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Message Theory – A Testable ID Alternative to Darwinism – Part 4

The unity of life —

Remember that famous slogan, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” It was actually the title of a 1973 paper by evolutionary geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, where he claims the profound unity of life at the biochemical level is compelling evidence for evolution. He got the situation exactly backwards. It is potent evidence for Message Theory, and against evolution.

*

First the data. Life is unified by an abundance of complex biochemical features possessed by all, or virtually all life. Such features are known as biologic universals. The list includes:

DNA, RNA, a triplet-nucleotide genetic code, and the method of translation of the genetic code into sequences of amino-acids in proteins. Proteins constructed of left-handed alpha-bonded amino-acids, the same set of 20 amino-acids (out of several thousand amino-acids that exist). The lipid bilayer construction of cell membranes. Adenosine triphosphate, biotin, riboflavin, hemes, pyridoxin, vitamins K and B12, and folic acid implement metabolic processes everywhere.

For a given complex trait, there are rare, very minor variations away from the standard form. For example, there is now known about two dozen microorganisms that have slight variations on the universal genetic code.

*

Dobzhansky confidently claimed biologic universals are compelling evidence for universal common descent, and against creation:

“What do these biochemical or biological universals mean? They suggest that life arose from inanimate matter only once and that all organisms, no matter how diverse in other respects, conserve the basic features of the primordial life. …. But what if there was no evolution and every one of the millions of species were created by separate fiat? However offensive the notion may be to religious feeling and to reason, the antievolutionists must again accuse the Creator of cheating. They must insist that He deliberately arranged things exactly as if his method of creation was evolution, intentionally to mislead sincere seekers of truth.” (Dobzhansky, 1973, p 127, italics added)

However, Dobzhansky got it fantastically backwards, and his error was soon known to evolutionists who study the origin-of-life. Nonetheless, his erroneous argument is still publicized to an unwary public.

The key insight comes from the origin-of-life. Leading evolutionists acknowledge that each of the biologic universals is too complex to have been in the first life — nothing even remotely like known life could have originated by known natural processes aided by chance and the available time. The probability is staggeringly too small, even on the scale of the universe. This should have falsified evolution, but instead evolutionists compensated by making their theory unfalsifiable. That is, without any serious evidence, evolutionists now make three bold, untestable, unfalsifiable, unscientific assertions:

  1. There exists an infinitude (a very large number) of other biochemistries suitable for life. Evolutionists make this unscientific assertion in order to artificially increase the likelihood of life arising by chance. Evolutionists acknowledge the chance origin of any known lifeform is vastly too unlikely, but they claim the chance origin of some lifeform (when allowing for the infinitude of other possible lifeforms) is quite likely. They say there is nothing ‘special’ about Earthly lifeforms, instead life just happened by chance upon the type of life we see on Earth.
  2. The first lifeforms were vastly simpler than any life known today. The first lifeforms possessed essentially none of the biologic universals.
  3. Many evolutionists further assert that life may have originated more than once on Earth, perhaps many times.

With those assertions in mind, if evolution predicts anything clearly on this matter, it predicts the opposite of what we observe — it predicts that countless lifeforms lacking all, or most, of the biologic universals must have existed on this planet.

Since we have not found those other lifeforms, it again appears evolutionary theory is falsified. And once again evolutionists compensate by adding another untestable, unfalsifiable, unscientific assertion. They assert (again without serious evidence) that the missing lifeforms all went extinct because those lifeforms — whatever they were — are not suited to survival anywhere in the Earth’s current conditions. Evolutionists possess no such knowledge negating the survivability of unknown lifeforms.

The evolutionists’ stacked assertions are merely an unscientific attempt to protect their worldview from falsification.

