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intelligentdesign

Intelligent Design, Creationism and Evolution in Denmark and the rest of the world


Comments to various articles on the AiG webpage

Click here for going back to the main page about AiG.
Look here for comments on more articles
Look here for comments on articles on the Cambrian Explosion

Scroll down to see comments to more articles.


The Video ’You hear this one a lotLink

The content of the video can be comprised to two statements:

Statement # 1:
”There is no known observable process by which new genetic information can be added to the genetic code. None.” 

Statement #2:
”Never has it been observed that life could come from non-life.”

#1:There is no polite way to respond to this. It is simply a lie.
There are multiple forms of mutations. One is duplications, where a string of DNA, during the replication process, is duplicated. If there is a gene in the string of DNA duplicated, the ancestors of the organism in question will have two identical copies of that gene.
That in itself does not add new information. To obtain that, another kind of mutation has to take place in one of the copies. There are several possibilities. Let’s focus on one: point mutation.

A point mutation changes one entity of DNA (called a nucleotide or a base) to another. There are four different nucleotides, conventionally called A, T, C and G, so for each of them there are three possible mutations.

If a mutation - or rather a number of them - are to result in new information in any meaningful version of ’information’, the gene in question must gain some new function, beneficial to the organism.

One great example of a gene that have evolved within the last few decades, is ’Nylonase’, a Nylon-degrading enzyme. Some Nylonases are so different from their ancestral gene, that they have completely lost their original function, and are now only about 50 % homologous to the gene from which it originated.
The reason that I started with a duplication is that this process ensures that the original genetic information is preserved. Otherwise, you could argue that there is no way to multiply the genetic content of an organism.


The following is a short review of the most important parts of a paper in Annual Reviews of Genetics.

the full text paper can beseen here. (Rather technical. Look here if you need some basics in genetics)

Several processes can lead to new genes. It should be noted that often more than one of the processes are involved. E.g. duplication of a gene result in one copy of the gene being free to acquire a new function by whatever means available.

Gene duplication
This involves both duplication of DNA and so-called retro-duplication via RNA.

Retro-duplication is the transcription of RNA into DNA (Reverse transcription) and insertion of the DNA-sequence into the genome.
Retro-duplicated genes can be recognized by their lack of introns and the presence of 3’-poly-A.

Duplication can involve anything from short sequences of DNA to entire genomes in the process of polyploidization. After polyploidization most genes has been shown to lose their function, but up to 30 % have been shown to retain their function or acquire new function due to some of the processes mentioned below.

Changing existing genes
The simplest process is point mutations in existing genes, resulting in new functions.
Another possibility is Exon shuffling, where exons from one gene is combined with exons from one or more other genes. Loss of exons also can lead to new functions.
Frame-shift mutations normally only will affect one exon, and therefor can result in slightly altered proteins with a new function.

Alternative splicing of mRNA from an existing gene, result in a new amino acid sequences, which also can have new function.

De novo genes
A formerly non-transcribed DNA sequence can mutate into transcribed sequence, translated to a protein. In rare occasions as a functional protein.
Some of these genes originate from transcriped but not translated DNA-sequences. Socalled ncRNA is non-coding RNA, an RNA molecule transcriped from DNA, but not translated into protein. Mutations in the DNA can result in tranlation and therefor production of a protein.
Most such genes are, when newly formed, short, and with less specific tree dimentional structure, than older genes. The diagram illustrates the size of de novo genes found in apes.
(ref: Xie et al. PLoS Genetics Vol. 8 Iss. 9)

 

Horizontal gene-transfer
This is the tranfer of a DNA sequence from one organism to another. Especially in bacteria horizontal gene-transfer have great importance in the evolution of the genome. In Eukaryotes it is rare and in higher organisms it is still controversial of it ever occurs.

Non-coding RNA
A pseudogene, a gene that has lost its function due to mutation, can result in a functional, though not translated RNA-molecule. Often such RNAs has a gene-regulating function.

New regulation of existing genes
If duplication result in a gene in a new sequence-environment, it can be placed near to a promoter that guides the expression of the gene in a new way, resulting in a different function, e.g. in another organ or at a different time in development.

