Molecular History Research Center

There are obvious differences between the Creation and Evolution paradigms. One important difference is the understanding of how entropy fits in the puzzle of our origins. As usual, it seems, creationary and evolutionary science goes in opposite directions. The Creationist sees our whole Biosphere as increasing in entropy since Creation. The Evolutionist on the other hand, sees that the increase in entropy does not have to proceed if outside energy is added to the system constructively, thus allowing useful work to be done.

So Evolutionists see that entropy can decrease when constructive energy from the sun is used to enable new species to form (I'm simplifying the process in this statement). Creationists do not see any constructive energy being utilized to form new species. Rather, Creationists view life in general, on our planet, as running down hill from its original position of functionality. Yes, genetic drift probably does occur, but when the selection process helps the survivors, I do not see how entropy would ultimately decrease in the process.

The presence of pseudogenes can be explained within both paradigms, whether entropy is increasing or decreasing. It does seem, however, that creationists and evolutionists alike seem to ignore the very real possibility that entropy should be a major phenomenon in creationary science. If the presence of an increasing level of entropy is not a feature in creation models, then it would be extremely hard to explain the presence of pseudogenes in the face of an infinite and knowledgeable God.

In doing this research, it was never my goal to show that the evolutionary position was unworkable. That goal with our present level of knowledge, would be extremely hard to guarantee. So I will spend my time working within the creationary paradigm to see if an explanation is possible using its set of rules.

Only after I provide some new answers to the serious problems that presently face creationary scientists in the area of pseudogenes, will I then start to compare the positions of the two paradigms with my new data. Of course, the alternative must also be realized. If I fail then I must face the music with the realization that either I am not up to the challenge, or, that creationary reasoning does not presently work with our present level of knowledge on this problem.

So, let's explore this problem from within the Creationary paradigm. If the Creationist's view is correct, that all life forms on this planet are becoming more degenerate, then we would expect to see a loss of genetic function. A functional loss could be exhibited in a number of ways. One possible outcome would be an accumulation of genes which no longer work. Non-working or non-functional genes could be generated when either the control mechanism or the actual gene itself is damaged through some mutation process. Another possibility would be to produce genes which are only partially defective, generating a less suitable gene. Either the control or the actual gene would be less effective than what was originally created.

We would expect the degeneration of the genetic information to be reflected in the phenotype of individuals as well. If a change results in a defective gene that is essential for survival, it would result in either death or severe sickness in an individual, possibly a stillborn death. Other less severe changes, would collectively help to produce individuals who are less able to survive and adapt to changes in the environment.

An alternate possibility is seen in the phenomenon known as Island Speciation, where the sampling error within small numbers of progeny causes rapid loss of genetic variability. This situation causes rapid speciation (within a few years) in organisms that once could survive in a variety of habitats but now are only able to survive in one place with very specific attributes. There seems to be a trade-off between increasing the survivability of a species to live in a specific locality, and being able to adapt to future changes in the environment.

This trade-off found in the Island Speciation example can also be seen in all the animals of the world whose ancestors came from Noah's Ark. If we can assume that the animals in the Ark populated the whole world; then, it would be logical to conclude that each type of animal found in the Ark is the ancestor of many species throughout the whole world today (unless, all it's progeny has died out, thus becoming extinct). We might also expect that the original "types" (animal types) who rode the Ark in the global flood, whose progeny has become many different species in today's world, were much more able to cope with the changes in the environment than today's generation of animals.

In today's world, man is often destroying habitats that contain animals, etc., that fill small finely tuned niches. Once that habitat is destroyed, the animals, etc., die. These animals are no longer able to adapt to the kind of changes in the environment that their predecessors had faced.

Animal types or species are able to adapt to changes in their environment. However, there is a limit to their ability to adapt thus they become unfit. When they reach that limit that group becomes extinct. Evolution of course suggests that genetic drift through the mutation process, increases genetic variability. Thus it is thought to reverse the lessening of variability found in the gene pool of a population due to the selective pressure of speciation. Genetic drift is thought to even reverse the increase of entropy that is expected in closed systems.

The evidence is lacking; however, to show that new genes do arise from genetic drift to such an extent that the increase of entropy is reversed. It is true that Creationists believe that genes change and that genetic drift occurs. However, to actually produce a greater level of "order" or "design" from random interactions (thus decreasing entropy) is what causes Creationists to object.

The ability to distinguish between the two positions, however, is not yet testable. The data must be extrapolated to support either position.

Biblical Clues of Man's Degeneration

Man also would have become less capable of doing things. Maybe today, he is much weaker. At one time he could have had a much higher intelligence. Maybe, before the flood, he was not subject to as many types of diseases.

Has man really degenerated from some original energetic level to what we are today? Is there any evidence showing that man has lost his original level of vitality? Unfortunately recorded history does not go back far enough to determine whether man today is a lesser degenerate form of God's creation. But if we, at least for now, assume that the Bible is a true record of history, we might look in it for finding clues of man's past.

