Monday, December 13, 2010

How Proteins Evolved

Fifty years ago molecular biologists began to uncover the inner workings of the cell and one of their profound discoveries was that genetic information, stored in the double helix DNA molecule, was translated according to a code to produce a string of amino acids which, after being hitched to each other like train cars, folded up to produce a protein that did something useful in the cell. Interestingly, a given protein’s amino acid sequence was found to have some degree of flexibility. Hemoglobin proteins, for instance, across different species revealed quite a few changes to the sequence while still functioning as a hemoglobin.

Two discoveries that later followed seemed to bode well for evolution. First, protein sequences fit the evolutionary pattern when compared across different species. For instance, a given protein such as hemoglobin has a very similar sequence of amino acids when compared between two similar species, and a much more different sequence when compared between distant species. Second, the degree of flexibility of a given protein’s amino acid sequence was substantial. Hemoglobin sequences in distant species had practically no resemblance. This suggested that a relatively small amount of information was actually needed to code for a given protein. Proteins have hundreds of amino acids, but perhaps only tens of them are important in determining the structure and function of the folded protein structure. This would make evolution’s task of constructing proteins less daunting.

These discoveries are a bit technical and so not always easy to convey to non scientific audiences. But evolutionists have tried, for these discoveries definitely gave them added confidence their theory was right. What evolutionists have been less vocal about are the discoveries that have been made more recently. We now know that for both these discoveries, the story is more complicated than it originally appeared.

The evolutionary pattern

First, the observation that protein sequences fit the evolutionary pattern is not particularly surprising. If we discovered a new bone or tissue, would we not generally expect that it would be more similar between species that otherwise are similar, and more different in more distant species? After all, it functions within a context. So it is no shocker that cellular components such as proteins generally follow the pattern.

But this is not always the case. This pattern that evolution predicts is sometimes violated. Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level. The evolutionary pattern has now been falsified many times over. Nonetheless, the textbooks continue to proclaim the good news that proteins fit the predicted pattern, and curiously omit any mention of the more recent failures.

The flexibility of a protein sequence

Second, we now understand that the degree of flexibility in a protein sequence is far less than once imagined. One way to think of this is with an analogy to English. Consider these two sentences:

Evolutionary theory has produced a vast number of falsified predictions.

and,

Most of the expectations generated by evolution have turned out false.

These two sentences share the the same meaning yet if you align and compare them letter-by-letter, you would find most of the letters are different. They seem to be unrelated at that level. Could it be that there are only a few key letters that determine the entire meaning of the sentence?

Of course not. We all know that while very different text messages can share the same meaning, this does not imply that most of the letters carry no effect and can be mutated without little or no effect. In fact, even for such short messages there is a large number of possible letter sequences. Each letter has 26 possibilities and in the above example there are about 60 letters. This means there about 10^85 (a one followed by 85 zeros) different letter sequences that are theoretically possible. Of that astronomical set of possibilities, only a relatively tiny set of selections is grammatically correct. The set of selections that makes any sense is even smaller, and the set that carries the same meaning as those above is tiny.

Likewise, it is now clear that while a given protein such as hemoglobin may come in very different sequences, only few changes to that sequence can be sustained. There are many ways to code for the hemoglobin machine, and they may appear to be very different, but that does not mean there is a relatively large number of sequences that can produce a hemoglobin. Here is how one recent paper explained the new findings:

The accepted paradigm that proteins can tolerate nearly any amino acid substitution has been replaced by the view that the deleterious effects of mutations, and especially their tendency to undermine the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of protein, is a major constraint on protein evolvability—the ability of proteins to acquire changes in sequence and function.

Another recent paper explained that only a few percent of a protein’s amino acids can tolerate change at any given point in time.

We are a long way from having hard numbers, but even conservative estimates of the number of protein sequences that are viable, for a given type of protein, are tiny. Any given residue in a protein may not be required to have a specific type of amino acid in order to form a hemoglobin, but in the context of the remainder of the sequence there is a tight requirement. And the number of such contexts is relatively small.

Years ago creationists argued that evolution was improbable because a protein sequence is a long shot. A typical globin sequence has about 140 amino acids. This means the sequence represents a one in 10^182 chance (a one followed by 182 zeros).

It was an imprecise argument, for there is far more than just one sequence that can do the job. But in this case, being off by orders of magnitude hardly matters. A viable globin sequence may be a mere one in 10^150 chance. Who knows, perhaps it is even a one in 10^120 chance. The fact is we do not know, but today’s science is telling us that a viable globin sequence makes finding a needle in a haystack seem easy. And the hemoglobin protein is a relatively small one. Many proteins are several times longer.

How do proteins evolve?

Contrary to early notions that protein sequences were extremely flexible, science is now telling us the opposite. This indication that viable protein sequences occupy a tiny sliver of sequence space suggests that they are difficult to evolve.

If you ask an evolutionist how a protein evolved, you will likely hear the standard answer: via gene duplication and subsequent divergence. In other words, the protein arose from a different type of protein that was pre existing. The gene for that protein duplicated, and then mutated until landing on a new protein that was helpful. And of course this story must have repeated itself thousands of times to create the many different proteins in biology.

It is an unlikely, just-so, story, for viable protein sequences are hard to find. If the different types of proteins each have their own tiny slivers of sequence space as science is suggesting, then gene duplication and divergence, alone, doesn’t stand a chance.

What would be needed are long trails of intermediate, functional, proteins connecting the different types of proteins. These proteins would not only need to be functional, their particular function would have to be useful at the time.

And why would the known proteins just happen to be fortuitously connected by these trails? Science gives us no reason to think such a lucky circumstance is built into the protein world. So either there are no such trails, which means evolution has a problem, or there are such trails which means someone has monkeyed with the fundamentals of protein chemistry.

And we have not yet even addressed the problem of how the first proteins evolved. Remember the evolutionist’s standard explanation for how proteins evolved is by gene duplication and subsequent divergence. But that requires the pre existence of other types of proteins. In other words, the question of how proteins evolve in the first place has been swept under the rug.