Transportable elements (TEs)
TEs can lead to duplication of genes or can be incorporated into existing genes, thereby changing their function or regulation.

The conclusion is that there is a number of ’known observable process[es] by which new genetic information can be added to the genetic code’.

#2
Implicit in the statement is that ’life’ means ’cellular life’. Otherwise, the statement makes no sense.
That is absolutely correct - but irrelevant.
Origin-of-life theories have long concentrated on something much more simple than cellular life.
The RNA-World hypothesis states that the first replicating entity was a single RNA-molecule. And therefor much more simple than a living cell.
I am working on the details of how far the research into the RNA-world has come.
Look here.
 

 

 

The Video 'Does evolution have a - chance' Link

Mike Riddle.

This is close to being the worst example of manipulation I have seen on the AiG-webpage.
Riddle tries to disprove evolution by leaving out evolution. A typical straw-man argument.

There is not one single piece of relevant information in the video. Actually it can only be made by a person who knows absolutely nothing about biology in general and evolution in particular.
(Leaving out the possibility that Riddle simply is a lier)

The video tries to establish that protein sequences cannot have come along by chance, because the probability is too small.
Riddle calculates the probability of a protein of 100 amino acids being constructed by chance and ends up with a number so small that it rules out the probability that this would occur by chance.
Calculations are correct - but irrelevant.
It builds on the assumption that only one single amino acid sequence would do to form a specific protein. But whenever you sequence the same protein from two different (not too closely related) organisms, you end up with different sequences. Evidently a protein can vary a lot in its amino acid sequence, and still have the same function. Actually in some proteins, examples have been found that are so different that it is very difficult to find any similarity at all. And still the proteins have the same function. Look here for confirmation of this.
This fact makes the calculations presented irrelevant and misleading.
Also when a protein with a specific function makes its
first appearence, it is most likely very inefficient. This opens up for even more possible variation in sequence. There are so many other ways to be bad at doing something, than there is to be good at it.
The 'Handedness' problem have been solved otherwise. Certain clay minerals have been shown to sort between differently handed amino acids, resulting i an environment with only one sort.

Mike Riddle is a mathematician. He should know how to be careful in such calculations.
Either Riddle knows what he is doing, in which case it is no better than lying.
Or he does not know what he is doing, and the AiG should not use him.

During the video, he also lures you into thinking that 'Origin of Life' and 'The First Cell' is the very same thing. It is not. look here.

He also calculates how long it would take to assemble the human body one cell at the time. I honestly never understood why he does this. It is so utterly irrelevant to anything having to do with evolution that it can only be seen as pure manipulation.

See more comments here.

 

 

Two Articles by Dr. Snelling:

#1 Radiometric Dating: Problems with Assumptions Link
#2 Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth Link

Article #1

Assumption # 1
Geologists do not assume there were no Argon-40 atoms when the lava rocks formed. They assume that they can calculate the number of Argon-40 atoms by measuring the other isotopes, and assuming a certain ratio of total Argon was Argon-40.

Assumption # 2
Contamination can be dealt with in much the same way as original content. Leaking of Ar-40 will result in lower dates.

Assumption # 3
Decay rates can only change if the forces and constants that result in decay change!
This is also mentioned in this article.
Two such forces and constants are the strong nuclear force and the charge of the proton. But that interferes with ‘fine-tuning’. Fine-tuning states all forces and constants of nature have to be vary precisely tuned to their present day size, otherwise life would be impossible.
You cannot have it both ways. Either we have fine-tuning and no change in decay-rates, or we have changes in decay-rates and no fine-tuning!

 

Article #2

1: This is only relevant if you accept the Biblical timescale.

2: Different methods reveal different dates. Some of this is expected. K-Ar does not measure the time form the actual volcanic eruption, but from the last heating of the material, which could in some cases be long after the eruption.

3: I don’t know what the scientific explanation is. My impression is that scientist does not pay much attention to this phenomenon, but whether that is because they cannot explain it, or because it has been explain and course no problem, I simply do not know.

