Gene Avatars: The Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution

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ID is continually hung up on analogies to human design to drive its argument forward, a logical tactic recognised as flawed by philosopher David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and by many subsequent philosophers thereafter, but it's hard to look at the world of designs humans have produced without coming across some truly terrible ones. A car designed by yours truly would probably be grossly inefficient, considering I know next to nothing about mechanical engineering - but it'd still be designed. Why should we expect that life on Earth, if it were designed, to be any better than my bloated, hypothetical car?

ID proponents go out of their way to deny that the Designer they have in mind is necessarily a perfect, all-powerful deity, which quite obviously leaves the doors open to any old extraterrestrial species with a bureaucratic tendency to design lifeforms by committee to share the explanatory podium with the ID proponent's God of choice.

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It may sound like a concept straight from the work of Douglas Adams, but the point is no less meaningful because of it. If the Designer they hypothesise could have any level of competence, why should they expect that junk DNA does indeed have a function? It's not a question I've ever heard answered satisfactorily. From the same post on Evolution News and Views :. Moreover, it can no longer seriously be maintained that intelligent design is a science stopper: under an intelligent design approach to investigating non-coding DNA, the false presumptions of Neo-Darwinism might have been avoided.

But does evolutionary biology - here deemed "the Neo-Darwinian paradigm" - predict the opposite, that genomes should be rife with junk? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is a bit more complex. ID proponents use the term "Neo-Darwinism" to mean modern evolutionary theory, but the term is rarely used by modern evolutionary biologists to refer to the current state of their field.

Before the s and 70s, Neo-Darwinism, which emphasised the role of natural selection above all other processes, was indeed the dominant view of evolution, and given its tendency towards panselectionism that all aspects of organisms have been fine-tuned by selection , the idea that some genomes contained significant amounts of junk DNA was considered highly implausible, if not impossible. In the s and 70s however, appreciation of the power of neutral non-adaptive evolution grew, and it soon became clear that non-functional DNA sequences could accumulate in genomes under certain conditions.

Relics of Eden : the powerful evidence of evolution in human DNA in SearchWorks catalog

Add increased knowledge of the composition of genomes and today, amongst biologists with a good understanding of population genetics and nearly-neutral evolutionary theory, the idea that junk DNA is common in many genomes is uncontroversial and in many ways expected, although the exact amount of junk we should expect is still being debated. Back to the quoted statement above from the Discovery Institute. This is a sneaky trick. Geneticists have long known that some of the DNA that doesn't code for proteins must have roles, at the very least, in regulating when and where genes turn on and off.

Other DNA sequences, which aren't transcribed, are necessary for chromosome structure, DNA replication and cell division. All of these discoveries took place against a background of evolutionary thought - it's extremely dishonest for ID proponents to characterise evolution as opposing exciting discoveries in molecular genetics over the last 60 years.

But even if it were true that most of the human genome is functional, it wouldn't provide any good evidence for ID, even if it would force biologists to rethink ideas about the evolutionary origins of genome structure and composition. Evidence against a specific version of evolution isn't evidence for design. ID still has to own up to the fact that it won't get anywhere as a scientific hypothesis without evidence or respect for its opposition. While the Discovery Institute's unscientific output is grossly inaccurate, the ID movement luckily has very little to no influence in the scientific realm.

However, the real problem is at the school and household level, where students and the general public have a significant deal of exposure to the ideas of creationists through churches, the Internet and word of mouth. Scientists and science communicators have a responsibility to put accurate, pro-science messages on topics such as ENCODE and evolutionary biology into the public sphere through traditional media outlets and the Internet, in order to counter the ID movement's attempts at misinformation.

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Aa Aa Aa. Of the handful of blogs that continue to push ID forward, Evolution News and Views is the most active and, unsurprisingly, has had the most to say about ENCODE - although strangely, it has barely commented on criticism of the project's conclusions: "We will have more to say about these blockbuster findings from ENCODE researchers in coming days, but for now, let's simply observe that it provides a stunning vindication of the prediction of intelligent design that the genome will turn out to have mass functionality for so-called "junk" DNA.

From the same post on Evolution News and Views : "It seems beyond dispute that the Neo-Darwinian paradigm led to a false presumption that non-coding DNA lacks function, and that this presumption has resulted in real-world negative consequences for molecular biology and even for medicine.

