Neo-Darwinian Theory Fails the Mutation Test

Darwin’s original conception of simple-to-complex evolution maintained that nature selected certain individuals with superior features, and in this way gradually, one tiny feature at a time, an entirely different creature could eventually form.

The source of new features or feature fragments for nature to select, however, eluded evolutionists for decades. To answer this, the Geological Society of America in 1941 formulated a new version of Darwinian evolution. They decided that genetic mutations should be considered the source of new information for nature to select, and thus the Neo-Darwinian Theory was born.

Since that time, however, science has revealed that mutations have fallen far short of the lofty accomplishments ascribed to them. A survey of mutation-related news from just the first few months of 2009 clearly demonstrates their grim, deleterious reality:

  • One mutation was found to guarantee heart disease.1
  • Certain mutations increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.2
  • A mutation that enables rats to resist rodent poison was found to be the likely cause of both bone disease and vascular calcification in rats. In humans, it is quite likely that a similar mutation causes the same diseases.3
  • Another mutation leads to a brain disease called acute necrotizing encephalopathy.4
  • “Fatal Familiar Insomnia…prevents the patient getting to sleep…and…, after a number of months thus, causes death. [It is] caused by the D178N mutation.”5
  • A mutation that produces a difference of a single amino acid in an enzyme (out of approximately 150 in its protein) was found to be a likely cause of the mysterious “sudden collapse” condition in healthy athletes.6
  • Mayo clinic researchers are looking for the mutation that contributes to restless leg syndrome.7

Mutations have been implicated in technical journals as causative agents in autism, brain cancer, some migraines, breast cancer, the devastating neurodegenerative disease pontocerebellar hypoplasia, fatal lung disease, and many more ills—just since January 2009.

If mutations really generate new and useful information systems, then mutation-related news should be reporting more benefit-causing mutations. Deleterious mutations clearly and vastly outpace any beneficial candidates. Given time, more harmful mutations accumulate, leading eventually to extinction, not evolutionary progress.8

The relentless supply of news shows exactly what the Bible says: This is a temporarily sin-cursed world that is full of decay and death. But the Bible also reveals what the news does not: Death will not have the final word.9


  1. The worst luck in the world? The heart disease mutation carried by 60 million. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute press release, January 18, 2009, reporting the publication of Dhandapany, P. S. et al. 2009. A common MYBPC3 (cardiac myosin binding protein C) variant associated with cardiomyopathies in South Asia. Nature Genetics. 41: 187-191.
  2. Gene Mutations Increase Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer. Albert Einstein College of Medicine press release, January 29, 2009, reporting the publication of Agalliu, I. et al. 2009. Associations of High-Grade Prostate Cancer with BRCA1 and BRCA2 Founder Mutations. Clinical Cancer Research. 15: 1112-1120.
  3. Williams, M. Rats bring riches in research on disease. Rice News. Posted on February 18, 2009, reporting publication of Kohn, M. H., R. E. Price, and H-J. Pelz. 2008. A cardiovascular phenotype in warfarin-resistant Vkorc1 mutant rats. Artery Research. 2 (4): 138-147.
  4. Genetic Mutation Causes Familial Susceptibility for Degenerative Brain Disease. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center press release, January 6, 2009, reporting publication of Neilson, D. E. et al. 2009. Infection-Triggered Familial or Recurrent Cases of Acute Necrotizing Encephalopathy Caused by Mutations in a Component of the Nuclear Pore, RANBP2. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 84 (1): 44-51.
  5. Study on origin of mutation that causes Fatal Familiar Insomnia. Basque Research press release, January 7, 2009.
  6. Meder, B. et al. 2009. A Single Serine in the Carboxyl Terminus of Cardiac Essential Myosin Light Chain-1 Controls Cardiomyocyte Contractility In Vivo. Circulation Research. 104: 650-659.
  7. Mayo Clinic Researchers Suspect a Novel Gene is Causing Restless Legs Syndrome in a Large Family. Mayo Clinic press release, February 3, 2009, reporting publication of Young, J. E. et al. 2009. Clinical and Genetic Description of a Family With a High Prevalence of Autosomal Dominant Restless Legs Syndrome. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 84 (2): 134-138.
  8. Sanford, J. et al. 2008. Mendel’s Accountant: A New Population Genetics Simulation Tool for Studying Mutation and Natural Selection. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, and Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 87-98. 
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:54, 57: “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory…. thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on March 27, 2009.

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