Dr Carl Wieland is on the Wrong Train
Dr [medical doctor] Carl Wieland, writing in CreationDigest.com once again raises the creationist argument that genetic mutations cannot increase information.
Below Paul A. Poland refutes Dr Wieland's claims. The full text of Dr Wieland's article "The Evolution Train's a-Comin'" can be read here.
Paul A. Poland has a Masters Degree in Biology (West Virginia University 1990) and is currently a Research Specialist, Level IV, at the University of Pittsburgh.
Why can one say with confidence, concerning the biological changes observable today (man-induced or otherwise) that the train is headed in the wrong direction? Why is it that when evolutionists use this "grandma's train" extrapolation argument, it can be turned around to make the opposite point? Because the real issue in biological change is all about what happens at the DNA level, which concerns information. The information carried on the DNA, the molecule of heredity, is like a recipe, a set of instructions for the manufacture of certain items.
But, thanks to mutations, the recipes CAN BE CHANGED.
Evolutionists teach that one-celled organisms (e.g. protozoa) have given rise to pelicans, pomegranates, people and ponies. In each case, the DNA "recipe" has had to undergo a massive net increase of information during the alleged millions of years.
And there are MANY ways to do this - duplications (of genomes, groups of genes, genes, exons, control regions), transposable elements (add coding or regulatory regions), exon shuffling (most large modern proteins are modular), mutation/modification (alter a gene's activity or timing of expression - especially useful when regulatory genes are tweaked).
A one-celled organism does not have the instructions for how to manufacture eyes, cars, blood, skin, hooves, brains, etc. which ponies need. So for protozoa to have given rise to ponies, there would have to be some mechanism that gives rise to new information.
There are SEVERAL mechanisms that can generate novel information.
Evolutionists hail natural selection its if it were a creative goddess, but the reality (which they invariably concede when pressed) is that selection on its own always gets rid of information, never the opposite.
And mutation - which creationists always ignore - INCREASES information, by making the population more heterogenous and variable.
To have a way to add information, the "only game in town" for evolution's true believers is genetic copying mistakes or accidents, i.e. random mutations (which can then be "filtered" by selection). However, the problem is that if mutations ware capable of adding the information required, we should see hundreds of examples all around us, considering that there are many thousands of mutations happening continually. But whenever we study mutations, they invariably turn out to have lost or degraded the information.
"Evolution of anti-freeze glycoprotein from a tyrpsinogen gene in Antarctic notothenoid fish", Chen L, DeVries AL, Cheng CC, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 94:3811-16, April 1997
"Tandem sequence duplications functionally complement deletions in the D1 protein of Photosystem II", Kless H, Vermaas W, J Biol Chem 270(28): 16536-165451, July 1995
"Transposable elements are found in a large number of human protein-coding genes", Nekrutenko A, Li W-H, Trends in Genetics 17(11):619-621 Nov '01
"Evolution of biological information", Schneider TD, Nucleic Acids Research 28(14): 2794-99, July '00
"Positive Darwinian selection after gene duplication in primate ribonuclease genes", Zhang J, Rosenberg HF, Nei M, PNAS 95: 3708-3713, Mar '98
"Adaptive evolution of a duplicated pancreatic ribonuclease gene in a leaf-eating monkey", Zhang J, Zhang Y-P, Rosenberg HF, Nature Genetics 30:411-415, April '02
"Origin of new genes and source for N-terminal domain of the chimerical gene, jingwei, in Drosophila", Long M, Wang W, Zhang J, Gene 238: 135-141, Sep 99
"Origin of sphinx, a young chimeric RNA gene in Drosophila melanogaster", Wang W, Brunet FG, Nevo E, Long M, PNAS 99(7):4448-44532, April '02
"Selective sweep of a newly evolved sperm-specific gene in Drosophila", Nurminsky DI, Nurminskaya MV, De Aguiar D, Hartl DL, Nature 396: 572-575, Dec '98
"A gene network model accounting for development and evolution of mammalian teeth", Salazar-Cuidad I, Jervall J, PNAS 99(12):8116-8120, Jun '02
This is so even in those rare instances when the mutational defect gives a survival advantage, e.g. the loss of wings on beetles on windy islands.
