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Evolutionary biologist sees mutation driving evolution and thinks natural selection is of secondary importance

The author is Matastoshi Nei, Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Director of the Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics, who seems well-connected in the science world :

The purpose of this book is to present a new mechanistic theory of mutation-driven evolution based on recent advances in genomics and evolutionary developmental biology. The theory asserts, perhaps somewhat controversially, that the driving force behind evolution is mutation, with natural selection being of only secondary importance. The word ‘mutation’ is used to describe any kind of change in DNA such as nucleotide substitution, gene duplication/deletion, chromosomal change, and genome duplication. A brief history of the principal evolutionary theories (Darwinism, mutationism, neo-Darwinism, and neo-mutationism) that preceded the theory of mutation-driven evolution is also presented in the context of the last 150 years of research. However, the core of the book is concerned with recent studies of genomics and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution, and their relevance to mutation-driven evolution. In contrast to neo-Darwinism, mutation-driven evolution is capable of explaining real examples of evolution such as the evolution of olfactory receptors, sex-determination in animals, and the general scheme of hybrid sterility. In this sense the theory proposed is more realistic than its predecessors, and gives a more logical explanation of various evolutionary events.

Nicolas Galtier, introducing the book at Systematic Biology, offers a psychological explanation for the current obsession with Darwin’s natural selection:

There must be reasons for this, of which one is perhaps historical. To convince people that biological entities were not god-made creatures, Darwin and its followers had to simultaneously argue 1) that living forms change in time and 2) that their adaptations are sufficiently well explained by the process of natural selection. So, the two concepts have been and still are tightly associated in the context of anticreationist arguments. There might also be psychological reasons. Natural selection, unlike divine creation, is not an intuitive idea. Those who adopt it typically like it very much, and can hardly resist coming back to it again and again, finding the living world even more marvelous knowing that it was not generated by a creator. In a way, natural selection has somewhat replaced divine creation in many people’s minds as the process responsible for the beauty of nature.

The new book Mutation-Driven Evolution firmly opposes this view of natural selection as the unique biological creative force. …

You’d have to pay or sign in to read more. Even the review at Trends in Ecology & Evolution is paywalled.

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58 Responses to Evolutionary biologist sees mutation driving evolution and thinks natural selection is of secondary importance

  1. Natural selection includes mutation- random mutations are one of the inputs, ie drivers, of natural selection. But true you can have random mutation without natural selection.

    And as Dr Spetner said back in 1997, only via our ignorance can we say that gene duplication is a darwinian mechanism.

  2. Well, the prof seems to think otherwise. We’ll see.

  3. Ernst Mayr:

    Natural selection- The process by which in every generation individuals of lower fitness are removed from the population- Mayr “What Evolution Is”

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance also plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction. Ibid

    and

    “Natural selection is the simple result of variation, differential reproduction, and heredity—it is mindless and mechanistic.”- UC Berkley on Evolution

    However I think I see what he is saying. NS was supposed to be this great designer mimic. However if the variation happens and accumulates for some future purpose, in the absence of selection, and then badda-bing, badda-boom, in close to one fell swoop you may have something.

  4. The problem with random mutations is that over 99% of them are bad. So, to get good mutations you need extremely large populations. But when you look at the history of complex species that have supposedly undergone extreme levels of mutations (e.g., humans), their populations were very small in the past compared to now.

  5. Does this explain the stasis in the fossil record along with the umpteen instances of convergence?

    As Mapou said, how can this idea overcome the problems with negative or almost neutral mutations? Or the problem of genetic entropy that Dr. John Sanford has researched?

    I guess this does away with the need for a long series of small positive changes that provide enough of a benefit to the organism that they are selected for.

    I can certainly see the appeal of this new idea as the old one demands huge amounts of time. Plus, there really is no experimental support for the idea that a long series of small yet positive changes leading to new genes/organs/abilities, etc. is possible. Sounds great in theory, but does such a pathway even exist? No one really knows!

