite data culled from 185 studies of men in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. They claim that sperm counts have fallen by 50% over the past 4 decades, that this trend is not leveling off, and is probably a worldwide phenomenon. Should this trend continue, (and there seems to be no reason it won't,) some are positing that it's possible that the human race will not be able to naturally reproduce itself in a matter of decades. If this research and interpretation are credible, I don't understand why we aren't hearing more about it. I would be very interested to hear from you and your colleagues on this issue. If you Google this sentence, a number of articles will show up: "Last summer a group of researchers from Hebrew University and Mount Sinai medical school published a study showing that sperm counts" Thanks for all you do!
Robert Carter
I have been hearing reports about declining sperm counts in Western men for over a decade. Yet, if the change is noticeable in the short term, it is certainly not genetic. It would have to be epigenetic/environmental and so does not reflect ongoing genetic damage. If anything, we are less disease-ridden and better nourished than at any time in human history. Perhaps an abundance of carbs leads to a decrease in sperm production? I don't know, but this just does not seem like a good case for GE.
Terry D P.
Re: «/ Mutations are ‘spelling’ mistakes in our DNA that occur when our cells reproduce. Every person born has maybe 100 brand-new spelling errors in their genome. /» That’s going forward in time. So, going backwards in time, one must eventually reach a perfect person (e.g. Adam) with no death causing spelling errors in his genome. As it says in Genesis:
«/ Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. /» Which begs the question: Initially, without sin, Adam had no mutations in his genome, so how could he have evolved/mutated into this state of perfection from non-existent ancestors?
Robert Carter
Evolutionists (including theistic evolutionists) do not believe there was ever a state of perfection. They look at all diversity as arising through mutation. Creationists, on the other hand, separate created diversity (the allelic variation God programmed into Adam and Eve) from mutation (mistakes that have occurred during DNA replication over the past several thousand years). Your question, though excellent, will probably fall on deaf ears. We first have to get them to admit to Adam's biological perfection.
Tim L.
You state that the human race cannot be millions of years old. Can you provide some information on how far into the future the population collapse would be (assuming God does intervene and everything continues as it is today)? Would it be thousands of years from now, or hundreds of thousands of years from now?
Robert Carter
An excellent question, but the answer is hard to come by. As mutations build up in any population, there is no level at which it will necessarily go extinct. 'Mutational meltdown' can occur, but this is usually relegated to small, isolated, inbred populations. Instead, it is expected that a population can endure very long periods of high mutational loads as it slowly gets more and more decrepit, only to succumb quickly to a new disease, a new predator, or changing environmental conditions. Thus, you really cannot predict how long humanity will endure, especially when you consider how inventive we are and how fast medical advances are now occurring. "Not millions of years" is my best answer. In the future, we will be able to make better estimates.
Geoff R.
Absolutely fascinating and scary at the same time. I teach junior high science and the somewhat superficial study of genetics is one of the topics covered. Even at this shallow level of study, it is plain to see from our basic textbooks and other source material that (1) genetic complexity and the basic workings of the human system are way beyond just random chance over eons, and (2) the list of genetic disorders is growing and showing no sign of slowing down or reversing.
Philip P.
A precise and great article. Thanks
Phil P
Mustafa T.
Dear teacher. Thank you very much for your detailed information. I live in a Muslim community. I am very happy to know you. God protect us.

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