CREATIONISM, Intelligent Design (I.D.) & EVOLUTION NEWS 9/30/05
Edited by Edward T. Babinski
WHOLE GENOME DUPLICATION, CREATIONISM AND I.D.
I read last year about the evidence that "whole genome duplication" had taken place not only in plants, but in two very similar but distinct species of zebra fish. Then, recently, I learned that there is now evidence that "whole genome duplication" took place at least twice in the vertebrate line. What's interesting is the evidence that remains in, say, the two species of zebra fish, one species of which has almost twice the amount of genetic material as the other one, with of course many of those duplicated genes without on-off codons, just unused pseudogene duplicates.
Anyway, please do a google search on the topic of "whole genome duplication" or WGD or zebra fish sometime, and let me know what the I.D.ists think of the evidence for this.
Also, if there is a Designer who keeps any sort of close tabs on nature, whole genomes are getting away from Him, just duplicating themselves whole, and leaving many of those duplicates unused, and in fact in the case of the two zebra fish species we know for a fact that the one with the unduplicated smaller genome gets along just fine without duplicating its whole genome as happened in the case of its close cousin.
Another favorite of mine is the evidence of chromosomal fusion seen inside Human Chromosome #2, which still even retains a remnant of the second centromere, and a reversed telomeric region INSIDE the fused chromosome (telomeres are found at the tips of chromosomes not in their MIDDLE, and they have a certain orderly direction to them, pointing outward toward the tips.) Chimps have two shorter chromosomes with a specific banding pattern that aligns quite closely with the banding patterns of the single elongated Human chromosome #2--which as I said, contains internal evidence as well, of once having been two chromosomes. So the evidence of a fusion with the sloppy leftover results still being visible inside human chromosome #2 is not contestable. It's a fact.
The problem for creationists and anyone who thinks that the Designer oversees every little wiggly thingy, is a problem that both creationists and I.D.ists can't seem to face. Though I do recall seeing Berlinski admit on The Daily Show interview two weeks ago, that he accepts evolution and also only pushes I.D. forward as an hypothesis for a FEW things in nature, not everything in nature. So is Berlinski admitting that Darwinism has some force for many things, just not all changes in nature? Looks like the creationists and I.D.ists are backing themselves into a corner. Perhaps?
23 September 2005
"Insight Into Eye Evolution Deals Blow To Intelligent Design"
How complex and physiologically remarkable structures such as the human eye could evolve has long been a question that has puzzled biologists. But in research reported this week in Current Biology, the evolutionary history of a critical eye protein has revealed a previously unrecognized link between certain components of sophisticated vertebrate eyes - like those found in humans - and those of the primitive light-sensing systems of invertebrates. The findings, from researchers at the University of Oxford, the University of London and Radboud University in The Netherlands, put in place a conceptual framework for understanding how the vertebrate eye, as we know it, has emerged over evolutionary time. Human sight relies on the ability of our eye to form a clear, focused image on the retina. Critical to this function is the eye lens and the physical properties that underlie the transparency of the lens. The eye's ability to precisely refract light is because of high concentrations of special proteins called crystallins found in lens cells.
Vertebrates such as fish, frogs, birds, humans and other mammals all experience image-forming vision because our eyes express crystallins, which helps form the lens that is needed. But our invertebrate relatives, such as sea squirts, have only simple eyes that detect light but are incapable of forming an image.
This lead to the view that the lens evolved within vertebrates early in vertebrate evolution, raising the question: How could a complex organ with such remarkable physical properties have evolved in the first place? Researcher Sebastian Shimeld from Oxford approached this question by examining the evolutionary origin of one crystallin protein family, known as the ß?-crystallins. Focusing on sea squirts, the researchers found that these creatures possess a single crystallin gene, which is expressed in its primitive light-sensing system. The identification of this single crystallin gene strongly suggests that it is the gene from which the more complex vertebrate ß?-crystallins evolved.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the finding that expression of the sea squirt crystallin gene is controlled by genetic elements that also respond to the factors that control lens development in vertebrates. This was demonstrated when regulatory regions of the sea squirt gene were transferred to frog embryos where they drove gene expression in the tadpoles' own visual system, including the lens.
The researchers say this suggests that prior to the evolution of the lens, there was a regulatory link between two tiers of genes, those that would later become responsible for controlling lens development, and those that would help give the lens its special physical properties. This combination of genes appears to have then been selected in an early vertebrate during the evolution of its visual system, giving rise to the lens.
The new findings deal a serious blow to the Intelligent Design movement which has long contended that the lack of an apparent evolutionary pathway for complex eye development indicated the presence of a supreme designer.
Ref: Current Biology, Vol. 15, pages 1684-1689, September 20, 2005. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2005.08.046
New evidence in favor of cetacean evolution, based on the evolutionary trees of the parasites that different cetacean species carry on their bodies!
Whales have "lice" whose evolutionary antecedents include crabs and shrimp and other arthropods! And the relationships of those parasites to one another also parallel the evolutionary relationships of the different cetacean species to one another!
And speaking of sea-going parasites, here's a remarkable new discovery, you've got to see the photos!