The problem of how evolution could create a new type of protein from an existing protein, via gene duplication and subsequent divergence, as difficult as it is, pales in comparison to how evolution was supposed to have created new proteins from scratch. Evolutionists speak of an initial world where RNA molecules do the work of proteins. But even this heroic story doesn’t magically make the problem of protein evolution go away. Whether there were RNA precursors or not, there is a substantial difficulty in explaining how the first proteins could have evolved.

Stepping stone: ATP binding

A few years ago an experiment showed that randomly constructed short proteins have a one in 10^12 shot (a million million) of having function. The function, in this case, was the binding of ATP, the cell’s unit of energy. While that is an interesting experiment, the results do little to help evolution. Most obviously, that function alone is quite minor. Yes, proteins bind to ATP or other chemicals, but that binding is in a complex, tight coordination with other functions. Comparing ATP binding with the incredible feats of hemoglobin, for example, is like comparing a tricycle with a jet airplane.

And even the one in 10^12 shot, though it pales in comparison to the odds of constructing a more useful protein machine, is no small barrier. If that is what is required to even achieve simple ATP binding, then evolution would need to be incessantly running unsuccessful trials. The machinery to construct, use and benefit from a potential protein product would have to be in place, while failure after failure results. Evolution would make Thomas Edison appear lazy, running millions of trials after millions of trials before finding even the tiniest of function. Why would this machinery be in place? Why would it continue to construct and test? Why would evolution maintain such an incompetent test bench?

Evolutionary answers to such questions are like all their stories. It did it because it did it. And if it seems unlikely, then remember there are many planets revolving about many stars, in many galaxies. And beyond that there are many universes. And in any case, a different sort of life—or no life at all—could have evolved. This is what evolution has done to science. Religion drives science and it matters.

71 comments:

  1. I thought this post was excellent. Thanks.

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  2. Here are some things that Dr Hunter didn’t tell you about the two recent papers he cited above:

    Stability effects of mutations and protein evolvability

    Tokuriki N, Tawfik DS.

    “We describe ways of predicting and analyzing stability effects of mutations, and mechanisms that buffer or compensate for these destabilizing effects and thereby promote protein evolvabilty, in nature and in the laboratory.”

    Sequence space and the ongoing expansion of the protein universe

    Inna S. Povolotskaya & Fyodor A. Kondrashov

    “We show that ancient proteins are still diverging from each other, indicating an ongoing expansion of the protein sequence universe.


    ~98 per cent of sites cannot accept an amino-acid substitution at any given moment but a vast majority of all sites may eventually be permitted to evolve when other, compensatory, changes occur.”

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  3. Pedant:

    "Here are some things that Dr Hunter didn’t tell you about the two recent papers he cited above:"
    ====

    There is absolutely nothing you further published here that still wasn't covered in Cornelius' last paragraph of his O.P. , so here it is again.

    Cornelius Hunter:
    "Evolutionary answers to such questions are like all their stories. It did it because it did it. And if it seems unlikely, then remember there are many planets revolving about many stars, in many galaxies. And beyond that there are many universes. And in any case, a different sort of life—or no life at all—could have evolved. This is what evolution has done to science."

    The ONLY thing the scientific text books or research papers are continually loaded with is factoidal assumptions spun around to look as hardcore facts and that is simply not the case. The very nature and definition of a FACTOID(which is the true nature of the published assumptions) is beautifully explained & defined for us from any dictionary. All these definitions clearly prove what Cornelius has been saying all along whether or not the faithful accept it or not. That is about the ONLY fact we can count on.

    FACTOID or FACTOIDAL = (thefreedictionary.com)
    "A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then ACCEPTED AS TRUE BECAUSE OF REPEATED REPITITION."

    So why are most unverified inaccurate evolutionary points considered FACTS so often ??? The last few Capitalized words in that definition are key and that is the very point Cornelius constantly makes, but yet ignored by the faithful. Apparently the Evolutionary dogma gets a free pass on ths. Here's a second defintion take below.

    FACTOID = (freeonlinedictionary.com)
    "something resembling a fact; unverified (often invented) information that is given credibility because it appeared in print."

    So because it appeared in print(by a well known popular science website, University research paper, News Reporter, popular Ideological Promoting Celebrity, etc, etc, etc) therefore this "unverified(often invented) Factoid must be a truth.

    FACTOID = (The Free Encyclopedia)
    "A factoid is a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity."

    FACTOID = (Compact Oxford English Dictionary)
    "an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact".

    This constant act of "chanting in the Echo Chamber" as Cornelius puts is in itself a religious ritual/act of worshipful comfort. Hence the continual concluding remarks by Cornelius "religion drives science and it matters" is itself true.

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  4. Cornelius Hunter: Another recent paper explained that only a few percent of a protein’s amino acids can tolerate change at any given point in time.

    Eocene: So because it appeared in print(by a well known popular science website, University research paper, News Reporter, popular Ideological Promoting Celebrity, etc, etc, etc) therefore this "unverified(often invented) Factoid must be a truth.

    It was Cornelius Hunter who quote-mined the journal article for support.

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  5. I'll respond with conclusions first, and some details second.

    Hunter's entire argument here (and I'll toss in that of Behe's recent review) merely puts a constraint on evolution. What is the argument--evolution is limited in rate, therefore it is falsified? My car is constrained in maximum acceleration and speed, but it gets me to work fine.

    These constraints are exactly what evolutionary biologists are acknowledging, and working out every day (see Hunter's references X100). Moreover, the difficulty of evolving EXACTLY fit the observation-that novel protein folds and biochemical functions emerge in microbes, with their huge population sizes, horizontal gene transfer, and more time. What novel protein fold or class of reaction do humans have that dogs don't? Zebrafish? Fruit flies?

    Behe's recent review brilliantly demonstrates this. He summarizes some examples of lab observed evolution in microbes and viruses. Most are either loss of function, or modifications of existing function. But, about 10% of the mutations in his tables are gain-of-fct, where a "“A “gain-of-FCT” adaptive mutation is a mutation that produces a specific, new, functional coded element while adapting an organism to its environment""

    http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf
    Shockingly close to fCSI and other ID definitions.

    So we have empirical evidence of new functional coded elements evolving. We can infer historical data through phylogenetics, and recapitulate evolution through directed evolution.

