View Full Version : DNA, RNA, and evolution/creation
12-20-2003, 10:48 PM
I've been meaning to ask you guys this: The DNA and RNA in all organisms use a common language. The proportions of the complementary bases tend to be fairly constant (eg 1:1 C to G, 1:1 A to T in DNA) aside from possible mutations and mismatches that weren't rectified. I still haven't decided what to make of this in an evolutionary sense. The book says that this "proves" that all organisms had a common ancestor. Even to my imaginative mind that seems like a bit of a reach. A friend of mine interperted it to imply god just used the same material to build everything (I thought I sensed some sarcasm though). What's your take on this?
12-20-2003, 11:12 PM
Hey big Dave. The links in your sigs are great I forgot about those! /forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif
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A friend of mine interperted it to imply god just used the same material to build everything (I thought I sensed some sarcasm
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First, theistic evolutionists are simply evolutionists that admit naturalistic evolution is impossible, but still decide to believe it anyway, so insert "god" where the miracles of evolution take place. Such as abiogenesis.
They are mearly exchanging one miracle for another.
But I think it is great you are wanting a creationists take on the issues. You see we all have the same evidences...fossils, layers, DNA, etc. It's our preassumptions that determine how the evidence is interperted.
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Even to my imaginative mind that seems like a bit of a reach.
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It is a bad conclusion from the evidence. A Science Centre in London has a plaque in the genetic display saying, ‘Some of us think that we humans have a special place in the animal kingdom. However, the human genome is similar to a chimpanzee’s, and has a lot in common with the genome of a fruit fly.’
That's not only sad to believe, but bad conclusions from the evidence.
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This whole argument of DNA — the universality of DNA — is a major plank of the common ancestry argument. I became aware that the Word of God was more important than my concept of science. And I truly can say that I became aware that I’d been worshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator, as Paul said (Romans 1:25).’
‘It doesn’t matter if one population breaks into several subgroups, even to the extent of not reproducing with each other anymore. In fact, you would expect that to happen after the Flood, so coyotes, wolves, dingoes and so on might have had a common ancestor, but the key is that there’s no new information — that natural processes don’t create any new DNA information. I’ve observed 40 generations of selection of fruit flies. I’ve seen lots of defective flies because of mutations, but I’ve never seen new, additional genetic information appear which would give hope to evolutionists. The belief in amoeba-to-man evolution needs a huge amount of new genetic information.’
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- Dr James Allan, M.Sc.Agric. (Stellenbosch), Ph.D. (Edinburgh), retired as senior lecturer in the Department of Genetics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 1992. He has researched the genetics of fruit flies, snails, chickens, dairy cattle and fish, and taught students quantitative and population genetics, particularly in its application to the breeding of animals.
I am going to do a huge series on information theory after the holidays. So stay tuned for that.
Here is a great article to read:
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The Marvelous ‘Message Molecule’
by Carl Wieland
First published in:
Creation Ex Nihilo 17(4):10-13
When someone sends a message, something rather fascinating and mysterious gets passed along. Let's say Alphonse in Alsace wants to send the message, 'Ned, the war is over. Al'. He dictates it to a friend; the message has begun as patterns of air compression (spoken words). His friend puts it down as ink on paper and mails it to another, who puts it in a fax machine. The machine transfers the message into a coded pattern of electrical impulses, which are sent down a phone line and received at a remote Indian outpost where it is printed out in letters once again. Here the person who reads the fax lights a campfire and sends the same message as a pattern of smoke signals. Old Ned in Nevada, miles away, looks up and gets the exact message that was meant for him. Nothing physical has been transmitted; not a single atom or molecule of any substance travelled from Alsace to Nevada, yet it is obvious that something travelled all the way.
This elusive something is called information. It is obviously not a material thing, since no matter has been transmitted. Yet it seems to need matter on which to 'ride' during its journey. This is true whether the message is in Turkish, Tamil or Tagalog. The matter on which information travels can change, without the information having to change. Air molecules being compressed in sound waves; ink and paper; electrons travelling down phone wires, semaphore signals—whatever—all involve material mediums used to transmit information, but the medium is not the information.
