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!
Not at all—it is, in fact, my observation. I am a devout Christian who believes that the Bible is, in part, allegorical. Many (not all) of those who believe that it is literally true in full succumb to the need to cling to a silly set of constructions and coincidences called ID. That is a demonstration of lack of faith on their part. The fact that they demand “equal time” when real scientists call them on their folly just further distances them from their own faith.
Where did Creation Science predict that? Anyone have a link? What about the cases where it doesn't result in a loss of info?
For example a couple mutations in a gene on an esterase plasmid in a bacteria enabled the new enzyme to digest nylon. The ability to digest esters was not “lost” as it is present in multiple copies on a plasmid, but new information was definitely GAINED, as now the bacteria can digest both esters AND nylon.
Devolution is a sad sad joke played upon any creationists who wishes to embrace it.
The fact is that any expanding population has an INCREASE in genetic diversity; and some of that genetic diversity will lead to new and interesting “information”, such as the ability to digest citrate in e.coli.
You lose the argument automatically, because GGG has invoked UPPER CASE.
UPPER CASE always wins over mixed case.
Make sure that you distinguish between young-earth creationists (YECs) and old-earth creationists (OECs). YECs deny the overwhelming preponderance of scientific observations in order to cling to an unwarranted interpretation of the Bible. They believe that God's revelation through his creation is wrong and cling to wacko theories of all sorts of scoundrels so as not to damage their faith.
OECs believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life. We believe that God not only revealed himself through his word in the Bible, but also in his creation.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.Do I have problems with some of the claims of evolution? Yes, but they're scientific, not religious. If we had incontrovertible proof tomorrow that humans evolved from single-celled organisms, it would not affect my faith at all. Genesis tells us all about the Who, but next to nothing about the How.
I've seen God's work and God's miracles in my life and the lives of others. I've seen healings that happened literally while we were praying. I don't doubt God's existence any more than I doubt my own. Unlike the YECs, my faith in God does not depend upon a medieval -- and quite wrong -- interpretation of the Bible.
The translation of the following book isn’t the best, but I think you will find it a fascinating read:
All the best—GGG
==The mere existance of creationists certainly confirms a belief that some men has not evolved from the apes
The mere existence of any life-form confirms that materialist evolution is a farce.
Yes, and he doesn't like it when real scientists totally refute the work of his favorite, discredited YEC scientists. If you do that, you are a believer in ATHEIST SCIENCE and you WORSHIP AT THE TEMPLE OF DARWIN CULT. Logic and scientific observations have no place in his world.
I know that it's considered proper etiquette to ping someone that you're talking about, but HE-WHO-HATES-TO-BE-PINGED gets all whiny when you ping him. The Mods slapped him around about this, but it still doesn't stop the whining.
Humans grow mutated cells all the time - they are known as cancers.
==Humans grow mutated cells all the time - they are known as cancers.
And thus harmful.
Not sure about your word based model, but I have used this method in an number of significant design advancements. Think of evolution as representing a slope with the Y axis representing the relative success of an organism to compete within its environment, or to adapt to changes in its environment. Small changes will move the survival index minimally up or down the slope resulting in little evolutionary change. However major changes, as represented by mutations, will move an organism a greater distance up or down the survival index. Most often, mutations are unsuccessful, resulting in the death of the mutation. However, occasionally a mutation will represent a significant advancement and allow the offspring of the mutation to dominate and replace their competitors and predecessors.
==For example a couple mutations in a gene on an esterase plasmid in a bacteria enabled the new enzyme to digest nylon.
There is no gain of information. The bacteria are merely drawing upon was already frontloaded by the Creator. As Dr. Sanford points out in his book Genetic Entropy, virtually all beneficial mutations are the result of information loss, not information gain—just as predicted by the creation model.
You are attempting a ‘there are no changes that are beneficial, and any changes that are beneficial were “front-loaded’ defense.
It is either...
a) no gain of information is possible
b) gain of information is possible
The fact that you want to tack onto b) ‘but only if the information was “front-loaded’ is inconsequential.
It is either a) or b).
Obviously you just admitted to b) which makes your a) statement no longer “operable” as the Clinton White House used to say.
In fact, if you had something like 4 children, you'd find each of them ending up quite different because of the differences within your own existing genome. You could have a red-head, platinum blond, ordinary blond or brunette, with as many or more differences in skin-tone ~ and every bit of it would be YOUR FAULT ` and with no blends at all.
Obviously our own children do not recapitulate "their/our" kind ~ more like they recapitulate "somebody else's" kinds, if at all.
