Friday, July 28, 2006

Darwinian Evolutionary Theory and the Life Sciences in the Twenty-First Century

Author: Ronald F. Hirsch, Office of Biological & Environmental Research in the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy

This is one of the most biologically technical articles in the collection. As such, it provides very "scientific" grounds for questioning the validity of Darwinism. The author has divided his arguments and evidence into three categories: Genome Sequences, Proteins, and Microbes/Microbial Communities. In each category, he demonstrates that Darwinism did not, and can not, predict what biology has discovered through new technology and therefore that it fails as a valid theory in this regard. The necessary presumptions about life in order for Darwinism to be true were in fact quite incorrect; life, especially on the sub-cellular level, is so vastly complex that Darwinian mechanisms can simply not account for it by gradual, linear, and random mutations.

In regard to genome sequences, Hirsch discusses 1.) "the major role played by transfer genes from one species to another, as opposed to inheritance from ancestors", also known as lateral or horizontal gene transfer, 2.) "the fact that bacterial species do not evolve solely in a random fashion, but show a bias toward deletion of genetic material", 3.) "the discovery that much of the portions of the genome that do not code for proteins is not 'junk DNA' but in fact has a critical function", and 4.) "the observation that expression of genes is controlled by regulatory circuits that are as complicated and as precisely arranged as the most sophisticated engineering diagrams." He explains how these discoveries, especially when taken together, are neither predicted nor accounted for by Darwinian means.

In regard to proteins, Hirsch discusses the flaws in the mandatory Darwinist notion of "one gene - one protein - one function" and goes on to explain "how an expressed protein is chemically transformed into the actual molecule that participates in cell functioning, how it folds into the shape required for exhibiting its characteristic activity, and how the transformed, folded protein then must become a part of a multi-protein complex that is actually responsible for the function in which that protein participates." He focuses largely on ribosomes and how, even in the simplest cell imaginable, they are necessary. The problem is that they are so complex it is quite impossible for them to have spontaneously generated from non-living matter.

In regard to microbes and microbial communities he discusses how various microbial organisms, like bacteria, often live communally with supposed "competing" other species. He discusses their specialized communal chemical signalling and their mechanisms to resist antibiotics. As in the previous two sections, he adequately explains why Darwinism can neither predict nor account for this.

Certainly Darwinists would protest, they can bend evolution to explain anything and everything and they surely already have. The point is not that Darwinian evolution can not be invoked to explain these things by various ad hoc reasons, but that these were all generated after the fact and only by abandoning past ideas once considered crucial. Why should we trust or even use such a theory? Hirsch refers to Darwinism as a "highly superfluous idea", effectively useless for science.

I was especially interested to see how Hirsch's observations cooperate with Denton's, especially in regard to necessary organization and design found in organisms but not coded for by the genes themselves. Hirsch discusses this, calling it "epigenetic", and applies it to many biochemical functions and activities present within cells. You will have to read his article to find out more.

This is a great article; a bit technical at times but definitely worth the time.

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