Evolution or Degeneration?
a summary of the degeneration-theory
||Charles Darwin hardly knew anything about genetics. It was quite easy for him to set up a theory in which he didn't have to think of the complex reality of DNA, genes and proteïns. However, he did discover that there's 'biological change' and something like 'natural selection'. The mistake Darwin made is that he interpreted this into a certain direction, assuming all 'higher' animals evolved from 'lower' animals. If biological change should be given a direction, it would be downhill: Degeneration instead of evolution.|
Evolution is controversial, not universally accepted.
Contrary to what many people think, the idea of the development of one-celled organisms toward the stage of mammals and man is not a solved issue. Since the publication of Darwin's book The Origin of Species there have been serious protests against it. The genetic laws of Mendel were considered contradictory to an evolution-theory, because of the fixed genetic laws. The so-called 'Neo-Darwinian' synthesis provided an answer: evolution takes place by means of random mutations (changes in DNA-structure) in combination with nonrandom selection.
The main spokesman of this theory is Richard Dawkins with books like The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. In the seventies Niles Eldredge and Stephen J. Gould started an opposition by claiming that the fossil-record did not provide all the links that Darwinism hoped to encounter. In their alternative, and now widely accepted, model of 'punctuated equilibrium' (interrupted balance) they try to solve the issue. Biochemist Michael Denton, however, completely rejects the evolutionistic vision in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. And more recently biochemist Michael Behe published his book Darwin's Black Box, that caused a lot of commotion, especially within the scientific community. With strong arguments about 'Irreducible Complexity' he clearly shows the duo 'mutation + selection' is falling short.
Besides these things, creationism provides an everlasting stream of publications. The Dutch writer Maarten 't Hart described the book Darwin on Trial (by Philip Johnson) "the clearest formulated, sharpest attack on the weak spots of the evolution-theory". So clearly, there is a lot to say against the thought of universal evolution, even though it is often taught as a fact.
What changes have we seen since Darwin?
Darwin's ingeniousity is clearly seen from the fact that he found out species change and that he was able to identify the mechanism: natural selection. Natural selection is the opposite of human selection with breeding. Darwin hardly knew anything about heredity - he wrote a book about 'blending inheritence' which was found to be completely beside the truth - and he also did not have the knowledge of genetics.
Biochemical and genetic research today revealed a miniature-world with an amazing degree of complexity that goes beyond our imagination. As many biochemical secrets have been revealed now, for example the eye-functions, evolution has to be explained on thát lowest level, not longer on the general, broad level; the level that already troubled Darwin in his time and that sometimes 'made him quiver' when thinking of it.
Macro-evolution is genetically impossible
In biology there is a difference between macro-evolution and micro-evolution. When a child inherits certain qualities from both father and mother, we call that micro-evolution. That's because the child inherits a random half of qualities from both parents. On DNA-level this is caused by 'recombination' : exchanging parts of chromosomes (=DNA) between equal chromosomes. That's why there can be a lot of variety among offspring. The genetic material itself, however, does not change; new combinations of genes are created.
However, by means of mutations (copy-errors in the process of DNA-splitting) changes are inevitable. The mutation-theory tries to prove that all genetic information came into existence by means of such copy-errors, because the most favorable are selected (natural selection).
There are some serious objections that can be brought in against this theory:
1 - Just as a computer-program is not created through a combination of copy-errors and selection, also the complex information inside DNA did not spring forth from copy-errors and selection. In the same sense it would also be nonsense to say that the typewriter came into existence through small copy-errors, made when retyping the manual of the typewriter.
2 - Michael Behe talks about 'Irreducible Complexity'. A mousetrap is irreducible complex. If one part is missing, the mousetrap doesn't function. Many biochemical systems, such as blood clotting, 'light-sensitivity' of the eyes, and the 'engine' (flagellum) of a bacteria, are completely useless if only one part (gene) is missing.
|Only if all the parts function at the place they are needed, success is guaranteed. It's impossible for mutations to develop such complete systems step by step (the system doesn't work unless it's complete), or at once (too great a step for mutations.)
3 - Many genes are so essentially important to bring forth living offspring, that their function could never change. If such genes would start to function otherwise, life would be impossible, because the original, essential function is lost. One example is hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood. Not a single individual can miss it. So basically, there is no significant evolution in those kind of genes.
