Friday, October 5, 2007

Cornell University Geneticist Rejects Darwinism

“Genetic Entropy” is the title of a stunningly important new book by Dr. John Sanford, a well known and long time Professor of Genetics and genetic researcher at Cornell University. The book details his reasons for “rejecting the Primary Axiom” of Darwinism – the idea that man and all organisms are “the product of random mutations plus natural selection.”

“Genetic Entropy” is a very difficult book to review in a short Blog. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you read it. Despite its title and technical details, the book is understandable and quite interesting.

Dr. Sanford begins by pointing out that the terms “Natural Selection” and “Survival of the Fittest” have become a kind of “magic wand” for Darwinists. The terms are thrown at biological problems like an “Easy Button” that automatically explains everything. For example, why do giraffes have long necks? Easy, the longer the neck, the better to get to high leaves – therefore giraffes with longer necks have a better chance of surviving and reproducing. This ignores the fact that tens of thousands of mutually interdependent changes are required to lengthen the animal's neck. Just for starters: additional vertebrae are needed along with an enlarged body frame, lengthened and strengthened bones and muscles, a greatly enlarged heart and oh yes, a unique new organ similar to a spleen located next to the brain that acts as a backup blood reservoir to keep the giraffe from passing out when it raises it head to 20 feet above the ground.

This mode of magic-like explanation has even been extended to the persistence of religion – why does every culture have religion? Easy, religion “even though just a fantasy” has survival value.

The power in this book comes from its exploration of how genetics actually work in the real world and of the math behind it. To greatly simplify an enormously complicated process, consider the fact that your genetic code is like a library. The genes are like books in the library and are written on three billion nucleotide pairs, three of these pairs constitute one letter of your genetic code. This equals a library of about 1700 volumes (which incidentally have undergone “data compression so sophisticated that they are contained in an area 100,000th the size of the period at the end of this sentence).” In a lifetime, about 200 point mutations or misspellings will be introduced into each person’s genetic code. It is from these misspellings, combined with a mate’s misspellings, that natural selection is supposed to produce biological evolution.

However, there are some big problems with this theory. First, when you reproduce, you do not select genes one by one; you take your mate’s entire genome; you are forced to take all modifications good and bad. Additionally you do not know what mutations your mate has undergone because these are not expressed in the adult but will only be manifest in the offspring. You don’t even know what mutations have occurred in your own genetic code!

Second, most changes to the genetic code are point mutations that effect only one nucleotide out of six billion. These mutations have such tiny effects that they are of no value or harm; their effect is “neutral.” Therefore, they are not actually “selectable” unless they are fatal.

Third, it has recently been discovered that many genes are “polyconstrained,” meaning that they simultaneous code for more than one protein (usually three and possibly more) depending on how they are read. Consequently, mutations for these nucleotides cannot produce an improvement in the organism because even if one protein were improved then at least another one or more would be damaged.

Why this is Important

Sanford’s research caused him to lose faith in the Darwinian mechanism’s ability to drive Darwinian Evolution. In the book, he describes the painful intellectual change he underwent when he realized that he would have to reject the “Primary Axiom,” “the most sacred cow in biology.” He also realized that this probably meant the end of his career and possibly his expulsion from academia. However, he felt compelled to tell the truth about what his research really showed. He became convinced that life and its development could only be explained by a purposeful design, which he attributes to God.

He now views Darwinism with its claims that life is meaningless and that man is just a bag of molecules as a false doctrine which “…has been the most insidious and destructive thought system ever devised by man.”

However the recognition that we are the product of divine planning means that we do have purpose, and life does have meaning. The consequences of this truth are truly mind-boggling.

Source: Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome , John C. Sanford, 2005, Elim Publishing, Lima, NY

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