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Archive for the ‘Genetics’ Category

Evolutionary scientists agree with creationists that fewer “species” of creatures once existed. That isn’t evidence for evolution however, but only that God has designed his creatures to be able to adapt to their surroundings. Also, heredity is designed to produce a variety of individuals within the different kinds of life. Individuality is a God-given thing, and living things weren’t intended to reproduce carbon copies of themselves (ref. the Script (Kinds of Life) in my Oct. 2011 archives).

The definition of the word “species,” has also changed over time. It no longer refers to a particular kind of creature, the dog family for instance. Instead, scientists now speak as if many species exist within the dog family.  This change in terminology is sometimes used in a deceptive manner to cast doubt on the biblical record of Noah’s ark. The argument is raised that the ark couldn’t possible have held a pair of each of the millions of species of animals.

The answer is that the ark would only need to hold males and females capable of reproducing the varieties of animals that we see today. That statement can be supported by science. The fact that a lion and a tiger can produce a “liger” shows that both came from the same original kind of creature.

The New Answers Book 3, from Answers in Genesis, has a chapter by John Woodmorappe, author of Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study. Woodmorappe calculated that about 8000 genera, about 16000 animals total including young dinosaurs (not fully grown) and extinct animals, would have been taken aboard the ark. The extra “clean” animals on the ark wouldn’t have increased the overall number substantially. Most creatures on the ark would not have been fully grown. Whales, fish, and creatures which live in water wouldn’t need an ark. Many insects may have survived on floating debris, and many would have been on the ark as stowaways.

We don’t know which “cubit” was used in building the ark, but using the short cubit (18 inches), the ark would have held about as much as 522 railroad cars, each of which will hold 240 sheep. That analogy has been in use for decades, but it’s helpful. Most of the animals on the ark would have been much smaller than sheep. The ark was at least 450 ft. long, 75 ft. wide, and 45 ft. high. It was proportionally similar to modern ships, but apparently more box-like. There would have been sufficient area to cage the animals and store all the necessary food.

We know of at least two kinds of birds that were on the ark. There were doves, and ravens. Genesis 7:14-15 sounds as if several kinds of birds were on the ark, but it would not be necessary to shelter the thousands of varieties that existed before the flood, or that exist today. Creationists have introduced a scientific term for the attempt to identify the original kinds of creatures. Baraminology, from the Hebrew “min” (miyn), the word that’s translated as “kind” (Genesis 1:24 & 6:20), may not become a common household word, but it’s actually a pretty interesting study.

When the same doubts about the animals on Noah’s ark surface again and again, it can keep us going around in the same circles. Many times it isn’t because the doubts haven’t been answered sufficiently, but because the answers haven’t circulated as well as the questions. Sometimes a group of people with a particular ideology continues to communicate doubts to a different audience, even though they themselves are aware that reasonable answers exist. The target is often a younger generation. This is a common strategy of atheism, though many individual atheists shun such dishonest tactics.

Was the shift in definition of the word “species” intentionally engineered to cast doubt on the Bibles account of Noah’s ark? It has certainly worked out that way. Scientists, in their search for knowledge, should not cover the truth in the process. The search for truth should be as much a goal of science as the quest for knowledge.

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If you do a computer search on the genealogical – genetical terms used in this post, you’ll most likely find information that’s about as clear as mud. This is one of those times when it would be handy to have a team of totally unbiased scientists to interpret the data. You can get a good idea from the internet about how garbled things are behind the scenes. I always feel like something needs to be investigated further when it is that muddled at the surface.

One of the evidences for a relatively young earth is our population. If man has been around as long as evolutionists desire to believe, today’s population level would have been reached long ago. We can see how our numbers have grown in the past century in spite of countless wars, natural disasters, and every conceivable form of population control. Also, a computer analysis of genetic data shows that the “most recent common ancestor” (MRCA) of all living humans lived within the last 5,000 years (some studies 2,000 – 5,000 years).

The “identical ancestors point” (different from MRCA) for Homo sapiens is given as 5,000 – 15,000 years ago. Altogether, this becomes a huge body of evidence for a “recent” creation. Evolutionists interpret all evidence from their point of view of course, and the writers of everything that I studied about this were careful to toss in an evolutionary sales pitch. If enough people repeat something enough times with enough authority, it can be made to sound more certain. That’s the success story of evolution.

