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What do creationists believe?

An essay by Les Sherlock

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There is no such thing as an ‘unbiased’ scientist. Everyone has a belief system. Therefore provable scientific facts are usually interpreted according to the researcher’s expectation. Since education systems and media are both mostly evolutionist in outlook, the majority of people, from a very early age, are influenced to the belief that evolution is proven science and factual. The creationist’s position is that evolution is an interpretation of scientific facts that are capable of being interpreted in a very different way.

Evolution requires two observations in order to be ‘scientifically proven:’

  1. A living organism emerging from inanimate matter;
  2. Transitional forms demonstrating new DNA coding in their genome for a physical feature not previously seen in their species.

1. The smallest viable organism, capable of independent life and reproduction, is extremely complex. “The smallest known genome for a free-living organism, a bacterium, contains about 600,000 DNA base pairs,” says ‘The Human Genome Project Web Site.’ Therefore the creationist believes it is absolutely impossible for any random event to produce life from inanimate matter, even if it were possible to have a ‘primordial soup’ mixture containing all the necessary ingredients, covering the earth for billions of years. But no physical evidence of such ‘soup’ has ever been found in the geological record. The emergence of a living cell from inanimate matter has never been observed, either ‘naturally’ or in a laboratory. No evolutionary scientist has been able to produce a viable theory of how it could take place. Therefore for the evolutionist to believe it happened, he must believe it by faith, because the event has never been scientifically demonstrated.

2. To date no-one has produced any transitional form that indisputably is at a part-way stage of developing any feature novel to its species. The evolutionist’s position is only maintained by displaying some of the large number of evidences for natural selection, and labeling them ‘evolution.’

But ‘natural selection’ and ‘evolution’ are antonyms, not synonyms, as can be seen from the following definitions.

bulletNatural Selection: creatures with physical features enabling them to survive best are most able to live long enough to produce children. So the information in the DNA which creates ‘good’ features is passed on by those better able to survive, while those with ‘less good’ physical features are more likely to die out and the ‘poorer’ DNA information disappear. Therefore, the only change natural selection can make is to reduce DNA information in the new ‘branch’ of a species, or at best, shuffle it around: it can never increase it. Most examples of ‘evolution’ are, in reality, natural selection: Darwin’s Galapagos finches come into this category. To present natural selection as evidence for evolution is like presenting a video of balls rolling downhill as evidence that unpropelled balls can roll uphill!
bulletEvolution: for a new species to evolve, new information must appear in the DNA in order to create new physical features. So evolution is the opposite of natural selection, because it requires an increase in DNA information, where natural selection normally reduces it.
bulletMutation: this is the only mechanism ever observed that can create new DNA information. It is a mistake made in copying the DNA when a cell divides in order to produce two in place of one. For clarity, we will define two different types of mutation:
bulletNegative Mutation: because the mistake in copying DNA is always random, the result is that the original genetic information is degraded – in the same way that random change to a computer program will always impair its function. This then, depending on the bit of information that has been altered, will usually be seen as damage to some physical characteristic. Every example of ‘evolution’ produced thus far, that is not natural selection, has been negative mutation.
bulletPositive Mutation: this would be a mistake in copying DNA resulting in new genetic information, which produces some kind of physical feature not previously seen in a species, or at least a step towards it. However, it remains in the realm of speculation, since there is no specimen anywhere in the world, either living or dead (i.e. fossilized) that undeniably demonstrates it ever occurring!

So the creationist’s position is that since the two essential elements of evolution have never been observed or demonstrated (in other words, scientific evidence), it takes an act of faith to believe it is the cause of everything we see around us. The evolutionist’s argument “It must have happened because we are here: we wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t taken place” is not logical. The fact that we are here simply demonstrates that we had a beginning; it does not prove what form that beginning took. Actually, what is meant is: “It must have happened because we are here and I don’t believe in the existence of a Creator-God: we wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t taken place.” Of course the extra bit is not verbalized because that blows their cover and shows the argument is based on religious faith (the religious belief that God does not exist) rather than science.

