Creation Foundation

The Genome Genie

As I headed for the front exit of Salisbury public library, firmly clutching the latest Wallander novel, and looking forward to reading Henning Mankell's latest flight of fiction, wrapped around the realities of life in a Swedish police station, I happened to glance at the 'Recently Returned' table and notice a book entitled 'Creation – The Origin of Life', by Adam Rutherford.

Rutherford's book cover was decorated with a schematic of a DNA molecule unzipping and getting ready to replicate. It looked impressive, and I wondered what new evolutionary nonsense would be woven around this miracle of God's creation, to be foisted upon unwary readers from a shelf in the 'non-fiction' section.

 I opened the book and began to read the first paragraph which described the way the human body reacts to a small cut, such as that due to a the sharp edge of a sheet of paper – comparing it to the way people react to a large-scale catastrophe such as a flood or earthquake. How odd, I thought, since I had actually cut myself shaving that very morning. Another one of those minor coincidences.

 Orchestrated Miracles

Everything that ensues', said Rutherford 'happens as a beautiful orchestration of individual living cells'. Nociceptors cells 'spark into action' and 'via long, stringy nerve fibres that sprout from their surface, electrical signals zap from your fingertip to cells in the cortex of your brain, in a fraction of second. There, your perceive pain, and at the speed of thought your brain fires a message back to groups of muscle in your arm, telling them to twitch in a coordinated fashion The muscles contract. Your arm recoils. All of this happens within a heartbeat.' Wow!

 I was impressed by this amazing insight into the glory of God's creation, but the author's evolutionary agenda soon became clear. He mission was to give his personal version of how all life on earth had evolved by 'descent with modification', one tiny change at a time, over zillions of years, all starting out with a 'common ancestor', a primitive life form basking in that famous pool of warm slime – just as you-know-who had predicted back in 1859.

 Who, I wondered, had just returned this book? And what had been their reaction to the smooth tales of deceit and deception in the ensuing chapters? The first fictional element was the claim that human beings and the mind-boggling mechanism by which their bodies heal a cut had evolved from inanimate atoms, then molecules, then cells, then organs, by an endless sequence of random DNA copying errors.

 Beautifully written, the book went on to describe the incredible healing process in more detail – involving the flooding of the wound with blood, with oxygen ferried to it by haemoglobin molecules, the white blood cells swarming in to find and destroy any invading bacteria, as meanwhile, cells in the plasma get busy repairing the wound.

The nerve cells that first raised awareness of the cut, then send out signals that attract platelets to the scene to start forming a clot to seal of the area. Fantastic! I just had to go back and check the book out and take it home.

 How? and Why?

As the amazing account carried on, I began to ask myself some simple questions. What 'orchestrated' those cells and taught them to work in unison? How do the independent

 individual cells 'know' what to do and when to do it? How did cells 'learn' to create and zap electrical signals to the brain? Why do the muscles of the arm twitch in 'coordinated' fashion?

 The shocking fact is that although science cannot answer my simple questions, they are still absolutely convinced that it all evolved. They do not know how. They just want to believe it. They have to believe it. They will believe it. For as top Harvard professor Richard Lewontin explains, evolution has become a 'Faith', as it did for Darwin, and the biologists are the high priests. Proof is no longer required. It is axiomatic. And we, like the peasants in the pews in the Middle Ages, are expected to believe what they tell us, bow our heads, kneel down and say 'Amen'.

 

A New Reformation

However, we are living in momentous times – and the good news is that there is a new 'Reformation' under way. For in their attempts to turn Darwin's theory into proven fact, science has unwittingly prised opened a Pandora's box of complexity and they are not very happy with the outcome. In particular, the genome Genie has escaped and told all. In particular, the Genie has confirmed that despite media hype to the contrary in recent decades, 'It is not all in the genes' – and never was. Oh dear!

 It turns out that the key function of genes, for which the genome Genie holds the license in every cell on earth, is to manufacture cell-building molecules on demand, when and where needed, be that for stem cells, bone, muscle, brain, blood, etc. The Genie's report has been confirmed by the findings of the Human Genome Project. So, at last, after almost two centuries of deception, the truth it out, and on the streets. Evolution is Bunk! Darwin's theory is Kaput.The world has been well and truly conned! So spread the word, brothers and sisters!

 And as Lewontin explains further, the 'positional information' required to specify the design, shape, size and geometry of any part of any organism, is simply NOT in the genes. This has led honest evolutionist Rupert Sheldrake to revive the old theory that the geometry of organisms is controlled by an invisible 'morphic field', an idea that comes close to the Biblical teaching that there is a 'spirit in man', and also in animals (Job 32:8, Ecclesiastes 3:21). Science knows nothing of such matters, which is why it cannot start to begin to commence to explain mind, emotion and instinct.

Ever the evolutionist, however, Sheldrake now suggests that it is the morphic field that evolves. Oh dear. Once somebody has nibbled the magic mushroom of evolution, it is hard to see straight any more.

