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  Global Views
The Genetic Boundaries of Evolution
Special Contribution
By Babu G. Ranganathan
Charles Darwin

Is it possible to be scientifically-minded and not believe in evolution? Well, it is important to distinguish between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution (or horizontal evolution) which involves variations within biological "kinds" (such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.) is truly scientific, but macro-evolution (or vertical evolution) which teaches that variations in nature can occur and did occur across biological "kinds" (especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones) has never been scientifically proved even though it is almost universally taught and taken for granted as being a scientific fact. But, as we shall see, not only is macro-evolution or vertical evolution scientifically unproven, the scientific evidence from genetics and other areas of science actually contradict the possibility of macro-evolution occurring in nature.

The famous nineteenth century naturalist Charles Darwin assumed that because micro-evolution occurs in nature then macro-evolution must also be possible, but the modern scientific evidence from genetics supports only the possibility of micro-evolution, or limited biological variation, occurring in living things. For example, no matter how many different races or varieties of dogs come into being they will always remain dogs and not change or evolve into some other kind of animal. Even the formation of an entirely new species of plant or animal from hybridization will not support Darwinian evolution since such hybridization does not involve any production of new genetic information but merely the recombination of already existing genes.

Modifications or re-combinations of already existing genes for already existing traits have been shown to occur in nature but never the production of entirely new genes or new traits. This is true even with genetic mutations. For example, mutations in the genes for human hair may change the genes so that another type of human hair develops, but the mutations won't change the genes for human hair so that feathers, wings, or entirely new traits develop. Mutations may even cause duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, etc. even in another part of the body!), but none of these things qualify as new traits. Most biological variations, however, are not from mutations but simply from new combinations of already existing genes in the gene pool of a species.

The theory of macro-evolution, on the other hand, teaches that there are no biological limits to variation and change. For example, macro-evolution teaches that over millions of years something like a dog evolved into an ape and then something like an ape evolved into a human being. But, unless the environment or Nature has the ability to perform genetic engineering such macro-evolutionary changes, as proposed by Darwin, are not possible - millions of years or no millions of years!

It is true that natural selection occurs in nature, but natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection can only work with biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. Natural selection does not produce or generate biological variations. It is a passive process in nature. When a biological change or variation occurs which helps an animal to survive in its environment then that variation will be preserved and be passed on to offspring. That is called "natural selection." There is, of course, no conscious or active selection on the part of nature as some think. The term "natural selection" is simply a figure of speech. Natural selection may explain how a biological trait or variation survives but it does not explain how biological traits or variations originate. As one individual has said, "Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest but it doesn't explain the arrival of the fittest!" The real issue is not natural selection but what biological variations are naturally possible.

All observed biological traits and variations are the result of new combinations of already existing genes or the result of modifications (mutations) of already existing genes. This allows for only limited biological variations to occur. Evolutionists, however, believe that, if given enough time, random or chance mutations in the genetic code, caused by random environmental forces such as radiation, will produce entirely new traits and variations which natural selection can then act upon. However, mutations are accidents in the sequential molecular structure of the genetic code and they are almost always harmful, as would be expected from accidents. Of course, just like some earthquakes that don't do any damage to buildings, there are also mutations that don't do any biological harm. But, even if a good mutation does occur for every good mutation there will be hundreds of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species. Natural selection would have no chance. It wouldn't get to first base!

Even a half-evolved and useless organ waiting millions of years to be completed by random mutations would be a liability and hindrance to a species - not exactly a prime candidate for natural selection. In fact, how could species have survived over, supposedly, millions of years if their vital (or necessary) organs were still in the process of evolving! Scientist Dr. Walt Brown, in his fantastic book "In The Beginning," makes this point by saying "All species appear fully developed, not partially developed. They show design. There are no examples of half-developed feathers, eyes, skin, tubes (arteries, veins, intestines, etc.), or any of thousands of other vital organs. Tubes that are not 100% complete are a liability; so are partially developed organs and some body parts. For example, if a leg of a reptile were to evolve into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing."