As creatures diversify, gene pools become increasingly thinned out. The more organisms adapt to their surroundings by selection, i.e. the mere specialized they become, the smaller the fraction they carry of the original storehouse of created information for their kind.
Too bad that 1) mutations RESTOCK variation, and 2) 'kind' has NEVER been defined in any meaningful way.
See: "Intelligent Design" meets Artificial Intelligence What's wrong with the Information Argument against evolution".
Thus, there is less information available on which natural selection can act in the future to "readapt" the population should circumstances change. Less flexible, less adaptable populations are obviously heading closer to extinction, not evolving.
Again, mutations restock variation - there is a LOT of variation in populations, it's just that most of it is masked ("Hsp90 as a capacitor for morphological evolution", Rutherford SL, Lindquist S, Nature 396: 336-341, Jun '02).
Somehow this program had to be written. New information had to arise that did not previously exist, anywhere.
It's fortunate there are MANY ways to generate new info.
Later, there were lungs, but no feathers anywhere in the world, thus no genetic information for feathers.
Pardon? Feathers are just very modified scales.
Real world observation has overwhelming shown mutation to be totally unable to feed the required new information into the system.
Bullcrap - see the above articles.
In fact, mutations overall hasten the downward trend by adding genetic load in the form of harmful mutations. of which we have all accumulated hundreds
over the generations of our ancestry.
In other words, populations can change and adapt because they lave a lot of information (variety) in their DNA "recipe." But unless mutations can feed in new information, each time their is variation/adaptation, the total information decreases (as selection gets rid of the unadapted portions of the populations some information is lost in that population). Thus, given a fixed amount of information, the more adaptation we see the less the potential for future adaptation. The train is definitely header downhill, destined to fall oft the jetty of extinction.
Only in your deluded dreams. "Information" can be gained - since "fittest" is dependent upon many factors, a mutation that is harmful in one context may be neutral or beneficial in another. This fact is what Dembski and the other Misinformation Theorists like to ignore - there are no fixed "predetermining filters".
Creationists use some sort of hybrid info theory - see this TalkOrigins article for the reason the creationists' Misinformation Theory is bunk.
We see that just like with the train pulling out from Miami and headed south, if the sorts of changes we see today are extrapolated over time, they lead to extinction, not onwards evolution.
Remember. evolutionary belief teaches that once upon a time, there were living things but no lungs - lungs had not evolved yet, so there was no DNA information coding for lung manufacture.
You are making the rather simple minded assumption that a single gene could do this. There are salamanders LIVING TODAY that have a wide range of lung types - simple lungs, simple sacs, to none at all. Structures like this are built by gene interactions.
The supreme irony is that, of all the examples lauded by Dr. Coyne as "evolution", whether antibiotic resistance or changes in fish growth rates, not one single one supports his "train" analogy, but rather the reverse. Not one involves a gain of information; all show the opposite, a net loss. Pondering all this, l feel a sense of the same sort of frustration (only in reverse) that my evolutionist opponent was airing all those years ago, which he could have paraphrased as: "Why can't they see it? It's obvious, isn't it?"
Yes, it is QUITE obvious that creationists don't have a clue.
Who knows, perhaps somehow this article will get into Dr. Coyne's hands. Maybe it will give him, and some other evolutionist apologists food for thought the next time they put one of their grandmothers on a train.
Let's see - we have the simpering reference to "evolutionist BELIEF" and "evolutionist apologist", inferring the standard lie that evolution is a religion.
If this "article" were read by Dr Coyne, he'd probably conclude that you are at best misrepresenting genetic science or at worst ignorant of genetic science. Perhaps REALITY will give creationists food for thought. But I suspect not.