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Genetics 遺傳基因

by Dr. Esther Ho/ 一心譯

During the 19th century, some thought that the behaviour of animals could cause evolution. They used this theory to explain how giraffes came about: originally, they were deer with short necks, eating grass. When the grass was not enough for all the deer, they would compete, and those who got grass survived. Some deer found that if they ate tree leaves, they did not need to vie for grass. The deer that ate the leaves on the tree were fitter for survival; consequently, they had more opportunities to breed. “Use it or lose it” - the deer often stretched their necks to eat the leaves on the tree, and the more they stretched, the longer the necks would grow. It was similar to weight-lifting: the more often we exercise, the more prominent our muscles would become. The deer that had longer necks then had more opportunities to give birth to long-necked baby deer. The long-necked baby deer were more competitive for survival than other deer, hence had more opportunities to use their necks and live to reproductive age. And their offspring grew even longer necks. As a result, each generation of deer developed longer necks, and after many generations, became giraffes.

十九世紀時,有人以為生物的「行為」可以導致進化。比如,有人解釋為什麼有長頸鹿。他們以為本來的鹿頸子都是短的,都吃地上的青草,如果青草不夠大家吃的話,那麼就會有競爭,吃得到草的才能生存,有些鹿發現他們如果吃樹上的葉子,就不需要與其他的鹿爭地上的草。這些吃樹上的葉子的鹿就比較適合生存,因此就有機會繁殖。「用進廢退」,因為常常伸長頸子吃樹上較高處的葉子,所以伸得多了,頸子自然會較長,就像我們常常舉重,肌肉就會發達。於是這些頸子比較長的鹿也較有機會生下頸子比較長的小鹿。小鹿就更有效的競爭,也有更多的機會「用進」和更有機會活到繁殖的年齡,他們生下的小鹿,頸子更長,這樣,每一代都長更長的頸子,過了多代之後就變成長頸鹿了! 

You might think this sounds funny, but more than a hundred years ago, there was indeed this kind of theory. It was not completely strange; we did observe some phenomena like this. If we stretch our necks daily, would our necks become longer? The answer is yes. Are the children from long-necked parents more likely to have long necks? The answer is also yes. But the truth is not so simple. The two right answers do not necessarily form a right answer when they are connected together. 

你可能認為可笑,但是一百多年前,確實有這種思想。其實一點不奇怪,我們觀察到的現象,豈非如此?如果我們天天伸長頸子,頸子會否長得越長呢?答案是:「會」。頸子長的人生的孩子是否多點機會有較長的頸子?答案也是:「是」。但事實並非這麼簡單!上面兩個答案都對,但兩個答案串在一起就不一定對了!

There is an indigenous tribe in southwest China that favour long-necked women. They will put brass rings on girls’ necks from childhood. As their necks become longer, more brass rings will be added. Eventually, the adult women will have elongated necks. But what about the daughters born to them? Do they have particularly long necks? The answer is no. Their daughters’ necks are as long as other ordinary girls. If they wish to have long necks, they still will need to add brass coils on their necks.

在中國西南部的「少數民族」,有喜歡女子頸長的。他們用一個個圈圈套在小女孩頸上,頸子長了,再加上圈圈,這些成年女子都有長長的頸子。那麼她們生下的女兒呢?頸子是否特長?答案是:「否」。小女兒頸子和一般女孩一樣長,如果希望她們有長頸嗎?還要一個個圈圈加在小女兒的頸子上! 

We Chinese had a similar experience. For several hundred years (some say a thousand years), some regions in China considered small feet to be attractive. They would bind the feet of girls starting from when they were about four years old. This is a fact known to all; some of our own grandmothers or great-grandmothers still have bound feet. Foot-binding had been practiced for almost a thousand years: one would think that with each generation, the girls’ feet should have become smaller and smaller, but in reality it was not so. 

我們華人曾經有類似的經歷,有好幾百年(有人說有一千年)之久,中國某些地區的社會認為女子的腳越小越好看,於是在女孩四歲左右就用布條把女孩的腳纏住。這是大家都知道的事實,因為我們中間的老祖母或曾祖母還有一些是小腳的,這做法已經沿用了近千年,應該是每一代的女孩,腳會越來越小,但事實並非如此。 

Let me give you an even clearer example: if a young person cut off his pinky finger, would his child lack a pinky from birth? Of course not! 

讓我舉個更容易了解的例子吧。如果一個年青人把他的小指頭切斷了,他生下的孩子會不會少了個小指頭?當然不會! 

On the other hand, we know that the children of tall parents are generally taller, and the children of short parents are generally shorter. The children of darker-skin parents are generally darker. We call this phenomenon “genetics”. Organisms -- animals and plants -- are formed from cells. Every cell contains genes, which determine what the organism is – a human being, cow, dog, fruit, or perennial. As a matter of fact, the characteristics of these organisms are determined by genes. For example, a human cell nucleus contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Almost all genes are on the chromosomes. We know that chromosomes are very complicated. Even today, there are still a lot of unknowns in the area of genetics, but we know that the characteristics of an organism are determined by the genes on the chromosomes. For this reason, the characteristics of one generation can be passed onto the next generation, since the succeeding generation inherited the genes from the previous generation. If a certain characteristic is not carried by a gene, it will not be passed along to the next generation. 