    And we have Hunter saying it is hard, agreeing with the predictions and observations of evolution.

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  6. "Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level."

    I cannot think of a good example of this on the molecular level! For example, what proteins are consistently more similar in rodents and nematodes than rodents and cattle? Brewers yeast and humans versus brewers yeast and another yeast?

    Absent HGT, what are these shocking exceptions (that I guess you think falsify the rule)?

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  7. "We are a long way from having hard numbers"

    And thus these big-big-number calculations from creationists are very very weak evidence.

    "but even conservative estimates of the number of protein sequences that are viable, for a given type of protein, are tiny."

    for a GIVEN TYPE of protein! Note evolution does not require any given type of protein, just something that produces an increase in fitness. So absent globins, life could have hit on another solution. Oh, and it did, in the hemocyanins, which have a different fold and copper ions, yet function well in respiration.

    So what is the total part of sequence space that produced increased fitness in early life?

    Who knows, therefore evolution is false?

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  8. "A viable globin sequence may be a mere one in 10^150 chance."

    What about a hemi-globin? An alpha-turn-alpha? Any other heme binder?

    "The fact is we do not know, but today’s science is telling us that a viable globin sequence makes finding a needle in a haystack seem easy."

    Again, evolution doesn't require a globin. It isn't goal-oriented. Even your own reference above describes how much of sequence space is probably unexplored.

    "If you ask an evolutionist how a protein evolved, you will likely hear the standard answer: via gene duplication and subsequent divergence. In other words, the protein arose from a different type of protein that was pre existing. The gene for that protein duplicated, and then mutated until landing on a new protein that was needed. And of course this story must have repeated itself thousands of times to create the many different proteins in biology."

    Good summary!

    "It is an unlikely, just-so, story, for viable protein sequences are hard to find"

    Oh, is it?

    5% of a random peptide library exhibits folding (helical content, denaturation and protease resistant):
    Davidson AR, Sauer RT. 1994. Folded proteins occur frequently in libraries of random amino acid sequences. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:2146–50

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.biophys.37.032807.125832

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  9. I found this to be one of your most 'to the point' articles Dr. Hunter.

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  10. Zachriel:

    "It was Cornelius Hunter who quote-mined the journal article for support."
    ====

    Naturally you would never be caught doing such a thing as quote mining.

    QUOTE MINING

    Seriously, both of your sides do it, otherwise entire articles would have to be reposted in their entirety. This expression seems to be the popular catch phraze lately when real answers are wanting.

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  11. "Comparing ATP binding with the incredible feats of hemoglobin, for example, is like comparing a tricycle with a jet airplane."

    No one is comparing ATP binding (which is readily evolved) with hemoglobin binding. But I'd compare ATP binding to Heme binding. And Heme binding yields enzyme activity, and control of oxygen binding, depending on how it is bound.

    And how hard is it to build a heme binder? Not very, in four helix bundle (designed) libraries:

    Hecht MH, Das A, Go A, Bradley LH, Wei Y. 2004. De novo proteins from designed combinatorial libraries. Protein Sci. 13:1711–23

    "And even the one in 10^12 shot, though it pales in comparison to the odds of constructing a more useful protein machine, is no small barrier."

    0.8 nanograms of RNA.

    Nobody wants a modern hemoglobin to poof into existence. All we need is a primitive function, refined in five million trillion trillion bacteria over millions of years.

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  12. Eocene: Seriously, both of your sides do it, otherwise entire articles would have to be reposted in their entirety.

    The comment about quote-mining was a secondary issue. That Cornelius Hunter, by omitting the context, left an erroneous impression of the views of the authors is called quote-mining. The real point was that you were complaining about people citing scientific papers to support factual claims, when it was Cornelius Hunter who had done that concerning sequence tolerance in proteins.

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  13. Good job, as usual, by RobertC, in exposing Cornelius' pathetic "arguments" for the rubbish that they are. It's always the Lottery Fallacy and/or the Tornado-in-a-Junkyard Fallacy, dressed up in some new cloths.

    Cornelius claims:

    "Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level. The evolutionary pattern has now been falsified many times over."

    Wow, some heavy-duty claims, but not a single example to illustrate them. Give us some examples at the visible and molecular-level, please.

    Also note the strange language here: a "pattern" has been falsified. What does that even mean? Does it mean a logically derived prediction has been falsified, or does it mean an unexpected historical pattern was observed which does not contradict the theoretical predictions? Or what?

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  14. Cornelius says:"The gene for that protein duplicated, and then mutated until landing on a new protein that was needed."

    Not 'needed.' If a new protein is necessary for an organism's survival then the organism could not have existed prior to it having evolved. It may become 'needed' later, following subsequent evolution, such as dexcribed by Muller (1918), when he preempted irreducible complexity, but these things are hardly the same.

    'Needed' is a telling word, one that at least *suggests* evolution is in some way pre-ordained, or at least that biology must be the way it is (if one were to outright reject evolution). Not only is this a strawman attack on evolutionary theory, it is also loaded with it own metaphysics.

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  16. Troy wrote:

    Also note the strange language here: a "pattern" has been falsified. What does that even mean?

    Cornelius continually treats predictions as if they are matter of fact claims about reality. Furthermore, he evaluates them with a complete disregard for the underlying theory which the prediction is actually based on.

    For example, imagine a new imaging system reveals a planet which appears to have an organic network of structures that resembles some sort of vast, abandoned transportation system. Since such a network would require coordination if actually used for transportation, we may predict the discovery of a traffic signal-like coordination system throughout the network.

    Decades later, imagine we reach the planet's surface. Rather than discover an external coordination system, such as traffic lights, we find what appear to be vehicles that are coordinated using an internal peer to peer system. Does this invalidate the theory that the structures were actually a vast transpiration system? Of course not. One could only reach this conclusion if they completely ignored the underlying explanation behind the prediction. Would it be accurate to say this prediction was falsified? Only if one mistakes the prediction of external traffic signals as an empirical mandate of an external coordination system, rather than the discovery of some concrete form of traffic coordination, which a peer to peer system also represents.

