GULO and other Irrational Atheist Arguments – Part 1

7 Popular, but Fallacious Arguments used by Atheists

Evolutionists believe glowing eyes evolved multiple times independently.
Arguments that are demonstrably wrong yet still believed demonstrate the irrational nature of atheist and evolutionist belief.

The Biblical book of Acts recounts an event where a demon possessed girl who made a business for her masters from telling fortunes took to following around the Apostle Paul, shouting:

“…These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up  for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.1

For those wondering why the apostle cast out a demon providing free advertisement for him, the answer is simple: God’s people are forbidden from having anything to do with demons2 – even if what they do is initially helpful. The amazing thing to Christians is that Paul put up so long with it. I mention it because I likewise feel troubled by the recurring contention of Atheists that the pseudo-gene known as GULO or GLO proves common descent. So let me
cast out this demon and be done with this irrational contention once and for all.  And while I’m at at it I’ll address 6 other irrational atheist arguments as well.  (I use irrational in the sense that these arguments are easily demonstrated to be fallacious.) So following are 7 arguments used by evolutionists and atheists alike which are logically fallacious – and thus those who continue to use them – having read this – are showing themselves to be irrational in their anti-Christian beliefs.

To understand the atheists’ and evolutionists’ contention for these first two items that they present as evidence – GULO and LUCA – one must first understand one of the core theories of evolution – common descent. I say one component because according to the well respected late evolutionist Ernst Mayr, there are 5 basic components that make up the theory of evolution.3 The theory of Common Descent states that all creatures – from the worm in the ground to your cat and dog to you and your family are all descendant from a single common ancestor. That’s why they talk of the evolutionary “tree of life.” The common ancestor is at the trunk of the tree, and all other species make up the limbs and leaves. This concept is key to the next two items.

1. “GULO proves Evolution”

What is GULO and how does it supposedly prove evolution?

GULO and the implications for evolution

L-gulonolactone oxidase – commonly known as GULO – is a gene designed to synthesize vitamin C from glucose or galactose, but in some groups of animals, the GULO gene does function in that manner, and so it is given the label of “pseudogene.”4

Additionally, the gene is “broken” reportedly in the same place in multiple species resulting in a loss of the ability to synthesize vitamin C.  Humans are not able to synthesize vitamin C. Neither are guinea pigs, chimpanzees and several species of monkeys along with some species of birds, bats and fish. Evolutionists look at these facts and conclude that the only way the gene could have broken in the sample place is if the gene of a common ancestor became broken, and that same broken gene was then inherited by subsequent descendants.  Thus to their way of thinking the only way this broken gene would show up in multiple species is if it started in a common ancestor.

Recent evidence refutes this conclusion, and the attempts by evolutionists to salvage their conclusion makes matters worse – refuting evolution itself,  but let me start with the evidence from DNA which the evolutionists like to conveniently ignore (a fallacy known as suppressed evidence). In the appendix to his book The Myth of Junk DNAIcons of Evolution author Jonathan Wells gives 3 powerful arguments against this latest evolutionary mistake.  Let me mention just one:

If  humans and chimps were recently descended from a common ancestor, one would expect their Y chromosomes to be very similar. Genome researchers recently reported, however, that the male-specific portions of the human and chimp Y chromosomes ‘differ radically in sequence structure and gene content.'”

Thus he concludes:

If similarities in the vitamin C pseudogene are evidence for common ancestry, then differences in the Y chromosome are presumably evidence against it.”5

Defending GULO refutes Evolution

And that’s just for starters. As mentioned above research has shown that the break occurs in what is considered a “hot spot” – a location that has a propensity to break, or as one abstract put it:

GULO exon losses in human, chimpanzee, and gorilla occurred independently in each taxon and are associated with regions containing a wide variety of transposable element fragments. Thus, they are another example of sequence deletions occurring via unequal recombination associated with transposable element repeats.6

In other words, the breaks occur where changes are frequent; thus it’s sheer wishful thinking on the part of evolutionists that the break occurred in a distant ancestor, and not simply broken multiple times in a location that has a propensity to break causing a mutation, resulting in – in this case – a broken GULO gene.

