Good Mutation, Bad Mutation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, January 11, 2018 0 comments


by Steve Risner

Mutations: they’re tricky things to like. Evolutionists will argue that mutations are the “driving force” of evolution. This means that mutations are supposedly what brings about new genetic information which will lead to, over eons of time I guess, major changes in an organism’s characteristics—even new anatomy and physiology. Is there support for this? Is there evidence that mutations in the genetic code can turn a dinosaur into a chicken or an ancient ape into a human being? Let’s take a look, as this is one of the things thrown at creationists, insisting that creationists don’t understand evolution.

What’s a mutation? According to Wikipedia, it’s “the permanent alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism.” In other words, it’s a mistake made in the genetic code of an organism during some type of copying of the genetic information—DNA—or through some kind of external cause like radiation. That’s the simple explanation and it works fine.

Creationists maintain that the vast majority (not quite but nearly all) of mutations have no benefit whatsoever. There are some instances where, due to a change in environment or circumstance, a mutation may create a benefit that in reality is/can be destructive if the environmental change is reversed. This is often the case in antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Not having a benefit could mean that the mutation’s result is negative or neutral. The great thing is that our Creator, God Almighty, created a genetic code that runs in pairs. We receive half of our genetic material from our father and half from our mother. If dad’s DNA had a mistake in it when it was used at conception, there’s a good chance that mom’s DNA doesn’t have the same mistake. This generally results in the non-error DNA taking dominance over the mistake or mutation. In essence, it means that the mistake will never be known. However, there are certainly clear cases of negative mutations. There are, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, currently just under 17,000 known genetic disorders in humans. This means there are nearly 17,000 known ways for a person to be ill (often times life-threateningly so) because of a mutation. There are, as with many of these things, various numbers thrown around. It may only be just over 6,000, but the fact remains—it’s a lot.

How many “beneficial” mutations do we know of? That’s a tricky question. It depends on what you mean by beneficial. There are 4 beneficial mutations I could find (and I’m being generous) online in humans (as opposed to nearly 17,000 negative mutations). I’m sure there must be others. Let’s see if these pan out and then we’ll discuss whether or not they actually matter.

The A-I Milano mutation has been found in a small population in Italy. This gene mutation makes these folks less susceptible to heart disease. This, to the evolutionists, is a death blow to creationists. However, to those who think that, it shows their incompetence concerning creationist beliefs and concerning this mutation. First of all, creationism has no issues with beneficial mutations at all. Why would we? But the truth is, most if not all beneficial mutations fail to do the one critical thing evolution needs for support: add new genetic information. An evolutionist who uses this particular examples as a means to show you that evolution is true because, hey, this is a beneficial mutation needs to be educated on what creationists believe about mutations and needs to understand this is not an issue even slightly. Let’s investigate.

This mutation actually is not an addition of new information. It’s not going to create a new type of human being that is more advanced or specialized than the current version. It’s a loss of information in reality—this means the protein in question is actually no longer doing what it’s supposed to. There’s a lot to it, but the basic idea is this mutation causes a protein to malfunction and that malfunction seems to be helpful in reducing the effects of atherosclerosis. It’s actually less adequate at doing what it’s supposed to do. This is not a kill shot for evolution, in fact it’s not even helpful for evolutionists. You can read a little about it here.

Then there is the malaria fighting (and sometimes deadly) mutation that causes sickle-cell anemia. This is a “beneficial” mutation that has inappropriately strengthened the case of Darwinism. The mutation in question is, like the previous one, a degenerative change that happens to help some of those who have it. I say “some” of those who have it because to those who have 2 of these mutations in their genes, the resulting disease is not good. Associated with this disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, are things like anemia, episodes of pain and joint swelling, frequent infections, and vision issues, as well as growth problems for children. These issues can result in stroke, blindness, acute chest syndrome, organ damage, and a variety of other issues, many of which are life threatening. The average life expectancy of someone with sickle-cell is less than age 50. This doesn’t sound like a major advantage to me. If you were born with only one copy of this mutation, you do have an enhanced ability to resist the damaging effects of malaria. That’s great, but it’s not supportive of evolution, even a little bit.

The other 2 examples you can research a little on your own. It’s clear that an increased bone density can be helpful, but at what cost? And is this some sort of increase in new information or simply a deregulation or loss of info? And perhaps seeing 4 colors rather than 3 is some sort of evolutionary advantage. I can’t say, but I don’t see women who can see 4 colors being at some major advantage to the rest of us.

So, are there really beneficial mutations? I can’t say. I suppose some of these degenerative mutations which most often represent a loss of information are helpful in some cases. But they hardly represent the sort of change necessary for anyone to use them to suggest universal common descent is a thing. Evolutionists will use these examples as proof positive for Darwinism. Creationists don’t see it that way. Evolutionists will suggest this is because creationists don’t understand evolution, but upon careful examination of the claims and the actual science, it turns out an evolutionist who uses these examples as support for evolution doesn’t understand. Don’t be fooled and don’t be sucked in to baseless “proofs” that can easily be knocked down with a little investigation.

The truth is, mutations that serve to benefit the individual but do not add novel information to the genetic code are not at odds with creationism at all and do not support evolutionism (universal common descent) at all. God said He created the heavens and the earth. His claim is to be the Creator of man on the 6th day of creation. Any mutation that has happened since then that persists is exceptionally more likely to create a problem than a benefit. Most mutations are not of any use to its carrier and a very large number create negative conditions like cancer, Marfan syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and thousands of others. Do mutations (beneficial or otherwise) create problems for the Bible-believing Christian? Of course not! Not even a tiny amount. In fact, the evidence supports creation quite well.

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