"There is [still no] proof that all mutations are random."
Right in a sense, if only because no one can prove a universal negative.
However we do have proof:
1) That mutations take place and alter the genome, especially in non-essential and unused portions of the genome that do not code for proteins. Mutations collect in those areas of the genome very readily, which is the majority of the genome. In fact, less than five percent of the entire human genome codes for proteins, and that's close to the same percentage of the genome that consists of endogenous retroviral DNA (which is foreign DNA from viruses that has implanted itself, hidden and insinuated itself into our human DNA over the eons). Mutations can also be observed directly every so often right after meiotic divisions of the sex cells. So, mutations are known to occur on a regular basis, and at the FREQUENCY that evolution requires in order to turn, say, a common ancestor of chimps and humans into both chimps and humans. In fact, the known calculated frequency of mutations in the human genome is more than what is required if evolution via mutations over time were true.
2) There is proof that man and chimp are nearer each other genetically than either of them are to the other apes. Indeed, "new genetic evidence that lineages of chimps (currently Pan troglodytes) and humans (Homo sapiens) diverged so recently that chimps should be reclassed as Homo troglodytes. The move would make chimps full members of our genus Homo, along with Neandertals, and all other human-like fossil species. "We humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee-like apes," says the study...Within important sequence stretches of these functionally significant genes, humans and chimps share 99.4 percent identity. (Some previous DNA work remains controversial. It concentrated on genetic sequences that are not parts of genes and are less functionally important, said Goodman.)..." [from "Chimps Belong on Human Branch of Family Tree, Study Says" John Pickrell in England for National Geographic News May 20, 2003]
One early estimate of the genetic distance between man and chimp was done in the 1970's using the technique of pairing up the two halves of DNA strings from different species to see what percentage of the DNA stands would join together and what percentage did not. Humans and chimps were found to be no more dissimilar than sibling species of nearly identical fruit flies. Not much genetic distance there.
And it logically follows that if you were to compare the genetic distance not between man and chimp, but between man and the COMMON ANCESTOR of man and chimp, the genetic distance is EVEN LESS. I am guessing, but Denton may be raising that point in his new book, THE TREE OF LIFE, that he is currently writing.
3) There is proof that at least 100 known species of Old World apes lived during the Miocene in Europe and Africa. And those species of primitive apes all differed from modern great ape species in that the primitive apes were all relatively nearer to modern day human skeletal anatomy than today's great apes are. For instance, the primitive apes all had small hands, and had legs and arms the same length; while MODERN great apes all have large hands with long fingers, and their arms are longer than their legs. The primitive apes also had no simian shelf in their jaws, again like modern humans; while the MODERN great apes all have a simian shelf in their jaws, unlike modern humans.
4) There is also proof of upright apes and early pre-hominids, hominids, and eventually the genus homo.
The questions these four points of fact raise in my own mind are many. Perhaps I.D.er's ignore such questions, I can't speak for them, but here are the questions for me:
1) Mutations happen regularly and at a rate that is not incompatible with the modern scientific theory of evolution. And also, there are unused portions of the genome, huge portions in fact, collecting mutations. In fact enough endogenous retroviruses have crept into the human genome over the millennia to rival the amount of functional protein-coding DNA that is used to construct a human being. Furthermore there are even remnants of the old centromeres in our human Chromosome #2, remnants of when that chromosome was once two separate chromosomes, each with their own centromere, as it is today in all the great ape species. Comparison of the Human and Great Ape Chromosomes as Evidence for Common Ancestry (I have additional info on this if you need it).
QUESTION: It would seem that a designer could have designed a lot cleaner genome, or at least taken some of the old viral DNA out of our genome when adding the occiasional new mutation. He could have removed some of the remants of the extra centromere found in human chromosome #2.
In other words, there could be more signs of design instead of just accumulation of unused portions, instead of evidence of a sloppy fusion of two chromosones into one.
2) The genetic distance between chimp and human is quite small, even smaller between chimp/human, and their common ancestor. It's a genetic distance comparable to sibling species of fruit flies.
QUESTION: Does it really require a miracle to explain how such a distance might be bridged?
3 & 4) There were pre-monkeys before there were monkey, and there were many species of monkey before the first primitve apes showed up, and many species of primitive apes before the first hominids showed up, and different species of homo, before homo sapiens showed up.
QUESTION: There were ages upon ages of monkeys and then ages upon ages of apes. Were any of them required before arriving at hominids, and finally of those hominids, one branch of them arriving at man? It may be "design" of a sort overall, but it does not appear very "direct" to create so many bushes upon bushes of creatures and then only have a few ultimately survive on the ends of each bush.