Saturday, April 3, 2010

Common Misconceptions About Evolution

by Babu G. Ranganathan

There is a common misconception concerning evolution that continues to be perpetuated. For example, in November of 2004, articles appeared in major U.S. newspapers saying that running may have contributed to the evolution of man.

The simple fact is that physical traits and characteristics are determined and passed on by genes - not by running or any other form of exercise. Any physical changes from exercises that are performed do not affect the genes and will not be passed on. For example, you cannot pass on a sun tan to your offspring even if you could live thousands of years in a tropical country getting a nice dark tan under the hot blazing sun. Traits or characteristics which are acquired from the environment simply cannot be passed on to offspring (i.e. a woman who loses her finger will not cause her baby to be born with a missing finger; changing the color or texture of your hair will not affect the hair color or texture of your descendants, etc.)

Thus, even if an ape ever did learn to walk and run upright it still would not be able to pass on this trait to its offspring. Furthermore, only the changes that occur in the genes of reproductive cells ( i.e. sperm and egg) can be passed on to offspring. That is a simple fact of biology. Biological traits are produced by genes.

Apes, in fact, are quite comfortable in how they walk, just as humans are quite comfortable in how they walk. Even a slight change in the position of a muscle or bone, for either, would be excruciatingly painful and would not be an advantage for survival. There's no hard evidence that humans evolved from ape-like creatures anymore than there's hard evidence that apes evolved from four-legged-pawed dog-like creatures. All the fossils that have been used to support human evolution have been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not non-human and human (i.e. Neanderthal Man was discovered later to be fully human). Textbooks and museums still continue to display examples and illustrations supporting human evolution which most evolutionists have rejected and no longer support. Many diagrams of ape-man creatures over the years were reconstructed according to evolutionary interpretations from disputable bones that have now been discredited but still being taught in school textbooks. 

How come we find dark people as natives in tropical countries? Obviously those in humanity who inherited genes for dark skin migrated to warmer climates where their skin complexion was of greater help and aid to them.

Darwin was partially correct in showing that natural selection occurs in nature, but the problem is that natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection is a passive process in nature. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. Natural selection itself does not produce biological traits or variations.

The term "natural selection" is simply a figure of speech. Nature does not do any conscious or active selecting. What happens is, if a biological variation occurs which helps a species to survive in its environment then that survival is called being "selected." That's all that natural selection is.

A major problem for evolutionists is how could a partially-evolved plant and animal species have survived over, millions of years while their organs and tissues, especially vital organs and tissues, were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if their respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still incomplete and evolving? How were species fighting off possibly life-killing germs if their immune system hadn't evolved yet?

Imagine an evolving fish having part fins and part feet, with the fins evolving into feet. Where’s the survival advantage? It can’t use either fins or feet efficiently. These fish exist only on automobile bumper stickers!

All species in the fossil record are found complete and fully-formed, which is powerful evidence that they came into existence as complete and fully-formed from the beginning. This is only possible by creation.

The early grooves in the human embryo that appear to look like gills are really the early stages in the formation of the face, throat, and neck regions. The so-called "tailbone" is the early formation of the coccyx and spinal column which, because of the rate of growth being faster than the rest of the body at this stage, appears to look like a tail. The coccyx has already been proven to be useful in providing support for the pelvic muscles.

The evidence from genetics supports only the possibility for limited evolution (or micro-evolution) which is variations within biological "kinds" such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc., but not macro-evolution which is variations across biological "kinds", especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones (i.e. from sea sponge to human). Even if a new species develops but there are no new genes or traits, then there still is no real macro-evolution (variation across biological kinds) and the different species would remain within the same biological "kind" even though they would no longer have the ability to inter-breed. Unless Nature has the ability to perform genetic engineering vertical evolution will not be possible.

The genetic ability for micro-evolution exists in nature but not the genetic ability for macro-evolution. Unless Nature has the intelligence and ability to perform genetic engineering (to construct entirely new genes and not just to produce variations of already existing genes), macro-evolution will never be possible in nature. Variations across biological kinds such as humans evolving from ape-like creatures and apes, in turn, evolving from dog-like creatures and so on, as Darwinian evolutionary theory teaches, are not genetically possible.

Biological variations are determined by the DNA or genetic code of species. The DNA molecule is actually a molecular string of various nucleic acids which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters in a sentence. It is this sequence in DNA that tells cells in the body how to construct various tissues and organs.

