Thursday, October 13, 2016

Some Ruminations on Natural Selection and Genetics off the film "Evolution's Achilles' Heels."

Watching the film again, Evolution's Achilles' Heels, have a couple of comments I might as well get said.  I've seen just the first two segments, the one on Natural Selection and the next one on Genetics.

Taking down Natural Selection is really pretty easy, although of course it's strongly resisted by believers in evolution.  Remember that Darwin's big discovery was Natural Selection as the supposed engine of evolution, the title of his book being The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.  The obvious simple fact is that Natural Selection works by subtracting or eliminating, not by adding anything, while of course evolution to be true beyond variation within a Kind requires the addition of novel features.  In fact the way natural selection produces new variations is by eliminating other variations.  Natural Selection is one of the ways new variations occur, which are sometimes called "species" if they seem quite different from the parent organism, but the point is that the processes involved are subtractive, and my own observation is that you can only subtract to a certain point when there is no more change possible -- which is my own argument in a nutshell, Evolution Defeats Evolution.  But the film simply makes the point that selection subtracts and that in itself is contrary to what evolution needs in order to be true.

The film doesn't make a distinction between the phenotype or outward form of a creature and its genotype or genetic information, but the changes that are seen in the outward form that is brought about by natural selection occur by the elimination of other forms or phenotypes, and the corresponding elimination of the genetic information that codes for the different forms.   You can have part of the genome being eliminated in one population of a species to produce one new variation, while in a separate population another part of the genome may be eliminated to produce a completely different new variation.  Either way you've got your new variation as a result of subtracting genetic information, and that can never ever produce anything truly new, it can only bring out a new combination of traits already existing in the genome, which makes the whole idea of evolution of species from species impossible.

The next subject is genetics and they cover the amazingly complex workings of DNA replication within a single cell.   They point out that the different parts of the cell couldn't have evolved separately because of their interdependence, one part needing to exist in order to produce another part, that in turn needs to exist for the first part to operate.  They also point out the essential roles of information, communication and language, also interdependent and inseparable, another proof that evolution could not possibly have designed the cell.

Mutation is of course discussed as evolution's only hope of producing anything truly novel, but of course it usually does nothing but destroy things, destroy DNA itself, destroy genes, remove parts of an organism which under certain circumstances can be adaptive, such as wingless beetles on a windy island, sickle cell anemia as the cost of protection from malaria, the loss of the ability to ingest some things protecting against poisons and so on.  All subtractions and eliminations that are sometimes adaptive but not in any sense the Theory of Evolution requires.

They don't discuss the argument I've so frequently encountered, about mutation increasing genetic diversity, which would take too much discussion for this post.  The main answer is that the increase in diversity is usually an increase in disease of one sort or another, that is, ultimately a loss to the organism rather than anything beneficial, let alone of any value toward species evolution.

They present the idea that the term Junk DNA for or the 98% of the genome that does not code for protein, was based on the ideological commitment to the theory of evolution, the interpretation being that it represents former functions in the history of the organism back to the primordial soup, that are no longer of use as the creature has evolved.   Now it is claimed that these noncoding regions of the genome actually do have functions, and many were listed though none of them discussed, so I don't know what science supports them or why there are so many different functions involved. 

I still think that Junk DNA probably IS junk, though not for the evolutionist reasons.  My creationist interpretation is that it represents the result of the Fall, or in other words the operation of death on living things since that event, death not having been part of the original Creation.  Since the Flood wiped out all but eight human beings, and an even higher percentage of animals, a lot of genetic material would eventually have died out in each species as it went on reproducing after the Flood.  So many alleles for a great number of genes would have perished that eventually those genes would themselves die out in the population wherever they were already reduced among the survivors on the ark.  Of course the increase in the destructive effects of mutations in the genome, which the film pointed out are cumulative down the generations, would facilitate the death of genes by destroying alleles to the point that a given gene locus would have no functional alleles left.  What would that be but a "junk" or unfunctional or dead gene?  Thus whatever the junk DNA used to code for is lost to all living things, former functions that would once have supported the enormous longevity that existed before the Flood. 

I like this interpretation because it fits with the Biblical understanding of the Fall.  But again, the idea that noncoding DNA has other functions has to be considered.

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