It would have been handwaving, but they ran out of hands.
|March 19, 2012||Posted by News under Irreducible Complexity, News|
In “A New Study Questions RNA World” (Evolution News & Views, March 16, 2012), Heather Zeiger observes, regarding the authors’ (Harish and Caetano-Anolles) conclusions,
Overall, the authors appeal to co-option and co-evolution and justify this using phylogenetic homology studies. They contend as many in the ID camp do that “the de novo appearance of complex functions is highly unlikely. Similarly, it is highly unlikely that a multi-component molecular complex harboring several functional processes needed for modern translation could emerge in a single or only a few events of evolutionary novelty.” Their explanation, however, is that a simpler system was performing a different function, and then was recruited into the complex protein translation machine.
The question that follows is what exactly did the recruiting? What provokes recruitment to another system? The authors labeled this time of recruitment the “first major transition” but their explanation of the transition is a little cloudy.
They seem to answer the question of “motivation to recruitment” by appealing to co-evolution. The RNA and ribosome proteins are co-dependent such that as one evolves, the other does too and somehow it reached a point where a “major transition” occurs.
Co-option and co-evolution must be very lucky indeed to put together the right package with no underlying design. The problem is that both of these processes, co-option and co-evolution, could just as easily – maybe more easily – spell doom for an organism.
Despite what Darwin profs rant from the lectern, the natural trend is toward disorganization.