In an effort to save the theory, evolutionists will counter that is simply statistically impossible. If they do so they will be guilty of the logical fallacy of special pleading – because they use the very same argument – multiple separate change – themselves – particularly in defense of “convergent evolution.” For example evolutionists believe that the eye has evolved separately and independently many, many times: 

“Animal eyes are an excellent example of convergent evolution. All the eyes from different animals across the planet today did not evolve from the same conceptual eye. In fact, eyes have evolved numerous times in different lineages.”
Scott Edwards, Harvard University7

You may have seen how eyes of cats glow in the dark. That effect is caused by a reflective surface at the back of the eyes of a number of animals (not just cats) called the Tapetum Lucidum.  Evolutionists say the same thing about this
phenomenon – that it also evolved independently many times:

“But I think really the most interesting thing about the evolution of the tapetum is that it’s such a good solution to enhancing sensitivity, that many many different groups of mammals have arrived at this same solution independently.”
Chris Kirk, University of Texas8

So if evolutionists insist that both the eyes themselves, and the enhancement to night vision made by the Tapetum which causes glowing eyes – can evolve multiple time independently; how can they then state that mutations that broke GULO did not break multiple times independently showing up in different species just as eyes show up in different species? To maintain GULO could not have thus broken independently shows them to be using the logical fallacy of special pleading to try to hang on to a failed argument. Put another way, evolutionists can not claim GULO was not broken multiple times independently without also having to admit that things like eyes and the tapetum could not have evolved multiple times independently; leaving themselves bereft of an explanation of why eyes and the tapedum exist in multiple creatures.

No Support for the Evolution of Eyes

If you’re worried that by affirming the independent breaking of the GULO gene, we’re also indirectly affirming the independent evolution of eyes – don’t worry that is an unwarranted conclusion. Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents maintain that the eye is a common feature not because of common descent, but because of a common designer – God.  More over the eye is much too complex to have evolved. Step by step explanations about how an eye might have evolved, such as what Neil deGrasse Tyson tried to float on episode 2 of the reboot of Cosmos9 won’t work because though they don’t show it – there is an intelligence directing the process they propose. How can you be sure?

Take the raw components of an eye, (Light sensitive cells, nerves, lenses, fluid, etc.) and put them on the floor in front of your cat or dog – or (if you’re concerned about them eating the component) – use a 2 year old child. See how long it takes them come up with a functional eye. Don’t think they will – ever?10 Neither do I – because it’s obvious that more than a little intelligence is needed to assemble the parts – not to mention the intelligence and information needed to create them in the first place. And even if your pets could assemble them – another thing evolutionists don’t discuss is how to create a brain with the intelligence to interpret the signals that are being sent.

Consider: the eye does not project a picture of what it sees to the brain like a movie projecting on a big screen. It sends coded signals. How does the brain know how to decipher the code? To assemble the picture? That is a great wonder of complexity. Another part of the aforementioned complexity is the
detection of color. The eye has cells that respond to red, green and blue – in proportion to the color you’re seeing. Like a computer monitor it mixes
the colors together to create the color observed, then sends the coded signal to the brain and the brain interprets it.  How  does the brain know how to do that?  There’s intelligence built it in, by an intelligent designer, that’s how. So  affirming the independent breaking of GULO does not impact or weaken our ability to demonstrate the eye is designed –  the complexity and design evident in the eye provides overwhelming evidence of that fact.

2.  LUCA proves evolution

Let’s start with the same question. What is LUCA and how does it supposedly support evolution?

