Adam and the Genome– Part Four

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THE VENEMA CHAPTERS

Chapter Two provides us with a useful analogy about the development over time incrementally of a language (e.g. the word treuth becomes truthe and then truth) and the development of a human genetic code…. While languages can change rather quickly, biological speciation and change takes place over thousands of years and herein lies another problem: 1) no one is around that long to observe the change, indeed whole civilizations rise and fall in the time it takes for even an incremental change of that sort; 2) no one WAS around when this process began, in fact Venema is clear enough that even the fossil record only goes back 200,000 years max, but evolutionary theory requires a much much longer timeline to account for all the genetic permutations and combinations. Thus, we are talking about extrapolation back in time based on modern science, when the actual empirical observation of the change has not taken place over the time period required. 3) the assumption is that things are operating now, as they always have done according to the modern theories of evolution and natural development. But alas, we have no time machine to go back and check the math and the genetics from long, long ago. Again, no room is allowed for God to tinker with the process along the way, he simply set it in motion and is observing. But what about that language analogy Venema wants to use?

Evolutionary theory can be guilty of the etymological fallacy, assuming that notable similarities between things must be caused by a shared common ancestry. Since Venema uses the analogy with language, I shall do the same at this point. Let’s take the English word ‘bare’, which in Old English was ‘baer’, very close, and having exactly the same letters as ‘bear’. Ah ha, you say, these two words must share a common ancestor! Not a bit of it. ‘Bare’ seems to come from the Dutch baar, and ultimately from the proto-Germanic bazaz. By contrast ‘bear’ comes from the old word for ‘brown’ or the ‘brown one’; ‘beron’ in proto-Germanic or in old Norse bjorn, like the current Scandanvian name.

Genetics has done a wonderful job of showing lots of similarities in the ‘letters’ etc. of the genetic code. It’s when they try to explain the similarities that the train comes off the tracks. There are other possible, legitimate explanations for similarities other than ‘they must share a common ancestor’.

Imagine two builders who intend to build two different buildings, serving different purposes. But the construction materials are exactly the same—cinder blocks, boards, shingles, electrical wires, plumbing and so on. One building is an exercise gym, the other building is an apartment complex. One building is single story, the other is a high rise. Would anyone actually want to say that Building B came from or is an evolved form of Building A, just because they shared lots of common materials or building blocks? No. Similarity of make-up is no proof of derivation.

DNA, genes, genomes, tell us a lot about the building blocks that go into the making of all sorts of creatures on earth. Detailed genetic study can show possible connections based on similar genetic patterns and codes. But we all know the problem of coming up with a very good hypothesis, or even a theory (a hypothesis that provides the ‘best’ explanation of a particular sort for the known facts on the ground), that does not take into account all the evidence. You can argue consistently and coherently with and within a certain circle of evidence, and be incorrect, because you have not taken into account (or in some cases even deliberately eliminated) some of the evidence.

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