  6. @Mapou my teacher told me mutations can be harmless such as substitution and insertion show you can change a few letters but still have the same amino acid sequence.

  7. I do belive Stephen Meyer made the same point in Darwin’s Doubt. Mutations must do the work of composing new genetic information not NS.

  8. Mapou:

    The problem with random mutations is that over 99% of them are bad.

    Most appear to be neutral, however the bigger problem is how do we know if all mutations are happenstance events? Evos just assume they are, except when they aren’t (SOS response), because they don’t know any better.

  9. Jaceli123,

    It’s true the most mutations are harmless. Partly because most DNA is junk anyway, partly because many functional residues can change without altering their product’s behavior and partly because many changes in protein-coding genes don’t change amino acids.

    Nut insertions and deletions in protein coding genes are likely to be deleterious. Because these sequences are “read” in sets of three (i.e. codons), an indel of size that is not divisible by three is guaranteed to garble any down-stream sequences.

  10. (By the way, this about the thousandth change UD has to realise how silly it is to call modern evolutionary biology “Darwinism”… Not that I’m holding my breath…)

  11. Jaceli123-

    So called silent mutations that your teacher talked about sometimes affect the protein. One of the reasons are the number of tRNAs per associated codon/ amino acid. One codon coding sequence may have more representative tRNAs and therefor those tRNAs are “johnny on the spot” with the amino acid- meaning the timing is right. However not all codons that code for the same amino acid are equally represented by the corresponding tRNAs. And if the tRNA is a little late in getting to the ribosome that messes up the folding process and the subsequent protein is malformed.

    Just sayin’…

  12. Jaceli123,

    My understanding is that protein-coding genes are a very small percentage of the genome. Most genes are involved in regulation and adaptation. Minor changes in those genes can have catastrophic effects.

    The problem with mutations is so serious that all living organisms have special mechanisms whose job it is to repair changes caused by mutations. Unless a mutation is good for adaptation (pre-programmed in the genome), these gene repair subsystems have no way of knowing which mutation is good and which is bad. This defeats the most important engine of change/novelty in Darwinian evolution.

    I have said it many times. The Darwinian theory of evolution is for morons and liars with a political and ideological axe to grind.

  13. wd400:

    It’s true the most mutations are harmless. Partly because most DNA is junk anyway, partly because many functional residues can change without altering their product’s behavior and partly because many changes in protein-coding genes don’t change amino acids.

    This is complete moronic BS.

  14. Mapou,

    You and I both have about 60 new mutations. If mutations are nearly universally bad, why are we alive?

  15. CONTROVERSY!!!
    Does this mean SCIENTISTS were wrong before about selection being so important? What about all the science done backing up the old claims?
    How did they miss this?? If the old guard says NO will this guy be not a real scientist? When the court dat?
    Mutations or selection still are unlikely options for even trivial biological changes.
    Its over folks. They smell it too and are desperately looking for a out
    Just a wee bit of pressure from ID and YEC at the right point is bringing down this cards of error in our time.
    this forum will be a historical agent of change in future books documenting the end of Darwinian evolution. Kids will write about it in high school essays

  16. wd400,

    Look man, don’t insult my intelligence, alright. You’re only counting the harmless mutations that the system allows by design. You are not counting the countless mutations that the system repairs automatically. We would all be dead without the gene repair mechanisms.

  17. wd400 at 10: Yoo hoo, read the OP. “Darwinism” and “Darwin and its followers” are other people’s terms of choice this time out. (The latter is surely an error for “his followers.”) People have NO idea how much we must pay those people to do that. It’s shocking,really. ;)

  18. wd400:
    because most DNA is junk anyway

    We’ll see about that in 10 years, shall we? I bet you there won’t even be 20% “junk” left by then. Junk DNA will go down the same road the 180 human “vestigial organs” did in the past 100 years.

    Sebestyen

  19. Ok thanks my teachers words not mine!

  20. Mutations do provide information but it is natural selection that makes this specific to the niche that the organism resides. The selective pressure is clearly unique per niche with different filters indirectly adding information (the information of a forest is different from a filter of a niche in a sea vent).