 Trembling with Fear

Darwin himself admitted that he trembled with fear when he contemplated what was then known about the complexity of the human eye, with it variable-focus lens which automatically adjusts its curvature and focal length by means of the tiny ciliary muscles that surround and suspend it. No wonder the poor demented and desperate man suffered so much with psychosomatic illnesses. I think he knew better, and it troubled him. But he was haunted and driven by the concept of evolution. Incidentally, a few minutes researching 'ciliary muscles' in Google images would be time well spent.

Returning to Rutherford's book, nothing is explained in logical cause-and-effect detail, but in broad generalities. He prefers instead 'the broad sweep of evolution', the key plot of his and Darwinian novel, and what one reviewer describes as 'The perfect story'. Make that the perfect lie.

 By the way, apparently my body cells will continue working on that razor cut site for up to a whole year –'remodelling the site to restore it' and 'building a new piece' of me.

 Some Questions

1) Are Genes and DNA alive? Answer: No, they are aggregations of inanimate atoms. Despite their claims, Watson and Crick did not discover the 'secret of life'.

2) What is the difference between the life in my dog and the life in one of his cells? Answer: Nobody knows.

3) What is life, anyway? Answer: Again, nobody knows. Where does chemistry end and life begin? Rutherford devotes a whole chapter to this futile  question, but fails to answer it. So again, nobody knows, which is why the famous but frank scientist Fred Hoyle commented that the chance of inanimate atoms somehow assembling themselves into the structure of any living organism was like that of a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747. Like others since, he was forced to imagine that 'life' somehow arrived on earth from outer space on a comet. Or could it have been a number 47 bus? Such is the insanity that passes for serious science. The problem is, as already noted, that there is more to living organisms than mere atoms and molecules. There are non- physical spiritual factors at work.

Professing themselves to be Wise

As already stated, the simple fact is that the morphological information required to create cells and programme them to work in unison to create skin, nerves, veins and arteries does not exist in the DNA. And it is for just the same reason that science cannot explain the growth of an embryo in the womb – or even how the pinhead sized pieces of greenery presently on the vine in my garden will, in a few months' time, become juicy grapes.

So despite decades of media hype about genes and DNA and the development of Neo- Darwinism, the massive con has finally been exposed. Just when evolutionists thought that victory was in their grasp, their theory was blasted to smithereens.

The words of the apostle Paul's come to mind: 'Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools'. How much longer, I wonder, will they be allowed to go on 'changing the truth of God into a lie' (Romans 1:18-25)?

Comments

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 26-02-2015

    ""Does the process have to wait for one or a range of coordinated and favourable DNA copying error to take place?"

    It would appear so. A rather fortunate alteration to a gene that alters craniofacial features in mammals, is altered in the evolution of beak shape in Darwin's finches. See this in Nature, published only this month.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v518/n7539/full/nature14181.html

    Many thanks for your kind comments. I think we have both learned something from this, even if we have not moved our views at all. I have certainly got a clearer grasp of the genetic mechanisms, now I've spent time thinking about it and catching up with some interesting new research.

    PS I've not read Darwin for a while as my work is not really focussed on environmental-type genetics. It is more tentatively related to what I specialise in, which is cancer."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Thank you for your helpful comments.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 26-02-2015

    "Oh THOSE transitional forms! I thought you were talking about the fossil record. It's interesting how Biblical scholars dissect the text of the Bible, and do exactly the same to Darwin. Absolutely nothing wrong with asking the questions.
    It's a long time since I've read Darwin and I accept that theories have difficult elements that Darwin, at the time, struggled with. It is surprising, however that this was one of them, as to me, it is such a given.
    Species are adapted to a particular 'niche', based on their specialisation. Species are also defined by their ability to interbreed only with each other, and that if different species breed with each other they cannot provide fertile offspring. Species that cannot breed with each other cannot do so because of genetic differences (take us and Gorillas having a different number of chromosomes, let alone all the differences at the DNA base pair level). Typically, but not always, these have arisen during a period of time where a larger population have been physically isolated, or separated from each other giving time for these differences to arise. This may also occur via 'niche' separation'.