    In other words, a theory's predictions must be evaluated in context of the underlying explanation of the phenomena it explains, rather than taken as purely empirical claims about reality.

    This is what Cornelius does with the predictions of evolution on a regular basis. And it reflects either naive empiricism or a disingenuous portrayal of science which suits his agenda.

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  17. Can a protein from one species work in another? Will chimp hemoglobin, for example, work in a human?

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  18. Another question

    Robert you said

    And how hard is it to build a heme binder? Not very, in four helix bundle (designed) libraries:

    Hecht MH, Das A, Go A, Bradley LH, Wei Y. 2004. De novo proteins from designed combinatorial libraries. Protein Sci. 13:1711–23
    - - -

    Nature doesn’t have designed library. It should be much harder (if possible) for nature than Ph.D. in chemistry. Correct?

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  19. Natschuster asks:"Can a protein from one species work in another?"

    Sure some of the time - and sometimes even between very divergent taxa, when the genes are particularly highly conserved such as developmental hox genes. The pax-6 gene from a mouse triggers eye development in a fly, for example.

    "Will chimp hemoglobin, for example, work in a human? "

    Imagine the uphill battle with an ethics committee to test that...

    Fortunately, as the residues are identical, there is no need to do so.

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  20. "Nature doesn’t have designed library. It should be much harder (if possible) for nature than Ph.D. in chemistry. Correct?"

    Nature has five million trillion trillion bacteria and billions of years to work with. I've got about 10^10 sized libraries on a good day, and 5 years.

    The point was that many of the proteins in a simple, designed fold library showed heme binding, with distinct enzymatic and oxygen binding properties. Given a fold (evolved or in this case designed), it doesn't take 10^100s of variants to get to new properties.

    Note that is the only example I gave where the library was designed, not random. Other experiments have seen 5% of random peptides folded, and distinct activities within 10^10 to 10^12 RNA or protein variants.

    Natsch and Eugene et al.....I have a question for you. What do you think of Behe's new paper, where he describes several cases of gain of FCT, where the “'gain-of-FCT' adaptive mutation is a mutation that produces a specific, new, functional coded element while adapting an organism to its environment"?

    http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf

    Shockingly close to fCSI and other ID definitions of information, which we've been told never ever can increase in natural processes?!?

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  21. RobertC -

    and that's with Behe focusing exclusively on experimental evolution in the lab, excluding such notable real-world mechanisms for increasing one's genomic information as HGT and gene duplication...

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  22. natschuster:

    ===
    Can a protein from one species work in another? Will chimp hemoglobin, for example, work in a human?
    ===

    Yes.

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  23. Paul:

    I'm not asking about development genes. I'm asking about proteins. I'm wondering if different proteins will work in different species. I'm wondering if the differences are because the protein has to work in a specific context, not the result of evolution.

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  24. Eocene:

    ==================
    Zachriel:

    "It was Cornelius Hunter who quote-mined the journal article for support."
    ====

    Naturally you would never be caught doing such a thing as quote mining.

    QUOTE MINING

    Seriously, both of your sides do it
    ==============

    This is a typical evolutionary canard. There is no quote mining in the OP.

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  25. natschuster:

    ===
    I'm not asking about development genes. I'm asking about proteins. I'm wondering if different proteins will work in different species. I'm wondering if the differences are because the protein has to work in a specific context, not the result of evolution.
    ===

    Well there are many examples of protein modifications, and even transplants from other species, that appear to work just fine. Of course this doesn't mean there isn't some degradation that is difficult to detect.

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  27. To clarify my earlier comment, could there be a theory where the same discovery (a peer to peer transportation coordination system, rather than external traffic signals) would result in falsification even with the same prediction? Yes. But, this prediction would be based on a different underlying theoretical assumption in which the specific variation is relevant.

    For example, imagine we discover a different network like structure on a different planet. Due to it's specific structure, we develop a theory that explains this network as a transpiration system built by a civilization with technical abilities very similar to our own. As in the previous example, this theory also predicts we should discover external traffic signals. However, it does so because - given our current technical abilities - external traffic signals are a practical solution used by the majority of our land-based transportation systems.

    In this case, the discovery of a majority of vehicles that use a peer to peer coordination system would falsify this same predication because the variation from an external traffic signal system and a peer to peer internal system represents a significant advancement in the underlying explanation of the network (the civilization's technical ability)

    However, if we discovered some other low-tech traffic coordination system which we simply hadn't thought off or merely did not obtain wide usage this wouldn't falsify the prediction because the variation doesn't reflect the level of the civilization's technical ability. (the underlying explanation of the network)

    A prediction is a function of the theory's explanation, and vice versa. An attempt to evaluate a theory's prediction without taking into account the underlying explanation it's based on represents naive empiricism.

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  28. Now, let's apply this principle to Cornelius's post.

    Cornelius writes:

    But this is not always the case. This pattern that evolution predicts is sometimes violated. Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level. The evolutionary pattern has now been falsified many times over.

    But what does that mean? Does the necessitate falsification?

    Again, only if you naive mistake this "pattern" as an empirical mandate of reality and ignore the underlying expiation, which is the foundation of the prediction.

    To illustrate the problem. I'll reformulate this quote using my last example.

    But this is not always the case. The discovery of traffic lights, which a theory of a civilization with similar technical abilities predicts, is sometimes violated. We've discovered big differences in a few vehicles which use internal peer to peer coordination systems, rather than external traffic signals. This is true for navigating from one place to another and even something as simple as parking. The predicted discovery of traffic lights has now been falsified many times over.

    Clearly, this doesn't follow as the concrete variation observed doesn't reflect the underlying the explanation behind the prediction.

    For example, we already have vehicles that use peer to peer communication to coordinate traffic. However, they're only used in very limited situations because we're not technically advanced enough to use them on the majority of vehicles.. So, in the case of traffic signals, the occasional violation of a prediction actually further collaborates the theory. This is because, in our case, the concrete number of violations is a reflection of our technical limitations (which is the underlying explanation which the prediction is actually based on). If we really were more technically advanced the violations would be significantly higher.

    This is just one example of how the mere presence of observed violations do not necessitate falsification. Yet Cornelius' arguments appear to depend on this very assumption.