September 22, PM. It's easy to overlook or disregard that the scientific literature is distorted and just plain lied about by ID proponents and others. Most scientists don't care enough to read the ID literature I don't , but in fact a lot of people are seeing current science news through the ID filter.

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Email your Friend. May 27, Fish Skin Band-Aids: a natural way to speed wou This observation may include the prebiotic systems in which life emerged. Our claim is that Nature processes information continuously. This means that even beyond living entities, we can see messages and decoding procedures.

Nature can be said to send messages to its own future and then to decode them. Nature "talks" to itself! The systematic organization of messages suggests that, in some respects, we should even speak of the "languages" of Nature.

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Les Sciences humaines sont-elles des sciences de l'homme? Book 3 editions published in in French and held by 63 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Fabriquer le vivant? En particulier, sur la reproduction qui leur permet de se dupliquer ou de faire des petits… www. Audience Level.

Related Identities. It has no desire to help evolve smarter animals. As this is the case, it is wrong to imagine that natural selection will preserve organisms with more potentially advanced traits over organisms with less potentially advanced traits, if the former traits do not confer a survival advantage right now.

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It therefore does nothing to reduce the improbability of more complex biology arising in the future. Secondly, the same old problem of generation vs. Even if natural selection somehow selected for more potentially advanced traits and organisms, it would not have produced them. It would simply allow them a platform to exist. But whether that potential evolution actually takes place depends on whether the relevant creative mechanism can generate the more complex biology. Yet again, we return to the key point that natural selection is not a creative process — it is only a culling process.

Fostering the public’s understanding and acceptance of evolution

Why life?' Questions of this type were for a long time the prerogative of philosophers who left the `how' question to scientists. Nowadays, Darwin's successors no. ykoketomel.ml: Gene Avatars: The Neo-Darwinian Theory Of Evolution ( ) by Pierre-Henri Gouyon and a great selection of similar New, Used.

It can only select what already exists. Thus the search for evolutionary explanation lives and dies on its creative mechanism. There is a growing minority of dissidents who recognise the poverty of explanation offered by mainstream evolutionary biology:. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change [which] led to new species.

I believed it until I looked for evidence. Without variation and novelty, selection has nothing to act upon. For that, we must draw on all of science. They would have us believe that the mindless genes create, and a formless, impersonal law of natural selection selects. At the same time however, they dismiss the issue of genes as though taken for granted and subjugate them to the authority of natural selection. Thus they unite the two functions which have to be treated as separate, combining them in a most absurd manner.

If genes recede into an inconspicuous position as creators, what is left into the bargain is merely a selector which admittedly has no mind with a conscious decision-making faculty. Genes thus pushed aside, natural selection is the only factor which remains in the field.

Neo-Lamarckism

In this sense the separate functions of creation and selection are moulded, without justification, into one. However, no scientist with the slightest idea of what Darwin propounds can attribute to him the claim that natural selection could also directly create. There has to be some creation before natural selection can begin to work. It is this dilemma which the proponents of natural selection can never resolve. The realisation that natural selection is not a creative force is extraordinarily significant. It means that even if Darwin was right about species forming by incremental change over long periods of time, natural selection cannot be held as responsible for these changes.

In reality, it did nothing. There is not a single biological feature in the history of evolution that was produced by natural selection. Every biological feature must have been produced by a creative process, which selection is not. The immense fine-tuning of organisms to their environment cannot be ascribed to natural selection, it can only be ascribed to the process which produced them. This has a profound effect on our broader view of evolution. It means that the displacement of Intelligent Guidance from evolutionary history rests on rocky ground.

Richard Dawkins once wrote:. But in their fervour to intellectually fulfil themselves, Dawkins and his colleagues seem to have fundamentally misunderstood natural selection. If natural selection cannot account for the appearance of any biological trait, the question arises — is the design hypothesis back on the table? Working our way up from the bottom, we see that genetic heredity only describes how traits which already exist are inherited; natural selection describes how already-existing organisms live or die; only random variation remains.

This surely, is the engine of evolution, the true creative process which generates new biology. For if it can be shown that undirected natural processes random variation can give rise to the stunning diversity of life we see today, then there is no need for recourse to a Design explanation. If they cannot, design remains the default explanation. The God Delusion p. Kindle Edition. Pearson Education.

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