This fascinating thing called information is the key to understanding what makes life different from dead matter. It is the Achilles' heel of all materialist explanations of life, which say that life is nothing more than matter obeying the laws of physics and chemistry. Life is more than just physics and chemistry; living things carry vast amounts of information.
Some might argue that a sheet of paper carrying a written message is nothing more than ink and paper obeying the laws of physics and chemistry. But ink and paper unaided do not write messages—minds do. The alphabetical letters in a Scrabble® kit do not constitute information until someone puts them into a special sequence—mind is needed to get information. You can program a machine to arrange Scrabble® letters into a message, but a mind had to write the program for the machine.
How is the information for life carried? How is the message which spells out the recipe that makes a frog, rather than a frangipani tree, sent from one generation to the next? How is it stored? What matter does it 'ride' on? The answer is the marvellous 'message molecule' called DNA. This molecule is like a long rope or string of beads, which is tightly coiled up inside the centre of every cell of your body. This is the molecule that carries the programs of life, the information which is transmitted from each generation to the next. *
Some people think that DNA is alive—this is wrong. DNA is a dead molecule. It can't copy itself—you need the machinery of a living cell to make copies of a DNA molecule. It may seem as if DNA is the information in your body. Not so—the DNA is simply the carrier of the message, the 'medium' on which the message is written. In the same way, Scrabble® letters are not information until the message is 'imposed' on them from the 'outside'. Think of DNA as a chain of such alphabet letters linked together, with a large variety of different ways in which this can happen. Unless they are joined in the right sequence, no usable message will result, even though it is still DNA.
Now to read the message, you need a pre-existing language code or convention, as well as machinery to translate it. All of that machinery exists in the cell. Like man-made machinery, it does not arise by itself from the properties of the raw materials. If you just throw the basic raw ingredients for a living cell together, without information nothing will happen. Machines and programs do not come from the laws of physics and chemistry by themselves. Why? Because they reflect information, and information has never been observed to come about by unaided, raw matter plus time and chance. Information is the very opposite of chance—if you want to arrange letters into a sequence to spell a message, a particular order has to be imposed on the matter.
When living things reproduce, they transmit information from one generation to the next. This information, travelling on the DNA from mother and from father, is the 'instruction manual' which enables the machinery in a fertilized egg cell to construct, from raw materials, the new living organism—a fantastic feat. This is in a new combination so that children are not exactly like their parents, although the information itself, which is expressed in the make-up of those children, was there all along in both parents. That is, the deck was reshuffled, but no new cards were added.
Just how much space does DNA need to store its information? The technological achievements of humankind in storing information seem sensational. Imagine how much information is stored on a videotape of a movie, for example—you can hold it all in one hand. Yet compared to this, the feat of information miniaturization performed by DNA is nothing short of mind-blowing. For a given amount of information, the room needed to store it on DNA is about a trillionth of that for information on videotape—i.e. it is a million million times more efficient at storing information.1
How much information is contained in the DNA code which describes you? Estimates vary widely. Using simple analogies, based upon the storage space in DNA, they range from 500 large library books of small-type information, to more than 100 complete 30 volume encyclopaedia sets. When you think about it, even that is probably not enough to specify the intricate construction of even the human brain, with its trillions of precise connections. There are probably higher-level information storage and multiplication systems in the body that we have not even dreamed of yet—there are many more marvellous mysteries waiting to be discovered about the Creator's handiwork.
Not only is the way in which DNA is encoded highly efficient—even more space is saved by the way in which it is tightly coiled up. According to genetics expert Professor Jérôme Lejeune, all the information required to specify the exact make-up of every unique human being on Earth could be stored in a volume of DNA no bigger than a couple of aspirin tablets! 2 If you took the DNA from one single cell in your body (an amount of matter so small you would need a microscope to see it) and unravelled it, it would stretch to two metres!