    Consider the population of say, Crossbills (largish finch with a cross-over-beak, feeds on pines, you know the sort). There are 4 species in Northern Europe: Common, Parrot, Two-Barred and Scottish Crossbills. Each has a favoured but somewhat overlapping 'niche', and the Scottish/Parrott Crossbills are so similar that until recently, it was not realised that both are resident in the Caledonian Forrest in Scotland. They might well represent very rare examples of 'transitional forms'; but they might be too dissimilar for your definition of that. Scottish and Parrott Crossbills are largely separated by the size of their beak, and the unique call of the Scottish Crossbill, and are clearly distinct from the Common Crossbills which are smaller. The Parrot Crossbill is a specialist on Scots pine. Scottish Crossbills also favour Scots pine but also larch and some other conifers. The Common Crossbill seems to favour larch, Spruce and to some extent Douglas Fir. The Two-Barred Crossbill is a Larch specialist.
    Now consider if all Crossbills in Northern Europe were a continuous intergrade 'transitional forms of varying sized beaks'. Firstly, within any single 'niche' such are Northern Larch, where the Two-Barred Crossbill is a specialist (aided no doubt by it's flashes of white offering camouflage given the frequent presence of snow), if these Crossbills there had variable beak sizes, none, or very few of them would be an exact specialist. All might be 'OK, given limited competition', and might be able to get by, but by no means brilliant at extracting the seeds. However those that are brilliant at extracting the seeds predominate, and their genes predominate, giving the Two-Barred Crossbill a distinct phenotype, and a genetic profile that now cannot breed with Common Crossbills or any other Crossbills. Similar mechanisms are at play with the intergrade Scottish/Parrot Crossbills in Scotland, but this is a more subtle and recent 'split'. Specialisation drives speciation. Specialisation results in isolation (physical, or maybe just 'niche') which allows genetic diversification to occur between the two.
    There is a hole in my argument that you might have spotted: Why are the trees, which are the basis of 'speciation' of Crossbills so 'speciated' themselves, and not a continuous intergrade?
    Again, it is environment. Northern Larch trees are specialists in areas that other trees cannot grow. If there were gradations of Larch all over Norway, why should they all be equally good at surviving in that harshest environment, or any particular environment for that matter? They shouldn't; they aren't. They don't. Only the specialists survive given the competition for limited resources in a particular niche. The best survivors survive. That population succeeds with limited competition, expands massively until it encroaches on the niche of a different species, and at times the two might then live side by side, but in competition giving a more 'diverse woodland'. But they cannot interbreed. Genetically, they are diverse from their 'progenitor' or 'ancestor' populations such that at some point, they can no longer reproduce with the ancestor population, and are a new species. And those species have a specialist finch that feed on them.
    "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    I think the adaptation to niches that you have described so beautifully is precisely what does happen in nature, as with Darwin's finches on those islands. But the question is How does it happen? Does the process have to wait for one or a range of coordinated and favourable DNA copying error to take place?

    I would say instead that God engineered 'micro-evolution' into organisms so that they can adapt to niches and can be deliberately bred to meet mankind's needs.

    You cleverly suggest that a change of species occurs, but in Genesis speak, those birds are all the same 'kind', which is why Darwin had to extrapolate his examples of cattle breeding way beyond the range of his data in order to explain 'macro-evolution'.

    I think we are talking about the twigs on Haeckel's tree of life, when we need to take a look at the trunk and main branches. As Woese admits, evolution cannot even explain the origin of DNA or 'life' in the first place. So all this talk about how one form evolved into another is a bit like me planning a world tour, staying at lavish hotels, when I am old, unemployed and bankrupt, so it will never happen. It is supposition and wishful thinking.

    You say you have not read Darwin for some time, and I suggest that is because he is irrelevant. Science is not studying macro-evolution that Darwin dreamed of, but the micro-evolution God has engineered into all organisms.

    P.S. You sound like a very good teacher.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 26-02-2015

    "You state "Personally, I find it odd that nature is so complex in an organised fashion that intelligent people like you are struggling to understand how it works, yet you think that it made itself from inanimate matter!"

    That to me is a logical fallacy. Something along the lines of 'argument from incredulity' or something like that. Nature is so complex that people far more intelligent that me will be struggling with it far into the future. The difference is, I find that credible. Consider Darwin's situation by comparision. He didn't even have the knowledge of DNA, DNA copy errors, let alone DNA methylation, or histone modifications, or the effects of famine of IGF-2 promoters. But I think he did a pretty good job given this deficit.

    One final point before this discussion draws to a logical close: What are these 'failed intermediate forms' of which you speak? "

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 25-02-2015

    "You state "Personally, I find it odd that nature is so complex in an organised fashion that intelligent people like you are struggling to understand how it works, yet you think that it made itself from inanimate matter!"

    That to me is a logical fallacy. Something along the lines of 'argument from incredulity' or something like that. Nature is so complex that people far more intelligent that me will be struggling with it far into the future. The difference is, I find that credible. Consider Darwin's situation by comparision. He didn't even have the knowledge of DNA, DNA copy errors, let alone DNA methylation, or histone modifications, or the effects of famine of IGF-2 promoters. But I think he did a pretty good job given this deficit.

    One final point before this discussion draws to a logical close: What are these 'failed intermediate forms' of which you speak? "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    I think you know what I mean. See chapter 6 of Origins. One small quote: "First, why if species have descended from other species by fine gradations do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see them well defined?"

    This is the great black hole in Darwin's theory. Like the crystal spheres of the Middle ages astronomers that supposedly moved the planets in their orbits, before Newton dispensed with them, those transitional forms do not exist because they never did exist. This is why they cannot be found.

    I think Darwin realised in his heart that he was wrong, which is why he turned to Lamarck's ideas, whose theory of inherited characteristics, etc., did not require transitional forms, and so fitted the facts better.

    Thanks for your posts, which have been very informative.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 25-02-2015

    "You stated "Darwin once suggested that variations already existed in organisms, being "written in invisible ink". So perhaps variation takes place, not by natural selection working on DNA errors. but by favouring constructive variations already existing in a minority of a population"

    1) It is generally accepted that variations that pre-exist prior to selection are the direct result of DNA copy errors and/or histone modifications and/or DNA methylation, although DNA copy errors are the major and most obvious group to most people. This is where our two views are back to front. I stand by my view of chromatin events (mostly DNA sequence) causing variation and selection acting preferentially on a minority population in a Darwinian manner. We see what is selected for in preference. Some of these changes will also result in reduced 'fitness' for that selective pressure and so are not seen at all. But this is not the only mechanism and is slightly misleading. For more, see point 3 below.

