A Trust Building Exercise on Genetic Entropy

Continuing the discussion from Genetic Entropy:

@PDPrice, I’ve defended you a few times from charges of dishonesty by others. I don’t think you are dishonest.

You are a writer for CMI, but your comments here are not official. You’ve been repeating some of the arguments on genetic entropy here. Several gaps in your understanding were uncovered, and you’ve done a good job at acknowledging them. I respect this.

Let me suggest an activity that would be really interesting and important, and it would also build trust with your audience here.

Would you consider submitting an article at creation.com explaining the questions you now have about genetic entropy now that you’ve talked to some scientists here about it? I’d encourage you to clarify those questions in a charitable way with people here, and you should still be clear about your YEC position. Questions, however, are legitimate and valuable. I’d respect you being open and honest about the questions rising in your mind.

Of course, maybe Carter and Sanford have straightforward answers. Maybe they would reply, or maybe not. It is not really an attack on them or their credibility. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to take a path that is true to your YEC beliefs, but also respectable to us.

What do you think?


It’s also important to note that some of those gaps I have been able to go back and correct after doing some further reading and brushing up a bit.

I’m not averse to the idea, per se, but what specific questions about genetic entropy are you referring to here? I’d need them to be placed all together and clearly enunciated.

It’s also important to note that I do not have sole discretion for anything being published on creation.com. There is an approval and review process, so the best I could do, if I were to write or co-write any such article, would be to make the proposal.


Well, you know what questions you have now. As long as they are honest questions, and charitably represent the people who raised them (though they have not always been charitable with you), that would be valuable.

I do understand that creation.com may not publish it. We’d follow the story with eager anticipation. Questions are valuable, often more valuable than answers. I’d respect creation.com for publishing it if they did.

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I think that a good exercise would be the one I suggested: put in all of the info about segmentation and reassortment and see if it holds up.

I would suggest that you do so independently and privately before addressing @swamidass’s request. It would clarify a lot of things.

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I agree. We can also help with reviewing and clarifying things with you in a private thread if that is helpful to you. I’m just wanting to be helpful with this offer, so you can get a real win.


The thread was very long, and a lot of questions were asked (and also answered). For it to be worth publishing an article, it would have to be shown that all these questions you’re talking about have not already been sufficiently addressed in existing articles. I would need some kind of compiled list of questions that allegedly have not been answered, before I could begin to consider if it might be worth a new article. To be honest at the moment I don’t see that being the case.

One question I know of:

“Would Drs Carter & Sanford predict that H1N1 should not be seen prior to 1918?”

Is a good one, but not worth a whole article. It would be good to submit this one through the website Q&A.


I’m not asking you to summarize the thread. I’m suggesting you clarify in your own head what the outstanding gaps are that you’d like clarified. What are your questions?

For example:

What does the data show on this prediction?

Is there any known mechanisms that fit the bill here? What does the data show?

Is this really true? None of us think this is true. Perhaps a good question from you could help enlighten things.

What is known about this?

These are all examples of things that could be turned into questions by you. Of course, you know what is in your own mind. From reading just a small part of that thread, there has to be many questions going through your head that I don’t even know about.

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That is a good one. But it would take some work to explain why this is important to their argument.

Perhaps your article has several questions in it though. You’d want to pick out the ones you think are most important to their argument I imagine.


I appreciate this, it’s a constructive suggestion. I’ll see how I might be able to formulate this, possibly as a ‘feedback article’, if Dr Carter is supportive of the idea. Give me some time to work on the idea and see if I can come up with enough for an article.


Here is another question I have, and perhaps you do too.

In the YEC model, where do viruses, especially recent viruses, come from? Why did God create them exactly? Or did they arise by evolutionary processes?

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Thanks for giving it a shot @PDPrice. If creation.com won’t publish it, maybe we will. Either way, I respect the effort. As you follow through, I think it accrues credibility to you, showing you are more than merely an arguer, but also a thinker.


Ah–this one is already answered on the site. Check this out (JoC paper):

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You could also add questions you or we had that were answered, such as this one. But that article just gives one view. What do other YEC’s think? Is there a consensus or a diversity of views?

