John Sanford, Ph. D., Department of Horticultural Science, NYSAES, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456
John Baumgardner, Ph. D., Institute for Creation Research, 1806 Royal Lane, Dallas, TX 75229
Wesley Brewer, Ph. D., Department of Computer Science, Handong University, Pohong, South Korea
Paul Gibson, Ph. D., Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems, Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, IL 62901
Walter ReMine, M. S., 3003 Snelling Ave., N., St. Paul, MN 55113
Evolutionary genetic theory has a series of apparent “fatal flaws” which are well known to
population geneticists, but which have not been effectively communicated to other scientists or
the public. These fatal flaws have been recognized by leaders in the field for many decades—based
upon logic and mathematical formulations. However population geneticists have generally been very
reluctant to openly acknowledge these theoretical problems, and a cloud of confusion has come to
surround each issue.
Numerical simulation provides a definitive tool for empirically testing the reality of these fatal flaws
and can resolve the confusion. The program Mendel’s Accountant (Mendel) was developed for this
purpose, and it is the first biologically-realistic forward-time population genetics numerical simulation
program. This new program is a powerful research and teaching tool. When any reasonable set of
biological parameters are used, Mendel provides overwhelming empirical evidence that all of the “fatal
flaws” inherent in evolutionary genetic theory are real. This leaves evolutionary genetic theory effectively
falsified—with a degree of certainty which should satisfy any reasonable and open-minded person.
Mutation, Natural selection, Darwinian evolution, Genetic load, Genetic entropy
The concept of biological evolution existed long before Charles Darwin. What Darwin added was
what seemed to be a credible naturalistic mechanism which might drive the evolutionary process. He
proposed a mechanistic force which might cause evolution to actually happen spontaneously, and
therefore “naturally”. Darwin’s mechanism was simply the idea of spontaneous variation (mutation)
plus differential reproduction (natural selection). Since the time of Darwin, evolutionary theory has
been elaborated into a very sophisticated system of thoughts, theories, and equations. However, the
simple concept of mutation/selection remains at the very heart of all these elaborate thought systems.
The book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome (Sanford, 2005) uses logic and some simple
calculations to make it clear that there are very fundamental problems with using the mutation/
selection mechanism to explain evolution. A series of compelling arguments are used in that book to show
that in the long run mutation/selection can not produce a net gain in information. Those same arguments
are used to show that selection can not even stop the gradual but certain degradation of genetic information
(traditionally referred to as “genetic load”, but better termed “genetic entropy”). Taking all these arguments
at face value, evolutionary theory appears to be demonstrably false.
Historically, each of the arguments summarized in the book Genetic Entropy, have been
begrudgingly acknowledged within the population genetics literature. However such acknowledgement
has not been communicated to the broader scientific community or to the general public. The fact that
the textbook version of evolutionary genetic theory appears to be fundamentally dysfunctional appears to
constitute a “trade secret” among genetic theorists.
There is now an empirical method which can be used to objectively, empirically, and conclusively test
the viability of evolutionary genetic theory. This new methodology is called numerical simulation. The key
scientific operation which is needed to test evolutionary theory does not involve complex mathematical
formulations, but simply involves tracking and counting mutations within populations. It is essentially
an advanced accounting problem. Good and bad mutations are entering real populations continuously.
Some of these are adding up, while others are being subtracted away (either by selection or by random
drift). The key mathematical operations needed here are just addition and subtraction. Computeraided
numerical simulation allows a researcher to mechanistically track every single mutation within
a virtual population, from the time each mutation enters the population until its allele frequency goes to
either zero or 100%. Each mutation can be realistically processed in a biologically accurate and
explicit manner, such that its transmission to the next generation is based upon:
(a) Mendelian segregation;
(b) stochastic variation; and
(c) the mutation’s affect on its own probability of transmission to the next generation (its “fitness affect”).
Because the neo-Darwinian process is strictly mechanistic, numerical simulation can precisely and rigorously model this process. If one knows how many good and bad mutations enter a population each generation, and if one knows which individuals within that population reproduce and pass on their mutations, numerical simulation allows us to count precisely how fast the good and the bad mutations are accumulating. One can see exactly what is happening in terms of transmission and selection. It ceases being a matter of philosophy
or abstract reasoning, but simply becomes a matter of straight-forward mechanics and arithmetic.