但是,我們都知道高的父母生的孩子一般也較高,矮的父母生的孩子一般也比較矮。黑皮膚的父母生的孩子皮膚也較黑,我們叫這現象為「遺傳」。原來生物(動物和植物)是從細胞組成的,每個細胞中都有「遺傳基因」。這些遺傳基因決定這生物是什麼,是人、是牛、是狗、是水果或長青樹等。事實上,生物的特徵都因這些遺傳基因而決定。比如人個別細胞核中有廿三對「染色體」(以前還不知道這麼多有關遺傳基因的事情之前,發現細胞中有些部分染起顏色來時顏色特別深,所以取名「染色體」)。遺傳基因幾乎全部在這些染色體上面,現在,我們知道這些染色體是非常複雜的,到如今,我們還有很多不知道不了解的地方,但是我們知道生物的特徵是由這些染色體上面的遺傳基因決定的,因此,一代的特徵可以傳到下一代,是因為第二代得到第一代的遺傳基因。如果這特徵不是在基因上,這特徵不會傳給下一代。

Going back to the giraffe example, its long neck is not due to the frequent neck-stretching of its ancestor. The giraffe’s ancestor is also a giraffe. The offspring born to a giraffe is also long-necked. If giraffes had short-necked ancestors, then even if their necks were stretched, the offspring would still be short-necked. Furthermore, giraffes are not merely deer with elongated necks. Imagine stretching a deer’s neck to as long as a giraffe’s neck, can it live better than other deer? With such a long neck, how far is the distance between its brain and its heart? When a giraffe stands up, its neck is a lot higher than its heart. If a deer only developed an elongated neck, but its heart didn’t change, it would definitely faint. The heart would not be able to pump blood to the brain. Then when it drinks water, it must bend down -- would its blood then flush down to the brain, causing a brain aneurysm?

現在回到長頸鹿,長頸鹿的長頸不是因為伸長頸子伸得多了,所以下一代頸子也長一點,不是的,乃是因為祖宗是長頸鹿,所以生下的也是長頸鹿。如果祖宗是短頸鹿,就算把頸子拉長,生下來的下一代,仍然是短頸鹿。再者,長頸鹿並不只是頸子長的「長頸鹿」而已,你想如果只是把一隻鹿的頸子拉得和長頸鹿的頸子一樣長,牠能夠活得比其他它鹿好嗎?試想,頸子那麼長,心臟和腦部的矩離有多大?你見過長頸鹿站著的時候,牠的頸比心臟高好多。如果只頸子長長,而心臟仍是和本來一樣的話,牠一定會昏倒,因為心臟沒法把血液送到高高在上的腦子裏去!如果長頸鹿飲水的時候,(有沒有見過長頸鹿飲水?)牠要把頭低下去,那麼血是否會沖下腦子引致「腦沖血」呢? 

So we can see that giraffe’s long neck could not simply have been stretched. Its heart, neck, and whole body need to work together in order for it to survive. That’s why giraffes are giraffes, not just deer with elongated necks. 

可見,長頸鹿不是單單把頸子拉長而已,牠的心臟、頸子裏面的構造,以至全身,都必須有整體的配合才能生存。因此,長頸鹿是長頸鹿,牠不是頸子被拉長了的鹿。 

How about the long-necked women in southwest region of China? They are still human, not some other kind. Their genes are human genes, not “long-necked human” genes. Hence, their long necks are not hereditary. Because the children do not have the long-necked genes, they will not receive such genetic data and grow long necks. In reality, under x-ray, we see that it is not that the necks of the women are lengthened, but that their collar bones are compressed! 

中國西南部那些頸子被圈子弄得「長」的女人呢?她們都是人,不是別類,她們的遺傳基因是人的遺傳基因;不是「長頸人」的遺傳基因,因此,她們的「長頸」是後天環境造成的。她們的遺傳基因上沒有「長頸」的基因,所以下一代得到的資訊沒有「長頸」。事實上,在X光透視下,這些女人的頸子並沒有長,而是胸骨被壓低而已! 

As far as foot-binding is concerned, everybody knows that it is inhumane. Foot-binding used external force to hinder the normal development of the feet. It distorted and broke the bones, resulting in a disability. This suffering was forcibly imposed on little girls when they were still unable to choose for themselves. My mother-in-law was born in the end of Qing Dynasty. Her feet were once bound, but because she cried so miserably due to the great pain, her father, who was considered more progressive than most, gave up. Her foot-binding wraps were then loosened, but still, her feet were permanently injured, and she was slightly disabled for the rest of her life. 

