January 5, 2009
Question 119 - Fossils from New Genes from Evolution?
Question 119 - Fossils from New Genes from Evolution?
Robert: I'm a regular visitor to your site, I own "Not by Bread Alone", and have corresponded with you before.
Currently, I'm in a dialogue over Youtube with a person who created several evolution videos. One of them is titled "What Creationists Must Deny". In it, he lists several transitional fossils. Also, I asked him your evolution challenge question, and his response is #2 below. Personally, I'm a Catholic who wants to understand evolution better. I have taken college level biology, chemestry, biochemestry, and physics, so I can understand scientific arguments. Please see his responses below. Interesting.
Greg Theisen, Dallas
1) Each of the ones listed in my video "What Creationists Must Deny" is scientifically classified as a transitional fossil. Unfortunately what I've heard some creationists claim they want as a transitional fossil is a fossil of one species in the process of giving birth to the fossil of another species. A) The chances of such an event being fossilized are ridiculously low, so setting the bar so high you know it will never be achieved is extremely unfair.
R. Sungenis: No, they are not “ridiculously low.” If evolution is occurring constantly (which any evolutionist would have to admit), there should be as many fossils in transition states as there are fossils of pre-target species and post-target species. The problem for evolutionists is that there are millions of pre-target and post-target species, but none for the transition target.
Moreover, for the evolutionist to claim that he has at least some transitional fossils because they have been “scientifically classified,” proves nothing. All it does is beg the question as to what “scientific” and “transition” means. If his specimens of transitional fossils are, by his own admission, very sparse, then he must have a reasonable explanation why this is so. If he can’t find a reason, then he has not met the burden of proof and thus has no right to call it a transitional fossil. A biased scientist can prop up any deviation from the pre-target and post-target and call it a “transition,” when, in fact, it may be more likely an adaptation, modification, variant, or possibly even a fake, such as was the peppered moths of England or Piltdown Man.
Interlocutor: B) That's not how evolution works. Speciation can be either gradual (taking many generations, or sudden, taking one generation) but either way still appears sudden in the fossil record since only the tiniest percent of organisms are ever preserved.
R. Sungenis: It doesn’t make any difference whether only “the tiniest percent of organisms are ever preserved,” because it’s not the amount preserved but the proportions that are important in this debate. If we have 99% pre-target specimens and post-target specimens, but only 1% transitional specimens, then it tells us the latter are probably not transitional specimens, because the proportions among the pre- post- and trans- fossils should be relatively even, more like 33% for each.
Interlocutor: The list in my video is over 100 long, but if you want to focus on just one example, then tiktallik. It is found with features that are halfway between fish and amphibians and is found at the time evolution predicts that transition was occurring. Quotes claiming there are zero transitional fossils are either taken out of context or fabrications.
R. Sungenis: First of all, tiktallik is not a transitional fossil. Creation Research Institute did a very scientific analysis on tiktallik a few years ago and showed that the evolutionists claims for it being a transitional fossil are presumptuous at best. Second, just because a creature has anatomical features of a fish and an amphibian does not mean it is a transitional fossil. There are fish that fly and fish that crawl on legs. Does that mean they are a different species of sea creature? No, it only means we have flying fish, crawling fish and swimming fish, but they are all fish. They are have cell structure identical to fish. Amphibians have a different cell structure, and birds another, and so on.
Second, if the evolutionist claims that tiktallik is such a good example of a transitional fossil, then we should have millions of such examples in the fossil record. The ease of forming one fossil should translate into the ease of forming millions. But that is not what we see in the geologic column.
interlocutor: 2) New genetic information comes about through gene duplication events. The duplicated DNA can then mutate to take on a new function or more often mutate to become nonfunctional (making a duplicate gene nonfunctional is fine since you still have the original). I have a video on how evolution causes an increase in genetic information (actually two of them). Scientists have witnessed both speciation events in the lab and in nature, and the genetic events that give rise to new genetic material and more genetic information. It's all been directly observed.
R. Sungenis: We all have “videos” that supposedly establish our cherished view, but they don’t prove much.
Earlier the evolutionist told us “The chances of such an event being fossilized are ridiculously low, so setting the bar so high you know it will never be achieved is extremely unfair,” yet now he tells us “It’s all been directly observed.” So which is it? The fact is, he has a few specimens that he might be able to pass off as transitions to those less informed, and then he wants you to believe that this tiny sample is representative of all other specimens in the world. Sorry, that is not scientific, that is presumption.
Moreover, if these things are so easy to see, as he claims, why did Gould and Eldredge (of whom the latter regularly went out on fossil hunting expeditions) admit that, after 100 years of searching since Darwin’s book in 1859, they couldn’t find any transitional fossils and thus opted for the theory of punctuated equilibrium? Eldredge is still living today, and hasn’t made any claims of finding transitional fossils.
As for observing gene additions, I’m reminded of Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box. If memory serves me correctly, in it he shows how a certain scientist (I believe it was Kenneth Brown of Princeton) was claiming that genetic material was added by the phosphase reaction. Behe showed that the scientist was reading into the phenomenon what he wanted to see. Behe is a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh, and believed in evolution at one time. The fact is, no one has ever shown us one verifiable instance of the addition of genes into the DNA of any organism, and that is precisely what would be required to prove evolution – the addition of genes. We are not talking about the mutation of genes already present, but the addition of new and functional genes, unhampered by the 99% failure rate of mutated genes.
In fact, if we were to base the rate that mutated genes produce beneficial changes so as to give a consistent upward progression of complexity and functionality to new organisms, Evolutionary Theory should change its name to Devolutionary Theory, since mutated genes devolve the organism 99% of the time. And even in the 1% or less of genes mutations that some might call neutral or beneficial, they don’t last beyond the host organism, and always make the host organism reproductively sterile. Even mutations that are touted as providing new anatomical structures (such as the fruit fly which developed two additional wings), what the evolutionists don’t tell you is that the wings were non-functional and actually got in the way of the two functional wings, and eventually fell off. They were not produced in a second generation, and the original fruit fly became sterile. This is nature's way of stopping evolution, not advancing it.
Evolution is bankrupt. It is pseudo-science posing as truth, intimidating those who don’t know science.
God be with you, Greg.
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