Monday, October 02, 2006

What Makes us Different? etc

What Makes us Different? etc

What Makes us Different? Not very much, when you look at our DNA.

[Graphic: TIME]

But those few tiny changes made all the difference in the world, TIME, Oct. 1, 2006, Michael D. Lemonick, Andrea Dorfman. You don't have to be a biologist or an anthropologist to see how closely the great apes--gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans--resemble us. ...It isn't just a superficial resemblance. Chimps, especially, not only look like us, they also share with us some human-like behaviors. ... Scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level. .... Yet tiny differences, sprinkled throughout the genome, have made all the difference. Agriculture, language, art, music, technology and philosophy--all the achievements that make us profoundly different from chimpanzees and make a chimp in a business suit seem so deeply ridiculous--are somehow encoded within minute fractions of our genetic code. Nobody yet knows precisely where they are or how they work, but somewhere in the nuclei of our cells are handfuls of amino acids, arranged in a specific order, that endow us with the brainpower to outthink and outdo our closest relatives on the tree of life. They give us the ability to speak and write and read, to compose symphonies, paint masterpieces and into the molecular biology that makes us what we are. Note: "arranged in a specific order" (my emphasis)! A Materialist/Naturalist (matter is all there is/nature is all there is) has no alternative but to assume that a `blind watchmaker' (e.g. the differential reproduction of random micromutations) did the arranging. A creationist/IDist, however, has the alternative that God/an Intelligent Designer did the arranging, which, as the article says, is what "made all the difference in the world" (my emphasis)!

A Fly's-Eye View of Evolution, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, October 01, 2006 ... researchers have found that mutations in a single structural protein can determine whether an insect develops the highly organized, light-harvesting eye that flies have, or the optically simpler compound eye of a beetle or bee. In their experiments, the scientists showed that flies without this structural protein develop a more primitive eye. This outcome was reversed in the laboratory when researchers supplied the missing protein to a more primitive eye system, inducing it to "evolve" into the more advanced eye. ... These findings "help illustrate the beauty and power of evolution - how small changes can have such an incredible impact," said HHMI investigator Charles S. Zuker, who led the study. ... reported ... in ... the journal Nature ... Apart from demonstrating how a human intelligent designer can induce "a more primitive eye system ... to `evolve' into [a] ... more advanced eye," the title of the Nature paper is, "Transforming the architecture of compound eyes" (my emphasis). So the issue is what (or who) was the architect, planned and built a system that, by the change of a regulatory switch, can transform an insect eye into "the highly organized, light-harvesting eye that flies have, or the optically simpler compound eye of a beetle or bee"? Christianity says that in the final analysis it was God (not "evolution") who "formed the eye" (and the ear as well):

Psalm 94:9 Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?

Intelligent design is scientific, Detroit Free Press, October 1, 2006, Letters to the editor ... Those who say intelligent design is religion-based and not based on scientific criteria are flat-out misinformed or wrong. Intelligent design is a scientific issue. Some of the scientists who have postulated credible and alternative theories are Michael Denton, who wrote the book, "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," and Dr. Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry and author of "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution." Intelligent design is an intellectual movement that includes a scientific research program for investigating causes and that challenges explanations of origins that currently drive science and education research. Those who claim that science is not the lead in this debate are trying to cloud the picture, because they are afraid of what might be discovered. Ken Walendzik Pont ... Agreed! These innumerable letters to newspapers, calmly explaining what ID is (e.g. "an intellectual movement that includes a scientific research program") and rebutting Darwinists' "misinformed or wrong" claims (e.g. "intelligent design is religion-based and not based on scientific criteria"), will be steadily forming the public's (including the next generation of scientists') positive perception of ID (and negative perception of Darwinism).

147 years later, evolution debate fills forums: A panel of three scientists who doubt Darwin's theory are asked if they have proof of design's role in life, St. Petersburg Times, October 1, 2006 , Melanie Ave... Three scientists held a deep discussion Saturday questioning Charles Darwin and his theories and bolstering their viewpoint that life was created by design, not by accident. The group was biochemist Michael Behe, one of the nation's most prominent supporters of intelligent design, and author of Darwin's Black Box; research scientist Ralph Seelke; and embryologist Jonathan Wells, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. If life evolved from nothing as Darwinists claim, why hasn't anyone ever witnessed or documented such an occurrence, asked Wells, a biologist and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. He called the lack of proof as the "ultimate missing link." The three-hour symposium was sponsored by the Clearwater advocacy group, Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity. The group believes the origins of life are too complex to attribute to evolution's tenets of natural selection and random mutation. "Intelligent design does not deny that there is randomness in the world," Behe told about 120 doctors, scientists, parents and students who attended Saturday's three-hour discussion of "Darwin or Design?," at the Radisson Hotel. "It says not everything in biology is a result of chance and accidents."... The ID scientific revolution continues ...! I had not heard of this Ralph Seelke before, a microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and who states on his home page:

"My hobbies include my work- I'm greatly privileged to be able to ask a monumental research question: What can evolution REALLY do?? Answering that question is one of my great passions in life. ... I also have an ongoing interest in Christian apologetics, which sometimes overlaps my professional career. I am convinced that Christianity is not only true, but that it is perhaps the only way of viewing the world that allows you to have both meaning and rationality in life. ..."

Bravo (Mat 10:32-33)!!

Note that it would never occur to a true-believing evolutionist to ask, "What can evolution REALLY do?" Because he/she would just assume, in the case of biological design, that evolution can, and did, do anything and everything required of it! Or to put it another way, if evolution could not do it, then to an evolutionist, either: 1) the claim is wrong that evolution could not do it; or 2) it could not have happened! But if it did happen, e.g. the eye exists, then an evolutionist assumes that evolution must have done it! Here is a famous case in point:

"The probability of Darwinist evolution depends upon the quantity of favorable micromutations required to create complex organs and organisms, the frequency with which such favorable micromutations occur just where and when they are needed, the efficacy of natural selection in preserving the slight improvements with sufficient consistency to permit the benefits to accumulate, and the time allowed by the fossil record for all this to have happened. ... Some mathematicians did try to make the calculations, and the result was a rather acrimonious confrontation between themselves and some of the leading Darwinists at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia in 1967. The report of the exchange is fascinating, not just because of the substance of the mathematical challenge but even more because of the logic of the Darwinist response. For example, the mathematician D.S. Ulam argued that it was highly improbable that the eye could have evolved by the accumulation of small mutations, because the number of mutations would have to be so large and the time available was not nearly long enough for them to appear. Sir Peter Medawar and C. H. Waddington responded that Ulam was doing his science backwards; the fact was that the eye had evolved and therefore the mathematical difficulties must be only apparent. ["Discussion: Paper by Dr. Ulam," in Moorhead, P.S. & Kaplan, M.M., ed., "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution," The Wistar Institute Press: Philadelphia PA, 1967, pp.28-29] Ernst Mayr observed that Ulam's calculations were based on assumptions that might be unfounded, and concluded that `Somehow or other by adjusting these figures we will come out all right. We are comforted by the fact that evolution has occurred.' [Ibid., p.30] The Darwinists were trying to be reasonable, but it was as if Ulam had presented equations proving that gravity is too weak a force to prevent us all from floating off into space. Darwinism to them was not a theory open to refutation but a fact to be accounted for, at least until the mathematicians could produce an acceptable alternative." (Johnson, P.E., "Darwin on Trial," [1991], Second Edition, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1993, pp.38-39)

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 4:5b-7. 5 ... So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. 6Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."