How much did God affect evolution?


How do detrimental and neutral mutations fit into this picture?


Detrimental mutattions?

God allowing detrimental mutations or God inflicting suffering all humanity and creation because of the sin of adam and eve.
Which is the better picture of God?

I think a God who gives the universe a large measure of freedom, even the freedom that can lead to detrimental things, a better picture of God than a God who inflicts pain on all creation ever after the sin of one couple (that is what Genesis 3 implies)


Would that include the freedom to produce beneficial mutations? Are beneficial, detrimental, and neutral mutations all the product of the same freedoms that God instilled in the universe?


Yes detrimental mutations are part of the freedom the universe must have if it is to be free.


Are beneficial mutations also a part of that freedom?

(Chris) #26

Most (all?) beneficial mutations are actually defects. E.g. human adult lactose tolerance, sickle cell trait, antibiotic and insecticide resistance.


What about the DNA sequence differences that separate chimps and humans? Are those beneficial or defects?


Lactase persistence gave humans the ability to exploit a food source (milk from dairy animals) into adulthood. The sickle cell gene protects a carrier of a single copy of it from malaria. Both are beneficial.

(Laura) #29

Sounds like the “beneficial” and “detrimental” labels depend a lot on the organism’s environment.

(Randy) #30

@aarceng Chris, a local biology teacher suggested to me a really neat book called “Survival of the Sickest” that gave me some more insight here. It’s quite an easy read–starts with talking about hemochromatosis in the author’s grandfather that may have been linked not only to survival of the plagues in Europe, but also caused memory loss in this beloved man. She used it because her young earth students felt more comfortable with this one than with some of the more stridently pro-evolution books. If you get a chance to read it, I’d like to hear what you think.



(George Brooks) #32


The sickle cell trait is a perfect example!

Populations exposed to centuries of malaria benefit by the moderate presence of the sickle cell gene.

I am not able to say what the optimun incidence would be.


Having one copy of this gene protects a person from malaria. This is a good example of what is called heterozygous advantage. It isn’t exactly clear how the protection works but there are multiple hypotheses on the table. Having two copies of this gene gives you sicle-cell disease. Not good.

(Chris) #34

Yes, that’s what I said.

I believe that the sickle cell trait does not exceed ~18%. At that point the benefits = detriments.

Both Adult Lactose Tolerance and Sickle Cell Trait are examples of genetic defects that in certain environments have a beneficial effect; ALT when milk is available as a food source. and SCT in malarial areas.


Lactase persistence is not a defect.

(Chris) #36

Incorrect. It’s beneficial but it is due to a genetic defect.
In all mammals including ~50% humans lactaze is produced only during the period when the infant is feeding on mother’s milk. After this lactaze production is a waste of resources and is turned off. A genetic defect (broken switch) leaves this turned on and is beneficial only when milk from other animals is a continuing food source.

(Chris) #37

So yes, hemochromatosis is a defect which might in some circumstances be beneficial.
I’ll see if I can find that book in the library.


What about the DNA differences that separate chimps and humans? Surely some of those are beneficial to either chimps or humans, are they not?


It’s not a defect, just a variant. And the enzyme is lactase, not lactaze.

(George Brooks) #40


I think its good to have a clear picture of how the gene functions.

This doesnt affect the benefit that it provides to the overall population… rather than to a specific minority of the population that is marked by having 2 copies.