Flies--to almost anyone but a geneticist--are merely one of nature’s pests. * But to geneticists (biologists who deal with heredity and variation among related organisms) they are extremely important: especially the fly Drosophila. There are at least a thousand species of this fly, and, because it produces a new generation every twelve days, it is the ideal animal for geneticists to use in the study of hereditary characteristics. Thousands of pages have been written about Drosophila, and its critical importance to genetics can be seen from this typical remark from a book called Genetics and Heredity:
Drosophila is now used in laboratories all over the world and from certain points of view one can say that the whole of modern genetics and the science of heredity are due to it....1
[*Flies are pestiferous. There is no arguing that point. Yet they perform very specialized and very necessary functions. They help carry out pollination functions in certain flowering plants (as we saw in the section on "Pollination"). And, so fantastically interdependent are "nature’s" millions of aspects that--according to Eiseley--man could not live without flowers. So the fly’s role in this area alone is no minor one. Then, of course, flies are busily occupied with helping to dispose of tens of thousands of tons of animal and human waste that reappears every day. In addition to this, one can imagine that there are tons upon tons of animals and fruits that die every day and are partly removed by flies. Some species of the fly Drosophila are so specialized in their function that they eat only injured and rotting fruit and do not bother uninjured fruit. (Think about that for a minute!)]
More up-to-date books by different authors still stress heavily the importance of Drosophila. It’s a Biggie where any discussion of genetics is concerned, and, since genetics is about heredity and evolution cannot escape matters relating to heredity, the importance of Drosophila whenever evolution is discussed is difficult to exaggerate.
We wish to stress that importance here and now, because we intend to show that the work of geneticists on this humble animal has given the most concrete proof that mutations--the life’s breath of evolutionary theory--can never account for evolution.
Let us begin with an overview of the conclusions of thousands of pages and tens of thousands of hours that science has devoted to studying mutations and their effects on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
Keep in mind first what has already been mentioned about Drosophila producing a new generation every twelve days. This makes it possible for scientists to study several hundred successive generations which would correspond to fifty or a hundred or more centuries of human life. Armed with this knowledge, T. H. Morgan and his collaborators, Bridges, Sturtevant, and Muller obtained a lot of jars, some yeast and bananas, and a few hundred thousand specimens of Drosophila and went to work.
The intention was to observe and catalogue information about mutations. One difficulty about mutations, as we have already noted, is that they are very infrequent, and then of the ones that do occur, all are harmful and many lead to the early death of the mutant or its descendants. Two other characteristics of mutations that make them hard to study are that there is no way of knowing when one is going to occur, and that most that do occur, according to geneticists, are unnoticeable because their effects are hidden or are so slight that they are invisible. (Surely this is pure nonsense. If one can’t see a mutation or in some way detect it--if it is invisible--then how can anybody say it exists at all?!)
In any case, Morgan published in 1915 his Mechanics of Mendelian Heredity which laid the foundations for the arrangement of genes in the chromosomes, and he became the leader of what is known as "the Morgan school" which is known for this kind of work in connection with evolution theory.
The upshot of all this was that: Among hundreds of thousands of flies, it was possible to detect, over a period of several years, more than 400 mutations. 2
Though evolution was supposed to be proven by this Herculean effort, it failed miserably and totally, for:..Out of the 400 mutations that have been provided by Drosophila melanogaster, there is not one that can be called a new species. It does not seem, therefore, that the central problem of evolution can be solved by mutations.... 3
Given the fact that scientists generally agree that evolution without mutations is about as possible as an omelet without eggs, this is a very important finding.
But evolutionists do not give up so readily, and there is more to report on their efforts to force old Drosophola melanogaster to provide the evidence for evolution they are seeking.
