Giving the lie to “mutation can’t create new information”

I often hear “mutation can’t create anything new, only damage” as a criticism of genetic mechanisms that supply variation in organisms. It’s not true, since there are so many mutations that some of them are immediately useful. But another mechanism of variation is gene duplication. Once you have two identical genes (“No new information,” chant the creationists), one of them is free to change into something else. It’s like hiring two waiters. Both of them may have the same job description, but one can take orders while the other fetches them, or lays tables, or ushers people to their seats.

I want creationists to imagine one of those children’s activity tables where organizers pass out photocopied line drawings to be coloured. Do they imagine that all those duplicated sheets end up the same after the children are finished? Don’t they remember the walls of multi-coloured art based on the same picture? What makes them think evolution can’t do the same with duplicate genes? It is wilful stupidity.

One Response to “Giving the lie to “mutation can’t create new information””

  1. George W. Says:

    I’ve wrestled with this as well. Rest assured that the stock answer to any analogy similar to the one you used is that the change, or “new information” you allude to is an example of intelligent intervention.
    You can not use an analogy that compares random mutation or natural selection to an intelligent agency around a creationist.
    You will only embolden them.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you come back now that I’ve returned from hiatus.

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