DNA work earns chemistry Nobel, BBC, 4 October 2006 ...
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to the American Roger Kornberg, a professor at Stanford University... for his work on the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription in cells. Transcription is an important step in the process by which cells build proteins from DNA. ... Kornberg was the first to create an actual picture of transcription at the molecular level, in eukaryotes ... His studies on transcription described how information is taken from genes and converted to molecules called messenger RNA. These molecules shuttle the information to the cells' protein-making machinery. Proteins in turn serve as building blocks and workhorses of the cell, vital to its structure and functions. In 2001, he published the first molecular snapshot of an enzyme called RNA polymerase II. Its job is to get the synthesis of proteins underway by copying their genes into RNAs. ... Peter Fraser, senior fellow at the Medical Research Council commented: "If the secret of life could be likened to a machine, the process of transcription would be a central cog in the machinery that drives all others. "Kornberg has given us an extraordinarily detailed view of this machine, which is essential for all life." So if "transcription ... is essential for all life" then the first living organism had to have it! That is, as an irreducibly complex minimum the first living organism had to have "the process by which cells build proteins from DNA" involving: 1) "information is taken from genes and converted to molecules called messenger RNA" by "an enzyme ... RNA polymerase II" ("that, by itself, can unwind the DNA double helix, synthesize RNA, and proofread the result"!); 2) these MRNA "molecules shuttle the information to"; 3) "the cells' protein-making machinery"; and 4) "Proteins in turn serve as building blocks and workhorses of the cell"!
Even Richard Dawkins admits that the Darwinian `blind watchmaker' cannot explain the origin of the minimal machinery of replication," (i.e. a "DNA/protein replicating machine"), but a far-sighted supernatural watchmaker" can (although Dawkins rejects that with "a transparently feeble argument"!):
"So, cumulative selection can manufacture complexity while single-step selection cannot. But cumulative selection cannot work unless there is some minimal machinery of replication and replicator power, and the only machinery of replication that we know seems too complicated to have come into existence by means of anything less than many generations of cumulative selection! Some people see this as a fundamental flaw in the whole theory of the blind watchmaker. They see it as the ultimate proof that there must originally have been a designer, not a blind watchmaker but a far-sighted supernatural watchmaker. Maybe, it is argued, the Creator does not control the day-to-day succession of evolutionary events; maybe he did not frame the tiger and the lamb, maybe he did not make a tree, but he did set up the original machinery of replication and replicator power, the original machinery of DNA and protein that made cumulative selection, and hence all of evolution, possible. This is a transparently feeble argument, indeed it is obviously self-defeating. Organized complexity is the thing that we are having difficulty in explaining. Once we are allowed simply to postulate organized complexity, if only the organized complexity of the DNA/ protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a generator of yet more organized complexity. That, indeed, is what most of this book is about. But of course any God capable of intelligently designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating machine must have been at least as complex and organized as that machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like 'God was always there', and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say 'DNA was always there', or 'Life was always there', and be done with it. The more we can get away from miracles, major improbabilities, fantastic coincidences, large chance events, and the more thoroughly we can break large chance events up into a cumulative series of small chance events, the more satisfying to rational minds our explanations will be." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.141).
By the way, note how Dawkins, in the last sentence above, "The more we can get away from miracles, major improbabilities, fantastic coincidences, large chance events, and the more thoroughly we can break large chance events up into a cumulative series of small chance events, the more satisfying to rational minds our explanations will be" forgets what he had said in the first two sentences, "... cumulative selection can manufacture complexity while single-step selection cannot. But cumulative selection cannot work unless there is some minimal machinery of replication ..."! That is, Dawkins and his atheistic ilk, would rather have a "satisfying to rational" (i.e. atheistic) "minds" explanation, even if it is self-contradictory!
Hawking book to examine the universe, The Australian/Reuters, October 05, 2006 ... STEPHEN Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist ... is to start work on a new book that will examine how and why the universe was created. The Grand Design, which is expected to be released in 2008 .... The Grand Design tackles the question of why there is a universe, looking at both the origin of the universe and the deeper issues of why the laws of physics are what they are," .... Prof Hawking, 64, a Cambridge University physicist who has a crippling muscle disease and is confined to a wheelchair, has written several books that examine the origins of the universe, and what the future holds. ... Again, isn't it strange that if the Universe was not designed, cosmologists seem unable to talk about without invoking the language of design?!
