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Intelligent Design

Nobel laureate, organic chemist and a leader in origin of life studies, Professor deDuve writes in his excellent book, Tour of a Living Cell, "If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacteria cell to chance assembly of its atoms, eternity will not suffice to produce one..”
Humans and all mammals have some 50,000 genes. That implies, as an order of magnitude estimate, some 50,000 to 100,000 proteins active in mammalian bodies. It is estimated that there are some 30 animal phyla on Earth. If the genomes of each animal phylum produced 100,000 proteins, and no proteins were common among any of the phyla (a fact we know to be false, but an assumption that makes our calculations favor the random evolutionary assumption), there would be (30 x 100,000) 3 million proteins in all life.
Now let's consider the likelihood of these 3 million viable combinations of proteins forming by chance: Proteins are complex coils of several hundred amino acids. Take a typical protein to be a chain of 200 amino acids. The observed range is from less than 100 amino acids per protein to greater than 1000. There are 20 commonly occurring amino acids that join in varying combinations to produce the proteins of life. This means that the number of possible combinations of the amino acids in our model protein of 200 amino acids is 20 to the power of 200 (i.e. 20 multiplied by itself 200 times), or in the more usual 10-based system of numbers, approximately 10 to the power of 260 (i.e. the number one, followed by 260 zeros!). Nature has the option of choosing among the 10 to power of 260 possible proteins, the 3 million proteins of which all viable life is composed. In other words, for each one correct choice, there are 10 to power of 254 wrong choices!

Randomness cannot have been the driving force behind the success of life. Our understanding of statistics and molecular biology clearly supports the notion that there must have been a direction and a “Director” behind the success of life.

Topics: evolution

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      Jan 24 2012: Hi Polar.

      The universe is Time, Space, & Matter. An infinite being outside of T, S, & M needs no creator, as, being outside time, he has no beginning. That's the reasoning.

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        Jan 25 2012: Hi Peter.

        I'm replying to your previous question in this post, because i'm not able to directly reply to your other post. In the lab, my sister has observed speciation in insects, a kind of short-lived flie. (the more generations in a short time, the better)
        These were separated and put under different severely altered conditions, manually "steering" evolution by changing environments a great deal.
        The flies went on, through over 100 generations, to change so radically that they could not interbreed. They had speciated.
        Their appearance was so radically different, that they did not appear as the same species, and, indeed, were not.
        So genetically different (caused by isolation and extreme environments) they had become, that one of the three or four sets of flies couldn't longer produce offspring with it's originated species.
        It had, in short terms, become "something else" than a fly. Still an insect, but a pre-fly.
        Kind of the same way that wales are still mammals, even though their lineage is from land animals, only with a significant time difference.

        One "kind" became another "kind".

        Disproving macroevolution could be done by finding a genetic mechanism that disallowed a certain magnitude of change, but has not yet been found. And, since we among other things have the fossils that tracks whale lineage, its hard to say that macroevolution doesnt exist when we can track the wale through the fossil layer and see that it "used to" live on land.
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          Jan 25 2012: Hi Marius.

          thanks for that. I have heard of this sort of thing with fruit flies.

          "....change so radically that they could not interbreed..."
          Isn't that a loss of function ?

          "...become "something else" than a fly. Still an insect, but a pre-fly..."
          If it was a fly, & became a pre-fly, is that not the opposite of evolution? It has lost the ability to fly .

          You see, we have been breeding dogs for generations, & seeing many changes, but as we get purer & purer thoroughbreds we get bigger & bigger vets bills due to illness. I am told this is because the available dna options are getting less. This makes sense to me although Gabo will probably know the detail. However after years of manually guiding 'evolution' in Dogs, Cattle, Racehorses, Roses etc... we have never witnessed anything producing new parts that would allow it to change to something else. We can produce mutants with too many legs/wings etc.., & functions can be lost, but if macroevolution was really happening we should be surrounded by examples.

      • Jan 25 2012: Add those pre-whale fossils to the molecular genetic evidence, the embryo development evidence ...
      • Jan 25 2012: Pete,

        No, that they can't breed with the original population is not a loss of function, because they can breed with members of their own derived population. Would it be a loss of function if we can't breed with chimps?

        We are surrounded by examples of "macroevolution", but dogs are not one. Dogs are bred, not evolved proper. They exemplify the kinds of changes that can be made in a few years, but evolution does not over-purify breeds, nothing in nature would select for organisms that would give identical copies of themselves. Natural selection gets traits selected for environments, but other variant traits are left untouched.

        But, it is you who should explain what barrier is there stopping separated species to continue diverging until they belong to different genera, then different families, et cetera. As I said, we see no such barrier. You are the ones saying that there is one. Show us so. In the meantime I can show you genetic evidence, biogeographical evidence, fossil evidence, and all sorts of evidence that say, yes, the divergence you see happening here, continues and continues, and does not seem to have a stop. Do you clearly understand this Pete? Various sources of evidence show that this process produces genera, families, orders, et cetera with time. This is not one generation wolf, the next cat. This is some carnivore population long ago that was neither, but had some of the characteristics we see them sharing, but you could not classify it as either. Lacked most of the specific characteristics of them. But separated into two lineages (at least), one lineage, after some generations, shows incipient characteristics of felines, the other some canine (a creationist back then would have said: they are still carnivores!) ... and so on, until we get these guys. Nothing magical about it. Plenty of evidence that this is so.