    So would need to see more but as it is an expensive book that makes it inaccessible to the 99% so give it a few years to be free, or forgotten.

  21. The problem with pushing natural selection as a mechanism is that the odds are quite good that what is advantageous in one generation is a disadvantage in the next. The finch beaks in the Galapagos Islands illustrate this quite well.

    So wind up concluding, as Darwin himself did, that whatever trait is common to the observed population is assumed to be the “best”. This is roughly the same as declaring after the season is over that the team that won the Super Bowl was clearly going to win from what was observable at the beginning of the season.

    But the real problem is stasis. Horses arose from some unknown source in North America about 20,000 years ago. Part of the population migrated across the land bridge into Asia, and the original North American herds died out. In the 1500s, the Spanish brought European horses back to the Americas after an absence of 10-15,000 years. Based on DNA samples, wild (feral) horses in the American West are identical to remains of their extinct brothers. So, after travelling literally around the world while being subjected to one of the most sustained and intense selective breeding programs in history, horses didn’t change at all.

    So how is stasis explained by Natural Selection?

  22. Mutations do provide information but it is natural selection that makes this specific to the niche that the organism resides.

    Evidence please.

  23. News,

    Yes. That’s precisely the point. Almost as if darwinian mechanisms for just one part of evolutionary biology, a field that contains many different schools. “Darwinism” might be a useful term to apply to those topics that related directly to natural selection, but is hardly appropriate for, say, discussions of junk DNA where the mechanims at play a non-Darwinian. I was hoping this might be the moment someone here gets that.

    Mapou,

    Ah, the unsinkable rubber ducky. Those mutations that make it into each generation do so via devine provenance? Even if that was the case, the point remains. If most realised mutations are bad news why are you and I alive? Non-realised mutations don’t matter for evolution, surely?

    Mahuna,

    Natural selection is a requirement for stasis. THanks to mutation and finite population sizes, change is the gound state for any evolutionary process. To prevent change form happening you need some non-random force, and that force is “balancing selection” keeping creatures similar and well-adapted to their niche.

  24. Actually, Mahuna,

    Can you share your reference for the idea modern horses are identical to ancient North American ones? I don’t think that’s right

    (Or, at least, we should expect them to be identical at many genetic loci since the 12 000 years since Nth American extinction is very recent, and few genes would be subject to selectoin in the breeding of european horses. But they won’t be identical at all loci, and indeed different breeds of modern horses are not.)

  25. wd400:

    Natural selection is a requirement for stasis. THanks to mutation and finite population sizes, change is the gound state for any evolutionary process. To prevent change form happening you need some non-random force, and that force is “balancing selection” keeping creatures similar and well-adapted to their niche.

    You sound like a baraminologist.

  26. Natural selection is a requirement for stasis. Natural selection is a requirement for change.
    If the same explanation fits two opposite examples it’s not a very useful scientific explanation!

    Even with conservative estimates on percentage of deleterious mutations 10-20% it’s still bad for evolution. That calculates to 6-20 deleterious mutations per generation as there are about 60-100 mutations per gen.
    That’s enough to make a descendant less fit than the parent but the mutations are not so deleterious that they will wipe the organism. There are plenty of genes in humans that this build up hasn’t seemed to be wiping us out yet. Furthermore, with genetic redundancy and such it seems like organisms were “predesigned” to account for this.

  27. wd400 wrote:

    You and I both have about 60 new mutations. If mutations are nearly universally bad, why are we alive?

    I replied:

    Look man, don’t insult my intelligence, alright. You’re only counting the harmless mutations that the system allows by design. You are not counting the countless mutations that the system repairs automatically. We would all be dead without the gene repair mechanisms.

    wd400 countered:

    Ah, the unsinkable rubber ducky. Those mutations that make it into each generation do so via devine provenance? Even if that was the case, the point remains. If most realised mutations are bad news why are you and I alive? Non-realised mutations don’t matter for evolution, surely?