至於纏腳,大家都知道是一種十分沒有人道的作法。用外在力量勉強攔阻腳部的正常發展,腳骨被扭曲折斷,以至行動不方便。在小女孩還無能力自己選擇的時候,強加疼苦給小女孩。我的婆婆是清末民初出生的,她的腳也被纏過,不過因為她疼極大哭,哭得非常利害,她父親算是比較開放的人,就「算了」,解開了纏帶,既便如此,她的腳已經被傷害了,一生行動都有些不便。

My grandmother was born before the twentieth century, but her feet were healthy. The last time that I saw her, she was in her 90’s, and mobile (she lived until 96 years old). Her feet were not bound; why? My grandmother was an orphan; it was said that all her family died from a plague. The little girl was adopted by American missionaries in China. These Christians knew foot-binding was against God’s original design. God’s design is the best, so they did not bind my grandmother’s feet according to the Chinese custom at the time. God created men and women according to His image, so the Christians did not regard boys as superior to girls, nor did they adhere to the contemporary belief that, “it is a virtue for a woman to have no skills”. They let her go to school, and she became a teacher. (Later, she studied medicine and became a western doctor.)

我的祖母,是再上一代,廿世紀前出生的,但是她的腳是健全的,我最後一次見到她時,她已是九十幾歲,行動還正常(她活到96歲)。她的腳沒有被纏過,為什麼?我的祖母是個孤兒,聽說在一次鼠疫中家人都死了,小女孩被美國到中國傳福音的姑娘收養了。這些基督徒知道纏腳是違反 上帝的創造, 

上帝的創造才是美好的,因此她們沒有照著當時中國的俗習給我祖母纏腳。因為上帝造人是照著祂自己的形象造男造女,所以這些基督徒沒有重男輕女,也沒有沿用當時世俗的「女子無才便是德」,她們給我祖母上學,以至她成為一位老師(後來她更學了醫學,成為一位西醫師)。 

Having a Creator God makes a big difference in one’s life! In the matter of foot-binding, who knows how many women suffered all of their lives! The people who bound the girls’ feet were not devious, but ignorant. They did not mean to torture the girls; they thought they were doing a good thing for them. According to the custom at the time, if a girl had large feet, she could not be married to a “good” family. “Good” probably meant riches and status. Therefore, they thought they were doing something good for the sake of the girl’s future! 

有創造主的話和沒有祂的話,生命有多大的分別!單纏腳一事,不知苦待了多少女人,一生受苦!這些給小女孩纏腳,叫她們一生受苦的人,並不是存心不良,而是無知,他(她)們不是要苦待女孩,而是以為這樣做是對女孩「好」。 有人說,當時的俗習,如果女孩大腳,是嫁不到「好」人家的。「好」大概是指有錢、有地位吧!所以,他(她)們是以為自己在做「好」事,為女孩的前途著想! 

This is why the Creator God does not want us to act on our own and set our own standard – determining good and bad according to our own will. We did not create man and the universe, nor do we know the truth of the universe. We do not know what is good, and what is evil. We should obey God’s standard of good and evil. Whatever He tells us, we should obey and not act on our own. 

這是為什麼創造主不要我們自作主張,自定「好」的標準-自己分別善惡,因為我們沒有造人,沒有造宇宙,不知道宇宙的真理,不知道何為善,何為惡,我們只應該聽從創造主的善惡標準,祂告訴我們的,我們就遵守,不要自作主張。

 

After the Creator God made everything, His conclusion was that it was “good”, “very good”. If the words of the Bible are reliable, then the scientific facts should agree with this statement that creation was “very good”. This means that everything, including genes, were very good when they were originally created. There should not have been any genetic diseases or unhealthy genes.

當創造主造萬物的時候,祂的結論是「好」,而且是「十分好」。如果聖經的話是可靠的,那麼科學的事實應該支持「十分好」的創造。意思是:創造時的一切都十分好,包括遺傳基因,應該都是十分好的,不應該有些「遺傳病」,不應有不健全的遺傳基因。 

This means that any mutations in genes should only cause deterioration, not improvement. Regrettably, after the very-good creation was completed, the Bible describes the spread of corruption. Corruption is caused by man’s self-assertion, self-centeredness, and selfishness: setting our own standard, deciding good and evil for ourselves, and not following the standard of good and evil as set by the Creator. Because of this, all creation is subject to corruption. If the Bible is trustworthy, then we should see evidence of this deterioration in our scientific observations. 

遺傳基因如果有變化的話,應該是「越變越壞」,不應是「越變越好」的。可惜,在這「十分好」的創造完成之後,聖經又述說了敗壞的入侵,導至敗壞的原由是人的自作主張,自我中心,以自己為主,自定標準,自己分別善惡,不要聽從創造主善惡的標準!因此,敗壞管轄了一切受造之物。如果聖經的話是可靠的,那麼科學的事實應該支持「越來越敗壞」的現況。 

History cannot be repeated; we are unable to witness the original creation again. But we are able to observe current phenomena, and they indicate deterioration. The scientific facts show deterioration. If the Theory of Evolution were reliable, we should have observed continual improvement as scientific fact. Do our observations support the Bible or Evolution? 

雖然,歷史不能重演,我們無法觀察到創造剛完成時的情況,但我們應該能夠觀察到現況-「越來越壞」,科學的事實應是「越來越壞」。如果進化論可靠的話,我們應該觀察到「越來越進」的科學事實。到底我們觀察到的,是支持聖經或是支持進化論呢?  

 

 

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