        So, you propose a barrier, you prove that it is there and explain why all lines of evidence clearly say otherwise.

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          Jan 26 2012: Hi Gabo

          " Would it be a loss of function if we can't breed with chimps?"
          Most certainly yes. If we could do something; anything; & we can no longer do it, then that is a loss of function in anyone's terms.

          "We are surrounded by examples of "macroevolution","
          OK, may I have one please.

          Fruit flies have only produced deformed fruit flies after thousands of generations of attempting to induce macroevolution. If we cannot do it deliberately, what chance has random mutation?

          You are the expert. You say there is no barrier. We only discovered dna a century or so ago. Up until recently we thought most of it was junk. I have no feel for how far we have got with research in this area. All I know is that looking around, everything seems well confined in it's place. We have dozens of examples of living fossils which have remained unaltered for millions (your dates) of years. There is nothing with an organ in transit to being a different organ. To me it's just common sense.
          Fossils generally don't have much in the way of organs. All we can say is that we think one fossil became another fossil over X years. There is no possibility of proof.

          We're going round in circles.

      • Jan 26 2012: Hey Pete,

        Everything around you are examples of "macroevolution." There's enough evidence to reconstruct the histories for many of these examples. There is also "footprints" of the process within our DNA, anatomy, and embryology. Everything from palaeontology, to biogeography, to molecular biology say so. While absolutely nothing indicates a barrier against divergence. Again, you propose that barrier, where is it? How would your proposed barrier be consistent with all the evidence showing that "macroevolution" has happen and continues to happen?

        1. Whale evolution fossils: they occur in proper order across geological layers. They naturally occur in the proper order. The anatomy modifies in steps in the proper order. Example: the respiratory orifice "moves" from one fossil to the next slightly towards the head. So, here you have all the elements. Proper order, newer have more of their anatomy corresponding to modern whales. Undeniable evolution from land to water: "macroevolution."
        2. Molecular data. By similarity, the molecular data suggested that whales were related to land-dwelling mammals, add that to the fossil evidence which concurs. Makes for an even stronger case.
        3. Embryology. The whale embryo develops in a similar way to certain land-dwelling mammals.

        More generic evidence:
        4. Biogeography. Darwin observed, for instance, that species within the same genera tend to live closely. Genera under the same family tend to live somewhat farther, and so on. Suggesting a continuum of divergence: sub-species to species to subgenera to genera to subfamilies to families, et cetera.
        5. Molecular data: we share parasitic DNA at equivalent positions with chimps, then with gorillas, and so on. These insertions can only have gotten into equivalent positions by being inherited from common ancestors.
        6. I got short of space ... but much much more ...

        Don't try and just deny. Show how your barrier is consistent with all the data supporting "macroevolution."

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          Jan 27 2012: Hi Gabo,
          You don't know when to quit do you ? Lol, I like that.

          I doubt we have the technology yet to identify any genetic barrier, if we had you no doubt would come across it before I. All I am saying is that I do not see anything remotely like one creature deviating from the confines of it's type.

          Case in point; whales.
          Creodonts,  Archaeocetes,  Pakicetus,  Ambulocetus,  Rhodocetus,  Basilosaurus, 
          All alleged precursors to modern whales. You can certainly make the evolution argument. Trouble is that you first have to believe in evolution. They could just as easily be half a dozen more distinct type of creatures. A few of the 99% which have gone extinct.

          Likewise with genetic similarities, we can eat whales, whales can eat us, ditto monkeys. We all breath the same air; if we were not compatible the whole system would break down. What is unreasonable about that ?

          At the end of the day it is about worldview. You look at the data & see evolution, I look & see god. Neither of us can prove the other wrong, so we debate.
          Up until a few years ago I was a bit mystified by all the biological jargon, but since it has been shown that we are dealing with electro-mechanical machines it really is case closed for me. I don't think I could ever concede that there was no requirement for a designer. At the end of the day evolution may have indeed occurred, but it would be a very weird way for any designer to go about things & why would the end result (us) just happen to be engineers who can understand the mechanism (to an extent). Does it ever blow your mind, like it does mine?

      • Jan 26 2012: Oh, and no, that we can't breed with chimps is not a loss of function. A loss of function in that regard would be if we could not breed with other humans. But if you want to play such a game, then I claim that it is a gain of function. One that helps prevent losing the advantages that the evolutionary process has accumulated in our population. Chimps won too. They have their advantages given their environment. For them, as for us, breeding with other apes would result in too many dead offspring. Since it is hard as it is, gaining the function of specific breeding helps each species have a higher probability for survival.

        How does that look like now?

      • Jan 27 2012: Pete,

        [I erased this. After your comment, even though I find it nonsensical, I see that there is no point in answering. But remember what you said. To you it is all a matter of making up a worldview then forcing everything into it. That's not the way I work, but anything I could say would be useless to you. I would think that most people would be able to notice what's wrong with your answer. Ciao for a while.]

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