Just days ago, author John Leonard penned an open letter to geneticists Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Kenneth Miller, found here. Dr. Miller kindly responded to Leonard’s letter and Leonard posted it on his blog yesterday.
Many of Mr. Miller’s comments need no response, and in fact I felt he did everyone a good service in clarifying his position on several elements of his evolution faith, and graciously correcting Mr. Leonard’s misunderstandings of the evidence, and of evolution. Many other comments were simply blanket statements repeating the typical evolutionary mantra, as wrong as they are. However, several of his comments made a seemingly compelling argument in favour of evolution and refuting intelligent design. These comments were either in error, or glossed over several significant and serious hurdles to evolutionism. This was especially true with regards to the “chromosome fusion” argument, and as we have devoted multiple show segments and even entire shows of Genesis Week to this evolutionary argument, I thought I would post this response.
If you’ll recall (or perhaps this is completely new to you), our DNA is stored in several segments, each of which is tightly wound into a bundle called a chromosome.
Our alleged nearest evolutionary ancestors (such as the chimp) have 24 pairs of chromosomes, whereas we have 23. If the great apes and ourselves evolved from a common ape ancestor, then we either should have 24 chromosomes, or evidence that two chromosomes fused to become one in humans. Miller has boldly proclaimed there is good evidence for this fusion, and creationists have already pointed out the outright falacies in the claims of evidence. Particularly Dr. Jerry Bergman and Dr. Jefferey Tomkins(1,2), with Tomkins publishing multiple papers dealing with the subject and exposing the false claims.
I documented the facts in layman’s terms in a past newsletter, segments of Genesis Week (Season 1 ep 6, Season 2 ep 2, Season 3 ep 9), and had Dr. Tomkins on the show twice (first full interview here and the second one here), and in both shows we dealt with the profound anti-evidence of fusion. In fact, as Dr. Tomkins has shown, the alleged fusion site in human chromosome 2 actually contains a non-coding gene which is involved in dozens of critical, life-sustaining processes(3). Miller has even acknowledged this FACT, yet in his response, mysteriously acts like this FACT doesn’t even exist.
Just like you cannot join two computer programs together to get a fully functioning operating system, you cannot simply join two chromosomes end to end, with half of a critical-for-life gene on one chromosome, and the other half on the other chromosome. It’s even more unbelievable when the two halves are written backwards to each other (they were allegedly joined end to end), and happened to join at just the exactly correct spot. This pushes the plausibility well beyond the breaking point. It is, flat out, impossible. You can read and/or watch all the reasons for this impossibility in the links above.
However in his response, Miller repeatedly cites multiple references all documenting different chromosomal fusion incidents in animals, as if chromosomal fusions are so common that it should come as no surprise that humans have a fused chromosome.
It is true that there have been many documented cases of chromosomal fusion, but without exception, NONE of them involved a telomere-to-telomere (end-to-end) fusion of two chromosomes. (go ahead, look up his references for yourself!) They all involved satellite DNA, basically a fusion involving the middle of a chromosome.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There have been telomere-to-telomere fusions which have been documented…. with just the minor problem of them all being FATAL to the organism! In particular, they cause cancers. This could hardly be called a beneficial change, nor could it be called evidence of evolution in action. Why would Miller fail to mention this in his response? He knows about these things, and the other fatal flaws in his chromosomal fusion argument because they’ve already been pointed out to him.
He also makes an erroneous comment in passing, claiming intelligent design is not testable.
“Could an all-powerful creator have created every transitional sequence we see in the fossil record so that they give an appearance of evolution over time? Of course, if that creator chose to give us a deceptive impression of natural history. Could such a creator have fashioned the genomes of every living organism so that they give an illusory picture of being related by descent with modification? Of course? … But that is exactly why ‘intelligent design’ and other such ideas are not science, because even if they were true, they would not be testable by scientific means.”
Leaving aside the flagrant straw man that I’m sure Mr. Miller did not intend (all of his alleged evidence of a fossil transitional sequence, genomic evidence for evolution, and the picture of being related by descent with modification, does not even exist!), intelligent design is a scientific tool that every single one of us use every single day. Even children use it. It is testable, repeatable, predictable.
Tell me: did this formation have a designer?
