Science and God are Not in Conflict, revised Part 1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.”                                  (Ps. 19:1-2)

            A recent scientific discovery now illuminates our understanding of genetic mutations, which can be chosen by natural selection in the wild or by the artificial selection of human breeding. 

            Some genetic mutations produce helpful variant traits, which can now be tracked in a broad range of living organisms, thanks to the hard work of the 10-year project to map the human DNA genome.

            What initially took years of painstaking effort mapping the 3.5-billion letters of DNA letter-by-letter in humans, now can map the DNA sequence of a particular breed of dog, for example, in an afternoon as a result of faster computers and specialized software programs.

            Thanks to improved technology, we are now able to track-down helpful changes/mutations in the DNA, and match these mutations to their actualized traits…the physical characteristics they produce.

            This new research has revealed that Darwin’s theory of evolution is in actuality a process of devolution.[1] 

            This is discussed in an interview of biochemist, professor, and author Dr. Michael Behe in Socrates in the City, by Eric Metaxas.

            It turns out that genetic mutations do not add new informationto the DNA strand that if so, might support Darwin’s theory that the mutation/selection process is capable over long periods of time of producing enough complex, innovative new features to explain the origin of species. 

            Developments like the fully functional winged flight of birds, the visual sight of an owl, the running speed of the cheetah, the underwater sonar capacity of a dolphin, bipedal upright walking, human speech, and the human mind require vast amounts of complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information.

            Molecular biochemistry is now telling us that devolution is instead a process that breaks individual genes in the existing DNA sequence of chemical letters, not adding new creative information but subtracting information from the DNA code.

            This is much different from adding blocks of new and different cell-types in clustered groups to create the one-step leap from a Precambrian jellyfish to a Cambrian Trilobite or Wiwaxia, which I am proposing in this book as the explanation for biological development.

            But devolution does brilliantly explain the microevolution that enables adaptation to differing geographical and ecological environments, without the need to extrapolate this process into the much larger theoretical concept of macroevolution to explain the vast diversity of life progressing over the course of geological history.

            The human breeding of a prototype wolf to produce the variant forms of a Golden Retriever, Great Dane, or Black Labrador dog over many generations, involves at the molecular level in the cell the breakage of particular genes that code for specific characteristics. 

            Scientists can now identify and track these broken genes from wolf to new breed of dog, resulting in a reduction rather than an addition of genetic information creating damaged genes that will not go back in the reverse direction to recover this original lost information.

            This means according to modern genetic biochemistry that the entire program of Darwinian evolution is in reality a process of conservative change around the margins, and not radically progressive macroevolution as originally theorized.

            Instead, biology has strict boundary limits around the change-effects of beneficial genetic mutations, which we can now track through empirical scientific investigation.

I especially like the description of how we can now trace the outward physical changes from a grizzly bear to a polar bear, at the level of specific genes in the cell being broken and damaged, thus identifying the removal of information (devolving) rather than adding new innovative information.

Breaking certain genes within the cells of the polar bear not only removes the brown color of the grizzly bear’s fur to produce white fur, but creates an ensemble of newly grouped broken genes that produces the polar bear’s ability to metabolize the high fat content of seals, and also adds all of the accompanying new lifestyle habits that polar bears need to survive and reproduce in the extreme cold weather of the arctic environment.

The combination of traits that differentiates the grizzly bear from the polar bear, using the Darwinian gradualism of “nature makes no sudden leaps” no longer stacks-up when all of the evidence is examined as a whole.

The incredibly tight engineering tolerances of selecting just the right genes to break at the cellular level to create the completed life-form of a polar bear, when combined with the totally independent factors of the prior fitness of the arctic environment in terms of biodiversity and a complex ecosystem, logically cancels-out the materialistic assertion that raw nature can coordinate these factors into function and fit on its own.

The inference to the best explanation now points to an intelligent designing agent who can identify the specific DNA code letters contained in gene sequences, and break the genes in blocks of clustered groups to produce the new cell-types to create a polar bear from a grizzly bear.

            Quoting two passages from Dr. Behe’s book:

“The molecular parts of the cell are elegantly arranged to fulfill many subsidiary purposes that must blend together in service of the large overall purpose of forming life.  As we’ll see in this book, no unintelligent, undirected process—neither Darwin’s mechanism nor any other—can account for that.”

“It seems, then, that the magnificent Ursus maritimus (polar bear) has adjusted to its harsh environment mainly by degrading genes that its ancestors already possessed.  Despite its impressive abilities, rather than evolving, it has adapted predominantly by devolving.  What that portends for our conception of evolution is the principal topic of this book.”[2] 

            The devolution that occurs in living cells that produces the suite of broken and damaged genes that in turn produce the variation of physical traits that changes a grizzly bear into a polar bear, does not explain how a bear comes into existence in the first-place.

            The information content in living cells that produces the architectural body-plan and lifestyle habits of a bear is much larger and more sophisticated than the microevolutionary processes that put-out variant traits for natural selection to choose from to enhance survivability, to create the differences between a grizzly bear and a polar bear.

From Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] Michael Behe: Darwin Devolves…Socrates in the City interview, on You Tube dated March 29, 2019

[2] Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: Harper Collins, 2019), 9, 17.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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