In any case,there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the environment has the ability to generate entirely new genes which would program for the development of entirely new traits in species. It would require genetic engineering to accomplish such a feat.

For those who are not read-up on their biology, a little information on genes would be helpful here. What we call "genes" are actually segments of the DNA molecule. DNA, or the genetic code, is composed of a molecular string of various nucleic acids (chemical letters) which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters found in the words and sentences of a book. It is this sequence of nucleic acids in DNA that tells the cells of our body how to construct (or build) various proteins, tissues, and organs such as nose, eyes, brain, etc. If the nucleic acids in the genetic code are not in the correct sequence then malfunctioning, or even worse, harmful proteins may form causing serious health problems and even death.

There is no law in science that nucleic acids have to come together in a particular sequence. Any nucleic acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason for why nucleic acids are found in a particular sequence in the DNA of the cells of our bodies is because they are directed to do so by previously existing DNA. When new cells form in our bodies the DNA of the old cells direct the formation of the DNA in the new cells.

The common belief among evolutionists is that, if given millions of years, radiation and other environmental forces will cause enough random changes (mutations) to occur in the sequential structure of the genetic code of a species so that entirely new sequences for entirely new genes will develop which in turn will program for the formation of entirely new biological traits, organs, and structures that natural selection can then act upon.

Would it be rational to believe that by randomly changing the sequence of letters in a cookbook that you will eventually get a book on astronomy? Of course not! And if the book were a living being it would have died in the process of such random changes.

Such changes as transforming one book into another or the DNA of one species into the DNA of another, especially one more complex, simply cannot occur by random or chance alterations. It would require intelligent planning and design to change one book into another or to change the DNA of a simpler species into the DNA of a more complex one. Yes, the raw materials and chemicals to make new genes exist in all species, but random forces of the environment (i.e. radiation, etc.) simply have no ability to rearrange those chemicals and biological materials into entirely new genes or into an entirely new genetic code.

Usually what is meant by the term "biological kind" is a natural species but this may not always be the case. The key to keep in mind here is that in order for evolution in nature to occur from one biological "kind" to another biological "kind" entirely new genes would have to be generated and not just merely modifications and/or re-combinations of already existing genes. If, for example, offspring are produced which cannot be crossed back with the original stock then there is, indeed, a new species but if no new genes or traits developed then there is no macro-evolution (variation across biological kinds) and the two distinct species would continue to belong to the same "kind."

If the environment doesn't possess the ability to perform genetic engineering and if macro-evolution really did not occur then how else can one explain the genetic and biological similarities which exist between various species and, indeed, all of life. Although it cannot be scientifically proven, creationists believe that the only rational explanation for the genetic and biological similarities between all forms of life is due to a common Designer who designed and created similar functions for similar purposes and different functions for different purposes in all of the various forms of life from the simplest to the most complex. Even humans employ this principle of common design in planning the varied architecture of buildings!

Various issues (i.e. the origin of life, the fossil record, mutations, natural selection, or survival of the fittest, genetic and biological similarities between species, arguments from embryology, the subject of vestigial organs or structures, the age of the earth, etc.) are examined and discussed in greater depth in my essay "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at www.religionscience.com.

The best book on the subject that I can recommend to the reader is MIT scientist Dr. Walt Brown's amazingly comprehensive work "In The Beginning" which is available for free reading on the Internet at: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/ .

The best little article ever written on the subject of origins is "A Few Reasons an Evolutionary Origin of Life Is Impossible" by biochemist and scientist Dr. Duane T. Gish. The article may be accessed at: http://icr.org/article/3140/ .



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The above opinion piece is written by Mr. Babu G. Ranganathan (Email: bgrnathan@yahoo.com), religion and science writer who was recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who in The East. He holds a B.A. with concentrations in theology and biology. His articles can be reached at www.religionscience.com

 

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