    So, in the case of protein sequences, Cornelius has far more work to do as he fails to explain how these violations of the "pattern" (variations in the prediction) actually reflect multiple falsifications of the explanation the prediction is actually based on. He merely asserts this is the case, which appears naive or disingenuous.

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  29. Robert

    Natsch and Eugene et al.....I have a question for you. What do you think of Behe's new paper, where he describes several cases of gain of FCT, where the “'gain-of-FCT' adaptive mutation is a mutation that produces a specific, new, functional coded element while adapting an organism to its environment"?
    ---
    I only understand 50% of what you said earlier. I didn’t read Behe’s paper but I guess I would understand 52%.


    Can I visualize proteins as discreet little pieces of matter that fit together?What makes them fit together? What makes them stay together? Is there a friction between them if they move against each other? What force will pull them apart?

    I'll do some homework. Any good links handy ( no Wikipedia) or you'll leave it to me to dig?

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  30. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Years ago creationists argued that evolution was improbable because a protein sequence is a long shot. A typical globin sequence has about 140 amino acids. This means the sequence represents a one in 10^182 chance (a one followed by 182 zeros).

    It was an imprecise argument, for there is far more than just one sequence that can do the job. But in this case, being off by orders of magnitude hardly matters. A viable globin sequence may be a mere one in 10^150 chance. Who knows, perhaps it is even a one in 10^120 chance. The fact is we do not know, but today’s science is telling us that a viable globin sequence makes finding a needle in a haystack seem easy. And the hemoglobin protein is a relatively small one. Many proteins are several times longer.


    If you don't know the probability, why are you making such a big stink about it being too improbable? The probability may be 10^5 for a viable sequence developing through an iterative evolutionary process for all you know. The actual probability is meaningless, because we have ample evidence that such proteins did evolve over time.

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  31. "If that is what is required to even achieve simple ATP binding, then evolution would need to be incessantly running unsuccessful trials." And CHunter says,"...running millions of trials after millions of trials before finding even the tiniest of function."
    Well..duh. Now you hit on it. That is exactly what evolution is constantly doing and just like CDarwin said, "Natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good." Well, may be that's not the best quote. Wait, I see he changed that to make natural selection look less anthropocentric --inserting the adverb "metaphorically". Though CDarwin still embues a heavy dose of teleology and advance purpose, there and throughout ORIGIN. So, that may fully explain it: it was CDarwin's metaphorical prescience that inspired him to understand the workings of natural selection. So, yes, again evolution is sustained, and just as CDarwin had anticipated in the last millenium. Natural selection is constantly running experiments by trial and error --countless trillions every minute-- and having the good foresight to know what it will need to save and which to reject.

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  32. "I'll do some homework. Any good links handy ( no Wikipedia) or you'll leave it to me to dig?"

    I'd try the animations that go with Boyer's textbook:

    http://www.wiley.com//college/boyer/0470003790/animations/animations.htm

    The Protein synthesis and then Protein folding sections, and possibly the Enzyme activity section are probably what you are looking for.

    If you feel like it, there is a structural tutorial for hemoglobin:

    http://www.wiley.com//college/boyer/0470003790/structure/HbMb/Eval.html

    In short, proteins are polymers (chains) of amino acids (unit). Each amino acid has a sidechain whose property (acid, base, hydrophobic, hydrophilic) contributes to the structure and function of the protein.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Scott:

    "Does the necessitate falsification?"

    No, of course not.

    ReplyDelete
  34. RobertC:

    "What is the argument--evolution is limited in rate, therefore it is falsified?"

    Seeing a strawman is not too surprising, but the same one over and over? For rationalists, all must be in terms of true or false.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cornelius Hunter said...

    RobertC:

    "What is the argument--evolution is limited in rate, therefore it is falsified?"

    Seeing a strawman is not too surprising, but the same one over and over?


    You mean like your ridiculous "it's too improbable!" strawman argument based on your ignorance of both evolutionary biology and probability theory? The tired old PRATT you keep trotting out every other week?

    For rationalists, all must be in terms of true or false.

    That's better than a blustering Creationist who argues that if science doesn't know everything then science doesn't know anything.

    ReplyDelete
  36. RobertC:

    "What novel protein fold or class of reaction do humans have that dogs don't? Zebrafish? Fruit flies?"

    If I told you would it count? Of course novel proteins show up everywhere from fruit flies to humans. It is a huge problem for evolution, but that never stopped evolutionists because, after all, evolution must be a fact. Evolutionists have swept de novo genes under the rug so the rest need not consider them, or even be aware of them.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/06/orfans-and-theory-that-never-predicted.html

    ReplyDelete
  37. RobertC:

    ===
    "Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level."

    I cannot think of a good example of this on the molecular level!
    ===

    Evolutionists are consistently ignorant of scientific facts that don't fit their theory. To be ignorant of otherwise well-known examples of contra patterns at the molecular level (de novo genes, ORFans, UCEs, etc) while insisting evolution is the only rational conclusion--a fact--is unfortunately typical.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Cornelius Hunter said...

    RobertC:

    "What novel protein fold or class of reaction do humans have that dogs don't? Zebrafish? Fruit flies?"

    If I told you would it count? Of course novel proteins show up everywhere from fruit flies to humans. It is a huge problem for evolution, but that never stopped evolutionists because, after all, evolution must be a fact. Evolutionists have swept de novo genes under the rug so the rest need not consider them, or even be aware of them.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/06/orfans-and-theory-that-never-predicted.html


    Maybe if you tried referencing the primary scientific literature to document where real scientists think these are "huge problems for evolution" instead of just referring back to your own previously posted bluster you'd get farther.

    Oh, and quote-mining snippets of papers as you are fond of doing doesn't count. In fact, such intellectual dishonesty only highlights how desperate you must be.

    ReplyDelete
  39. RobertC:

    ===
    "We are a long way from having hard numbers"

    And thus these big-big-number calculations from creationists are very very weak evidence.
    ===

    They don't come merely from creationists.


