“Intelligent Design Challenge” Challenge
|February 1, 2008||Posted by Dave S. under Intelligent Design|
I have a challenge for Ian Musgrave. The sequences provided code for 80 amino acids. That’s almost certainly not a whole protein and not enough information to determine design/non-design. Indeed, none of the six sequences begin with a start codon which means we aren’t given enough information to even frame the sequence into codons.
Determining where a genome has been produced or altered by an intelligent designer is a matter of some importance. Consider the claims that the HIV virus was engineered as a biowarfare weapon, or the concern that virulence genes from other organisms could be inserted into viruses and bacteria to “weaponise” them.
If this were for real we would know the species in which the suspect gene appeared as well as the entire gene sequence rather than a small fragment of it. I challenge Ian to give us the information we’d have to work with in the real world – full gene sequence (framed by start/stop codons!) and the species in which it appears. Fat chance. That would make it a fair test and evolutionists like Ian aren’t interested in a fair test.
I can give him the method ahead of time. We’d compare the suspect gene to a full genome sequence of the closest relatives we could find in the genome database. We’d then take the closest matching gene, apply the principles Mike Behe described in “The Edge of Evolution”, and from the sequence deviations find if the suspect gene goes beyond the edge of evolution or not.
Determining the functionality of a gene from its sequence isn’t within the scope of ID so that’s a red herring.
Addendum 1: Well at least one thing is evolving – Ian’s challenge. He’s saying that researchers trying to determine if some new strain of bug is a bioterror weapon don’t have the luxury of full sequences. Huh? 454 Life Sciences gear can sequence 7 megabases PER HOUR in genomes up to 50 megabases long. Just how long are the genomes we’re talking about here, Ian? Bioengineered terrorist mice? It takes one researcher and one machine a week to sequence a typical bacterial genome. You can bet your bottom dollar in a bioterror scenario it won’t be one researcher and one machine in a 9-5 job with a long lunch break. One thing he’s still failed to acknowledge is that function detection is outside the scope of design detection. Other tools are used for determining the function of any given DNA sequence. ID would sure help speed up the search though by identifying the designed sequences so they can be knocked out and see what changes as a result. Breaking little bits and observing the result is standard operating procedure in black box reverse engineering of everything from integrated circuits to software to genomes.