    "have you considered the statement in the Ten Commandments about the "sins of the fathers" being "visited on their children to the third and fourth generation"? Sins or unwise actions, it seems, such as lack of hygiene, sex sings, etc.,could have epigenetic effect as they affect the DNA. The Bible suggests that the effects pass after two or three generations."

    2) Yes. See this excellent commentary which I pass on to my students when discussing epigenetics. The title: Epigentics: The sins of the father!
    http://www.nature.com/news/epigenetics-the-sins-of-the-father-1.14816

    You state" Do people get cancer because of the "sin" of eating food polluted with all manner of exotic chemicals, all added in pursuit of the almighty dollar?"

    3) This a predictable interpretation, given the Biblical 'sins of the father' idea. But why shouldn't epigenetic changes in response to a stimulus, in some cases, actually 'protect' future generations? Why should we ALWAYS be punished? Doesn't the theory of evolution promote survival of future generations in response to an event? Well...

    Take the studies in Scandinavia where populations suffered famine in 1800s. The grandchildren of those affected had altered weight/height which, assuming the famine was still ongoing, could have 'protected' the future population. In this case, DNA methylation epigenetics is at play, not chromatin modification. Methylation of the Insulin-Like Growth Factor Receptor (Type 2) or IGF-2 gene promoter limits its expression, and limits growth. See this excellent link, which is a 'deleted' non-published chapter from David Epstein's "The Sports Gene" book.

    http://io9.com/how-an-1836-famine-altered-the-genes-of-children-born-d-1200001177

    A similar analogy might be happening with pygmy elephants on islands with limited resources. I seem to remember reading that the last Mammoths on Svalbard were very small. That's the only way a sustainable population could have suvived as long as it did.

    As for whether people might be at an elevated risk of certain cancers in response to a stimulus in a previous generation, I am not going to completely discount your notion as I know that IGF-2 levels predict certain cancer risks. However if I am to consider that notion, I am equally considerate of the opposite potentially being true for other stimuli which might be protective to future generations. This however is very different to being punished by God. It is being punished (and don't forget, protected) by elaborate genetic evolutionary mechanisms.

    So, I present evidence for DNA copy errors creating a rare sub-population that a selective pressure 'selects for' with increased survival, and in addition, a complementary mechanism for how organisms can respond to environmental changes (developmental histone modifications and DNA methylation) and affect the next few generations. These latter mechanisms explain some variation that is independent of DNA copy errors. Maybe these latter mechanisms are not usually communicated very well in discussions like this. Maybe this is why a simplistic DNA view of Darwinism appears to be 'infantile nonsense', since DNA sequence alone cannot explain everything that geneticists observe. However some of these observations can be explained independently of the DNA sequence alone, whist still having a genetic mechanism.

    As I said before, it's more complicated than we originally thought."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Don't know what is happening, but I received 4 copies of your post.
    Anyway, it was the opinion of evolutionist Derek Hough (author of 'Evolution - A case of stating the obvious') that the DNA copying error cannot explain the complexities of nature. However, like Darwin, he feels that evolution is obviously true or axiomatic, common sense. Thus he a believer and is searching for the right mechanism.

    Personally, I find it odd that nature is so complex in an organised fashion that intelligent people like you are struggling to understand how it works, yet you think that it made itself from inanimate matter!

    The word for 'sin' in the OT comes from the word 'to miss' or to err, make a mistake, etc. It seems that what God is warning us in Exodus is that behaviour can and will affect our children. There then follows some specific no-no's. In modern parlance I suppose he could have said, in effect, take how you live and what you because it might methylate your genes with painful result for your children. However the methylation will wear off over 3 or 4 (not 2 of 3 as I said last time) generations.

    I don't think Exodus means that God intervenes to punish mistakes, but warning us that is how the system works, cause and effect. He accepts responsibility for what he created.

    Of course, clever people want to find out how it all works. Nothing wrong with that.

    Going back to Lamarck, I would suggest that the potential mutations, that 'invisible ink', are all of a constructive nature, not just accident copying errors of the kind of damage that can be inflicted on fruit flies - i.e. micro-evolution. This explains why all those failed intermediate forms cannot be found. I suspect that Darwin realised that, which is why he went for the Pangenesis idea.

    It is interesting, from what you said, that there seem to be changes generated internally (micro-evoluition?) and those generated externally from the environment (mostly damaging?).
    I have noted those articles. Thanks.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 24-02-2015

    ""Don't know much about it, but people like Mendel apparently understood that you can induce variation by subjecting plants to various pressures. Might be worth studying the methods of plant and animal breeders. Do they have special techniques?"

