A DECADE OF CREATIONIST RESEARCH
A DECADE OF CREATIONIST RESEARCH
by DUANE T. GISH, Ph.D.
Creation Research Society Quarterly 12(1):34-46 June, 1975
The primary purpose of the Creation Research Society is to carry out, or to encourage, Creationist research in the natural sciences, and to publish the results of such research. By Creationist research is meant research which proceeds from a belief in, and attempts to correlate with, special Creation. It is shown that, in about the last ten years, a significant amount of research has been accomplished. It has been done, moreover, at very little expense, and, as far as is known, with no expenditure whatever of public money. While reference is made especially to the Creation Research Society, it is known that good work has been done outside the Society. No claim is made that this list of research is complete. It is probably impossible to list everything which has been done; and some work is not included mainly because it was difficult to fit it under any particular heading. It is clear, from what is reported here, that Creationist research is a worthwhile activity. There is, of course, much more to be done; and it is hoped that many more people who are able to do research will come forward.
Evolution is the dogma of the scientific and educational establishments. Many millions of dollars from government sources are spent each year on research that is oriented and correlated within the framework of evolution theory. On the other hand, as far as I know, not a single tax dollar has been available, or is available, for research by scientists who openly attempt to correlate their results within the concept of special creation. Perhaps this virtual “shut-out” is due in part to lack of ingenuity and aggressiveness on the part of creationists, but there is little doubt that the most ingenious and sustained action of creationists would do little to weaken the stranglehold evolutionists have on public funds.
In spite of this fact, a significant and growing research effort by creationists has been sustained during the past decade. Although a limited amount of research had been conducted prior to, and since its founding, independently of, the Creation Research Society, the establishment in 1963 of this creationist organization of Christian men and women of science, has provided the inspiration for, and, to a considerable degree, the funds necessary for this research.
This Society was established primarily for research in all fields of science designed to demonstrate that the scientific evidence related to origins can be correlated and explained much more satisfactorily by the concepts of special creation and a universal catastrophic flood than the concepts of evolution and uniformitarian geology. Beginning in the Fall of 1964, the results of this research have been published in the _Creation Research Society Quarterly_. (1) This paper is a review of the articles published in the Quarterly during the first decade of publication, which constitute the results of original research.
These papers can be arranged in approximately six scientific categories: geology, genetics, natural selection, taxonomy, general biology (genetics, natural selection and taxonomy are specializations within biology, of course), and thermodynamics.
Geological papers constitute the largest category of papers published in the Quarterly. This is not surprising. The research needed to demonstrate the fact that evolution could not occur and, in fact, has not occurred, has already been performed. These research results provide strong support, on the other hand, for a special, supernatural, direct creation.
Yet, considerable research needs to be done to support the specific Biblical creation model and to re-establish Flood geology as an alternative to evolutionary geology. Thus, most of the research performed by creationist geologists has been directed at the goal of interpretation of geological data within the concept of catastrophism in contrast to the actualism of evolutionary geologists.
Evolutionary geologists assume that sedimentary strata have been laid down over vast stretches of time, and have arranged these strata in a supposed time-sequence, particularly the fossil-bearing strata, based on assumed evolutionary transformations. The strata are identified by fossils that are characteristic of each strata, usually marine invertebrates.
It is believed, for example, that the Cambrian strata, identified by the particular types of trilobites found within them, were laid down over a period of about 80 million years beginning approximately 600 million years ago. Evolutionary geologists thus believe that these sedimentary deposits were laid down during what is called the Cambrian Period.
In addition to trilobites, these rocks contain fossils of every one of the major invertebrate types, including jellyfish, sponges, brachiopods, worms, crustaceans, and corals (evolutionary ancestors for which have never been found, the so-called Precambrian rocks being devoid of multicellular fossils). The Cambrian Period was supposedly followed by geological periods of successively younger age, such as the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, etc. Fishes are not found in Cambrian rocks, but appear in the Ordovician. Amphibians are not found in Cambrian, Ordovician or Silurian rocks, but are found in Devonian and “younger” strata. Reptiles appear in yet “later” strata, then birds, mammals, etc.
The various strata have thus been arranged in an assumed time-sequence according to a supposed evolutionary development of invertebrate to fish to amphibia to reptiles to mammals to primates to man. The arrangement of the various strata in this assumed time-sequence is known as the geological column.