Since the big problem that Morgan and his helpers had faced was the scarcity of mutations, it was a major breakthrough when a way was discovered to increase the mutation rate tremendously. From Principles of Genetics we learn that:
H. J. Muller demonstrated in 1927 that the mutation rate of Drosophila melanogaster could be markedly increased by treating the flies with X-rays. Expression of induced mutations seemed to be the same as those of comparable mutations that occurred spontaneously, but the frequency was increased as much as 150-fold. 4
Now, at last, it was possible to really go to work on the hapless fruit-fly! Whereas, scientists had labored manfully to bring on artificial mutations by extreme variations of heat and cold and light and darkness (all with complete lack of success), they now bombarded the stubborn rascals with X-rays and got their mutations.
Thus stocked with jars of mutant flies, scientists set about to change them into something besides flies, and thereby demonstrate that animals could indeed have changed from amoebas to fish to amphibians to reptiles, to birds to mammals, and finally to Sergi Rachmaninoff.
(The reader may protest that the average "evolving" fly or lizard or bat out of the past never had the benefit of all this sophisticated effort to help him/her along, and would therefore have hardly been able to produce all those mutations in the first place. But the reader would only be exhibiting a stubbornness that seems to afflict non-evolutionists. After all, if things didn’t evolve, one would only be left with the reality that they were created; and that just can’t be! So say the evolutionary scientists....)
So they X-rayed the daylights out of ole Drosophila melanogaster. They changed the eye color from pink to white to red and back to the original black again. They changed the wings this way and that. They worked on the salivary glands. They increased and decreased the number of bristles. They strained and sweated for thousands of hours to change Drosophila into something else.
What happened? Two things: One, the mutant flies either died over a period of generations, or, they came back to their original, normal conditions!! They could not be changed!! Drosophila melanogaster, frozen, steamed, blinded by light and darkness, and fried with X-rays, remained Drosophila melanogaster.
The case of the 36 bristles will serve as a specific example:
Among its other features, Drosophila melanogaster has 36 bristles on its body. Macbeth gives the gist of further extensive work done on the fruit fly’s bristles by Ernst Mayr in 1948: Two experiments were run, one for decrease in the number of bristles, which averaged 36 in the starting stock. Selection for decrease was able, after thirty generations, to lower this average to 25 bristles, but then the line became sterile
and died out. A mass low line...was started with 32 bristles and remained nearly stable for ninety-five generations. All attempts to derive from this line others with lower bristle numbers failed because the lines died out.... In the high line, progress was at first rapid and steady. In twenty generations the average rose from 36 to 56. At this stage sterility became severe.... Average bristle number fell sharply and was down to 39 in five generations. 5
Amazing isn’t it? The same thing happens to all breeding experiments, of course, no matter what the animal or plant. Darwin got the same results exactly on a smaller scale after he spent years working with pigeons. There is just so much variability in any animal (or plant), and when it is pressed beyond that limit by nature or by man it becomes sterile or dies. In either case, obviously, the kinds of change demanded by evolution theory are just as effectively stopped.
A day of reckoning is at hand for the Theory of Evolution. And amongst the most convincing witnesses to testify against the theory will be one of the most humble, yet most triumphant reminders of God’s immutable laws, namely, Drosophila melanogaster...with its bristles intact.
(Postscript: This is one tiny excerpt from a book I wrote thirty years ago which is now available in its seventh printing [See: The Truth About Evolution]). Testimonials [incl. one from the ongoing publishers of Darwin’ s book] can be seen by going to the last two pages. [See: Australian Response] The latest desperate effort to keep the evolution myth alive is "Panspermia" and can be evaluated. Keep in mind that the success and survival of the evolution lie depends upon the continued poltroonery of the Creationist Science Establishment in refusing to attack Copernican heliocentricity which is just as factless as Darwinian evolutionism and which is symbiotically connected to it historically, scientifically, and philosophically. [See: Insep-Conc]
1 - Maurice Caullery. Genetics and Heredity, New York: Walker and Company, 1964, p. 42.
2 - Ibid., p. 43.
3 - Ibid., p. 119.
4 - Eldon J. Gardner, Principles of Genetics, (New York, London, et al: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1968. p. 146.
5 - Norman Macbeth, The Question: Darwinism Revisited, p. 629.