Friday, May 22, 2009

The Muddy Water Theory

Evolution always predicts simplicity, and it always seems to be wrong. If all life arose from muddy water then it probably isn’t very cleverly designed. Evolutionists always seem to assume that biological designs are crude, if even functional. And biology, apparently unaware of evolution, continues to reveal sophistication and complexity. Here’s an everyday example.

In genes that code for proteins, some nucleotides in the DNA sequence can be switched without altering the protein sequence. This is because the DNA code is degenerate: there are 64 codons (i.e., 4^3 DNA nucleotide triplets) but only 20 amino acids, so different codons often code for the same amino acid. In other words, certain nucleotides can be switched without altering the encoded amino acid. Such nucleotide changes are referred to as silent or synonymous replacements.

Evolutionists figured this code, and its degeneracy, was a big fluke. The DNA code arose from muddy water, so what would you expect? No wonder it is degenerate. And a consequence of this evolutionary thinking was that the silent replacements don’t matter. After all, they don’t alter the protein sequence, and since biology is nothing more than one big kludge, there can’t be any other significant function for the gene sequence.

It is yet another example where evolutionary thinking has set back science. Not only is the DNA code profoundly subtle and complex, but silent replacements do matter, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons that has been understood for decades is that although a silent replacement does not alter the protein sequence, it does alter the intermediate, mRNA, transcript, and mRNA stability (or should I say instability) is important. Like a blueprint folding up on itself in the wind, if the mRNA transcript is too stable it will fold up. Then it is difficult to translate into a sequence of amino acids. In other words, mRNA needs to be somewhat unstable.

In spite of the importance of even silent replacements in DNA, evolutionists routinely view them as practically neutral, having little effect one way or another. A recent paper reinforced the importance of these silent replacements. This research showed that protein production can vary substantially (by up to two orders of magnitude) when silent replacements are inserted, because the mRNA stability is altered.

Another surprise for evolutionists. As one science writer explained, for evolutionists, “these results fundamentally change the understanding of the role of synonymous mutations, which were previously considered evolutionarily neutral.”