Taken from: Science and Faith (Issue 3)

“You Might get a Good Mutation !? ”

As a neonatologist, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of premature babies, it has been my privilege for decades to be overseeing the care of thousands of premature infants in several nurseries. In a normal clinical setting, commonly we bring in X-ray machines in order to determine if there are problems in the lungs, abdomen, and bone (my area of research). When the X-ray machine rolls in, and is positioning itself to start the X-ray process, usually all the doctors and nurses step back 6 feet or more away from the baby, since no one wants to be irradiated.

(X-ray technicians stand behind radiation barriers when patients are radiated)

From the viewpoint of general biology, we have been taught for generations that mutations are the essence of Darwinian evolution. Over millions and millions of years, many mutations have occurred, and bingo, the organism becomes more advanced, and that is how evolution (“macro-evolution”) is supposed to work, developing an ascending order of complexity. Presumably, many many mutations occur, so that so called “lower species” develop into “advanced species”, through the varied mutations that “advance” the species.

And how do mutations come about? Mutations come about, from radiation or noxious chemical agents in the environment. These agents stimulate the DNA to mutate, and with each mutation comes the “potential” for “advancing” the species.

So, one day when the X-ray machine was being positioned to X-ray the infant in the nursery, I called out to my team of doctors and nurses, “don’t leave! You might get a good mutation!” No one of course, believes this in real life. And there is a team chuckle, since everyone in real life medicine knows that mutations are not “good”, and especially mutations from radiation or noxious agents. So how is it, that mutations in abstract theory have become the mechanism for advancement?

Damaging an Intricate System

The medical world is full of such examples of mutation that cause misery, especially in the pediatric wards. It is fascinating that in the real world of medicine, on a practical level, no one believes that mutations caused by radiation or noxious agents are good for you. But in the armchair world of the biologist sitting at a computer, who has never actually observed a “good” mutation that advances the species, (even from thousands of experiments on drosophila flies being bombarded by radiation), there is this very firm belief that it could happen. It might have happened in the past, it should have happened in the past, and it will happen again. Such a belief in an abstract theory is impressive, given the number of people who still believe in this decades old never proven idea.

(Doctors are careful not to give too much radiation especially to infants.)

Living in the real world of medicine for more than three decades has made me instead a firm believer that, the complex DNA in all biologic systems is so intricate and sophisticated, that any mutation in, or any damage to, this superbly designed system presents a tremendous danger. It is like throwing a stone at a beautifully complex glass structure, and hoping it would make it become prettier.

(What would happen if we threw a stone at a beautiful glass structure?)

Increasingly, I stand in awe, as we begin to appreciate the ever complicated understanding of this complex system of organization. The Designer knew what He was doing. And we irradiate and add noxious chemicals to our detriment. Certainly not to our advancement!