Can Random Mutations REALLY Create Complex Information Packed
Into DNA Molecules? --
Guest Editorial by Laszlo Bencze
It is clear that living things are filled with information.
Multicellular organisms develop through embryonic stages
following complex and intricate patterns. They grow and
reproduce following other patterns which are instinctual and
coded into their genetic structure. Even single celled
organisms consist of intricate sub-cellular machines which are
all coded in their DNA.
The claim of evolution is that all the intricate, complex, and
voluminous information contained in life originated and spread
through random accidents (mutation) preserved by natural
Here are the essentials:
1. Evolution is unguided. No gods or angels help it along. No
"life force" is built into nature. There is no ultimate goal
towards which all life flows.
2. Random changes occur in the DNA of living things.
3. These random genetic changes sometimes cause meaningful
changes in the living things in which they are found.
4. If the changes reduce reproductive success they tend to
5. If the changes increase reproductive success they are
preserved and disseminated throughout the population.
6. Such cycles of random change followed by natural selection
repeated innumerable times have been responsible for the
appearance of all components of life, cellular and otherwise,
and for the profusion and diversity of species.
Evolutionists make much of the fact that natural selection
makes the process not entirely random. Natural selection
introduces feedback and purpose into the process they say.
However, each step of random mutation/natural selection is
independent and unrelated to the next step. Thus, taken as a
whole, the many steps of any evolutionary process truly are
random. Yet, under the normal circumstances of our lives,
we never see randomness ever producing any sort of
information. It is therefore quite reasonable to be suspicious
of the claim that a random process is responsible for the
information of life.
If you were walking along the beach one morning and happened
to see some seaweed arranged into the form of a ragged letter
"A", I doubt you would pause very long to contemplate the
wonder of it. After all, it is conceivable that long strands
of seaweed might have been strewn into this pattern through
perfectly natural forces of wave action.
But if you saw seaweed arranged into the sentence "I AM," I'm
sure you would pause a moment to wonder who had bothered to
arise so early to arrange the seaweed into that meaningful but
seemingly incomplete form. You might surmise that some
eccentric had decided to write a message in seaweed but
finding the task too troublesome, gave up before finishing. Or
you might assume that the eccentric did in fact compose a
longer message which had been partially erased by waves. Not
for a moment would you imagine that natural, random forces had
created even such a simple message but you would easily accept
that they had destroyed part of it.
DNA is many orders of magnitude richer in information than the
example above. Yet evolution proposes that chance can produce
such an astonishingly information-rich coding system.
So evolution boils down to a problem in information theory.
How can random effects
the information of a system? In normal systems,
randomness causes only loss
of information usually evidenced as
loss of function.
If the random mutation/natural selection paradigm were such a
powerful generator of functionality, why wouldn't software
engineers use it when writing computer code?
Evolutionary literature often parades forth the example of a
string of random letters being transformed into a quote from
Shakespeare through only a few random substitutions of
letters. Unfortunately, this example is based on the use of an
algorithm which matches a partial string to a goal string and
preserves any change towards that goal. But in evolution both
goals and algorithms created by intelligent agents are
Interestingly, the micro-evolution of bacteria in developing
antibiotic resistance always involves a loss of information.
As Dr. Lee Spetner explains, "A mutation in bacteria that
makes it resistant to streptomycin reduces the specificity of
a protein in the ribosome. When the ribosome becomes less
specific, its performance is degraded...The mutation makes the
ribosome slower than normal in translating some of the RNA
codons into protein."(1)
When the bacterial environment returns to its normal state
with no antibiotic present, the antibiotic-resistant strain is
out-competed by the normal strain and disappears. Thus
antibiotic resistance is not a step towards a new species of
bacteria. The situation is very much as if a normal gasoline
car engine were made resistant to gasoline shortages by being
able to also burn diesel, kerosene, or cooking oil as fuel.
But regardless of what fuel it burned, including gasoline, it
had a top speed of 20 mph, ran very
rough, and emitted billowing clouds of noxious smoke.
Obviously such an engine could not be considered an advance
over a standard engine. There would be no market for it
if gasoline were readily available and it would disappear from
Random events most assuredly can create noise. In fact they
can create nothing else. But random events never create
It is evolution's failure to satisfy our rightful skepticism
about whether randomness can create information which ought,
more than anything else, arouse our suspicions about its
ability to be the force that caused all life on earth.
(1) Spetner, Dr. Lee,
Chance, Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution,
The Judaica Press, Brooklyn, New York, 1998 p. 131, 141, 144
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