The analysis of the mutation/selection process by numerical simulation is much like accounting. It is
concrete and objective, even as accounting is concrete and objective. In a business, one starts with certain
assets (resources) and liabilities (debts). Net worth is simply assets minus debts. Every day there are
transactions. There are incoming revenues (additions) and outgoing expenses (subtractions). Debts are paid
off and new debts are incurred. At the end of the year the accountant will tally net worth, and determine if
there was net profit or net loss. The bottom line is not so much where a given dollar went, the central issue
is always “was there a net profit or a net loss? This is neither abstract nor philosophical. It is a question
with a concrete and verifiable answer—something for which the IRS can hold us legally accountable.
In the same way, at any given point in time, a real living population has a certain “net worth.” This is
the fitness of the species, which is the total “biological functionality” of the species. Species’ fitness derives
from the total genetic information stored up in the species’ genome. Every generation, new mutations
arise within every individual’s genome. The good mutations are like income—they add to the species’
net worth or fitness. The bad mutations are like expenses—they subtract from net worth. If there are
more bad mutations than good mutations, there must obviously be a decline in net worth. This means that
there is a net loss of information in the genome, and a corresponding decline in fitness. In this case the species
has lost some of its biological functionality.Such loss of biological functionality will be physically manifested
in measurable characteristics such as shorter life span, reduced intelligence, or lower fertility. If the bad
mutations are much more numerous than the good, and they continue to accumulate faster than the good
mutations, there will a net loss of information every generation, and a continuous net reduction in fitness.
It then becomes only a matter of time until such a species’ goes extinct. This is just like a business
which every year has expenses which exceed income.
Deficit spending can only go so long before there is a serious problem. The accumulation of good and bad
mutations is a simple matter of arithmetic."
"...An honest computer accounting program is all that is needed for allowing an explicit/empirical/experimental approach to understanding mutation accumulation. It was for this reason that a team of geneticists and computer scientists developed the program Mendel’s Accountant (Sanford, Baumgardner, Gibson, Brewer, & Remine 2007a, 2007b; Baumgardner, Sanford, Brewer, Gibson, & Remine, 2008). This program has been extensively validated in terms of its fidelity in modeling the neo-Darwinian process (see Sanford, et al., 2007a). The primary underlying assumption of this program is simply the neo-Darwinian mechanism itself, as it is taught in all textbooks. Therefore, if Mendel fails to demonstrate evolution, the fault is not in the program
(which faithfully models neo-Darwinian theory), but is in the theory itself.
Mendel’s Accountant is essentially a very advanced genetic spreadsheet, useful for studying the outcome
of the mutation/selection process. The program allows us to correctly tally accumulating mutations, just as
they would accumulate in nature. Mendel’s Accountant serves as a powerful teaching tool because it can
very graphically reveal how the mutation/selection process really works. It does this in a way that any
open-minded person should be able to understand and accept. It is also a powerful research tool, which
allows us to empirically find answers to otherwise unmanageably complex genetic questions."
"The Problem of Linkage
The problem of linkage was first described by Muller (1964). Since that time linkage has been recognized
as a serious problem for evolutionary theory, and thus many theorists have tried to make the problem “go
away”. The problem is that our genome is made up of large linkage blocks which do not recombine, and
which are on average 30,000 nucleotides long (about the size of a typical gene). So mutations accumulate
within clusters that never break apart. But one of the essential things that selection must accomplish if
forward evolution is to be feasible, is to separate the good mutations from the bad mutations. Given that
most mutations are bad, it should be obvious that any rare good mutation will always be linked to many
bad mutations within its linkage cluster."
"Allele Frequency and Fixation
The mutations that can not be selected away within a population will continuously accumulate.
