April 1, 2001
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Mapping the Human Genome: Does It Prove Evolution?
by Wayne Jackson
Article Description
     Scientists recently announced that they have “mapped” the human genome. Some are alleging that this discovery contains positive “proof” for Darwin's theory of evolution. Wayne Jackson addresses this issue.

The headlines virtually shouted the news. “Human Genome Mapped!” The news media had a field day as scientists, in early February, announced they had “cracked the code of the human genome.” Media reports boasted that the mysteries of life were revealed, and the end of disease may be just around the corner. (ge·nome - n.: one The number of chromosomes in a sperm or egg cell, half the paired diploid number.haploid set of Threadlike "packages" of genes and other DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Different kinds of organisms have different numbers of chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, 46 in all: 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair, so children get half of their chromosomes from their mothers and half from their fathers.chromosomes with the genes they contain; the full Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA The order of nucleotides in a DNA or RNA molecule, or the order of amino acids in a protein molecule.sequence of an organism.)

While geneticists are discovering some remarkable things relative to the intricacies of the human body, they are no nearer, scientifically speaking, to unlocking the mysteries of life — than before they started. Some of the humbler ones readily concede this; others strut about, revealing nothing but how bereft they are of “reasoning” equipment.

One gentleman of this latter category is Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. In an article that appeared on the MSNBC web site (February 21), Caplan's piece boasted, “Darwin vindicated!” The author subsequently stated:

“The genome reveals, indisputably and beyond any serious doubt, that Darwin was right — mankind evolved over a long period of time from primitive ancestors.

“Our genes show that scientific creationism cannot be true. The response to all those who thump their bible [sic] and say there is no proof, no test and no evidence in support of evolution is, ‘The proof is right here, in our genes.'”

When I read this ambitious claim, I could hardly wait to carefully examine Caplan's arguments. After all, any one with rudimentary analytical skills knows that a mere assemblage of facts do not a case make. One must examine the known data, and then draw from them such conclusions as are reasonable, cohesively explaining the information at his disposal. Facts lead to hypotheses, which result in theories, which ultimately may establish the verification, or repudiation, of one's assumptions.

And so, I waded through Caplan's swaggering article, looking intently for the “proof” of which he boasted. I read and reread the brief essay. What I found was one assertion after another — crude, unblushing assertion, hollow assertions — like this:

“The theory of evolution is the only way to explain the arrangement of the 30,000 genes and three billion letters that constitute our genetic code.”

Where's the evidence for that statement? It doesn't exist. Does it make more sense to contend that a complicated “code” had a “Coder,” or that the ingeniously complex genetic “blueprint” happened by random chance, arising ultimately from inorganic (absolutely dead) matter?

Other scientists are not so smug. In the February 19, 2001 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle, there appeared an article by Tom Abate. Abate recently had traveled to Maryland, where he visited the Celera Genomics headquarters, the scientific institute that broke the genome code and assembled the “map.” Mr. Abate interviewed Gene Myers, the computer scientist who actually put together the genome map.

Eventually, during the interview, the conversation turned to question of the possible “origin” of the genetic code. At this point Myers confessed:

“We don't understand ourselves yet . . . [t]here's still a metaphysical, magical element.”

[Note: Metaphysical means “beyond the physical;” it denotes an area of investigation that has to do with the origins of objects, hence, is outside the legitimate purview of physical science.]

But there is more. Myers continued:

“What really astounds me is the architecture of life. The system is extremely complex. It's like it was designed” (emp. WJ).

Abate was intrigued:

“Designed? Doesn't that imply a designer, an intelligence, something more than the fortuitous bumping together of chemicals in the primordial slime?”

One must give Mr. Abate credit for a reasonable level of logical acumen. “Design” does demand a designer! [Note: Even skeptics have acknowledged such. In his book, Fundamentals of Critical Thinking (Lexington, MA: Ginn Press, 1986), Paul Ricci has stated that the principle that “‘Everything designed has a designer' is an analytically true statement” (p. 190).]

And so, after a thoughtful pause, Myers replied:

“There's a huge intelligence there. I don't see that as being unscientific. Others may, but not me” (emp. WJ).

The Chronicle reporter mentions that he also recently interviewed Professor Wally Gilbert of Harvard. He inquired of Gilbert whether or not it was feasible to believe that the “code of life” might be the “handiwork of God.” The Harvard professor replied:

“Of course one is free to believe that for any little piece of detail, God did it. From the viewpoint of science, we're surrounded by uncertainty. The parts we look at are the parts we don't understand . . . But the scientific belief is that in due course, an explanation will be found.”

