“Refuse Material of Nature’s Workshop”
“No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution…There is no law against day dreaming, but science must not indulge in it.” 1
Deleterious virus parasites corrupt human DNA much as malware destroys the precision of a computer’s software. Could it be that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden infected DNA with the viruses that opened death’s door? The answer evades humans! Science doesn’t know and Scripture doesn’t say!
© Ilia Shalamacv, www.FocusWildLife.com
Kingfisher eggs hatch more kingfishers---ad infinitum.
Even if mutations could deliver new information to the genome (which doesn’t happen), this doesn’t explain the original source of a cell’s genetic information. Mutations typically corrupt DNA, degrading the genome, rendering it incapable of contributing to the “evolution” of different species.
When Darwin first floated his chance hypothesis, he was as ignorant of DNA as he was of a flash drive storing digital information for a computer. Already out on a limb with his tree of life, he may have felt compelled to offer an explanation as just how incremental transitions occurred. He latched on to a dubious “solution:” why couldn’t physical change, activated by the use or disuse of a body part, be passed along to a descendant?
Differentiating between somatic and germ cells, he trotted out gemmules as the mechanism that would preserve and pass along acquired physical traits. The nonexistent gemmule is defined as “a hypothetical particle of heredity postulated to be the mediating factor in the production of new cells in the theory of pangenesis.” 2 Bit-by-bit, gradual changes supposedly accumulated en route to an entirely new and different organism. The innovative naturalist seized upon the towering neck of the giraffe as prime evidence of the process.
Fairy tale logic manufactured the fiction that when persistent droughts dried the fields of grass grazed by giraffe ancestors, survival hinged on stretching their necks toward the sky to nibble tree leaves. Theoretically, the animal’s bone and muscle structure preserved those neck stretches and passed each miniscule change to the next generation, courtesy of gemmules. Over time, such modest adaptations supposedly evolved the African plains long-necked giraffe.
Gemmules existed only in Darwin’s mind. Never observed in nature, the far-fetched myth made no sense. It would be early into the twentieth century before reality intruded and the world would learn that gemmules were not the magic elixir providing natural selection something to select.
As to the neck of an 18-foot-tall giraffe with a heart 2 ½ feet long, mutations contribute nothing more to explain its origin than do make-believe gemmules. The heart strong enough to pump blood up a giraffe’s neck to the brain is also powerful enough “to burst the blood vessels of its brain” when it reaches down for a drink of water. But when the giraffe bends down, “a protective mechanism” kicks in causing “valves in the arteries in its neck” to begin to close. 3
Did Darwin wonder why other animals, such as zebras, wouldn’t also evolve longer necks? Or why a human muscle builder couldn’t pass along bulging, exercise-built muscles to his children? Either he hadn’t heard or simply ignored the insightful news from Mendel’s garden, released in 1865.
The eloquence filtering through the stentorian tones of Darwin’s persuasive English vocabulary proved susceptible to superstition, tradition and personal bias prior to access to modern science technology. Theories of origin came cluttered with the same medieval hot air that floated spontaneous generation fallacy.
Oblivious to genes and DNA, evolutionists went looking in the wrong direction for theory confirmation, relying on spin-the-bottle luck and mega years of evolutionary gestation. Evidence confirming a continuous chain, linking simple-to-complex life forms in fossil fields, lay in discontinuous disarray.
Not until after experiments in a monastery garden and the advent of molecular biology did discovery doors swing open, inviting comprehension of scientific reality.
The world might have been spared at least some specious speculations had genetics and molecular biology arrived as nineteenth-century sciences.
First, along came Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), and his garden of colorful blossoms, introducing science to the world of genetics---a world that would soon stagger conventional thought. Mendel, an obscure Czech monk and younger Darwin contemporary, discovered fundamental genetic principles while working in the quietude of a monastery garden shortly after the English naturalist went public with his postulated theory.
Gregor Johann Mendel’s (1822-1884) discovery of the Law of Genetics threw a figurative monkey wrench into evolution’s imagined mechanism.
When the twentieth century dawned, Gregor Mendel’s garden set the stage for a direct assault on the Darwinian notion that had misled many academics.
Mendel bred multiple generations of garden peas, focusing on the plant’s seven basic characteristics. What he discovered about hybrids clashed head-on with Darwinian conjecture. Mendel’s experiment revolutionized knowledge of the mechanism of inheritance.
Mendel read his findings before the Brünn Society for the Study of Natural Science in 1865. His threshold-breaking report appeared in the Society’s Journal in 1866, warranting distribution to 120 libraries, including some in England and eleven in the United States. His precedent-shattering scholarship, otherwise ignored or overlooked at the time, earned reference in the Encyclopedia Britannica’s 1892 edition.4
The landmark findings, once obscure and virtually unnoticed, were translated eventually and published in English in 1900. Pushing public release was 39-year-old British biologist, William Bateson (1861-1926), an admirer of Mendel’s discovery, founder of the science of genetics and later president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
Publication rocked academic circles.
