Click here to view CMI's position on climate change.
Also Available in:
This article is from
Creation 34(3):30–31, July 2012

Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe

Time—no friend of evolution

Our downhill genetic slide fits the biblical creation timeline


©Philcold | Dreamstime.com

Many evolutionary biologists say they can’t understand how creationists, “even rational ones with Ph.D.s in biology”,1 can deny evolution when “we see evolution happening in front of our eyes”. To them, the easily observable genetic changes in today’s populations of living things are an ‘obvious’ demonstration that microbes-to-man evolution is a fact. Just give it enough time, they say, and these observable little changes would accumulate, and, filtered by natural selection, would eventually add up to the big changes that turned pond scum into people, etc.

Sounds logical enough. So where’s the error?

The issue is not the amount of change we observe, but the direction.2 The observable changes that evolutionists cite as evidence for their paradigm, such as in sticklebacks,3 bighorn sheep,4 Atlantic cod,5 pollution-resistant worms,6 and antibiotic and pesticide resistance,7,8,9 are all going the wrong way. They’re the direct opposite of what microbes-to-man evolution requires.

Adding up these ‘downhill’ changes can never result in the ‘uphill’ evolutionary frog-to-prince progression.

Furthermore, time will not solve the problem—in fact, the more time you have, the worse the problem gets. Time is no friend of evolution! To use an analogy from commerce, if a grocery store continues to make a net loss of $1 per day, then time will not ever result in a profit, but ultimately bankruptcy.

Sadly, that’s just where we’re headed biologically, as our increasing knowledge of the human genome attests.

Relentless mutational degradation

Renowned geneticist and inventor of the gene gun, Dr John Sanford,10 in his landmark book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, highlights the problem.11 The relentless net effect of random mutations (which evolutionists suppose to be the ‘engine’ of evolution) is actually degradation or complete destruction of function.

This is not merely Dr Sanford’s opinion—the wider genetics research community, i.e. whether creationist or evolutionist, now accepts that point mutations in human reproductive cells are in the order of a hundred or so per individual each generation.12 And there are additional kinds of mutations, e.g. deletions and mitochondrial mutations, which exacerbate the situation. The overall contributions imply some 1,000 nucleotide changes in every person, every generation.

Dr John Sanford’s eye-opening book of the bad news about our declining genes ends with the good news that there’s a ‘lifeboat’:
“I believe the Author of Life has the power to defeat death and degeneration. … He gave us life in the first place, so He can give us new life today. … I humbly put before you this alternative paradigm for your consideration—Jesus is our one true hope.”—p. 159, Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.

As Dr Sanford puts it, “So every one of us is a mutant, many times over!”13

Now a mutation rate of only a few per person per generation would be a problem because everyone recognizes that most mutations are harmful, even if only slightly, and natural selection can only get rid of one or two per generation. Several mutations in a genome the size of the human one would mean that deleterious mutations must accumulate.14 A figure many times this creates a huge problem.

And so the longer that people are on the earth, the worse it’s going to get, with increasing incidence of birth defects and other obvious symptoms of genetic disorders such as cancer. (Cancer is fundamentally the result of mutations within our body cells. And increasing evidence indicates that aging is due to the accumulation of mutations within the cells of our body.)

Such is the alarmingly high rate of increase in the human population’s total number of accumulated mutations (i.e. the genetic load or genetic burden) from generation to generation, that evolutionary geneticists are bewildered as to why we haven’t already become extinct. For example, evolutionary geneticist Alexey Kondrashov asked, “Why aren’t we dead 100 times over?”15 However, their puzzlement arises because they believe that humans have been on earth for at least 100,000 years (some would say a million years).

In other words, the fact that we’re not extinct indicates that the human genome has not been around long enough to deteriorate to lethal levels, yet that doesn’t fit the evolutionary timeline—hence their bewilderment.

But for Christians, all this should be no surprise (Romans 8:21–22). The fact that we’re still here, with such a high rate of mutational degeneration, is powerful evidence for the Bible’s 6,000-year timeline of human history, with only about 200 or so generations since our ancestors Adam and Eve were created with their ‘very good’ physical bodies (Genesis 1:31). Further confirmation is that the genomic decline is consistent with the decrease in longevity after the catastrophic population bottleneck at the Flood (Genesis 6ff.).16,17 And this also helps us to better understand the generational timing of the injunction from God to Moses prohibiting marriage between close relatives (Leviticus 18:9, 20:17; Deuteronomy 27:22)—this became necessary to minimize the risk of deformed offspring that can result from shared mutations between genetically close parents.18