    I have done and published this experiment with cancer cells. I have induced variation by exerting the selective pressure of 'invasiveness' i.e. the ability of cancer cells to be able to degrade and migrate through a protein membrane as an in vitro model of cancer spread. Interestingly, we see phenotypes and genotypes not seen in the bulk unselected population. Why is this? These invasive cells are less proliferative, so they are relatively rare (DNA copy errors and chromosome aberrations at play) so are not readily seen in analysis of the bulk population. They get outgrown, and are there are there all along, but I would have to analyse 1000s of individual cells to see them. If selective pressure is for high proliferation (normal cell culture conditions), I cannot detect them easily. If selective pressure is on invasive ability, I can isolate and observe the invasive cells in isolation quite easily.

    This is analogous to your statement about Mendel, however it is clear that there are limitations on the degree of variation and how successful it can be, in part dependent on the low rate of DNA copy errors and a 1-year germination-germination cycle. This variation can be accelerated by 'quasi-random mutagenesis. I understand that experiments to create 'drought-resistant wheat' can only go so far as shown by the failed Lysenkoism experiments.

    Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance can actually be shown experimentally to some extent thanks to those pesky histone modifications. Events in the current life being passed on via histone modifications to gametes to change the future phenotype of subsequent generations. I am not an expert in this field, but it is not likely to be DNA in this case, but inherited histone modifications giving transgenerational traits independence of the DNA sequence. This is why in previous comments I focus on Chromatin, not just DNA as a means of inheritance.
    For a nice example of transgenational inheritance (in this case to an olfactory stimulus) see:
    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n1/full/nn.3594.html

    Maybe Lysenko wasn't that far wrong with his failed crop experiments, just far too ambitious and the wrong genetic basis. As someone who has published on 'phenotypic plasticity' in cultured cells, I do so with a clear idea of the genetic mechanism at play (histone epigenetics), and as yet, I have not been accused of 'quackery'.

    I stick firmly with Lamark having it backwards. Organisms don't sense changes and mutate in response, just like my cancer cells don't sense that I 'want' them to invade; DNA mutations allow exploitation of a change in environment (the invasive cells now being isolated from the faster growing bulk population), and successful mutations (causing invasive phenotype) predominate in the selected population. And the same is most likely true for histone modifications."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Just been reading the Nature article you mentioned - http://www.nature.com/news/epigenetics-the-sins-of-the-father-1.14816

    Verrrry interesting! Why are still so opposed to Lamarck?

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 24-02-2015

    ""Don't know much about it, but people like Mendel apparently understood that you can induce variation by subjecting plants to various pressures. Might be worth studying the methods of plant and animal breeders. Do they have special techniques?"

    I have done and published this experiment with cancer cells. I have induced variation by exerting the selective pressure of 'invasiveness' i.e. the ability of cancer cells to be able to degrade and migrate through a protein membrane as an in vitro model of cancer spread. Interestingly, we see phenotypes and genotypes not seen in the bulk unselected population. Why is this? These invasive cells are less proliferative, so they are relatively rare (DNA copy errors and chromosome aberrations at play) so are not readily seen in analysis of the bulk population. They get outgrown, and are there are there all along, but I would have to analyse 1000s of individual cells to see them. If selective pressure is for high proliferation (normal cell culture conditions), I cannot detect them easily. If selective pressure is on invasive ability, I can isolate and observe the invasive cells in isolation quite easily.

    This is analogous to your statement about Mendel, however it is clear that there are limitations on the degree of variation and how successful it can be, in part dependent on the low rate of DNA copy errors and a 1-year germination-germination cycle. This variation can be accelerated by 'quasi-random mutagenesis. I understand that experiments to create 'drought-resistant wheat' can only go so far as shown by the failed Lysenkoism experiments.

    Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance can actually be shown experimentally to some extent thanks to those pesky histone modifications. Events in the current life being passed on via histone modifications to gametes to change the future phenotype of subsequent generations. I am not an expert in this field, but it is not likely to be DNA in this case, but inherited histone modifications giving transgenerational traits independence of the DNA sequence. This is why in previous comments I focus on Chromatin, not just DNA as a means of inheritance.
    For a nice example of transgenational inheritance (in this case to an olfactory stimulus) see:
    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v17/n1/full/nn.3594.html

    Maybe Lysenko wasn't that far wrong with his failed crop experiments, just far too ambitious and the wrong genetic basis. As someone who has published on 'phenotypic plasticity' in cultured cells, I do so with a clear idea of the genetic mechanism at play (histone epigenetics), and as yet, I have not been accused of 'quackery'.

    I stick firmly with Lamark having it backwards. Organisms don't sense changes and mutate in response, just like my cancer cells don't sense that I 'want' them to invade; DNA mutations allow exploitation of a change in environment (the invasive cells now being isolated from the faster growing bulk population), and successful mutations (causing invasive phenotype) predominate in the selected population. And the same is most likely true for histone modifications."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Complicated stuff, but you clearly have practical experience. Darwin once suggested that variations already existed in organisms, being "written in invisible ink". So perhaps variation takes place, not by natural selection working on DNA errors. but by favouring constructive variations already existing in a minority of a population. I understand that people working with microbial resistance to antibiotics find Lamarck's theory fits the facts better than the DNA error model

    With regard to transgenerational inheritance, have you considered the statement in the Ten Commandments about the "sins of the fathers" being "visited on their children to the third and fourth generation"? Sins or unwise actions, it seems, such as lack of hygiene, sex sings, etc.,could have epigenetic effect as they affect the DNA. The Bible suggests that the effects pass after two or three generations. Do people get cancer because of the "sin" of eating food polluted with all manner of exotic chemicals, all added in pursuit of the almighty dollar?

