In a radio bulletin for the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. John Morris claimed that the existence of thorns on plants “proves” that evolution is impossible, and therefore, creationism must be true.
He says, “Mutations are thought to be the main mechanism by which evolution occurs but every mutation we see is harmful, not helpful as evolution requires.”
This, of course, is untrue, although one can forgive the good Doctor – he doesn’t have a degree in biology, but geological engineering. How does that qualify him to make any sort of credible commentary on evolution?
He offers as proof that thorns are not the result of natural selection is a passage from Genesis: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.”
His claim that all mutations ever observed have been harmful is easily debunked. The various breeds of dogs are a fine example of beneficial mutation. Breeds evolve from selective breeding, which can be said to be a form of forced evolution.
When a desirable trait which the breeder is trying to produce in a breed is observed in two dogs, the breeder will mate them continuing the process of mating animals with that trait until the “mutations” breed true, meaning that the dogs can be expected to produce nearly identical litters on an ongoing basis.
He also ignores evolutionary variation in bird species. There are birds of the same species who live in different locations which are the same species yet have drastically different appearances – one may have a short, stout bill while the same species living in a different environment has a long, slender bill, as a result of the available food sources. Where it is beneficial to have a long, slender bill, birds that have one will survive to pass the trait on to their offspring over time while still remaining the same species, perfectly capable of interbreeding with the short-billed.
Just as there is great variation in human appearance, there is variation in all species, and while we tend to see all chimpanzees as looking exactly alike, they don’t – they are unique. This is true of all species, we just don’t have the discerning eye to see it (though to a shark or an elephant, we all look alike, too!).
Perhaps Dr. Morris’s most egregious error is in his use of an unauthenticated source as his “proof.” The Bible is not a scientific paper, and can’t be considered proof of any scientific theory, even creationism, which isn’t a scientific theory but a matter of faith.
You can listen to his brief remarks below.
h/t: Right Wing Watch