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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Excitable DNA: Could design have predicted that?

Here, Jonathan McLatchie comments on the new finding of the “excited state” of the double helix:
An interesting paper published in Nature by Evgenia et al. documents the ability of the DNA double helix to exist in a functional alternative form for 1% of the time, called an "excited state." What does this mean for neo-Darwinism?

[ ... ]

As the papers' authors suggest, those results may imply that the DNA molecule is responsible for coding for excited state Hoogsteen base pairs as a means by which it can expand its structural complexity beyond that which it is able to achieve through classical Watson-Crick base-pairing.

If this prediction is correct, then it succeeds in adding a whole additional layer to the information enigma. This, of course, raises the pertinent issue of whether this discovery sits more comfortably with a neo-Darwinian paradigm or with an ID paradigm. Since neo-Darwinism, to date, may be considered to be demonstrably impotent to account for that specific property of living systems -- namely, information -- I would be inclined to significantly favour the latter.
Okay, but - what Jonathan and others need is to make successful predictions in advance. That’s what gets people’s attention.

Fact is, neo-Darwinism is a shambles, except for the taxpayer and the friendly judge. And for that very reason any fact, fiction, or nonsense can be cited as supporting it. Successful advance predictions are one of the few ways to break through in such cases.

This is the sort of thing I mean:
The 3 fundal height measurement techniques studied were: a tape measure method that included the upper curve of the uterine fundus in the measurement; a second tape technique that did not include the upper curve; and a caliper technique measuring from the symphysis pubis to the uterine fundus. Blank tapes were used so that clinicians were blinded and the numerical markings on the caliper were concealed with tape. Fundal height measurements were obtained in succession using the 3 techniques and each was obtained twice by 2 different examiners. The clinician marked the tape with ink at the appropriate point and, once all of the measurements had been obtained, the data collection material was placed in a sealed envelope until all of the participants had been assessed.


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