The description of the degeneration of man is described in the Bible through a genealogy of the early generations, which are found in Genesis 5:1-32; 9:28-29; and 11:10-32. In these verses, Moses describes the life-spans of the generations as decreasing very rapidly following the flood. In fact, the change was dramatic! Certain generations outlived their progeny for several generations.

If we take the data as being valid, we must ask the question: Why did the change happen all at once? Why not a gradual process? The questions concerning this quick change was so interesting that I constructed a chart showing when and how long each person lived. (If you choose to view one of these links you will need to select the "BACK TO PREVIOUS PAGE" button on your browser to get back to this page.)

If the expected life-span of man actually decreased as described in the Bible, then what could have caused it? Is the change an ecological change or is there some genetic change in man himself? Looking again at the Early Time Chart we see that several generations were actually living concurrently; Yet, there was still a progressive decrease in life-span. It seems obvious that there is something more that caused the change than just an ecological factor. An ecological factor would affect all the generations in the same manner. Instead, what we see is some sort of progressive damage that was passed down from generation to generation.

DNA is the prime suspect. The information stored in the DNA is used to guide and control the activities of each cell. It is also what is transferred from generation to generation. The DNA itself must have gone through some corruption process thus weakening the generations and drastically reducing their life-span. This decrease is not a minor adjustment of a few years, it entails an order of magnitude of change. Today we expect to live anywhere from 60 to 90 years on average. This is in marked contrast to the life of Noah who lived 950 years. If these figures are correct; then, we are a mere shadow of what man once was.


So, assuming the Biblical scenario for the moment, let's ask the question: What could have caused man's dramatic change? One possible answer may be found in Pseudogenes. Pseudogenes are apparent genes which are deficient in some way thus not allowing them to function as genes. Some think of them as defective genes however there are others who feel that there is reason to hold off on pronouncing Pseudogenes as being defective genes. It is felt that one day a function may be found for Pseudogenes.

The following link will introduce you to the controversy surrounding Pseudogenes from a creationist's perspective. Not only are Pseudogenes found throughout our DNA but many of them are found in exactly the same positions as in other organisms such as the chimpanzee. Having the same Pseudogenes at the same positions in different species is a real problem for Creationists since Pseudogenes apparently cannot be selected. They apparently do not function and thus would be classified as "junk DNA" by many evolutionists who assert that the presence of the same Pseudogenes in different species is evidence for the existence of some common ancestor. If Pseudogenes do not have a function than why do they seem to be preserved in the same manner across different species? (Select "PREVIOUS PAGE" on your browser to get back to this page.)

The Data Could Lead to Three Possibilities:

1. We could use evolution as the mechanism to explain the common existence of Pseudogenes. A common ancestor would explain why our Pseudogenes are so similar to the chimpanzee. Unfortunately science is unable to prove positions absolutely, especially positions that deal with historical data. So we will continue to depend on assumptions to determine which of the options are more correct. No matter what position we take, we will have to depend on assumptions that are based on our philosophy or beliefs of origins. But we must not forget that, at least for the present, the evolutionary solution does seem to answer the problem.

2. Dr. Gibson's caution proves to be well founded and a function for the Pseudogenes is discovered. If Pseudogenes have a purpose; then, their presence cannot represent a corruption of DNA code. So we would have to look elsewhere for an answer to the degradation of man. At least the existence of the same Pseudogenes at the same positions in different species could be explained by having the original Genesis kinds be similar in design.

Some Pseudogenes have an extremely large number of differences from its functioning counter parts. These might be argued, due to a lack of knowledge, that there could be some unknown function. However, some Pseudogenes only have a very low number of differences. These examples would be harder to explain. Their structure is essentially that of a gene. They have all the characteristics of a functioning gene except for a few positions.

3. No function for Pseudogenes in their present form is ever discovered. Pseudogenes would then be suspected as being defective genes which have contributed to the degradation of man. A very serious problem however would be to explain the presence of similar Pseudogenes in different species. The absence of a mechanism to produce very similar Pseudogenes in a parallel process is the source of the headache for Creationists. It was the realization of this problem that originally caused some to wonder whether Pseudogenes could have a function after all.

Pseudogenes From an Evolutionary context

An extremely well written review article concerning pseudogenes and the creation/evolution controversy surrounding these pseudogenes has been submitted by Dr. Max. His paper is published right on the internet and you can get to it by clicking the link below. (Select "PREVIOUS PAGE" on your browser to get back to this page.)

His paper is much larger in scope than Dr. Gibson's paper and you will gain a well rounded background to the pseudogene controversy by reading it. In spite of his strong evolutionary position, I am surprised at how similar our viewpoints actually are. In addition, he has put together material that one can only do if they have been in the field for a long time. Yet we do differ on the type of answer that will eventually solve the problem. I think you will enjoy the paper, read it.