4: C-14 in coal is well understood. Remains form living organisms contain Nitrogene. N-14 is converted to C-14 when hit by Beta-rays formed by radioactive decay in the surrounding rocks.

5: this is essentially the same ‘argument’ as Assumption # 3 in the above article.

6: Reference to Genesis 1. Of no scientific impact.

Three crucial assumptions: The same as in the above article.

The last paragraph refer to ‘Much research, even reported in conventional scientific literature’ But why then are there no references?
I guess that the explanation is that these papers actually explain the apparent discrepancy between the measured and known ages. And AiG doesn’t want people to know these explanations.

 

Wyoming Cave Traps Animals from the Ice Age until the Space Age Link
By Elizabeth Mitchell

This article actually contains strong evidence that the creation story is wrong.
The cave in question contains lots of different animals. The article mentions: bison, wolf, cheetah, birds, lizards, and snakes.
Besides that this source (link) mentions: mammoth, bear, lemming, lion, and camel.
And this source (link) mentions: pikas, jackrabbits, foxes, weasels, deer, and sheep.
Now, how can this information become evidence that the creation story is wrong?
Because something is missing. Dinosaurs (and everything else older than a few tens of thousands of years)!
If the creation myth was correct, all kinds of now extinct animals, including dinosaurs, should have walked the ground above the cave. But none are found, except what can be expected if evolution is correct.
The cave is positioned in Bighorn Mountains. In the same area, lots of dinosaur fossils have been found (source). Why is there none in the cave? The answer science offers is simple: the cave didn’t exist 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs went extinct.

This is actually a statistical argument. If so and so many animals fell into the cave what is the chance that not a single dinosaur would be represented, given that  they actually waked the ground above the cave.

A simple example:
Even if the probability of a dinosaur (or other long gone species) falling into the cave vs. other species falling into it is as low as 1:1000 the probability that not a single dinosaur would be found is about 1:10 trillion, given that 30,000 specimens has been found (according to this article).
Given that so many specimens were found, it is rediculous to postulate that there were any
long gone species in the area during the time the cave has existed.
(1/0.999^30000 or use a binomial distribution to do the calculation)

 

Biological Evolution Link

Roger Patterson (2011)

There are many unsolved difficulties with the picture of creation and evolution offered in this article.

’In order to turn an amoeba into an ape, there has to be an increase in genetic information.’

Right, and several observed phenomenon explain how this can happen. Look up the comments to: the video 'You here this one a lot'.

’The fossil record is not the result of gradual change ”¦’
Then why are ALL the fossils in the oldest rocks so strange. Most Ediacaran fossils cannot even be associated with a specific phylum. Very few Cambrian fossils looks like anything living today.
Today angiosperms are everywhere. Why are there terrestrial fossil bearing layers without angiosperms, and why do these correlate with layers only having fossils from amphibians or primitive reptiles?

’There was no death in God’s “very good” creation.’ What then would have happened if this had been going on for more than a few years? Earth would have been crowded with animals, reproducing but not dying.

’Experiments like those performed by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey are used to explain how life evolved from a primordial soup.’ Miller and Urey worked in the 50’th. Hundreds of papers about the Origin of Life have been published since then. The modern theory of the origin of life is a very detailed one, and some of the processes it involves has been shown in great detail. Look here.

’”¦ a mechanism for adding new information, is also assumed to exist - even though it has never been observed.’ As stated aboove, this is simply not true.

’individuals within a kind may have lost the ability (information) to interbreed due to the effects of the Curse.’ Is that supposed to be an explanation?

’”¦ the Cambrian Explosion. At this point in the fossil record, supposedly 540 million years ago, all of the major body plans of organisms appear quite suddenly.’
The Cambrian explosion is admitted to be a mystery by all scientist working in the field. However, the Article exaggerates. The Ediacaran fauna is older than the Cambrian, and includes possible species from both Cnidaria and Mollusca. A number of Phylae is not known from Cambrium but only from later periods.
In addition, note that most of the Cambrian fauna is extinct. Not what you would expect if it lived only a few thousand years ago. Exactly what you would expect if it lived more than 500 mill. years ago.

