Skip to comments.Are mutations part of the “engine” of evolution?
Posted on 02/13/2009 8:34:41 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
Are mutations part of the engine of evolution?
Are mutations really the key to our evolution? Do mutations provide the fuel for the engine of evolution? In this chapter, we take a close look at mutations to see what they are and what they are not. When we understand genetics and the limits of biological change, we will see how science confirms what the Bible says, God made the beasts of the earth after their kind (Genesis 1:25)...
(Excerpt) Read more at answersingenesis.org ...
Time to move on.
move on, then.
Yes, they are. You do know, of course, that not all mutations are bad.
Almost all mutations are harmful. However, the tiny fraction of mutations that are non-harmful/beneficial almost always result in a loss of information, which is precisely what Creation Science predicts—devolution.
Yes. Mutations can be major or minor in nature. The probability of successfully changing to gain an advantage in the natural selection process diminishes the greater the change, but when successful can significantly alter the competition. The concept has been used in computer modeling of complex systems. Traditional finite element analysis methods can produce results, but take a long time to conclude. Modeling programs that include infrequent, but extreme leaps have proven to greatly shorten the time in identifying the optimum conditions.
==Modeling programs that include infrequent, but extreme leaps have proven to greatly shorten the time in identifying the optimum conditions.
It all sounds very good, and quite convincing actually, except perhaps for one little problem. Natural selection is limited in that it can only select, in a positive way, for changes that show improvement in function over what was there before. As it turns out, many mutational changes (i.e., changes in the underlying genetic codes of DNA that dictate how a creature is formed) have absolutely no affect on the function of the organism. Such changes, or mutations, are called “neutral” with respect to functional selectability. There is even a “Neutral Theory of Evolution” proposed fairly recently by Motoo Kimura.
A neutral difference is like “spelling” the code for the same function in a different way. This different spelling still results in producing the same / equal / equivalent result - as I just did by using three different words that mean pretty much the same thing. Or, neutral differences may exist between equally non-meaningful sequences - like the difference between “quiziligook” and “quiziliguck”. Both are equally meaningless when spoken in most situations - right? Therefore, neither has more meaningful or beneficial “fitness” in a given environment as compared with the other. Obviously then, selection between them would be equal or “neutral” with respect to function - i.e., completely random.
Beyond this, most mutations that do happen to affect function do so in a negative way. Natural selection actively works against such mutations to eliminate them from the gene pool over time. These mutational changes are not therefore “beneficial” either.
So, why might this be a problem for evolution? Well, at very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., functions that require a very short sequence of fairly specified genetic real estate to be realized) the ratio of potentially beneficial to non-beneficial sequences is quite high. So, the numbers of non-beneficial differences between one beneficial sequence and the next closest potentially beneficial sequence in sequence space are relatively few.
For example, consider the sequence: cat - hat - bat - bad - big - dig - dog. Here we just evolved from cat to dog where every single character change was meaningful and potentially beneficial in the right environment. It is easy to get between every potential 3-character sequence in the English language system because the ratio between meaningful and non-meaningful in the “sequence space” of 3-character sequences is only about 1 in 18. However, this ratio decreases dramatically, exponentially in fact, with each increase in minimum sequence length. For example, in 7-character sequence space, the ratio is about 1 in 250,000 - and that is not even taking into account the “beneficial” nature of a particular sequence relative to a particular environment/situation. Still, meaningful 7-character sequences are generally very interconnected, like a web made up of thin interconnected roads going around the large pockets of non-meaningful/non-beneficial potential sequences. However, the exponential decrease in the ratio is obvious and the implications are clear. For higher and higher level functions, requiring larger and larger fairly specified sequences to code for them, the ratio of meaningful to meaningless becomes so small so quickly that when more than a few dozen characters are needed the interconnected roadways and bridges that connect various island-clusters of beneficial sequences start to snap apart. At surprisingly low levels of functional complexity this process isolates the tiny islands of beneficial sequences from every other island to such an extent that there is simply no way to reach these tiny isolated islands except to traverse the gap of non-beneficial sequences through a process of purely random change(s) over time.
With every additional step up the ladder of functional complexity, this gap gets wider and wider, in an exponential manner, until it is simply uncrossable this side of trillions upon trillions of years of average time. Natural selection is simply blind when it comes to crossing such gaps. Without the guidance of natural selection, this crossing takes exorbitantly greater amounts of time since the non-beneficial junk sequences of sequence space must be sorted through randomly before a very rare beneficial sequence is discovered by sheer luck (see link):
Trillions upon Trillions of Years - - Not Enough Time
“Almost all mutations are harmful. “
Neither true, verifiable, or even relevant. The remainder of your statement betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of natural selection, a process that is wholly consistent with belief in the Christian faith.
“be a blend of my daughter and son in law.”
While I generally agree with your sentiment, you obviously never met my youngest daughters former boyfriend. It horrified me that I had sent her to college and she was dating this guy. And I was actually paying a lot of money to send her. Sorry - Sometimes Dads have nightmares. Good news is she realized the guy was a creep and dumped him.
Given your response, I would say that it is YOUR STATEMENT that betrays a FUNDAMENTAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING of the insurmountable problems facing RM + NS with respect to functional complexity. May I suggest you read “Genetic Entropy” by John Sanford before venturing any further into territory you obviously don’t understand.
Obviously due to a flaw in his "design," God being perfect and all, and able to produce species on a whim.
I'm still waiting for God to produce a species out of thin air to settle the debate, yet we can witness living things reproduce by biological means every day.
Not likely, but have a nice day. I prefer to consult unbiased sources.
The mere existance of creationists certainly confirms a belief that some men has not evolved from the apes -— at least by enought to merit any special consideration. And those that feel the need for the pseudo scientific babbling of “intelligent design” certainly reveal a profound weakness in faith. The most important question might be why an all powerful god capable only of perfection employs so many idiots as spokespersons?
I am more of a fan of the devolution theory and mutations would fit with that.
How evolved of you.
“And those that feel the need for the pseudo scientific babbling of intelligent design certainly reveal a profound weakness in faith. “
That is a very insightful comment which reflects a position that I have held for some time. Adherents to creation science and ID seem to have a weaker Christian faith than those who believe that natural selection could be God’s way.
Thanks for the ping!
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