If this assumed time-sequence is correct, and was actually created by the slow deposition of one set of strata on top of another through vast stretches of time, then “younger” strata should always rest on top of ” older” strata. On the other hand, if, as Flood geologists maintain, most of these sedimentary deposits were laid down at the time of the Flood, and the particular sequence usually observed was determined by a combination of factors, including ecological zones, hydrodynamic sorting, attempts to reach safety at higher altitudes, etc., then breaks in the sequence and even occasional revearsals of the usual sequence of fossils would be expected under the catastrophic conditions of the Flood.
Many inversions of the strata scattered throughout the world actually exist, “older” strata lying on top of “younger.” In places this upside-down arrangement of the strata is hundreds and even thousands of square miles in extent. To explain the manner in which older strata became superimposed upon younger strata, evolutionary geologists are forced to postulate vast “thrust-faults.”
Supposedly huge blocks of the crust were uplifted and then somehow thrust over the adjoining area. The upper layers of the “thrust block” were then eroded away, leaving the lower, or older, strata of the thrust block lying on the younger strata underneath. This sequence of events thus supposedly accounts for the many cases where the older fossils of more “primitive” creatures lie on top of younger fossils of more “advanced” evolutionary development.
Creationist geologists have attacked this postulate on the basis of both the physics involved and the lack of field evidence required to substantiate these supposed overthrusts. While pointing out that there is evidence of local folding and overthrusting on a small scale, creationists maintain that physical evidence along the contact line, such as brecciation, gouge, and slickensides, does not exist for the supposed large thrust-faults. A number of field expeditions have been undertaken to search for evidence, or lack of it, for overthrusting.
Harold Slusher, then assistant professor of physics at the University of Texas, El Paso, examined a supposed overthrust in the Franklin Mountains near El Paso. (2) In that area a massive structure of Upper Ordovician limestone (supposedly about 450 million years old) lies on top of strata identified as Lower Cretaceous (supposedly about 130 million years old). Neither Professor Slusher nor the geologist accompanying him could find any physical evidence of overthrusting.
In 1956 and 1957, Walter Lammerts visited the site of the so-called Lewis “overthrust” in Glacier National Park. Dr. Lammerts’ doctorate is in genetics, but be has had university courses in geology and has maintained a keen interest in this field. The Lewis “overthrust” extends laterally from 15-30 miles. It is postulated that a huge block of Precambrian limestone, thousands of feet thick and almost 10,000 square miles in area, was thrust eastward over soft Cretaceous shale, resulting in a formation supposedly older than 600 million years resting on top of a formation about 100 million years old.
Dr. Lammerts studied the contact line exposed at Chief Mountain, one of the most imposing sights in the Park. He reported that all the evidence he could discover indicated that the contact was sedimentary rather than a thrust-fault. (3)
Clifford L. Burdick, a professional geologist, carried out an extensive survey of the contact line of the Lewis ” overthrust” at several places in the U.S. and Canada. The report of this research (4) includes an excellent review of the overthrust concept and of the standard interpretation of the so-called Lewis overthrust.
The contact line at Wynn Mountain, Chief Mountain, and Roes Creek in the U.S., and at Crowsnest Pass, and near Mt. Eisenhower in Canada was studied. Evidence for thrust-faulting along the contact line, Burdick reported, such as gouge (rock powder), mylonite (coarsely ground rock), tectonic breccia (conglomerate including rock fragments set in a matrix), and slickensides (striations on rock surfaces) was absent.
At Mt. Ishbel, near Mt. Eisenhower, Burdick reported that the strata were sharply upturned, and he found great piles of rock rubble along the pass between the two mountains. He concluded that if there had been local lateral pressure in the area, the rock was so incompetent it would have broken up rather than moving laterally, and that the upturned strata of Mt. Ishbel had been caused by a granitoid intrusion from underneath.
If, as Burdick and Lammerts have concluded, the Lewis contact line is sedimentary and not a thrustfault contact line, then the entire concept of the geological column as an evolutionary succession of geological ages is highly questionable, to say the least.