For further insight, assume the evolutionists’ story: (a) the last universal common ancestor (or LUCA) contained the biologic universals, and (b) the other lifeforms went extinct. Under those assumptions, there is still no coherent reason why two modern organisms — as different as yeast and elephant — should share any similarities. By the evolutionists’ reckoning, these two organisms are separated by at least two billion years of evolution (one billion years in each direction since divergence), and perhaps as much as three times that figure. Under assertion 1 (above) there is no reason yeast and elephant should still share the same biologic universals. Given this enormous amount of time, and the alleged evolutionary proclivity for change, and an infinitude of other biochemistries suitable for life, there is no reason yeast and elephants should still show the same biochemistry. Evolutionists are caught in a contradiction of their own manufactured storytelling. In evolution, everything changes — except the things they conveniently claim didn’t change.

On the issue of biologic universals, evolution is either false or unfalsifiable — and either way, it is not scientific. On the very issue Dobzhansky raised in his famous paper, there is no “light of evolution.”

The error was obscured and kept from public view by the evolutionists’ habit of rigidly treating evolution as a “separate issue” from the origin-of-life. Recall the numerous times you’ve heard evolutionists say that. Evolutionists pretend the two issues have no bearing on each other. This operated like a magician’s misdirection, to focus your attention toward common descent, and away from the origin-of-life. But the two issues are not separate, because they would both affect the expected pattern of life.

Compare that with Message Theory, which claims life is designed to look like the product of one designer. If you could find any natural living organism (terrestrial, or extraterrestrial) that is not indelibly unified together with our system of life, then Message Theory would be falsified: For example, a lifeform that uses silicon-based chemistry instead of carbon-based chemistry. Countless other examples can be envisioned; indeed these are routinely envisioned, and hoped for, by evolutionists. Message Theory is testable science.

If you were to design elephants and yeast to look like the product of a single designer, you might try putting tusks on yeast. But that isn’t reasonable design for survival, which is another goal claimed in Message Theory. Shared complexity at the biochemical level is the only practical way to unify any two lifeforms. [Note: Where practical, the unity of life is also signaled in additional ways, including morphology and embryology.]

Lastly, life was also designed to resist evolutionary explanations. All three goals claimed by Message Theory are well pursued in the pattern known as biologic universals.

On this issue, and using testability — the same criteria evolutionists use in all their court cases — Message Theory is scientific, and evolutionary theory is not. This is not a lucky accident. It holds true for the other patterns of life also.

— Walter ReMine

The Biotic Message — the book

Previous parts of this essay: Part 1Part 2Part 3

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31 Responses to Message Theory – A Testable ID Alternative to Darwinism – Part 4

  1. Mr ReMine,

    I find it unusual that you would note that there is variation in the genetic code in certain microorganisms, and then later wonder where was the evidence that there had ever been alternate biologies. These variations, and the pattern of distribution of the organisms carrying them, is that evidence. Far from falsifying ancient evolution, you have confirmed it.

  2. “the antievolutionists must again accuse the Creator of cheating. They must insist that He deliberately arranged things exactly as if his method of creation was evolution, intentionally to mislead sincere seekers of truth”

    More theology in a cheap suit.

  3. Excellent article: Made me ask “And What Is The Ultimate Message we are meant to get from the message theory that is so clearly evident in the evidence? Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

  4. More theology in a cheap suit.

    Oh can it. There’s nothing saying that ideas and philosophies can’t be backed up by empirical evidence. This includes Christian theology. I think the evidence so far only continually confounds the materialist’s point of view more than anything, especially as we discover more.

  5. life was also designed to resist evolutionary explanations.

    Countless things exist that defy natural explanations – computers, cars, staplers, etc. But can we infer that their designers were deliberately pre-empting future natural explanations – sending a message, as it were, that these things were designed? Or were they just making staplers?

    Whether or not a thing was designed may be testable. To say that the designer could have made it appear that it wasn’t designed, but chose to make it appear designed to send a message that it was designed – is that testable?

  6. On the issue of biologic universals, evolution is either false or unfalsifiable — and either way, it is not scientific.

