Ignunt Fool of the Week

Okay, so I decided not to be lazy after all since I had someone else do this for me. Thank you to Chalmer from the MSCD Atheists group for responding to a commenter on one of my earlier posts.

Here is her comment:

I was certainly never “brainwashed” by “Expelled”. A friend of mine was denied his Ph.D. because it bacame known in his department that he questioned the evolutionary paradigm. I have seen others in the science departments I was in ridiculed if they expressed any doubt of neo-Darwinism. The message was clear. Toe the party line or have your career destroyed. There was no room for questioning.

The point on self-repicating molecules ignores the point that the molecules required for the first cell to exist are enormous, extremely complex and highly ordered. Having a single amino acid in the wrong place in a protein, for instance, can kill the entire cell. The proteins, DNA, RNA, and other molecules must be in a precise order and these molecules are hundreds or even thousands of base pairs (DNA and RNA) or amino acids (proteins) long. In addition the proteins all are made of L- amino acids in a world where amino acids are 50% L- and 50% D- amino acids. How did they all become composed of a single isomer? Again, it is statistically impossible. Impossibility, in statistics, is defined as any event which would occur in less that 1 time in 10 to the 50th power events. (This is a one followed by 50 zeros.)

As I pointed out in my original letter, all these molecules have to come together in the same place at the same time. They also have to be in a particular order, and have the correct isomers. Then they must not be destroyed or changed in any way before they could be surrounded by the lipo-protein envelope. They all have to be just perfect. If you know anythng about biochemistry and cell biology, you know that this is just not going to happen.

I could go on, but I started doubting Darwinism over 30 years ago, and the more study I did in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, the more I could see that I had been misled for many years. My doubts solidified over many years, until I fianlly realized that the “wizard” (scientists) was really just a man behind a curtain after all, pretending to be all knowing, all seeing, all powerful. Guess what, scientists are just people, they make mistakes, and are too stubborn to admit it just like everyone else. What are they so afraid of that they will not allow open discussion?

I think they protest too much.

And now I hand off the reigns to Chalmer.

“The point on self-repicating molecules ignores the point that the molecules required for the first cell to exist are enormous, extremely complex and highly ordered”

The number of molecules required for the first cell is unknown!  We know that a single cell has certain requirements in order to survive, and these requirements are indeed vast.  However, this is due to a common mechanism in nature whereby different biological agents interact in a voluntary symbiotic way.  Because of the interaction, the agents will begin to specialize.  Those functions compensated for by the other agent will degrade an disappear.  Eventually, the relationship becomes obligate becuase each agent only retained what was being actively used.  This relationship applies to indavidual biomolecules, cells, and organisms.  This is why a single cell has such vast requirements.  All of its molecular components have slowly evolved an interdependency.  For the same reason, you can’t take the liver or brain out of a human being.  However, as an embryo we do, albeit temporarily, survive without a liver or brain.  The cell is a giant clump symbiotic relationships, whose self-sufficiency was dropped as dead weight a long time ago.

“Having a single amino acid in the wrong place in a protein, for instance, can kill the entire cell.”

The operative word here is can.  That doesn’t mean that it will.  Every single gene can be found in a variety of forms within any species.  Whether of not a mutations is deadly also depends on which system it affects.  Some systems or completely necessary and resist change, while others are more of a biological luxury.

“The proteins, DNA, RNA, and other molecules must be in a precise order and these molecules are hundreds or even thousands of base pairs (DNA and RNA) or amino acids (proteins) long.”

The don’t always need to be in a precise order, and often are not in a precise order.  And the length is erroneous becuase creating linear polymers is anything but impressive.  Besides, as I said earlier, most of the obligate precisions or predicted by evolutionary thought, not contradicted by it.  Or objections seem to stem from a single misunderstanding, the dependency can not evolve from independence.

“In addition the proteins all are made of L- amino acids in a world where amino acids are 50% L- and 50% D- amino acids”

Actually, in our world L-amino acids are more common becuase they are less sensitive to light exposure than D-amino acids.  One of the principle means by which we identify isomers is by their interaction with light, becuase most isomers interact with light differently.  If life evolved in an environment with light exposure, this observation makes perfect sense.  Even if it didn’t, this strategy would need to be adopted for evolution to extend its reaches into the light.

“How did they all become composed of a single isomer? Again, it is statistically impossible. Impossibility, in statistics, is defined as any event which would occur in less that 1 time in 10 to the 50th power events. (This is a one followed by 50 zeros.)”

