(by Bruce Malone, used with permission)
Darwin’s original theory of evolution included the idea that environmental changes could cause structural changes to occur in plants and animals. He also postulated that these acquired characteristics could be transmitted to offspring. In other words, a horse-like animal, by stretching its neck to reach the leaves in a tree, would be at an advantage if it had a longer neck. So after a life time of using its body in this way, it might develop a longer neck and would pass on this characteristic (which was acquired during its lifetime) to its offspring. This original belief, known as Lamarckism, has been shown false and has been replaced by the belief that mutations are the driving force behind evolution.
Mutations are mistakes made during the transfer of information from the genes of one generation to the next (birth defects are examples of these.) Believers in evolution postulate that if these mistakes are beneficial to the animal it will give the mutated animal an advantage, and natural selection will then preferentially select these animals for survival. Although this belief seems logical, it does not fit reality.
Mutations are mistakes which have never produced a long term benefit. Even examples of “beneficial” mutations, such as sickle cell anemia (a fatal disease which imparts a resistance to malaria) do not create new features or improve overall survivability. One hundred years of experimentation has shown that mutations cannot develop new organisms or even cause useful changes to existing organisms. This is because mutations never add useful information. They are exactly analogous to random misspellings in a book. Therefore this mechanism for evolution, even in combination with natural selection, fails to explain how new functional structures could arise.
During the last century, millions of fruit flies have been irradiated in laboratory experiments to observe the effect of mutations. The mutation rate has been increased by as much as 15,000 times.1 The results of this experiment simulate millions of years of evolutionary progress. What has resulted are big-winged, small-winged, wrinkled-winged, and no-winged fruit flies; large-bodied, small-bodied, and no-bodied fruit flies; red-eyed, speckled-eyed, leg-in-place of eye fruit flies; many bristled or no bristled fruit flies; but mainly dead or sterile fruit flies. In conclusion, researchers began with fruit flies and end up with…well…fruit flies – defective ones.
Furthermore, after several generations, even changes in the number of bristles on the irradiated fruit flies reverted back to the original number.2 No new organ or useful functioning feature has ever developed.
The belief that mutations could slowly change an animal into some other animal is analogous to believing that an old vacuum tube black and white television could be changed into a color liquid crystal monitor by throwing random parts at it. The impacts will definitely produce changes (given the quality of current TV shows it could even be argued that these changes would be beneficial), but they certainly will not change the unit into a color TV.
In the same way, mutations may produce changes, and it is remotely possible that some may be beneficial, but they will not change an organism into some other type of organism. For that to happen, useful information would have to be added to the DNA of the creature. This simply is not going to happen as a result of random mutations.
It would seem that this commonly accepted evolutionary mechanism (mutations) has serious flaws which are seldom reported to students or to the general public.
1. E.J. Gardner, Principles of Genetics, (N.Y.: Wily, 1964) p. 180.
2. N. MacBeth, “The Question: Darwinism Revisited”, Yale Review, June, 1967, p. 622.