Speculation simmers as to whether Darwin’s theory of evolution would have “evolved” and seen the light of day had he studied Mendel’s findings. Bateson expressed serious doubts. “Darwin would never have written the Origin of Species if he had known Mendel’s work.” 5
Maybe, but we’ll never know.
What we do know is that today’s knowledge of the cell, along with discovery of its DNA strands, correlates with Mendel’s law of heredity and does nothing to corroborate Darwin’s theory.
Darwin’s co-evolutionist, Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913), viewed Mendel’s findings with alarm, sensing a serious threat to evolution. He dismissed Mendel’s discovery and discounted mutations as minimally significant.
“On the general relation of Mendelism to evolution, I have come to a very definite conclusion. That is, that it is really antagonistic to evolution.” 6 He had reason for concern! On the cutting edge of terminology, Wallace mistakenly labeled Mendel’s “hybrid” discoveries as “mutations.”
“As playing any essential part in the scheme of organic development, the phenomena seem to me to be of the very slightest importance. They arise out of what are essentially abnormalities, whether called varieties, ‘mutations,’ or sports.” 7
Wallace saw “…their extinction under natural conditions more certain and more rapid, thus preventing the injurious effects that might result from their competing with the normal form while undergoing slow adaptive modification…
“Any species which gave birth to a large number of such abnormal and unchangeable individuals would be so hampered by them whenever adaptive modification became necessary that the whole species might be in danger of extinction.”
Wallace scorned these abnormalities as “refuse material of nature’s workshop, as proved by the fact that none of them ever maintain themselves in a state of nature.” 7 Presumably unforeseen by Wallace, his dismissal of what he described as “mutations” as mere “refuse material,” ran diametrically counter to the subsequently postulated Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution! He didn’t live long enough to learn what he described as “abnormalities” would be seized upon eventually as evolution’s Holy Grail in a vain attempt to salvage a crumbling tradition.
Mendel’s pioneer research launched the science of genetics, confirming life forms functionality through precisely expressed information codes with predictable results. His law of genetic inheritance blew the cover off empty rhetoric embellishing make-believe. His insightful discovery opened doors to the science of genes, DNA, and chromosomes.
“Cell biologists identified chromosomes as the carriers of Mendel’s heredity factors, and in 1909 Wilhelm Johanssen named them ‘genes.’” 8
What Mendel did with garden peas, Hugo deVries confirmed with the primrose. He reported flowers rising “…suddenly, spontaneously, by steps, by jumps. They jumped out among the offspring.” DeVries described these hybrid variables as “new species” which he labeled “mutations.” 9
The word was out: Given time, “mutations” were incorporated as key components of evolution’s iconic lexicon.
Wallace was not the only influential evolutionist reluctant to jump for joy when confronted with Mendel’s law of genetic inheritance. The news jarred the faith of others with seismic impact.
Princeton’s Prof. Scott complained that the findings “…rendered but little assistance in making the evolution process more intelligent, but instead of removing difficulties have rather increased them.” 10
A shaken University of Paris Chair of Evolution professor voiced alarm to a 1916 Harvard audience: “It comes to pass that some biologists of the greatest authority in the study of Mendelian principles of heredity are led to the expression of ideas which would almost take us back to creationism…
The data of Mendelism embarrasses us quite considerably.” 11
Zoology Professor E.W. McBride reminisced for Science Progress, the year of the 1925 Scopes Trial. He recognized Mendel’s Law as a potential wet blanket cast over evolutionary theory after first being greeted with “enthusiasm.”
“We thought at last the key to evolution had been discovered. But as our knowledge of the facts grew, the difficulty of using Mendelian phenomena to explain evolution became apparent, and this early hope sickened and died. The way that Mendel pointed seemed to lead into a cul-de-sac.” 12
McBride’s “cul-de-sac” analysis summarized evolution’s dilemma.
The Mendel effect reverberated far beyond garden peas.
The stage beckoned for a chance hypothesis upgrade that would rally the faithful. Evolutionists scrambled for alternatives that could revive a discredited theory facing collapse on tattered academic ropes. The daunting revisionism task was handed to Wallace’s “refuse material.”
And not a moment too soon!
Crescendos of disgruntled voices could be heard reacting negatively to serious threats to unproven tradition. Mendel’s genetics law eventually caught the attention of serious scholars and crept into science vocabulary early in the 20th century.“The theory suffers from grave defects, which are becoming more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge, nor does it suffice for our theoretical grasp of the facts…
“No one can demonstrate that the limits of a species have ever been passed. These are the Rubicons, which evolutionists cannot cross. Darwin ransacked other spheres of practical research work for ideas…but his whole resulting scheme remains, to this day, foreign to scientifically established zoology…actual changes of species by such means are still unknown.” 13
Evolution has shown innovative flexibility when its survival is at risk. During the 1859 to 1872 interval, Darwin repeatedly modified his Origin of Species manuscript, ultimately increasing the original 150,000-word text to 190,000 words.14
Responding to Mendel’s law, evolutionists wracked their collective brains for some fashionable alternative to the discredited idea that acquired physical characteristics could be inherited. Rather than a once-perceived nemesis to a flawed idea, “mutations” emerged as the cure-all designed to redeem an endangered idea from the slagheap of faux science. Maybe baseball player Yogi Berra’s famed quotable witicism said it best: "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up some place else."