This becomes truly sensational when you consider that there are 75 to 100 trillion cells in the body. Taking the lower figure, it means that if we stretched out all of the DNA in one human body3 and joined it end to end, it would stretch to a distance of 150 billion kilometres (around 94 billion miles). How long is this? It would stretch right around the Earth's equator three-and-a-half million times! It is a thousand times as far as from the Earth to the sun. If you were to shine a torch along that distance, it would take the light, travelling at 300,000 kilometres (186,000 miles) every second, five-and-a-half days to get there.
But the really sensational thing is the way in which the information carried on DNA in all living things points directly to intelligent, supernatural creation, by straightforward, scientific logic, as follows:
1. The coded information used in the construction of living things is transferred from pre-existing messages (programs), which are themselves transmitted from pre-existing messages.
2. During this transfer, the fate of the information follows the dictates of message/information theory and common sense. That is, it either stays the same, or decreases (mutational loss, genetic drift, species extinction) but seldom, probably never, is it seen to increase in any informationally meaningful sense.
Deduction from observation No. 2
3. Were we to look back in time along the line of any living population, e.g. humans (the information in their genetic programs) we would see an overall pattern of gradual increase the further back we go.
4. No population can be infinitely old, nor contain infinite information. Therefore:
Deduction from points 3 and 4
5. There had to be a point in time in which the first program arose without a pre-existing program—i.e. the first of that type had no parents.
6. Information and messages only ever originate in mind or in pre-existing messages. Never, ever are they seen to arise from spontaneous, unguided natural law and natural processes.
The programs in those first representatives of each type of organism must have originated not in natural law, but in mind.
This is totally consistent with Genesis, which teaches us that the programs for each of the original 'kind' populations, with all of their vast variation potential, arose from the mind of God at a point in time, by special, supernatural creation. These messages, written in intricate coded language, could not have written themselves, as far as real, observational science can tell us.
Once the first messages were written, they also contained instructions to make machinery with which to transmit those messages 'on down the line'. DNA, this marvellous 'message molecule', carries that special, non-material something called information, down through many generations, from its origin in the mind of God.
Similarly, in our example at the beginning, Ned could read the message which originated in the mind of Al without ever seeing him.
There is another set of messages from that Genesis Creator, namely the Bible. In the book of Romans, chapter 1, we read (vv. 18-20),
'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse'.
These verses seem even more appropriate in our day, when we have been privileged to be able to decipher some of the biological language written on DNA by the living Word, Jesus Christ the Logos Creator, during those six days of creation. The most wonderful message from the Logos, though, is surely John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life'.
1. New Scientist, November 26, 1994, p. 17.
2. Jérôme Lejeune, Anthropotes (Revista di studi sulfa persona e la famiglia), Istituto Giovanni Paolo 11, Rome, 1989, pp. 269-270.
3. Remember that each cell contains the total information—i.e. there are multiple copies of the same blueprint, one in each cell. The two-metre distance is enough to specify you.
*Actually, it is as if there were two 'strings of beads' running in parallel—the information on one is from your mother, on the other from your father. Now think of these two parallel strings cut into 23 pieces—these are your chromosomes. The beads are like alphabet letters, and the particular order of the beads is what gives the information. Individual stretches (or 'sentences') of information are called genes. Theoretically, each cell contains all the information that specifies you.
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Also research www.arn.org (http://www.arn.org)
They're a great ID site.
12-20-2003, 11:22 PM
These are all quotes from evolutionists. Usually in college texts these speculations will be brought to students as a nice neat package. It is far from that in reality. And honest evolutionists admit that.
A somewhat desperate attempt to find evidence of evolution, especially because of the ubiquitous gaps in the fossil record, has centered on supposed molecular homologies between different kinds of organisms. It has even been thought that such similarities can yield an evolutionary “clock” for relative dating of evolutionary events. Initial enthusiasm for this line of evidence, however, is largely waning because of so many contradictions in its results.
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Amato, Ivan, “Tics in the Tocks of Molecular Clocks,” Science News, vol. 131 (January 31, 1987), pp. 74-75.
“Research from a number of labs is showing that clocks based on different molecules tick at different, and often varying, rates. For instance, clocks based on a particular molecule such as ribosomal RNA sometimes run at different rates for different species. Moreover, the rates of DNA clocks based on different cellular sources of DNA can differ within the same organisms.”
