Here’s a true story of something that happened this week in one of my Zoom classes. (Don’t worry about the technical terms, they are not relevant to the point I am making).
“Why are there so many different anticodons that work for the same codon?” A student asked.
“I don’t know. But it’s because of evolution.” The professor replied.
“Oh, ok! Thanks!” The student then muted herself and the teacher continued the lecture.
Now we come to my question: “What kind of an answer was that?!”
The professor didn’t give any evidence/logic to back up the statement – but did give a blanket dismissal, including the unspoken admonition of “because I said so.” Even worse, the student who asked the question accepted that as an answer and let it go. I know many professors, and I’ve heard several of them say, “I don’t know”, but it was followed by “I’ll look it up and get back to you.” That is a completely acceptable answer, and it shows that they’re being honest and not just making something up (or spouting an opinion…facts vs. fiction).
The next day, I went and asked my genetics professor (who teaches a different class) and he gave me a 15 minute-long explanation filled with common sense and science (there’s a reason he’s one of my favorites).
The point is, there was a logical, scientific explanation…and the explanation wasn’t just “it’s because of evolution.” Now, my professor did say that the answer could arise by two ways: 1) it was designed that way or 2) it evolved to do that. And here’s where we get into the whole macroevolution vs. microevolution.
This is what the Scientific American’s “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense” says about the topic (1):
“Microevolution looks at changes within species over time—changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species. Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.”
So, microevolution is the small changes that will eventually lead to a new species, while macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups change, looking at DNA and the fossil record. I bet you think that macroevolution and microevolution are related, right? That’s what nearly every textbook and professor says (or rather, implies). Here is an excerpt from Science, which summarized the views at a macroevolutionary conference in Chicago (2):
“The central question of the Chicago Conference was whether the mechanisms of microevolution could be extrapolated to explain the phenomenon of macroevolution. At the expense of doing violence to the positions of some people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”
As compelling as that is, I’m not going to leave that as my answer to you. No, I’m going to back up my position with logic and science. Let’s begin with microevolution:
“These days even most creationists acknowledge that microevolution has been upheld by tests in the laboratory (as in studies of cells, plants and fruit flies) and in the field (as in the Grants’ studies of evolving beak shapes among Gal[a]pagos finches). Natural selection and other mechanisms—such as chromosomal changes, symbiosis and hybridization—can drive profound changes in populations over time.” (1)
Perhaps most creationists do acknowledge the idea of microevolution, and yes, genetic variations do happen – just look at the different kinds of dogs! Think about this for a second: a golden retriever is still a dog, just like a chihuahua is a dog. They didn’t change into another animal kind. And here’s the key: they’re just genetic variations of a dog. Genetic variations can arise from things such as environment, mutations, pathogens, or lifestyle (yes, smoking can modify your genes). The only organisms that are not going to have this variation are clones…and then they are exactly the same. While genetic variations can cause changes in populations, I’m not sure what they mean by “profound” – these populations haven’t ever turned into anything else.
I love microbiology, so let’s take a look at bacteria for a moment. You probably know that there are antibiotic resistant bacteria. Some scientists are using these bacteria as proof of evolution (3). The thing is, these bacteria didn’t turn into a frog – they just became resistant to antibiotics. How does this happen? This can happen through several different ways, one of which involves the bacterium picking up an antibiotic-resistant gene or enzyme from another bacterium (4). This now-resistant bacterium passes on the trait to their offspring, who then pass it on to theirs, creating populations of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The bacteria are still bacteria. All that happened was a genetic variation. The term “microevolution” when used to describe genetic variations is technically true…but it does not and cannot lead to macroevolution, which we will now look at.
“The historical nature of macroevolutionary study involves inference from fossils and DNA rather than direct observation. Yet in the historical sciences (which include astronomy, geology and archaeology, as well as evolutionary biology), hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future discoveries. For instance, evolution implies that between the earliest known ancestors of humans (roughly five million years old) and the appearance of anatomically modern humans (about 200,000 years ago), one should find a succession of hominin creatures with features progressively less apelike and more modern, which is indeed what the fossil record shows. But one should not—and does not—find modern human fossils embedded in strata from the Jurassic period (65 million years ago). Evolutionary biology routinely makes predictions far more refined and precise than this, and researchers test them constantly.” (1)
PBS states that “Even though evolution is taking place all around us, for many species the process operates so slowly that it is not observable except over thousands or hundreds of thousands of years — much too long to witness in a human lifetime.” (3) Ok, sure, we can’t witness it in a single human lifetime. But if humans have existed for 200,000 years, according to the Scientific American, then how come there has been no documented macroevolution? That time frame has been “thousands or hundreds of thousands of years” (3). Surely we’d have witnessed a form of macroevolution, or at least been able to see the evidence or transition of macroevolution by now, right?
