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Category Archives: Macroevolution

Abiogenesis enigma: Protein’s origin

Proteins

As you might know, proteins are one of the major “building blocks” of cells; there’s up to 10.000 different types of proteins, all manufactured inside each cell. Abiogenesis theorists  obviously supports the view that these molecules have arisen “by chance”, in a prebiotic world, billion years ago, however, to date, they have absolutely no clue about it, as we can read from this article:

“Proteins are the most complex chemicals synthesized in nature and must fold into complicated three-dimensional structures to become active. This poses a particular challenge in explaining their evolution from non-living matter. So far, efforts to understand protein evolution have focused on domains, independently folding units from which modern proteins are formed. Domains however are themselves too complex to have evolved de novo in an abiotic environment. We think that domains arose from the fusion of shorter, non-folding peptides, which evolved as cofactors supporting a primitive, RNA-based life form (the ‘RNA world’).” 1

So, why is it so complicated to explain its origin? Despite the often repeated innuendo that life and all of its components has “assuredly” originated through natural means, the clear failure of scientists to solve this puzzle can be easily explained by some truths about proteins, its synthesis, structure and so on. After that, no one can reasonably take its abiogenetic origin as logically granted. These truths also explain without shadow of doubt the intriguing fact that absolutely no single protein (even the lesser one, composed of only 8 amino acids) has ever been observed to appear anywhere in the world, outside the cells and high-tech labs, of course!

What’s a protein?

“Proteins are large biological molecules consisting of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms, including catalyzing metabolic reactionsreplicating DNAresponding to stimuli, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in folding of the protein into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity.

A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of adjacent amino acid residues. The sequence of amino acids in a protein is defined by the sequence of a gene, which is encoded in the genetic code. In general, the genetic code specifies 20 standard amino acids;” 2

Talking about amino acids, we’d like to recall another crucial problem for abiogenesis: The absence of self-occurring homochiral mixtures. As it has been told in a previous article, the laws of thermodynamics obliges the occurrence of racemic mixtures, ever:

“The left and right handed forms have identical free energy (G), so the free energy difference (ΔG) is zero. The equilibrium constant for any reaction (K) is the equilibrium ratio of the concentration of products to reactants. The relationship between these quantities at any Kelvin temperature (T) is given by the standard equation:

K = exp (–ΔG/RT)

where R is the universal gas constant (= Avogadro’s number x Boltzmann’s constant k) = 8.314 J/K.mol.

For the reaction of changing left-handed to right-handed amino acids (L → R), or the reverse (R → L), ΔG = 0, so K = 1. That is, the reaction reaches equilibrium when the concentrations of R and L are equal; that is, a racemate is produced.”

Therefore, any abiogenetic theorist has this astounding problem to deal with from the very beginning; without homochiral monomers, we can have zero possibility of a ‘magic’ protein self-assembling…

 

Protein synthesis

 

It’s quite uncanny that intelligent people with advanced knowledge on the subject might attempt to conceive hypothesis of such molecules originating spontaneously, in the wild and morbid inorganic environment, because for cells to build proteins, an intricate, complex and laborious process must take place!

 

 

First, genetic information is needed:

“Proteins are assembled from amino acids using information encoded in genes. Each protein has its own unique amino acid sequence that is specified by the nucleotide sequence of the gene encoding this protein. The genetic code is a set of three-nucleotide sets called codons and each three-nucleotide combination designates an amino acid (for example AUG (adenineuracilguanine) is the code for methionine).”

 

Many proteins use more that one of the 64 possible codons to be built. Moreover, that specific genetic code must be first translated, transcribed:

“Genes encoded in DNA are first transcribed into pre-messenger RNA (mRNA) by proteins such as RNA polymerase. Most organisms then process the pre-mRNA (also known as a primary transcript) using various forms of Post-transcriptional modification to form the mature mRNA, which is then used as a template for protein synthesis by the ribosome.”

Oh great, a bit complicated, isn’t it? Please, read the Wikipedia article referring to the messenger RNA, for further comprehension of what it is, its manufacturing, composition, etc; all of which adds up more complexity for the protein origin’s explanation.

 

 

The process of synthesizing a protein from an mRNA template is known as translation. The mRNA is loaded onto the ribosome and is read three nucleotides at a time by matching each codon to its base pairing anticodon located on a transfer RNA molecule, which carries the amino acid corresponding to the codon it recognizes. The enzyme aminoacyl tRNA synthetase “charges” the tRNA molecules with the correct amino acids. The growing polypeptide is often termed the nascent chain. Proteins are always biosynthesized from N-terminus to C-terminus.[6]

The size of a synthesized protein can be measured by the number of amino acids it contains and by its total molecular mass, which is normally reported in units of daltons (synonymous with atomic mass units), or the derivative unit kilodalton (kDa). Yeast proteins are on average 466 amino acids long and 53 kDa in mass.[5] The largest known proteins are the titins, a component of the muscle sarcomere, with a molecular mass of almost 3,000 kDa and a total length of almost 27,000 amino acids.[8]

 

Phew! How complicated! You may ask now: are we finally done? And I reply you: Huh, nope! Now that the ribosome, together with the rRNA and more than 50 other proteins, has finally finished the process, a protein is formed. However, it is always found in a  random coil shape. So what? This shape is mostly useless for its usage on organism, as we can read:

Each protein exists as an unfolded polypeptide or random coil when translated from a sequence of mRNA to a linear chain of amino acids. This polypeptide lacks any stable (long-lasting) three-dimensional structure (the left hand side of the neighbouring figure). 3

In that randomly coiled shape, the protein is highly unstable, breakable, useless for cell building, so, for proper biological use and better stability, the protein folding process must take place. This 3D-shape is known as the native state.

The correct three-dimensional structure is essential to function, although some parts of functional proteins may remain unfolded.[4] Failure to fold into native structure generally produces inactive proteins, but in some instances misfolded proteins have modified or toxic functionality. Several neurodegenerative and other diseases are believed to result from the accumulation of amyloid fibrils formed by misfolded proteins.[5] Many allergies are caused by incorrect folding of some proteins, for the immune system does not produce antibodies for certain protein structures.[6]

Another importance of the protein folding is:

 

Minimizing the number of hydrophobic side-chains exposed to water is an important driving force behind the folding process.[9] Formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonds provides another important contribution to protein stability.[10] 

 

And how does the folding occurs?

 

 

The amino-acid sequence of a protein determines its native conformation.[7] A protein molecule folds spontaneously during or after biosynthesis. While these macromolecules may be regarded as “folding themselves“, the process also depends on the solvent (water or lipid bilayer),[8] the concentration of salts, the pH, the temperature, the possible presence of cofactors and of molecular chaperones.

The process of folding often begins co-translationally, so that the N-terminus of the protein begins to fold while the C-terminal portion of the protein is still beingsynthesized by the ribosome. Specialized proteins called chaperones assist in the folding of other proteins.

Although most globular proteins are able to assume their native state unassisted, chaperone-assisted folding is often necessary in the crowded intracellular environment to prevent aggregation; chaperones are also used to prevent misfolding and aggregation that may occur as a consequence of exposure to heat or other changes in the cellular environment.

There are two models of protein folding that are currently being confirmed: The first: The diffusion collision model, in which a nucleus is formed, then the secondary structure is formed, and finally these secondary structures are collided together and pack tightly together. The second: The nucleation-condensation model, in which the secondary and tertiary structures of the protein are made at the same time. Recent studies have shown that some proteins show characteristics of both of these folding models.

The essential fact of folding, however, remains that the amino acid sequence of each protein contains the information that specifies both the native structure and the pathway to attain that state. Folding is a spontaneous process independent of energy inputs from nucleoside triphosphates. The passage of the folded state is mainly guided by hydrophobic interactions, formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonds, and van der Waals forces, and it is opposed by conformational entropy.

Only after the folding process, we have an useful, stable protein, with a properly designed shape with its up to four layers, so that the molecule can perform its biological function.