    ===
    "but even conservative estimates of the number of protein sequences that are viable, for a given type of protein, are tiny."

    for a GIVEN TYPE of protein! Note evolution does not require any given type of protein, just something that produces an increase in fitness. So absent globins, life could have hit on another solution. Oh, and it did, in the hemocyanins, which have a different fold and copper ions, yet function well in respiration.
    ===

    Well at least this time you have provided an argument that isn't based on ignorance. This time your argument is not absurd, it merely is ludicrous. Unfortunately it is typical. When faced with astronomical odds, evolutionists fall back to this argument that the odds really aren't so bad because different solutions could have been found. Sure just one solution is astronomically unlikely, but there are many possible solutions.

    Yes, that sure is correct. We're facing 10^100+ odds, but it really is not so bad because globin is not the only solution available. In fact, there must be at least a half a dozen alternate solutions. And if we want to be conservative we could multiply that by ten. Or let's just give evolution every break. There are thousands of different folds, lets give them all to evolution as globin replacements. Sorry, but even a ridiculously high number like 10^5 does *nothing* to resolve the problem.

    So evolutionists don't stop there. After all, there are different forms of life, altogether, and then there is the multiverse, and then there is no life at all. Life evolved period. It didn't have to. If there is a near infinite number of universes, then so what? Any low probability event becomes a certainty. Your pencil might float in mid air at any time due to an unlikely, but inevitable, air pressure buildup. And if there is not a near infinite number of universes conveniently handy, then so what again. Life didn't have to evolve anyway. But it did -- that's just one outcome of many, and we all know it is a fallacy to be surprised at any one of them.




    "Who knows, therefore evolution is false?"

    Hilarious. You can't make this up. Evolution is ridiculous but since we cannot falsify it there is no problem and it remains a fact. I'm surprised I haven't floated yet--given all those universes.

    ReplyDelete
  40. RobertC:

    ===
    "It is an unlikely, just-so, story, for viable protein sequences are hard to find"

    Oh, is it?

    5% of a random peptide library exhibits folding (helical content, denaturation and protease resistant):
    Davidson AR, Sauer RT. 1994. Folded proteins occur frequently in libraries of random amino acid sequences. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:2146–50

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.biophys.37.032807.125832
    ===

    Unbelievable. First it was mere ATP binding, now it is mere folding. You have so lowered the bar that synthetic polypeptides based on three amino acids and having little in common with functional proteins are counted as meaningful.

    One unworkable aspect of these synthesized polypeptides is their stability. A hallmark of proteins, and much of molecular biology, is marginal stability. Proteins are flexible, marginally stable, and easily (and frequently) deconstructed. These synthesized polypeptides are more like little rocks.

    For our purposes, these 1994 results have long since been superceded, such as by the Szostak paper showing ATP binding to be a one in a million-million shot:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6829/abs/410715a0.html

    ReplyDelete
  41. Paul:

    ===
    'Needed' is a telling word, one that at least *suggests* evolution is in some way pre-ordained, or at least that biology must be the way it is (if one were to outright reject evolution). Not only is this a strawman attack on evolutionary theory, it is also loaded with it own metaphysics.
    ===

    Good catch. Fixed.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Cornelius Hunter:

    "Hilarious. You can't make this up. Evolution is ridiculous but since we cannot falsify it there is no problem and it remains a fact.
    I'M SURPRISED I HAVEN'T FLOATED YET--GIVEN ALL THOSE UNIVERSES."
    ====

    Can you now understand their(internet discussion board Evos) fascination with Sci-Fi flicks and numerous Television Sci-fi Series ??? I've left off watching most of the science fiction entertainment anymore as I find the themes of those programs having the same uncanny familiarity with most of the logic and rationalism presented on the Net on most of the more popular boards.

    Suddenly, I don't know if Hollywood is getting some of it's best material from hiring spies lurking around these boards or if Evolutionists get their retorts, rants and diatribes from the magic presented by Hollywood.

    Ever hear of the Sci-Fi flick "Sliders" ??? Maybe they should change the name to a more politically evolutionary correct expression like "Horizontal Transferers" ??? It's amazing the total tonage of world's both groups have invented over just the past couple of decades.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hunter:

    This is a typical evolutionary canard. There is no quote mining in the OP.

    To quote-mine is to quote out of context. To extract excerpts to support one’s position, while neglecting the context, is to quote-mine.

    This seems to be a common misbehavior among religiously motivated critics of science. Presumably, in their hearts they are truthful.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks Rob C

    I checked those links. I can't believe it's all free. I read a little, now my head is spinning.

    I'll have to absorb it slowly then I'll be back !


    I hope you are enjoying your Festivus ,Pedantski.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I wrote:
    But what does that mean? Does the necessitate falsification?

    Cornelius wrote:
    No, of course not.

    So then where is your argument? What's the point?

    If we predict an iPod, but find a Walkman, was that a failed prediction? Again, it depends on why an iPod was predicted.

    An empirical observation alone is clearly insufficient, yet your arguments seem depend on this assumption.

    Are there are significant difference between an iPod and a Walkman? Of course. iPods have onboard digital storage, can hold days worth of music and has communication ports for uploading music. A walkman is completely analog and uses removable media and is limited to just a few hours. It's radically different. But unless we factor the underlying explanation behind why an iPod was predicted, this significant variation is inconclusive. it's just hand waving.

    Again, in the case of protein sequences, you have much more work ahead of you as you've failed to explain how these violations are actual relevant.

    Perhaps you assume the connection between the explanation and the prediction is obvious to your audience?

    However, this isn't the only time we've observed gross misrepresentations of evolutionary theory. As such, it's not even clear you have a good grasp of how Evolution's predictions are related to it's underlying explanation of biological complexity. Should this be the case, I fail to see how your arguments are anything more than hand waving.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Pedant:

    ===
    To quote-mine is to quote out of context. To extract excerpts to support one’s position, while neglecting the context, is to quote-mine.
    ===

    Right.

    ReplyDelete
  47. RC: "What is the argument--evolution is limited in rate, therefore it is falsified?"

    CH: Seeing a strawman is not too surprising, but the same one over and over? For rationalists, all must be in terms of true or false.

