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Friday, November 21, 2008

Earth to Darwin fans: Building things up is way more trouble than destroying them

In "When Fossil Genes Become Fossilized Rhetoric", 11 05 08) Robert Deyes recounts the trouble an evolutionary biologist named Sean Carroll went to in order to demonstrate that evolution occurs without design or purpose - largely demonstrating the opposite:
There are no grounds for assuming that the processes through which genes might degrade are the same processes through which they could be built up (Ref 1). In simple terms, genes are long stretches of DNA that carry the information necessary to code for the production of functional proteins. Intelligent design theorists claim that a piece-meal assembly of information-rich genes using the basic building blocks of DNA exceeds the capacities of Darwinian selection and is better explained by appealing to the activity of an intelligent agent (Refs 3,4). If anything, this very principle should have been Carroll's first point of contention if he was to say anything against ID. From a philosophical perspective the possibility remains that a designer may have supplied an organism with more genetic information than may have been needed for life- what one may call an "all the options, all the bells and whistles" approach. Such a designer could have been interested in placing non-functional genes in the genome for a future role in his or her design. We all install software into our computers that may not be operational until some later date when we finally choose to use it. Computers can now be accurately scheduled to start a process at a specified instant in the future, similarly to the programming of a recording on a video-recorder.
Deyes follows up with a discussion of the "living fossil"fish, the coelacanth, noting:
The finding of the first coelacanth in 1938 was hailed as a breakthrough in the evolutionary saga for it appeared that here paleontologists had a 'living fossil' upon which to closely study the internal, soft anatomy of a supposed rhipidistian relative (Ref 7). Named after its discoverer Marjorie Courney-Latimer, the story of the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) was from the beginning one that was filled with suspense and political intrigue (Ref 7-8). Its internal biology proved to be no less fascinating for it showed no clear cut evidence of having been intermediate for a terrestrial environment and thus was far from what would be expected for a terrestrial ancestor (Ref 7). While its fins were admittedly 'limb like', it had no backbone. Instead it displayed a notochord- a hollow tube filled with oil that ran from the brain to the tail (Ref 7). Some organs were similar to those of sharks and rays while other parts of the soft anatomy, such as vena cava which brings blood back to the heart, resembled those of land animals (Ref 7). The heart itself was extremely fish-like, lacking the right and left division that is characteristic of all land animals. Curiously the coelacanth revealed a number of specialized organs such as a gel-filled cavity in the nose thought to be responsible for detecting electrical impulses from potential prey. The overall picture was not, as many had hoped, unarguably indicative of a terrestrial precursor Indeed, if the internal biology of the rhipidistians had in any way resembled that of the coelacanth then they too would have been far removed from the sea-to-land transition (Ref 7).

Nevertheless, the picture of the coelacanth as a window into life's aquatic origins was heavily publicized (Ref 7). Darwinists supplied a simple exit from the inconsistencies in the data. They claimed that while its outward appearance had changed little over its 400 million year existence, its internal anatomy must have evolved such that its intermediary status between fish and tetrapods was no longer recognizable. Thus the uncertain nature of the coelacanth's soft anatomy was precisely what we would expect to see from a long period of internal evolution (Ref 7). Needless to say, such a proposition was unsupported by any evidence and was merely designed to fit into the pre-conceived model of vertebrate evolution. Indeed paleontologist Niles Eldredge admits that living fossils, such as the coelacanth are today, "something of an embarrassment" for the evolutionary picture (Ref 9, p.108).
The only really uninteresting fossil is the rhtoric, the endless attempts to shore up a failing theory. Oh and, by the way, the "fossil fish" is a live bearer. I remember when live bearing was a sign of more advanced, modern life forms ...

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:

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