Creationism and Nylon-Eating Bacteria

LET US CONSIDER a frequent claim of creationists — that evolution is false because it requires a sequence of beneficial mutations, which are impossible. To find an example of an argument like that, we went to Answers In Genesis, and we weren’t disappointed. They have this essay: Are mutations part of the “engine” of evolution? Excerpt:

For molecules-to-man evolution to happen, there needs to be a gain in new information within the organism’s genetic material. For instance, for a single-celled organism, such as an ameba, to evolve into something like a cow, new information (not random base pairs, but complex and ordered DNA) would need to develop over time that would code for ears, lungs, brain, legs, etc.

Here’s the article’s conclusion:

The biblical perspective on change within living things doesn’t require that new information be added to the genome as pond-scum-to-people evolution does. In fact, we expect to see the opposite (loss of genetic information) due to the Curse in Genesis 3. Biblically, we would expect mutations to produce defects in the genome and would not expect mutations to be adding much, if any, new information.

Observations confirm that mutations overwhelmingly cause a loss of information, not a net gain, as evolution requires.

Okay, what’s the response? One clear example should suffice, so let’s make it a good one. Ideally, it should be something newly-evolved that wasn’t carried aboard Noah’s Ark. Can we find such a mutation? Yes, we have one. This is probably the most impressive example of all — Nylon-eating bacteria (bold added for emphasis):

In 1975 a team of Japanese scientists discovered a strain of Flavobacterium living in ponds containing waste water from a factory producing nylon that was capable of digesting certain byproducts of nylon 6 manufacture, such as the linear dimer of 6-aminohexanoate, even though those substances are not known to have existed before the invention of nylon in 1935.

Further study revealed that the three enzymes the bacteria were using to digest the byproducts were novel, significantly different from any other enzymes produced by other Flavobacterium strains (or any other bacteria for that matter), and not effective on any material other than the manmade nylon byproducts.

And so, my brothers in pond scum, yet another creationist claim is shown to be worthless — as are all the others.

See also: Nylon-Eating Bacteria Revisited.

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3 responses to “Creationism and Nylon-Eating Bacteria

  1. How long do we need to wait for a strain of Creationist-eating bacteria to evolve?

  2. Pingback: Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Pravda « The Sensuous Curmudgeon

  3. Pingback: Common Creationist Claims Confuted « The Sensuous Curmudgeon