But, remember, many conditions and external factors can destroy proteins, such as hydrolysis (it’s a slow, but ceaseless process, because proteins are metastable, hydrophobic) and others:

Under some conditions proteins will not fold into their biochemically functional forms. Temperatures above or below the range that cells tend to live in will cause thermally unstableproteins to unfold or “denature” (this is why boiling makes an egg white turn opaque). High concentrations of solutes, extremes of pH, mechanical forces, and the presence of chemical denaturants can do the same.

A fully denatured protein lacks both tertiary and secondary structurel. Under certain conditions some proteins can refold; however, in many cases, denaturation is irreversible.[15] Cells sometimes protect their proteins against the denaturing influence of heat with enzymes known as chaperones or heat shock proteins, which assist other proteins both in folding and in remaining folded. Some proteins never fold in cells at all except with the assistance of chaperone molecules, which either isolate individual proteins so that their folding is not interrupted by interactions with other proteins or help to unfold misfolded proteins, giving them a second chance to refold properly. This function is crucial to prevent the risk of precipitation into insoluble amorphous aggregates.

 

For a further an in-depth study about different factors capable of disrupting proteins, read the following articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_biosynthesis

http://creation.com/native-folds-in-polypeptide-chains-1 (a series of 6 parts)

 

To conclude our observation, it’s impossible not to be sceptic of any theoretic proposition that claims self-caused origin of proteins, because it turns out that science unveiled tons of facts that easily prevent any possibility of such proposed scenario:

 

-Absence of homochiral monomers forming in the environment;

-Necessity of genetic specific information;

-Need for an highly controlled ambient, with proper Ph level, temperature, absence of mechanical forces that may easily damage, disrupt the protein, toxins, etc; 

-Need for specific methods to protect the protein against hydrolysis, oxidation;

-Necessity of having 50 other types of protein already manufactured to help on the protein synthesis;

 

The question raises: how in the world could such a specific set of conditions be found in a prebiotic Earth? Such condition can only be barely found in a first-class laboratory, driven by qualified and experienced scientists!

You might as well enjoy watching this short video talking about protein synthesis:

 

References

1. <http://www.eb.tuebingen.mpg.de/research/departments/protein-evolution/protein-evolution.html>

2. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein>

3. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_folding>

Hello, living fossil!

Reading many textbooks, mainstream articles, we are presented reports of absurdly long ages, “ancient”, “primitive” animals and plants depicted as the predecessors of the present, “modern” ones… Dinosaurs, trilobites and numberless others extinct species are alleged to have lived in Earth dozens of millions years ago. But, how can they be so sure of these “facts”? What if the dating methods aren’t accurate, and all they do is making use of untested speculations? It’s defended that, giving millions of years, complex, functional and fit features can spontaneously appear in organisms…

It’s also said the human evolved from ancient primates a “mere” million years ago, that means: in so few (evolutionary) time we evolved our wonderful anatomy (i.e., been able to walk upright, skilled hands with thumbs to handle stuffs, etc), speaking ability, amazing brain, consciousness, complex languages, etc! This is quite improbable and contradictory, even more after noticing the following species, called “living-fossils”.

“A living fossil is a living species (or clade) of organism which appears to be the same as a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives. These species have all survived major extinction events, and generally retain low taxonomic diversities.” Wikipedia

Beginning with a classic, the coelacanth:

Coelacanths are a part of the clade Sarcopterygii, or the lobe-finned fishes. Externally, there are several characteristics that distinguish the coelacanth from other lobe-finned fish. They possess a three-lobed caudal fin, also called a trilobate fin or a diphycercal tail.

Claimed to be extinct since the Cretaceous period (145 ± 4 to 66 million years (Ma) ago), found only in fossils… Well, until 1938! In that year fishermen off the coast of Madagascar hauled a live coelacanth to the surface in their nets!

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who alerted the scientific community to the find, with the 1938 specimen.

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who alerted the scientific community to the find, with the 1938 specimen.

Any difference to its grandpa?

5192coelacanthcomp

Explanations for this lack of “evolution”?

“The reason for this lower substitution rate is still unknown, although a static habitat and a lack of predation over evolutionary timescales could be contributing factors to a lower need for adaptation.” (Nature)

If you have predators chasing you, surely you’ll evolve new features quickly, right?

To make things weirder, Wikipedia states:

“They follow the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which means they are more closely related to lungfishreptiles and mammals than to the common ray-finned fishes.

A BBC article reiterates this sarcopterygii-mammal kinship:

“This class of fish was ancestral to all of the four-legged vertebrates: amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.” (BBC Nature)

If 400 million years (ncbi) hasn’t caused a change at all in the coelacanth, how much  time would thus be needed to turn it into a human?

Since 1938 others coelacanths have been caught, not just off the African and Madagascan coastlines, but also in Indonesian waters. It’s weird to see no sign of mutation, evolution after so many time! Maybe a fish is a lot complex, thus, demanding even more time to turn into something else! What about something smaller, huh, a mite to begin with; surely, such a small and “simple” creature could have changed a lot after millions of years:

Gracilidris ant

This Gracilidris specimen caught on amber is alleged to have lived in  the upper Oligocene or lower Miocene (15-20 million years ago), and surely, being a small creature with few chromosomes, it has modified a lot after that time, right? Not!

What about a 100-million years old spider?

No new (nor outdated, ancient, “vestigial”) feature over again..

The examples of living fossils with zero sign of evolution are endless:

Nautilus (500 million years old):

Tuatara (spine-bearer, in Maori idiom) (around 200 million years ago):

 

 

Tuataras are reptiles, yet retain more primitive characteristics than lizards and snakes.” says a Wikipedia article, however, only because of its resembling ancient look, such as a spiny crest along the back, its dentition, in which two rows of teeth in the upper jaw overlap one row on the lower jaw, unique among living species, and some features in its skeleton, which is said to be “apparently evolutionarily retained from fish” . Nonetheless, how can the tuatara be primitive and at the same time having such a magnificent, complex characteristics: 

“The eyes can focus independently, and are specialized with a duplex retina that contains two types of visual cells for both day and night vision, and a tapetum lucidum which reflects onto the retina to enhance vision in the dark. There is also a third eyelid on each eye, the nictitating membrane.”

A characteristic which tuataras share with lizards is an eye on the top of their heads. This third or pineal eye however is better developed in the tuataras than in other living creatures. It is visible in young animals as a translucent scale, but as they age it becomes covered with normal skin. Underneath lie a lens, a retina and a nerve which passes through a hole in the top of the skull to the brain. As the structure lacks an iris it may simply be sensitive to light, for these animals are for the most part nocturnal, or active at night. SOme say it may be useful in absorbing ultraviolet rays to manufacture vitamin D,[7] as well as to determine light/dark cycles, and help with thermoregulation.[13]

It’s interesting that they are endangered with risk of extinction, both European and New Zealand varieties.  It was the tuataras’ difficulties in competing with mammals like rats, for example, that ended in the elimination of the tuatara from the larger New Zealand islands. So, it boggles our mind with the question: how could such “unfit” animal survive that long, whereas creatures like dinosaurs, megalodon, predator X and other much more able creatures come into extinction?

“That is one of the big mysteries about biodiversity….Why these evolutionary losers are still around is a very hard thing to explain. They have been drawing inside straights for hundreds of millions of years. It’s a real mystery to biologists how there can be any tuataras, given their low rate of speciation.”

[Alfaro, M. E. et al. Nine exceptional radiations plus high turnover explain species diversity in jawed vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print July 24, 2009.]

Ginkgo Biloba (170 million-year old)

                        

Any difference here?

Echidna (supposedly split from Platypuses 115 million years ago)

                        

Weird animal which belongs to the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals, along with platypus! The fact that it lays eggs has been used by scholars as evidence of mammal’s evolutionary past, allegedly evolved out of reptiles. But there’s no fossil evidence showing any gradual modification, no reptile-like ancestor, nothing! Another strange characteristic of echidna is the presence of a non-venomous spur on the hind feet of males. Also, there’s  no sign that they are in transition phase, “evolving” into a new form, species, they were just born this way.