    I’ve read your book, Mr.ReMine, and for you to proclaim that evolution is not scientific is, well, interesting.

    What is your evidence that, for example, 1,667 fixed beneficial mutations cannot account for human evolution from an ape-like ancestor?

    You present none in your book.
    Sure, you present there and in your variaous internet forays a litany of double-dipping ‘traits’ (e.g., appreciation of music and the ability to write poetry) that you merely assert cannot be accounted for the Haldane-model limited amount of beneficial mutation fixation, but you provide no actual evidence. No evidence-based expositions on the numbers of mutations actually required for any of the traits you mention. Heck – not even any specualtion, just plain old assertion that it cannot be so.

    Where’s the beef?

    Paul:

    Oh can it. There’s nothing saying that ideas and philosophies can’t be backed up by empirical evidence. This includes Christian theology.

    So is this an admission that Message Theory (and by extension, ID) is really just Christian theology looking for evidence?

    I think the evidence so far only continually confounds the materialist’s point of view more than anything, especially as we discover more.

    I don’t think so.
    Of course, the theologian is always more comfortable with what we do not yet know, for it is really the only place that theology still holds sway.

  7. The error was obscured and kept from public view by the evolutionists’ habit of rigidly treating evolution as a “separate issue” from the origin-of-life. </blockquote

    More conspiracy mongering.

    Evolution IS a seperate issue. Evolution deals with the changes that occur in livign things, not with how those living things arose.

    The more I digest re: Message Theory, the more it just looks like cooption coupled with claims of victory.

  8. derwood:

    What is your evidence that, for example, 1,667 fixed beneficial mutations cannot account for human evolution from an ape-like ancestor?

    The is a divergence in excess of 70,000,000 nucleotides.

    1,667 is less than 70,000,000

  9. Derwood,

    So is this an admission that Message Theory (and by extension, ID) is really just Christian theology looking for evidence?

    This is a personal admission on my own behalf that many theological claims are testable, and in many cases verified. Your direct jump to a “devious” conclusion is a well-known political tactic often used by the Darwin lobby to misrepresent the views of IDers, and to bait for an excuse to off-handedly dismiss them on religious grounds instead of actually analyzing the logic and science held within their views. I say “their” views because I’m a creationist, and not all IDers are.

    I don’t think so.
    Of course, the theologian is always more comfortable with what we do not yet know, for it is really the only place that theology still holds sway.

    I think the logical substance within the very subject of this thread proves the opposite. With a clear view of Christian theology, scientific explanations involving ID, genetic entropy, the cambrian explosion, and the realistic physical constraints in time and space for which chance can produce(or destroy) anything in combination with observations in empirical reality(as opposed to theorycraft and wild speculations) only further justify a creationist point of view.

  10. Derwood,

    What is your evidence that, for example, 1,667 fixed beneficial mutations cannot account for human evolution from an ape-like ancestor?

    I think behe’s blog would be a great place for you to start as far as quantifying the probabilistic resources for such an occurrence.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/A3DGRQ0IO7KYQ2

    Also a basic understanding of gene fixation as described by John Sanford would tell you that along with the rare occurrence of one single beneficial mutation, all of the previous accumulated neutral/negative mutations are fixed right along with it at the gene level.

    Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome

    You could probably even find your answer in the review section on this page.

  11. Mr PaulN,

    The burden is not on Mr Derwood. If Mr ReMine has published a number such as 1,667 then it is on him to justify the discrepancy of his theory with the numbers of positively selected genes reported in the scientific literature, such as 154 in Bakewell, 2007. It would seem that selection is at least 10 times more powerful than Mr ReMine thinks it isn’t. :)

  12. Mr. Nakashima,

    I’m sorry but I’m still not quite convinced that Humans split from ape-like ancestors in the first place, and the article you linked presumes that this did in fact occur. I’ll have to take a deeper look at it when I get a chance however.

