Evolution of proteins in sequence space

From: pruest@pop.dplanet.ch
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 11:07:23 EDT

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    Keith B Miller wrote:
    > Peter wrote:
    > >The point I wanted to make initially (10 Aug 2001 16:24:10 +0200) is
    > >that you require of Bert Massie (or of "progressive creationists") that
    > >they present a scientifically testable hypothesis of _how_ living
    > >organisms were formed (either in the origin of life or later), but you
    > >fail to mention that the scientific establishment is exactly in the same
    > >boat. To date no one is capable of presenting a testable model within
    > >the framework of scientific origin-of-life research or of biological
    > >evolution (as far as genuine novelty is concerned). I agree that there
    > >is no scientifically testable model of "progressive creationism", but
    > >neither is there any such model in the evolutionary establishment! You
    > >write that "we do not currently have a solid handle on the most likely
    > >answers". I think this is a serious understatement. It seems rather that
    > >we have no idea about how to approach the two questions I posed.
    > I would require of anyone who would make a claim that their progressive
    > creationist views are _scientifically_ warranted to provide specific
    > scientific hypothesis that can be scientifically investigated. This does
    > not mean that such a view has no warrant or cannot be argued on other
    > grounds. Furthermore, my theological view of creation ("continuous
    > creation") is likewise not scientifically testable.
    > There are plenty of testable models being generated surrounding the issue
    > of the origin of life. In fact, some models have been discarded for
    > failing such tests. The fact that no current comprehensive theory exists
    > concerning the origin of life does not mean that origin of life research is
    > not valid science. It is just _very_ frontier science. There are so many
    > unanswered questions just about the nature of currently known living
    > systems that any comprehensive theory about the origin of life is likely
    > still a way off. That does not mean that the current work is not
    > progressing and being fruitful.
    > I make no claim that science has come close to solving the problem of the
    > origin of life. I only claim that it is a subject most worthy of continued
    > scientific study. I see _no_ warrant for the claim that the origin of life
    > is not in principle able to be described by the action of natural
    > processes. Such arguments flounder in our current ignorance.
    > Keith

    Keith, I agree with all these statements of yours. But apparently, what
    I wanted to put my finger on still hasn't come through clearly. It's the
    question of the origin of biological information. (There is the fact of
    some bits of information being transferred from the environment by
    natural selection, which I am persuaded is fully inadequate. And there
    are the ideas of self-organization and of a hierarchy of complexity,
    with higher levels emerging once complexity at a lower level has reached
    a certain degree, which I consider purely speculative.) I have discussed
    this question of the origin of biological information to some extent in
    PSCF 44/2 (June 1992), p.80-94, as well as at the Tacoma conference of
    1988 on the origin of information in DNA. But the problem seems to be
    generally ignored or not taken seriously: everybody apparently _assumes_
    there is no problem (for reasons of _belief_, an atheist, of course, has
    no other choice). But I may have to think some more about it, before I
    present a new formulation of the question, so I won't try to do it today
    in this thread.


    Dr Peter Ruest, <pruest@dplanet.ch>
    CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    Creative providence in biology (Gen.2:3):
    "..the work which God created (in order) to (actively) evolve it"

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