Copyright 1995 by the CREATION RESEARCH SOCIETY (CRS), Inc.
                by Lane P. Lester, Ph.D. 
         Creation Research Society Quarterly 31(4)
Genetics and evolution have been enemies from the beginning of 
those two concepts. Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, and 
Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, were contemporaries. At 
the same time that Darwin was claiming that creatures could change 
into other creatures, Mendel was showing that even individual 
characteristics remain constant. While Darwin's ideas were based on 
erroneous and untested ideas about inheritance, Mendel's 
conclusions were based on careful experimentation. Why then did 
Mendel's work lie unappreciated for some 35 years? No one really 
knows; therefore, anyone is free to speculate. My own speculation 
is that Darwin's ideas were immediately adopted because they gave 
fallen men a justification for ignoring their Creator, even for 
denying His existence. But by the end of the 19th century, other 
research had so clearly confirmed the principles discovered by 
Mendel that evolutionists had to incorporate these principles into 
their theories. They did so, and have continued to do so, on a very 
selective basis. Only by ignoring the total implications of modern 
genetics has it been possible to maintain the fiction of evolution.
Having said the above, I do not plan to say much more about 
evolution. I would prefer to talk about creation and the testimony 
of genetics to the power and glory of the Creator. Too long have 
creationists concentrated on pointing out the fallacies of 
evolution, and spent too little time demonstrating the truth of 
creation. Indeed with some justification, the evangelists of 
evolution prefer to call us anti-evolutionists rather than 
creationists. Dr. William Mayer claims repeatedly that there is no 
creation model and that anti-evolutionists merely call attention to 
weaknesses in the evolution model. Of course, if there are only two 
competing concepts, destroying one is almost as conclusive as 
proving the other. But it is probably true that creation will never 
receive anything like its proper acceptance until it is fully 
developed as a foundation for modern science. Tom Bethell, writing 
on economics in _National Review_ said, "The discrediting of a 
theory, whether in science or economics, must necessarily await the 
arrival of an alternative hypothesis. Darwin's theory of natural 
selection, for example, exposed in recent years as devoid of 
meaning because of its circular nature, survives in practice for 
lack of a rival" (Bethell, 1980, p. 1562). I believe that the lack 
of a creation-based science has helped evolution maintain its total 
ascendancy, even among those who would be philosophically inclined 
to reject it.
Fortunately, the wind is shifting. More and more creationist 
scientists are concentrating on building the creation model rather 
than just tearing down the evolution model. Research is being done 
at both secular and Christian colleges and universities that seeks 
to rebuild science on a foundation of creation. I say "rebuild" 
because modern science was developed primarily by creationists who 
knew that a rational God had created a rational universe, and that 
rational man could, through observation, experimentation, and 
reason, learn much about the creation.
Now let us sample some of the evidence from genetics as it helps us 
develop a new biology based on creation rather than evolution. It 
may be helpful to arrange this evidence under the four sources of 
variation: environment, recombination, mutation, and creation. A 
combination of these four sources can explain any and all 
differences between any one creature and another.
By environment I mean all of the external factors which influence a 
creature during its lifetime. For example, one may have darker skin 
than another simply because he is exposed to more sunshine. Or one 
may have larger muscles because he exercises more. Or one may have 
a greater resistance to disease because he eats right. Now these 
environmentally-caused variations may have great importance for the 
individuals who possess them. But they have no importance to the 
history of life, because these variations die with their owners; 
they are not inherited. In the middle 1800's some of the scientists 
who had rejected the Creator believed that variations caused by the 
environment could be inherited. Charles Darwin accepted this 
fallacy, and it no doubt made it easier for him to believe that one 
creature could change into another. He thus explained the origin of 
the giraffe's long neck through "the inherited effects of the 
increased use of parts" (Darwin, 1958, p. 202). In seasons of 
limited food supply, giraffes would stretch their necks for the 
high leaves and these longer necks would be passed along to the 
offspring. One who is studying the living world on the basis of 
creation is not tempted to fall into this fallacy because a perfect 
creation would already contain perfect variations without the 
necessity for new ones.
