A book review of Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.
This is a book review I made of Sanford's book, Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. It is an excellent and easily understandable book, and because of the useful information it contains in the light of Creation vs. Evolution, I suggest that my readers do what they can to get the book and read it, or else at least follow and like its Facebook page.
The Effects of Mutation
Did you know that genetic errors are accumulating in your body at a horrendous rate? Geneticists have found that each successive generation accumulates anywhere from 100 to 300 new mutations per generation (34). Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, by Dr. John C. Sanford, uses that fact to show how the gene is in constant degradation—which, of course, flies in the face of biological evolution by mutation and natural selection. Sanford’s book is useful because it convincingly emphasises how the genetic code is a complex set of useful instructions, clearly points out that mutation is a downward trend, and articulates why the current models of evolutionary understanding are inherently flawed.
Dr. Sanford first begins by defining and illustrating what the genome is. Comparing the genetic code to an instruction manual, he vulgarises the concept well enough so we can understand it: “[Nucleotides] are the letters of the genetic code […]. Small clusters or motifs of these four molecular letters make up the words of our manual, which combine to form genes (the chapters of our manual), which combine to form chromosomes (the volumes of our manual), which combine to form the whole genome (the entire library) (2). He also explains how “the genome is full of countless loops and branches, like a computer program. It has genes that regulate genes that regulate genes. It has genes that sense changes in the environment and then instruct other genes to react by setting in motion complex cascades of events that can then respond to the environmental cue” (3). Dr. Sanford’s apt comparisons and simple language help us grasp concepts easily without oversimplifying the subject.
Sanford then describes mutations, which are comparable to spelling errors in a book, and clearly makes the point that they always cause a decline in mean fitness, or health, and do not create new information. He describes how “Apart from our ideological commitment to the Primary Axiom,” or mutation plus natural selection, “it can very reasonably be argued that random mutations are never good” (16). He does not only verbalise the concept, but also uses the research of other scientists such as Kimura and Crow to show that “most mutations are negative, and pile up steeply near the zero mark. They are deleterious and overwhelmingly nearly neutral” (22). That fact means that although most mutations are not significant, they still have a net negative impact. His point is further strengthened by his discussion of mutation rates, which are far too high to allow natural selection to eradicate them (33-34).
Strengths of the Book
Sanford’s book is especially strong because it lists the reasons for which natural selection is powerless against deleterious mutations. For example, he discusses how most mutations are invisible except under the most minute research, therefore making them unselectable (61). He also describes the many other problems of the Primary Axiom, such as cost of selection (78), “Muller’s ratchet” (81), genetic noise (96), “Haldane’s dilemma” (127), endless fitness valleys (130), poly-constrained DNA (131), irreducible complexity (133), the near neutrality of all beneficial mutations (136), and many more. These lend very compelling weight to his statement that “mutation/selection cannot create a single gene, ever” (139).
Sanford’s book makes an excellent point of the biological reasons against evolution by natural selection and mutation because of his clear illustrations of the genetic code, his well-supported conclusion that mutations are generally harmful, and his detailed description of the reasons for which evolution cannot occur by natural selection. Although not meant as a scientific paper, his book does contain many references to scholarly work and is clearly grounded in knowledge which can be verified. The only fault that one might find against it is that some parts of the reasoning are somewhat foggily organised—as, for example, when the reasons for near neutral mutations are duplicated across two chapters. But the volume is still highly useful and informative. Because it contains so many clearly narrated facts and arguments, it is valuable as a reference against the incoming tide of the evolutionary Primary Axiom—an axiom utterly destroyed by sound logic.
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