’Missing from the layers of rock, at any level, are the transitional forms ”¦’ No they are not.
But instead of listing transitional forms I will challenged the author (a link to this page has been send to him), and everybody that read this.
Come up with a description of what a transitional form between major groups of animals should look like from an evolutionary point of view.

’Despite the fact that the ancestors often appear higher in the rock layers than their descendants, the status of transition is claimed.’ Tiktaalik and other transitional forms are not claimed to be ancestors of anything. They show how some of the details of the actual ancestor could have looked. There is nothing contradictory in an animal, having a transitional anatomy, living later than the more ’advanced’ animals.
If a species is the ancestor of the more ’advanced’ form, it can at the same time be the ancestor of a species that maintain the more primitive character.

’Those [dinosaur] fossils that have feathers have been shown to be frauds or identified as true birds.’ This is simply not true. It wasn’t true in 2011 and it is even less true today. Creationists does not accept the feathered dinosaurs because they contradict their worldview. Not because they have any solid facts to lean on. I sincerely doubt that Patterson or any of the AiG staff have ever studied the fossil of a feathered dinosaur themselves.

’”¦ [Without Chritianity] there is no basis for what is right and wrong ”¦’ Two things:
First: The feeling that you know right from wrong can be the result of evolution. Stated simple you could ask ’Which group of people would thrive the best? One whose members help each other. Or one where no one would help another member?’ I think the answer is clear. That is the evolutionary basis for morality.
Second: the Christian ‘morality’ is homophobic, which is bad morality.

 

Danger No 8: Misinterpretation of Reality Link

Dr. Werner Gitt

A number of false statements are central in the article:

1: No natural process which resulted in information forming automatically in matter has ever been observed.
- This is simply not true. Look at
this (full text here) description of production of random, functional RNAs.

2: No transition from one basic kind to another has ever been observed.
- If he is looking for transitions within a few hundred years or so, he has simply not understood evolution.

3: The “hypercycle theory” ”¦ explaining the origin of the first life, has never been verified.
- Look here for information on ’Origin of Life’ theories.

4: The frequently quoted transitional forms ”¦
- Why is an animal with feathers as a bird and a bony tail like a dinosaur not a transitional form?

 

The Principles of Science Theory link

Dr. Werner Gitt

P1: Every theory requires basic assumptions (a priori postulates).
In science, this is basically: A scientific theory should not refer to the supernatural.
The reason is for this is simple. Allowing for miracles will be compatible with any observation.
Also: We can basically trust our senses, as long as we are aware that they are not perfect.
In evolution, we have such assumptions as:
Natural selection result in change in gene frequencies!
New genetic information can be added to a genome by natural processes!
These are NOT basic assumptions. They can be put to the test. They have, and they survived.

P2: The basic assumptions are arbitrary postulates.

P3: The initial postulates must be mutually consistent and should be free from inherent contradictions.

P4: When competing theories contradict one another (apart from errors in measurement and observations), the fault is not to be sought in the facts, but in differences in the basic postulates.

P5: The basic postulates may be objectively criticized and even rejected. The quality of the basic assumptions of two competing systems determines the practical success of the ensuing theories.

P6: If a theory is successful, it does not follow that it is correct.
In principal, most scientists agree. However, sometimes a theory have survived so many tests that no one bother to test it anymore. E.g. Earth IS a globe! And it DOES orbit the sun!

P7: An empirical scientific system must allow experimentation. Referring to falsifiability.
Evolution is falsifiable. If evolution is true, all of life should fall into a common ‘Chinese box’ system. Groups within groups. I e.g. an organism was found that resemble one group in some anatomical detail, but another in another anatomical detail, evolution would not be able to account for that, given the details in question were sufficiently complicated to rule out chance.

P8: It is necessary to distinguish between structural and exact sciences on the one hand, and historical-interpretive sciences on the other hand. Here of course they cannot cite Popper. Because it is simply not general true. Theories within ‘historical science’ can be tested, if stated sufficiently bold.