The second source of variation is recombination. This involves 
shuffling the genes and is the reason that children resemble very 
closely their parents but are not exactly like either one. The 
discovery of the principles of recombination was Gregor Mendel's 
great contribution to the science of genetics. Mendel studied seven 
pairs of traits in the garden pea. In each of these he showed that 
while traits might be hidden for a generation they were never lost, 
and when new traits appeared it was because their genetic factors 
had been there all along. Recombination makes it possible for there 
to be limited variation within the created kinds. But it is limited 
because virtually all of the variations are produced by a 
reshuffling of the genes that are already there. A few examples 
might help us appreciate the limited nature of variation through 
Many varieties of chickens have been produced from the wild jungle 
fowl, a lot of variation. But no new varieties are being produced, 
because all of the genes in the wild jungle fowl have been sorted 
out into the existing varieties, limited variation. From the 
science of plant breeding we have the example of the sugar beet. 
Beginning in 1800, plant breeders sought to increase the sugar 
content of the sugar beet. And they were very successful. Over some 
75 years of selective breeding it was possible to increase the 
sugar content from 6% to 17%. But there the improvement stopped, 
and further selection did not increase the sugar content. Why is 
that? Simply because all of the genes for sugar production had been 
gathered into a single variety and no further increase was 
Finally, let us consider an example of recombination provided for 
us by Charles Darwin. During his voyage around the world which 
began in 1831, Darwin observed many fascinating plants and animals. 
But none were more fascinating that those he saw on the Galapagos 
Islands. Among these were a group of land birds, the finches. In 
this single group we can see wide variation in appearance and in 
life-style. Darwin provided what I believe to be an essentially 
correct interpretation of how the finches came to be the way they 
are. A few individuals were probably blown to the islands from the 
South American mainland, and today's finches are descendants of 
those pioneers. However, while Darwin saw the finches as an example 
of evolution, we can now recognize them merely as the result of 
recombination within a single created kind. The pioneer finches 
brought with them enough genetic variability to be sorted out into 
the varieties we see today.
Now to consider the third source of variation, mutation. Mutations 
are mistakes in the genetic copying process. Each living cell has 
an intricate molecular machinery designed for the copying of DNA, 
the genetic molecule. But as in other copying processes mistakes do 
occur, although not very often. Once in every 10,000-100,000 copies 
a gene will contain a mistake. The cell also has machinery for 
correcting these mistakes, but some mutations still slip through. 
What kinds of changes are produced by mutations? Some have no 
effect at all. The genetic code has a certain amount of redundancy, 
so that some slight changes in the DNA produce no change in the end 
result. Other mutations produce so small a change in the end result 
that they have no appreciable effect on the creature. But many 
mutations have a significant effect on their owners. Based on the 
creation model, what kind of effect would we expect from random 
mutations, from genetic mistakes? We would expect virtually all of 
them to be harmful, to make the creatures that possess them less 
successful than before. And this prediction is borne out most 
convincingly. Some examples help to illustrate this.
A rather interesting mutation is albinism, found in many plants and 
animals. This particular genetic mistake prevents the production of 
color. Various harmful side effects are seen in albino animals, 
such as impaired eyesight. But in plants albinism is lethal. 
Without chlorophyll photosynthesis is impossible, and as soon as 
the food from the seed is gone, the seedling dies. For a thorough 
study of the effects of mutations _Drosophila melanogaster_, the 
common fruit fly, is unsurpassed as a source of information. 
Geneticists began breeding the fruit fly soon after the turn of the 
century, and since 1910 when the first mutation was reported, some 
3000 mutations have been identified (Lindsley and Grell, 1967). All 
of the mutations are harmful or harmless; none of them produce a 
more successful fruit fly--exactly as predicted by the creation 
It seems appropriate at this point to take a side trip and consider 
the control of mutations. Certainly if mutations were free to 
spread through populations of organisms, life would soon disappear. 
It is one of the roles of natural selection to prevent the spread 
of mutations. We must not allow the fact that circular reasoning is 
present in discussions of natural selection to cause us to deny 
that it is a real and an important factor in the history of life. 