Man Recites Pi to 100,000 Places, Livescience, 4 October 2006 ... TOKYO (AP) - A Japanese mental health counselor recited pi to 100,000 decimal places from memory on Wednesday, setting what he claims to be a new world record. Akira Haraguchi, 60, needed more than 16 hours to recite the number to 100,000 decimal places, breaking his personal best of 83,431 digits set in 1995 [BBC & MSNBC], his office said Wednesday. He made the attempt at a public hall in Kisarazu, just east of Tokyo. ... Haraguchi, a psychiatric counselor and business consultant in nearby Mobara city, took a break of about 5 minutes every one to two hours, going to the rest room and eating rice balls during the attempt, said Naoki Fujii, spokesman of Haraguchi's office. Fujii said all of Haraguchi's activities during the attempt, including his bathroom breaks, were videotaped for evidence that will later be sent for verification by the Guinness Book of Records. Two local education officials joined 29 conference hall staff who worked in rotation to monitor Haraguchi. Haraguchi, who began reciting pi at 9 a.m. Tuesday, reached his previous record of 83,431 digits Tuesday night, finishing exactly at 100,000 digits at 1:28 a.m. Wednesday, Fujii said. ... I have added this to my "Problems of Evolution" book outline, PE 18.104.22.168 "Man ...Uniqueness ... Intelligence ... Mental feats." The problem for evolution in this, as the co-discoverer with Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace later realised, is that man's "artistic, mathematical, and musical abilities could not be explained on the basis of natural selection and the struggle for existence" and so "Something else ... some unknown spiritual element" (e.g God/Intelligent Designer) "must have been at work in the elaboration of the human brain":
"It was just at this time that Wallace lifted a voice of lonely protest. The episode is a strange one in the history of science, for Wallace had, independently of Darwin, originally arrived at the same general conclusion as to the nature of the evolutionary process. Nevertheless, only a few years after the publication of Darwin's work, The Origin of Species, Wallace had come to entertain a point of view which astounded and troubled Darwin. Wallace, who had had years of experience with natives of the tropical archipelagoes, abandoned the idea that they were of mentally inferior cast. He did more. He committed the Darwinian heresy of maintaining that their mental powers were far in excess of what they really needed to carry on the simple food-gathering techniques by which they survived. `How, then,' Wallace insisted, `was an organ developed so far beyond the needs of its possessor? Natural selection could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that of an ape, whereas he actually possesses one but little inferior to that of the average member of our learned societies.' [Wallace, A.R., "Sir Charles Lyell on Geological Climates and the Origin of Species," Quarterly Review, April 1869, pp.359-394, pp.392-393] At a time when many primitive peoples were erroneously assumed to speak only in grunts or to chatter like monkeys, Wallace maintained his view of the high intellectual powers of natives by insisting that `the capacity of uttering a variety of distinct articulate sounds and of applying to them an almost infinite amount of modulation...is not in any way inferior to that of the higher races. An instrument has been developed in advance of the needs of its possessor.' [Ibid] Finally, Wallace challenged the whole Darwinian position on man by insisting that artistic, mathematical, and musical abilities could not be explained on the basis of natural selection and the struggle for existence. Something else, he contended, some unknown spiritual element, must have been at work in the elaboration of the human brain. Why else would men of simple cultures possess the same basic intellectual powers which the Darwinists maintained could be elaborated only by competitive struggle? `If you had not told me you had made these remarks,' Darwin said, `I should have thought they had been added by someone else. I differ grievously from you and am very sorry for it.' [Darwin, F. & Seward, A.C., eds, "More Letters of Charles Darwin," John Murray: London, 1903, Vol. II, pp.39-40] He did not, however, supply a valid answer to Wallace's queries. Outside of murmuring about the inherited effects of habit-a contention without scientific validity today-Darwin clung to his original position. Slowly Wallace's challenge was forgotten and a great complacency settled down upon the scientific world." (Eiseley, L.C., "The Real Secret of Piltdown," in "The Immense Journey," , Vintage: New York NY, 1957, reprint, pp.83-85)
Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 5:21-24. 21When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.