Debating the Origin of Sex

on December 6, 2008

LiveScience: “Origin of Sex Pinned Down” At the beginning He made them male and female—emphasis on the “and”?

We all descended from hermaphrodites, according to a new study in the journal Heredity. That’s evolutionists’ answer to the question of how the two sexes evolved from our supposed asexual ancestors. While the conclusion focuses on plants, the researchers believe the same explanation likely extends to animals (“like us,” opines LiveScience’s Jeanna Bryner).

The study, conducted by researchers with the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Pittsburgh, focused on wild strawberry plants. According to the study, two genes located in different spots on a chromosome determine whether a strawberry plant will be a certain sex, hermaphroditic, or neuter. One gene codes for female organs, the other for male; each can be “on” or “off,” thus leading to four possibilities: hermaphroditic (both “on”), male, female, or neuter (both “off”).

"Until now, no example had been found of the very earliest steps. Therefore, those steps were undemonstrated to be true.”

The distinction of male and female in all organisms likely all trace back to the same genetic development, goes the apparent logic of the study. This is in spite of the fact that, first, the researchers acknowledge human sex is determined quite differently (“this mixing and matching is not possible,” LiveScience reports); second, the researchers actually believe the evolution of sex occurred “independently and repeatedly” from hermaphroditism in different plant lineages—and, thus, is even less likely than the one-time evolution of sex.

It seems to us that since evolutionists must account for the evolution of sex, they’re basically making a stretch: pointing to one example of how genes determine sex as if that explains where the genes came from in the first place. In fact, USDA researcher Kim Lewers half admits this:

“All of the animals and plants that are bi-sexual, or have two sexes, are theorized to have evolved according to a particular set of steps. Until now, no example had been found of the very earliest steps. Therefore, those steps were undemonstrated to be true.”

Translation: this is what we already believed, without evidence, since it’s necessary within the evolutionary model. Of course, the scientists believe the strawberry genes are the evidence they’re looking for.

Again, our question is, how does pointing to these strawberry genes—the source of sexual diversity in strawberry plants—explain the source of the actual genes? Isn’t it a bit like pointing to the gene that controls eye color as an explanation for how the eye could have evolved in the first place?

The researchers have bypassed the more serious question of how mutations could account for the information to produce sexual organs that “matched” one another, or why natural selection would favor the development of sexual organs—or individuals that couldn’t reproduce unless they found a mate (making it more difficult to survive than asexually reproducing organisms)—in the first place.

As for human sexuality, Christ reminded us when He quoted Genesis that, for humankind, “He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’” Matthew 19:4. While some creations of God (e.g., many kinds of plants) may reproduce asexually or hermaphroditically, it is clear that—from the beginning—humans have been male and female, all part of God’s plan for humanity.


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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.