The fact that it was Charles Darwin who called our attention to 
natural selection is more a comment on the sorry state of creation 
science in the mid-1800's than it is a comment on the validity of 
the concept.
Natural selection is no more or less than the label we give to what 
now seems to be the obvious fact that some varieties of creatures 
are going to be more successful than others, and that they will 
contribute more offspring to future generations. Everybody's 
favorite example of natural selection is the peppered moth of 
England, _Biston betularia_. As far as anyone knows, this moth has 
always existed in two varieties, speckled and solid black. In 
pre-industrial England, many of the tree trunks were light in color 
because of the color of the bark or of lichens growing on the bark. 
This provided a camouflage for the speckled variety, and the birds 
tended to prey more heavily on the black variety. Moth collections 
showed a vast preponderance of speckled over black. When the 
Industrial Age came to England, coal was one of the primary sources 
of energy. Since there was then no Environmental Protection Agency, 
the burning of coal put a layer of soot on everything, including 
the tree trunks. The trunks were blackened, and the camouflage of 
the peppered moth was reversed. Then the black variety was hidden, 
and the speckled variety was conspicuous. Soon there were many more 
black moths than speckled. This might be considered as the positive 
role of natural selection. As populations encounter changing 
environments, such as that described above or as the result of 
migration into a new area, natural selection increases the 
combinations of traits which will make the creature most successful 
in its new environment. The negative role of natural selection is 
seen in the elimination or minimization of harmful mutations when 
they occur. The disadvantage of the mutation prevents its spread 
through the population.
Is there no such thing as a beneficial mutation? I'm afraid that I 
have to depart from my creationist colleagues that maintain the 
impossibility of such an occurrence. A beneficial mutation is 
simply one that makes it possible for its possessors to contribute 
more offspring to future generations than do those creatures that 
lack the mutation. For example, there occurred in Florida in 1914 a 
mutation in the tomato which caused a change in its growth pattern, 
making the tomatoes much easier to harvest. Because of human 
selection for this mutation, it has been spread throughout the 
cultivated tomato. The mutation for antibiotic resistance in 
bacteria is certainly beneficial for those bacteria whose 
environment is swamped with antibiotic. Of course, none of these 
types of mutations are relevant to any ideas about one kind of 
creature changing into another.
A type of change of a rather more significant nature involves the 
decrease or loss of some structure or function. Darwin called 
attention to wingless beetles on the island of Madeira. For a 
beetle living on a windy island, wings can be a definite 
disadvantage. Mutations producing the loss of flight could be 
helpful. Similar would be the case of sightless cave fish. Eyes are 
quite vulnerable to injury, and a creature that lives in pitch dark 
would benefit from mutations that would reduce that vulnerability. 
While these mutations produce a drastic and beneficial change, it 
is important to notice that they always involve loss and never 
gain. One never observes wings or eyes being produced on creatures 
on which they have never existed.
And now the fourth and final source of variation: creation. Why is 
it a necessary part of the history of life? Simply because the 
first three sources of variation are woefully inadequate to account 
for the diversity of life we see on earth today. An essential 
feature of the creation model is the placement of considerable 
genetic variety in each created kind. Only thus can we explain the 
possible origin of horses, donkeys, and zebras from the same kind; 
of lions, tigers, and leopards from the same kind; of some 118 
varieties of the domestic dog, as well as jackals, wolves, and 
foxes from the same kind. As each kind obeyed the Creator's command 
to be fruitful and multiply, the chance processes of recombination 
and the more purposeful process of natural selection caused each 
kind to subdivide into the vast array we now see.
Bethell, Tom. 1980. "The Death of Keynes: Supply-side Economics," 
_National Review_, December 31, 1980, p. 1562.
Darwin, Charles. 1958. _On the Origin of Species By Means of 
Natural Selection_, The New American Library.
Lindsley, Dan L., and E. H. Grell. 1967. _Genetic Variations of 
Drosophila Melanogaster_, Carnegie Institution of Washington Pub. 
No. 627.
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