    I was correct. Darwinian evolution is for morons and liars with an ideological and political ax to grind.

  28. I simply find it amazing that evolution evolved a mechanism to slow down evolution. All without any intelligence. That’s just amazing!

  29. Joe,

    I said “Mutations do provide information but it is natural selection that makes this specific to the niche that the organism resides.” and you asked for evidence. Mutations are information. Anything unexpected is information by definition. As for the differences in niche, it would be possible to show the difference between two niches e.g. take a fish and stick it into a forest environment and then measure the population of fish after a few generations. Equally take say a hedgehog and stick in into a sea vent environment and observe how it develops.

  30. So, apart from your overwhelming need to insult me, I dint see an answer here.

    If mutations, being those copying errors that escape proofreading and enter the next generation, are soverwhelmingly deleterious why aren’t you dead?

  31. wd400,

    I insult you because you insult my intelligence. You can go fly a kite, for all I care.

  32. Just a couple of thoughts:

    1) Of course a theory based mainly on random variation can be compatible only with an ID scenario. RV is completely incapable of building new complex functional information, for the probabilistic barriers we all well know. If variation is all that is there, then it has to be guided variation.

    2) It is rather obvious, also, that NS has almost no role in selecting positive variation by its reproductive advantage, except for very simple adaptations. The reason is extremely simple: as new complex functional information cannot be the result of RV, as already said, there is not opportunity for NS to select what cannot appear.

    3) However, there is no doubt, IMO, that NS has an important role as negative selection, that is by eliminating at least part of negative variation. There can be no doubt that living beings who undergo random mutations that are incompatible with life simply die. We have many examples of that even in humans. So, the so called “purifying” role of NS can scarcely be denied. But, as said by many here, its only result is to favor stasis, to defend what is already there.

    4) Finally, even that “purifying”, protecting role of negative NS has many limits. Only severe mutations are really eliminated. As we all know, even from human genetic pathologies, most deleterious mutations can and do survive in the population. Moreover, living organism have in themselves very complex, intelligent systems of preservations of their genomic integrity, which are much more powerful than simple negative NS. And still, negative mutations continue to exist and survive.

  33. gpuccio,

    also just a couple of thoughts…

    1) You present a contradiction. Either something is random or it is not. RV on its own provides information which is why NS is important as that filters. The probabilistic barriers also apply to an ID too unless it is outside of nature if the ID is using any kind of RV.

    2) RV+NS gives the same as a complex specified information i.e. they work together. NS selects candidate variations and over time the complexity increases as variation is added to what was already selected.

    3) The wording of “defend what is already there” in the last sentence is nuanced; the process of adaptation is a balance and it is based on fitness. If the environmental niche of the organism does not change then there is no obvious change in the results but if the niche changes then the genome changes after the fact. ID-centric view is that the genome is changed in anticipation of the niche change but the naturalism view is that all genomes have variation and so what fitness a genotype has is with respect to the niche and if a genotype is placed in a different niche then it has a different fitness. There is no defence of the genotype by NS nor is there any prescience in the genotype for unexpected future niche changes.

    4) As life has been on this planet for a few billion years then it is expected that mechanisms to protect information would have evolved. Why ? Well if we assume mutations have always existed then those phenotypes that have a genotype that can persist with the mutation load will be naturally selected (i.e. more fit) compared to those organisms that fail with a mutation load. What we end up seeing after this 3.5 billion year war with entropy are only those organisms that have information protection mechanisms. And equally that means that early life forms will not have these mechanisms.

  34. LP@30

    “Equally take say a hedgehog and stick in into a sea vent environment and observe how it develops.”

    Seriously?

    :)

  35. PeterJ,

    I was replying to Joe so lets see if he notices that there are differences between these example niches. I hope he sees it as a thought exercise and doesn’t demand evidence of the survival of hedgehogs in sea vents as I have not actually seen how well hedgehogs survive in that environment. I suspect he’ll see that as another example of the indoctrination of Evolutionists and the bluff of Darwinism.

