What is Evolution? Letters to the Editor Miss the Point!

by Mike Matthews on April 5, 2002

If you’ve read any of AiG’s materials for long, you’ve probably come across the expression “molecules-to-man” evolution, or “goo-to-you” evolution, or some similar expression. The reason is that readers often misconstrue the meaning of evolution, as recently occurred in an exchange of letters to the editor in the Cincinnati Post [Ohio, USA].

The original letter in this exchange (17 March) claimed, “Evolution has gained wide acceptance in the scientific community for the very reason that investigations and experiments into its principles and nature can be demonstrated and duplicated.”1

Amazingly, the letter offered, as “evidence” for evolution, the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. Actually bacteria are evidence against molecules-to-man evolution, as AiG explained in a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Post (24 March). A few days later, a rebuttal appeared in the paper; but sadly (as we will show), the author only showed his confusion about the real meaning of evolution.

AiG’S Letter to the Editor (Cincinnati Post, 24 March 2002)

Bacteria No Proof of Evolution Theory

In response to “Intelligent design an unproven theory” (March 17), it’s amazing that the writer’s evidence for evolution-”antibiotic-resistant” TB strains-is actually one of the best evidence against evolution.

A population of microbes becomes resistant to antibiotics because of a loss of genetic information or a transfer of information between microbes. But in no case have bacteria become resistant through a gain of new information.

For example, the PBS series Evolution discussed a deadly strain of TB that has been linked to a patient in a Russian prison who failed to complete his antibiotic treatments. The program makes it clear that the surviving TB organism was already resistant, so this is not evolution. In fact, some bacteria revived from corpses frozen before the development of antibiotics have shown resistance.

Bacteria make good evidence against evolution. Because bacteria multiply so quickly, they go through many generations in days. In months, they can go through the equivalent of millions of years in human terms. We should see great feats of evolution, but in fact, modern bacteria are essentially the same as those described a century ago. Even fossilized bacteria, as far as one can tell, are the same as bacteria today.

–Michael Matthews, Answers in Genesis, Florence, KY, USA

Letter to the Editor (Cincinnati Post, 29 March 2002)

Bacteria Example Valid for Evolution

Responding to Michael Matthews letter, “Bacteria no proof of evolution theory” [March 24], what is he talking about?

It is quite straightforward. The environment changes, and organisms, including bacteria, either survive the change because they, by chance, have the necessary genetics to adapt-or they do not. Bacteria’s resistivity is this species” response to its environment, i.e., antibiotics.

The “already resistance” that Mr. Matthews refers to is a genetic adaptation that only manifested itself when environmental conditions happened to be conducive.

The sameness of bacteria is an evolutionary survival strategy, simplicity vs. complexity, employed by this particular organism. Evolution is not the loss, transfer of or addition to information, but the response to changes by species for their survival.2

Without attempting to address all of the errors and inconsistencies in this letter, it’s important for Christians to recognize the widespread confusion about the difference between natural selection and evolution. Natural selection-changes in a population when the least fit organisms die off-has nothing to do with upwards evolution. Natural selection is almost universally accepted by creationists and by advocates of “intelligent design.” Evolution, on the other hand, requires an increase in genetic information, the ability of organisms to pass on new traits to their offspring. Such an increase in information has never been demonstrated.

Bacteria have proved . . . to be highly “resistant” to the theory of evolution.

So it’s incredible that this letter to the editor claims, “Evolution is not the loss, transfer of or addition to information.” Everything in the letter-the “sameness of bacteria” and genetic adaptations that manifest themselves under the right conditions-points to pre-existing information that God put in the genes of bacteria in the beginning.

The real issue is still the same-“molecules-to-man” evolution requires an increase in information in the genes. Because of the rapid reproduction rates of bacteria, they are one of the best places for scientists to look for “demonstrable and repeatable” evidence of evolution. But bacteria have proved, on the contrary, to be highly “resistant” to the theory of evolution.


  1. N., Karlen, Intelligent design an unproven theory, Cincinnati Post, USA, 17 March 2002, p. F3. This letter was written to oppose efforts in the State of Ohio to include “intelligent design” in its educational standards on origins science (for background to this ongoing debate, see “Ohio—First US State to Teach ‘Intelligent Design’?)”
  2. K., Kleeb, “Bacteria Example Valid for Evolution,” Cincinnati Post, USA, 29, March 2002, p. B7.


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