  13. Nakashima @ 1

    I doubt those few variations in the genetic code would be considered significant enough to argue they originated seperaqtely from the universal code or even that they are totally different biochemistries.

  14. Mr JGuy,

    In that case, Mr ReMine should provide some calculation supporting that point of view. As it stands, he is saying “the gentic code is universal, except for these variations, and there is no evidence for alternatives to the genetic code”. Right now he is just avoiding the evidence. I suppose we could progress from here to asserting the evidence is irrelevant, but I would like to skip the assertion step and move on to the reasoned argument step in which Mr ReMine shows why he thinks these variations are not the evidence he is asking for.
    Biochemistry doesn’t fossilize well. The only evidence that could exist is exactly what does exist – extremophiles with variant codes, ancient symbionts, etc.

  15. Mr PaulN,

    Yes, if you just put a little “if common descent explains homology” clause at the front, you should be able to work through it. This is the same clause Mr ReMine is using – it is completely acceptable to put yourself in your opponents shoes for sake of understanding their argument.
    Mr ReMine has claimed that the genetic difference between humans and chimps will be more than 1,667, and that this falsifies evolution. Since 154 is less than 1,667 it appears that building arguments based on Haldane’s Dilemma will not prove helpful to Message Theory or other theories.

  16. Mr ReMine argues

    For further insight, assume the evolutionists’ story: (a) the last universal common ancestor (or LUCA) contained the biologic universals, and (b) the other lifeforms went extinct. Under those assumptions, there is still no coherent reason why two modern organisms — as different as yeast and elephant — should share any similarities. By the evolutionists’ reckoning, these two organisms are separated by at least two billion years of evolution (one billion years in each direction since divergence), and perhaps as much as three times that figure. Under assertion 1 (above) there is no reason yeast and elephant should still share the same biologic universals. Given this enormous amount of time, and the alleged evolutionary proclivity for change, and an infinitude of other biochemistries suitable for life, there is no reason yeast and elephants should still show the same biochemistry. Evolutionists are caught in a contradiction of their own manufactured storytelling. In evolution, everything changes — except the things they conveniently claim didn’t change.

    Mr Remine seems to think that mutations are equally likely at all locations, and that mutations at every locus are equally likely to survive to reproduce. This is not true. Having gone down the channel of using ATP and biotin, etc. it is very hard to go back. Changes in that direction, if they work at all, make a cell so less efficient that it is outcompeted for resources. It is very odd that a man whose main argument is from Haldane’s Dilemma would create a strawman in which evolutionists thinks “everything changes”.

  17. “Having gone down the channel of using ATP and biotin, etc. it is very hard to go back. Changes in that direction, if they work at all, make a cell so less efficient that it is outcompeted for resources.”
    What is your basis for this assertion? How do you know there are not other methods of achieving the same result with different biochemistries? And why do you assume that any changes made must go backwards? Why couldn’t there be a vastly different, yet more efficient (or at least as efficient), replacement for ATP and biotin? Given an infinitude of working biochemistries it almost certainly exists.

  18. …strawman in which evolutionists thinks “everything changes”.

    Is it really a strawman? Which biological structures do you think aren’t the result of evolution (i.e. did not change). The bacterial flagellum is a perrenial favorite for this, but there is plenty of support for ATP if you would prefer to point to that.

  19. Mr StephenA,

    @16 – the issue is not that an alterante biochemistry can’t or doesn’t exist. It is that once the world has gone down a path and reached a certain point of efficiency, then it is difficult for a single small group to mutate away from that local optimum. While this is normally argued in terms of pathways involving single point mutations, there are some participants here who may feel that this is unfair. After all, when evolutionists want to explain the possibility of large functional changes, they might bring in gene duplication and exaptation to explain how current functions could be supported while new functions develop under the radar of selection.
    The difference here is that these chemical networks are so basic to cell functioning that even assuming half the cell chemistry continues to function, the overall efficiency of the cell is down 50%.
    New functions can eventually come to dominate because in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king. But in the kingdom of the two-eyed, the one eyed man is toast.

