Re: Geology

Glenn R. Morton (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 18:28:12 -0500

At 10:49 AM 4/29/98 -0500, Ron Chitwood wrote:
>On pseudo-genes, suggest you read what Behe says about them in DARWIN'S
>BLACK BOX, starting on page 225.

I have read the entire book. I find Behe's first argument unconvincing
because he presents no data to support his contention that there MAY be a
future use found. That is true, but to rest your case on what the future
MAY find is escapist to the highest degree. One can avoid all his problems
by escaping into the future and IMAGINING all the solutions that await us
there. Then once we have IMAGINED all the solutions, we come back to the
present like a prophet and recommend that we wait. That is not science but

I find Behe's second argument unconvincing because it isn't true. He says,
"the second reason why Miller's argument fails to persuade is that even if
pseudogenes have no function, evolution has 'explained' nothing about how
pseudogenes arose. In order to make even a pseudocopy of a gene, a dozen
sophisticated proteins are required:..." p. 226

Now first, we do know how pseudogenes arise, because the processes of
backward transcription of RNA to DNA as well as insertion of DNA into the
genome at odd spots, have been observed in the lab. Behe's next sentence
confuses the origin of the reproductive system with the evidence for
evolution. Pseudogenes are evidence and I might add, strong evidence for
common descent.What follows is a sketch of how a pseudogene arises. A gene
is made up (for example) of several parts.

control region--coding region A-noncoding region--coding region B

The control region tells the machinery where the nocoding parts are. When
a protein is manufactured, the control region is removed and read, the two
coding regions are put together and a tail is put on the processed gene.
It looks like:

coding region A-coding region B--tail.

Occasionally the above form is mistakenly reinserted into the nuclear DNA
where the next generation will inherit it. While Behe may very well be
correct that the machinery to create pseudogenes must be created, the
pseudogenes clearly show that some common ancestor of humans and the apes
had a psuedogene for an immunoglobin gene manufactured and inserted at the
same place in the DNA in 4 species. Later half of the chimp pseudogene was
cut out, thus demonstrating that for the chimp it has no function. Edward
Max says,

"The crucial observation relating the discovery of pseudogenes to the
theory of evolution is this: some pseudogenes are shared between different
species. As examples, let's focus upon two human pseudogenes. . . My
colleagues and I were studying the human gene encoding immunoglobin epsilon (a
kind of antibody protein that participates in allergic reactions). We found
that, in addition to the expected functional gene, human DNA contains two
epsilon pseudogenes - one processed and one classical. Evidence from our
laboratory suggested that the processed epsilon pseudogene was inserted at the
same spot in both human and chimpanzee DNA. Dr. Honjo's group investigated
the DNA of other species and found evidence for this processed pseudogene in
gorillas as well as several monkey species. The classical pseudogene is found
within a large block of duplicated genes; the other genes in this block are
known to be functional, but one of the epsilon gene duplicates suffered a
deletion that removed DNA encoding about half of the amino acids of the
epsilon protein, thereby completely disabling the gene. This pseudogene is
apparently shared by man and gorilla, but but is not found in other apes or
monkeys. Other examples of shared pseudogenes are known, and additional
examples will almost certainly come to light as human and other mammalian DNAs
are studied. But even a single example is sufficient to make a strong
argument against the creationist viewpoint."Edward E. Max, "Plagarized Errors
and Molecular Genetics: Another Argument in the Creation-Evolution
Controversy,"Creation/Evolution 6:3, Winter 1986-87, p. 41-42

Later it was found that the chimps had a part of this pseudogene. Max writes:

"Alternatively, as I pointed out, the DNA corresponding to this sequence may
have been completely deleted in the chimpanzee lineage. Recent evident from
the laboratory of T. Honjo indicates that this is exactly what happened (Ueda
et al., 1988, Journal of Molecular Evolution 27:77). Cloning and DNA sequence
analysis of this region of chimpanzee DNA reveals a deletion of all four of
the major coding blocks of the epislon gene. What is left includes a portion
of the epsilon 'isotype switch region' on one side of the deletion and the
'epsilong membrane exons' on the other side (although the latter was not
demonstrated explicitly by sequence analysis); these are all that remain to
mark the position where a complete epsilon sequence once existed."~Edward E.
Max, "Letters", Creation/Evolution, Summer 1990, 10:1, p. 47.

Thus, neither of Behe's arguments do what he wants.

Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information