On his front page you will see references to other creationists who have tried to counter Max's position. Unfortunately, they have done a rather poor job. I think that a lot of "standard answers" that creationists use need to be modified or changed as knowledge increases. If our answers do not answer the problem, then we need to acknoledge it! It is only when we see the weakness in our answers will we ever get better answers.

We also need to be especially sensitive to new possibilities as hinted in recent scientific discoveries that fit with the Bible. Often what scientists espouse as being strong evidence for evolution also can fit in creationary thinking as well!

Pseudogenes From an Creationary context

Look forward to seeing updates at this web site on future Pseudogene research.

I have been looking at some interesting patterns found in Pseudogenes. Their presence suggests some very interesting possibilities. I am presently gathering funds to pay for the services of a statistician so that the work can be completed. Only when something is published will it be reported on this web page. However, At that time there will be a flood of information that will be added to this site. There will be a greater depth of data and information available to you on this site than is possible in a pithy scientific paper. Michael E. Brown 11/17/98

The following letter and my answer illustrates the direction my research is taking me.
Michael E. Brown 3/17/99

Dear Mike,

This came on the asa net. Do you have an explanation ?

Hi list,

Dick Fischer's ORIGIN'S SOLUTION mentions the dreaded endogenous retroviral sequence common to both chimp and human DNA as a strong lobbyist for common descent. Anybody have any other reasonable explanation?

(Name withheld)

Hi ,

This is an extremely important question that Creationists have to face. It is exactly the same question that I sought to answer with my research on Pseudogenes. In my talk at Andrews University, I introduced the idea of "Common Mechanism" as an alternative to "Common Descent". I also discussed evidence that shows "Common Mechanism" is being a possible answer to the origin of the many common sequences found in different species.

The common sequences that have given us problems in the past are sequences that don't seem to have a function for the organism. Common sequences that are easily identified as being functional, can easily be explained as existing because God designed them in the same way. I don't like the term "Common Designer, " because it has connotations of a deficient God who designs different animals in the same way because he is running out of ideas, or because it is too much effort to redesign the different animals.

A rocket designer designs a rocket. It works. Now he is asked to design a larger rocket. What he does is to use what he has already learned from his previous experience to save on effort and time. His larger rocket is going to look much like the smaller one. That is what Common Designer means. It takes too much effort not to use what has already be done before.

The question is, do we want to say the same thing about God? Is God designing the various animals in such a similar fashion because it would be too much effort to completely design a completely different design? Like the rocket designer?

I don't think so. I think this is our chance to start looking for alternative ideas. Instead of thinking of God as a designer, maybe we should think of Him as an artist (well, maybe both). If we go into a new house, maybe Mexican style, we might expect the whole house to have common features throughout. We would expect to see various artistic themes throughout the whole house. Also we would expect to see various differences in the house that is due to artistic variations of the Mexican themes found in the house.

I might expect God to have created the Earth in the same way. The animals (and plants) have many common features which I attribute as being artistic themes. Also, all one has to do is to look at a comparative anatomy text book to see the artistic variations of themes God has placed in this world.

I might expect the same artistic theme aspect of God's creation to be as deep as the very molecules we are made of. This could also include proteins and DNA.

I introduced this whole issue in my talk at Andrews.

back to the other issue. . .

The b-hemoglobin Pseudogene is a excellent example of a functionless portion of the genome. Yet the same Pseudogene is found in different species (only 6 differences between human and chimp in the whole sequence!).

Why are they there? Maybe there is some sort of function. The problem is that function has been sought by many for a number of years. Nothing yet has surfaced. Of course this is an open ended search. Jim Gibson by the way, wrote an article supporting the idea that there must be some purpose that is yet undiscovered. His article is on the internet in the Geoscience web pages.

The other possibility is that there is no function. That the sequence is what it looks like, defective. Many say that the presence of the b-hemoglobin Pseudogene is very strong evidence for a common ancestor. Human, Chimp, Gorilla, Monkeys (both new and old world), Baboon, etc., all have virtually the same Pseudogene. (However as more species are compared, the differences also increase as well)

In my yet unpublished work, (don't spread my research around yet) I see evidence for the existence of either viral or enzymatic activity that creates mutations.

So I think there is a mechanistic process that has produced many of the Pseudogenes that we have, rather than a random process. If the Pseudogene is truly defective and if the mutations are truly found in patterns (not random), then the idea that it's a common mechanism is possible. Viruses have enzymes that, under the same conditions, do repeatable reactions.

If the DNA in Humans, Chimps, Monkeys, etc., are very similar, then if they are all infected by the same virus, would we expect the virus to do the same thing in the different species? I think so.

The "dreaded endogenous retroviral sequence common to both chimp and human DNA" is probably the major example of Common Mechanism. Viral enzymes (proteins) react with specific DNA sequences. If both chimp and human DNA have the same active sites, I would expect the viral proteins to react in the same exact way to both human and chimp.

Common descent or common Ancestor is not the only answer.

Yours in Christ


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WebMaster: Michael Brown

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 by Michael Brown all rights reserved
Officially posted June 19, 1998
last revised July 9, 2000

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