    @17 – it’s a strawman because no evolutionary biologist would say that “everything changes” in the sense that Mr ReMine is trying to convey here, that changes at every locus are equally like to survive and reproduce.

  20. The origin of life is key because if living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via a coincidence of matter, energy, chance and necessity, there is no reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely due to those.

    As for 1667 not being enough, well then tell us how many mutations it did take and HOW can you test that premise?

    However you have a HUGE problem.

    That being no one even knows what makes a chimp a chimp nor a human a human.

    New genes reuire new meta-information- binding sites, enhancers, promoters, repressors AND they need to be accessible for transcription. PLUS those new genes need to be slid into the existing combinatorial logic.

    And unguided evolution just does NOT have enough time:

    “Waiting for Two Mutations: With Applications to Regulatory Sequence Evolution and the Limits of Darwinian Evolution” (Durrett, R & Schmidt, D. 2008. Genetics 180: 1501-1509).

  21. Mr Joseph,

    The origin of life is key because if living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via a coincidence of matter, energy, chance and necessity, there is no reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely due to those.

    Indeed, if it wasn’t just matter, erergy, chance, and necessity then it could have been anything! Which leads to the difficulty of explaining why nested hierarchies, biogeography, etc all make it look like the only things involved were matter, energy, chance, and necessity. The world does not declare the glory of God, it declares the glory of a God hiding behind a facade of naturalism very very well.

    As for 1667 not being enough, well then tell us how many mutations it did take and HOW can you test that premise?
    154 Please see the Bakewell 2007 paper I referenced earlier. Also, this month’s Scientific American cover story is on this subject.

    However you have a HUGE problem.

    That being no one even knows what makes a chimp a chimp nor a human a human.
    Both genomes have been sequenced, and it would seem from your acceptance of the discussion thus far that you agree the genome is the right place to look. Mr ReMine has focused his argument on the genome.

    New genes reuire new meta-information- binding sites, enhancers, promoters, repressors AND they need to be accessible for transcription. PLUS those new genes need to be slid into the existing combinatorial logic.

    It’s a good thing that duplication gives you the whole package at the same time. And that mutations fit into existing packages.

  22. Which leads to the difficulty of explaining why nested hierarchies, biogeography, etc all make it look like the only things involved were matter, energy, chance, and necessity.

    Nakashima-san, how did energy, chance and necessity cause DNA to come about? How did energy come about for that matter?

  23. Mr Tribune7,

    Excellent questions! But for the purposes of Mr ReMine’s Message Theory, we have to make certain assumptions. DNA is a given, the mathematics of population genetics is a given. As for OOL and the Big Bang, there are other threads discussing these issues. As a great philosopher once said, “Your princess is in another castle!” :)

  24. Indeed, if it wasn’t just matter, erergy, chance, and necessity then it could have been anything! Which leads to the difficulty of explaining why nested hierarchies, biogeography, etc all make it look like the only things involved were matter, energy, chance, and necessity. The world does not declare the glory of God, it declares the glory of a God hiding behind a facade of naturalism very very well.

    I would have to disagree that it is obvious that only matter, energy, chance and necessity are able to create complex, efficient information, much less compound-programming, meta-information, etc. It has never been observed in all of the natural world, including biology. In all of analytical science, Matter + Energy + Chance + Necessity (no Design) = an increase in Entropy. In historical science, like evolutionary biology, evidence can easily be spun into light of the theory, so the same genome sequence being used for multiple functions does not need proof of its natural origins.

    And by all accounts, as our knowledge of biology and genetics continues to grow, we will only learn of even more complexity than is known now. To me, the theory of naturalistic evolution was viable until we found that the cell was not a blob of organic material, but a nano-factory, with programming that mocks the simplicity of the most complex modern human computer programs.

