Exploration 91 – Mutation, Evolution and Natural Selection

Sometimes we use words that subtly undermine what we value without our realizing it. I am trying to identify these words so I can avoid using them.

For example, when we say parents are we undermining the differences between fathers and mothers by lumping them under one term? Is the word gender similarly undermining the differences between the sexes, men and women? According to Owen Strachan they do.

In this post I want to focus on (1) mutation, (2) evolution and (3) natural selection. With a biblical creationist worldview, should I be using or avoiding these words? If I choose to avoid them, what alternative words should I use to reinforce rather than undermine my values?

Mutation

Mutations in DNA is the only one of the three that has usefulness from an operational scientific perspective because it represents something that can be measured which could falsify an hypothesis. Random mutational changes in DNA allow us to look back into our past. Measured rates of mutations allow us to anticipate future mutational meltdown through genetic entropy.

Random mutations do not support evolutionary change from something simple to something more complicated. Like other mechanisms found to operate in the natural world it is a measure of decay or entropy. It can only reduce what is complicated to something simpler. Since this does not go against my values I have no need to look for an alternative.

Evolution

However, when I use the word evolution indiscriminately for any kind of observable change I reinforce the idea that alleged unobserved Darwinian evolution is possible when I would claim it is not. A safe alternative for observable changes is simply to say change.

There are no random mechanisms in the natural world that could account for the kinds of unobserved changes needed to go from non-life to life or from slime mold to mankind over any time period. We would not be here today without an act of creation if we relied only on random, natural processes.

Natural Selection

Is it safe to use natural selection to describe the changes that occur within kinds of creatures through random mutations? Charles Darwin created the term natural selection to try to project agency onto nature where no agency exists. The goal was to replace the Creator from Genesis with a mindless nature that somehow could make selections.

In the video below Lauren Pennington interviews Dr. Randy Guliuzza to first show the problem with the term natural selection and then to propose an alternate way of describing change in living creatures.

If you know of other words that we should think twice about using, let me know in the comments.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Kedoshim, 6 Iyar, 5782 – May 7, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7 – 9:15
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Peter 1:13-16
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

29 thoughts on “Exploration 91 – Mutation, Evolution and Natural Selection”

  1. Language is very important and through the years meanings change from the original definitions. Plus, even the definitions can be questionable. No matter what we say, it is how it is taken that matters.

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  2. I can’t think of a word at the moment, but the phrase “my truth” or “_____’s truth” came to mind. It’s an effort to say there cannot be a truth; therefore, there cannot be defined moral values.

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    1. אמת the Hebrew word translated as “truth” …. means path. Just as the term “halachah” means path. No person physical, imaginary, or mythical how the power to determine the destiny walk of any other person – truth. Therefore when a Jew who speaks Hebrew satirically mocks another Jew he says באמת?! The RambaN employs this humor throughout his Chumash commentary.

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        1. The Oral Torah logic system which learns each and every one of the 613 commandments through other “comparative” mitzvot – the Torah definition for the word “Law”.

          The nt writers made no such fundamental distinctions between Courtroom established “Law”, based upon precedents, from Government imposed “Law”. This fundamental flaw in the nt, exposes these latter day books for the false messiah fraud which the mythology of those books communicate.

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        2. The word אמת functions as the 8th middah of the Torah Sh’baal Peh logic system format. Each of the sages within the pages of the Talmud learned through a consistent “sh’ittah” logic methodology/path\ by which they learned the k’vannah of mitzvot through other precedent mitzvot. This אמת of learning defines the whole of the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, how the sages learned the Torah. Talmud defined as “to learn” logically. Logic defined through the comparison of mitzvot with other mitzvot.

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        3. The Oral Torah logic system which learns each and every one of the 613 commandments through other “comparative” mitzvot – the Torah definition for the word “Law”.