 

Hoatzin (24-48 mya):

 

 

This bird lives in South America forests. It’s considered a living fossil merely because it has an uncommon feature: The newly hatched bird has claws on its thumb and first finger and so is enabled to climb on the branches of trees with great dexterity! When it reaches the adulthood, however, the claws are gone.

 

Young Hoatzin climbing the tree with its claws

 

Crocodiles (83.5 mya):

                     

 

Well, 83.5 millions years old, but no single feather has appeared…

 

Horseshoe crab (450 mya):

        

 

450 million years later… It absolutely remained the same fashion. It’s worth note that the horseshoe crab has a wonderful immunologic system which responds to any bacterial infection much faster than that of vertebrates! No wonder Dr. Norman Wainwright (immunologist at the  Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, USA), said, ‘One of the reasons the horseshoe crab has survived for so long is its advanced immune system’ (ABCNews)

Researchers at MBL are using one species, called Limulus polyphemus, to develop a test for bacteria. Bacterial cell walls contain distinctive LPS molecules (lipopolysaccharides, molecules containing sugar units and a fat). These trigger a cascade of enzyme reactions in horseshoe crab blood that attack the bacterial proteins and culminate in the production of a protein called fibrin. This clots the crab’s blood and, in the wild, would effectively seal a wound. (CMI)

So it turns out that this “primitive” creature has a much more efficient system than the “advanced” vertebrates?

There are much more examples of these living fossils, none of them showing any slight sign of evolution; we have insects, invertebrates with advanced eyes, such as the trilobites, dragonflies, etc, dated to million of years. Meanwhile, in a few million years, however, this astounding evolution occurred:

 

 

Well, this reminds me of a famous quote:

“Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” (Theodosius Dobzhansky)

Oh, homochirality…

Naturalistic theories have many insurmountable problems, dilemmas, if not for their anti-theistic commitment, many brilliant, renowned persons would never bother to conceive such a stupid wishful thinking, because the odds for a mere protein to form itself without intelligent influence are astronomical, in fact, impossible! Read now some scientific facts against the homochirality to happen by chance.

An organism is composed of countless molecules, the “building blocks” of life. Nearly all biological polymers must be homochiral (all its component monomers having the same handedness. Another term used is optically pure or 100 % optically active) to function. All amino acids in proteins are ‘left-handed’, while all sugars in DNA and RNA, and in the metabolic pathways, are ‘right-handed’. Whether or not a molecule or crystal is chiral is determined by its symmetry. A molecule is achiral (non-chiral) if and only if it has an axis of improper rotation, that is, an n-fold rotation (rotation by 360°/n) followed by a reflection in the plane perpendicular to this axis maps the molecule on to itself. Thus a molecule is chiral if and only if it lacks such an axis.

A 50/50 mixture of left- and right-handed forms is called a racemate or racemic mixture. Racemic polypeptides could not form the specific shapes required for enzymes, because they would have the side chains sticking out randomly. Also, a wrong-handed amino acid disrupts the stabilizing α-helix in proteins. DNA could not be stabilised in a helix if even a single wrong-handed monomer were present, so it could not form long chains. This means it could not store much information, so it could not support life.

To begin with, it’s a well known FACT that homochiral molecules are never found outside a cell (except, of course, in labs, under the human, therefore intelligent,  manipulation). Why? Laws of physics, dear!

consequence of the Laws of Thermodynamics. The left and right handed forms have identical free energy (G), so the free energy difference (ΔG) is zero. The equilibrium constant for any reaction (K) is the equilibrium ratio of the concentration of products to reactants. The relationship between these quantities at any Kelvin temperature (T) is given by the standard equation:

K = exp (–ΔG/RT)

where R is the universal gas constant (= Avogadro’s number x Boltzmann’s constant k) = 8.314 J/K.mol.

For the reaction of changing left-handed to right-handed amino acids (L → R), or the reverse (R → L), ΔG = 0, so K = 1. That is, the reaction reaches equilibrium when the concentrations of R and L are equal; that is, a racemate is produced. A famous textbook correctly stated:

‘Synthesis of chiral compounds from achiral reagents always yields the racemic modification.’ and ‘Optically inactive reagents yield optically inactive products.’ (Morrison, R.T. and Boyd, R.N., 1987. Organic Chemistry, 5th ed. Allyn & Bacon Inc. p.150)

It also states:

‘We eat optically active bread & meat, live in houses, wear clothes, and read books made of optically active cellulose. The proteins that make up our muscles, the glycogen in our liver and blood, the enzymes and hormones … are all optically active. Naturally occurring substances are optically active because the enzymes which bring about their formation … are optically active. As to the origin of the optically active enzymes, we can only speculate’

Nonetheless, they (the naturalists) are “sure” of the casual origin of everything… They just can’t explain HOW could it happen, nor can they show the farthest, slightest evidence of the nothingness creating things that violate its laws, such as homochirality! English biologist John Maddox called it “an intellectual thunderbolt that natural proteins should contain only the left-handed forms of the amino acids.”. But it was not for the lack of efforts and guesswork. The famous Oparin once went on to say:

“The probability of the formation of one antipode or the other is therefore the same. As the law of averages applies to chemical reactions the appearance of an excess of one antipode is very improbable, and, in fact, we never encounter it under the conditions of non-living nature and in laboratory syntheses . . . .
In living organisms, on the contrary, the amino acids of which naturally occurring proteins are made always have the left-handed configuration. . . . This ability of protoplasm selectively to synthesize and accumulate one antipode alone is called the asymmetry of living material. It is a characteristic feature of all organisms without exception but is absent from inanimate nature. 

Pasteur pointed out this fact as follows: “This great character is, perhaps, the only sharp dividing line which we can draw at present between the chemistry of dead and living nature.”” (A. I. Oparin, Life, Its Nature, Origin and Development (New York: Academic Press, 1961), pp. 59, 60)

Ever since, many theories were proposed, in an effort to solve this unbelievable puzzle, but they have all failed, as we’re going to see some now.

How can we separate the left from the right?

It’s not that simple! First of all, you need of intelligence behind the process… To resolve a racemate, another homochiral substance must be introduced. The procedure is explained in any organic chemistry textbook. The idea is that right-handed and left-handed substances have identical properties, except when interacting with other chiral phenomena. The analogy is that our left and right hands grip an achiral (non-chiral) object like a baseball bat equally, but they fit differently into a chiral object like a left-handed glove. Thus to resolve a racemate, an organic chemist will usually use a ready-made homochiral substance from a living organism.

However, this does not solve the mystery of where the optical activity in living organisms came from in the first place. An world conference on ‘The Origin of Homochirality and Life’ made it clear that the origin of this handedness is a complete mystery to evolutionists (Cohen, J., 1995. Science, 267:1265–1266). The probability of forming one homochiral polymer of N monomers by chance = 2–N. For a small protein of 100 amino acids, this probability = 2–100 = 10–30. Note, this is the probability of any homochiral polypeptide. The probability of forming a functional homochiral polymer is much lower, since a precise amino acid sequence is required in many places.

A further problem is that homochiral biological substances racemize in time. This is the basis of the amino acid racemization dating method. Its main proponent is Jeffrey Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California(Bada, J.L., Luyendyk, B.P. and Maynard, J.B., 1970. Science, 170:730–732). As a dating method, it is not very reliable, since the racemization rate is strongly dependent on temperature and pH, and depends on the particular amino acid (Gish, D.T., 1975.  Impact series #23, ICR). Racemization is also a big problem during peptide synthesis and hydrolysis. It shows that the tendency of undirected chemistry is towards death, not life.

Beta decay and the weak force

β-decay is one form of radioactive decay, and it is governed by one of the four fundamental forces of nature, the weak force. This force has a slight handedness, called parity violation, so some theorists thought β-decay could account for the chirality in living organisms. However, the weak force is aptly named—the effect is minuscule—a long way from producing the required 100 % homochirality. One specialist in the chirality problem, organic chemist William Bonner, professor emeritus at Stanford University, said, ‘none of this work has yielded convincing conclusions’. Another researcher concluded:

‘the exceptional prebiotic conditions required do not favour asymmetric β-radiolysis as the selector of the exclusive signature of optical activity in living nature.’