Personal Stories of Creation/Evolution
Ken MacLeod's Story
By Ken MacLeod, 2003
Ed Brayton's Story
By Ed Brayton
Steve Robertson's Story: A Case History of What Happens to a Young-earth Advocate who works in Geology
A graduate of Christian Heritage College
Steve Smith's Testimony
By Steve Smith, 1998
Wendy Wendel's Story
By Wendy Wendel
Stories of former creationists (who remained Christians after they became evolutionists)
My friend Ed Babinski communicated a note to me that you [Dr. Colling is writing this to a Wall Street Journal reporter] might be interested in talking about the difficulty that Christians have moving away from creationism and toward a more realistic view of the world.
I routinely encounter this tension myself, and while working with students at a Christian college. All their lives, the students are taught one truth. (Six day literal creation), and are told by well-meaning parents and pastors that rejection of evolution is essential to the Christian faith.
But then these same young people go to college (even a Christian college)and discover an entirely different truth, one that seems on the surface to be diametrically opposed what they have been taught by those people they most trust. Alas, as a result of this dilemma, the students often experience intense personal pain in relationships with their loved ones, and profound confusion regarding their faith.
For me personally, the greatest task of teaching at a Christian college is not to convince or persuade creationists that evolution is true: The reality of evolution is apparent to anyone who cares to take a serious look. (Unfortunately, most don't look!)
Rather, the greatest challenge is to dismantle the flawed premise that says that understanding in science and belief in God are mutually exclusive, and to provide students with a learning environment where students can effectively learn how life truly functions without feeling that they must discard their faith.
I am not sure what direction you are considering with this Gautam, but if you need some help, I will help. We need to do a better job of communicating a message of integration, not continuing the same old "us vs. them" story that seems to get the headlines most of the time. Science and faith are fully compatible.
On a different, but related note, I have another idea for an article.
Does a potential solution to the entire creation/evolution, science/faith, public school teaching controversy sound interesting?
It is Random Design, and comes from the book, Random Designer - Created from Chaos to Connect with the Creator. Sharon Begley (from your WSJ) wrote about it last December from the perspective of teaching evolution at a Christian college, but no one from the national media has yet written about the concept itself. If you have interest, I can help you understand the concept and would be interested in talking with you further.
In my view, the only solution to science/faith, creation/evolution controveries that has a prayer (sorry) of bringing people together is one that acknowledges the world as it really is, while providing a permanent place at the table for the existence of a Creator.
Over 25 years in biology education at a Christian college, Random Design is the only mechanism I see that accomplishes this objective effectively.
If you need some input for your story idea, and/or if you have interest in pursuing this second direction, please let me know. I have written opinion editorials for the Chicago Sun Times and York Dispatch (Dover, Pa. Intelligent Design court case), been interviewed by NPR and Christian Networks Journal. I am currently working on writing additional articles for the Christian audiences, the national science education crowd (to address the intelligent (or not so intelligent) design issue), and would also like to communicate with general audiences such as those of the WSJ as well. I will also be writing the feature book article for Science and Theology News that will go to press in December.
Richard G. Colling
Richard G. Colling Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Olivet Nazarene University
J. Scott tried setting up a pro-creationist answer but instead wound up leaving the creationist fold, here is his story
Luke Wenke lwenke/hotmail.com was a young-earth creationist in college and had created a website to battle evolution. Below is Luke's letter to Answers in Genesis in which he mentioned my name and the influence that a packet of geologist's reports I sent him on the Green River formation, had upon him. Sarfati of Answers in Genesis wrote Luke a long letter urging him to reconsider the fact that what had been sent to him in that packet of materials was from an "apostate," and should not be heeded, only the word of God should be heeded. But Luke was not convinced by the arguments of Jonathan Sarfati of Answers in Genesis.
"Dear Answers in Genesis, I see you have a link to my creation-evolution website, 'Dirt or Slime?' on your 'Noah's Ark Site Chronology' page. I just killed that site today, so you should take that link off, because my pages no longer exist. About 2 months ago I became convinced that the earth is millions of years old by the Green River formation. I was sent material from a former young-earther (Ed Babinski) which included responses from creationists. Your article in Creation magazine raises no further evidence. Except that a hurricane left 6 inches of deposits. The formation is several hundred feet! It has dark and light layers and there are even layers with animal tracks and thin volcanic ash layers. There are 6 million layers and I think that means a layer every second or so, across many miles, if the Flood was true, etc. An old earth makes a lot more sense..."
Robert A. Moore, former young-earth creationist [his personal story about leaving the fold is in Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists], wrote a little booklet chock full of arguments against the literal interpretation of Noah's Flood. His arguments remain a thorn in the side of modern day creationists like Woodmorappe who go to great pains to try and sloth them off, to little avail.
Interesting also is the fairly recent story of a biology prof. hired by Wheaton College (Billy Graham's alma mater, and the "Harvard" of Evangelicalism), whose contract was apparently not renewed at Wheaton because he was too strongly pro-evolution, and didn't pay enough respect to the "modified dirt" hypothesis of the creation of man as relayed in the Bible. His case was mentioned in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I can send his name and other info on request.
DR. TERRY GRAY
Terry Gray (biochemist, tried for heresy in a very conservative denomination for writing that God used evolution). Material on Terry Gray's trial.