          The nt writers made no such fundamental distinctions between Courtroom established “Law”, based upon precedents, from Government imposed “Law”. This fundamental flaw in the nt, exposes these latter day books for the false messiah fraud which the mythology of those books communicate.

          The word אמת functions as the 8th middah of the Torah Sh’baal Peh logic system format. Each of the sages within the pages of the Talmud learned through a consistent “sh’ittah” logic methodology/path\ by which they learned the k’vannah of mitzvot through other precedent mitzvot. This אמת of learning defines the whole of the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, how the sages learned the Torah. Talmud defined as “to learn” logically. Logic defined through the comparison of mitzvot with other mitzvot.

          An example of a Torah mitzvah which nt translators perverted with their empty and false translations,,, the mitzvah of tefillah which the nt Roman and Greek writers refer to as prayer. The Torah refers to the shiduch of Yitzak and Rivka; the time when Rivkah first met her future husband Yitzak. An external reading of the words of the Torah contrasts Yitzak’s passivity with the activist pro-reactive behaviors expressed by both Avraham and Ya’acov. This contrast, it serves to define the tefillah of Yitzak, similar to the story of the Akadah. Both comparative stories teach the Aggadah mussar that teaches the sh’itta of how to da’aven tefillah.

          The mother of Sh’muel the prophet – Hannah, the Talmud learns tefillah also through this prophetic mussar precedent. Hannah stood and silently da’avened within her heart. The shemone esrei tefillah, also known as the amidah\standing tefillah/ learns from this prophetic precedent. Yitzak dedicated tohor middot, future social interactions with other bnai brit people and even with non bnai brit people, by which his tefillah proactively defines the mitzvah דאורייתא of tefillah. A person who does not actively define and dedicate tohor middot דאורייתא או דרבנן unto HaShem lacks the required k’vannah to sanctify the mitzvah of tefillah, a positive time oriented commandment within the “Order” of the תרי”ג Torah commandments.

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            1. The way to change the halachah, show that the times which prevailed in the past have changed in the present. This notion of fixed in stone, well Moshe broke those tablets. LOL.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Unfortunately, Dr. G. has been a serial natural selection denier for years, and has been informed by several biblical creationists that he must stop saying things that are not true (“nobody can define natural selection”, which is false, then he uses the standard definition). Dr. Jason Lisle has written in-depth material on this, and he recently discussed the video embedded above in two videos of his own. Jason had to take Randy out behind the woodshed — and he grabbed me by the ear and brought me along. It was a painful experience, and I have to correct some of my own material. I’ll be posting my article on this in a few days.

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    1. I’ll be looking forward to your article and see if I can find Jason Lisle’s criticism of this. Thank you!

      However, I now have my doubts about natural selection since I do not see “nature” or “Gaia” or the system as a whole as an “agent”. I don’t view AI machines as “agents” either. An agent needs to be able to make a non-random choice, that is, have enough real intelligence to choose among alternatives. The problem is I don’t have an alternate phrase to replace “natural selection” with.

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    2. I think I found the paper you are referring to by Jason Lisle: Lisle, Jason. “Refuting Dubious Claims Regarding Natural Selection.” Answers Research Journal vol. 11 (2018): 301–340 https://answersresearchjournal.org/refuting-dubious-natural-selection/

      There is also a response to that paper: Lightner, Jean. “Dubious Claims About Natural Selection.” Answers Research Journal vol. 12 (2019): 41–43. https://answersresearchjournal.org/dubious-claims-natural-selection/

      Here is the original paper: Guliuzza, Randy J., and Phil Gaskill. 2018. “Continuous Environmental Tracking: An Engineering Framework to Understand Adaptation and Diversification.” In Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism. Edited by J. H. Whitmore, 158–184. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation Science Fellowship. I was able to find this at https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1074&context=icc_proceedings .

      I haven’t read the papers yet except for the abstracts. If you were referring to some other paper, let me know. Thank you for pointing this out to me.

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