    I will check the source you mention, but cannot promise to understand it!

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 24-02-2015

    "This explains some of embryonic symmetry. http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/abstract/S1534-5807(13)00449-8
    Similar mechanisms at play throughout the developing organism at different stages. The cells are able to make a hand 9well part of a hand, in fact, just one tissue type), it just depends which side they end up on. Plenty more evidence where this came from.

    You say: "It has been said that we decide what to believe, then look for arguments to support our opinion."
    I would like to think in science, it is the opposite way round. We look for arguments to support an opinion, then decide whether or not to accept it.

    I don't get the 'infantile nonesense' bit

    "

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 23-02-2015

    ""Just been looking at Cell.com Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Do you work for them by any chance? I see they publish some 30 journals to help workers in the field keep up with current research? That is 'complexity'."

    No I don't work for them, I am an independent scientist, and yes, there are a lot of journals as we have a lot of specialist scientists publishing in what might appear to be very niche areas. However those publishing in Cell are some of the highest-regarded scientists in life sciences. And before you ask, no I haven't published there (I wish...)

    As for Hough, he may be looking for credible mechanism but overlooking the obvious. Darwin wrote:

    "But we are far too ignorant to speculate on the relative importance of the several known and unknown laws of variation; and I have here alluded to them only to show that, if we are unable to account for the characteristic differences of our domestic breeds, which nevertheless we generally admit to have arisen through ordinary generation, we ought not to lay too much stress on our ignorance of the precise cause of the slight analogous differences between species"

    He was admitting that he didn't know the mechanism. I really like that in a scientist: Being able to admit that we don't know due to lack of credible evidence, rather than over-stating observations to support an ideology. Darwin's 'unknown laws of variation’ are quite credibly DNA copy errors, but given DNA had not been discovered, it seems unfair to overly criticise Darwin given he came up with his work before DNA had been discovered. What does one expect? The initiator of a whole new field of science to also master molecular biology 100 years ahead of everyone else? I think DNA copy errors satisfy Darwin's 'Unknown laws of variation' very nicely and given a modern genetics course, I suspect Darwin would have been far more content with his work.

    DNA copy errors are a fascinating topic, and having studied them particularly in cancer, where error rates often exceed those in normal cells by over 100-fold, it is easy to observe clonal evolution occurring in short time-spans. Not species evolution of course, but the ability to apply selective pressure and facilitate the survival of specific phenotypes, albeit in a single-cell scale, gives an insight into what could happen over longer periods of time, and indeed, what does happen during the course of the disease.

    Finally, you say: "So, with regard to your point, is he not looking for arguments to support his opinion -- which the fact strongly suggest is wrong?"

    He may well be looking for facts to support his hypothesis, I don't know, but exactly which facts are so wrong? I need it spelling out to me."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Thanks for your comments. I have been reading up on histones and chromatin. Talk about complexity!

    I think the subtle thing is the difference between micro and macro variation as noted by Filipcenko(?) back in 1927 - i.e. there is an evolutionary mechanism, but it is limited. I imagine you are familiar with Darwin's second theory of Pangenesis, which seems like an attempt to give a mechanism of Lamarck's observation that organisms seem to sense their environment and mutate and adapt accordingly in a meaningful way. I mention some of this in my book EvoGenesis. Thus it seems Lamarck was right, but Darwin had it backwards. Lamarcks theory explains why all those imagined transitional forms cannot be found - because they never existed, for the reason just given."Nature" does not work on that random hit and miss manner.

    Perhaps it could help your personal career and get you ahead of the competition if could accept that God or "nature" has engineered limited variation into all organisms. Hence you could forget about chance and random variations and try to work out how the Lamarck/Panspermia/After their kind mechanism really works. Darwin tried the gemmule idea, but it got disproved by his cousin Galton.

    Don't know much about it, but people like Mendel apparently understood that you can induce variation by subjecting plants to various pressures. Might be worth studying the methods of plant and animal breeders. Do they have special techniques?

    I can see your Nobel Prize already! But you will have to beat Hough to it.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 23-02-2015

    "This explains some of embryonic symmetry. http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/abstract/S1534-5807(13)00449-8
    Similar mechanisms at play throughout the developing organism at different stages. The cells are able to make a hand 9well part of a hand, in fact, just one tissue type), it just depends which side they end up on. Plenty more evidence where this came from.

    You say: "It has been said that we decide what to believe, then look for arguments to support our opinion."
    I would like to think in science, it is the opposite way round. We look for arguments to support an opinion, then decide whether or not to accept it.