Numbers from various studies differ (though not astronomically), and can be interpreted to separate “Y- chromosomal Adam” and “Mitochondrial Eve” by several thousand years (Geneticists couldn’t resist the temptation to call them Adam and Eve). Separating Adam from Eve seems to be a high priority. I’ve seen dates for Mitochondrial Eve ranging between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.

Dates for Y-chromosomal Adam were originally estimated at between 27,000, and 270,000, but more recently between 35,000, and 89,000 years ago. I think that these dates given for Adam and Eve are the most subjective components of this information.

What we have is genetic data saying that within the last few thousand years, all living human beings descended from one man, and one woman. I understand how the data can be interpreted to separate them in time, but I don’t see anything proving this. The dates of 2,000 – 5,000 for our most recent common ancestor (MRCA) are obviously too recent, and therefore must be evidence of a “bottleneck” in the population.

An event such as Noah’s flood would have produced such an effect. Some have written specifically against such a notion, but the only reason I see for not thinking there was a bottleneck is because someone says so. “Because I say so,” is not a scientific reason, even when it comes from the mouth of a scientist.

The “Identical ancestors point” for Homo sapiens is roughly within the time frame given for the creation of man in the Script (the Bible). Scientifically, the Script should be taken much more seriously, but I don’t foresee that happening before the actual return of the Lord.

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The genealogies of the Bible, with few exceptions, give the male lineage of fathers, stepfathers, father-in-laws, and grandfathers. I think that giving the name of only males, rather than both parents, is mainly for the purpose of simplification. Other reasons may lie behind the scenes in the actual physics of reproduction.

God is certainly not chauvinistic, and names of mothers are sometimes given for particular reasons (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba). This methodology makes special situations such as that of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, more conspicuous. The genealogies of the Bible are continued in the New Testament by Matthew and Luke where they lead to Jesus.

Most interpreters believe the genealogy in Matthew 1:1-16, is that of Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. This genealogy was probably given to establish Jesus as a legal heir of King David on the side of the stepfather Joseph. Mary was also descended from King David (Luke 3:23-38), so Pilate was correct when he posted a sign on the cross of Jesus identifying him as the “King of the Jews.”

Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary, and follows the genealogical patterns of the day by beginning with the name of Joseph, her husband. Then comes Mary’s father (the father-in-law of Joseph), then her grandfather, and so on.

In Luke’s genealogy, the word son is actually used only one time in verse 3:23-38. I think it’s significant that this genealogy is given immediately following the declaration of God in 3:22, that Jesus is his “beloved son.” Most English Bible translations then insert the word “son,” many times in Luke 3:23-38. Some print the word “son” in italics to indicate that it isn’t part of the original manuscript. For instance, the actual wording of Luke 3:38 is, “of Enos, of Seth, of Adam, of God,” and doesn’t have the word “son” before each name.

While God is, in a sense, the father of all mankind, Jesus is his “only begotten son” (John 3:16). In the genealogy given by Luke, and counting Adam as the first generation, Jesus is the seventy-seventh generation. I think that Luke recorded the complete human genealogy of Jesus (more about this later).

Though Jesus was human, I think it’s correct to say that he was a human much as man would have been before the fall. There would have been no mutations in the portion of his DNA inherited from the father (God). Mary had a paternal lineage, but the mechanism of heredity doesn’t function the same with the mother as with the father.

Besides simply fulfilling prophecy, there could also have been a scientific reason for Jesus to have been born of a virgin, though I don’t have any idea at this time what it might have been. At every unusual turn of the Script, there is usually some underlying scientific, or psychological truth. Often there is knowledge behind it that the people of that day could not have understood naturally.

Being a human much as man would have been before the fall, I don’t think Jesus would ever have died naturally. Most Christians would probably agree with that, but maybe they “might not know” about my next statement. It is possible that if Adam had not followed Eve’s example and eaten the forbidden fruit, the genetic damage that causes death might not have been able to pass to their offspring.

The contribution of the male parent to the human autosome and allosome makes that statement theoretically possible. “Autosomal” DNA is inherited from both parents, “Mitochondrial” DNA from the mother alone, and Y-chromosomal DNA from the father alone. I think it is important that a scientific mechanism “just happens” to exist for Jesus to be physically different from us; to actually be a new kind of man as 1st. Corinthians 15:21-26, and 15:45-53 tell us.

Hebrews 4:15, tells us that Jesus was tempted as we are, yet without sin, so there wasn’t only an inherited difference, but he also made the right moral decisions at every twist and turn. He didn’t fall as did Adam and Eve. The only sin that afflicted Jesus was our sin. Our family tree is his cross.

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