Facing up to genetic meltdown

In his book, Dr Sanford bluntly warns that “there is no realistic method to halt degeneration”.13 This is bad news—like the Titanic, we’re going down, down, down; not ‘evolving up, up, up’. But Dr Sanford does not shy away from this. Here’s some of what he says in his ‘Personal Postlude’ in the book:

“One of my reviewers told me that the message of this book is both terrifying and depressing. He suggested that perhaps I am a little like a sadistic steward on board the Titanic, gleefully spreading the news that the ship is sinking. But that is not correct. I hate the consequences of entropy (degeneration). I hate to see it in my own body, in the failing health of loved ones, or in the deformity of a new-born baby. I find it all absolutely ghastly, but also absolutely undeniable. Surely a real steward on the Titanic would have a responsibility to let people know that the ship was sinking, even if some people might hate him for it. I feel I am in that position. Responsible people should be grateful to know the bad news, so they can constructively respond to it. If we have been putting all our hope in a sinking ship, would it not be expedient to recognize this and abandon the false hope? It is only in this light that we can appreciate bad news. Only in the light of the bad news can we really appreciate the good news that there is a lifeboat.”19

You can probably guess that Dr Sanford goes on to reveal the identity of the ‘lifeboat’, namely, Jesus Christ. And there’s a big difference between that freely-offered ‘lifeboat’ compared to the Titanic’s lifeboats. Many people died in the Titanic disaster largely because there was insufficient room in the lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers and crew. But the Author-of-Lifes20 ‘lifeboat’ has no such restriction, with plenty of room for all who gratefully receive Jesus’ offer of rescue:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

References and notes

  1. Of whom there are many—see creation.com/creation-scientists. Return to text.
  2. See Wieland, C., The evolution train’s a-comin (Sorry, a-goin in the wrong direction), Creation 24(2):16–19, 2002. Return to text.
  3. Freshwater sticklebacks tend to have fewer armour plates and shorter spines than the saltwater populations from which they’re presumed to be descended. Catchpoole, D., The stickleback evidence of evolution?, 8 September 2009. Return to text.
  4. Catchpoole, D., Bighorn horns not so big, Creation 32(4):12–14, 2010. Return to text.
  5. Catchpoole, D., Smaller fish to fry, Creation 30(2):48–49, 2008. Return to text.
  6. Catchpoole, D., Worm evolution in pollution? Evolution in action turns out to be nothing of the sort, Creation 26(3):54–55, 2004. Return to text.
  7. Wieland, C., Superbugs not super after all, Creation 20(1):10–13, 1997. Return to text.
  8. Sarfati, J., Anthrax and antibiotics: Is evolution relevant?, 15 November 2001, updated 8 April 2005. Return to text.
  9. Catchpoole, D., Pesticide resistance, Creation 33(3):38–40, 2011. Return to text.
  10. See our interview with Dr Sanford in Creation 30(4):45–47, 2008; creation.com/sanford. Return to text.
  11. Sanford, J., Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, 3rd edition, FMS Publications, New York, 2008. (See review by Truman, R., J. Creation 21(1):43–47, 2007; creation.com/sanford-review.) Return to text.
  12. Mutation rate varies between families, Creation 34(2):8, 2012. Return to text.
  13. Ref. 11, p. 34. Return to text.
  14. Ey, L., and Batten, D., Weasel, a flexible program for investigating deterministic computer demonstrations of evolution, J. Creation [TJ] 16(2):84–88, 2002; creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j16_2/j16_2_84-88.pdf. Return to text.
  15. Kondrashov, A., Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? Journal of Theoretical Biology 175:583–594, 1995. Return to text.
  16. Wieland, C., Decreased lifespans: Have we been looking in the right place? J. Creation 8(2):138–141, 1994; see also creation.com/900. Return to text.
  17. Sanford, J.C., The Mystery of Our Declining Genes DVD, CMI, from his presentation at the Creation Supercamp in Australia, 2009. Return to text.
  18. Catchpoole, D., Church shock: Can you marry your relative?, 14 November 2008. Return to text.
  19. Ref. 11, p. 158. Return to text.
  20. I.e., Jesus. (Acts 3:15) Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Alex H.
There does seem to be one major flaw in this argument. Are you really saying that an all powerful god did such a bad job creating us that we're falling apart after only 200 generations? Surely if he can create the universe he could have made us last a little longer? I've heard some logical arguments for creation but this makes very little sense to me.
David Catchpoole
If it makes little sense to you then it's likely because you're not yet in possession of all the facts--and the fact of one historical event in particular. The Apostle Paul refers to it in Romans chapter 8, when he says that currently the whole creation is "in bondage to decay". The event that caused that is documented in the 'Books of Moses'--Genesis chapter 3 in particular.

