A review of...
Dr. John Sanford is an imminently qualified geneticist, a long-time Professor and Researcher at Cornell University. Among his many contributions is his invention of the "gene gun", a method of direct gene transfer used in plant genetic engineering.
In the Prologue to Genetic Entropy he begins with this statement:
It takes a supremely honest man to make a statement like that, but he admits to previously subscribing to the,
He admits also to previously being, at heart, a eugenicist.
Not all evolutionists
eugenics, but many do believe that the future of the
human race depends on our helping evolution along by assuring the
survival of the fittest of our race. Not many, fortunately, have the
opportunity as did Adolph Hitler, to actually begin such a program.
In graduate school he accepted the Primary Axiom primarily by trust in the authorities rather than by his own personal understanding.
As Dr. John Baumgardner points
out in the Foreword to the book, most professional biologists are
not aware of the unjustifiable assumptions that form the foundation
of evolutionary beliefs.
This is understandable, as anyone who has
been through the educational system will testify, especially those
in many of the science curricula.
Consequently he began to realize that he would probably be offending the very religion of many people.
But whatever the cost, he came to the place where he must say it out loud:
Dr. Sanford does a masterful job of presenting a complicated subject in a way that can be understood by non-scientists. He promises that with "a reasonable mental effort" on the part of the reader, he can persuade the reader that the Primary Axiom is false.
And if the Primary Axiom is wrong, there is an ominous and surprising consequence:
He states that such a
sober realization should cause us to reconsider where we should
place our hope for the future.
The size and complexity of the human genome is staggering; there is simply nothing designed by man with which to compare it.
The genome is the sum total of our genetic makeup - the blueprint or instruction manual that determines our physical makeup. Genetic coding within the genome is carried with the chemical DNA.
DNA forms the familiar "double helix" that looks like a twisted ladder.
Letters in the blueprint are molecules - nucleotides known
symbolically as A, T, C, and G that form the cross pieces of the DNA
ladder. Each cross piece (base pair) is composed of a pair from the
group of the four nucleotides.
Most DNA sequences carry information on several different levels; i.e. they are poly-functional. And because they carry information on several levels, any change at one level will effect a change in another message contained on another level.
Geneticists call this attribute poly-constrained.
It is obvious that changing one letter would impact more than
one instruction. More complex schemes make the problem worse with
respect to tolerance for misspellings or other "typographical"
This example dates back to 79AD, and loosely translated says "The Farmer named Arepo works with wheels". Notice it reads the same up and down and left and right.
If you change just one letter in "ROTAS" across the top, you have not only changed that word, but have also messed up all the words that read up and down.
To add further to its complexity, the genome is full of countless loops and branches.
Linear DNA can also fold into two- and three-dimensional structures, providing coding for still higher levels of information through data compression. And all of this complexity is stored in a genome that resides inside a cell's nucleus in a space much smaller than a speck of dust.
This is what the author calls the "mystery of the genome".
He concludes (p. 154) that,
Suffice it to say that we know enough about the complexity of God's blueprints to be in awe, but will probably never come close to knowing everything about it.
It is likely that there
is coding imbedded in the DNA that we cannot even anticipate or
The current thinking of evolutionists is that all biological information arose through mutation and selection ("survival of the fittest"). Mutations are errors that occur when a DNA segment (gene) is damaged or changed.
And here we come to what Dr. Sanford sees as a major flaw in evolutionary theory:
Imagine a modern automobile factory using a highly complicated system of robotics and human workers placing individual parts as the chassis moves along the assembly lines.
Let's further suppose that there is an Instruction Manual that is the guide to the entire operation.
Every step, every operation goes strictly by the Instruction Manual. Now let's introduce "mutations" - random errors in the instructions. Admittedly, the operations could survive a few random errors. A misspelled word now and then, a letter or even an entire word occasionally deleted might not spell doom for the production process.
But it certainly wouldn't help.
effects would be made known not only in the appearance of the
product, but in how well the engine and other critical components
Even if randomly introduced errors in the Instruction Manual could, on occasion, produce a car with a rocket engine (not likely), it would immediately be eliminated by the Inspector.
What good is a car with
a rocket engine? It would be a complicated monstrosity that would
not even qualify as a good car, much less as a spacecraft.
