Re: Functional proteins from a random library

From: Paul Nelson (
Date: Fri Apr 06 2001 - 17:45:56 EDT

  • Next message: Paul Nelson: "Re: Functional proteins from a random library"

    Terry Gray wrote:

    > The point IS NOT that we have a naturally
    > occuring evolutionary environment here.
    > No one would deny that we have a highly
    > artificial system! I don't quite understand
    > why you are pointing that out to us. It's
    > totally obvious.

    Well, Terry, if it's totally obvious, you seem
    to have missed the point, because you continue:

    > The point IS, however, that apparently coming
    > up with a functional protein from random sequences
    > is pretty easy (statistically, that is). In other
    > words there's NOT a lot of specified information
    > required to get a folded protein that does
    > something.

    Think about it this way. Suppose you find an
    arrowhead in a field, and tell me that this
    object displays intelligent design. No, I say,
    arrowheads occur naturally, entirely without
    design, in random piles of rock.

    Then I take you to my vast Canadian mine to
    show you how I discovered that arrowheads
    occur naturally. Turns out I'm sifting
    millions of cubic tons of crushed rock, used
    an arrowhead-shaped template (form) to isolate
    those few rocks with just the right shape. ;-)

    The prebiotic relevance of the Szostak et al.
    experiment is nil. Why didn't they start with
    amino acids? We both know the answer. A whole
    lot of specified information, provided by Szostak
    and his co-workers, is needed even to reach
    the point where one can go fishing for functions
    in large pools of mRNAs (and their products).
    Dembski explains all this beautifully in his
    new book (plug, plug).

    Jack Szostak will be here in Chicago in a
    couple of weeks, at a mini-seminar on genome
    evolution at the Univ. of Chicago. I plan to
    attend, and to ask him about all this.

    Paul Nelson
    Senior Fellow
    The Discovery Institute

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