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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2008

Mutations, Creation, and Evolution

If you have ever seen a one-eyed cat, a two-headed calf, or a five-legged frog, you have witnessed a mutated animal. A mutation is a permanent change in the genetic material of an organism. Whereas most cats, calves, and frogs have one head, two eyes, and four legs, altered DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) within the nuclei of cells can cause living organisms to look very different from other animals of the same kind, including their parents. Although a child’s parents may have brown skin, if the child’s gene for skin color is mutated, he may be born without color in his skin, eyes, and hair. This mutation is known as albinism (which comes from a Latin word meaning white).

Suppose that a certain gene’s DNA sequence is represented by the following sentence made up of three-letter words:

The big cat ate the owl and the dog ate the pie.

This sentence (representing a gene) is clearly understandable. Every letter functions perfectly for its intended purpose. However, if the sentence mutated so that the first letter attached itself to the end of the sentence (or gene) rather than the beginning, you would simply have a line of jumbled letters (representing a mutated gene).

Heb igc ata tet heo wla ndt hed oga tet hep iet.

These groups of letters no longer communicate a clear thought. One letter changed position, and the entire sentence was altered. Similarly, if the genetic information in a living organism is changed ever so slightly, mutations can form. Color blindness, albinism, and sickle cell anemia are all examples of mutations.

So what do mutations have to do with creation and evolution? According to evolutionists, life evolved from simple to complex organisms (or from amoebas to humans) by gene mutations. Supposedly, nature “selected” certain genes that mutated, so that over hundreds of millions of years, those mutations eventually caused fish to become amphibians, amphibians to become reptiles, reptiles to become lower mammals, and certain lower mammals eventually to become humans. There are, however, fatal problems with this idea.

First, genetic mutations are without purpose or pattern. They are entirely random. Nature does not control mutations or predict with accuracy when they will occur. Nature does not “select” specific gene mutations. Rather, nature must accept whatever gene mutations appear.

Second, genetic mutations are rare. (For this, we should be very thankful.) Even evolutionists admit mutations are rare. How rare are they? One evolutionary scientist explained: “It is probably fair to estimate the frequency of a majority of mutations in higher organisms between one in ten thousand and one in a million per gene per generation.” What’s more, a series of related mutations is even more unusual. Scientists estimate that the odds of having just two related mutations are one in 100 trillion. The odds of only three related mutations (and evolution would need many more than just three to have occurred) are one in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—that’s one in a billion trillion.

Third, not only are mutations both random and rare, the overwhelming majority of them are harmful. Evolutionists themselves have admitted that more than 99% of mutations are bad. One evolutionist even suggested that good mutations “are so rare that we may consider them all as bad.” Consider the gene mutation that causes color blindness. Is it good? Does it allow for a better life? Although it is not as detrimental as many mutations, a person can function better in life by seeing all colors clearly. Truly, the vast majority of the mutations that appear are harmful, not helpful.

Finally, mutations do not create new genetic information; they simply alter existing information. Mutations cannot account for the origin of life or for the new genetic information that would be needed to turn a perch into a person. A perch might have mutations that cause deformed fins or scales, but it will never be able to mutate into a person (regardless of what you read in comic books!).

Although many evolutionists continue to promote evolution by genetic mutation, the evidence for helpful, related, large-scale changes is still lacking. The idea that hundreds of millions of years of non-intelligence, plus blind chance, plus random mutations equals fish eventually turning into humans is not only unproven by the evidence, and scientifically impossible, it is also completely absurd.

Copyright © 2008 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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