Another aspect of parity violation is that the L-amino acids and D-sugars have a theoretically slightly lower energy than their enantiomers so are slightly more stable. But the energy difference is immeasurable—only about 10–17 kT, meaning that there would be only one excess L-enantiomer for every 6×1017 molecules of a racemic mixture of amino acids.

Homochiral template

Some have proposed that a homochiral polymer arose by chance and acted as a template. However, this ran into severe problems. A template of 100 % right-handed poly-C (RNA containing only cytosine monomers) was made (by intelligent chemists!). This could direct the oligomerisation (formation of small chains) of (activated) G (guanine) nucleotides. Indeed, pure right-handed G was oligomerised much more efficiently than pure left-handed G. But racemic G did not oligomerise, because:

‘monomers of opposite handedness to the template are incorporated as chain terminators … This inhibition raises an important problem for many theories of the origin of life.’ (Joyce, G.F., Visser, G.M., van Boeckel, C.A.A., van Boom, J.H., Orgel, L.E. and van Westrenen, J., 1984. Nature, 310:602–4)

Do you like probabilities? Let’s see what Dr. Harold J. Morowitz of Yale University has found on his extensive research for discovering the theoretical limits for the simplest free-living thing which could duplicate itself.

“He took into consideration the minimum operating equipment needed and the space it would require. Also, attention was given to electrical properties and to the hazards of thermal motion. From these important studies, the conclusion is that the smallest such theoretical entity would require 239 or more individual protein molecules.
This is not very much simpler than the smallest actually known autonomous living organism, which is the minuscule, bacteria-like Mycoplasma hominis H39. It has around 600 different kinds of proteins. From present scientific knowledge, there is no reason to believe that anything smaller ever existed. We will, however, use the lesser total of 239 protein molecules from Morowitz’ theoretical minimal cell, which comprise 124 different kinds. 
It was noted earlier that there obviously can be no natural selection if there is no way to duplicate all of the necessary parts. In order to account for the left-handed phenomenon, chance alone, unaided by natural selection, would have to arrange at least one complete set of 239 proteins with all-left-handed amino acids of the universal 20 kinds. There is reason to believe that all 20 of these were in use from the time of life’s origin.
Using figures that were furnished by Morowitz, it can be calculated that the average protein molecule in the theoretical minimal living thing would contain around 445 amino acid units of the usual 20 kinds. One of the 20 types of amino acids, glycine, cannot be left- or right-handed, because its “side chain” is not really a chain, but merely a hydrogen atom like the one opposite it. It can be presumed that this minimal theoretical cell would in many ways resemble bacteria in its make-up. In some bacteria, glycine accounts for just over 8 percent of the total amino acid molecules, so we will estimate that in the average protein of the minimal cell, there will be 35 glycine units in the chain. That will leave 410 of the total 445 which could be either left- or right-handed.

If amino acids had been formed naturally in the “primitive” atmosphere, they would have occurred in statistically equal amounts of the left- and right-handed isomers. This became clear from experiments described in the preceding chapter. That means, then, that if a protein chain is to form by random linkups, all 410 of the nonglycine sites could be occupied with equal ease by either L- or D-type amino acids.
The first one has a 1 out of 2 chance of being left-handed. The same is true for each of the other 409. Since we are now figuring this at equal probability for either hand, the probability at anyone site is not affected by the amino acid before that one in the chain.
To calculate the probability in such a case, the formula to use is the multiplication rule, the heart of probability theory. Mathematician Darrell Huff said it thus: “To find the probability of getting all of several different things, multiply together the chances of getting each one.”
To get the probability of all 410 of the isomeric or handed amino acids of just one protein chain, we must multiply the 1/2 probability which is the case for each position in the chain. It is like flipping a coin 410 times, hoping to get all heads. For each step, there is 1 chance in 2, so we must multiply the 2 by itself (2 x 2 x 2 x . . . x 2). using the figure 410 times. That is 1 chance in 2410. (The exponent means: Multiply together 410 two’s.)
It will be easier to work with this figure if we translate it
to powers of 10 instead of powers of 2. As you know, multiplying 10 by itself is just adding another zero. The equivalent of 2410 is roughly 10123.

The probability that an average-size protein molecule of the smallest theoretically possible living thing would happen to contain only left-handed amino acids is, therefore, 1 in 10123, on the average.
That is a rather discouraging chance. To get the feel of that number, let’s look at it with all the 123 zeros: There is, on the average, 1 chance in –
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
that all of the amino acids of a particular protein molecule would be left-handed!” (creationsafaris)

Well, it’s a bit annoying when atheists, materialistic people claim to live completely exempt of faith, after seeing these frightening numbers against them!

“Life on Earth is made of “left-handed amino acids (L-amino acids)”. The question of why organisms on Earth consist of L-amino acids instead of D-amino acids or consist of D-sugar instead of L-sugar is still an unresolved riddle. In other words, a major mystery of life on Earth is that organisms are exclusively made up of left-handed amino acids. Therefore, the effort to solve this problem is one of the biggest in research into the origins of life, a subject that remains enveloped in mystery. “ (PhysOrg)

Sources: 

CMI;

Crev.info

God bless you all!

Vestigial Organs? No more!

Let’s review some of the most cited examples of “vestigial organs”, so claimed by evolutionists:

From: CreationStudies

The Human Coccyx (Tailbone)
What happens when a scientist does not take to the indoctrination of Darwinian Evolution? Enter Dr. David Menton. Dr. Menton has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University. He has a long and illustrious career as medical school professor earning the Silver Award for Basic Research from the American Academy of Dermatology. He was awarded the ‘Distinguished Service Teaching Award’ from Washington University School of Medicine in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Dr. Menton was named ‘Teacher of the Year’ at Washington University School of Medicine in 1979 and was elected ‘Professor of the Year’ by that same institution.

Dr. Menton has been a thorn in the flesh of those who try to brainwash and indoctrinate others into believing that Darwinian evolution is a fact of science. Why would a medical school professor become a thorn in the flesh of the evolutionary faithful?  The reason is really very simple: because he boldly and unashamedly gives his students, and anyone else who is willing to listen, information that the evolutionary establishment will not disclose.

Dr. Menton responded to a clinical case report that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Evolution and the Human Tail” by Dr. Fred Ledley. In his article, Dr. Ledley strongly implied that this growth (called a caudal appendage) was essentially a ‘human tail’, though he admitted that it had virtually none of the distinctive biological characteristics of a tail! (Menton 1994)

Dr. Menton corrected the erroneous statements of Darwinian scientists that the human tailbone was a vestigial structure and noted that “all true tails have bones in them that are a posterior extension of the vertebral column. Also, all true tails have muscles associated with their vertebrae which permit some movement of the tail” (Menton 1994). Rather than leaving the reader with the impression that the coccyx has no real function in human beings, Dr. Menton points out “that most modern biology textbooks give the erroneous impression that the human coccyx has no real function other than to remind us of the ‘inescapable fact’ of evolution. In fact, the coccyx has some very important functions. Several muscles converge from the ring-like arrangement of the pelvic (hip) bones to anchor on the coccyx, forming a bowl-shaped muscular floor of the pelvis called the pelvic diaphragm. The incurved coccyx with its attached pelvic diaphragm keeps the many organs in our abdominal cavity from literally falling through between our legs. Some of the pelvic diaphragm muscles are also important in controlling the elimination of waste from our body through the rectum” (Menton 1994).

But this is only one of the allegedly “100’s” of vestigial structures we are being told offer evidence of Darwinian evolution. What of the other three or four mentioned in our biology textbooks? We would not want our wisdom teeth, or those allegedly useless muscles that aid us in moving our ears and noses, to escape the scrutiny of simple logic. Or would we?

