Let us, for the moment, consider Richard Goldschmidt’s now discredited ‘hopeful monsters’. This idea, produced in order to account for the huge gaps in the fossil record* says that instead of very gradual change, living forms produced off-spring significantly different from themselves, and so progressed in jumps from, for example, the common ancestor to modern man and chimps. What evidence could Goldshmidt produce in support of his theory? He will produce Java Man, Peking Man, Neanderthals and Lucy, etc. (creatures mentioned by Dawkins),** and say, “Here are the stages.” What evidence can Dawkins produce to demonstrate his gradual change theory? The only evidence he has available is that used by Goldsmidt in this fictitious exchange, to prove his theory.
The only way - the only possible way - Dawkins can say he has evidence for gradual change, is to produce a series, if only a short one, of living things, gradually changing into different kinds of living things. He claims to do this in chapter two, by referring to the various breeds of dog, on which he spends some considerable space. But this is not evilution, although he continually claims it is. It is natural selection* since no new genetic information of any significance has appeared in the dog gene pool.
* Gaps that Dawkins claims do not exist - in which case why do evolutionists come up with these ideas to explain the gaps?
** Creationists dispute that these fossils are valid stages at all, but that is not the point being made here. However, the fact that it is genetically impossible for parents to produce off-spring so significantly different from themselves is enough to destroy the theory. See here for DNA evidence that Neanderthals were fully human.
* Albeit artificially produced by man-made intervention. In early 2010 concern was expressed by animal welfare groups regarding the poor condition of ‘specialised’ breeds, who suffer physically because of the deterioration caused through selective breeding. The large differences produced in dogs comes at a very high price - one that natural selection would refuse to pay!
The dog ‘gene pool’ is the total amount of different genetic information found in all the different breeds of dog and would have been found in the DNA of the original common ancestors of dog - the first breeding pair, which would, as Dawkins points out, have also been the ancestors of wolves. Through careful breeding, different parts of DNA code is eliminated from different branches of dog, producing the huge difference we now see in all the breeds. So although the DNA is different in the different breeds, the gene pool of all the descendants of their common ancestor remains the same apart from damage through mutation, and loss of genetic information where it has become extinct. Neither of these two factors could ever cause a new kind of creature to come into existence.
Of course, evolutionists in general, and Dawkins in particular, point to mutation as the means of introducing new information into the gene pool. On page 35, for example, he refers to the mutation that has produced the short legs of dachshunds, but then qualifies it by saying it would be unlikely to survive in nature. However, even if it could survive, it is not the kind of change required by evilution, since it is simply damage to an existing faculty, rather than the appearance of a new faculty not previously seen in the animal.
Dawkins spends quite some time on dogs, claiming that the kind of changes seen in them can continue indefinitely and lead to a completely different kind of animal. This is the mistake Darwin made, but at least he had some kind of excuse: he didn’t know anything about genetics. Dawkins has no such excuse. Dogs cannot change indefinitely. For example, it would be impossible to breed them down to the size of an ant, or up to the size of an elephant. It would be impossible to breed them with feathered wings, or with gills and fins to swim underwater like a fish. These changes require new genetic information to enter the dog gene pool, and there is no mechanism to enable it to take place. All mutation can do is to produce damage to existing DNA, and although many times Dawkins tells us to the contrary, once again it is theory unsupported by evidence: he gives not one single example of mutation producing this quality of information.
His best attempt to do this is in pages 116-133 where he goes into great detail to tell us about Richard Lenski’s experiments with the bacterium E. coli. In brief, Lenski divided twelve lots of E. coli into twelve flasks of nutrient broth (including glucose and citrate). Every day some of each of the twelve tribes were put in twelve new flasks of nutrient. This experiment began in 1988 and still continues. This means something like 45,000 bacterial generations had come and gone at the time of writing.
There was an increase in body size and fitness in all tribes (with some variation between the populations) over the first 2,000 or so generations. After 20,000 generations two of the tribes were investigated to find how they had both apparently discovered, independently, the same way of getting bigger. It was found that the same 59 genes had changed their levels of expression in the same direction.
This, of course, is not really surprising, although Dawkins thinks it so, since with large population sizes one expects beneficial change to appear and be preserved by natural selection. Dawkins says, “This is exactly the kind of thing creationists say cannot happen, because they think it is too improbable to have happened by chance.” (Page 124) Wrong! Natural selection is an integral part of creationism, and in no way does this finding contradict them.