  36. I don’t have long on here today but would like to ask a question on a matter that has been bugging me for quite some time.

    WD400 makes the claim:

    “Natural selection is a requirement for stasis. THanks to mutation and finite population sizes, change is the gound state for any evolutionary process. To prevent change form happening you need some non-random force, and that force is “balancing selection” keeping creatures similar and well-adapted to their niche.”

    What I can’t get my head around is this; the length of time it would take a certain organism to adapt to a certain change in the environment (by means of random mutations), before the actual mutations themselves had accumulated enough (or had manufactured the necessary physiological changes) that would enable the said organism to survive?

    This to me is a real conundrum, which unfortunately is made all the more confusing by WD’s statement.

    They can’t both be right, surely? Either an organism changes by small steps over vast amounts of time to adapt to whatever environmental change it has been challenged by (preferably before said species goes extinct), or, it simply stays the same, but survives anyway.

    Evolution?

  37. Lincoln Phipps:

    Counter-thoughts:

    1) What contradiction are you seeing? RV is random by definition. And so? NS is not random. I have just stated that RV cannot certainly generate complex functional information, because of the known probabilistic barriers. Where is the contradiction? Please, explain.

    Probabilistic barriers certainly apply also to ID if the designer uses RV as part of his strategy. But it is well known that a mix of RV + Intelligent selection can be extremely more efficient than RV alone, and many examples of that are known, including bottom up protein engineering.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the mix RV + NS, because the possibilities of NS are extremely limited, if compared to those of IS.

    Finally, it is not necessary, a priori, that the designer use RV as part of his strategy. Design can be top down as well as bottom up.

    2) RV + NS cannot generate complex functional information (dFSCI) any more than RV alone, for the reasons I have debated many times here, and that I am ready to debate again anytime. The main reason is that complex functional information cannot be deconstructed into simpler, naturally selectable steps. Please, show even one case of new original dFSCI generated in a non design system.

    3) I often give the example of enzymes. An enzyme is a functional protein with a well defined “local” function: it can accelerate a given biochemical reaction. That function is independent from the environment. It can be more or less useful for the fitness, but unless the local function (the biochemical activity) is present, the protein cannot be useful. And enzymes are frequent and complex. So, how do you think that RV + NS build a new enzyme?

    4) The “mechanism to protect information” (DNA repair, checkpoints during the cell cycle, and so on) is itself extremely complex. It could never “evolve” by neo darwinisn mechanisms, like any other instance of dFSCI.

  38. LP:

    I said “Mutations do provide information but it is natural selection that makes this specific to the niche that the organism resides.” and you asked for evidence.

    Do you have any that supports your claim?

    Mutations are information. Anything unexpected is information by definition. As for the differences in niche, it would be possible to show the difference between two niches e.g. take a fish and stick it into a forest environment and then measure the population of fish after a few generations. Equally take say a hedgehog and stick in into a sea vent environment and observe how it develops.

    Umm that isn’t evidence for natural selection.

  39. Lincoln Phipps- Why isa it that you cannot present any evidence for natural seelction av=ctually doing something?

    BTW NS does NOT select- Read Mayr “What Evolution Is”

  40. Alan Fox doesn’t seem tp realize that genetic algorithms are am example of RV and intelligent selection.

  41. Joe,

    why don’t you read how I have already said that NS doesn’t select ? If it selected then it would have to search a vast problem landscape and that’s pretty well impossible.

    NS is the end result that we see when some things live and some things die before they can reproduce.

    It is you that seems to be seeking something.It should be you that needs to read your own book recommendations.

  42. Joe,

    when someone uses a GA then they do not design the “genome” but pre-define what is fit. Such a designer has no clue as to what genome is fit. They are ignorant of genomes.

    That is not “intelligent design” any more than a race driver can be called a designer of ECU curves for an engine because he can compare the engine performances.

  43. Joe,

    anything unexpected is intrinsically “information”. Mutations are unexpected and so they are always “information”.

