Evidence For Transformation
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: It seems clear that organisms change over time. But why? Is it evolution?
 
 

Why Transformation?

When God created the world, it was perfect. All creatures lived in harmony and there was no pain. Once sin entered the world, however, the ground was cursed. To deal with the new, imperfect conditions, plants and animals were transformed. Although the world is now marked with parasites, death, and error, we can still see glimpses of how God originally intended creatures to interact.

In the previous article, we discussed how the genome is capable of variation. It is possible to produce dramatic changes in form and structure by modifying how the genes are expressed, by changing the developmental expressions, or by activating or deactivating of genes within the genome.

In this article, we will look at several examples of the transformation caused by environmental changes.

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Plants
According to Genesis, the ground was cursed after the fall, and plants and animals were transformed. Some plants were to bring forth thorns and thistles. Thorns and spines are really just stems and leaves that have modified growth processes. There is no new information here, just a modification of the existing pattern.

Bacteria
Some organisms can become dangerous when forced to survive in a new habitat.

Here is an example of how transformation could have occurred in bacteria, causing the development of disease organisms. Originally, bacteria could all have had highly specific roles to play in assisting numerous processes in the body and in the environment, just as useful bacteria still do today, and their original role could have been only beneficial.

These bacteria lived in the gastrointestinal tract. If they ended up elsewhere, they could have undergone physiological changes, producing harmful substances that wreak havoc on humans and animals.i

Parasites
A changing environment could also induce organisms to exploit new and different food sources, forcing them to become parasites. For example, protozoa that were designed to assist in animal nutrition could have been transformed into deadly pathogens.

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Attribution: © Hans Hillewaert https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sacculina_carcini_(double_infection).jpg

Parasitic worms show dramatic levels of degeneration of organs, and the tapewor and numerous other species of parasitic worms have been transformed into little other than reproductive organisms.

Sacculina, a parasite of crabs, has no digestive tract. Instead of maturing into a normal barnacle, it is transformed into a blob of cells. The loss of organs is not necessarily the result of mutations, but could just be the result of deactivation of the gene systems that are not required under the new circumstances.

There is no evidence here of evolution, only of devolution.

Insects
Insects could also have been modified to develop mechanisms of defense. Female mosquitoes use their syringe-like mouthparts to suck blood from a host, but the male of the species uses the same mouthparts to extract plant juices. Is it possible that plant juice was no longer sufficient to provide the energy the female mosquito needs, and that the apparatus that was created for sucking plant juices became the tool used to suck blood?

Venomous Creatures
In general, venom is just a normal secretion that has been modified. The venom of poisonous fish is a product of the glands that normally produce protective slime to coat the fish. The spines on the fish that deliver the venom are modified fin rays. The venom of snakes and spiders may simply be modified digestive proteins.

Carnivores
Carnivores are equipped with the necessary weapons to kill and catch other animals, but this equipment need not necessarily have been designed for that purpose. Pandas, for example, are classified as carnivores on the strength of their teeth, but they eat bamboo. Their teeth can kill and tear flesh, but that wasn’t what they were made to do.

The same can be said for bears. They will eat fish if available and can be opportunist carnivores, but usually subsist on a vegetarian diet of berries.

Conclusion

In evolutionary thinking, survival pressures lead to evolutionary advance in both the prey and the predator. However, this transformation of animals into killing machines, seen from a Creation perspective, is an adaptive condition that points to degeneration rather than evolutionary advance. Carnivory is not an advanced state, but rather a sad consequence of the introduction of death and violence into the system.

The next article, Rapid Transformation, will discuss how adaptation can be a quick process, especially in terms of diet change and levels of aggression in animals.

 


 

i. G.T. Keusch, “Ecology of the intestinal tract,” Nature 83 (1974):70-77.

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