A review of Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome by John C. Sanford,
Ivan Press, Lima, New York, 2005
by Royal Truman
I write this review with very mixed feelings. On the one hand, for the first time some key data are being divulged which we need to include in our models, and which honest thinkers who question evolutionist theory need to digest. But I have a problem. In the Prologue professor Sanford wrote, ‘I knew I would be at odds with the most “sacred cow” of modern academia. Among other things, it might even result in my expulsion from the academic world.’ I know John personally and treasure his intelligence and integrity. In further drawing attention to his book, I may be contributing to having his ties to academia severed, a world to which he has such strong emotional ties and to which he has made so many contributions. I know academics and journalists who have already lost their jobs for questioning Darwinian theory.
He is not exaggerating. I myself have also had my experiences in this matter.
‘I started to realize (again with trepidation), that I might be offending a lot of people’s religion,’ he confides early on. How correct he is. I recently discussed the issue of life’s origins with a dear friend I’ve worked together with for years. He brought up three arguments contra creation which I easily answered on strictly scientific terms. Suddenly he leaped to his feet. Trembling with rage he pointed a finger at me, and yelled that what I was doing was dangerous! The fundamentalists in America are dangerous! They are fighting against tolerance! They refuse to accept science! They are irrational and have no facts!
Dr Sanford is an applied geneticist semi-retired from Cornell University and now with the Institute of Creation Research. He is also the inventor of the ‘gene gun’, widely used in the genetic modification of crops. In this book the reader is confronted with compelling reasons to reject the claim that mutations plus natural selection have led to the marvels found in nature.
Many scientists do not believe man is merely the product of random mutations plus natural selection, what Sanford calls the Primary Axiom. One line of reasoning, that of irreducible complexity, has been very capably championed by professor Behe:1 molecular machines require many complex components, the absence of only one rendering that entity non-functional. Evolutionary processes cannot be expected to provide the necessary building blocks.
Others have argued that the high fidelity of DNA replication leads to very low rates of mutation. Developing humans from an ape-like forefather would just take too long. In a much cited paper, Drake has estimated2 that the rate of spontaneous mutations for humans is about 5 x10"11 nucleotides per generation. In some 6 million years from a claimed split from the chimpanzee lineage, no humans could be generated if this is true.
Sanford was a practising evolutionist and at heart a eugenicist (p. 116), who ‘gradually realized that the seemingly “great and unassailable fortress” which has been built up around the Primary Axiom is really a house of cards. … Its apparent invincibility derives largely from bluster, smoke, and mirrors’ (Prologue). But we will learn that evolutionary theory fails on grounds most people did not suspect.....