P9: In contrast to the theorems of the structural sciences (mathematics, informatics), no theorems of the experimental sciences can be proved.

P10: A theory can only be advanced if an example that can be practically duplicated (by experiment or observation), is available.
Contrary to what creationist claim, evolution does stand up to this requirement
.
Lenski’s experiment is a brilliant example. Several of the parallel E. coli cultures showed similar evolutionary trends.

P11: A theory must allow predictions.
If evolution is true, every time a new organism has it genes sequenced it should show more homology to organisms that it has, unequivocally, been group with based on anatomy, than to other groups of organisms. Of course allowing, as always, for statistical uncertainty.
Several predictions in the same general line of argument could be put forward.

 


Cambrian Explosion or Creation Week ... Link

By Elizabeth Mitchell

The Cambrian explosion is a real problem to evolutionary theory, but the article exaggerates it. Why does the article only mention sponges as examples of pre-Cambrian animals, and not Jellyfish, Kimberella (probably an early mollusk), Arkarua (probably and early echinoderm), or Spriggina and Parvancorina (probably early arthropods)? The answer is easy: It could give the impression of pre-Cambrian evolution that is unwanted from a creationist point of view.
Such inacuracy is not much better than a direct lie.
The fact that these pre-Cambrian animals often are difficult to fit into present day phylae could be a hint that they are forerunners of those groups, and not yet have evolved the anatomical features, now defining the phylae.

Dr. Mitchell never comes near what a mystery the Cambrian fossils must be to a creationist: Why are there so many animals that are unfamiliar to us today, and none that belong to precent day species?
Actually, this problem penetrates all of the fossil record. Just one example: Flowering plants are found in all modern terrestrial ecosystems. Why do they only appear late in the fossil record? Why are there none found together with early amphibians (which themselves are very different from present day amphibians)?

 

Attempts to trace Life back to Chemical Origins ... link
Water World theory of Life's Origins ... link
Secret of life ...  link

By Elizabeth Mitchell

There is actually not much to say about these and other AiG articles about the origin of life.
They all repeat the same destructive view on science: If you cannot explain everything, you cannot explain anything.
Had AiG existed in the days of Newton, Dr. Mitchell would probably have complained about the lack of explanation to how an object can influence another on distance, through empty space. What a ridiculous thought, when everybody knows that God's finger holds everything in the right place.
Also she could complain that Newton hadn't actually seen earth orbiting the sun.

 

Caffeine: Convergently Evolved or Creatively Provided Link

By Elizabeth Mitchell

This is just a draft version. I have to look into the details to be more specific. Look again later if you are interested, and it will be much more informative.

Fortunately the paper in question is freely available here.
Look at fig. 2C.

The three groups of genes in the figure correspond to the three species involved (Coffee, Tee and Cocoa)
This means that the genes referred to as XMT, MXMT and DXMT actually has more homology within species than within gene-function.

To clarify this:
XMT from coffee are more homologous to MXMT and DXMT from coffee, that it is to XMT from Tee and Cocoa.

This pattern (evidence for evolution is almost always about pattern) is exactly what you would expect if the pathway to coffein-production evolved de novo in each of the three species.
In coffee, starting with the coffee-version of XMT, and the two others evolving from that version.
In tee, starting with the tee-version of XMT, and the two others evolving from that version.
De novo evolution of the pathway is what you should expect when you have lots af species, closely related to each of three, that do NOT produce coffein.

Everything fits very nicely to the expectations from evolution.

From a creationist point of view, the expectation (if you can talk about expectations in creation) would be that the same genes were used in all three species. Why bother to make so many different versions of genes that have the same function!

 


Fast evolution:
Purring Cats and Roaring Tigers (Link)
Giant Panda's Vegetarian Plight: An Evolutionary Dilemma? (Link)

On AiG, we are told that Cats and Bears can evolve at an astoundingly fast rate.
Domestic cats and Tigers have a common ancestor 4400 years ago. So have the Panda and the Polar Bear. Or so we are told.
Ironically it takes a strong believe in evolution to be a creationist!

 


Opdateret 21/10/2015