If the theory of evolution were true, then the fossil record would reveal literally billions of transitional forms. The fact that there have been so many fraudulent or mistaken claims on this front demonstrates how desperate the evolutionists are to produce even one! But nothing proves the impossibility for transitional forms more than the supposed evolution of Homo sapiens from their common ancestor with apes.

We are told that up to 98.7% of human DNA is identical to apes’ DNA. Various sites on the Internet report between 98% and 98.7%, so the smallest possible difference between apes and humans is 1.3%. To avoid exaggeration we will assume just 1% difference, which is 23% less than the smallest figure accepted by biologists. Evolutionists believe that apes and humans probably divided from their common ancestor around 4 million years ago and the first Homo sapiens appeared around 200 thousand years ago. Therefore the process took about 3.8 million years, although as we shall see, the time period is hardly relevant. According to ‘The Human Genome Project’ web site the human DNA contains 3,164,700,000 (over 3 billion) base pairs of ‘letters.’ If we assume that half of the present difference between apes and humans took place in each species (so 0.5%), then 15,823,500 DNA base pairs had to evolve in each species in 3.8 million years.

If we take the wildly overoptimistic view that on average all generations appeared every 12 years, and that there was a positive mutation every ten generations, then that requires about 500 (499.6894737 to be accurate) base pairs to mutate in every one of the possible 31,667 (actually, 31,666.66667) mutations. That creates very serious problems for the evolutionist.

The method of cell duplication in all living things is so accurate that the likelihood of getting a random mistake of as many as 500 base pairs in any one mutation is virtually nil. However, even if it did take place, there are protein ‘machines’ in every cell, which are dedicated to monitoring the duplication process and correcting mistakes. Should a mistake of this magnitude take place, then it is virtually impossible for it to be overlooked by them. But even if it were, at conception every male chromosome is matched in fine detail to its equivalent female chromosome, and if there is any element that does not make a perfect match, the conception is aborted. So a mutation as large as this could not possibly be passed on to the next generation. The writer calls this three-fold safety net (1: accurate duplication in cell division; 2: mistake trapping; 3: accurate duplication in conception) ‘The Triple Whammy!’

All that being the case, the likelihood of getting such a large surviving mutation just once is most unlikely: to get it 31,667 times is cloud-cuckoo land! Furthermore, natural selection requires enough improvement from the original form to enable the mutant to survive at least as well, if not better, than its predecessor. There could not possibly be 31,667 improvements between the common ancestor and man, so it is clearly not possible to assume more mutations than these calculations allow for in order to reduce the number of base pairs needing to change. On the other hand, assuming fewer mutations, in order to produce a viable number of improvements, increases the size of the mutations and makes it even more impossible that they could avoid ‘The Triple Whammy.’

Additionally, with such a large number of transitional forms necessary, it is clear that transitional fossils would massively outnumber ‘complete’ ones. The excuse of punctuated equilibrium for their absence (transitional forms appear and disappear too quickly for fossils to form) is exposed as ridiculous: that reduces the possible number of mutations by a huge amount, therefore increases their size and impossibility accordingly. Indeed, with such large numbers of transitional forms required between all species, the chances of getting any period in time when no transitional forms were alive on earth are extremely remote. Yet no-one can presently identify a single living specimen on earth. What a coincidence that at the time there is someone around to examine them, they do not happen to be present! What a coincidence that every time fossils were formed throughout history, there were no transitional species present to be fossilized!

Sickle-cell anemia is the result of just one single letter change in the DNA (for example). So the chance of having 31,667 mutations of 500 letters without significant damage to the mutants in any of them is zero.