Burdick and Slusher studied an alleged overthrust in the Empire Mountains in Puma, Arizona. (5) They first examined known thrust-faults in other areas to confirm the type of evidence to be found where actual thrust-faulting has occurred. In one case, for example, a block of limestone about one-half mile long had been thrust about one-half mile. A gouge layer about three feet thick composed of ground-up rock powder gave evidence that thrust-faulting had occurred. At another site of a small thrust-fault, a 15-20 foot thick layer of tectonic breccia (crushed and ground pieces of rock fragments) and slickensides gave evidence that overthrusting had occurred.
Examination of the alleged contact line of the Empire Mountain “overthrust” gave no such evidence. The overlying Permian rock (greater than 200 million years in age, allegedly) fit into deep grooves eroded in the underlying Cretaceous (about 100 million years old, supposedly) like a glove on a hand, or like material poured into a mold. If the Permian cap rock had been thrust over the Cretaceous (as evolutionary geologists contend), why, Burdick and Slusher ask, were not all of these sharp projections planed off? Why is there no evidence, such as brecciation, gouge, and slickensides, for thrust-faulting? They concluded that the evidence indicates that the contact is depositional and not a thrust-fault contact.
Lammerts studied the classical Lochseite of the Glarus “overthrust” near Schwanden, Switzerland. (6) Here a huge block of Jurassic limestone (about 180 million years) rests on top of an Eocene formation (about 60 million years) . The overlying rock of over a mile in thickness supposedly was thrust almost 21 miles over the underlying Eocene. Lammerts’ analysis of the evidence failed to support the latest evolutionary uniformitarian concepts on the Glarus overthrust (reviewed in his paper). Lammerts presented an alternative proposal, based on Flood geology, which explained how these deposits may have been laid down in the present order.
When fossils are found in strata which would be impossible according to standard evolutionary interpretations, these are labeled fossil anomalies. Usually such reports are ignored by evolutionary geologists, since they assume that an error has been made or an obvious explanation must exist. Several such fossil anomalies have been reported in the CRS Quarterly.
Professor Wilbert Rusch has studied the subject of fossil human footprints, personally examining some found in Kentucky. (7) This study has become even more interesting in the light of the reported finds of human footprints along with dinosaur footprints in Cretaceous limestone of the Paluxy River area near Glen Rose, Texas. This latter report has been extensively documented by Stanley Taylor in the film, “Footprints in Stone .” (8) Rusch indicates that some of the footprints he researched (not in the Glen Rose area) were carvings, but others appeared to be genuine. He also recounted the report of an iron pot found in coal. [Note added in 1995: Continued study of the alleged human footprints near Glen Rose has not confirmed their source and has led to withdrawal of the documentary film.]
William Meister, while searching in the trilobite beds of Antelope Springs near Delta, Utah, split open a slab of rock to expose what appeared to be a human sandal print in which was imbedded three fossil trilobites. (9) If true, this means that this footprint was made when trilobites were still in existence, but trilobites supposedly became extinct many scores of millions of years before man had evolved! Evolutionary paleontologists and anthropologists merely shrugged off this find as not genuine, but an anomaly due to some natural cause.
Clifford Burdick has reported on his investigation of the find of two modern human skeletons in the Dakota Formation of the Cretaceous (supposedly about 100 million years old) near Moab, Utah. (10) During a mining operation for hydrothermally deposited copper, a hillside had been bulldozed away. The hill was composed of Dakota sandstone. On the floor of the excavated site, Lin Ottinger, a rockshop owner and guide of Moab, discovered two human skeletons. The blade of the bulldozer had sliced through the skeletons, leaving most of the remains exposed at the surface.
Burdick concluded that the bones were definitely in place, with no evidence that the surrounding rock had been disturbed. He believes that the location of the find deep within the hillside indicates that these individuals were buried at the time the Dakota sandstone was deposited.
Prof. Wilbert Rusch and I carried out an investigation of this find shortly after Burdick’s visit. We also visited the University of Utah to examine the bones, which were in custody of the Anthropology Department. There was no doubt that these skeletons were buried deep within the hillside, and as Burdick reported, there was no evidence the surrounding rock was disturbed.
