This week we received an e-mail from a gentleman named Ralf W. asking for help in responding to arguments he received from a friend who is an evolutionist. Like so many other evolutionists, this friend is trying to argue from what they believe to be scientific evidence that supports evolution.
First and foremost, I want Ralf and his friend to understand that the argument between creation and evolution is not one of evidence versus evidence. Rather the true argument is the foundational beliefs in creation and evolution. We both have the same evidence. We both conduct scientific research on that evidence. The only difference is that evolutionists interpret their findings based upon their evolutionary presuppositions and the creationists base their interpretation on their biblical presuppositional views.
The same biased interpretations apply to many facets of our lives. I once knew a person that claimed to hate the taste of rabbit although they had never tasted rabbit. It was the idea they believed in. One day I fixed some rabbit using my favorite recipe and didn’t tell them it was rabbit. After they ate the meal and ranted and raved over how delicious it was, I told them it was rabbit. After the initial shock wore off, the person admitted that they had previously judged in error and that error was made based on a preconceived idea rather then the facts. Based upon a foundation belief that they didn’t like the taste of rabbit, they made conclusions that were later shown to be false.
Ralf needs to take the argument away from the evidence to the foundational beliefs behind them. If he is unsure how to do that, I can’t recommend a book high enough than Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith by Dr. Greg Bahnsen. Dr. Bahnsen does a great job of teaching Christians how to defend their faith in today’s secular and evolutionary world.
That being said, I will attempt to provide creationist responses to the questions posed to Ralf and will insert my response after each of the three questions.
From: Ralf W.
Subject: Creation vs. Evolution. Help please.
To whom it may concern,
I have recently begun a creation vs. evolution argument with someone via email, and I asked him to give me the best 3 arguments for evolution.
This was his response:
1. Genetics – Pick any two species, and genetics can be used to determine common ancestry. For example, the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is 96% similar. The common designer argument falls flat on it’s face, because of the fused nature of human chromosome 2. There are telomeres in the middle of chromosome 2 which serve no purpose. If chromosome 2 had been designed, there would be no telomeres in the middle. Also, endogenous retroviruses leave markers that track through the tree of life.
Ralf, we appreciate the fact that you have a desire to defend your faith in biblical creation and sought our help in doing so. We hope and pray that what we provide will help you with your friend.
Evolutionists have been trying to use human chromosome 2 as proof that man and chimpanzees share a common ancestor. I am going to borrow part of an article written by Dr. Peter Borger titled: The design of life: part 4—variation- inducing genetic elements and their function that was published in the Journal of Creation in 2009. To read the entire article, click on the article title.
“Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are believed to be the selfish remnants of ancient RNA viruses that invaded the cells of organisms millions of years ago and now merely free-ride the genome in order to be replicated. This selfish gene thinking still dominates the public scene, but well-informed biologists know that the view among researchers is rapidly changing. Increasingly, ancient RNA viruses and their remnants are being thought of as having played (and still do) a significant role in protein evolution, gene structure, and transcriptional regulation. As argued in part 3 of this series of articles, ERVs may be the executors of genetic variation, and qualify as specifically designed variation-inducing genetic elements (VIGEs) responsible for variation in higher organisms. VIGEs induce variation by duplication, transposition, and may even rearrange chromosomes. This extraordinary claim requires extraordinary scientific support, which is present throughout this paper. In addition, the VIGE hypothesis may be a framework to understand the origin of diseases and explain rapid speciation events through facilitated chromosome swapping….
VIGEs and chromosome 2
Human chromosome 2 looks as if it is the product of the fusion of two chromosomes that we find in chimpanzees as chromosome 12 and 13. Therefore, some Darwinists take human chromosome 2 as the ultimate evidence for common descent with chimpanzees. We know that a fusion of two ancestral chromosomes would have produced human chromosome 2 with two centromeres. Currently, human chromosome 2 has only one centromere, so there must be molecular evidence for remnants of the other. In 1982, Yunis and Prakash studied the putative fusion site of chromosome 2 with a technique known as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and reported signs of the expected centromere.29 In 1991, another study also reported signs of the centromere.30 In 2005, after the complete sequencing of human chromosome 2, we would have expected full proof of the ancestor’s centromere. However, even after intense scrutiny there are still only signs of the centromere. If signs of the centromere were already observed in 1982, why can it not be proved in the 2005 sequence analysis? Apparently, the site mutated at such high speed it is no longer recognizable as a centromere:
‘During the formation of human chromosome 2, one of the two centromeres became inactivated (2q21, which corresponds to the centromere of chromosome 13) and the centromeric structure quickly deteriorated’.31
Why would it quickly deteriorate? Why would this region deteriorate faster than neutral? A close up scrutiny in 2005 showed the region that has been interpreted as the ancestor’s centromere to be built from sequences present in 10 additional human chromosomes (1, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 21 and 22) as well as a variety of other genetic repeat elements that were already in place before the fusion occurred.33 The sequences interpreted as ‘ancient centromere’ are merely repetitive sequences and may actually qualify as (deregulated) VIGEs.
