Monday, April 24, 2006

Genomic Similarities

[Bradford]: The following snippet comes from an exchange noted in the referenced article. I'll add to it.

http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/432109.html

Van Dyke: "I would challenge Dr. Gray to give me any evidence of macro-evolution. I do not think, as a scientist, there is any evidence beyond micro-evolution to support [the idea] that we evolved from some other form of life."

Gray: "We are very closely related to the chimp."

Van Dyke: "Not really."

Gray: "Yes, we are. Ninety-six percent of our genome is virtually identical to the chimp. It is part of the species separation process."

Hambourger: "It just shows you how incredibly complex chimps are -- and we are."

[Bradford]: More precisely put it shows how differences in cellular differentiation can produce enormous differences in phenotype. The genome of your liver cells is 100% identical to the genome contained in the cells of your lungs.

Jesseph: "The intelligent design theory just doesn't cut it. Even with a lot of improvement, it would still be lousy science. It is not even up to the level of voodoo.

[Bradford]: The smashmouth approach to advocacy.

The main problem is it doesn't explain anything.

[Bradford]: It explains as much as the claim that result x was not the result of an intelligently directed cause. The point of concern should be the accuracy of competing claims.

To be told that fundamental elements of living things were designed by a designer about whom we know nothing other than he is intelligent and he designed is really to go nowhere. That's like explaining the inebriating properties of beer by the fact that it has a special drunk-making quality in it that is such that when you drink it you become inebriated."


[Bradford]: Hmmm. Then how does the claim that life arose as a result of unspecified natural causes, devoid of intelligent input, explain anything at all? A claim that DNA is the product of intelligent causality would free us of the futility of looking for a chemical cause for the sequential order of nucleotides necessary to create a functional, minimal genome. Scramble the nucleotides of a functional genome and you can create junk from order; dysfunction from what was functional. Yet you still have DNA. You still have the biochemical components of that nucleic acid. The functional nature of DNA owes itself to an encoding sequential order. This in turn is determined by the functional nature of the encoded gene end product within the context of the genome in question. Looking for a minimal genome arising from a fortuitous series of prebiotic chemical interactions is as revealing as Jesseph's beer analogy and a greater waste of time and resources.

Hambourger: "I think there is a serious danger that only you can know by looking into your own soul ... that secularists are motivated not by a genuine love of freedom and the Constitution but in many cases by a real dislike of religion.

"If those are your motives, I think it's important for you to realize you are in danger of two things: One is you are being extremely intolerant, and secondly, you are being a real hypocrite in trying to do so on the grounds of civil liberties."

[Bradford]: In other words the legal arena will not settle the issue. The truth is anti-IDers simply lack the scientific evidence needed to refute intelligent causality at the origin of life itself. Based on evidence the best they can do is argue that the question is an open one. When nucleic acids are the focus, they are at a disadvantage even trying to maintain this. Hambourger has identified the real motivation.

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