Recommendations for creationist literature


#1

I’m looking around for some creationist literature that summarizes their views with references to scientific journal articles :slight_smile: (Now I know they don’t all have the same views but I have to start somewhere!) Lately I’ve been reading CMI’s journal of creation but their articles are so scattered and across such a range of disciplines it is hard to follow. I’m looking for a good summary of their arguments, especially for the molecular/genetic evidence, as this is where my interests lie.

I stumbled across "Evolution or Creation?: A Comparison of the Arguments"
By Albert DeBenedictis
But somewhat disappointed as he doesn’t seem to reference many (or any - I didn’t go through and count) scientific papers? He seems to mostly reference other creationist literature, books published by creationists, or Wikipedia.
It makes it very hard to follow their reasoning if I don’t have the original source!

I was reading through the google books preview, link here:
https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=bFqnAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

From the book page 521:
“Another example of organisms having similar body structures but are not genetically related is the vertebrate gut. In sharks, the gut develops from cells in the roof of the embryonic cavity. In lampreys, the gut develops from the cells on the floor of the cavity. In frogs, the gut develops from cells from both the roof and the floor of the embryonic cavity. This is a clear indication that different developmental pathways can produce similar structures in vertebrates. This contradicts what one would expect to find if all vertebrates share a common ancestor.”

Now I can see possible holes in their argument. It is definitely possible to have genetic homology without having homology of function. One possibility could be that there is a suite of conserved genes that code for largely the same proteins in the signalling pathway in embryogenesis, but there were some mutations along the way that disrupted the particular enzyme(s) that determine the location of what part of the cavity the “gut” forms? And because the author uses such general terminology, and it has been a while since I looked at embryogenesis, I’m not sure what he means by “gut” (possibly the endoderm?) and “embryonic cavity” so it is very hard to look up resources in literature. Also, the common ancestor of a jawless fish, a frog (an amphibian) and the shark should’ve existed a loonnnnggg time ago, meaning there was lots of time to diverge so we wouldn’t expect the signalling pathway for embryogenesis to be identical, would we?

Does anyone know what the author is trying to say here? I genuinely want to know!

On page 538 of the book he says:
“As already mentioned, the claim made by scientists that the DNA structures in humans and chimpanzees are 98 to 99 percent similar may be misleading. First. researchers used only human and chimp DNA sequence fragments that already exhibited a high level of similarity. Sections that did not line up were tossed out of the mix. Next, they used the protein coding portions of genes for their comparison.”

I don’t know how the author came to the conclusion that researchers “toss out” sequences that don’t already show a high degree of similarity. Maybe the author is referring to the quality control steps before alignment? And next the author claims that scientists only align the protein coding regions. I’m not sure why he thinks that… unless he only read the 2005 paper for the initial alignment for the human and chimp genomes… because there are plenty of published papers since then of whole sequence alignments comparing human and chimp genomes and the high similarity still stands? I’m quoting from the third edition published in 2014 so surely the author should’ve read some publications since 2005?

I genuinely want to explore what they have to say on the subject but it is frustrating because I just find myself lost most of the time, not knowing how they came to their conclusion… looking around for papers and generally feeling like I’m wasting my time. :frowning:

So uh… what do you guys think? Can you give me any recommendations?


(George Brooks) #2

@SamuraiChamploo,

I can already see the problem with this section on comparative embryology. The author is comparing embryology of a very old genus and fish (sharks, notorious for not having a bony skeleton, but instead entirely made of cartilage.

vs. lampreys which are a much more recent “sprouting” off the fish family tree compared to sharks.

vs.frogs, which aren’t even fish.

For this kind of analysis to prove what he wants it to prove, he would have to find a section of the family tree which Evolutionists consider to be closely related in terms of Evolutionary ancestry, but which showed inconsistencies in what would be expected in their embryological development - for example:

if one branch showed growth pattern “A”, while a second branch showed growth pattern “B”, followed by a 3rd branch, coming off of the branch we see pattern “B”, but which returns to growth pattern “A”.

The point of common ancestry is not to prove there can’t be transitions into other growth patterns, but that one expects to see a certain persistence in various growth patterns, rather than jumping back-and-forth. Once a transition pattern becomes installed in a population, it would be very odd for the next offshoot to adopt the pattern not of their most recent ancestral population, but the pattern of a very old common ancestral population.

In the notorious case of embryonic “gills” … the fact that even mammals show a short-term gill growth pattern supports the “common ancestry” thesis … but if a group of mammals (that were considered to be part of the lineage of Homo sapiens) didn’t temporarily produce gills, but bird wings… even while humans continue to show gills (and not bird wings) - - like older parts of the mammal family tree, this would be a pretty puzzling pattern to see in the Evolutionary theoretical framework.

Do you follow what I mean here, Samurai?


(Tomi Aalto) #3

(Christy Hemphill) #4

Here is Answers in Genesis journal. https://answersingenesis.org/answers/research-journal/

Here is the Institute for Creation Research scientific article archive: http://www.icr.org/research/articles


(Jay Johnson) #5

Good luck! I think you’ll find a lot of what you saw in DeBenedictis’ book, which is a lot of circularity in creationists referencing other creationist works, and concluding from that they have made their case.

