The original question was:  If man was separately created, how come apes have the same broken gene for making vitamin C as humans do? Surely this could only come about by man evolving from chimpanzees. To claim God made the same mutant in both stretches credulity.

Answer by John Mackay

To argue that the same broken genes in man and chimpanzee are good evidence of relationship certainly sounds logical – until you discover that broken vitamin C genes are also found in creatures such as guinea pigs and bats. So far we have not found any evolutionist who wants to claim common Vitamin C mutations must mean man ascended from guinea pigs or bats!

More on the technicalities of that later but first three interesting applications.

Many years ago, a very learned friend of mine, Professor A E Wilder-Smith shared, as he visited our bush bound backyard downunder, that if mankind had a complete and functional vitamin C gene, we would never get drunk. Dr Wilder-Smith was a triple PhD in chemistry in three different languages and was a drug consultant to the UN. He was an academic’s academic, and his argument was very intriguing. It would mean that when God first made the world, alcoholism would not have been possible as the human body would have detoxified alcohol prior to its entering the brain. In our post-Adam, post-Noah world this has one other application. Since the Biblical history of the world is from God’s very good creation via man’s sinful bad choice in Eden, to our present day worse world, we make the sad prediction that in the future, man’s susceptibility to alcohol will increase, not decrease, as our devolving abilities to “detoxify” materials continue to decline.

The fact that this mutation involving degenerate loss of vitamin C manufacturing ability is found across the whole human race, also means it was carried by all those on board Noah’s Ark, who gave rise to the various races of man i.e. Noah’s three sons and their wives. The Vitamin C gene therefore must have busted sometime prior to Noah’s day. Jesus’ statement “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:27 KJV) where the context of ‘they drank’ refers to alcoholic liquors, may help us understand why even though Noah got drunk just after the flood, no moral judgment was pronounced on him by God. Yet drunkenness is listed as a real “moral negative” amongst Noah’s Jewish descendants several thousand years further on, and God regards it the same way today. Alcohol became a problem for man only as we moved from Adam down past the time when the vitamin C gene busted, and again we predict it will increasingly become a more serious issue.

Our inability to manufacture our own vitamin C also means modern humans have a need to ingest vitamin C usually via fruit or vegetable foods, but using such a second hand source of vitamin C means we don’t get the same benefits as tailor making it in our body from original ingredients. Thus the affliction we label the common cold is now common only as a result of this degeneration. In the beginning such a ‘disease’ did not exist at all. It joins a long list of examples resulting from the good to bad to worse scenario of real history, which is the opposite of evolution.

Now for some technicalities on the Vitamin C gene argument.

Vitamin C can be manufactured in living vertebrates from the sugar glucose by a series of biochemical steps, the last of which is controlled by an enzyme named GULO. In humans and some animals, including apes, the gene for this enzyme is non-functional. So how valid is the claim that the mutations that cause the loss of GULO function are the same in chimps and humans, and this is evidence for evolution?

First we must note that the human GULO gene is actually only 84% identical to the chimpanzee, yet it is 87% identical to the gorilla. Therefore even though the chimp is claimed to be our nearest evolved relative, we can’t ignore the fact that the human gene more similar to a gorilla than to the chimp.

The human and ape non-functional GULO genes are often compared to the functional GULO gene in the rat, which is significantly longer than both the human and ape gene. It is therefore assumed that a large chunk of the man’s and apes’ GULO gene was lost, or has became defunct in the common ancestor of apes and men. However the real fact is we have no way of knowing if the human or ape gene was ever the same as the rat gene, since the bit being compared is absent. Furthermore, comparing the region immediately in front of the GULO gene where this loss was supposed to happen, the human segment is only 68% the same as the chimp while it is 73% the same as the gorilla.

To all this let’s add to the mix a published observation by three Canadian biologists, about vitamin C production and non-production, which occurs in a pattern that doesn’t fit any standard evolutionary trees.

Guy Drouin, Jean-Rémi Godin and BenoîtPagé, carried out a survey of vitamin C production in many kinds of creatures and noted “that all cartilaginous and non-teleost bony fish species are able to synthesize vitamin C including hagfish, lampreys, sharks, rays, lungfish, coelacanths, sturgeons and bowfins, among others, but that no teleost fish species can do so.” Teleost fish include most of the familiar bony or ray-finned fishes, which are supposed to be the more advanced evolutionary fishes, so evolutionists have to explain how the more primitive cartilaginous or non-bony fish (sharks and rays) acquired the vitamin C gene, only to lose it when they evolved into more advanced boned fish, whose land-dwelling descendants somehow regained it then yet again lost the ability due to a degenerate mutation. The Canadian biologists claim their findings prove “Vitamin C is an ancestral trait of vertebrates and that it was lost in the common ancestor of teleost fish.” Ascribing something to a “common ancestor” that no longer exists is a common evolutionary ploy to explain a patchy distribution of a gene, but it is really just wishful thinking to fit an already held belief in evolution.

It seems that all land dwelling vertebrates have the GULO gene, but it is defunct due to missing pieces in some animals. These include the aforementioned apes, along with guinea pigs, some birds and some bats. The a pattern of loss for birds and bats does not fit the evolutionary tree for birds and bats, so any argument in favour of evolution based on defunct vitamin C genes is itself defunct, and must be abandoned, or as two well known TV presenters would say: the myth that busted Vitamin C genes link man and monkey… is well and truly busted!

For more details see Guy Drouin, Jean-Rémi Godin and BenoîtPagé, The Genetics of Vitamin C Loss in Vertebrates, Current Genomics, 2011, Vol. 12, No. 5. Abstract.

For a detailed study of the human GULO gene, and comparisons with other vertebrates see The Human GULO Pseudogene— Evidence for Evolutionary Discontinuity and Genetic Entropy, by Jeffrey Tomkins, Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, Texas here.

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About The Contributor

John Mackay