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From: Jeff Doles To: All 94-04-05 13:%:00 Subject: DNA Dating Anyway -- this morning I downloaded the following article (along with a few other aritcles from -Creation Ex Nihilo-, a publication by ICR) on DNA dating. I do not know enough about DNA to really understand what is what. I would appreciate a critique of the argument put forth in this article -- where it is accurate, where it is inaccurate, what the implications are. ======================================================================== SCIENCE SPOT DNA dating: Fascinating evidence that the fossils are young Carl Wieland, M.B., B.S. ------------------------ DNA, the complex molecule of heredity, can he observed in the lahoratory to hydrolyse (break down) by itself. We have already commented in Cleation magazine on the discovery of DNA in magnolia leaf fossils which are supposed to be around 20 million years old according to evolutionary assumptions, and suggested that this seemed rather unbelievable for a complicated molecule which progressively disintegrates all hy itself (Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 22-23). Now Brian Sykes in the prestigious journal "Nature" clearly states that the rate at which DNA breaks down in the laboratory is such that after 10,000 years no DNA should be left. Writing ahout the magnolia leaf fossils (and others in the same 'ancient' layer found to also have DNA, including oak, cypress and tulip tree fossils) he says: 'This means these compression fossils defy the prediction, from in vitro estimates of the rate of spontaneous hydrolysis, that no DNA would remain intact much beyond 10,000 years. What a good job not every body knew that, grant reviewers included." One can clearly see the following sequence of logic in evolutionary circles, which is important to keep in mind now that we are seeing more and more reports of 'ancient' DNA (and proteins). 1. In the ahsence of the repair machinery of a living cell, DNA breaks down, by itself, at an observed, measurable rate which would mean that after 10,000 years there should be none left. 2. Therefore, any specimen which has DNA still in it cannot be more than 10,000 years old. However: 3. Intact DNA has been found in specimens which evolutionists 'know' to be millions of years old. (Because it is found in layers which, according to the geological age-dating system, are assigned this age--17-20 million years in the case of the Plant fossils mentionted here.) 4. If this system of vast ages is not correct, the whole evolutionary scenario collapses. 5. Therefore, the logical deduction in the first two points above (based on real science--that is, an observable process) must he flawed. There must be some special conditions which can somehow 'hold up' the breakdown of DNA quite dramatically. Notice how point 3 brings in the assumption/belief that the vast evolutionary age assigned to these fossils is correct. That helief becomes the justification for discarding the -prima facie- implications of the laboratory data. Creationists who maintain that none of the fossil-bearing layers are more than 10000 years old can rightly view the finding of DNA in such layers as positive evidence for this assertion until and unless there is some definite demonstration (apart from pre-existing belief in evolutions long ages) of how any conceivahle 'special conditions' can holdup the breakdown of this complicated fragile chemical. REFERENCE Brian Sykes in Nature, vol. 352, August 1, p. 381. In context his statement is sarcastic. Sykes is not denying that the fossils are multimillions of years old. He is saying that if the inferences from laboratory data had been completely trusted no one would have bothered to look lor DNA in such old sediments. The fact that it exists is to him evidence that the inferences were wrong not the age. Creation Ex Nihilo, Vol. 14 No. 3 Reprinted with permission of the Institure for Creation Research, P.O. Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021-0667 619-448-0900.

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