Mutation is a random accident in copying DNA. As there are four different DNA ‘letters’ there are four alternatives for a single ‘letter’ mutation, multiplied by 4 for every additional letter. So the number of possible combinations of 500 letters (4 multiplied by itself 500 times) is approximately 10300 (1 followed by 300 zeros). That being the case, with odds of 1 to 10300 against producing the right combination of 500 ‘letters,’ it is totally impossible for a random mutation to succeed even once, let alone 31,667 times. The fact that there are 31,667 possible viable combinations at the beginning of the process simply reduces the odds down to about 1 to 10295 and makes no significant difference. The size of this problem is demonstrated by the fact that it has been estimated there are ‘only’ about 1075 atoms in the entire universe at most.

Bearing in mind the fact that in these calculations we considerably underestimated the amount of change required, all this demonstrates that even to move the comparatively small amount from the common ancestor to modern ape and man is totally impossible: there is absolutely no way to produce the necessary change of 15,823,500 DNA base pairs in the required time period. So to progress from a single cell to all the millions of life-forms we see on the earth, even in billions of years, simply does not stand up to logical scrutiny. Evolutionary changes between some species would require a change of 20% or more, not merely 1%!

But it can be seen that the time period really is irrelevant. However long is allowed there are still only two alternatives: either more transitional forms, by orders of magnitude, than natural selection could preserve; or larger mutations, by orders of magnitude, than could possibly appear and survive through natural, random processes. There is no other option.

That is not the end of the problems, however. We have assumed that 0.5% of the common ancestor’s DNA needed to mutate in our branch to produce humankind. To make this point easier to explain, let us number the letter pairs in our DNA, with pair number 1 at one end and pair number 3,164,700,000 at the other. Let us assume the 0.5% of DNA that needed to mutate in order to produce Homo sapiens is at the beginning of the DNA thread. 1 That means letter pair numbers 1 to 15,823,500 all had to change, while 15,823,501 to 3,164,700,000 had to remain totally unchanged. Now remember that mutation is a random accident in copying DNA. But every time there was a mutation, even though the entire DNA was equally vulnerable to change, it only ever took place in letter numbers 1 to 15,823,500. The likelihood of that taking place at the first mutation is 1 to 199.

Think of Scrabble tiles. Take 200 tiles and instead of letters, number them from 1 to 200. Put them in a bag and shake it up. Take one tile out at random. It must be tile number 1. Put it back and repeat the process. It still must be number 1. Continue doing that 31,667 times. Every time it must be tile number 1 you withdraw. That is what is required for random mutation to change the right bit of DNA in order to produce humans from the sub human ancestor! It is like throwing 31,667 darts at a dartboard while blindfolded, and expecting every one to land in the bull’s eye!

But even worse, the ‘target’ letters decrease in number after each mutation. So assuming the impossible did happen, by the time you reach the final mutation, out of the 3,164,700,000 DNA letters, only the final 500 must change: not only have all the ‘correct’ letters to remain unchanged throughout the whole process, but all the previously mutated letters must also remain unchanged thereafter. The chance of random mutation changing the right 500 at that last mutation is 6,329,400 to 1. This means that on average, throughout the whole process, every time there is a mutation, the chance of it affecting the right letters is 3,164,800 to 1. So to be accurate, instead of randomly finding tile number 1 from 200 Scrabble tiles, we need to do it from 3 million! Statistically, only one in three million mutations will hit the right spot, and when it does there are 10300 wrong possibilities against just 1 correct one in order to get the right combination of letters. When that takes place, it is just 1 of 31,667 times it needs to do so!

It would be no good evolutionists saying that any part of the DNA could mutate and we are simply observing the 0.5% that did so. Each ‘letter’ of DNA is specific to a different aspect of our being, 2 so the only parts that could have changed are specifically those that are now seen as different. Mutation in any other area would produce damage, which, most likely, would either be fatal or severely debilitating. Nor could they claim that mutations took place across the entire DNA but only those in the correct area were preserved by natural selection. That would mean on average there would be 3 million mutations in the ‘wrong’ area for every one in the ‘correct’ area. With the massive amount of mutation required there simply would not be time for that in the few million years it is assumed the entire process took. Remember, we are calculating on just 1% difference between man and ape, which is much less than any biologist would accept to be the case: these figures are considerably underestimating the size of the problem!

