Dr John Sanford is no slouch. He was a research geneticist at Cornell University for over 35 years. He published a total of over 121 scientific papers. For most of his career he was heavily involved in genetic engineering of plants. He is a co-inventor of the gene gun. He has even been granted over 24 patents in the area of plant genetics. During the last 15 years he has published 21 research papers in the field of human genetics and has lead the development of the world’s leading computer simulator for population genetics research.
John was a firm believer in the theory of evolution for most of his professional career, until one day he asked himself a very dangerous question: Is the prime axiom of evolution really true?
This prime axiom states that:
The natural selection of unguided random mutations has taken life from that first cellular organism to the great genetic diversity we see on our planet today.
Acceptance of the prime axiom has led to the unquestioned belief that humans are simply the product of bio-chemical self-organisation, random mutations of that biological self-organisation, and the natural selection of those random mutations. This is the constantly repeated foundational dogma of an entire civilization, post-Christian western civilisation.
Scientists question the prime axiom their professional and personal peril. But if the prime assumption is wrong, our entire civilization would be built on a lie. We’d be living at odds with objective reality and who we really are, blind to obvious truth and self-deluded. To correct this lie, millions of careers would be lost and there would be immense institutional embarrassment from the guardians of our various intellectual galaxies. Ethical and legal norms would be forced to change, and the all-powerful ordering of western society would be turned upside down.
The prime axiom is so deeply embedded in our civilisation that it must never be allowed to be challenged or questioned. It is the foundation stone of our modern world. It is the precariously tiny tip of a giant inverted philosophical, professional, moral and worldview pyramid.
But the prime axiom is actually wrong!
It turns out that the genomes of every form of life are subject to the same forces of entropy that govern the rest of the physical universe. They are not pushing uphill against the second law of thermodynamics, but flowing with this universal law of science. Why should it be any different?
The purpose of this essay is to take laymen, like you and I, through Sanford’s ground-breaking but complicated book Genetic Entropy. I will combine it with references and links to academic research reports by dozens of the world’s leading population geneticists. Population geneticists are the custodians of the foundational mechanisms of the prime axiom. All other scientists leverage their knowledge. I will quote word-for-word many of their self-confessed doubts about the legitimacy and adequacy of evolutionary theory and the prime axiom. Sanford is absolutely not alone in his views, but is the first inside this elite club to break ranks and tell the world the evolutionary emperor is wearing no clothes. His research, and their confessions, will give you incontestable quantitative scientific proof as to why the prime axiom is wrong and genetic entropy is a fact.
By the time you are finished you will be amazed. Let’s now begin to unpack this startling fact with a strong emphasis on human genetics so that the topic remains personal to you, the reader.
First up we will need to digress for a minute. To understand how mutations work we have to first understand what they work on. The human genome consists of 23 chromosomes, copied twice and stored inside every cell in your body. These individual chromosomes are made of a very long, single length of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in the shape of a spiral double helix that is split into 23 sections. Your 23 chromosomes have about twenty three thousand sub-units called genes. Like rungs on a curved ladder, each gene consists of between 80 and 80,000 individual nucleotides inside the famous spiraling double helix. A gene codes for a specific protein molecule, and protein molecules are the building blocks of all organisms in the animal kingdom. This total DNA genetic package is called a genome, and your genome is more complex than anything else in the known universe.
Your DNA is actually a chemical language and individual nucleotides are its letters. Nucleotides are made of any two of the following four nitrogen molecules; adenine, thymine, guanine or cytosine, or simply A, T, G and C. The chemical properties of the DNA language code require an A to always match with a T, while a G will always match with a C. These combinations are called base pairs. The two sides of the double helix are actually two copies of the message, one in reverse order to the other.
Humans have about 3 billion nucleotide base-pairs in their genome. These genetic letters are equal to about 500 million words of English, copied twice of course. Clusters of three nucleotides, called codons, are the words of the genetic language. Genes are like chapters. Chromosomes are like volumes. The genome is the entire 23 volume set of encyclopaedic information. In computer terms, each cell contains about 1.5 gigabytes of information. What we are talking about is simply the most efficient information storage system in the universe. And nobody knows how it got there because the DNA code is essential for the production of protein molecules, and protein molecules are the essential machines by which the DNA code is unpacked! Both had to be formed at once for the system to work. This conundrum has lead to at least seven different theories as to how DNA originated. One research paper calls this a “dreary, vicious circle of dead-end concepts”.
But there’s more. Biochemists have now learnt that there are overlapping genes in some bacteria, fish and mammals. By “overlapping” they mean that the DNA letter sequence, which is normally very exact, can be moved along one or many codons, read again and produce a another perfect message for coding a different protein. This is why our genome consists of 20,000 genes and can produce about 100,000 possible proteins. It’s like reading pure French inside a paragraph in pure English, then reading it backwards and getting pure Dutch. At other times, by skipping every second letter, pure German comes out. The density of information is staggering. Human life is more complex than all existing human technologies combined.
With this simple understanding of the genetic code, now let’s examine the bold evolutionary claim that mutational disruptions to this exquisite code are the source of all upward evolutionary advancement, which at the end of the day, simply means ever-increasing genetic complexity leading to the density of information just described.
Part Two of this essay looks at the true effect of mutations on the human genome…