Feb 21, 2011 — Science magazine last week had a special series of articles on the 10-year anniversary of the Human Genome project. Most of the articles expanded on how different the findings were from predictions. The publication of the genome did not identify our evolution; it did not lead to miracle cures. What it did most of all was upset apple carts, and show just how complex the library of information behind our smiling faces really is.. A couple of excerpts are characteristic.
John Mattick of the University of Queensland commented about how “The Genomic Foundation is Shifting” in his brief essay for Science.1 “For me,” he began, “the most important outcome of the human genome project has been to expose the fallacy that most genetic information is expressed as proteins.” He spoke of the Central Dogma of genetics – the principle that DNA is the master controller of heredity, translating its information into proteins that create our bodies and brains. For one thing, the number of genes is far smaller than expected (only 1.5% of human DNA contains genes), and is overwhelmed by non-coding DNA (earlier assumed to be genetic junk) that generates RNA, that regulates the expression of genes, especially during development. The histone code and other revelations have generated “aftershocks” to the initial tremor that undermined the Central Dogma. He concluded,
These observations suggest that we need to reassess the underlying genetic orthodoxy, which is deeply ingrained and has been given superficial reprieve by uncritically accepted assumptions about the nature and power of combinatorial control. As Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock wrote in 1950: “Are we letting a philosophy of the [protein-coding] gene control [our] reasoning? What, then, is the philosophy of the gene? Is it a valid philosophy?” … There is an alternative: Human complexity has been built on a massive expansion of genomic regulatory sequences, most of which are transacted by RNAs that use generic protein infrastructure and control the epigenetic mechanisms underpinning embryogenesis and brain function. I see the human genome not simply as providing detail, but more importantly, as the beginning of a conceptual enlightenment in biology.
In another essay in the 18 February issue of Science, Maynard Olson [U of Washington, Seattle] asked, “What Does a ‘Normal’ Human Genome Look Like?” Olson did not wish to get embroiled in old debates about nature vs. nurture other than to acknowledge that they still exist despite the publication of the human genome. Instead, he asked what factors are minor players in human variation. One of them, he said, in a statement that might have raised Darwin’s eyebrows, is “balancing selection, the evolutionary process that favors genetic diversification rather than the fixation of a single ‘best’ variant”; instead, he continued, this “appears to play a minor role outside the immune system.” Another also-ran are the variations we most often notice in people: “Local adaptation, which accounts for variation in traits such as pigmentation, dietary specialization, and susceptibility to particular pathogens is also a second-tier player.” The primary factor is another eyebrow-raiser for Darwinists:
What is on the top tier? Increasingly, the answer appears to be mutations that are ‘deleterious’ by biochemical or standard evolutionary criteria. These mutations, as has long been appreciated, overwhelmingly make up the most abundant form of nonneutral variation in all genomes. A model for human genetic individuality is emerging in which there actually is a ‘wild-type’ human genome—one in which most genes exist in an evolutionarily optimized form. There just are no ‘wild-type’ humans: We each fall short of this Platonic ideal in our own distinctive ways.
1. John Mattick, “The Genomic Foundation is Shifting,” Science, 18 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6019 p. 874, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203703.
2. Maynard V. Olson, “What Does a ‘Normal’ Human Genome Look Like?”, Science, 18 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6019 p. 872, DOI: 10.1126/science.1203236.
Did you catch that? These are phenomenal admissions in a secular science journal. Mattick showed how many ways the evolutionary geneticists were wrong. They expected to find the secret of our humanness in DNA – the master controller, honed by evolution, that made us what we are. Instead, they were astonished to find complexity in a vast array of regulatory sequences beyond the genes (epigenetic, above the gene), including codes upon codes. They appear to make DNA just a side show in a much more complex story that will require a “conceptual enlightenment in biology.” This implies that pre-Human Genome biology was unenlightened. By quoting McClintock’s prescient questions, he declared that the philosophy of biology that has ruled the 19th and 20th centuries is invalid.
Olson’s revelations are even more shocking, and, in a way, delightful – for those who believe that the Bible, not Darwin, tells where man came from. Olson essentially said that Darwinists should pack up and go home, because the factors that they have counted on to explain human complexity are minor players. Then he said that most mutations are harmful, bad, deleterious, regressive, plaguing each individual person. For the coup-de-grace, he said that there seems to be a “Platonic ideal” of the human makeup (wild-type referring to natural) from which we all “fall short.” This is the opposite of Darwinian evolutionary ascent from slime; it is descent with modification downward from an initial ideal state. Biblical creationists will shout Amen: we have all fallen from Adam!
Paul the Apostle explained in the classic statement about Adam that the first man was the “wild type” after which things went terribly wrong when he sinned: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type [i.e., wild type, Platonic ideal in real human flesh] of the one who was to come” (Romans 5:12-14). Isn’t that exactly what we see around us?
Not to leave us in despair, Paul continued with the joyful good news about the second Adam, Jesus Christ – who by solving the sin problem through his death and resurrection, became the progenitor of all who could become righteous and inherit eternal life:
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:15-20).
To be sure, Mattick and Olson were probably not intending to agree with the Bible in their revelations about the Human Genome, but everything they said is consistent with Scriptural teaching, but is not consistent with what the Darwinists teach. Their expectations have been falsified; their philosophy has been found wanting. The Bible had it right all along! If you are fallen from the ideal of Adam, Jesus Christ (not Darwin, not Plato) provides the pathway to a return to the Maker’s ideal. It is a gift, through faith, thanks to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Paul, an early persecutor of Christians, who was transformed by seeing the risen Christ on the Damascus road, speaks to us all today: “We urge you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:14-21).
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