Intelligent Design

At Nature: Non-random mutation is acknowledged. What does that mean?

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Casey Luskin offers some thoughts:

That mutation is “directionless” or “random” is a traditional axiom of evolutionary biology. My correspondent wanted to know what it means to consider that some mutations may be “non-random” after all. She supposed that she was asking a “dumb question.”

Exactly the Question to Ask

Actually, it’s not in the least a dumb question — it’s exactly the right question to ask! In the context of this paper, what “non-random” means is that mutations are less likely to occur in gene-coding DNA — especially in what they call “essential genes.” This overturns two standard assumptions of the modern theory of evolution.

In evolutionary biology, it’s generally thought that mutations are “random” in two respects:

Mutations occur with equal likelihood across the entire genome. So there’s no part of the genome that is MORE or LESS likely to experience mutations than any other part of the genome. This is supposed to mean mutations are not directed or concentrated, but in a sense are randomly distributed across the genome. Mutations occur without regard to the needs of the organisms, meaning they are random and not directed for or against what the organisms needs to survive. The Nature study found evidence against both (1) and (2). In Arabidopsis, some parts of the genome are LESS likely to experience mutations, and those parts of the genome that experience fewer mutations tend to be the REALLY important parts of the genome that you wouldn’t want to be mutated because in those sections, mutations would most likely break genes that are very important to the organism.

Casey Luskin, “New Study in Nature Showing “Non-Random” Mutation Spells Trouble for Neo-Darwinism” at Evolution News and Science Today (February 19, 2022)

Darwinism is essentially over as far as the evidence is concerned, as Casey Luskin explains. But it is not over as far as the popular story sold to the public by people whose careers depend on it is concerned. This article in Nature is a foray into honest discussion.

You may also wish to read: Casey Luskin on how the fossil record challenges Darwin. Luskin: One of the largest difficulties with evolution is the word itself. Supporters of Darwinian theory love to switch the word around so the average person can never be sure what they are talking about.

10 Replies to “At Nature: Non-random mutation is acknowledged. What does that mean?

  1. 1
    chuckdarwin says:

    Puh-leeze…. DI announces the death of Darwinism. What was that quip by Mark Twain about rumors of his death being greatly exaggerated?
    Next, DI will announce that Laetrile cures cancer…..

  2. 2
    Scamp says:

    I went to university in the 70s. Even back then we were told that mutations weren’t random across the genome but that mutations, when they occur, are random with respect to fitness.

  3. 3
    chuckdarwin says:

    Scamp @ 2
    Exactly. Someone that actually understands natural selection.

  4. 4 says:

    Random is absolute and cannot be relative to just one thing. It’s basic math.

    So no, [someone] does Not understand “natural selection”. Because there is no such thing as “natural selection”. As you just reinforced.

  5. 5
    KRock says:

    Good! It’s time to take Neo-Darwinism to the train station.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    I went to university back in the 70s. We were taught that random mutations meant the mutations were chance events. Meaning they were not planned. They were spontaneous.

    Natural selection is non-random only in the most trivial sense- that not every variation has the same chance of being eliminated. NS is nothing more than contingent serendipity.

    Non-random mutations means that something is guiding them to occur. Spetner called it “built-in responses to environmental cues”

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Again, is there no such thing as random? Does the term just mean we don’t understand the complexity of the forces involved that determines an event?

    In this case the variation may have begun but did not hold because certain parts of the genome prevent or minimize change.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    Someone that actually understands natural selection


    From someone who does not understands natural selection. So how would he know what it is or isn’t?

    DI announces the death of Darwinism

    True, Darwinism will not die.

    It’s great science. It just has nothing to do with Evolution.

  9. 9
    zweston says:

    Jerry, as someone newer to the site… can you elaborate on your claims above.

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    They’re trying to say that different probability measures mean that mutations are non-random or determined by physical laws. This then is used to claim that “evolution is not random”.
    But mutations are only one random component. The multitude of variables in the environment (food sources, presence or absence of competitors, niches, temperature, humidity, geological events, disasters, disease) are totally random.

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