Muscles in our Ears and Noses


Would it surprise anyone that Darwin himself wrote on this very subject in his book The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex? Darwin questioned other experts in the field of anatomy to gain their insights into the reason that men, and several of their alleged ape-like ancestors, had lost the ability to move their ears in ways similar to other mammals. He attributes this to the ability that apes and men have to move their heads in a horizontal plane (emphasis added) allowing them to catch sounds from all directions (Darwin 1890). Why no questions about the ears of a Macaque monkey, and some other monkeys, that have far more developed ear muscles? These muscles enable them to focus towards sounds without using their much touted horizontal planes?  Like a great deal of the evolutionary rhetoric, things are just stated in support of the theory and most other non-supportive information is simply excluded.

Wisdom Teeth

That takes us to the other example from our 1999 biology text book: our wisdom teeth. Jonathan Safarti has earned a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry (with condensed matter and nuclear physics papers substituted) and a Ph.D. in Spectroscopy (Physical Chemistry) from Victoria University at Wellington. Dr. Safarti addresses this subject in his book entitled By Design: Evidence for Nature’s Intelligent Designer – the God of the Bible.

In the publication, Dr. Safarti explains that “wisdom teeth” is a popular term for our third molars, which often don’t develop properly. Instead, they can be impacted against their adjoining teeth, or partially erupt so the gum doesn’t form a bacterially-tight seal (leaving the tooth vulnerable to infection), or erupt crookedly and then cut the cheek frequently. Thus they are often removed (Safarti 2008).

Dr. Safarti reminds the reader that modern dentistry has identified the problem with wisdom teeth as being primarily linked to the diet in modern cultures.  In non-technological cultures, impacted wisdom teeth are extremely rare as their tougher diet exercises their jaw muscles properly during chewing, thus helping the jaw to develop properly. The grittier diet also results in tooth wear, and the normal compensation for this loss of tooth surfaces is mesial migration (tooth movement towards the front of the mouth) making more room for the back molars. The modern diet fails both to provide the same jaw exercise, so the jaw doesn’t develop to full size, and to provide tooth wear that would enable them to avoid crowding (Bergman 1998).

When I sought to gain a broader perspective about these vestigial organs, I discovered at one time as many as 180 vestigial organs were claimed to exist (Wiedersheim 1895).  Dr. Jerry Bergman offers some insight concerning the original 180 specimens.  Dr. Bergman has two earned PhD’s. One in human biology, from Columbia Pacific University 1992 and one in measurement and evaluation, minor in psychology, Wayne State University 1976. He has a M.A. in Social Psychology from Bowling Green State University and another M.Ed. from Wayne State University. In his paper entitled “Do Vestigial Organs Exist in Humans,” Dr. Bergman claims that the original list published in 1890 had shrunk down to 0 by 1999 (Bergman 2000).

The Wings of Flightless Birds

Much to my surprise, on the very same web publication that announced the possible removal of the appendix from the vestigial structure/organ list, AOL’s Live Science, I came across Brandon Miller’s Top Ten Useless Limbs (and other Vestigial Organs) list (Miller 2009). Miller begins his countdown with the ‘wings of flightless birds.’ What Mr. Miller fails to include in his support of Darwinian Theory is the fact that there are other explanations concerning these apparently useless structures.

There is more than one explanation for wings that do not produce flight. Even if the wings of these flightless birds are indeed ‘useless’ for purposes of flight, and even if they were derived from birds that once could fly, this does not falsify the creationist’s model.  Loss of feathers is relatively easy by natural processes, whereas acquisition of new complex characters, requiring specific DNA information, is impossible. Loss of wings most probably occurred in a beetle species that colonized a windy island.  Again, this is a loss of genetic information, so it is not evidence for microbe-to-man evolution, which requires masses of new genetic information (Wieland 1997).

Secondly, the wings of these flightless birds have a function. Some possible functions, depending on the species of flightless bird, are: balance while running, cooling in hot weather, protection of the rib-cage in falls, mating rituals, scaring predators (emus will run at perceived enemies of their chicks, mouth open and wings flapping), sheltering of chicks, etc.  If wings are useless, why are the muscles functional, allowing these birds to move their wings (Safarti 2008)?

It might be helpful if those who espouse Darwinian evolution to be a fact of science honestly gave us all the information, pro and con, and then allowed open discussion and academic debate to rule the day.  It seems that asking the evolutionary faithful to allow all the evidence to be heard is no longer an option. Rather than talking about different ways to interpret the data, the evolutionary establishment refuses to even allow any alternate or conflicting opinions to be heard.

Hind Leg Bones in Whales

The ninth in Miller’s countdown is ‘hind leg bones in whales’. Mr. Miller begins his review of this alleged vestigial structure with the ‘just so’ story of vertebrate evolution. He describes the story of how fish might have become the first land lovers by developing hips and legs and walking out of the water. Then, for no particular reason I can understand, Mr. Miller tells us that this evidently fickle process of evolution caused these one time ‘refugees from the ocean’ to go back into the water.  By this process, we are told aquatic mammals allegedly came into existence. Then “despite their apparent uselessness, evolution left traces of hind legs behind, and these vestigial limbs can be seen in the modern whale” (Miller 2009).

While the proponents of Darwinian evolution hold up the fossil evidence for whale evolution as one of the best examples of Darwin’s theory in the fossil record, the reality is far different from the hype. It is good to keep in mind that most paleontologists believe that a single-celled organism evolved from inorganic matter and continued to evolve into virtually every living organism that lives today, ever has lived in the past, or ever will in the future live on planet Earth. There is real debate, even among the evolutionary faithful, concerning whale evolution.

Dr. Carl Werner is a medical physician and the author of Evolution: The Grand Experiment. In this book, Dr. Werner interviews many of the leaders in the field of paleontology seeking real answers to the questions concerning evolution. In the chapter devoted to the fossil record of whales, Dr. Werner personally interviews several leaders in the field of whale evolution and discovers that the alleged ancestry of whales is not as unanimous as the evolutionary faithful might want us to think. There are some glaring problems with the evolution of whales, not the least of which is the fact that all whales are carnivores. Even the large filter-feeding baleen whales eat small crustacean animals called krill. Evolution scientists have chosen meat-eating land mammals such as the cat-like Sinonyx or the hyena-like Pachyaena, as the land animal precursor of whales, because of the similarities of the meat-eating teeth when compared to teeth of the oldest fossil whales (Werner 2007).

Even though a comparison of teeth is often used to trace evolutionary ancestry, in recent times DNA has been used to search for links in the phylogenetic history of living organisms. This was the case in Tokyo when researchers at the Tokyo Institute found evidence that hippopotamus DNA is the closest match to the DNA of whales when compared to all other mammal groups (Werner 2007).

But what of those alleged remnants of hips in whales?  Dr. Jonathan Safarti echoes the opinions of his fellow creationists, Bergman and Howe, when he explains that many evolutionists support whale evolution by alleging that there are vestigial hind legs buried in their flesh.  However, these so-called ‘remnants’ are not useless at all, but help strengthen the reproductive organs — the bones are different in males and females. So they are best explained by creation, not evolution (Safarti 1999).

There continues to be a myth that some whales have been discovered with hind legs complete with thigh and knee muscles. Dr. Carl Wieland spent much time and effort tracking down this evolutionary ‘urban legend’. In his article entitled “The Strange Tale of the Leg on the Whale,” Dr. Wieland traced the origin of this myth to a book by Dr. R. Baker in which Dr. Baker writes:

‘And every once in a while a modern whale is hauled in with a hind leg, complete with thigh and knee muscles, sticking out of its side. These atavistic hind legs are nothing less than throwbacks to a totally pre-whale stage of their existence, some fifty million years ago.’ (Baker 1986) 

In an effort to document Dr. Baker’s source, Dr. Carl Wieland arranged for a colleague to contact Dr. Baker and track down the source for the statement concerning the whale-leg appendage.  Dr. Baker indicated that the source for this was Everhard Johannes Slijper (1907–1968).  Slijper was professor of general zoology at Amsterdam University, Netherlands and he was the world’s leading authority on whales. In chapter 2 of his classic work is entitled Evolution and External Appearance, he talks about a bone in whales that he calls the ‘pelvic bone’, which is some 30 centimeters (12 inches) long, “but unlike the pelvis of normal mammals, it is not attached to the vertebral column.” This bone serves as an anchorage for the male reproductive organs. Slijper goes on to say that sometimes “another small bone may be attached to it.” Being an evolutionist, he naturally interprets this smaller piece of bone as a throw-back to the femur, or thigh bone, of the whale’s evolutionary ancestor. However, he states that in these occasional cases, the bone in question is generally 2.5 cm (just over an inch) in length, and that it is sometimes ‘fused’ with the pelvic bone (Wieland 1998).