The common belief among evolutionists is that random mutations in the genetic code over time, caused by radiation from the environment, will produce entirely new genes for entirely new traits which natural selection can use, resulting in entirely new species. It’s much like hoping that, if given enough time, randomly changing the sequence of letters in a cook book will turn the book into a romance novel, or a book on astronomy!

Mutations are accidental changes in the the genetic code caused by random environmental forces such as radiation. There's a good reason why we protect ourselves from radiation! Mutations, like earthquakes, are destructive, not constructive. A single mutation may not be destructive, but if enough mutations accumulate the species will be in danger of extinction, not progressive evolution. Even if a good mutation, or accident, occurred for every good one there will be thousands of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species. Most biological variations, however, are the result of new combinations of already existing existing genes and not mutations.

At best, mutations simply produce new variations of already existing traits. For example, mutations in the gene for human hair may change the gene so that another type of human hair develops, but the mutations won't change the gene so that feathers or wings develop.

Sometimes mutations may trigger the duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, or even an entire head, even in another area of the body!). But mutations have no ability to produce entirely new traits or characteristics.

What about “Junk DNA”? The latest science shows that "Junk DNA” isn't junk after all! It's we who were ignorant of how useful these segments of DNA really are. Recent scientific research published in scientific journals such as Nature has revealed that the "non-coding" segments of DNA are more than just useful; they are vital in regulating gene expression (i.e. how, when, and where) genes are expressed.

As for repetitive structures in DNA, they're not junk either. They may have a “back-up” purpose, like a spare tire in car, which the organism can utilize should it lose genetic material due to damage from random mutations caused by environmental forces.

Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot arise by chance, so it is far more logical to believe that the DNA and biological similarities between species are due to a common Designer rather than common ancestry through evolution by way of random mutations. The Creator simply designed similar functions for similar purposes in all the various forms of life.

DNA similarities within a true species can be used to establish relationship because within a true species the various individuals can interbreed, but this not the case across true species. Therefore, similarities across true species cannot be used for establishing biological relationships.

Young people, and even adults, often wonder how all the varieties or "races" of people could come from the same original human ancestors. Well, in principle, that's no different than asking how children with different color hair ( i.e., blond, brunette, brown, red) can come from the same parents who both have black hair.

Just as some individuals today carry genes to produce descendants with different color hair and eyes, humanity's first parents, Adam and Eve, possessed genes to produce all the variety and races of men. You and I today may not carry the genes to produce every variety or race of humans, but humanity's first parents did possess such genes.

All varieties of humans carry genes for the same basic traits, but not all humans carry every possible variation of those genes. For example, one person may be carrying several variations of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown, green, blue), but someone else may be carrying only one variation of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown). Thus, both will have different abilities to affect the eye color of their offspring.

Some parents with black hair, for example, are capable of producing children with blond hair, but their blond children (because they inherit only recessive genes) will not have the ability to produce children with black hair unless they mate with someone else who has black hair. If the blond descendants only mate with other blondes then the entire line and population will only be blond even though the original ancestor was black-haired.

In reality there is only one race - the human race - within which exists myriad variations and permutations.

Science cannot prove we're here by creation, but neither can science prove we're here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support.

What we believe about life's origins does influence our philosophy and value of life as well as our view of ourselves and others. This is no small issue!

Just because the laws of science can explain how life and the universe operate and work doesn't mean there is no Maker. Would it be rational to believe that there's no designer behind airplanes because the laws of science can explain how airplanes operate and work?

Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws can never fully explain the origin of such order.

There is, of course, much more to be said on this subject. Scientist, creationist, debater, writer, and lecturer, Dr. Walt Brown covers various scientific issues ( i.e. fossils, "transitional" links, biological variation and diversity, the origin of life, comparative anatomy and embryology, the issue of vestigial organs, the age of the earth, etc.) at greater depth on his website at

On his website, Dr. Brown even discusses the possibility of any remains of life on Mars as having originated from the Earth due to great geological disturbances in the Earth's past which easily could have spewed thousands of tons of rock and dirt containing microbes into space. In fact, A Newsweek article of September 21, 1998, p.12 mentions exactly this possibility.

An excellent source of information from highly qualified scientists who are creationists is the Institute for Creation Research ( in San Diego, California. Also, the reader may find answers to many difficult questions concerning the Bible (including questions on creation and evolution, Noah's Ark, how dinosaurs fit into the Bible, etc.) at and

It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design or creation be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory, especially in public schools which receive funding from taxpayers who are on both sides of the issue. Also, no one is being forced to believe in God or adopt a particular religion so there is no true violation of separation of church and state. As a religion and science writer, I encourage all to read my Internet article "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at my website for more in-depth study of the issue.