Gene Loss and Evolution

Evolutionists are fond of talking about the evolution of genes. In their dream, genes evolve and mutate either from pre-existing related genes, or arising de novo through some form of an evolutionary process. Recently, however, gene loss has begun being postulated as a potential mechanism for evolution as well. Such an argument was recently made in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The authors argued that massive gene loss preceded the evolution of two major animal groups. However, under examination, this evolutionary explanation loses a few things.

In order to understand how they determined this gene loss, it is important to understand how evolutionists determine ancestry. They do so using phylogenetics, which is a method of attempting to trace ancestry using what are termed homologies. Homologies are any similarity between two organisms that are derived from ancestry. Homoplasies are the result of convergent evolution. They are any similarities that are not derived from ancestry. The evolutionists assume that homology is the reason for similarity unless it can be demonstrated otherwise. This, of course, is completely circular, but this is how evolution operates.

Based on phylogenetics, the evolutionists build the evolutionary tree of life.  Based on this tree of life, these researchers looked at the genetics of 102 different organisms from two groups, the Ecdysozoa, and the Deuterostome groups.  The Ecdysozoa consists of animals like the nematode worms, the arthropods, and crustaceans, as well as other organisms. The Deuterostome group consists of vertebrates, starfish, sea cucumbers and a few other organisms. Obviously, these two groups contain a vast amount of diversity. However, according to the evolutionists, based on ancestry, these organisms share a common ancestor, nevermind their hugely disparate morphology.

According to the story, these evolutionists tell us, as mutations occur and new basic types of organisms evolved, there was also massive gene loss. To determine this, the researchers compared the full genomes of one hundred and two different species. Genes that were expressed in the supposedly more modern species were considered to have not been lost. Genes that were not present or expressed in the more modern species were considered lost.  While the paper is currently behind a paywall and thus I cannot give you more details, I can point out that there are a significant number of assumptions involved with this argument.

The evolutionists are assuming that their dogma is true. While everyone assumes that their worldview is true and reasons from that point, it is important to point out the underlying assumption because, if it is not true, then the model’s built upon it fall apart as well. Second, they assume that their phylogenetic trees are accurate. Given that some evolutionists have said that it is impossible to know which phylogeny is true, this is, at best, a specious assumption. Further, they infer that the missing genes were lost. That is not necessarily the case. There are other options. This inference is built on the other two. Gene loss only works in this context if evolution is true and the particular phylogenetic tree they are using is true.  If either of those assumptions is false, the inference is not true.

Further, gene loss is not a prediction of the dogma. In fact, it is entirely unpredicted by the evolutionists, at least at any appreciable level. It is expected that the more complex a creature is, the more genes it would have, at least as a general rule.

Creationists can, and should, rightly point out that these missing genes are not necessarily the result of evolution. Missing genes could be a result of the original creation of genetically and reproductively distinct kinds, such as the Bible describes in the book of Genesis. Further, while gene loss certainly can occur, that is evidence of devolution, not evolution. Losing genes does not provide novel traits to organisms. Instead, they are an information loss, which does nothing to demonstrate evolution. Creationists can be content that gene loss is actually harmful to the evolutionary dogma and we have a much better explanation for it that the evolutionists do.

 

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