Did that designer use intelligent design to make the formation? It’s just rocks and sand, surely natural forces at play could make such a formation? If you say it had a designer, how do you know? Do you know who that designer is? If you don’t know who the designer is, nor how they made it, does that mean it had no designer?
Arguing this formation had no designer is the epitome of either stupidity, or willing ignorance (2 Peter 3:5, Psalm 14;1). I will go into more detail in a future post using this formation to demonstrate the relationship between physical laws, intelligent design, and evolution. For the moment, let us simply make the simple statement that you have just used the scientific tool of intelligent design to recognize something that was intelligently designed! Ironically, such an ability takes incredible intelligence.
The DNA is a program which instructs biological systems on how to build life. Just like a computer program had to have a designer (and that’s observable, repeatable, predictable – science dude!), as computer programs do not arise from natural processes like a hard disk drive crash (thermodynamics in action) or a lightning strike on the power lines (also thermodynamics in action). The DNA program requires an incredible, even supernatural origin. The DNA program only deteriorates – the opposite of upwards, onwards evolution.
You may not know who the DNA designer is, nor how they made it, but that’s irrelevant to whether the designer exists or not. That designer would be Jesus Christ, who obviously repaired a whole lot of DNA in raising the dead, and He Himself rising from the dead, demonstrating that He is indeed the author of life.
Weigh in: Why do you think Miller left out such information that I shared here?
1) Jerry Bergman and Jeffrey Tomkins, The chromosome 2 fusion model of human evolution—part 1: re-evaluating the evidence, JoC, Vol 25, iss 2, August 2011 http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-1
2) Jerry Bergman and Jeffrey Tomkins, The chromosome 2 fusion model of human evolution—part 2: re-analysis of the genomic data, JoC, Vol 25, iss 2, August 2011 http://creation.com/chromosome-2-fusion-2
3) Tompkins, J. P., Alleged Human Chromosome 2 “Fusion Site” Encodes an Active DNA Binding Domain Inside a Complex and Highly Expressed Gene—Negating Fusion, ARJ, 16 Oct 2013 https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-similarities/alleged-human-chromosome-2-fusion-site-encodes-an-active-dna-binding-domain-inside-a-complex-and-hig/
“There have been telomere-to-telomere fusions which have been documented…. with just the minor problem of them all being FATAL to the organism! In particular, they cause cancers …”.
It is unclear which of your three references make(s) that claim but I note that all three references are not from peer-reviewed science papers but from prominent young Earth creationist websites (with statements of faith that they adhere to). Incidentally cancer is not always fatal.
a) It’s in the references in the papers I provided. b) those are peer-reviewed science papers, in spite of what you would like to allege. Interestingly, those papers cite other, secular papers. c) yes it’s true cancer is not always fatal, but in these particular instances, they are. The telomere to telomere fusions were always fatal, and usually it was cancer causing.
The only peers were fellow YECs were they not?
No, not necessarily. I do know that at least with CRSQ they regularly send papers to evolutionary scientists for review. And even if they didn’t, what difference does it make? The reviewers are experts in their field, usually with at least a masters degree or a Phd. Peer review is peer review.
I was unaware of the CRSQ and what might happen before articles are published but CMI writers have to assent to this http://creation.com/about-us#what_we_believe and AiG writers have to assent to this https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/
The former says “The Noachian Flood was a significant geological event and much (but not all) fossiliferous sediment originated at that time”. The latter says “• The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.
•The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. The living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind. Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since creation.
•The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.”
That is the background to my opening comment.
I have skimmed the three papers you cite and the references they provide. Which reference (from a peer reviewed science journal rather than from a young earth creationist website/journal) concludes that telomere to telomere fusions have proven fatal to the organism concerned? All I can see is the phrase (mainly in the AiG paper I think) ‘highly degenerate’. The phrase appears to be partly used because of findings in this paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187548/ Although this paper may contain the sentence “If the fusion occurred within the telomeric repeat arrays less than ~6 Mya, why are the arrays at the fusion site so degenerate?” I can see nothing whatsoever in the paper’s Abstract which suggests that there have been telomere-to-telomere fusions (eg in human chromosome 2) which have been documented but with (using your words) “just the minor problem of them all being FATAL to the organism” (do you mean to an individual or to his or her species in the fullness of time).