Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Miracles of Darwinism: 1996 Interview with La Recherche

Author: Marcel-Paul Sch├╝tzenberger, (late) Professor of the Faculty of Sciences, University of Paris

This article is an abridged form of an original interview from the French journal La Recherche. In this interview, Sch├╝tzenberger discusses some of the problems with Darwinism especially in regard to the "functional complexity" of living things.

He makes many points about the inadequacies of Darwinism in dealing with functional complexity. The most pointed, in my opinion, is his discussion of the information problem in moving from genes to functional systems. He likens (for sake of analogy) the creation of a complex organ, like an eye, to the creation of something simple like a household appliance. In the case of the eye, only about one or two thousand genes "code" the organ into existence but this is an absurd notion. One or two thousand letters on a page could scarcely even explain to someone uninformed how to construct and operate a household appliance. There has to be some preexisting understanding of form and function to accomplish the assembly and to illuminate its purpose. If this is true for something simple, it is all the more true for something as complex as an eye. There is some inexplicable, ineliminable, intelligence and communication at work.

In a similar vein, he also accuses evolutionary biology of an overly mechanistic view of gene expression. The "one gene - one protein - one 'function'" concept is incomplete, though necessary for the Darwinian notion of a linear progression of miniscule beneficial mutations. Genes function as a group, their interactions and relationships creating a whole much greather than the sum of its parts. This coupled with the underlying mysterious "knowledge" that the genes must somehow possess to accomplish such feats of functional complexity with such little information creates seemingly insurmountable obstacles for Darwinism to overcome.

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