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Genomics

Every organism on Earth contains a genome carrying the complete set of biological information from which that creature is built. Researchers in the field of study called genomics focus on sequencing, analyzing, and comparing the genetic make-up (DNA) of various life forms. In 2003, scientists published the first complete draft of the human genome (all the hereditary information that makes a human) and began comparing it to the genomes of other organisms–viruses, bacteria, amoeboids, plants, fungi, nematodes, insects, fish and mammals.

The similarity of features such as DNA sequences and gene locations within the genomes of related organisms seem to argue for evolutionary models. But these similarities actually fit just as well within creation models. We would expect the Creator to build upon existing designs in the making of new organisms.

As researchers analyze the growing body of genetic data, the encounter increasing difficulties in their attempts to build evolutionary “trees”. For now, the genomics data remains inconclusive with respect to creation or evolution. However, the staggering advances in genomics over the last twenty years have revealed an almost unimaginable genetic complexity and sophistication.

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Junk DNA

Scientists originally applied the term “junk DNA” to any section of DNA that appeared non-functional. Through advances in genomics, the definition has shifted. The term is currently used for a section of the DNA that may have functioned in the past but no longer functions. (See Who Was Adam? for an extensive discussion of the major types of junk DNA—pseudogenes, endogenous retroviruses, SINEs and LINEs—and the mechanisms thought to have generated them.) Because some identical segments of so-called junk DNA occur in a wide range of related organisms (for example, psi GULO in multiple primates) Many researchers view it as evidence for the common ancestry of these organisms, a basic tenet of evolutionary theory.

The concept of junk DNA seems to provide strong evidence for an evolutionary model and against a creation model. Such a conclusion assumes, however, that this genetic material really is junk. A growing body of research says otherwise. Biologists and biochemists continue to find evidence of function in every class of junk DNA. It appears that even the quantity of junk DNA in various organisms has been fine-tuned for a purpose. In other words, it serves as evidence for design. Although many scientists still use junk DNA to argue for an evolutionary model, the data seems a close and comfortable fit with a creation model.

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Human & Chimp DNA Similarities

A high degree of genetic similarity (as high as 99% according to some studies) between humans and chimpanzees leads evolutionary biologists to conclude the two species share a common ancestor. However, a closer look at the genomic data presents a less certain and far more complex picture. It shows significant differences between humans’ and chimps’ gene expression and regulation—most notably in regard to brain structure.

We would expect the Creator to make use of common designs when populating the Earth with life, and yet He introduced something entirely new when He made Adam and Eve. As the only creatures “made in His image,” humans are endowed with capacities uniquely associated with spirituality. Evidences shows no indication that these capacities and behaviors emerged gradually. Instead, they seem to have appeared suddenly. RTB’s creation model accommodates the for the differences and similarities scientists see in the genomic data.

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Bad Designs

Skeptics often argue for evolution and against creation by pointing to “bad designs” in nature. They say that if an all-knowing, all-powerful creator made life, these “inferior” or even “leftover” features would not exist. However, a closer study of the frequently used examples of bad designs reveals a different picture. They typically fall into one of three categories predicted by RTB’s biblical creation model:

1. Unappreciated good designs. These are revealed as good by further and closer investigation. Examples include the inverted retina in vertebrate eyes and the giant panda’s thumb.

2. Intentional sub-optimization.  In these cases, one or more aspects of the organism or system is not optimized so that the whole system or organism works properly. The 30% inefficiency in protein synthesis provides an example.

3. Decay from optimal. An initially well-designed system decays due to the operation of the laws of physics. Deviants of the universal genetic codes illustrates this process.

Any example of a so-called bad design in nature deserves deeper study to see if it fits into one of these three categories.

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