  44. gpuccio,

    1) RV + NS can generate “complex functional information” as good as any designer (excluding obviously Gods or other supernaturals).

    You rightly state that “is well known that a mix of RV + Intelligent selection can be extremely more efficient than RV alone, and many examples of that are known, including bottom up protein engineering.”

    but it does not follow that “the same cannot be said of the mix RV + NS, because the possibilities of NS are extremely limited, if compared to those of IS.”

    No matter how smart the designer in an IS is, if the organism cannot survive in the ecological niche then the ID was wasting its time. NS is the ultimate trump card.

    Be it top-down or bottom – up, the ultimate fitness is defined by the niche and the designer must be present accurately mimic the natural world.

    2) RV + NS can generate the complex functional information we see in life. To date no one has shown irreducible complexity in living things. Ignorance rules here and the gaps in our knowledge are seen as impassible for no good reason that for ID supporters to claim it can’t be crossed.

    3) You ask “So, how do you think that RV + NS build a new enzyme?” and the answer is through mutations of genomes. The gaps here are understanding the pathway from simple polypeptides to larger proteins. The ID claim is that this gap can’t be traversed through small steps. As we do know that there are miniproteins then that’s a ID bluff.

    4) The “mechanism to protect information” will have evolved over the multi-billion years from the first genome. The first genome that did this would be selected for (in that it would persist longer than those that did not have such mechanisms (that’s for Joe). The mechanisms will not have all burst into life at once but will slowly grow in complexity. I don’t know if it is over 1 year or 1 billion years.

    The ID dogma is simple; the cell is too complex and therefore it was designed.

    You can’t ask what did the designing or how it was done or where this was done, or when it was done or what about the design of the designers or the purpose of the design.

    The reply from science is that the evidence suggests life formed from a pre-biotic Earth around 3.5 billion years ago and that all life can be traced back to a single common ancestor and that as our knowledge increases then only natural mechanisms are ever needed to explain what is seen.

  45. Mapou,

    I’m not insulting your intelligence. I’m not playing a game or trying to win debating points. I think that one of the reasons we know most mutations are harmless is the relatively high per-indivdual mutation rate. Proofreading enzymes and the like don’t come into it, since they prevent mutations from happening rather than removing mutations that have entered a gene pool.

    It’s OK to have been wrong about something. But if there is any point to having discussions like this both party’s need to be willing to modify their views. If all you can do is hurl invective at someone I don’t see much point in engaging with you.

  46. Lincoln Phipps:

    when someone uses a GA then they do not design the “genome” but pre-define what is fit.

    The pre-define what they are looking for- ie an antenna that can do X.

    GAs employ goal-oriented targeted searches as the mechanism for solving their problem.

  47. Lincoln,

    I know NS is a result. Some evolutionists think NS is actual selection.

    And again I ask for evidence of NS actually doing something.

  48. Sixbooth,

    Selection isn’t a requirement for change. Change is the groundstate, selection is required for directional change (positive selection) or status (negative selection).

    PeterJ,

    It’s hard to talk about a general case, as many variables go into how a particlar adaptive response arises (or doesn’t) in a population. But one important consequence of the fact most mutations are harmless in a given environment is that genetic diversity can build up. Alleles that are roughly equivalent in environment A might have quite different fitnesses in environment B. But adaptation doesn’t have to be in the context of a degrading environment – it can also be a bonus. Look at lactase persistance in humans as an example – a mutation that was probably always arising in human populations became useful with the advent of farming and took off (multiple times in fact).

  49. GAs are designed to solve problems- they are a design tool. The selection coefficient is artificial and that is what makes it intelligent selection. The goal is to meet the spec of that selection coefficient. GAs employ a goal-oriented targeted search. OTOH NS isn’t a search…

  50. Lincoln Phipps:

    The ID dogma is simple; the cell is too complex and therefore it was designed.

    That is the cartoon version of ID.

    You can’t ask what did the designing or how it was done or where this was done, or when it was done or what about the design of the designers or the purpose of the design.

