Re: DNA sequence space

From: Cornelius Hunter <>
Date: Sun Oct 02 2005 - 01:46:15 EDT


> Cornelius,
> #1 is disputable. By no means a clear picture. Pim provided some recent
> work in the area. ID folks claim that "science is giving us a clear
> picture", but it's mere assertion.

So, speculation about how (not whether) the code evolved from people who
presuppose that it must have evolved constitutes "work in the area" but our
knowledge from biochemistry and empirical evidence that the code is
difficult to evolve is "mere assertion." Funny how things get spun. Here is
a paper that actually does address the question at hand:


Where and how did the complex genetic instruction set programmed into DNA
come into existence? The genetic set may have arisen elsewhere and was
transported to the Earth. If not, it arose on the Earth, and became the
genetic code in a previous lifeless, physical-chemical world. Even if RNA or
DNA were inserted into a lifeless world, they would not contain any genetic
instructions unless each nucleotide selection in the sequence was programmed
for function. Even then, a predetermined communication system would have had
to be in place for any message to be understood at the destination.
Transcription and translation would not necessarily have been needed in an
RNA world. Ribozymes could have accomplished some of the simpler functions
of current protein enzymes. Templating of single RNA strands followed by
retemplating back to a sense strand could have occurred. But this process
does not explain the derivation of ''sense'' in any strand. ''Sense'' means
algorithmic function achieved through sequences of certain decision-node
switch-settings. These particular primary structures determine secondary and
tertiary structures. Each sequence determines minimum-free-energy folding
propensities, binding site specificity, and function. Minimal metabolism
would be needed for cells to be capable of growth and division. All known
metabolism is cybernetic e that is, it is programmatically and
algorithmically organized and controlled.


New approaches to investigating the origin of the genetic code are required.
The constraints of historical science are such that the origin of life may
never be understood. Selection pressure cannot select nucleotides at the
digital programming level where primary structures form. Genomes
predetermine the phenotypes which natural selection only secondarily favors.
Contentions that offer nothing more than long periods of time offer no
mechanism of explanation for the derivation of genetic programming. No new
information is provided by such tautologies. The argument simply says it
happened. As such, it is nothing more than blind belief. Science must
provide rational theoretical mechanism, empirical support, prediction
fulfillment, or some combination of these three. If none of these three are
available, science should reconsider that molecular evolution of genetic
cybernetics is a proven fact and press forward with new research approaches
which are not obvious at this time.

Cell Biology International 28 (2004) 729-739


I've read the papers Pim cites. They do little to address the question of
how the evidence bears on whether or not the code evolved, for the simple
reason that they are doing normal science where evolution is presupposed. It
doesn't matter how absurd the proposition is, they keep hammering away at it
regardless. Quite frankly, it is remarkable that evolutionists continue to
maintain that there is, somewhere, some strong evidence for the code

However, be that as it may. My point does not hinge on whether or not #1 is
in dispute. My point is merely that evolution skeptics and IDs hold to #1,
or the equivalent for other biological wonders.

(BTW, there is no such thing
> as an "unguided naturalistic process".)
> I still want to know what you mean by "detectable creation via secondary
> causes or primary causes, or some combination". Help me out here.

There are alternative approaches to the "evolution must be true" paradigm.
One is to deweight origins.

Another is to consider alternatives, such as detectable creation via
secondary causes or primary causes, or some combination. What I mean is that
God could have created the code via law-like processes, special creation
type intervention, or some combination of the two. But in any case, the end
result serves as a very obvious detectable sign of divine action, whatever
the mechanism may have been.

By "detectable sign" I do not mean proof. Though, frankly, at this point the
evidence is so stacked I can't imagine a scientist denying it (Crick
didn't). In any case, what I mean by "detectable sign" is that the DNA code
is the sort of thing that intelligent agents make, and not the sort of thing
that the forces that brought you the wind and the rain are likely to make.

So divine action is, one way or the other, manifest in creation. That said,
other thinkers may prefer to say away from God and ascribe the cause to
other hypothetical intelligent agents, such as ETs. Crick was doing ID.


> TG
> On Oct 1, 2005, at 9:34 PM, Cornelius Hunter wrote:
>> Terry:
>>> Your bottom line argument, as I see it here, is that, I can't explain
>>> how the code originated given what I know now, so I conclude that God
>>> did it using extraordinary means. Can you tell me at what point do we
>>> "give up" on "naturalistic" explanations? How do we decide not only
>>> that we don't know, but that we will never know?
>> This is a caricature of evolution skepticism and ID. Something more
>> representative would be:
>> 1. Science is giving us a clear picture that it is unlikely that the DNA
>> code evolved via unguided naturalistic processes as evolutionists
>> maintain is true.
>> 2. It is clearly a reasonable move either (i) to consider alternatives,
>> such as detectable creation via secondary causes or primary causes, or
>> some combination, or (ii) to deweight the origin question and focus more
>> on a design theory that does align itself to a particular origin theory.
>> 3. In all of this we are not (i) giving up on naturalistic
>> explanations--those are always in the offing, or (ii) trying to prove
>> the existence of God. We also are not mandating a priori's, such as that
>> divine action must be via law-like processes, or undetectable.
>> --Cornelius
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
Received on Sun Oct 2 01:52:20 2005

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