Friday, December 18, 2015

The Case of Eric Metaxas or "Evolutionary Theory as Bug Zapper."

Eric Metaxas is, by all accounts, a very dynamic and charismatic speaker, who has written a very highly regarded book called Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness.  This book, which has been read by my son Marcus, who thoroughly enjoyed it, was on the New York Times bestseller list for some time.

Unfortunately, as with all Christian public speakers, eventually, they get drawn to evolution.  They simply cannot help themselves.  We saw this recently with Ben Carson, now we see it with Eric Metaxas.   He has an article on the Christian Post called "Unlocking the Darwin Debate."

Aside: Okay, I get the need for revenue but The Christian Post has to be one of the most irritating websites I have yet encountered.  It has obnoxious video ads that you cannot turn off, bottom banners that keep popping up even after you have read them and buggy scripts that freeze the browser. I have already complained once to them.  

Onward. He writes:
Of course, like digital code on a hard drive, DNA can be corrupted. The most recent iteration of Darwin's theory claims that these corruptions — called mutations — are the engines of evolution.

But here's the problem: We don't have a single example of a mutation resulting in a net gain of information. Not one.
How does he know this? Has he read the genetic literature?  What does he mean by a “net gain of information?” Mutation is not the engine of evolution. That is a simplistic, inaccurate view of evolution, written by someone who hasn't done the basic research on the topic. Evolution is a complex process that involves not just mutation but genetic drift, flow and selection.  Even that is a simplistic description.  The idea that mutation cannot lead to a gain in information is nonsense.  There are plenty of examples of mutations in which there is a gain of information.  In fact, when a mutation happens, there is not a loss of information, there is simply a change of information.  What happens when a mutation happens that is beneficial and selection acts upon it to spread it throughout the population?  How is that a loss of information?  Further, there are numerous instances in which genes have been duplicated through mutation, resulting in gain of information.  As the New Scientist points out:
Several species of abalone shellfish have evolved due to mutations in the protein “key” on the surface of sperm that binds to a “lock” on the surface of eggs. This might appear impossible, but it turns out that some eggs are prepared to be penetrated by deviant sperm. The same thing can happen in fruit flies, and likely in many other groups too. In yeasts, the mutations that led to some new species forming have not only been identified, they have even been reversed.
The idea that mutation conveys loss of information is also clearly refuted by the evidence from the fossil record of common descent. We can see in the fossil record where species have arisen. This can only happen through the processes of drift, flow, mutation and selection. In all cases, this is clearly a gain of information.

It is disappointing that speakers like Metaxas feel that they must tackle evolution with the gusto that they do other areas of their faith.  That he is such a dynamic speaker is surely a draw to the modern evangelical crowd.  That he knows nothing about evolution is lost on both him and his audience. 



  2. "But here's the problem: We don't have a single example of a mutation resulting in a net gain of information. Not one."

    Obviously Mataxas is an evolution denier, aka science denier. I'm not surprised. He recently wrote two ridiculous articles for the Wall Street Journal where he pretends his anti-science fantasies are compatible with science.

    Atheist here. I thank the god-soaked uneducated morons who disgrace their religious cults. They are the best possible advertisement for reality, aka atheism.

    "The Christian Post has to be one of the most irritating websites I have yet encountered."

    I notice the same problems. The people who own that website are obviously not very bright. I'm not surprised. There are intelligent educated Christians like yourself but it seems to me the vast majority of Christians are extremely dense.