An Evolution Conversation with My Father

A while back, I mentioned what I believe to be two major hurdles to the Theory of Evolution: reproduction & ingestion/excretion. That post sparked a conversation between my dad and me this past Sunday.

Dad had recently finished reading a book about evolution, but I’m not sure if it had any direct bearing on his thoughts during the conversation. He told me that the meaning of genetic information did not have to evolve or develop. Like gravity, genetic meaning is inherent to the system which is the universe.

Because the meaning is pre-established, no process need be credited with producing it. In other words, evolution results in meaningful genetic sequences at opportune periods, not the “meaning” itself. For example, the code for how my face looks has always existed — the genes which result in the shape of my nose, color of my eyes, hair line, etc., could be traced back to the earliest microbes, though they would have been quite useless to a face-less organism and have gone unexpressed. Similarly, genes relating to sexual reproduction would have gone unexpressed within an asexual microbe.

However, meaning being inherent does not take away the sheer unlikelihood that chemicals would ever become organized in such a way as to express that meaning in the form of life. Factor in accounting for reproduction & ingestion/excretion and the complexities which accompany them into the equation, and I don’t see how anyone who has eyes to see could think life is the result of random chance.

Consider this comparison: According to one source,:”″: humans have approximately 30,000 genes; the Holy Bible contains a little over 31,000 verses.

The Bible, like the genetic code, has meaning. When genes are arranged in certain ways, that meaning is expressed. Likewise, when verses are arranged in particular order, chapters, books, and whole Testaments are expressed.

There are about 5.35×10125,771 ways to arrange the verses of Scripture. Assuming 13.7 billion years as the age of the universe,:””: it is unlikely that the proper order of the Scriptures would ever be arrived at unless an intelligence was guiding the process. Given all the time in the history of the universe, one would have to test a different arrangement of the Scriptures every 8×10-125,754 seconds in order to account for all possible arrangements, the only sure way of arriving at the correct one just one time.:”(This is assuming approximately 4×10^17 seconds have elapsed since the beginning of the universe.)”:

Now, I realize that there are many different genetic sequences which have meaning — there’s a sequence for all the varieties of plants, countless insects, microbes, fishes, and so on. I do, however, want everyone to see the sheer amount of complexity inherent in being a human. Only an intelligence as immense as God’s could have formed us.

I would also like to point out that because an increase in genetic information has never been observed — indeed, things tend toward disorder — the primordial “first life” microbe must have contained all possible genetic information to pass it along to all future life on earth. In other words, the apparent evolution of species would then become a definite devolution of genetic information from our genetically more complex ancestors. Negative mutation, extinctions, specializations, isolations, and so on all result in a net loss of genetic information in the collective gene pool with no source of fresh material in sight.

If, on the other hand, the primordial first life had only a small portion of the total genes observed today, where did the increase come from? Random mutations? That would be akin to running one of Shakespeare’s sonnets through an algorithm thousands upon thousands of times, inserting and removing characters in small amounts randomly, and eventually stopping the program only to find Hamlet where once there was a sonnet.

I apologize if I’m over simplifying, but I am trying to understand the concepts here. Evolution comes off as very unfeasible to me, especially when the exact opposite — a net loss of genetic information — is what we can see and observe in nature. Is that not what true science is — observation?

7 thoughts on “An Evolution Conversation with My Father”

  1. Just because something is counter-intuitive does not make is less true. The basic premise that you started with is incorrect ie our genetic ancestors did not include all our existing genes. Evolution states that all living things have a common ancestor. Clearly as we ‘progress’ down the genetic tree and different branches split off we can observe massive differences in genetic structure. Now we have sequenced entire genomes we can see that the genetic information contained in a fruit fly is significantly less than in a human.

    Your example regarding throwing the components of the bible up in the air and the completed product landing is frequently used by evangelical preachers to dishonestly ( I am quite sure they are aware that they are basically misleading those who listen ) argue against evolution. Natural Selection is the exact opposite of random. When something works it stays i.e. it does not get remixed in the next generation if it leads to survival then it stays.

    To put it another way:
    (From )

    ” Mathematically, it is inconceivable that anything as complex as a protein, let alone a living cell or a human, could spring up by chance.”

