“Positive Mutations” – A Creationist’s Perspective

Part 1: Viruses

From the feedback I have heard, the creation seminar was a blessing to many people. PTL! I have also heard one great question (several times) that may be worth discussing. The question pertains to the comment that no “positive mutations” exist. Perhaps the qualifier “…of living organisms” should be added. It could be argued that positive mutations do exist in viruses. However, viruses are not considered living organisms.

A living organism (even a single cell critter) is like a very complex factory of countless machines, computers, transport mechanisms, maintenance programs, and quality assurance programs. A living organism will also reproduce this entire factory! The single celled organism (the factory) uses a very sophisticated quality assurance program that checks every step of reproduction and then discards and rebuilds any detected defects! Wow! What an awesome illustration of our Creator’s “design”.

Tevenphage
“Tevenphage” by User:Adenosine. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tevenphage.png#/media/File:Tevenphage.png

On the other hand, a virus is like a single machine. It is an unusual machine in that it can also reproduce itself – but – it needs to rob parts from a “factory” to do this. Although many viruses (the machine) are very complex, their complexity substantially pales compared to that of a living single celled organism (a complete factory). The virus has no computers, maintenance programs, and quality assurance programs so reproduced “offspring” are often nothing but junk. (They die off.) Viruses often mutate rapidly because (unlike the “factory”) they have no quality assurance program. This “rapid mutation” is bound to produce many changes that may be considered “positive” or “negative.” So – one could say that viruses do have “positive” mutations.

Viruses mutate so rapidly and can be so nasty that supposedly an atheist once said, “If I believed that God created the universe, I would have to believe that the devil created the virus.”

It should also be noted that since a virus can never “mutate” into a complete factory (a living organism), that the concept of “positive” or “negative” is completely irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. So – once again, one could argue that viruses do have positive mutations, but they are not living organisms nor can they mutate into a living organism.

Part 2: Bacteria

"Average prokaryote cell- en" by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal, LadyofHats - Own work (Source: Typical prokaryotic cell, Chapter 4: Mutagenicity of alkyl N-acetoxybenzohydroxamates, Concept 1: Common Features of All Cells, Cells - Structure and Function). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Average_prokaryote_cell-_en.svg#/media/File:Average_prokaryote_cell-_en.svg
“Average prokaryote cell- en” by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal, LadyofHats – Own work (Source: Typical prokaryotic cell, Chapter 4: Mutagenicity of alkyl N-acetoxybenzohydroxamates, Concept 1: Common Features of All Cells, Cells – Structure and Function). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Average_prokaryote_cell-_en.svg#/media/File:Average_prokaryote_cell-_en.svg

What about bacteria? Do they mutate into “antibiotic resistant” forms. Actually – very seldom. Most antibiotic resistant bacteria have been around long before antibiotics. But – in the rare case that they do, is this mutation “positive” or “negative”? That all depends on which “perspective” is being considered. From the “sick patient’s” point of view, this antibiotic resistant mutation was obviously a “positive” mutation for the bacteria. But this is looking at it from the wrong perspective. The mutation of this discussion occurred in the bacteria, not the patient. The patient’s viewpoint is completely irrelevant. What about the bacteria’s perspective?!? Let’s go back to the factory analogy. The pharmaceutical company designed the antibiotic so that it would “block” specific vital “loading docks” of the factory that allow the truckloads and trainloads of supplies and/or wastes to come into and out of the factory. Without these loading docks, the bacteria will die. This is one example of how the antibiotic kills the bacteria. An antibiotic resistant bacterium is one that has mutated its loading dock so that the antibiotic cannot block the door. However, in order to do this, the loading dock is now substantially deformed so that the trucks and/or trains cannot dock properly to load or unload! This could conceivably be considered a “positive” mutation if the antibiotic was a primary cause of death for the bacteria, but death is caused by countless causes. IF the bacterium was a thinking individual, he would be seeking a genetic research facility to cure him of this crippling genetic disease! Dr. Ernst Chain, Nobel Prize winner for his pioneering work in antibiotics once called evolution a “hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts.” Chain continued that he “would rather believe in fairies than in such wild speculation.”

Perhaps a good “human mutation” analogy would be sickle cell anemia. Some evolutionists would call this a “positive mutation” because of its malaria resistance. But – the truth is, sickle cell hospitalizes 75,000 and kills 500 people per year in the U.S. alone! That’s hardly a “positive mutation”!

Lastly, I mentioned earlier that the phrase “…in living organisms” could have been included in the comment about no positive mutations. However, one could also rightfully argue that even bacteria are Biblically not living organisms. The Bible only refers to “life” in the context of “blood” (Gen 9:4) and “breath” (Gen 2:7). A bacterium has neither. True “life” consists of countless huge factories all working together in an individual that God designed with a purpose in mind! (Psalm 139:13-16) Never forget that. God has a purpose for your life!

Jay