Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
In one of the June 2006 issues of the Back to Genesis series, John Morris argues that the mutation rate for humans does not fit the pattern expected by secular evolution, and it proves that mankind cannot be millions of years old.
Morris starts out with the claim that in every experiment, spontaneous generation of life has been shown to be disproved. While true, this does nothing to argue against old earth creationism, with God providing that first creation of life. While this remains a limiting factor for the secular evolutionist, it presents no problems for old earth creationism.
Morris then informs the reader that evolutionists are now suggesting that life came to earth from a meteorite, or some other delivery method. This is true, as some evolutionists realize that spontaneous generation is not a workable theory. However, generating life on earth from outer space does not eliminate the need for spontaneous generation of life. The life from space must also have been spontaneously generated at some point in the past.
The main thrust of this article has to do with mutation rates. Morris says that the measured rate of mutations is now between 100 and 300 mutations per person. He goes on to state that at this rate, the human race would have already deteriorated to extinction after several million years, therefore the human race must not be millions of years old.
However, Morris is not being totally forthcoming in the true meaning of these mutations. Typically, young earth proponents will omit certain data from their arguments. Those who are not inclined to look up the data accept their words as truth, when in fact they are being deceitful.
Morris claim of up to 300 mutations is on the higher fringe of what scientists accept. The average mutation rate is only 64, and the upper limit is around 175, although there are exceptions where people have more mutations. However, this number is not the important one. These numbers are the mutation rate for the entire genome. However, over 90 percent of our genome is in what we call our "junk DNA." Mutations in this DNA make no difference. It is only the 10 percent of the genome that is the "effective genome" that matters (some sources put our effective genome at less than 2 percent of our DNA). Thus, an overall mutation rate of 64 would only mean 6.4 mutations per individual in their "effective genome." For the upper limit Morris gives, of 300 mutations, this would be reduced to 30 mutations, or ten percent.
However, it is not just a matter of percentages. It is estimated that the mutation rate per individual is only 4.2, of which only 1.6 are actually harmful. Thus, where Morris has his readers worried about 300 mutations, in reality, there are only 1.6 harmful mutations to our effective genome.
Thus, Morris' penchant for the dramatic has him overestimating the harmful mutations by a factor of 187.5. He has misled his readers to believe that the genome mutation rate supports a young human race, when in fact it does not.
How does these claims impact old earth creation science? Theistic evolutionists can rest assured that this argument presents no evidence against evolution. Actual mutation rates are far from the numbers that Morris claims. If Morris' claims were true, this would also threaten progressive creationists, but again, we have nothing to be concerned about due to Morris' exaggeration of the numbers.
Back to Genesis #210a, published on the web at http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=2818
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