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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (12)

I don’t know enough about the Intelligent Design movement to recommend this site unreservedly. I’ve seen ID regularly and virulently thrashed in the scientific community; seen its proponents and exponents referred to as “IDiots” and worse.

Still, Denyse O’Leary’s recent article on horizontal gene transfer at Evolution News is not some easily-discredited Christian science fantasy. It is backed by secular science (including MIT) and well worth a glance for anyone interested in the subject of origins.

Basically, it gives Darwin’s evolutionary mechanism a pretty hard time.

Horizontal Gene Transfer is the name for a recent discovery in genetics. Horizontal stands in contrast to vertical, which is how Darwin’s theory is alleged to work: common ancestry was thought for centuries to be the only mechanism for passing genes, and passing them “vertically”.

But genome mapping has now demonstrated that bacteria can move newly acquired genes between life forms, or “horizontally”. They can be responsible for genetic changes inheritable by the next generation of the recipient life form. HGT has been observed in plants and animals all the way up to vertebrates.

(One of the side benefits of this discovery is that it accounts for the once-mysterious ability of bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance with alarming speed: it turns out they can transfer multiple segments of DNA at once to their fellow bacteria.)

Now of course there is an obvious negative for the creationist here: HGT doesn’t eliminate the possibility of evolution. It simply posits a different mechanism by which it may have occurred — “may” being the operative term, as speculating about how something may have occurred and demonstrating it to have happened are two very different things.

What HGT does do, however, is deal what may be its death blow to the Darwinian explanation for evolution. For years we’ve had hammered into us that the “science is settled” where evolution is concerned.

It now appears not only “not settled”, but essentially upended.

1 comment :

  1. It's always a bit amusing to me that the UID (unintelligent design) camp does not want to get the point that the ID camp is making, namely, that regardless of the outcome, whatever process is true, it would be due to an intelligent design. The Catholic church, e.g., has no problem were Darwinian evolution is concerned. Thus, the ID argument for a creator cannot be eliminated because the UID camp cannot contest that possibility, it must therefore be resolved based on additional information. That information, which strengthens the ID argument, is based on a number of items, e.g., the authenticity and probability of correctness of the creation teaching (for whatever time scale) and testimony given in the bible and, specifically, by the authoritative life and teaching of Christ, the verified experience and confirmation of historical and current miraculous events (by the secular medical community, e.g.) and the personal experience and insight of people who benefit from their faith experience. By comparison, UID is purely guesswork based ultimately on unverifiable speculation and impotent extrapolation with the whole argument primarily selected to avoid having to adhere to an inconvenient personal and public moral compass. Clearly, ID with a Christian moral compass, when adhered to, has the greater probability on it's side and must be chosen for a responsible personal life.