The unfortunate thing about statistics is that is disregards the physical properties of amino acids.  No only are L-amino acids more available, bu systems that evolved to use them exclusively were much more likely to survive.

“As I pointed out in my original letter, all these molecules have to come together in the same place at the same time.”

No, they don’t.  Dependency is an evolutionary development, not a biological necessity.

“They also have to be in a particular order, and have the correct isomers. Then they must not be destroyed or changed in any way before they could be surrounded by the lipo-protein envelope”

They don’t need to be in a particular order.  If that were true nearly ever single person alive today would be dead.  Lots of different combinations can be and are well tolerated.  Isomer selectivity confers an advantage, and this it makes sense that any species that might have lacked it has long since been out competed, if ever they existed at all.  The the cellular envelope is probably a more recent development, which molecular systems eventually learned to interact with.

“They all have to be just perfect. If you know anythng about biochemistry and cell biology, you know that this is just not going to happen.”

To put you at ease, I’m an under graduate in chemistry and biology and near the top of my class.  If you know anything about biochem and biology, you know that molecular properties predict these sorts of developments.  They don’t need to be perfect.  If that were true we wouldn’t have the huge number of discrepancy that we do.  Different bacterial species all have variations of a gene that carries out the same process.  Change is tolerated, and the genome is malleable.

“I could go on, but I started doubting Darwinism over 30 years ago, and the more study I did in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, the more I could see that I had been misled for many years.”

Your objections are based on misunderstandings, and a lack of knowledge on the subject.  How exactly did you go about you investigation?

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10 responses to this post.

  1. I answered that guy’s question about left handed amino acids here:
    http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2008/04/origin-of-life-prize-is-bs.html

  2. Weird and interesting post.

    Do we know anything about this commentor? Does she have any formal science education at all? I hope she’ll reply.

    I haven’t heard some of these arguments before, although I don’t seek them out these days either. I believe a JW at my door recently was trying to reproduce the R&D amino acid enantiomer argument – but she couldn’t remember how it went and I had to remind her that after the word “amino” came “acid”. Heh. 😉

  3. Posted by Electro on July 5, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Look I don’t mean to be mean, But (and I don’t know who to attribute this quote to) but…3.2 BILLION YEARS is an awful long time for things to get complicated.

    And in the name of The Flying Spaghetti Monster if your entire basis of argument starts with “it was too complicated to begin with”… I have several goats you can blow.

  4. Posted by Electro on July 5, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Man I just can’t let this go,
    (Apologies ‘Elles)

    Listen to me Pinhead(chalmer), for once in your sorry excuse for an education, listen, just once.

    Nothing, not one word of your garbage is backed up by repeatable empirical experimentation or observation.

    Eminent scientists ( Lenski, Darwin, whose grasp of the natural world so far exceeds your own ( mine also, but I trust them ), that I now doubt if any competent Prof. ever gave you a passing grade in anything other than creative writing.

    AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

  5. Posted by Electro on July 5, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Massive apology Chalmer,

    I am a bit dyslexic tonight.

    Grovel, grovel, grovel.

    Sincerely sorry,
    Shaun

  6. Somebody needs to go back to remedial science class.

  7. Posted by Chalmer on July 5, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Apology accepted Electro. 🙂

  8. Just exactly how does one “toe the party line”? Does one use the big toe?

    Looks like I have some experimenting to do today!

  9. Posted by Luna_the_cat on July 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I, too, find it extremely difficult to believe that the original commenter had *any* significant education in biochemistry or genetics at all. Because this whole thing seems to start out with an assumption that life began with cells (huh? No, cells appear after a long period of evolution) and that any single change in an amino acid somewhere will kill a cell (again, as many commenters point out, huh? Whatabout all the evidence that we are not dropping like flies with every single non-silent mutation?).

    On the contrary, as a grad school student of mol. biology, I can confidently say that the more one knows about genetics, biochemistry and cell biology, the more ludicrous it appears that anyone seriously thinks that “God poofed it all into existance in a flash” is in any way a serious competitor to evolution.

    Your original commenter is probably working off a half-remembered high school class.

    There is a reason why 99.99999999% of creationists are ignorant of biology beyond the “talking points” they get off creationists sites, and why 99.999999999% of people who have actually studied biology think that creationists must be brain-damaged. And if your reply to this includes the word “conspiracy” I get to smack you across the nose with a rolled-up copy of Brock’s Biology of Microorganisms. Trust me, that will hurt.

  10. Posted by Chalmer on July 7, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Bravo Luna, bravo.

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