“Most evolution biologists now agree that no single molecular clock is going to answer all of their questions. Ayala argues that biologists first must learn more about how and why molecular clocks vary in order to build a theory about their molecular clockworks.”
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Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (London: Burnett Books, Ltd., 1985), 368 pp. Denton is a molecular biologist and is not a creationist.
“The really significant finding that comes to light from comparing the proteins’ amino acid sequences is that it is impossible to arrange them in any sort of evolutionary series.”
“Thousands of different sequences, protein and nucleic acid, have now been compared in hundreds of different species but never has any sequence been found to be in any sense the lineal descendant or ancestor of any other sequence.”
“There is little doubt that if this molecular evidence had been available one century ago it would have been seized upon with devastating effect by the opponents of evolution theory like Agassiz and Owen, and the idea of organic evolution might never have been accepted.”
“In terms of their biochemistry, none of the species deemed ‘intermediate,’ ‘ancestral,’ or ‘primitive’ by generations of evolutionary biologists, and alluded to as evidence of sequence in nature, shows any sign of their supposed intermediate status.”
“However, as there are hundreds of different families of proteins and each family exhibits its own unique degree of interspecies variation, some greater than haemoglobin, some far less than the cytochromes, then it is necessary to propose not just two clocks but one for each of the several hundred protein families, each ticking at its own unique and highly specific rate.”
“The difficulties associated with attempting to explain how a family of homologous proteins could have evolved at constant rates has created chaos in evolutionary thought. The evolutionary community has divided into two camps—those still adhering to the selectionist position, and those rejecting it in favor of the neutralist. The devastating aspect of this controversy is that neither side can adequately account for the constancy of the rate of molecular evolution, yet each side fatally weakens the other.”
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rbrich, Paul, “On the Probability of the Emergence of a Protein with a Particular Function,” Acta Biotheoretica, vol. 34 (1985), pp. 53-80.
“Proteins with nearly the same structure and function (homologous proteins) are found in increasing numbers in phylogenetically different, even very distinct taxa (e.g., hemoglobins in vertebrates, in some invertebrates, and even in certain plants). The probability of the convergent evolution of two proteins with approximately the same structure and function is too low to be plausible, even when all possible circumstances are present which seem to heighten the likelihood of such a convergence. If this is so, then the plausibility of a random evolution of two or more different but functionally related proteins seems hardly greater.”
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Rowe, Timothy, “New Issues for Phylogenetics,” review of Molecules and Morphology in Evolution, edited by Colin Patterson (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 229 pp., Science, vol. 239 (March 4, 1988), pp. 1183-1184.
“Morphology and molecular data are congruent in indicating that and African apes are more closely related to each other than to the orang. The position of chimps is equivocal, however; amino acid sequencing links them with humans, morphology links them with gorillas, and DNA sequencing has produced ambiguous results.”
“An intriguing picture develops in this volume in which molecular and morphological phylogenies sometimes agree and sometimes not. Different philosophies and methods complicate the comparison and may themselves be responsible for much of the conflict. Nevertheless, there is general agreement that both molecular and morphological phylogenetics face similar fundamental problems and that a ‘touchstone’ has not been found.”
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e Beer, Sir Gavin, Homology, An Unsolved Problem (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 16 pp.
“What all this means is that characters controlled by identical genes are not necessarily homologous.”
“Therefore, homologous structures need not be controlled by identical genes, and homology of phenotypes does not imply similarity of genotypes.
“It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to identity of genes. The attempt to find ‘homologous genes,’ except in closely related species, has been given up as hopeless.”
“To the question, ‘Is the whole of development encoded in DNA (that is to say, in the genes)?’ the answer is ‘No.’ Whether this is applicable to ‘patterns’ in higher organisms, and whether homologous structures are controlled by non-DNA mechanisms awaits further research.”
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Jones, Steve, The Language of Genes (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 272 pp.