The attempt to further track down the alleged whale with a “hind leg, complete with thigh and knee muscles, sticking out of its side,” brought Dr. Wieland to write: “the closest thing to the claim which launched our pursuit of this whole trail is where Slijper states, ‘Thus, at Ayukawa Whaling Station (Japan), a Sperm Whale was brought in 1956, with a 5-inch tibia projecting into a 5½-inch “bump,” and a Russian factory ship in the Bering Sea had a similar experience in 1959.’ No photo is provided.”

Ignoring – for the moment – the purely anecdotal nature of the evidence, what is it that is being claimed? Sperm whales are massive — up to about 19m (62 feet) long. A 14 cm (5.5 inch) ‘bump’ on its side would look like an almost unnoticeable pimple. Inside the bump is a piece of bone, some 12.5 cm (5 inches) ‘long’. There is no evidence given of anything which could reasonably be called a ‘leg’. Slijper calls the bone inside the ‘bump’ a ‘tibia’. But we have already seen that it doesn’t take much for evolutionary believers to label abnormal pieces of bone in ways to fit their naturalistic religion (Wieland 1998).

So the search for photographic evidence of an atavistic leg, dangling uselessly from the underbelly of a whale, ends in failure. The reason such myths find a home in Darwinian theory, is due to the fact that ‘just so’ stories rarely provide any substantive evidence. Whether it the atavistic leg in whales or the prehensile tails in neonates, looks can indeed be deceiving, especially if the entire theory is based upon a faulty premise.

Erector Pili and Body Hair


Erector Pili are smooth muscle fibers that are responsible for giving human skin a bumpy appearance normally referred to as goose bumps.  The evolutionary establishment sees all evidence through the lens of Darwinian spectacles. The conclusions they reach are affected by their chosen paradigm of naturalism. Therefore, they see absolutely no reason for humans to have goose bumps. While the small size of these miniature muscles make them likely targets for evolutionists, Dr. Menton reminds us that the size of these structures should not be any indication of their usefulness to the organism. As is the case with all allegedly vestigial organs, not understanding their current function does not mean that they have no function, e.g. the now non-vestigial tonsils and appendix.

We are reminded by Dr. Menton, while virtually all of the larger muscles of the body have obvious (as well as some not so obvious) mechanical functions, smaller muscles are not necessarily useless. For example, two of the smallest muscles in the body, the stapedius and the tensor tympani, serve to dampen the movements of the auditory ossicles and the tympanic membrane (respectively) preventing loud sounds from overloading these delicate structures of the middle ear. In general, most small, short muscles of the body produce fine adjustments in the movement of larger muscles (Menton 2000).

With an almost perfunctory statement alluding to the eyebrow being the only worthy statement of function for body hair, the proponent of the ‘Top Ten Vestigial Organs’ goes on to say that, aside from the possible aesthetic qualities influencing sexual attraction, “all the rest of the hair, though, is essentially useless” (Miller 2009).

Here is where the obvious influence of Darwinian thought starts to resemble anti-science. It may very well be a problem on both sides of the debate, that is, coloring our interpretation of the data through our individual worldview rather than looking at all the evidence independent of bias. However, Creationists and Intelligent Design theorists are willing to look at all the possibilities without automatically excluding any of them.  We see how the concept of ‘molecules to men’ evolutionary thinking, and their unswerving allegiance to naturalism, clouds the minds of the evolutionary faithful and colors all of their conclusions. They will inevitably assume that man shares a common ancestor with other primates. Primates are usually very hairy; therefore, man must have lost his hair, because he no longer needed it. This is why goose bumps are seen as a rudimentary vestige of our furry relatives, puffing themselves up to appear larger to predators or generating warmth in particularly cold circumstances.

It may be too easy to play devil’s advocate with this subject, but just for a minute indulge me. First of all, is human hair really degenerating fur, lost to eons of clothing and improvements in central heating? Can eyebrows, and the ability to grow the hair on our heads longer than other body hair really be traced back to the sexual mores of our alleged furry forefathers, as those ‘wise of all’ scientists – the proponents of evolutionary psychology – tell us? Is it really as cut and dried as fur and hair being the same thing?

Let’s look at the similarities and the differences between hair and fur. First of all, hair and fur have the same chemical composition. They are both made of keratin and when speaking of non-humans, the term “fur” is used to describe the coat of fur-bearing animals. The real difference between fur and hair is found in the core of the hair follicle. In the case of animals, the hair follicle allows for more insulation to coat the hair shaft. Human hair lacks this ability and therefore, it does not provide the same insulation and weather proofing that animal fur provides.

Another area of difference is in the growth patterns of fur versus hair. In humans, the hairs grow distinctively from one another without the typical, closely woven appearance of fur.  Animal hair will fall out at a predetermined length, while some human hair, e.g. head hair, facial hair in men, etc., can be grown to considerable length. Animal hair seems to have double the composition of human hair and therefore, animal hair is much thicker than human hair.

Because evolutionary biology assumes common ancestry between animals and humans, these biologists automatically assume that similarities indicate common ancestry. This is why Creationists and Intelligent Design theorists cry foul when only one possible explanation is presented. Bible believing people see similarities in design as evidence of the ultimate Intelligent Designer, God. Man did not lose body hair as he made an evolutionary leap across time. Man was created with the God-given ability to be fruitful and multiply. He was not some Geico Neanderthal moving up the evolutionary ladder to modern man. The forever-missing link aside, man has reamined virtually unchanged since he was created in the Garden of Eden.

Some men are hairier than others.  I remember the professional wrestler, ‘George the Animal Steele’, whose body hair was so thick he would have to shave it. It left him with what looked like a fur collar of body hair around his considerably thick neck. ‘The Animal’ walked with a stooped posture, a hairless head and a thick mat of natural fur-like hair on his exposed arms and torso. Wrestling broadcasters often speculated that The Animal was indeed “the missing link.”  The fly in this proverbial ointment, as is usually the case, was the truth.  George the Animal Steele was not the Neanderthal throwback his promoters presented to his Worldwide Wrestling Federation (WWF) fans. George was a teacher with both a bachelors and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. George honed his skills in wrestling while serving as both a teacher and the amateur wrestling coach at Madison High School in Madison Heights, Michigan. In reality, George was nothing like his WWF persona. George was just an educator-turned-professional-wrestler who turned his extraordinary fur-like body hair into a successful show-biz shtick.  In reality, George was not really a throwback to some long-lost evolutionary ancestor, any more than our human hair is the remnant of any long-lost evolutionary ape-like forefathers.

The Blind Fish Astyanax Mexicanus 

The next in the line of the top ten vestigial organs is not really what it is being promoted to be. Like the ‘bait and switch’ tactic of the evolutionary faithful, adaptability is being promoted as evidence of the ‘molecules to men’ grand theory of evolution. Adaptability is not evidence of inorganic molecules forming themselves into organic molecules by natural selection and beneficial mutation. Adaptability is not evidence of a living single-celled microorganism that – contrary to all biogenetic law – is going to be able to produce new information allowing it to morph itself into every living creature that has ever lived, or will ever live, on planet Earth. This ability to transform one form of life into another is often referred to as “macro-evolution.”  It is descriptive of the large and complex changes being postulated by Darwin’s theory.

