Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What makes nature's clocks tick?

What makes nature's clocks tick?, Telegraph, 15 August 2006 ...

[Graphic: Diagram of circadian clock in Drosophila, Max-Planck Institute]

European scientists are hoping to discover the secrets of biological timepieces, reports Roger Highfield Read any brief history of time and there is no doubt who was the greatest clock-maker of all. More than two centuries ago, John Harrison blended lignum vitae wood, brass, bronze and steel components to compensate for changes in temperature and pressure and so produce chronometers of remarkable accuracy. But, as ever, nature got there first. She invented clocks billions of years ago, the descendants of which still tick in the cells of your body. To cope with the changing seasons, living things came up with the equivalent of Harrison's gridiron mechanism, consisting of alternating brass and iron rods assembled so that expansion and contraction rates cancelled each other as the chronometer moved from the Tropics to colder climes. Now Harrison's mission is to be continued by the £8 million European project, Euclock, involving scientists at 29 sites in 11 countries. The project has been launched to find the secrets of nature's timepieces, including a novel project to recreate one. This synthetic biological timepiece will help them to lay bare the many secrets of biological clocks, which are ubiquitous - look at the way flowers open and close, the beating of the heart and the remarkable emergence of periodic cicadas every 17 years. ... The deification of "nature" is noted. It will be interesting to see if Darwinists can come up with a plausible `blind watchmaker' (pun intended) explanation of how a real Paley's watch was put together by the natural selection of random (as opposed to directed) micromutations, i.e. with "no purpose in mind. ... no mind and no mind's eye" no "plan for the future. ... no vision, no foresight, no sight at all":

"Paley's argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of his day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.5. Emphasis original)

Why am I reminded of Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" when I read that?!

It will also be interesting when they try to "recreate" a "synthetic biological timepiece" which "will help them to lay bare the many secrets of biological clocks" and realise the amount of intelligent design it takes (bearing in mind that, unlike the `blind watchmaker, they have biological clocks to copy from).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 2:10-14. 10A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.