An important point is that, as a genetic principle, the Primary Axiom also does not allow for direct selection for misspellings themselves, but only for the finished product. This is only one of many serious obstacles to the widely held belief that natural selection improves the genome.
The reasons for this are
convincing but too numerous to be mentioned here.
Mutations cause birth defects. Cancer is caused by mutations, and there is growing evidence that aging itself is caused by the accumulation of mutations.
mutations are not observed to increase genetic complexity. In fact,
in studies of bacterial resistance to antibiotics (one of the
Darwinists favorite examples of "evolution"), it has been shown that
mutations that have imparted resistance to populations of the
bacteria have actually digressed (lost genetic information).
These strains are rapidly replaced by superior strains with natural genetic makeup as soon as the selective pressure (the antibiotic) is removed.
And yet, thanks to an extensive
miss-information campaign, many today have been led to believe that
microbial resistance to antibiotics is some of the best "proofs" of
molecules to man evolution!
From a huge number (billions of mutation events) many,
Almost no meaningful crop improvements resulted.
exceptions were a very few cases where, although a mutant was
beneficial in a certain context (low phytate corn for animal feed,
for example), the mutant strain had lost genetic complexity and
could not possibly be an example of evolution through favorable
These attributes include sterility, dwarfing, mottled
and variegated foliage, and misshaped flowers. Beneficial mutations
are much too rare to be used for genome-building; their acceptance
for this purpose is based on unquestioned acceptance of the Primary
As it turns out, there is a,
The ability to separate good and bad mutations is obviously a basic requirement for natural selection to work at all. The death knell for this procedure is the fact that essentially the entire genome exists in large linkage blocks.
even though the rare presence of a few beneficial mutations would
seem to offer a glimmer of hope for forward evolution, the presence
of physical linkage erases those beneficial mutations from
Geneticists have long worried about the impact of mutations on the human population, and that at a rate of one deleterious mutation per person per generation, genetic deterioration would result.
Earlier reports were based on estimates of mutation rates considerable lower than what we now know to be the case.
Findings going back to 2002 show that the human mutation rate
is at least 100 mistakes (misspellings) per person per generation.
Some scientists believe the rate is closer to 300.
Furthermore, most, if not all, mutations in the human genome must be deleterious.
It would appear that the
process is an irreversible downward spiral that will end in "mutational meltdown".
To quote the author,
One problem is that selection occurs on the level of the whole organism, while mutation is occurring on the molecular level,
To qualify his statements on the limits of natural selection, Dr. Sanford makes it clear he is not saying that selection does not work.
In his work as a plant breeder, many useful plant varieties were derived by selecting desirable traits from each generation. And natural selection has eliminated the very worst human mutations. But both natural and artificial selection have very limited ranges of operation; and they can never create higher genomes.
An example with selective breeding of animals are modern swine breeds.
converting pig feed to bacon more efficiently than their forbears,
they are definitely not more fit in general, except in the pampered
and protected environment of a pig farm.
The author cites research showing that the human race is currently degenerating at 1-2 % per generation due to accumulation of mutations.
At a 1% decline in fitness per generation, there is a sharp reduction in fitness after 300 generations (about 6,000 years). One of the most interesting revelations in Genetic Entropy is Dr. Sanford's and other workers' analysis of the Biblical account of life expectancies.
In a statistical regression analysis of declining life spans since Noah (lived 950 years), after 32 centuries since Noah the life expectancy has declined to about 70. The remarkable aspect is that this curve, which shows a sharp drop-off after Noah and a more gradual decline about 1,000 years ago, is that it is very similar to theoretical curves presented by other researchers that show genetic degeneration.
Either Moses faithfully recorded the
events (and ages) recorded in Genesis, or he was a skilled
statistician who made up data with a remarkable fit to an
In a summary statement on p. 139 he states,
This review can not do justice to the vast amount of scientific information which Dr. Sanford meticulously presents in the book, which includes 81 reference citations.
Some of the many problems with natural selection improving the genome are covered in topics such as Invisible Mutations, Nearly Neutral Mutations, Too Many Minor Mutations, Reproductive Elimination, The Low Heritability of Fitness, and Excessive Noise Overrides Selection.
Major problems, from the scientific literature, are presented in Appendix 1.
Topics included are,
We hope the
reader will read the book to learn just how strong the case is for
Genetic Entropy - and against the Primary Axiom.