4 - The fact that the information inside DNA is degenerating is a very much neglected aspect of life around us. This degeneration causes species, and also mankind, to degenerate and genes disappear instead of new ones with formerly unknown functions appearing.
LOSS OF GENES leads to new variation and new species
That the loss of a functional gene can lead to new variation is one aspect of biological change that is hardly realized. One single mutation can completely disable the a gene. With that the gene loses its function and causes a certain effect on the appearance of the individual carrying the gene. One clear example is albinism. The gene that produces the pigment has become dysfunctional. But it can also be more subtle: With many animals in the polar-regions, the gene that produces pigment in the skin has become dysfunctional. That's not the same as albinism, because albinism causes eyes to be red.
This photo of penguins shows how such a mutation can easily pop up in a certain population.
In the same way white lions (with black eyes) have been discovered in Africa. They will most likely quickly disappear in nature, because such a loss doesn't lead to good survival-prospects for lions.
|White Lions: radical changes in appearance spontaneously originate in|
populations when a mutation disables a functional gene.
However, if such an elimination of a pigment gene takes place in an area with lots of snow, it can be an advantage, because the species is less visible and thus has a better chance to survive. The polar-bear, the dall-sheep and the snow-owl are good examples.
Besides the gene that is responsible for coat-coloring, the polar-bear also lost the genes that produce the core of the hairs. Therefor they are hollow and that is an advantage for them, because they isolate the bear very well against the cold. But it is a loss of functional genes that causes this advantage.
The process of domestication leads to new variations much more often, because these variations are wanted and therefore preserved. That's why our dogs, cats and rabbits are available in many different varieties. Those varieties are usually the result of genes that were eliminated completely or that sometimes still perform a minor part of their original function.
In that sense , the result of the loss of A, B, C, D and S-genes leads to respectively black, cinnamon-coloured, albino, blue-greyish and spotted mice. Loss of certain combinations of these genes eventually leads to mice that are chocolad-brownish, blue, silver-cinnamon-coloured, silver-roe-coloured, black spotted, cinnamon spotted and so on.
Breeding and selection can lead to a lot of new varieties (a lot of genes will be permanently eliminated or damaged and new combinations of active genes arise). But the possibility to breed continuously is limited, because eventually too many active genes will have been lost. So 'fresh blood' has to be brought in; original, functional genes have to be added. Species around the world become 'genetically poorer' as time goes by, no matter what kind of selection is used: natural or human.
In biology two interesting phenomenon's are wellknown: the 'bottleneck' and the 'founder-effect', that show us how genetic loss occurs. The bottleneck is an event where the genetic diversity of a certain population reduces significantly while being brought back to just a small number of individuals (later to return to its original size maybe). Many genes can be lost in the process, because these few individuals could never carry the genetic variety of the whole population.
The founder-effect is something similar and starts working when a certain number of individuals split from a mother-population, and establish their own population separately from this mother-population. When one male and one female arrive on a remote island for instance, they can create a new population. This population will only have the limited genetic variation that was already present within the original founders of this population.
On top of that there will be a certain amount of inbreeding. The advantage of inbreeding is that hidden (recessive) qualities can be made manifest, that leads to quick new variation which makes possible selection and adaptation.
On the other hand, inbreeding could lead to an increased chance of hereditary defects, thus to degeneration. In the founder-effect - which is the most common mechanism for species-formation (when individuals split from the main population and get reproductively isolated) - the appearance of new variation, gene-loss and degeneration are closely related.
Many examples of biological change in living nature, which are often used to prove evolution, are in fact examples of degeneration:
1 - Rudimentary (reduced) organs are still considered as strong proof in favor of evolution. But the reality shows us it is a loss, losing something, not the development of something that originally wasn't there. It's a form of degeneration.
2 - Human hereditary illnesses are often caused by a mutation of a gene that was originally good. From that moment on the flaw is passed on to other members of a family according to heriditary laws. In first instance, however, the gene was good. And most other people outside this family have the good gene. All kinds of isolated groups of people show to have their own specific hereditary illnesses. But we have to keep in mind it's a malfunction of something that originally functioned perfectly. It's not just another step on the evolutionary diary. So if we go back in time far enough (thousands of years), until we reach the time of our ancestors, we would find that they possess all the intact genetic information. It is not possible for them to have carried all our billions of genetic defects within their limited genepool.