    Soo.....What is the argument again???
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    RC: "What novel protein fold or class of reaction do humans have that dogs don't? Zebrafish? Fruit flies?"

    CH: If I told you would it count? Of course novel proteins show up everywhere from fruit flies to humans.

    RC: I didn't say novel protein. I said novel fold or class of reaction. OF course humans have a few proteins, brought about by duplication or recombination of existing domains. But no great novelty-no new folds, no new class of catalysis. This fits the difficulty of evolution precisely.
    We simply don't see new protein folds popping up in vertebrates, with their long generation times, and small population sizes. Now how this fits design is a puzzle to me!
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    ReplyDelete
  48. ===
    CH: "Biology reveals some very big differences between otherwise similar species, and some striking similarities between otherwise distant species. This is true for visible features as well as at the molecular level."

    RC: I cannot think of a good example of this on the molecular level!
    ===

    CH: Evolutionists are consistently ignorant of scientific facts that don't fit their theory. To be ignorant of otherwise well-known examples of contra patterns at the molecular level (de novo genes, ORFans, UCEs, etc) while insisting evolution is the only rational conclusion--a fact--is unfortunately typical.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    There are 0 orfans in humans. There are few in other organisms, with decreasing numbers all the time. A few de-novo genes. But how are these rare genes "very big differences between otherwise similar species" that would amount to pattern-breakers?

    I'm really puzzled at the response-you link to a post of yours that links to a Pandasthumb article discussing the creationist misinterpretation of ORFans.

    Again, what is the example of a striking difference between related species conserved with more distant ones? This is a big claim, with no backing, and I call your bluff.

    ReplyDelete
  49. CH: "We are a long way from having hard numbers"

    CH later: We're facing 10^100+ odds

    " it really is not so bad because globin is not the only solution available."

    Hemocyanins make this empirically undeniable.

    In fact, there must be at least a half a dozen alternate solutions. And if we want to be conservative we could multiply that by ten."

    Who knows, but your the one who led by arguing you have some grand argument against evolution based on improbability, so the burden of proof lies with you.

    "Or let's just give evolution every break. There are thousands of different folds, lets give them all to evolution as globin replacements. Sorry, but even a ridiculously high number like 10^5 does *nothing* to resolve the problem."

    10^5? That is a speck of RNA. 30 million trillion trillion bacteria on earth per generation. 10^5?

    ReplyDelete
  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  51. ""Unbelievable. First it was mere ATP binding, now it is mere folding. "

    In response to your claim that viable protein folds were rare in sequence space.

    "These synthesized polypeptides are more like little rocks."

    Actually, some demonstrating cooperative folding had Tm in the 50's and denatured in 2M GnHCL.

    "These 1994 results have long since been superceded, such as by the Szostak paper showing ATP binding to be a one in a million-million shot"

    Total number of Folded proteins vs functional RNAs? Apples and oranges much?

    The functional ATP binding took 0.8 nanograms of RNA. Wonder how many other functionalities were in there? And by the way, one in a million-million is 88 zeros away from your latest claim. Empiricism?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So forgive me again for asking, but what is the best empirical data that the evolution of some functional oxygen transporter is impossible?

    ReplyDelete
  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Scott:

    ===
    I wrote:
    But what does that mean? Does the necessitate falsification?

    Cornelius wrote:
    No, of course not.

    So then where is your argument? What's the point?
    ===

    What science is telling us about proteins as discussed in the OP (ie, a type of protein seems to be coded for by only a sliver of amino acid sequences, etc) does not falsify evolution. The problem here is that to falsify a theory you need a failed prediction which cannot be patched. Theory X predicts Y, and there is no way around it. If Y is false, then X must be false.

    It is difficult to find those sorts of predictions. Retrograde motion of Mars does not falsify geocentrism. You just add some epicycles. A committed theoretician can always avoid falsification--there are people today who still back geocentrism.

    Evolution has endured an incredible list of falsifications which simply are accommodated with more epicycles. Obviously these epicycles make a theory more complex, and that is the tradeoff. So it isn't so useful to think in terms of false predictions as necessitating falsification of the theory. Rather, they necessitate a move in the tradeoff between accuracy versus complexity of the theory.

    A false prediction can be accepted (ie, the theory doesn't work in that case), or accommodated with an adjustment to the theory. Of course, evolutionists do not accept any false predictions since they think evolution is a fact. This committment to evolution being a fact means there can be no false predictions. As evolutionists say, *all* the evidence supports evolution.

    So in general you have a tradeoff between accuracy and complexity. In the case of evolution the tradeoff will always move toward increased theory complexity. But either way, false predictions lead to more and more problems with the theory, whether those problems are manifest in terms of less theory accuracy or more theory complexity.


    ====
    If we predict an iPod, but find a Walkman, was that a failed prediction? Again, it depends on why an iPod was predicted.
    ====

    So different false predictions pose different levels of problems. Some false predictions can easily and reasonably accommodated. An obvious example is where the prediction error falls within some sort of noise, such as measurement noise. Obviously it isn't much of a problem if the difference between the prediction and observation is well within the known measurement noise level.

    False predictions are interesting when there is no such easy explanation, and when the epicycles add substantial complexity, such as the need for a multiverse, or for serendipity, or for unlikely events, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hunter quoting me:

    ===
    To quote-mine is to quote out of context. To extract excerpts to support one’s position, while neglecting the context, is to quote-mine.
    ===


    replied:

    Right.

    Then why doesn't he stop doing it? Because he thinks it's the scholarly thing to do? Peculiar.

    ReplyDelete
  55. RobertC:

    ===
    RC: I didn't say novel protein. I said novel fold or class of reaction. OF course humans have a few proteins, brought about by duplication or recombination of existing domains.
    ===

    But Robert, when you say "OF course humans have a few proteins, brought about by duplication" you think you have resolved the issue. The point of the OP is that the sequences that can code for a protein seem to be a tiny sliver of the entire sequence space. You can't just duplicate a different gene, and then have it drift for awhile and luckily land in a different sliver.

    If the sliver constitutes a 1 in 10^130 fraction of sequence space, then you are hypothesizing an unlikely event.

