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Life is deteriorating (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Life is deteriorating (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CH320:

Before sin entered the world, there were no net deteriorating effects of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The decay that we see today, including organisms such as fungi, predators, and parasites, is a result of Adam's sin.

Source: Morris, Henry and Martin Clark, 1987. Why did God create carnivorous animals if there was to be no death in the world as first created? - FAQ #46. From The Bible Has the Answer, 3rd Ed. Master Books.


CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Parasites have advanced derived features, which are necessary for them to survive as parasites. The same is true of fungi, predators, and other supposedly "deteriorated" organisms. Even the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) recognizes that features such as thorns, fangs, and poisons evolved after the Fall. The evolution of features such as thorns and poisons where there were none before is not a deterioration of the organisms that get them.

First of all a deterioration is relative to what it came from. If thorns, fangs and poisons developed from nothing then they would not be a from of deterioration, but if they came from features that originally made the organism healthier or beneficial to other organisms, then they could be deteriorated features. Thorns could degenerate from a type of leaf or some form of structural harmless aid. Poison could degenerate from a digestive agent. Fangs need not be post fall, they can be useful in eating some plant, and those that are used to inject poison may have been used to inject digestive agents in to fruit. The same could be true of all such features including those of parasites and fungi.

2. The record of life on earth shows advancement, not deterioration. The earliest records show only bacteria. This was followed in the late Precambrian by primitive multicellular organisms, then animals with hard parts, then land animals, and so forth. The largest plants and animals that ever lived are living today. We know of no other time when biodiversity was greater than in historic times. A few mass extinctions have occurred, but these provided fresh starts for new forms of life to evolve.

This is based entirely on the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record. It assumes that the layers represent successive periods of time during which animals not found therein were not alive. So this is just another case of your theory does not work under my theory so your theory must be wrong.

If all the layers and the fossils they contain were laid down during a year long global flood, then fossil order is irrelevant to this issue.

  1. There are a number of living animals; dragon flies and cockroaches are an example; that have larger representatives in the fossil record than are alive today.
  2. The largest land animal to ever live is found only in the fossil record.
  3. An increase in size can result from a degenerative condition. The tallest living humans have their height due to a degenerative condition in the pituitary gland.
  4. In many cases excessive size is a problem.

Finally the current degree of biodiversity could easily be the result of deterioration. Such things as loss of genetic information due to accumulation of mutations, and inbreeding of small groups would produce diversity, but each organism would be less fit than its ancestors. New developments in genetics also may suggest designed mechanisms in the genome that may add to genetic adaptability that would in fact make the fossil record an even greater testimony against the common descent myth than it already is.

3. The amount of evolution that the ICR attributes to "deterioration" would certainly be regarded as macroevolution by any rational standard. The evolution of a death-based ecology after the Fall would be almost as big a change as the original creation.

It depends on the organisms that existed at the time of the Fall. Many post-Fall traits could be generative pre-Fall traits. Furthermore there is no reason why God could not have done some genetic re-engineering to adapt pre-Fall organisms to post-Fall life. Indeed as mentioned, new developments suggest that there may be more adaptability within the design of the genetic blueprint than has been previously recognized.

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