    Of course you can ask those questions. They are just separate from the question “is it designed or not?”

    Lincoln, reality dictates that in the absence of direct observation or designer input, the only way to make any scientific determiantion to the designer(s), specific process(es) used and all the other questions, we study the deisgn and all relevant evidence. That is how it is done in forensic science, archaeology and SETI.

  51. Lincoln Phipps:

    1) You say:

    but it does not follow that “the same cannot be said of the mix RV + NS, because the possibilities of NS are extremely limited, if compared to those of IS.

    Maybe it does “not follows”, but it is true. Obviously, my brief statement did not go into the details of why it is true. Essentially, there are many reasons why IS is extremely more powerful than NS:

    a) NS can act only if the new information confers a reproductive advantage. IS can define in advance any function, and select for it.

    b) For NS to happen, the reproductive advantage (and therefore the local function or functions that confer that advantage) must be strong enough to ensure an expansion of the mutated clone in the population. IS can measure the desired function at any desired level, even when it is still very weak, and not likely to give any immediate advantage.

    c) IS can profit from the understanding of natural laws by the designer. For example, the context where random variation is applied can be more or less controlled, the type of variation can be selected, even if the variation itself is random, and the target of the variation can be delimited.

    We see these principles at work even in cases of protein engineering already embedded in the genome, such as antibody maturation after the first immune response.

    2) You say:

    RV + NS can generate the complex functional information we see in life. To date no one has shown irreducible complexity in living things. Ignorance rules here and the gaps in our knowledge are seen as impassible for no good reason that for ID supporters to claim it can’t be crossed.

    My only comment: I have rarely read a more nonsensical statement.

    3) You say:

    You ask “So, how do you think that RV + NS build a new enzyme?” and the answer is through mutations of genomes. The gaps here are understanding the pathway from simple polypeptides to larger proteins. The ID claim is that this gap can’t be traversed through small steps. As we do know that there are miniproteins then that’s a ID bluff.

    You seem to forget two very important points:

    a) The mini proteins you refer to have no function.

    b) The miniproteins you refer to are not selectable stepts to a bigger functional protein.

    Why are you so excited that miniproteins exist? You cited (in another thread) a couple of designed, artificial ones, but obviously there are natural peptides that have some function. In no way that means that they are selectable steps to longer functional proteins.

    You may keep your dogmatic faith in pathways that do not exist, that have no logical reason to exist, and that have never been observed, or simply reasonably hypothesized. I am interested in facts, not dogmatic fantasies.

    4) You say:

    The “mechanism to protect information” will have evolved over the multi-billion years from the first genome. The first genome that did this would be selected for (in that it would persist longer than those that did not have such mechanisms (that’s for Joe). The mechanisms will not have all burst into life at once but will slowly grow in complexity. I don’t know if it is over 1 year or 1 billion years.

    The ID dogma is simple; the cell is too complex and therefore it was designed.

    You can’t ask what did the designing or how it was done or where this was done, or when it was done or what about the design of the designers or the purpose of the design.

    The reply from science is that the evidence suggests life formed from a pre-biotic Earth around 3.5 billion years ago and that all life can be traced back to a single common ancestor and that as our knowledge increases then only natural mechanisms are ever needed to explain what is seen.

    No comment. I don’t like to offend people.

  52. To date no one has shown irreducible complexity in living things.

    This is absolutely not true.

  53. LP, re:

    RV + NS can generate “complex functional information” as good as any designer (excluding obviously Gods or other supernaturals)

    We know that a priori materialism demands that this be so, however the first problem is that the vera causa principle of explanation demands that you show this to occur within our observation or you do not have an actual known cause.

    And, we freely state that you cannot give us a good example of 500 – 1,000+ bits of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information originating within our observation by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity alone. We confidently say that, after years of seeing tries and seeing dozens of failed attempts.