We felt, however, that since all of the overlying material had been removed, the evidence required to positively eliminate the possibility that these individuals had reached the site via a fissure or cave was not available. Thus, while all the evidence that did exist indicated that these individuals were part of the original deposit, the possibility that they had entered the site at a later date could not be excluded with all certainty. Other reports of the finds of modern human remains in sediments supposedly many millions of years old have been summarized by Cousins. (11)
Palynology is the study of fossil pollen and spores. Burdick has reported on his palynological studies of formations in the Grand Canyon. (12,13) The striking fact about his results was the presence of fossil pollen grains of plants in sedimentary deposits that were allegedly laid down several hundred million years before the plants are believed to have evolved. He reported, for example, the discovery of fossil pollen of gymnosperms, many of them conifers (pine trees), and of angiosperms (flowering plants) in Cambrian and Precambrian formations.
The gymnosperms, or seed-bearing plants, supposedly did not evolve until long after the Cambrian rocks had been laid down, and the angiosperms are supposed to have evolved even later. The Cambrian Period is believed by evolutionists to be a time when no land plants or animals were in existence, in fact, a time when only marine and fresh water invertebrates existed.
A report by Rusch in the Quarterly (l4) related the fact that there have been numerous reports in recent years of the finds of fossil pollen of woody plants, including conifers, in Cambrian rocks by evolutionary geologists. Even fragments of woody plants have been found in Cambrian rocks.
These finds decisively contradict the supposed time and order of so-called plant evolution given in almost all books on geology, paleobotany, and evolution. These facts are not even known to the vast majority of geologists and biologists. For example, when I brought these facts to the attention of the audience during a debate with the world-famous botanist and evolutionist, Dr. G. Ledyard Stebbins, he was astounded, and demanded documentation. His astonishment was compounded when the documentation I readily provided included a report by one of his colleagues at the University of California at Davis and a close friend, geologist Dr. Daniel Axelrod!
GENERAL GEOLOGICAL REPORTS
Geology of Mount Ararat
Burdick has reported on the expedition that visited Mount Ararat in 1966. Mount Ararat lies in the northeast corner of Turkey near the Russian and Iranian borders. It is believed to be the Biblical Ararat where the Ark came to rest. The expedition, one of several in recent years, including the 1972 Institute for Creation Research expedition led by John Morris, was undertaken primarily to search for the remains of the Ark. Numerous alleged sightings of the Ark have been reported in ancient times and in relatively recent times.
While in the Ararat area, Burdick undertook a study of the geology of this area. (15) He postulated that the Paleozoic and Mesozoic limestone that covers eastern Turkey was laid down at the time of the Flood. During the Flood, Burdick reports, basaltic and andesitic lava burst up through the limestone beds to form a peak nearly 20,000 feet high. Much of the basalt and andesite composing upper Ararat is often found in rounded blocks called pillow lava, which is the hard, micro-crystalline form-taken by lava when it is extruded under water. Erosion has reduced the mountain to its present 17,000-foot height.
Research on the Joggins Petrified Trees
Harold Coffin has re-investigated the Carboniferous section of Joggins, Nova Scotia, (16) (the Carboniferous includes the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian Periods, which are believed by evolutionists to have been laid down over a period of about 50 million years beginning about 300 million years ago). The prevailing idea of evolutionary geologists is that the petrified trees and numerous coal seams in the Joggins area are in situ, that is, in their original position of growth. It is postulated that there were numerous long periods of growth of bogs which slowly formed coal at lower depths. Repeated transgressions of the sea, it is believed, buried these coal seams and engulfed the trees.
Dr. Coffin’s study did not support this concept. His research, on the other hand, produced numerous lines of evidence that the trees, along with masses of plant material, had been transported by water to the site where they are now found, and were then buried under conditions of rapid sedimentation. Petrification and carbonization followed. The evidence for this hypothesis included absence of soil zones, unusual plant fossils within hollow stumps, remarkable preservation of delicate fossils, diagonal trees, abundant presence of the marine tubeworm Spirobis (the attachment of this marine, or salt water, organism, to vegetal matter in the coal contradicts the bog environment hypothesis), and polystrate trees (trees extending through two or more strata, each of which, according to evolutionary interpretations, was deposited slowly over a long period of time).
The evidence developed by Coffin supports the hypothesis that the coal was formed by the tremendous quantities of trees and vegetal matter that was uprooted, transported and buried by alternating tidal waves and other catastrophic effects of the Flood. I have briefly reviewed laboratory experiments that produced petroleum in 20 minutes and coal in a few hours from cellulosic material (garbage and manure, for example, demonstrating that the formation of coal and oil would not require vast stretches of time). (17)
Coffin has recently given an excellent report of his studies of the petrified forests in the Yellowstone Park area. (18) These studies have led him to believe that these trees also had been transported and buried at their present site by water action.