Smaller changes can be produced by an incremental accumulation of genetic changes due to a loss of genetic information, or loss can occur due to atrophy. These are the types of changes that produce blind fish or blind salamanders, etc., and do not require new information to be generated.  The ‘use it or lose it’ type of changes we observe are often referred to as “micro-evolution.” These are the horizontal changes within a species, e.g. the variety of species within canis familiaris from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane.  These changes within the dog species are due to the incredible variety contained in the DNA; that is, information already contained therein and not newly created through natural selection and beneficial mutation. The ability to breed in and out certain genetic traits is far more indicative of special creation and Intelligent Design theory than Darwinian evolution. These changes are real, but not sufficient in nature to produce the vertical changes postulated by Darwinian Theory.

As noted previously, the fact that a fish, or other creature, may suffer the loss of ability in part, or the whole, of an organ or organ system is called atrophy, not evolution. The fact that muscles left unused will shrink with time and become virtually useless is not evidence of macro-evolution at all. It is even less supportive of adaptation, or micro-evolution. The loss of function is not necessarily traced back to loss of genetic information and, as modern genetics has clearly established, no major changes can be achieved without new genetic information being generated.

Another incredible truth concerning our blind fish is that scientists have been able to reverse their blindness, so the loss of sight was not even permanent. That raises another question. Can some of these losses, e.g. flightless birds and insects, be reversed? The answer, according to 2003 report in the Washington Post, is a resounding “yes” (Gugliotta 2003). The article went on to say how surprised these researchers were to discover that insects commonly known as ‘walking sticks,’ had evolved from winged to wingless and back again to winged. If is all sounds a bit confusing, don’t be alarmed. Darwinian Theory often sounds ridiculous when the ‘just so’ stories get told.

 

The Sexual Organs of Dandelions 

Here is another example of the skewed thinking that permeates all evolutionary writing. The bait and switch tactic is used here again to imply that not using a particular organ, or ability, is change that is supportive of macroevolution. This ‘use it or lose it’ scenario sounds a lot like Lamarckism, a debunked theory named for the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) who postulated that certain traits in an organism (occurring during the life time of that organism) could be passed on to their offspring.  Charles Darwin entertained this Lamarckian concept as a possible adjunct to natural selection (Desmond & Moore 1991).

The dandelion has the proper organs, e.g. the stamen and pistil, for sexual reproduction, but opts for asexual reproduction. This is seen as supportive of Darwin’s Theory even though, by Darwinian standards, sexual reproduction is considered superior for the proliferation of the species over asexual reproduction (Fisher 1975).

Dandelions are being held up as the ‘poster boy’ for asexual reproduction and evidence of vestigial structures. However, the fact remains that other organisms have this ability using both methods to reproduce, e.g. several species of algae, many protists and fungi, flora, and aphids along with some species of amphibians and reptiles, the hammerhead shark (Eilperin 2007) and the blacktip shark (Chapman et al. 2008).

So does the loss of an ability to reproduce sexually support Darwin’s Theory? When talking about dandelions, it is important to remember that although they evidently choose to reproduce asexually, the stamen and the anther of the dandelion remain intact and fully functional.  Dandelions self-pollinate, they do not clone or bud, thereby offering an advantage that mere cloning or budding does not. Given the fact that most evolutionary biologists believe asexual reproduction preceded sexual reproduction, the loss of the ability to reproduce sexually is really evidence of devolution, not evolution (Miller and Levine 2004).

We have also been told that the beautiful flower of the dandelion is a vestigial structure, since the dandelion is no longer reproducing sexually. This is an interesting but flawed argument, because the flowers of the dandelion are not superfluous at all, when one considers the symbiotic relationships that undeniably exist in God’s creation. Dandelion leaves are more nutritious than anything you can buy in the local health food store. They’re higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is phenomenal, greater than spinach. You also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by using a tasty, free vegetable that grows on virtually every lawn. The root contains the sugar inulin, plus many medicinal substances. Dandelion root is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies. The specific name, Taraxacum officinale, implies that it’s used medicinally. The decoction is a traditional tonic that is supposed to strengthen the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder, where it promotes the flow of bile, reduces inflammation of the bile duct, and helps get rid of gall stones. It is good for chronic hepatitis, reduces liver swelling and jaundice, and helps indigestion caused by insufficient bile. Don’t use it with irritable stomach or bowel, or if you have an acute inflammation (Morrow 1994).

Fake Sex in Virgin Whiptail Lizards (Vestigial Behavior) 


Coming in as number 3, is a species of lizard designated genus Cnemidophorus. The females of this particular species do not need the males, because they reproduce by parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is a form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual.  Despite the fact that it is unnecessary and futile to attempt copulation with each other, the lizards still like to try, and occasionally one of the females will start to act like a male by attempting to copulate with another female. Evolutionists say these lizards evolved from a sexual species and the behavior to copulate like a male – to engage in fake sex – is a vestigial behavior; that is, a behavior present in a species, but expressed in an imperfect form, which in this case is useless (Miller 2009).

The Whiptails are not the only parthenogenic organisms on the planet. This form of asexual reproduction is also found in some fishes, several varieties of insects, and a few species of frogs and lizards. The largest lizard known to exhibit this form of reproduction is the female Komodo dragon.  Unlike the whiptails, Komodo dragons continue to be able to reproduce sexually. Unlike their smaller cousins – the Whiptails – who always produce female offspring, Komodo dragons that reproduce asexually only produce males.

Unlike our evolutionary counterparts, we do not see everything through the lens of Darwinian spectacles. Evolution assumes in the case of the Whiptail lizard, that the ability to reproduce asexually via parthenogenesis is the result of evolutionary change. This is an assumption that is not consistent throughout Darwinian Theory.

The standard view is that the oldest life forms are cyanobacteria that have a photosynthetic capability, survive and thrive in anaerobic conditions, and allegedly arose in the aquatic primordial soup of primitive Earth approximately 3.5 billion years ago. I like to call this “the original ‘just so’ story of evolution.  Cyanobacteria belong to a relatively new category of organisms called Archaea (Jarrell et al. 1999) and are commonly referred to as blue-green algae.

Under normal circumstances, blue-green algae reproduce asexually, thrive without oxygen, and can endure extreme temperatures in aquatic environments. These are some of the reasons they are considered the most primitive form of bacteria on the planet. Included in this category are the thermophiles that thrive in conditions considered primordial by today’s standards.  The dirty little secret is that microorganisms – including some species of blue-green algae – reproduce both sexually and asexually, but when it comes to evolutionary theory, the details don’t seem to matter that much.

The writer of our top ten focuses on the fact that female Whiptails still occasionally act like males attempting a sexual union with other females. Creationists would theorize that Whiptails were created to reproduce both ways and eventually, through natural selection, they completely switched over to asexual reproduction. That does not mean that instinctual behaviors intended to allow these creatures to “be fruitful and multiply” would completely disappear, hence the occasional female acting like a male and attempting sexual reproduction with another female.  So, yes, in this case we do seem to have a “vestigial” behavior if we define “vestige” purely to mean a “leftover” or trace evidence of something that once existed, but it is certainly not a leftover of any evolutionary process.  Rather, it is a behavior that signifies a useful trait that once existed in a more fully-endowed population, and has been lost forever in the degenerated form of the whiptail that survives today.

Intelligent Design theorists would say much the same, noting that both forms of reproduction are intended to propagate the species in question. Although it is considered more beneficial for the health of a species to reproduce sexually, e.g. twice the genetic information, less inbreeding, etc., some creatures have not benefited as much from sexual reproduction.  For example, parthenogenesis is forced on some species of wasps when they become infected with bacteria, as in the genus Wolbachia (Nair 2007).

With all the details of the evolution of microorganisms aside, the trace memories of sexual reproduction among a now (but not always) asexually reproducing species of lizard, hardly confirm this practice as evidence of upward change, e.g.  Darwinian evolution.