    For instance, let's say there are a trillion individuals, and for a trillion years each one tests out a new sequence, one per day. That would be something like 10^27 new sequences tested. The likelihood that the new protein would have been discovered is about 1 in 10^100 (it is approximately 1 in 10^[130-27] ).

    ReplyDelete
  56. Pedant said...

    Hunter quoting me:

    ===
    To quote-mine is to quote out of context. To extract excerpts to support one’s position, while neglecting the context, is to quote-mine.
    ===

    replied:

    Right.

    Then why doesn't he stop doing it? Because he thinks it's the scholarly thing to do? Peculiar.


    I've never understood people like CH who claim to be Christians but who will willingly and knowingly lie with no hesitation to argue for their religious beliefs.

    It's like they think the ninth commandment about not bearing false witness somehow doesn't apply to them.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Cornelius,
    "You can't just duplicate a different gene, and then have it drift for awhile and luckily land in a different sliver.

    If the sliver constitutes a 1 in 10^130 fraction of sequence space, then you are hypothesizing an unlikely event."

    So this is what a Ph.D. in biophysics got you? do you not realize that when genes duplicate and diverge, their new functional role is usually very similar to the one the original gene performed? The classes of hemoglobin are an excellent example. They are just variants of one another- it's not like they are diverging from a globin to a flagellar protein. so, as usual, the big numbers of 1 in 10^130 you throw around are totally meaningless.

    ReplyDelete
  58. in other words genes that duplicate are already in the functional sliver and are just playing around within and on the edges of that sliver. Thus there is no heroics needed, and these relatively small changes are, as RobertC has explained, what we would expect from things with small population sizes, etc. like vertebrates.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Pedant:

    "Then why doesn't he stop doing it?"

    Why do you believe the OP is guilty of quote mining?

    ReplyDelete
  60. nanobot74:

    ===
    do you not realize that when genes duplicate and diverge, their new functional role is usually very similar to the one the original gene performed? ... in other words genes that duplicate are already in the functional sliver and are just playing around within and on the edges of that sliver. Thus there is no heroics needed
    ===

    No, I was referring to novel proteins.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Pedant:

    "Then why doesn't he stop doing it?"

    Why do you believe the OP is guilty of quote mining?


    It was quote-mining because you deliberately left out the rest of the abstract where the researchers explained why the findings were not a problem for evolution.

    "The past several years have seen novel insights at the interface of protein biophysics and evolution. The accepted paradigm that proteins can tolerate nearly any amino acid substitution has been replaced by the view that the deleterious effects of mutations, and especially their tendency to undermine the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of protein, is a major constraint on protein evolvability--the ability of proteins to acquire changes in sequence and function. We summarize recent findings regarding how mutations affect protein stability, and how stability affects protein evolution. We describe ways of predicting and analyzing stability effects of mutations, and mechanisms that buffer or compensate for these destabilizing effects and thereby promote protein evolvabilty, in nature and in the laboratory."

    When you omit critical portions of a paragraph to deliberately paint a false picture that's quote mining. It's both dishonest and despicable.

    With your continued scurrilous behavior you really have a lot of nerve calling yourself a Christian.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Cornelius,
    "No, I was referring to novel proteins."

    that is exactly the point- the novel proteins that Robert was referring to in humans (e.g. GBP-1) are just variants of other proteins with similar functions and structures. so your insane odds of a protein duplicating and then simultaneously mutating into an entirely different and new protein are irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
  63. nanobot74:

    ===
    that is exactly the point- the novel proteins that Robert was referring to in humans (e.g. GBP-1) are just variants of other proteins with similar functions and structures. so your insane odds of a protein duplicating and then simultaneously mutating into an entirely different and new protein are irrelevant.
    ===

    No, I was referring to proteins with unique sequences. Yes, the point I made would not be relevant to mere variants.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Cornelius,
    "No, I was referring to proteins with unique sequences. "
    And why were you doing that when responding to Robert's point about humans, where there is nothing beyond mere variants?

    ReplyDelete
  65. nanobot74:

    ===
    "No, I was referring to proteins with unique sequences. "
    And why were you doing that when responding to Robert's point about humans, where there is nothing beyond mere variants?
    ===

    Yet more circular arguments. There is plenty of evidence for unique proteins in humans, but if you're an evolutionist they don't count. And this is by no means the case only with humans.

    Evolutionists interpret the data according to evolution, and then present those interpretations as though they are objective findings.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hunter:

    Yet more circular arguments. There is plenty of evidence for unique proteins in humans, but if you're an evolutionist they don't count. And this is by no means the case only with humans.

    It might assist intelligent discussion if you would cite some examples.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Dr. Hunter,

    I'm sitting here laughing. I can't help it.

    I'm watching the Darwieners go around and around in their habitual vicious circles after every answer you give and it's almost like riding a roller coaster.

    What happened to these guys?
    They received no critical thinking education? Did they fall on their heads once too often?
    Do they have a mutation that puts their minds on hold?

    I don't get it.
    How can anyone be so blind and gullible?

    Maybe because the also believe that nothing created everything?

    This whole thread would be a great example for a class on the abuse of logic, failure to grasp an argument etc., in any course on logic and critical thinking.

    The Darwinists would come out looking like real stubborn dummies.

    Ever think of doing such a class?

    You certainly have no lack of textbook worthy cases of fallacies and ill reasoning from our Darwinian fundamentalist debaters to use.

    Another great post btw.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Gary, can you list a few examples of these failures of logic?

    ReplyDelete
  69. Maybe Gary can also list a few examples of proteins unique to humans that disprove evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  70. If even Cornelius can't list examples of proteins unique to humans that disprove evolution, I doubt Gary can.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Derick,

    My remark was facetious, as I suspect you are aware. I am still hoping that Dr Hunter will tell us about the abundant evidence for novel proteins in humans when he can find the time.

    I went back over some previous posts looking for another example of this claim, and I found that in October he complained that Ken Miller had failed to mention that there are a "...great number (more than a thousand) genes unique to the human genome." He was asked by a commenter if he wanted to bet his house on that claim.

    So far he hasn't responded.

    I wouldn't hold him to a thousand. I'd settle for a hundred.

    ReplyDelete