The Sisquoc Diatomite Fossil Beds
Bernard Northrop researched the diatomaceous earth beds near Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, California. (19) Evolutionary geologists have maintained that these beds formed gradually over vast periods of time, but Northrup’s studies provided striking evidence of the rapid and catastrophic deposition of these beds.
In the Sicquoc area, countless billions of the delicately sculptured siliceous cell walls of diatoms (microscopic organisms) have been deposited in such a way that fish were entombed with bones and even body organs intact. Some fossil fish were trapped so that they lie parallel to the bedding plane of the diatom matrix, but many other fish fossils extend across the bedding plane. ;the latter fossils (standing partly on end) must have been buried quickly, or else the part not buried at first would have been devoured by scavengers, or would have decayed long before it could have been buried by a diatom “rain.” Fossils of various fish, sea birds, and whales also indicate that the diatom material was deposited rapidly and catastrophically rather than by gradual and uniform activity.
Northrup postulated that the original diatom supply was first formed in cool waters after the Flood and was redeposited at the Lompoc site during a post-Flood catastrophe.
Cyclical Black Shales of West Central Illinois.
Walter Peters has applied photomicroradiographic techniques to the study of black shales of the Pennsylvania system of west central Illinois. (20) The evolutionary uniformitarian interpretation of a slow, undisturbed sedimentation and mineralization of these shales over vast periods of time could not be true, according to Peters.
Study methods included gross and macrophotography, microscopic examination of thin shale chips, and photomicrographic inspection of x-rays of shale samples. Cyclical deposition was indicated by the structural details of the shale as well as by the virtually mutually exclusive occurrence of foraminifers and conodonts in successively alternating bedding planes and black shale matrix. Rapid transport and burial was implied from several observations including Orbiculoidea shells packed into lenses up to one inch thick; microlaminations apparently interrupted by small coal balls; and the distorted bedding, cloth at the bottom and the top of the shale member.
Peters concluded that all of his observations can be used to support strongly the Biblical tidal interpretation of fossil deposition and burial.
The Capitan Fossil “Reef”
The occurrence of alleged fossil “reefs” in various portions of the geologic column has been recognized by many observers to be a very difficult problem to reconcile with Biblical chronology. If accumulated at approximately the same rate as modern reefs allegedly form, a single fossil “reef” would take many thousands of years to form, and therefore would jeopardize the implication from Genesis of a young earth and would also question the role of the Flood in earth history.
The famous Capitan Limestone in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and western Texas is alleged by many geologists to be a classic example of a fossilized “barrier reef.” Stuart Nevins conducted a study of this alleged fossil reef to see if the actual field evidence supports this concept. (21)
Nevins reported that his study cast doubt on the various depositional and ecologic environments alleged to be associated with the “Capitan Reef.” The so-called “backreef lagoon” and “forereef talus” deposits were not contemporaneous with “reef” accumulation. In addition, the Capitan lacks large, in situ, organically-bound frameworks and deposits of broken debris which can be shown to be derived from an organic framework.
Nevin’s research indicated that the Capitan is composed primarily of broken fossil fragments in a fine-grained matrix of lime, silt, and sand which were not wave-resistant when deposited. The fossil flora and fauna of ‘Capitan Reef,” be reported, represent a shallow water assemblage which was not especially adapted to a wave or strong current environment. Reef-forming organisms which could bind sediments and build frameworks are either altogether absent or largely inconspicuous.
Nevins concluded that the available data certainly do not require many thousands of years for the Capitan to have accumulated, and therefore seem to present no problem for Biblical chronology. Instead, the lack of large organically-bound structures, which would have required thousands of years for growth, suggests that deposition was very rapid. Nevins proposed that the Capitan Limestone accumulated rapidly either during the last stages of the Flood or shortly thereafter.