“Biologists have an adolescent fascination with sex. Like teenagers, they are embarrassed by the subject because of their ignorance. What sex is, why it evolved and how it works are the biggest unsolved problems in biology. Sex must be important as it is so expensive. If some creatures can manage with just females, so that every individual produces copies of herself, why do so many bother with males? A female who gave them up might be able to produce twice as many daughters as before; and they would carry all her genes. Instead, a sexual female wastes time, first in finding a mate and then in producing sons who carry only half of her inheritance. We are still not certain why males exist; and why, if we must have them at all, nature needs so many. Surely, one or two would be enough to impregnate all the females but, with few exceptions, the ratio of males to females remain stubbornly equal throughout the living world.”
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akahata, N., “A Genetic Perspective on the Origin and History of Humans,” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, vol. 26 (1995), pp. 343-372.
“Hypotheses about the origin of , genetic differentiation among human populations, and changes in population size are quantified. None of the hypotheses seems compatible with the observed DNA variation.”
“Even with DNA sequence data, we have no direct access to the processes of evolution, so objective reconstruction of the vanished past can be achieved only by creative imagination.”
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Wald, George, “Innovation in Biology,” Scientific American, vol. 199 (September 1958), pp. 100-113.
“When speaking for myself, I do not tend to make sentences containing the word God; but what do those persons mean who make such sentences? They mean a great many different things; indeed I would be happy to know what they mean much better than I have yet been able to discover. I have asked as opportunity offered, and intend to go on asking. What I have learned is that many educated persons now tend to equate their concept of God with their concept of the order of nature.”
“Science is dialectical, and of course materialist. Marx and Engels, recognizing this, attempted to formulate these qualities in the natural sciences so as to impress them upon philosophers, economists, sociologists and historians. To preach dialectical materialism to scientists is carrying coals to Newcastle.”
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Yam, Philip, “Talking Trash,” Scientific American, vol. 272 (March 1995), p 24.
“What’s in a word? Several nucleotides, some researchers might say. By applying statistical methods developed by linguists, investigators have found that ‘junk’ parts of the genomes of many organisms may be expressing a language. These regions have traditionally been regarded as useless accumulations of material from millions of years of evolution. ‘The feeling is,’ says Boston University physicist H. Eugene Stanley, ‘that there’s something going on in the noncoding region.’”
“Junk DNA got its name because the nucleotides there (the fundamental pieces of DNA, combined into so-called base pairs) do not encode instructions for making proteins, the basis for life. In fact, the vast majority of genetic material in organisms from bacteria to mammals consists of noncoding DNA segments, which are interspersed with the coding parts. In humans, about 97 percent of the genome is junk.”
“Over the past 10 years, biologists began to suspect that this feature is not entirely trivial.”
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chwabe, Christian, “On the Validity of Molecular Evolution,” Trends in Biochemical Sciences (July 1986).
“Molecular evolution is about to be accepted as a method superior to paleontology for the discovery of evolutionary relationships. As a molecular evolutionist I should be elated. Instead it seems disconcerting that many exceptions exist to the orderly progression of species as determined by molecular homologies; so many in fact that I think the exception, the quirks, may carry the more important message.”
“The early existence of some molecules of highly complex function cannot be denied and the question arises whether there are any molecules that have not already been in existence at the time of the origins of life.”
“The neo-darwinian hypothesis, in fact, allows one to interpret simple sequence differences such as to represent complex processes, namely gene duplications, mutations, deletions and insertions, without offering the slightest possibility of proof, either in practice or in principle.”
“Regrettably, there is also the pressure of creationism that seems to curb free discussions in the evolutionist’s camp.”
“The quirks that will not submit to the neo-darwinian hypothesis are telling us that life had countless origins and that the chemistry of the origins of life has produced the diversity that was to become a substrate for the evolution of biological complexity.”
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ewin, Roger, “Molecular Clocks Scrutinized,” Science (May 3, 1985), p. 571.
“Specifically, how accurate is the ‘molecular evolutionary clock?’ as Zuckerkandl and Pauling called it. Two recent papers point to potential problems for would-be users of the clock.”
“The very reasonable conclusion is that ‘using the primary structure of a single gene or protein to time evolutionary events or to reconstruct phylogenetic relations is potentially fraught with error.’”
“There is no such thing as the molecular clock: there are several, each with different attributes.”
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