“In recent years, biologists have been discovering a new form of information critical to body formation called epigenetic information, which is not stored in DNA but in cell structures. Epigenetic information is that ‘imparted by the form and structure of embryonic cells, including information from both the unfertilized and fertilized egg.’ In other words, the physical structure of cells early in the process of making new life-forms charts a developmental path for the organism.

In chapter 14 of Darwin’s Doubt, Meyer describes several kinds of this epigenetic information that developmental biologists have identified. The details are beyond the scope of this book, but Meyer notes that building life requires:

  1. DNA to make proteins
  2. Proteins to be organized into cell structures and cell types
  3. Cell types to be organized into tissues
  4. Tissues to be organized into organs
  5. Organs and tissues to be organized into body plans

While DNA contributes to each of these five basic steps, epigenetic information is necessary to produce the higher-level biological structures of steps 2-5. DNA can’t do it alone… But can’t epigenetic information be mutated in some way to create new life-forms? Meyer says he gets that question repeatedly in his public talks. His answer is always ‘no’ for several reasons, the foremost being that any significant changes in cell or organ structure would kill the organism immediately. Of course, death would be the end of any evolutionary process.

This fact should also be the end of anyone claiming that Darwinism is true. Since DNA alone does not entirely control body-plan formation, mutating DNA alone will never generate a new body plan. Take infinite time—it will never happen.” – Excerpt from Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case by Frank Turek

4 COMMENTS

  1. Now, this is interesting. It makes me think of DNA, proteins, cells, organs, and tissue have to have a way to communicate with each other to grow. If the communication is stopped in any way, along the ‘normal’ path, then there can be no growth.

    Thanks, Nate!

    • Paul, I love this! You bring a level of cynicism difficult to reach in written form. As funny as it is, however, I do feel inclined to ask if you are simply taking a shot to take a shot or if you missed Meyer’s point? Meyer’s wasn’t refuting evolution (which would explain why it was easier to find 168,000 documents before finding 1 that doesn’t exist *wink*) Meyer’s was refuting the bigger evolutionary model we assign to evolution. He is pointing out two very different perspectives of one word. This is a major focus of my post “Sorry, Christians: Macro-Evolution Does Exist”. The best description I have found likens it to a train leaving the station. It is easy to look at the train station we are at, compare it to a train station at some other location, and then assume our train will get to the other station by such-and-such a route. In this case, the train station we see is small changes we know happen (bacteria become resistant, beaks become longer and narrower, etc). Then we look at a distant train station, in this case fossil and geological history. Then we insert our own understanding, small changes over long periods of time produce major changes.

      Here’s the catch. Meyer’s does a great job pointing out that the evolutionary changes we see at our current train station are only producing changes to DNA that already exist–there is no new data inserted. Even bacteria that evolve to become resistant don’t create their own resistant, they steal it from the host organism. But it isn’t “creating”. Therefore, when we see the other train station that has different DNA, we can know it wasn’t the evolutionary process which caused the differences. It’s like watching a train pull our of Dallas heading south and assuming it will eventually get to Paris.

      Hope this illustration helps.

  2. PAUL, I LOVE THIS! YOU BRING A LEVEL OF CYNICISM DIFFICULT TO REACH IN WRITTEN FORM.

    Thanks. Figured I’d switch things up from the usual format. But by now you know I’m not into letting unsupported assertions stand.

    MEYER’S WASN’T REFUTING EVOLUTION

    I was talking to Nate. Nate wrote, “This fact should also be the end of anyone claiming that Darwinism is true.” The plain reading of this sentence is a claim of refutation of evolution. Or was Nate speaking in allegory and I missed it?

    MEYER’S DOES A GREAT JOB POINTING OUT THAT THE EVOLUTIONARY CHANGES WE SEE AT OUR CURRENT TRAIN STATION ARE ONLY PRODUCING CHANGES TO DNA THAT ALREADY EXIST–THERE IS NO NEW DATA INSERTED.

    You’ve craftily avoided one of the definition-resistent trigger words that evolution-deniers use… “information” (alongside “kinds”), but in this case I’m just going to assume you’re using “data” to mean the same thing. Could you define what you mean by data / information?

    It is well understood how new traits emerge in DNA… transposition, mutation, duplication, deletion, transfer and fusion, just to name a few. These are all readily observed and happen, on average, about 170 times within every human zygote.

    Let’s take the DNA sequence CAT. By the above, it could end up… TAC, ACT, TACT, AT or CATCAT, to name but a few. Which of these has more data? Which less data? Which is not new data?

    I don’t have time to teach a genetic biology lesson today, so I will pass it off to a professional with a Ph D in genetics. So that you might be more comfortable, I will select a Bible-affirming, God-revering, creation-believing, resurrection-anticipating one who writes for a renowned Christian website. He has written a four-part series to explain to Christians why this “no new information” argument is silly and false.

    http://biologos.org/blogs/dennis-venema-letters-to-the-duchess/evolution-and-the-origin-of-biological-information-part-1-intelligent-design

    I hope you find time to read it (or any other genetics texts of your own choosing) before you get too far down this “no new information” path on new articles.

    When I have a chance, I’ll check your “Macro-Evolution” series, but let me know if you’d like me to hold off while you research.

    HOPE THIS ILLUSTRATION HELPS.

    Always! At least to know what you’re thinking. Have a great weekend.

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