Male Breast Tissue and Nipples


Here our top ten list becomes almost comical. Our writer states that both men and women have nipples, because in early stages of fetal development an unborn child is effectively sexless. It is true of all neonates that nipples are present in both males and females, and it is only in a later stage of fetal development that the more overt signs of sex differentiation are evident in the fetus. All mammals, male and female, have mammary glands. Our top ten list compiler notes, if male nipples are truly vestigial; they may perform a small role in sexual stimulation and a small number of men have been able to lactate. However, he claims they are not fully functional and, because cancer can grow in male or female breast tissue, the tissue can be dangerous (Miller 2009).

The initial statement concerns the pathway that decides the sexual identity of a fetus. The author of the top ten list seems willfully ignorant when he implies that the sex of a child is determined solely by hormonal secretions. Not one mention of the genetic factors involved in sex determination is offered or even alluded to.  The fact that some male breast tissue has been known to lactate indicates that these anatomical features still function as originally designed. Sexual stimulation, for some reason, is not really a sufficient function according to our evolutionary friends.

Dr. Jonathan Safarti asks: what is the evolutionist’s explanation for male nipples? Did males evolve (or devolve) from females? Or did ancestral males suckle the young? No evolutionist would propose either of these options. He concludes that male nipples are neither evidence for evolution nor evidence against creation (Safarti 2008).

Remembering that both men and women are made in God’s image, should give us some insight into why some features are common to both the genders.  However, we must remember that evolution leaves no room for an Intelligent Designer, much less an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God.

The Human Appendix


There it was!  The number one allegedly vestigial organ in our top ten list: the human appendix. Yet this was the organ that is being demoted off the list of so-called vestigial organs and appeared in the Live Science.com article that suggested it was not really vestigial at all (Choi 2009). As we noted in the opening paragraph of this article, Live Science reported:

“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” said researcher William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.” 

Our top ten promoter opines, in plant-eating vertebrates, the appendix is much larger and its main function is to help digest a largely herbivorous diet. The human appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine where it joins the small intestine and does not directly assist digestion. Biologists believe it is a vestigial organ, left behind from a plant-eating ancestor. Then Mr. Miller states in a monumental example of bogus reasoning, in 2000 there were nearly 300,000 appendectomies performed in the United States, and 371 deaths from appendicitis. Any secondary function that the appendix might perform certainly is not missed in those who had it removed before it might have ruptured.

Aside from the attempt to prove an organ vestigial, because it might become infected and result in death, not all the scientists agree with this view. As we noted earlier, Dr. David Menton has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Brown University. Dr. Menton has had a long and distinguished career teaching medical students anatomy and physiology. Dr. Menton provides the following information on the allegedly vestigial organ called the appendix.

The appendix, like the once “vestigial” tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body’s immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system.  Believing it to be a useless evolutionary “left over,” many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice (Menton 1994). 

So, the list of vestigial organs continues to shrink. The more we discover about our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, the more we stand in awe of His creative abilities. The more true science looks at the universe, the more evidence piles up in support of special creation. Today we are seeing the cracks in the foundation supporting Darwinian Evolution. One by one the pillars are giving way to true science and the warning of the Apostle Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy, becomes all the more timely:

– See more at: http://www.creationstudies.org/Education/vestigal_organs.html#Organs

Submitted by: 
Steven Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.  

References

Baker, R. (1986). The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs, U.K. edition, Longman Group, Essex, 1986; published in USA as The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and their Extinction, Morrow, New York, 1986. p. 317.

Bergman, Jerry (1998). Are wisdom teeth (third molars) vestiges of human evolution? J. Creation 12(3):297-304.

Bergman, Jerry (2000). Do any vestigial organs exist in humans? Answers in Genesis. Technical Journal 14(2):95-98.

Chapman, D. D., B. Firchau, and M. S. Shivji (2008). Parthenogenesis in a large-bodied requiem shark, the blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus. Journal of Fish Biology 73(6): 1473. See report in Science Daily: “Virgin birth” By shark confirmed: Second case ever. Retrieved September 1, 2009 at the New World Encyclopedia. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Asexual reproduction.

Choi, Charles (2009). Appendix may be useful organ after all. Live Science. Originally Accessed September 1, 2009 at http://news.aol.com/health/article/researchers-say-
appendix-has-uses/637211?icid=main|hpdesktop|dl1|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Fhealth%2Farticle%2Fresearchers-say-appendix-has-uses%2F637211.

Darwin, Charles (1890). The Descent of Man and Selection in Sex. 2nd Edition. London: John Murray, Ablemarle Street. 1890. p. 32.

Desmond, A. , Moore, J. (1991). Darwin Penguin Books p.617 “Darwin was loathe to let go of the notion that a well-used and strengthened organ could be inherited.”

Eilperin, J. 2007. Female sharks can reproduce alone, researchers find. Washington Post May 23, 2007, p. A02. Retrieved September 1, 2008.

Fisher, Ronald A. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930. Quoted by Michelle J. Solensky in the Evolution of Sexual Reproduction
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http://www.gennet.org/facts/metro07.html on August 25, 2009.

Menton, David (1994). Ibid.

Menton, David (1994). Ibid. This version accessed September 8, 2009 at http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/evoltail.txt.

Menton, David (2000). The plantaris and the question of vestigial muscles. Answering the critics. CEN Technical Journal 14(2) 2000.

Miller, Brandon (2009). Top Ten Useless Limbs (and other Vestigial Organs). Live Science. at http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_vestigial_organs.html on August 25, 2009.

Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Whale evolution.

Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Erector Pili and body hair.

Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Fake sex in virgin Whiptail lizards.

Miller, Brandon (2009). Ibid. Male breast tissue and nipples.

Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Biology. Glossary, Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. p.1104.

Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Ibid. Similarities in embryology. p. 385.

Miller, Kenneth, R., Levine, Joseph (2004). Ibid. Evolution of protists. p. 498.

Morrow, William (1994). Identifying and Harvesting Edible Plants in Wild (and Not-So-Wild) Places. Harper Collins Publishers, New York.

Nair, Jayakumaran A. (2007). Principles of Biotechnology. Cell growth and development. Laxmi Publications, LTD., Publisher. New Delhi, India. p. 351

Safarti, Jonathan (2008). By Design: Evidence for Nature’s Intelligent Designer – the God of the Bible. Creation Book Publishers. Powder Springs, GA. p 204.

Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Flightless birds. Ibid. p. 205-206.

Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Flightless birds. Ibid. p. 206.

Safarti, Jonathan (2008). Ibid. Why do males have nipples? p. 206.

Safarti, Jonathan (1999). Refuting Evolution. Whale evolution. Master Books. Brisbane,

Australia. p 77. Footnote – J, Bergman and G. Howe. “Vestigial Organs” are Fully Functional, Creation Science Society Monograph No. 14.

Schraer, William D., Stoltze, Herbert J. (1999). Biology. Evidence of evolution. Prentice Hall Pub. Upper Saddle River, NJ. p. 583.

Werner, Carl (2007). Evolution: The Grand Experiment. The fossil record of whales. New Leaf Press. Green Forest, AR. p. 134.

Werner, Carl (2007). Ibid. Originally retrieved from Science News on Line on September 29, 2006 at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_ml1200/is_19_156/ai_57828404. On page 3 of the on-line article, Dr. Monastersky quotes Dr. Norhiro Okada, a Biologist and Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology: “I am one hundred percent confident with the conclusion that most the most closely related species to whales, among extant mammals, is the hippo.”

Wiedersheim, R (1985). The Structure of Man: An Index to His Past History. 2nd Edition. Translated by H. and M. Bernard. London: Macmillan and Co. 1985. Originally
Wiedersheim postulated 86 vestigial structures in 1983 but expanded it to no less than 180 vestiges in later publications.

Wieland, Carl (1997). Beetle bloopers: even a defect can be an advantage sometimes. Creation 19(3):30.

Wieland, Carl (1998). The strange tale of the leg on the whale. Creation Ministries International

Publisher. Creation magazine 20(3):10-13. June 1998.

Wieland, Carl (1998). Ibid. – See more at: http://www.creationstudies.org/Education/vestigal_organs.html#Organs

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