I’ve already gone into the fossil record with last week’s post, but let’s discuss the whole “not finding human fossils with dinosaur fossils” for a moment. Have you seen the Jurassic World or Jurassic Park movies? Would you want to live with dinosaurs? As much as I love the T-rex, I’m pretty sure my answer would be no. Don’t you think our ancestors had some common sense (if anyone’s lacking, I’m pretty sure it’s my generation, but I digress)? This may be a novel thought, but maybe humans didn’t actually live in the same immediate area as dinosaurs. You likely don’t live with a polar bear, shark, or a tiger, right? So saying that humans didn’t live in the same area as dinosaurs isn’t so far-fetched. But what about the fossil record and the Worldwide Flood? Wouldn’t we be able to find humans and dinosaurs mixed up and buried together? The answer: maybe we haven’t found them yet – there were lots of soil deposits resulting from a worldwide flood…we likely haven’t been able to sift through them all. Even so, if dinosaur and human fossils are never found together, that would not prove evolution, and here’s why:
We’ve found fossilized sharks, but yet humans have not been fossilized right beside them. Does that mean that humans and sharks don’t exist together? How about the coelacanth? Their fossils were found in marine deposits below dinosaurs and were thought extinct…until they were found alive in 1938 (5). “The example of the coelacanth shows that animals are not necessarily buried in the same place as other animals from different environments. We don’t find human bones buried with coelacanths, either, but we live together today, and people are enjoying them for dinner in some parts of the world” (5).
Here’s what the Scientific American said it would take to disprove evolution:
“Evolution could be disproved in other ways, too. If we could document the spontaneous generation of just one complex life-form from inanimate matter, then at least a few creatures seen in the fossil record might have originated this way. If superintelligent aliens appeared and claimed credit for creating life on Earth (or even particular species), the purely evolutionary explanation would be cast in doubt. But no one has yet produced such evidence.” (1)
I’m sorry – I hate to interject here, but REALLY? It’s totally okay to believe aliens and not the God of the Bible? Uh, I’m not sure what I can say to that….
Also, Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation – the fact that life can come from non-life. So, I honestly don’t know how proving that spontaneous generation is true will disprove evolution, because that seems to be what evolution is – life evolving from non-life, which was created by the Big Bang Theory.
After looking at the science and using just a bit of common sense, there are a lot of holes in an evolutionist’s worldview. Life can’t come from non-life, microevolution has never led to macroevolution, and macroevolution has never been documented or seen (and, according to their timeframe, humans have been around long enough to see it). Stay tuned for next week’s installment in this series, and check out my articles on the Big Bang Theory and Redefining Words & Fossils if you missed them.
Just in case you are curious, here’s my genetic professor’s answer. A codon has specific anticodon(s). The anticodon then brings in a specific amino acid (corresponding to the codon). These different amino acids make up proteins. Now, there are some codons that have six anticodons, and some that only have one. So, “Why are there so many different anticodons that work for the same codon?” The codons that have multiple anticodons code for amino acids that would not influence the protein greatly if there was an error. The codons that have only one anticodon need to be very specific (for example, the start codon, which codes for an amino acid starts protein translation. You don’t want that amino acid randomly dispersed throughout your protein, which is why it only has one anticodon…reducing the chance of error when creating proteins).
Think of it this way…you are building a brick home and need to order the bricks. Bricks come in different colors and each color has a different order number. These numbers will be very similar (usually with only the last number being different) but regardless of which one you choose, you’re still going to get the right kind of brick. Random colors may not be to your taste, but it’s not going to affect the integrity of the house. Edging or landscaping bricks are very different, so their order number is very different from the colored “normal” bricks. If you accidentally order an edging brick and try to stick it in the wall of your house, not only will it look weird, but the size won’t match any of the surrounding bricks and that area will lack structural integrity. So, bricks (amino acids) that aren’t going to affect the integrity of your house (protein) can have multiple order numbers that vary by color (anticodons). The edging bricks (amino acids), however, need to be used for a very specific purpose, which is why they have a single, very distinct order number (anticodon).
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- Rennie, J. “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense”. Scientific American, 2002. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/15-answers-to-creationist/
- Lewin, R. “Evolutionary theory under fire.” Science, 1980. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/210/4472/883
- PBS. “Frequently Asked Questions About Evolution.” https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/cat06.html
- How Stuff Works. “How do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?” https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/cellular-microscopic/question561.htm
- Hodge, B. “Why Don’t We Find Human & Dinosaur Fossils Together?” Answers in Genesis, 2007. https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/humans/why-dont-we-find-human-dinosaur-fossils-together/