A small number will increase in frequency up to the point of fixation (such that every individual will
be homozygous for such mutations). However, the vast majority of mutant alleles will drift out of the
population, including most of the beneficials. Mendel’s Figure 5 (not shown here) shows allele frequencies at the end of a run, and the fraction of alleles that have become fixed. In all Mendel runs, every new mutation first enters the population as a singe copy. These extremely rare alleles will either be quickly lost, or will drift further into the population—becoming more frequent. Except in very small populations, this drifting process is
extremely slow. A disproportionate fraction of all mutant alleles will remain very rare (piling up on
the left, with frequencies of less than 1%). The more common alleles that have drifted into the population
become distributed quite uniformly—establishing an essentially level distribution across all frequencies
ranging from 5% to 99%. These “common alleles” represent what is essentially a “conveyor belt of
mutant alleles”—which gradually moves to the right. When alleles get to the far right, they become fixed
when they have an allele frequency of 100%. Mendel shows that this conveyor belt moves extremely slowly
except in very small populations. This applies equally to beneficial mutations—confirming the essence of
“Haldane’s Dilemma” (Haldane, 1957)."
"The Problem of the “Near-Neutral Zone”
The disastrous accumulation of mutations, and the corresponding decline in fitness, is largely due to the
problem of nearly-neutral mutations. The problem of near neutral mutations has been known for a
long time. Muller first mentions it when describing Muller’s ratchet (1964), and it was extensively
developed conceptually and mathematically by Kimura (1979, 1983). Kondrashov expanded upon
this problem further (Kondrashov, 1995). Sanford (2005), describes the actual distribution of mutationeffects
in depth. It is very clear that most mutations in large genomes must be nearly-neutral (see also
Sanford et al., 2007a).
The logic behind this problem is very compelling. Since the human genome has 3 billion nucleotides, each
nucleotide contains on average, about .0000000003 of the total genomic information. The information of the
genome should most typically increase or decrease by this amount—this is the fundamental genomic unit
or mutational unit. So the loss of a typical functional nucleotide (a single deleterious point mutation) should
decrease biological fitness by about this amount. But normally we can only measure biological effects that
increase or decrease fitness by about 10% (0.1). So most mutations are a million fold more subtle than
what we can actually measure. This means there is no practical way we could detect or artificially select
against such mutations. Mother Nature (natural selection) has exactly the same problem."
At its most fundamental level, evolutionary genetic theory must be about tracking mutations and allele
frequencies. It boils down to a very large accounting problem. To objectively test evolutionary genetic theory
the thing that has been lacking has been a practical mechanism for tracking each mutation, through large
populations, over many generations, in a biologically realistic manner. This has now become possible
for the first time, using the numerical simulation program called Mendel’s Accountant. This program
is a powerful teaching and research tool. It reveals that all of the traditional theoretical problems that
have been raised about evolutionary genetic theory are in fact very real and are empirically verifiable in a scientifically rigorous manner. As a consequence, evolutionary genetic theory now has no theoretical
support—it is an indefensible scientific model. Rigorous analysis of evolutionary genetic theory
consistently indicates that the entire enterprise is actually bankrupt. In this light, if science is to
actually be self-correcting, geneticists must “come clean” and acknowledge the historical error, and must
now embrace honest genetic accounting procedures.
While numerical simulations can not honestly be used to support evolutionary theory, a surprisingly
wide range of very reasonable biological input parameters give rise to Mendel output compatible
the biblical account of a recent creation (not shown). Biologically reasonable Mendel input parameters
produce output consistent with:
(a) rapid local adaptation followed by phenotypic stabilization;
(b)a spike in genetic variation followed by continuously declining diversity;
(c) rapid genetic degenerationtapering into a more gradual but continuous genetic decline; and
(d) many extinction events."
Again, this link will take you to the abstract itself and you can also see the resources and references listed along with the paper.
Serious studies are ongoing by scientists who are not limited by a predisposition to limit their studies to only naturalistic materialistic outcomes. As a result of studies such as, for instance, the series of studies resulting from the efforts of ICR: The Institute for Creation Research has recently launched its National Creation Science Foundation
ICR maintains laboratory facilities on its campus in Dallas, Texas.
ICR research projects are at the forefront of science, discovering and gathering evidences in support of biblical truth. Learn more about ICR's current research endeavors. These projects include:
- RATE II
Several other Creation or Intelligent Design institutes are found on my links list. Some specialize in peer-reviewed periodicals and publications, some in experimentation, some in research, some in education. If you do take the time to review some of these sites you will be able to discover that origins science comes in more than one flavor and that Creationists don't just thump their Bibles and run laps. My contention would be that the honest scientist must abandon Darwinism now while his authenticity and integrity can still be maintained. Mendel’s Accountant has tested Darwinism and found it wanting. Darwin gets an "F."