Geologic Study of the John Day Country
Recently Nevins reported on his study of the strata of the John Day Country in the Blue Mountain region of northeastern Oregon, which reveals abundant testimony of volcanic catastrophism. (22) The strata, which show a cumulative thickness of over 7,000 feet, consist primarily of numerous terrestrial lava flows, gigantic ashflow tuff beds (each extruded in a single explosive event as a huge cloud of incandescent ash), boulder breccia layers (presumably deposited from enormous mud flows), tuff-breccia beds (representing very explosive stages in volcanism), and volcanic siltstone and sandstone (deposited as each explosive episode subsided). The area covers about 5,000 s square miles and lies southwest of the Columbia Plateau, which consists of a basaltic lava flow covering 100,000 square miles and as much as a mile in thickness.
Nevins pointed out that fossils of large mammals and tropical and subtropical plants occur in particular horizons, which suggests that only on rare occasions of quiescence between volcanic eruptions was life reestablished in this region. Nevins maintained that the supposed evolutionary fossil series leading to the modem horse is artificial and thus false. Further, he maintained that there is little evidence suggesting 60 million years of history for this area as assumed by evolutionary geologists.
Nevins suggested that since good evidences of the Flood are not found in the John Day Country strata he studied, the Flood must have preceded the formation of these strata. He thus concluded that an interval of many hundreds of years intervened between the close of the Flood and initiation of the recent glacial period. The vast volcanism of the John Day Country and the glacial ice sheet which covered the northern areas of North America and Europe are thus attributed to catastrophic events which occurred during the period of readjustment following the stupendous catastrophism of the Flood.
The Magnetic Moment and Age of the Earth
Thomas Barnes has carried out a fascinating study of the decay of the earth’s magnetic moment and the implication this has regarding the age of the earth. His results are contained in an article in this issue and in a series of papers in the _CRS Quarterly_, (23-25) and in a monograph published by the Institute for Creation Research. (26)
The earth’s main magnetic field has been shown to be due to a magnetic dipole, the strength of which is called its magnetic moment. The magnetic field is due to circulating electric currents. These currents probably reside in the core of the earth. The core is believed to consist of hot liquid metal, composed mainly of iron. There is no mechanism to sustain these currents, so these currents and the resultant magnetic field are decreasing in strength, that is, decaying. These currents and the accompanying magnetic field thus have every appearance of having been “woundup” at some time in the past, with uninterrupted decay to the present.
Measurements of the earth’s magnetic moment have been made since 1835. Using these measurements, Dr. Barnes has calculated that the earth’s magnetic moment is decaying exponentially with a half-life of 1400 years. The magnetic moment is decreasing because the circulating electric currents which generate the earth’s main magnetic field are decreasing in strength. Part of the energy of these currents is continually being lost as heat energy, with resultant decrease in the strength of the currents and the magnetic field they generate.
Extrapolating the strength of the earth’s magnetic moment back into the past, based on the exponential decay curve, the value of the magnetic moment at any time in the past can be calculated (the magnetic moment would double for every 1400 years). The heat that would be generated by the current necessary for such a magnetic moment can also be calculated. Beyond about 10,000 years, the magnetic moment would exceed a reasonable estimate for any planet the nature of the earth, and by one million years the current required to generate the magnetic moment predicted on the basis of the decay curve would liberate enough heat to vaporize the earth. Barnes thus maintained that these data, which are especially reliable because they are based on measurements over 130 years, indicate that the earth cannot be much older than 10,000 years.
In an attempt to get around this barrier to a long age for the earth, evolutionists must postulate that some sort of a self-generating dynamo causes the liquid in the core to circulate, generating the magnetic field, rather than an electrical current circulating in a quiet liquid core as postulated by Barnes. Barnes pointed out that there is no physical evidence for motion within the core, and, in addition, a self-generating dynamo within the core would require motions of an extremely complex and unreasonable nature. He concluded that no acceptable dynamo theory to sustain or oscillate the earth’s magnetic field has ever been conceived nor is one very likely. Dr. Barnes strongly affirms that the data on the earth’s magnetic field demand a young age for the earth, an age that probably could not have much exceeded 10,000 years. (26)
Mutations and Evolution
In a series of papers in the Quarterly, (27-29) Walter Lammerts presented data which are very damaging to the idea that mutations could have supplied the means of change that would have allowed evolution to occur.