3 - In isolated caves we can find various animal species that lost sight, like the blind water-scorpion in the caves of Moville, Romania, or the blind fish and lobsters in the longest cave-system on earth; Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, USA. These fishes, for example, have also lost the pigment in their bodies. They are completely pale. This cán be interpreted as 'an adaptation to the conditions', but nevertheless it is based on a loss of genetic information (for pigment and eyes).
|A fish from the dark(!) Mammoth Caves with no eyes and no pigment.|
Usually individuals with such mutations will not survive. But in dark caves it's no longer a disadvantage and they're still able to reproduce. Because of this reproduction, damaged genes spread and once a whole population lost the original genes, they will never return, because the information inside genes is too complex to originate from dysfunctional genes. It's like a genetic subroutine has gone lost.
4 - The non-flying cormorant lost the ability to fly. This species lives on an isolated island, with plenty of fish around, so diving from rocks is enough for this cormorant to stay alive.
|The non-flying cormorant lost the ability to fly...|
5 - Parthenogen lizards lost the ability to reproduce on a natural way, because the female-eggs have a double pair of chromosomes instead of a single pair. The lizards are exact copies of one another (clones) and they stimulate ovulation by simulating mating-behaviour among eachother. The masculine genetic information has gone lost through mutations, because this was no longer needed.
6 - One of the reasons the cheetah disappears is because of genetic loss and degeneration, like various researches have proven. By means of a 'bottleneck' all genetic information has gone lost and all cheetah's are lookalikes, like twins. In the supposedly 10.000 years this process has been going on, mutations did not lead to the needed variations; once something is lost, it will never return.
These examples and many more concerning this 'degeneration-law' leads us to this conclusion:
On the long run a species or population tends to lose genes and qualities which it doesn't necessarily need to survive.
|Did the koala lose the genes that once helped him to have a more balanced diët? |
Mutations occur randomly and one single mutation can be enough to disable a gene completely (just like a typing-mismatch will block computer-instructions). Therefor all the genes of a species have the risk to be eliminated sooner or later. Only if it strictly should not happen, because it decreases the chance of survival, the non-funtional gene will disappear.
In the long run it shows us that only the genes which are needed for survival in a specific environment, will last. Because of this a species might become completely dependent upon its environment, like, for example, the Koala, that only consumes very special eucalyptus-leaves. Eventually the genetic 'stretch' will have vanished, and if the environment changes again, a species could easily become extinct. It no longer has the genetic diversity to adapt to such changing circumstances.
The natural bottomline of degeneration
One question might arise: where does it end? Will life eventually become extinct?
There is a natural limit to degeneration that is preserved through natural selection: the reproductive age, the age on which a species might have offspring. If degeneration goes so far as to eliminate reproduction, that form of degeneration will not be spread anymore. In that sense, natural selection serves as a 'protector' against damaging degeneration, like weaker individuals die quicker than strong ones.
When a species balances on the edge of death, and is still able to reproduce, it can be called the worst form of degeneration. A good example is the one-day-fly. This fly spends most of its life under the surface of the water as a larvae. On a certain moment the larvae climbs out of the water onto a stalk and peels off its skin. It spends a little time flying, climbs onto a stalk again and peels off its skin for a second time. Then it starts looking for a partner. When the female is fertilized and the day has passed, she falls into the water out of exhaustion. While she drowns, she releases her eggs into the water for the next generation. A remarkable characteristic of the one-day-fly is that it has no mouth! This is where we can see the degeneration-law in action: a mouth wasn't necessarily needed for survival, and thus the species lost it eventually.
|The one-day-fly does not have a mouth. The femal releases her eggs into the water whilst drowning...|
What does this all lead to?
When biological change that happens today and can be observed, shows us that species go genetically downhill, it will be very hard to hold on to the idea of an increase, or generation, of new genes. Micro-evolution seems to be 'down-hill'-evolution. That makes macro-evolution a fairy-tale.
The most logical explanation for the generation of life, and for the information inside DNA, is that an Intelligent Creator preprogrammed the DNA. Life must have sprung forth from several original types, like an original wolf, an original cat, an original bovine animal, and an original human. From these original species that had a great genetic richness in first instance, all the millions of subspecies and varieties started developing, each one searching its own way downward in its own environment.
And what about Darwin? He was a great man that made the most important discovery in biology, that is that species change throughout time. The only thing is that the direction he gave to biological change was completely opposite to what he assumed:
Not EVOLUTION, but DEVOLUTION.