The chimpanzee and human genome projects demonstrated that the fusion did not result in loss of protein coding genes. Instead, the human locus contains approximately 150,000 additional base pairs not found in chimpanzee chromosome 12 and 13 (now also known as 2A and 2B). This is remarkable: why would a fusion result in more DNA? We would rather have expected the opposite: the fusion would have left the fused product with less DNA, since loss of DNA sequences is easily explained. The fact that humans have a unique 150 kb intervening sequence indicates it may have been deliberately planned (or designed) into the human genome. It could also be proposed that the 150 kb DNA sequence demarcating the fusion site may have served as a particular kind of VIGE, an adaptor sequence for bringing the chromosomes together and facilitating the fusion in humans.
Another remarkable observation is that in the fusion region we find an inactivated cobalamin synthetase (CBWD) gene.32 Cobalamin synthetase is a protein that, in its active form, has the ability to synthesize vitamin B12 (a crucial cofactor in the biosynthesis of nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA molecules). Deficiency during pregnancy and/or early childhood results in severe neurological defects because of impaired development of the brain. The Darwinian assumption is that the cobalamin synthetase gene was donated by bacteria a long time ago and afterwards it was inactivated. Nowadays, humans must rely on microorganisms in the colon as well as dietary intake (a substantial part coming from meat and milk products) for their vitamin B12 supply. It is also noteworthy that humans have several copies of inactivated cobalamin-synthetaselike genes on a number of locations in the genome, whereas chimpanzees only have one inactivated cobalamin synthetase gene. That the fusion must have occurred after man and chimp ‘split’ is evident from the fact that the fusion is unique to humans:
‘Because the fused chromosome is unique to humans and is fixed, the fusion must have occurred after the human-chimpanzee split, but before modern humans spread around the world, that is, between 6 and 1 million years ago.’32
The molecular analyses show we are more unique than we ever thought we were, and this is in complete accordance with creation. Apparently the fusion of two human chromosomes that took place may have been the result of an intricate rearrangement or activation of repetitive genetic elements after the Fall (as part of, or executors of, the curse following the Fall) and inactivated the cobalamin synthetase gene. The inactivation of the gene may have reduced people’s longevity in a similar way as the inactivation of the GULO gene, which is crucial to vitamin C synthesis.14 Understanding the molecular properties of human chromosome 2 is no longer problematic if we simply accept that humans, like the great apes, were originally created with 48 chromosomes. Two of them fused to form chromosome 2 when mankind went through a severe bottleneck.33 And, as argued above, the fusion was mediated by VIGEs.”
As for the similarities between human and chimp DNA, please check out these other helpful articles and feel free to forward them all to your friend:
2. Ring species, such as Ensatina salamander, exhibit speciation with intermediate forms still living.
Ring species such as the Ensatina salamanders of the northwestern United States area actually great examples of biblical creation and horrible examples for evolution. Evolutionists believe so strongly in their faith that any change whatsoever is instantly touted as proof positive for evolution. “See, it changed!” they shout from the roof tops, but is that the kind of change to prove evolution?
Truth is, this type of change is the exact opposite of what real evolution requires. For the evolution of bacteria to man requires and ever increasing amount of NEW genetic information.
In the case of the salamanders, one will find that there has either been a loss of genetic information (variability) or a change in allele frequency (or both) that are responsible for the changes. Those differences could be small between the neighboring populations but when the last population is compared to the original parent population, all of those little changes add up to be significant enough to prevent the two from interbreeding. If DNA sequencing was done between the parent population and the last of the daughter populations, one will find no new information. Instead they will find a reduction in information.
The various daughter populations are not referred to as ‘intermediate forms’, but as ‘new’ or ‘daughter’ populations. The term ‘intermediate form’ is used to describe something that exhibits traits of two completely different types of organisms. Since you start with salamander and end with salamanders, the use of the term ‘intermediate form’ does not apply and has been incorrectly used in this instance.