  25. it’s certainly interesting to see how Message theory fits the data with no need to constantly modify the theory…I think Walter Remine can even go one step further and predict that Message theory will require no further modification in the future in order to fit the scientific data…

  26. Nakashima @ 13:

    [...]I suppose we could progress from here to asserting the evidence is irrelevant, but I would like to skip the assertion step and move on to the reasoned argument step in which Mr ReMine shows why he thinks these variations are not the evidence he is asking for.
    Biochemistry doesn’t fossilize well. The only evidence that could exist is exactly what does exist – extremophiles with variant codes, ancient symbionts, etc.

    If I use my novice-like understanding of Messagbe Theory (MT), I would look at what ReMine has said about Message Theory so far. Take his Part #3 of the MT series. ReMine states there are three goals:
    “Goal 1 – design for survival”
    “Goal 2 – design to look like the product of one designer”
    “Goal 3 – design to resist all other explanations”

    Remine aslo said after this:

    Occasionally, tradeoffs must be made between these design goals, and on such occasions people will sometimes disagree on precise details of the optimal solution. However, the tradeoffs are reasonable and rationally solved in life. I claim life displays at the very least, a nearly optimal solution – perhaps the optimal solution.

    From that, and with my cursory understanding of MT, I might think that the small variation in extremophiles genetic code may be required for survivability. A tradeoff form the total universal code – but not far from the same code. Extreem survivability, considering that they are in extreme environments. And this may be true for any other subtle variants.

    Perhaps, a test/prediction can be derived from this.

    JGuy

  27. Nakashima @ 13, and regarding my post at #25.

    I should add that the variants are not neccessarily a trade off from the Goal#2 for maintaining Goal #1, but it may also be a tradeoff to maintain Goal#3.

    Howso? I don’t know specifically. But one possibility will be that if one were to argue that these sublte variants were a evolutionary offshoot of a totally seperate genetic code, then you would have to contend with the likely problem that a large number of sophisticated convergences occured between those serveral seperate evolutionary paths with the organisms commonly associated with the universal genetric code. I don’t know of any examples, but lets say the ribosome were an example. Perhaps, the ribosome might be identical in the variants and the universal organisms. And many other vairants. How then, might evolutionists explain such convergences – assuming they would have to exist if macroscopic evolutionary past occured.

    I can’t think of any viable exmaples, but someone here can…perhaps you can.

    That seems like a serious problem if evolution needs to explain several sophisticated convergences.

    JGuy

  28. Mr JGuy,

    You have surpassed Mr ReMine in generating hypotheses related to Message Theory. I agree that we can learn something from studying these variants, finding out if there is any cause-effect with their environment.

  29. Nakashima-san, fair point w/regard to 22 :-)

  30. Tribune7-san,

    Daijyoubu!

  31. Hey Walter,

    I’ve found your series of posts on Message Theory quite interesting, and it’s certainly different to regular ID.

    In Part 1 of this series of posts, you claim:

    In reality, the evolutionists’ response has been exceedingly superficial, falling into two categories: (1) Silence; or (2) They misrepresent Message Theory. (If you are aware of exceptions, let me know.) Therefore, my posts here will not much address the evolutionists’ response to Message Theory, since a serious response doesn’t much exist.

    I have written a response to your first four posts (currently the only ones at this time) on Message Theory on Uncommon Descent, on my blog, Homologous Legs. I try not to misrepresent it, but the problem is: if I have, how will I know? If someone doesn’t correct me on my view of your ID theory, which you claim is scientifically testable, then I will forever spread to the people who read my blog a distorted view of your approach to ID.

    What I’m trying to say is, of course, that I want you, Walter ReMine, to check out what I’ve written and tell me where I went wrong (or not). If you don’t respond to this comment, I’ll assume you didn’t get it, but as I couldn’t find any other way to contact you, I thought this would be the best chance I have of getting through to you.

    My blog post responding to your claims on Uncommon Descent is located at: http://www.naontiotami.com/?p=545

    Cheers,
    Jack

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