Genes are the units of heredity which when replicated by an organism and passed on to offspring during reproduction cause the characteristic traits of a species of organisms to be reproduced. These genes are composed of a type of chemical structure called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Each gene, or DNA unit, is made up of hundreds or thousands of sub-units arranged in sequence in a long chain. The genetic message encoded in each gene is determined by the specific sequence or arrangement of the sub-units in the DNA chain, analogous to the way the message in this sentence was composed by arranging the letters of the alphabet in a unique sequence.
Mutations are random changes in the chemical structure of DNA. That is, mutations cause one sub-unit to be randomly exchanged for another, or sub-units may be randomly excised or inserted. Analogously, letters in this sentence might be blindly removed and replaced with others. Blindly or randomly exchanging letters in the sentences on this page would rapidly generate spelling errors and, very shortly, complete nonsense. Similarly, the effect of mutations in living organisms is harmful and often lethal.
While evolutionists readily admit that the vast majority of mutations are harmful, they are forced to postulate that a small percentage, perhaps one in ten thousand, must be beneficial. In the final analysis, the only source of variability required for evolution must come from mutations of one kind or another, and beneficial changes must occur if evolution theory is true. Thus, evolutionists insist that beneficial mutations do occur.
Creationists maintain that it is extremely doubtful if a truly beneficial mutation ever occurs. A random change in a highly complex and intricately coordinated machine could produce only disorder and loss of function. Even if a beneficial mutation could occur, a mutation could only bring about a change in an existing characteristic and thus could not create any new trait or generate increasing complexity.
Dr. Lammerts studied the effect of neutron radiation of Queen Elizabeth rose buds in producing mutant varieties. (27) He found that such radiation was successful in inducing a wide range of variations in rose plants grown from such buds. His results showed that biologically, all of the mutations were defective variations from the pattern of development characteristic of the variety irradiated.
His studies further indicated that mutations can only alter various phases of the basic varietal pattern expression, but the basic pattern itself remains unchanged. He concluded that truly unique and outstanding varieties of roses such as Peace, Charlotte Armstrong or Queen Elizabeth would never result from the accumulation of mutations.
In two excellent articles, (28,29) Lammerts has reviewed the effects of mutations and other chromosomal changes on various organisms, both plants and animals. This review of the data indicates that neither mutations nor chromosomal changes, such as translocations, inversions and polyploidy, provide a mechanism for bringing about the changes demanded by evolution theory. Lammerts concluded that the incredibly complex and amazingly integrated genetic system could only be the product of a remarkably intelligent Creator.
Effect of Genetic Aberration in a Tomato Plant
William Tinkle studied the characteristics of a tomato plant which had three cotyledons instead of the normal two. (30) The first lateral structures formed on a seedling plant differ from true leaves and are called cotyledons. Some plants are monocotyledonous while others are dicotyledonous. Occasionally a genetic aberration of some sort will cause a plant to have one or two extra cotyledons. Thus, plants that ordinarily have two cotyledons may produce, on rare occasions, varieties with three or even four cotyledons.
Dr. Tinkle found a tomato plant that had three cotyledons instead of the two that is normal for this plant. He collected seeds from this plant and studied the progeny produced from these seeds. From 100 seeds that lie planted, 69 plants developed. Three of the plants had three cotyledons and 66 had normal two cotyledons. Planting seeds from the three tricotyledonous mutants produced seven plants with three cotyledons and 30 with two cotyledons.
Dr. Tinkle studied the normal and mutant varieties with respect to fertility, vigor and resistance to frost. Although one might expect that a plant with an extra cotyledon, because of the extra surface exposed to light, might have an advantage, the plants with the extra cotyledon were found to be inferior to the normal plant in germination, rate of growth, and resistance to frost.
Even some of the plants produced from the seeds of the mutant tricotyledon plant which bore the normal number of cotyledons (two) showed growth abnormalities. The mutant gene for the tricotyledonous condition is apparently recessive. That is, its effect is more weakly expressed than the normal gene for two cotyledons, which is dominant. Though the plants just mentioned were heterozygous, bearing the dominant normal gene as well as the recessive mutant gene and thus having two cotyledons, even the presence of the mutant gene in the heterozygous state weakened the plant.
This example of a mutation which causes the abnormal presence of three cotyledons in a seedling tomato plant rather than the normal two and which results in the production of an inferior plant is additional evidence that mutations, being random changes in an incredibly complex and intricately coordinated genetic system, are inevitably harmful.