If you don't already have a Bible to check it out then you don't even have to buy one these days if you don't want to--it's all free online. Go for it.
Collin W.
Might a potential objection to the idea that mutations will destroy our genes be RNA viruses? They don't have a genetic repair mechanism, and RNA is even more reactive than DNA, yet mutations haven't destroyed all their genes.
Don Batten
This article has the context of human genomes. In the interview from Creation magazine referred to and linked in 'related articles', Dr Sanford says, "The result is that all higher genomes must clearly degenerate." [emphasis added] Viruses and microbes are not 'higher genomes'. They don't likewise deteriorate because of the small size of their genomes, which means that the mutation rate is only one or less per genome per generation. In these cases natural selection can effectively weed out the mutations.
Markus H.
Ugh, thinking about evolution in terms of "direction" is the entirely wrong way to go about it. Additionally citing the bible as a source seems a bit like citing Harry Potter as evidence of wizards. This article reeks of unconfirmed facts and figures as well as questionable sources. Do research, have the research peer reviewed, then publish your findings. What's so hard about that?
diane F.
The theory of evolution is no longer a theory but fact. How absurd an article like this can even be circulating in the modern world.
Javier F.
This sounds opposite to the evolutionists' thesis that states 'a little bit of luck this generation, with another little bit of luck the next generation' you climb from pond scum to humans by just giving enough time. The problem is that mutations are diving not climbing!!!! and that is confirmed by good science. I was reminded of the Dawkins-stumped-by-a-creationist-question video. (http://creation.com/was-dawkins-stumped-frog-to-a-prince-critics-refuted-again) This was a great article to read.
Jeff W.
This article is so good that even the _comments_ are outstanding! Great work!
Chandrasekaran M.
In spite of about one thousand nucleotide changes (ie mutations) in every person, every generation human beings are still around even after possibly the higher end of three hundred generations since the first Adam.

This is wonderful and marvelous DNA creation Jesus did

I am reminded the following verses in the Bible where David said:

Psa 139:13 – 14: For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
William I.
Of course, evolution doesn't dictate "direction" so the whole article and any point it makes are based on very faulty assumptions in giving evolution consciousness and, therefore, WRONG....again.
Also, mutations do not equate to a negative affect. They can be advantageous, neutral, or negative......and none of that matters if the organism isn't able to reproduce those traits (NATURAL SELECTION!!!). Then, of course, there is the slew of mutation causing agents in our environment from solar radiation to communication waves to the genetically modified food we eat...all of which have increased exponentially over the last 100 years....but don't go stressing your ignorant little selves over those pesky facts.
Dr Don Batten
The article gives 'evolution consciousness'? Where? Oh, the "microbes to mankind" description? But evolutionists do claim that a single cell with a relatively small amount of genetic information popped into existence and changed into humans (and whales and mango trees, etc.) over billions or years. That represents a phenomenal increase in genetic information (3 orders of magnitude). That's all the article is alluding to.
"Mutations do not equate to a negative effect"? We didn't say that all mutations are harmful and if you read Dr Sanford you would know that (or almost any article on mutations on creation.com; search for them!). However, evolutionists themselves admit that even beneficial mutations are rare. Carl Sagan, ardent evolutionist, admitted: "… mutations occur at random and are almost uniformly harmful—it is rare that a precision machine is improved by a random change in the instructions for making it." (Dragons of Eden, p. 28).
Lots of things cause mutations? Again that is not news to us (although there is not much evidence for some of your supposed causes). Since you seem to think that mutations will improve your offspring, perhaps you would like to expose yourself to lots of X-rays before you have children? No, that would be stupid! No evolutionist who knows anything of biology would do that because he knows that mutations overwhelmingly are harmful. They destroy us, not create us, as Dr Sanford has ably shown. I recommend his book.
Jack C.
It's interesting to see that a true scientist who follows the correct scientific methodology must come to the conclusion the theory of evolution is not only wrong, it's a joke, and that those who refuse to reject that theory do so due to either stubborn ignorance or lack of knowledge and understanding. This is all so true even before one decides to take the Christian-creationist approach to the origin of the Universe and life, although I’m a firm believer of it.
David S.
An analogy I have thought of is a simple text editor, i.e. Notepad. One day, while you are using it, an error occurs. Will this error make the program better? If a lot of errors occur, will the program change into a high-definition 3D video game? Of course not!

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.