Theodosius Dobzhansky floated the mutation life preserver in 1937, when he celebrated the hocus pocus transformation of Wallace’s “refuse material” into the exalted role of evolution’s “raw material.” The innovator postulated “mutations and chromosomal changes…constantly…supply the raw materials for evolution.” 15
Big problem: not only do mutations corrupt genetic codes, they can kill.
By 1941, four years after Dobzhansky rewrote “refuse” to read “raw,” evolution’s movers and shakers put their heads together, blazing a trail through the quick sands of genetic mistakes to reinvent Darwinian thought.
Abandoning the gemmule pathway’s blind alley, loyal revisionists seized Dobzhansky’s straw in the wind, and used academic sleight-of-hand to redefine “refuse material” to read the “raw material” available to partner with natural selection, thereby rewriting the mechanism powering Darwin’s dream. This legerdemain turned the looming threat of the mutation negative into a newly minted positive.
Designating mutations as the raw materials for evolution seems as fanciful as envisioning the equivalent of a thundering Niagara Falls spraying its mists in a Mojave Desert mirage. Duly revived, the now updated dogma was awarded the lofty sounding title, Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution, and reintroduced phony “sciene” to the world with fanfare’s bells and whistles.
Darwinists, symbolically walking in “tall cotton,” met in Chicago in 1959 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. Sir Julian Huxley, grandson of the 19th century Huxley who ran public interference for Darwin’s original speculations, made no apologies for the patchwork massaging of Darwin’s grossly incorrect handiwork. Waxing eloquent, Sir Julian beat the drums promoting evolution’s authenticity.
Taking a figurative walk in the clouds, he boasted to celebrants that “Darwin’s theory…is no longer a theory but a fact…We are no longer having to bother about establishing the fact of evolution…” 16 In a spate of bravado, Huxley ruled out “either need or room for the supernatural…” 16
Despite exuberant chest thumping, the revised synthetic theory drew cheers mixed with some jeers. Early in this twenty-first century more than 500 scientists signed-on to a declaration expressing reservations.
“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” 17
Redundant clichés citing modifications of finch beaks, fruit flies, and bacteria as evidence proving the chance hypothesis confirm nothing more than the versatility potential built into a preexisting genetic code. Not only are mutations typically synonymous with genetic degradation, no evidence demonstrates mutations have ever successfully provided the raw information essential to transit one living organism to some new and different life kind. Genetic chasms, separating distinctly different kinds of organisms, have yet to be bridged by the conjectured mutation/natural selection combo.
No single mutation, or series of mutations, collaborating with natural selection, can activate random chance transformation to a new life kind without the addition of new genetic information.
Mutations paired with natural selection may shift a descendant organism laterally or down the taxonomic ladder but never vertically up the genetic staircase to a different family, order, class or phyla.
“Mutations take place, but they are either reversible, deteriorative, or neutral…If one must depend on mutation and natural selection to produce new species---let alone, new families, orders and phyla as evolutionists assume, then not even billions of years would suffice.” 18
“Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.” 19
Incapable of introducing new information, mutations typically degrade overall fitness, impairing what already exists. In fact, “It is possible for a single amino acid change in a protein (which results from changing one to three nucleotides), or the deletion of a single nucleotide from DNA, to be fatal to an organism…this is called heterozygous lethal…” 20
Natural selection is genuine, but don’t hold your breath expecting evolutionary change if natural selection relies on mutations. Assuming mutations provide the “raw material” for natural selection to create new and different living organisms makes no more sense than believing a new and improved computer evolves from a virus-infected hard drive.
Natural selection does screen out harmful mutations. Thanks to repair enzymes, mutations are subject to an organism’s self-correcting mechanism. “Natural selection can serve only to ‘weed out’ those mutations that are harmful, at best preserving the ‘status quo.’ “ 21 If the repair system itself mutates, the organism’s survival could be jeopardized.
“Natural selection can act only on those biologic properties that already exist; it cannot create properties in order to meet adaptational needs.” 22
DNA may be mutated by events that sabotage the genome’s “message,” but mutations will never add new genetic information. Natural selection alone offers nothing more than tautology’s circular reasoning. Adding mutations to evolution’s dubious formula only assures recycling the abstract circle to a negative nowhere.
Mutations are much too slow and deleterious to accomplish evolution’s conjectured mission---they no more advance the chance hypothesis than does Darwin’s discredited theory that stretching exercises might evolve a giraffe’s long neck! Rather than a silver bullet to salvage a bankrupt theory, mutations have yet to find a niche in the pantheon of respectable science.
“Mendelian variation isn’t evolution at all. It is simply a difference in expression of the same underlying gene pool of options where the gene pool itself doesn’t change.” 23