Sometimes folks get surprised when one of those stray kinky hairs pops up (unless, of course, you already know your relatives have such hairs, and then it shouldn't be a surprise).
When you have a system like ours, change happens whether we want it to or not ~ and then there's the reshuffeling trick. Sometimes the genes in a chromosome get resorted, or even duplicated, and then all H' breaks out.
You could go thousands of generations with absolutely no mutations, random or otherwise, and still have kids who ended up looking like the neighbors rather than anyone in your own family.
Not saying that happens all the time, but as soon as you have several different genes in your grandparents' generation, your own turns into a kind of crapshoot of quantum resolution ~ not a "blend". The math behind it is quite probabilistic.
There is no gain of information. It is just a matter of taking advantage of the information that is already there. And as Dr. Sanford points out in his book Genetic Entropy, when we do see actual beneficial mutations that change the total amount of available information, they invariably result from information loss, not information gain.
After the mutations. Bacteria could digest nylon.
Obviously that information was GAINED, even if you insist that the nylonase enzyme was simply ‘hidden’ within the esterase enzyme; it took MUTATION to UNLOCK that NEW INFORMATION.
It’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation with people who don’t even understand thermodynamics and entropy.
HOX genes give us walking/flying/swimming critters with front ends, back ends, tops, bottoms and sides. Probably only a handful of ways you can structure control genes like that ~ and they are incredibly stable platforms.
In fact, let me go further, there's probably only a very small number of possible AND useful HOX genes in the Earth environment.
Now, a quick return to the news ~ listening to Nancy Pelosi tell me a lie about "middle class tax cut". The woman is mentally ill ~ too much botox. It's changing her genome as well ~ she's growing a tail ~ look at her dress in the back when she turns to leave ~ there's something in there and that's not good.
As far as nylonase bacteria, the “total amount of available information” before the mutation didn't include the ability to digest nylon. The “total amount of available information” after the mutation included EVERYTHING the premutation bacteria could do, but with ADDITIONAL INFORMATION on how to digest nylon.
Obviously the total amount of information went up.
I have long maintained that if you look at the belief set of creationists they will almost invariably also believe in many other equally unsupportable beliefs (UFO’s, Geocentricism, HIV-AIDS denial, Jesus rode on a dinosaur, etc, etc).
“The most important question might be why an all powerful god capable only of perfection employs so many idiots as spokespersons?”
I can only sympathize and say Darwinism has to use whatever it says crawled out of the slime as its spokescritters even if idiots. Perfect? Maybe the spokescritters are perfect idiots.
NOT! Here is a picture of a mutation which is neither harmful nor results in a loss of information. It's not even a devolutionary mutation, but it makes a he11 of a nose-picker:
I shouldn’t laugh, but that is one funky thumb...
Any issues of superiority are not a matter of “feeling”, though those discomforted may find comfort in such delusion.
And as you imagine superiority derivative of some higher source of information, perhaps you might consider the possibility that God might speak to you directly and plainly over the internet. I make no such claim, but certainly, such a prospect is no less sensible than by means of a burning bush.
And certainly a God which created the heaven and earth and all his critters would not require such multitudes of self-proclaimed and bickering middlemen, each claiming a superior understanding of truth revealed in superior clarity selectively to them.
When it comes to our evolving understanding of evolution, I’ll put my money on the 99% of real scientists that credit Charles Darwin with the intellectual foundation for all of the life sciences. By “real” I mean those that actually do the research which builds new and useful understanding of our world and which hold virtually all the faculty positions at the the major reseach universities.
Many are practicing Christians of strong faith not the least disturbed at discovery possibly conflicting with metaphorical religion having its roots in the Bronze Age and codified into dogma by candle by flea-bitten monks in the Dark Ages when the Earth was flat. So much for your millenia of inquiry. Indeed, every new discovery for most increases their marvel. Faith that is secure is not threatened by science.
Examine the CV of the garden variety creation “science”/ID type that claims to be a scientist and you typically find something like a third rate physical chemist or aerospace engineer without research portfolio in the life sciences and usually without much in the way of accomplishment in their field of training. What passes for “published research” is very selective review of “facts” at third hand glued together by illogic. “ID” is a joke. Proponents of it are frightfully close to being Christian Taliban.
You have a refreshing outlook. I would be happy to discuss this further with you.
“You lose the argument automatically, because GGG has invoked UPPER CASE.
UPPER CASE always wins over mixed case. “
Somebody’s ALWAYS sneaking in a new rule on me. Just like the NFL!
So the bacteria evolved into bacteria?
What about original sin? Do you believe that Christ defeated sin on the cross? If there was no Adam and Eve then where did sin come from?