    I don't get the 'infantile nonesense' bit

    "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Just been looking at Cell.com Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Do you work for them by any chance? I see they publish some 30 journals to help workers in the field keep up with current research? That is 'complexity'. My point about infantile nonsense was that that is how Hough came to regard current evolutionary theory. However, he still thinks there is a credible mechanism if only he could find it. He is still an evolutionist. So, with regard to your point, is he not looking for arguments to support his opinion -- which the fact strongly suggest is wrong?

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 23-02-2015

    "I have addresed your points below.

    1) "Do you really think all the incredible complexity you have been studying came about by the action of environment pressures on random DNA copying errors?"

    Yes. The fact you say it is incredible affirms your position. To me it is 'credible complexity', but that is central to how we differ in our ideology.

    2) "It is becoming clear that each cell is a tiny factory unity, set up to manufacture whatever range of protein building materials the body may require. I think this might be compared to creating paints for an artist or designer. But where is the artistic genius? Clearly not in the DNA."

    Every cell has a role to play in the multicellular organism. It knows what it needs to do based on environmental cues, and epigenetic changes induced by early environmental cues. You say "clearly not in the DNA". Correct in part. Better to ask "Clearly not in the chromatin". Then you get the sequence of the DNA, you get the epigenetics of the DNA (the methy groups on C nucleotides that you mention in your epigenetics blogpost) and you also get the other group of epigentic changes, such as methylation, acetylation, not to mention imidatiation & phosphorylation all of which have specific roles depending on which amino acid of the histone they are on. Is this the 'artistic genius' that you mention?As I said before, it's more complicated than we thought, and clearly more complicated that you thought. Since you didn't engage with any of my 'further epigenetics' from my last comment other than to reject it all, I suspect there is a certain lack of molecular biology, beyond the very basic epigenetics. At least engage with this before dismissing it. It really is very interesting...

    3) "According to the Bible there is a 'spirit' in man and animals, much like Sheldrake's field. I don't think science can deal with that."

    Science cannot deal with things that cannot be measured. For example there is a highly debated physics discussion currently on whether 'String theory' should be adopted as science fact, or just remain theory, in the absence of measured evidence. Most rational scientist say not.
    See: http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-defend-the-integrity-of-physics-1.16535
    Why can't science deal with Sheldrake's 'spirit field'? Well in the same way that many physicists cannot accept that string theory is fact: Because there is no evidence for that. You can say whatever you want if you can NEVER be disproved. That's a good reason NOT to accept it as science fact. I assume you have read Karl Popper on falsifiability? It is central to scientific enquiry, something the 'String theory' lot should probably think about...

    4) "PS If you are the 'other' Dr X, then who is the 'other' Dr X?"

    That's easy, she is not the 'other' Dr X, she is Dr X in her own right. She got her PhD before me, hence it is me who is the 'other' Dr X."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    It has been said that we decide what to believe, then look for arguments to support our opinion. Personally, I cannot accept that the increasingly complexity you seem very familiar with could possibly have evolved by the action of environmental factors on randomly generated DNA copying errors.

    You are correct about my knowledge of this complexity being limited. Physics is my subject. I am therefore acting in the role of an investigative reporter which is why I get accused of 'quote mining'.

    Evolutionists, like creationists, are clearly not all of one mind. I often quote Derek Hough, for example, British evolutionists of evangelical zeal who used to actively engage people around him in conversation in the hope of converting them to evolution. Then one day on the way to work, he realised that Darwinism was infantile nonsense. But, as per my initial comment above, is still an evolutionist but in search of a credible mechanism. Hence his 'self-developing genome' idea, which is actually saying what Genesis says.

    Going back to second point, how can a single cell play a meaningful part in an embryo, such knowing it has to work on making a right hand rather than a left one? Of course, it is easy to ask questions. So not being able to answer a question does not mean someone is wrong.

    I know that some people suspect that cells can somehow communicate, perhaps a bit like birds in a flock, or ants or bees in a colony.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 20-02-2015

    ""But how do you answer the simple question of how cells at one location somehow know they have to create finger and those at another place a foot? Surely there must be some kind of plan or pattern. What kind of epigenetic influence can do that?"

    Well, in short, it is not a simple question (for me), however a well qualified developmental biologist may disagree!

    We know that master regulator genes coding for proteins such as BMPs, Wnts, Shh, Notch all act in concert to create the correct tissue at the correct time. Early signals (eg a particular Wnt signal for instance) effectively programs the cell to add an epigenetic tag, which gives the cell in essence, a 'memory' of what signals it has received prior. These are epigenetic changes that are silencing or switching on a whole array of genes. I particularly like the HOX genes, giving identity to body parts/segments. Compare two cells, one in a slightly different environment to the other but next to each other. Cell 1 received signals a, b, c, d due to its position in a developing embryo. Cell 2 resceives signals a, b, c but not d. Lack of d signal could be due to its physical location eg on the 'outside edge' of a 16-cell ball of cells, resulting it it becoming extra-embryonic tissues, for instance.These 2 cells will now respond differently to signal X, thanks to differential receipt of signal d, even though they both receive signal X. This sequential epigenetic programming seems to occur at all stages of development in an ordered and programmed manner.
    So where does the finger/foot/thorax descision come in? Read up on HOX genes along with temporal and spacial co-linearity. fascinating stuff

    I prefer this explanation (with its supporting evidence) than Sheldrake's morphic field. He may even be trying to explain the above concepts, including epigenetic role in generation to generation 'genetic memory' but without a sound appreciation (or knowledge) of epigenetics perhaps? I don't for sure as I don't (and wouldn't!) claim to have read his books."