    Chance plays a part in evolution (for example, in the random mutations that can give rise to new traits), but evolution does not depend on chance to create organisms, proteins or other entities. Quite the opposite: natural selection, the principal known mechanism of evolution, harnesses nonrandom change by preserving “desirable” (adaptive) features and eliminating “undesirable” (nonadaptive) ones. As long as the forces of selection stay constant, natural selection can push evolution in one direction and produce sophisticated structures in surprisingly short times.

    As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence “TOBEORNOTTOBE.” Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613 sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases more like Hamlet’s). On average, the program re-created the phrase in just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it could reconstruct Shakespeare’s entire play in just four and a half days.

    You have to stop thinking of things as having a ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’. There is no such thing and I don’t think you will really grasp this till you step back from all the preconceptions you are looking at this problem through.

    You really need to read the whole of this article

    as it answers most of the questions you raise.

    Good luck

    ps thanks for the help with phpbb and spam

  2. I’ll post a fuller response later, but I like your last paragraph:

    You have to stop thinking of things as having a ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’. There is no such thing and I don’t think you will really grasp this till you step back from all the preconceptions you are looking at this problem through.

    If nothing has meaning or purpose, why do people spend so much time trying to convince people of evolution? Seems to me that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

  3. Just because our being here is down to chance does not stop us deciding what is and is not important. Similarly, just because we are ruled by Darwinian process and exist because of them does not mean that we should accept this as conscious beings. As Richard Dawkins states we should be looking to create an anti-dawinian, darwinian society. We are free to make these choices and control our own destiny and not be ruled by the processes that put us here.

  4. Andy,

    I took some time and read through 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense, but I’m sorry to say there was nothing in there I haven’t already heard. Many of the arguments many Creationists use I know to be bogus, which is why whenever I do decide to speak about evolution here, I tend not to simply repeat the same ol’ stuff. Perhaps what I did say is some of the same, but I confess, I’ve never heard it elsewhere before.

    Further, it should be noted that I never post anything here that I’m not willing to be checked or rebuked on. I welcome admonishment, so please do not think I’m closed minded or anything of that nature. While I’m not a credentialed scientist, science has always been near and dear to me, ever since winning the science fair in the 4th grade. (Three cheers for moldy bread!)

    But yes, like I said, I’ve heard the 15 Answers thing before, some from my dad, others from various other sources, and some from my own reasonings.

    However, even if I wanted to make the mental assent to evolution and an atheistic universe, I could not. Experience constrains me, for I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. He is more real to me than the keyboard beneath my fingertips, and I could no more deny Him than I could deny my very own existence.

    So while I’m more than happy to learn about evolution, I can promise you that my mind cannot be changed on the matter.

    Like you said in your previous post, if we’re free to have our own choices and destinies and such, I’m well on my way with mine. Will you continue to criticize me for it?

  5. “However, even if I wanted to make the mental assent to evolution and an atheistic universe”

    An evolutionary perspective does not preclude god.

  6. Perhaps not, but it certainly precludes the God who “in six days … made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).

    Because there is only “one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5), to preclude the existence of the God of Moses would be to preclude the existence of any god at all.

    Though I do confess to speaking from a distinctly biblical perspective.

  7. Charles Nobody

    As a person whose frame of reference is so unscientific and who is the head of the slow leaner’s class, but, who has read Darwin’s “Recaptiulation and Conclusions,” it seems chock full of generalizations, what might have been or what may be later determined to be true, all used to support his theory. But, no more than the acceptance of Genesis creation. And if a scientific theory is one tested to verifiable conclusions, such hardly seems to be the case with his encapsulization of billions of years into a process of thought that it must have been that way.

    He passed when he was 73, published when he was 59 and somewhere I read his work amounted to some 20 years of research on his treatise. And, this amounts to an acceptance of rules of engagement for the war between Naturalizm and Theology?

    Using the evidentiary rule of law for experts to be qualified to testify on a given subject, it seems that legally acceptable evidence of natural evolution would be just as shy of proof as legal evidence of “God Made.”

    It would be interesting to hear/read something related to the argument other than those of the God persuasion or the Natural persuasion calling each other looney.

    And, I would like to hear/read how the process of photosynthesis evolved whereby the plant kingdom became dependant on the animal and the animal on the plant. Perhaps that is too simple.

    Thanks for indulgences, if any.


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