Perhaps @Joel_Duff has info on this this one too…

Here’s what I’ve got so far, and I’ve decided what I think would be a good mode to proceed here. I would like to make the suggestion that you, Dr. Swamidass, go here and actually submit these questions, including your request that they be considered for publication in a feedback article in the future. That way, the questions will go through our ‘ticketing system’ and will be delivered directly to Dr. Carter for an answer.

I have a specific reason I am suggesting this method: Dr. Carter is a very busy man with a lot on his plate, so if I just mention this to him in passing, or send him a private email, it is possible it could get buried and possibly forgotten about. If you do it this way, he will be prompted to give a response.

He may choose to answer by email only, if for some reason it won’t work to put them in an article; but even so, that would not prevent you from posting his responses to these questions here.

(Questions for Dr. Robert Carter)

Question 1)

“However, when it jumps to pigs and people, it burns like wildfire because we do not have the natural regulatory mechanisms that aquatic waterfowl apparently do.”

(From creation.com/fitness)

Is this really true? None of my associates think this is true. Are there any known mechanisms that fit the bill here? What does the data show?

Question 2)

Based upon your thesis of mutational meltdown as it regards the H1N1 human virus, would you predict that, prior to its emergence in 1918, we should not expect to find any instances of H1N1 outbreaks in history?

Question 3)

Re: The origin of viruses

Shipton, W., Origins of pathogenic microbes: part 2—viruses, J. Creation 30(2):78-87, 2016

gives one YEC view. What do other YEC’s think? Is there a consensus or a diversity of views from a young earth creation perspective on the origin of viruses?


I would be interested in the papers they are referencing, perhaps a quote from that paper, and/or an explanation of what these avian regulatory mechanisms are.

For me, this is a central question for the whole GE theory. If the mutation rate has been the same for thousands of years (or perhaps millions in an OE scenario), then why didn’t they already disappear, and why did the 1918 flu emerge as such a virulent virus after thousands of years of accumulated mutations.

Thanks for your willingness to pursue this!


Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is John Sanford is a born-again YEC and his whole “Genetic Entropy” concept is based on the claim humans and all other biological species were created only 6000 years ago, each with a “perfect genome” (whatever that means) and we’ve all been degrading since the Fall.

Given that ridiculous starting premise, along with the fact life has been doing just fine on the planet for 3.5 billion years, why is anyone giving this Genetic Entropy claim even the slightest bit of scientific consideration?


Chill out @Timothy_Horton, and let’s see how this plays out.

I’m quite chill Dr. S and that is a legitimate question. It won’t stop anyone from discussing H1N1 if they so choose.


That isn’t as interesting to me. I know Dr. Carter and Dr. Sanford well. If I wanted to take a question to them, I’d just email them privately, as I have done in the past. It would be strange for me to put it through that system. Besides, this isn’t about my questions, it is about your questions.

I think the far more interesting thing is for you to write an article and see how it plays out. Like I said, many of us are happy to help (ignore the naysayers). You should write it such that Carter doesn’t feel compelled to respond; that wouldn’t be nice. I’m just saying that it builds credibility when we talk about our unanswered questions.

For example, I don’t think mainstream scientists know how the first cell arose. There are some interesting theories, and certainly some validation of some of these theories. However, anyone who argues we know for a fact how it all happened is wrong. So I’m really interested in the question of how life arose, not because we know the answer, but because we don’t. I’m sure you appreciated that admission of ignorance on my part. Perhaps others here disagree and can fill in some of my gaps in knowledge. That would be great.

In the same way, what are your questions about how this whole genetic entropy thing works given your conversation with us? Of course, it would be great if Carter answers. Whether or not he does, however, is beside the point. That approach, that angle, is really meaningful. It builds credibility. It is fundamentally respectable.


I appreciate your input and your suggestions. As I’ve said, this isn’t something that would be appropriate for me personally to write about for the website. These are questions for the experts. It’s too bad you’re declining to submit them so we can see what Dr. Carter has to say on these topics, but that doesn’t prevent others here from doing so if they choose. (Though, if you’re going that route, pick one person so the system doesn’t get inundated with 5 or 10 people asking the exact same thing!) The Q&A submission feature is open to anybody to use, as long as the questions are not already answered on the website.

In the same way, what are your questions about how this whole genetic entropy thing works given your conversation with us?

I’d be very interested to find out more about the way that the RNA viruses exist in the waterfowl prior to becoming infectious for humans (in their benign state). And what sets them off? Is it a damaging mutation, or series thereof?

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