Another source you might find interesting is BIO-Complexity, which is a journal published by the Discovery Institute through an organization called the Biologic Institute. You can find many threads here discussing the scientific merits of some of their published papers.


(George Brooks) #6

@Jay313

That is a gorgeous image at the link you provide… do you think they’d ever sell some of those replicas? Marvelous …


(Steve Schaffner) #7

He evidently didn’t even read the 2005 paper, because that study was based on a whole-genome comparison.

I don’t think you’ll be able to find a clear, coherent exposition of the creationist interpretation of genetic data because they have no coherent interpretation to present.


#8

Wow ok so many replies! Sorry if I fail to reply to all of you.

@gbrooks9 That’s exactly my problem with it while I was reading it. He is kinda building his own view of how the pattern should be, and then claiming evolution is destroyed when the evidence doesn’t fit HIS pattern. (a strawman if I ever saw one). I’m still curious as to what he means by “gut” and “embryonic cavity” so I can actually look up the scientific literature to see what it says on this topic. Having such vague terminology doesn’t help - but I guess unless someone knows off the top of their head, we’re not going to find the answer. Googling doesn’t seem to help because of the imprecise terminology.

@Tomi_Aalto Is this your blog? Thanks for linking me to it. I was just reading this article:

"2. Mutations are not random changes. They are caused by poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol, stress, toxins, radiation, lack of exercise etc. Mutations are results of our lifestyles. Variation in nature is caused by epigenetic factors."
I am slightly confused. What do you mean by “Variation in nature”? Are you saying all mutations are not random (pretty hard to say what random is though, and whether that even matters)? And that the differences we see in phenotype is due solely to epigenetics?

"3. We shouldn’t use the term ‘junk-dna’ anymore. Non-coding regions of the genome are crucial regulatory areas for gene expression, cellular backup mechanisms and survival strategies for our heart, brain and other important organs."
Yes the “junk dna” thing does need revising and the some non-coding parts of the genome give rise to non-coding RNA, some of which have important regulatory functions. But I don’t see how changing the definition of “junk dna” disproves evolution in any way. Please clarify?

@Jay313 Thanks, certainly looks like an interesting resource. Will read up on it.

@glipsnort Right. It wouldn’t make sense to only align the amino acid sequences. So now I’m back to wondering where the author got his idea from, probably from other creationist material…


(George Brooks) #9

@SamuraiChamploo,

Yes, that’s his blog. I believe Tomi is Finnish… suggested by the Google Translation tool of some of his material.


(George Brooks) #10

@SamuraiChamploo

In embryology, almost all embryos temporarily develop a hollow cluster of cells… a cavity or gut (since it usually presents as more cylindrical than spherical before it matures into something else… around which the organization of the body of the fetus is constructed. Pretty soon a “head” and a “tail” end become defined in the embryonic tissue, and further differentiation from there continues.

I think if you carefully google Embryology Gut and the suffix “blast” you should find plenty of schematic treatments on the various phases of the “blasts”.
.
.
.


(Steve Schaffner) #11

It’s not really a change in the definition of “junk DNA”. As far as I know, that term was never intended to apply to all non-coding DNA. It’s been known for many decades that some noncoding DNA was functional; the only question was, how much? It was only with the sequencing of the human and mouse genomes that a systematic answer started to emerge.


#12

This is a common creationist misrepresentation of how genomes are aligned. Creationists falsely claim that if two segments of a genome do not align it means they are not similar. This is simply false.

To understand how creationists are misrepresenting the facts you first have to understand how genome sequencing works. In a nut shell, they break up the genome into small chunks and determine the sequence of each little chunk. If small chunks have sequence that overlap, then you can tie those two chunks together. Imagine taking 100 identical books and randomly chopping each into two or three sentence pieces. By finding areas of overlap between the pieces you can reconstruct the whole book.

Using this technique (called whole genome shotgun sequencing) you can reconstruct a large portion of a genome. However, there will be times where there are regions with a lot of repeats or just areas where there wasn’t overlap between the different pieces. This means you can’t place a piece of DNA within the larger genome. This is unaligned sequence. So it isn’t a matter of there not being a lack of similarity between a piece of unaligned chimp DNA and human DNA. Rather, it is a matter of not knowing where in the genome the piece of DNA fits so it is kept out of the comparison.

Is that clear as mud?

As to percentages of shared DNA, there are really two main comparisons. There is the comparison of DNA that two species share through common ancestry, and then there is the comparison that includes DNA they don’t share. In other words, there is a percentage that deals just with substitutions and another that deals with insertions and deletions of new DNA. The oft quoted 98% is in reference to substitution mutations, and the 96% that is sometimes referenced refers to the overall similarity once insertions and deletions are included. The reason that scientists list these percentages separately is that it is easier to model populations based on substitutions since they occur at a much more predictable rate compared to indels.


(system) #13

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