In a general population, not every individual has identical DNA. For example, some may carry AA BB CC DD while others may carry Aa Bb Cc Dd; aa, bb, cc, dd’ Aa BB cc Dd, and any other combination of the four genes. Under normal conditions, these traits will all remain and be shared by members of the entire population. But what if a few break off to form a new daughter population and they all carry CC instead of a Cc or cc? That new daughter population has lost some of their genetic variability. Each new daughter population that breaks off from them will only carry CC. Perhaps several daughter populations later, only aa is passed on. Now this new daughter population has lost even more variability. By the time the last daughter population meets back up with the original population, they may have lost enough variability that prevents them from being able to interbreed and produce offspring.
What you have a steady decrease in total variation. Remember that evolution requires a steady increase in genetic variation, not a decrease.
Biblical creationists believe that when God created all of the different ‘kinds’ at the beginning, that He made them with a large amount of variation which would allow future generations to adapt to different environments. Those animals that came off the Ark mostly likely also had a high degree of variability, but not as much as the original created kinds. These animals would have rapidly reproduced and spread into different environments. As they did, the amount of genetic variation was reduced step by step. The less variability an organism has, the less likely it will be able to survive any major changes to its habitat.
Which makes more sense of speciation? Evolution or Creation?
For more information on this topic, please check out the following articles:
3. Repeatable experiments, such at John Endler’s guppy experiments, demonstrate evolution by natural selection. I need someone who is more scientifically literate than myself to help me answer these arguments, and I was wondering if you could help me out?
John Endler performed a number of studies and experiments on guppies. He used artificial selection to demonstrate natural selection. He used a series of ponds with different coarseness of gravel on the bottom. All of the ponds contained predatory fish. In each pond, he introduced guppies that ranged from having small spots to large spots. After a select amount of time, he found that those guppies that blended in with the coarseness or fineness of the bottom gravel had a higher survival rate from predation than those that did not blend in. In other words, in the ponds with a fine grained gravel, guppies with smaller spots were better camouflaged and those with large spots were the victims of predation, leaving the pond to contain only guppies with small spots.
Endler equated his results to microevolution through means of natural selection and then extrapolated the microevolution as proof of macroevolution.
To begin with, Endler started out with guppies and he ended up with guppies. No evolution here. All he demonstrated is that those guppies that did not blend into the gravel bottoms got eaten first by the predators. Again, this is not evolution.
Did Endler demonstrate natural selection in process? Yes!
You may be confused when I say NO to evolution but YES to natural selection. I will try to explain.
When I studied natural selection in population genetics in graduate school, one thing stood out to me like a beacon and I asked my professor for his opinion and after a few moments and some discussion, he agreed with my understanding of the effects of natural selection. Basically, natural selection does one of two things. It either keeps a population stable, meaning very little change in the genetic makeup of the entire population or it drives it to extinction, through repeated speciation events.
Natural selection is a real pressure or force that acts on a population’s genetic makeup. Under normal conditions, that pressure helps to maintain a fairly uniform stasis within the overall population. However, when something changes or alters the norm, perhaps climate change, disease, or separation of part of the population, the forces of natural selection try to re-stabilize the population. In many instances, that forces a shift in the overall genetic makeup. Allow me to give an example.
Say you have a population of 100 wolves live close enough that there are shared breeding. Their habitat is partially destroyed by logging and human expansion of towns and farms. The wolves are pushed further north into colder climates that they are not accustomed to. Those wolves with shorter and less dense fur find it difficult to survive the colder winters and readily die off. Those with longer and thicker coats are better able to survive the colder winter and in only a couple of generations the traits for shorter and less dense fur are lost and no longer part of the genetic makeup of the population. Yes, this is natural selection that culled out those ill equipped to survive in the new conditions and eventually re-stabilize the new population.
Did the wolves evolve? No, they are still wolves only they now carry less information in their genetic code than they originally had. Since evolution requires an ever increasing amount of NEW information, this cannot be called evolution simply because something changed.
Ralf, again, thank you for writing and we hope this has helped. Here are the links to a couple more articles that deal with natural selection that may be of use to you.
This book answers more than 60 questions, including:
Does God Exist
Six Days? Really?
What about the Gap Theory?
What About Carbon Dating?
How can we see distant stars in a young universe?
How did bad things come about?
What about arguments for evolution?
Who was Cains wife?
Were the sons of God and/or the nephilim extra-terrestrials?
Was the Flood global?
What about continental drift?
Noahs Floodwhat about all that water?
How did the animals fit on Noahs Ark?
How did fresh and saltwater fish survive the flood?
What about the Ice Age? And more!