LUCA and the evolutionary Tree of Life

As stated above, evolutionists believe in “common descent” –  that all creatures –  from the slug in the ground to the massive sperm whale in the ocean – are related and all have a place in the evolutionary “tree of life.”  Given such a belief, logically there must be a first creature from which all other creatures evolve, or “descend” to use Darwin’s language. And so now there are attempts to identify this first creature – called LUCA – the “last universal common ancestor” or LUA – last universal ancestor:

“In trying to create what is basically a family tree of all life (at which LUCA is at the center), scientists are trying to reconstruct LUCA.”11

While they have no idea what LUCA is or looks like, scientists believe they have identified some of its characteristics.12 Without going into further detail, let’s just dismiss this argument now. Consider Charlie Brown out in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the great pumpkin. What evidence does he have of the great pumpkin? Only his belief that it exists and will appear.  Likewise what
evidence do evolutionists have that LUCA exists? The only evidence they have of LUCA is their belief that evolution and common descent is true. Thus the
reasoning goes something like this: Since evolution is true, there must be a LUCA, therefore we should try to find it to verify evolution. When your
premise is also your conclusion, that is called Begging the question – a type of
circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is evident when “the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with.”13

Evolutionists who ask questions like, “how do you explain LUCA?” are apparently unaware of the the circular nature of either their argument or the search for LUCA. Like the researchers, they apparently think that finding LUCA proves Evolution; but LUCA is not even a consideration unless you first believe in evolution. Thus whatever they find, how will they know it wasn’t created? They won’t, since they are blind to the evidence of design – which is another problem with their entire approach.

The Bible doesn’t teach LUCA or the evolutionary tree. The Bible teaches God creating all creatures “according to their kinds.” (Gen 1.21, 24) There are many kinds (note: kinds are not synonymous with species – they are more general) and the many kinds are often depicted as an orchard – full of trees – not a single tree. Charlie Brown may find what he thinks is “the great pumpkin” but it will be just another pumpkin that he believe is something special. Likewise evolutionists may find what they believe to be LUCA, but it will just be some creature created by God they believe to be LUCA; but they believe because their faith in evolution says LUCA must exist. 

Since this article is already running long, we’ll look at the 5 other common but fallacious arguments from evolutionists and atheists in part 2 of this article,
which will be posted here.

 Duane Caldwell | posted 9/15/2014 | Print format | Part 2


1 Acts 16.17.b-18

2 Deut 18.9-12, 1 Cor 10.20-21,  Rev 21.8

3 Mayr, Ernst What is evolution? New York: Basic Books, 2001 p 86
Natural selection is another well known component of the five.

4 The GULO Pseudogene and Its Implications for Common Descent

5 Wells, Jonathan The Myth of Junk DNA  Seattle: Discovery Institute, 2011 (Kindle version) Loc 2078

6 GULO Pseudogene Evolution Debunked

7 Edwards, Scott Evolve “Eyes” History channel Documentary, 2008

8 Kirk, Chris Evolve “Eyes”

9 Cosmos, A Space Time Odyssey episode 2 “Some of the Things That Molecules Do”

10 Someone will no doubt argue we don’t know what would happen over millions of years in such a scenario. Nor do we know what would happen in an evolutionary scenario over millions of years. That demonstrates that the evolutionist’s position is not operational, testable science. It’s a number of faith based suppositions.

11 What is the last universal common ancestor (LUCA)?

12 Four Billion Year-Old Mystery of Last Universal Common Ancestor Solved

13 Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – article Fallacies, “Circular Reasoning”

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Simon M
Simon M
9 years ago

Duane, like the 2 year old in your hypothetical, my attempts at creating a functional eye have also proved unsuccessful thus far. Even the most adamant athiest must admit that the complexity of this organ at least supports, if not proves, Intelligent Design. Romans 1:19-20

9 years ago

Simon, logically speaking you’re correct – the eye should be utterly convincing. But as this article points out, many of the arguments of atheists are fallacious, based on an irrational faith commitment to atheism – so like the Pharisees who could not acknowledge the miracle of Jesus healing the man born blind (John 9.26-41), neither will such atheists acknowledge the divine origin and design of the eye.


[…] In Part 1 of this article I discussed problems 1 and 2: GULO and LUCA respectively and why they are […]

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