So for sub human to evolve into fully human, not only are there massive odds against mutation producing the correct letters many thousands of times over, there are also huge odds against each mutation taking place on the correct part of DNA code. After all that, there is the ‘Triple Whammy’ to prevent mutation happening and being passed on in the first place! If evolutionists try to claim that there are many possible valid mutations and we are simply observing the ones that happened to occur, then that too is hopeless: even if there were 1 billion possible different, healthy, viable species between common ancestor, ape and man, that would only reduce the number of 10300 down to 10291, so the effect of increasing the possibility of evolution by this argument is negligible.

There is one other difficulty: research indicates that a mutation greater than 3 ‘letters’ is always fatal. 3 In that case, at the very least, 5,274,500 positive mutations would have to take place in order to produce the amount of change necessary. So taking our original scenario of 12-year generations and a positive mutation in every tenth one, then at the very least it would take over 630 million years (actually 632,940,000) to complete the process of producing man from the common ancestor. Even if all generations were only 5 years (i.e. all births at five years old), and there was a positive mutation in every generation (absolutely impossible), then it would still take over 26 million years. At that rate of change, all of the earth’s life forms evolving from a single cell in the primordial soup would take many times longer than the assumed age of the universe!

Stephen Hawkins says, “…you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory” (A Brief History of Time, page 11). For decades evolutionists have been accusing creationists of maintaining a position of faith contrary to the evidence of science. Now the boot is on the other foot. Plain and simple scientific observation of genetics demonstrates that the appearance of man from a common ancestor with apes is totally impossible. According to Stephen Hawkins that is evidence enough to demolish the entire edifice of evolutionary theory.

What about the fossil record? Doesn’t that prove evolution? Certainly not! There are no unambiguously transitional forms found in the fossil record. The creationist would point out that all the record shows is the order in which these creatures were buried. That order is consistent with a world-wide flood followed by millennia of localized disasters such as volcanoes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.

The various radiometric dating methods of the rocks are dependent on assumptions based on the requirements of evolutionary theory: it is assumed the starting point is known; the rate of change has been consistent; no isotopes have been introduced or lost. Any observation contrary to the requirements of evolution is discarded as an aberration. On the other hand, ignoring the ludicrous idea that God would artificially age the rocks to give them the appearance of antiquity, the creationist would point out that no-one knows what effect the act of creation would have had on them. Therefore the starting point is not known. Additionally the rate of change in the rocks since their creation would have been significantly altered by the disasters mentioned in the previous paragraph.

For those reasons, to insist the geological formations are millions or billions of years old is to use a circular argument: these rocks are x years old, because they contain fossils that are x years old, because they are found in rocks that are x years old!

The alternative is clear. The massive amount of change required by evolution and the existence of ‘The Triple Whammy’ to prevent such change taking place, demonstrates that the only possible way our world and its inhabitants could have come into being, is by ‘outside interference’ from some source of intelligence and power beyond anything we could imagine: our Creator-God. This is not merely superstition or blind religious faith, but is based on sound scientific, mathematical and logical observation.

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  1. Actually, it doesn’t matter whether the code needing to change was all together as in this example, or scattered across the DNA; the same principle applies.
  2. This is the whole point of the human genome project: now the mapping is completed, the process goes on to discover the function of each of the individual elements of the DNA.
  3. Francis Collins, John ; Riordan, Lap-Chee Tsui, "The Cystic Fibrosis Gene: Isolation and Significance," Hospital Practice, 1990-OCT-15.

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Copyright © 2005 by Les Sherlock
Originally posted: 2005-MAR-17
Latest update: 2005-JUL-02
Author: Les Sherlock

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