Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Muscle Bound Marvel

muscleDoctors are studying a 5-year-old German boy whose upper arms and legs are almost twice the size of his peers to learn what happens when the body does not produce a protein that limits muscular development.

The boy, whose mother is a professional athlete in Germany, is far stronger than other boys his age and lacks the protein, known as myostatin, doctors reported in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

He appears healthy now, but researchers are concerned the child may eventually develop abnormalities in the heart, which is a muscle.

The discovery could help doctors find a chemical to increase muscle mass as a treatment for several medical problems, such as muscular dystrophy, or the muscle deterioration seen in the elderly and among people in the advanced stages of cancer…

Reuters, June 24, 2004

(Note: Picture is of the child at the age of 7 months)

Analysis:

The interesting discovery of a “superboy”, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, has captured the imaginations of health researchers and athletes alike. Researchers believe that the mutation in the five year old may give them information which will help in the treatment of disease. Athletes hope that the finding may open the door for larger muscles and greater strength.

Some may believe that the mutation gives credence to the theory of evolution, which claims such mutations as the mechanism through which general evolution occurs. Actually, the discovery helps to show the inadequacy of such a claim.

First, you will note that the child is still human. In fact, the doctor who is in charge of the study emphasized that the boy is “just a normal kid” who just happens to be stronger than his peers. Second, no genetic material has been added, which would be necessary to account for general evolutionary theory. Scientists believe that the child obtained myostatin genes that were “turned off” from both the mother and the father. This has been documented on the mother’s side by genetic testing. Third, doctors fear that the mutation is not actually beneficial. (The vast majority of mutations are destructive, which would lead to devolution rather than evolution). Doctors fear that the child may develop heart disease in the future. No, the German “superboy” is not a product of evolutionary processes, he is just a normal, strong kid.