    These observations, being backed up by needle in haystack analysis that shows that:

    a: the 10^57 atoms of the Sol system — our effective universe for chemical level interactions — acting as observers of 500 fair coins each,

    b: flipped for each such set every 10^-14 s [as fast as ionic chem rxns] for 10^17 s,

    c: will give us a sample of the config space for 500 bits from 000 . . . 0 to 111 . . . 1 that stands as one straw to a cubical haystack 1,000 light years across.

    d: That’s about as thick as our galaxy at its central bulge. In short,

    e: there is very good reason to conclude that if such a search were undertaken, in such a haystack superposed on our galactic neighbourhood, we would with all but absolute certainty only find straw on any reasonable blind search. Where also

    f: the set-up would essentially take up the 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos for the observers, coins and tables as well as tossing mechanisms. If you want to be more stringent

    g: 1,000 coins would by far more intensely overwhelm the atoms of the observed cosmos acting as observers of 1,0000 coin sets.

    ____________

    So,

    h: the abstract logical possibility of FSCO/I by chance is not an empirically plausible assertion.

    The only plausible explanation of FSCO/I is design, and that is in fact backed up by billions of directly observed cases all around us, including posts in this thread.

    When you turned up at UD recently, we did not assign your posts to noise on the Internet, but accepted that here is an intelligent entity using this handle. Though, it probably is a sock puppet for someone or a group of persons with different identities.

    In short, you need to look back at your assumptions and confident manner assertions, to see where you have gone wrong.

    KF

  54. LP: Actually, irreducible complexity is a commonplace in complex organised systems [think of what happens to the engine in your car when just one core component fails), and it is unsurprising that such also occurs in living systems in several contexts and scales. To see what is going on, check out how without each and all of heat, fuel, oxidiser and an uninterfered with heat generating chain reaction, a fire will not start or if started will go out: four critical enabling causes, each necessary and in that case together jointly sufficient. Indeed, a concept very much like IC underlies how gene knockout (and restoration) studies work. KF

  55. LP: I think regarding OOL, you should pause and view the video here, just as a start. KF

  56. PS: On what ID is, I suggest to you that you read the 101 survey here, and understand that Design thinkers recognise themselves in that mirror, but instantly spot the Wikipedia piece as a hatchet job based on loaded strawman caricatures and red herring distractors. KF

  57. Sebestyen,

    It’s useless to argue with wd400 regarding “junk” DNA. Despite amazing recent discoveries, wd400 is still grimly clinging on to the sinking ship of “junk” DNA, and no amount of evidence will change that.

    The proportion of “junk” DNA has been revised from an estimate of 96% (as quoted by Dr. Ohno’s 1972 paper about junk DNA), to about 99%, and now down to about 20% and shrinking.

    Statements such as this

    Recent advances have established that the DNA of a pseudogene, the RNA transcribed from a pseudogene, or the protein translated from a pseudogene can have multiple, diverse functions and that these functions can affect not only their parental genes but also unrelated genes. Therefore, pseudogenes have emerged as a previously unappreciated class of sophisticated modulators of gene expression, with a multifaceted involvement in the pathogenesis of human cancer. (Laura Poliseno, “Pseudogenes: Newly Discovered Players in Human Cancer,” Science Signaling, 5 (242) (September 18, 2012).

    are apparently interpreted by wd400 as “most DNA is junk anyway,” demonstrating his acquired immunity to both information and logic.

    In the January 11, 2014 issue of Medical News, we read

    The term (junk DNA) is currently, however, a somewhat outdated concept, being used mainly in popular science and in a colloquial way in scientific publications, and may have slowed research into the biological functions of noncoding DNA.

    Yes, most certainly slowed research! In a paper mentioned in UD
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2.....s3914.html
    we read the following:

    Various non-coding regions of the genome, once presumed to be ‘junk’ DNA, have recently been found to be transcriptionally active. In particular, pseudogenes are now known to have important biological roles.

    Nevertheless, wd400 remains unconvinced, so Sebestyen, I would not waste any more time to try to enlighten someone who refuses to be enlightened.

    -Q

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