It certainly is true that an “explanation” will be apparent eventually. But for many — those who have “worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25) — the “explanation” will be too late!

There are several important points to consider in evaluating the current interest regarding the human genome studies.

  1. The fact that the human genome possesses fewer genes than previously estimated (from above 142,000 down to 30,000 or 40,000), means nothing. It simply indicates, if the data are correct, that the “fewer” are doing “more” than previously suspected. Such a fact does not lessen one's amazement; if anything, it intensifies it. As even Stephen Gould, the notorious apostle of evolution from Harvard, noted:
    “[T]he key to complexity is not more genes, but more combinations and interactions generated by fewer units of code” (New York Times, February 19, 2001).
  2. The fact that we possess certain materials in common with other forms of biological life is not exactly earth-shaking news. Commonality proves nothing conclusively, certainly not a joint kinship. Comparisons may be explained as easily on the basis of a similar “plan,” issuing from a common “designer.” In fact, one would expect a wise designer to employ analogous mechanisms for organisms intended to inhabit the same environment.
  3. Assertions regarding the presence of so-called “junk Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA ” (within the human genome), which supposedly reveals an evolutionary heritage, is another of those conclusions that does not follow necessarily from the premises.

    Two principles must be borne in mind:

    1. First, there may be residual elements within the human being that are the result of the long-time degenerative process that has plagued man since his apostasy in Eden (cf. Rom. 5:12).
    2. Second, it is also possible that the so-called “junk” may serve a function that is not understood at present. Even Professor Gould admits that the “junk Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms.DNA” may provide a “pool of potential for future use” within the organism. His viewpoint, of course, is that the “pool” might exist for the purpose of a depository “capacity for further evolutionary increase in complexity”—as if some mythical “evolutionary intelligence” might have planned for such an eventuality!

    We must remind ourselves that for years evolutionists alleged that we have numerous “junk” organs within our bodies that are “vestiges” of our primitive ancestry. Wiedersheim, a famous German anatomist, catalogued no less than 180 of these “useless” features (H.G. Wells, Julian Huxley, G.P. Wells, The Science of Life, New York: Literary Club, 1934, p. 415). But with the advancement of scientific knowledge, those “vestigial” organs have been demonstrated to be eminently useful.

  4. Finally, there is this matter. Scientists are trying to decipher how the genome mechanism works, but they haven't a clue about how the procedure originated, or why. In an article titled, “Messages from the Genome,” which appeared in the December, 2000 issue of Harper's Magazine, Arthur Cody describes the operations within the genome as a series of “triggering” processes. One thing triggers another, which triggers another, etc. He then raises this question:
    “What triggers the triggerer? Nobody knows. More than that, nobody has any theoretical proposal to suggest . . . . ‘Triggering' is an interesting biological event; it goes nowhere toward explaining construction. What kicks the homeotic gene into action? No answer exists, factual or theoretical . . . . Not only does no one know, no one has the slightest idea how to look for an answer . . . . Everything truly essential about the process is utterly and even radically incomprehensible.”

That is not exactly correct. The truth of the situation is this: “Science has no answer. Theology does!” He who “made all things” is responsible for the intricacy of this system (cf. Jn. 1:3).

Yes, it is a fact that “science” can say nothing about origins. Logic, however, forces the thinking person to this conclusion. Every effect must have an adequate cause. And he who “built all things is God” (Heb. 3:4).

For a further discussion of the amazing design of the human body, see our Catalog for our book, The Human Body - Accident or Design?, available from Courier Publications, P.O. Box 55265, Stockton, CA 95205 — $7.95 ($1.30 shipping).

In conclusion we must point out that there is nothing in the recent announcement concerning the human genome that should cause the slightest concern for those who revere the sacred Scriptures. In the meantime, we will continue to exclaim: “I will give thanks unto You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that my soul knows quite well” (Psa. 139:14).

Copyright © 2001 by Christian Courier from Mapping the Human Genome: Does It Prove Evolution? Used with permission.


Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of ManWho Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man. Are humans just advanced apes or have they been specially created in the image of God? Publications by scientists almost never ask the question, whereas publications by theists seldom examine the scientific data that relates to the question. However, two scientists raised in non-Christian homes, Fuz Rana (Ph.D. in chemistry) and Hugh Ross (Ph.D. in astronomy), have written a new book (Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man) that examines the question of human origins by comparing biblical and evolutionary models.

http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/humangenome.html
Last Modified June 22, 2001

 

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