Thursday, January 30, 2014

Haphazard pattern of genetic complexity

An example of an Internet meme poking fun at strange creatures
that are thought to have evolved.  Image source.
Nautilus, an online science magazine, published an article today describing a series of studies that show that the pattern of genetic complexity doesn't seem to reflect a continuous progression.

Genetic studies have previously found that genome size does not correlate with the complexity of an organism, such that a species of amoeba (Amoeba dubia) has a genome 231 times larger than that of humans.  Scientists were quick to note, however, that complexity would be better measured by the number of genes in the genome than by the mere size.  Even this, however, did not prove helpful.  As noted in the article, the supposedly "primitive" and "simple" sea anemone contains more genes than some insects, and that creatures with a series of complex organs appear to have evolved before others with a much more simple body plan.

The creationist should not be quick to rejoice, however.  The idea that evolution is a series of progressive steps leading to ever-increasing complexity is a popular straw man fallacy, one that is even held by some evolutionists.  The theory of evolution does not require increasing complexity, however, and merely states that whichever creature survives to reproduce will pass on its genes.  Some evolutionists, such as Stephen Jay Gould, even claim that there is an equal chance that organisms will evolve to become either simpler or more complex to survive evolutionary pressures.

On the other hand, I have little doubt that if there was a direct correlation between genetic complexity and the evolutionary tree, it would be repeatedly presented as undeniable evidence that all organisms evolved over time from a common ancestor.  Evolutionists would then claim that if there was a Designer, we would expect to see a haphazard distribution of genetic complexity.  As it stands, however, creationists are not surprised by the results of these studies, which are not particularly useful in arguing against evolution in its current form.  If drastic changes in genome size and gene number could be demonstrated between closely-related organisms, that might go further in breaking down the evolutionary tree, but the studies in question do not make such comparisons.  If a study does investigate this, I will do my best to report it quickly and accurately.

No comments:

Post a Comment