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Do you really think all the incredible complexity you have been studying came about by the action of environment pressures on random DNA copying errors? It is becoming clear that each cell is a tiny factory unity, set up to manufacture whatever range of protein building materials the body may require. I think this might be compared to creating paints for an artist or designer. But where is the artistic genius? Clearly not in the DNA. Anyway, that's my opinion. According to the Bible there is a 'spirit' in man and animals, much like Sheldrake's field. I don't think science can deal with that. PS If you are the 'other' Dr X, then who is the 'other' Dr X?

  • Posted by Ahmed 20-02-2015

    "understanding evolution has given us the mechanism of how cancer is caused and treat many cancers. Maybe you could point out what creationism has added to this area?"

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Hi Ahmed
    One thins creationism can add is that science is actually studying the micro-evolution mechanism God has engineered into organism. Therefore everything is there for a reason, as with an engine or computer. There will be no 'junk'. They should realise they are studying a complex mechanism that allows organisms to mutate in a meaningful fashion in response to their environment, as Hough has been suggesting recently and Lamarck spotted years ago. It does not work by random DNA copying errors. Darwin and Dawkins have got it back to front.

  • Posted by TheOtherDrX 20-02-2015

    "There is a huge gulf between early Darwinian genetics, the allure of the coding sequence being a 'blueprint' for complex life, and the current view of genetics. This is largely due to our knowledge of epigenetics. The DNA sequence is not the sole answer. Chromatin is 'more of an answer', and chromatin is DNA + histone proteins. These proteins that DNA is wrapped around (Histone) are regulating which genes are expressed by which cells in which environment (requiring complex cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix signals). So having the DNA sequence DOES tell us what protein can be made, but doesn't necessarily tell us that it WILL be made in a particular cell at a particular time, although we can make some good predictions. Just having the DNA sequence does not allow us to make a complex organism such as a human. Any modern geneticist would agree. We cannot currently 'sequence' the epigenome all that reliably, but can make some inferences based on how the histones are chemically modified and whether a region is chromatin in a particular manner tells us about likely gene expression. We cannot exactly predict exactly how a cell in a 10-day-old developing embryo will behave, but we know that it is epigenetically programmed to do what it does, and the progeny of that cell in a 10-day-old embryo is destined to be say, a neuronal cell and not a connective tissue cell. To claim that we have all the answers would be false. For Darwin to claim that he had all the answers would have been false, just as a scientist in 50 years time to claim they had all the answers would be false.

    You state:"As already stated, the simple fact is that the morphological information required to create cells and programme them to work in unison to create skin, nerves, veins and arteries does not exist in the DNA." You are correct. We used to think that, but we were wrong. Well, we were partly wrong. This doesn't mean we discount everything that was proposed previously as we were only partly wrong. We discount falsified or disproved hypotheses, and we present new evidence to support alternate or 'evolved' hypotheses. As we say in the trade "It's a little more complex than we thought". "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Thank you for your reasoned comment. I am aware of epigenetic and have another blog item "Epigenetic antics". But how do you answer the simple question of how cells at one location somehow know they have to create finger and those at another place a foot? Surely there must be some kind of plan or pattern. What kind of epigenetic influence can do that? Hence Sheldrake's morphic field. I suppose it is reasonable for someone to remain an evolutionist, despite the problems, saying, like Jerry Coyne: "Don't expect us to explain everything yet. But one day we will find out".

  • Posted by AS 20-02-2015

    "Evolution = Fact!
    EvoGenesis = A perfect example of making some stuff up to try and get around the fact that evolution doesn't need an god or a creation myth.

    "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Hi AS.Evolution may not need a god, but it does need a credible mechanism. At the moment, Hough, an evangelical evolutionist, thinks the current theory is infantile rubbish at the moment.

  • Posted by Tony Bastable 20-02-2015

    "Oh dear. You're really showing total ignorance of both modern biology and the scientific method itself here. "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    Hi Tony, Could you be more specific?

  • Posted by Tom 20-02-2015

    "i found this review bizarre...to say the least. The writer does not have a grasp of biology. Using God as an explanation for things he obviously does not understand highlights his lack of scientific knowledge"

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    How good is your grasp of biology? I suggest you check out the writings of evolutionist Richard Lewontin and Derek Hough.

  • Posted by Melissa 20-02-2015

    "Funny how people live longer today than they did in biblical times because of the contributions made by science ..... "

    Reply from Creation Foundation

    How long did people live in Bible times? Hygiene, and quarantine as taught way back in the Law of Moses has been the most effective tool against disease. Yet it is just a few centuries since pumps in London drew their water from the Thames, as it floated with sewage. Science is great. But evolution is rubbish.

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