Biology Intelligent Design Science

Universal Genetic Code

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It has come to my attention that because the genetic code isn’t quite universal some people think that is grounds for calling into question how many more than one common ancestor there might be.

I would point out that the vast majority of deviations from the standard code are in mitochondria not nuclear genetic code.

Even so, there are far fewer points of deviation than there are points of similarity. The salient question is not “how did these 8 of 64 codes come to be different with a common ancestor” but rather “how did these 56 of 64 codes come to be the same without a common ancestor”.

20 Replies to “Universal Genetic Code

  1. 1
    John Davison says:

    The issue is to identify how such enormous gaps can exist and at the same time adhere to a common ancestor. I too believe that one ancestor is the psychologically most gratifying situation but that doesn’t mean squat. What matters is what can be proved. I regard it as now firmly established that all primates share a common ancestor but I do not regard it as proved that all orders share a common ancestor and certainly not all classes or any of the higher taxa. If others feel they have I say good for them. I’m from Wisconsin and I gotta be showed. The Biblical claims of separately created “kinds” may have a basis in fact. We will eventually see I am sure. It sure hasn’t been established yet that all life has the same ancestor. A similar machinery doesn’t mean anything except to a Darwinian that is. It’s not real smart to put all one’s eggs in one basket before you absolutely have to.

  2. 2
    DaveScot says:

    I beg to differ. The thornier issue is to identify how such enormous similarities can exist without a common ancestor.

  3. 3
    John Davison says:

    You are the boss here sir! Whatever you say sir! If you are so sure there was only one common ancestor I recommend you do what no one else has ever had the courage to do and present it in a refereed journal with the iron clad proof that it is so or even reasonable. I have published my views which are that no one has any idea how many times, where, how or when life was created as well as how many Creators were involved.
    I also just presented on this forum hard headed experimentally verified facts that make a common ancestor for all vertebrates exceedingly improbable, evidence that I first presented in 1984 in the Journal of Theoretical Biology twenty two years ago. There is no tangible evidence that there has been reproductive continuity beween members of any of the vertebrate Classes or even between the major amphibian Orders. get used to it. I have.

    How do you like them hard headed experimental revelations that will never be reconciled with the Darwinian fairy tale, based as it is on a monophyletic evolution? As a matter of fact, distasteful as it may be to some, they may prove to support special creation on more than one, perhaps even several occasions. I don’t know and neither do you or anyone else. You may write that down too.

    Thanks for posting and giving me this opportunity to respond. It means a lot to me don’t you know.

    I don’t need to publish any of that, John. It’s already been done by others. Are you ever going to offer an explanation for how the genetic code came to be so similar if there are independent lines of descent? -ds

    “Organisms have developed from tens of thousands of primary forms, e.g, polyphyletically.”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406

    I learned long ago not to dismiss the greatest Russian biologist of his day, in my opinion the greatest evolutionist of all time. Others, mostly illiterate ideologues, have not been so wise.

  4. 4
    j says:

    Thought I’d share this interesting info on the topic:

    “Recent DNA sequencing has shown that several enzymes found in archaeans and eukaryotes are left over from [a “Snowball Earth” event in which the entire earth was covered with ice] of 2.5 billion years ago. No such enzymes occurred in the older bacteria. The implications of this are profound: [Dr. Joseph] Kirschvink [of Cal Tech] and his colleagues are proposing no less than complete rejection of the Tree of Life models [in which] the three great domains (Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya) all arose (sic) soon after life’s first evolution (sic) at least 3.8 billion years ago… If the Kirschvink group is correct, two of the three domains — Archaea and Eucarya — arose (sic) only after the 2.5-billion-year-old Snowball Earth and are thus much younger than bacteria.” Ward and Brownlee, Rare Earth (2000), p.119.

  5. 5
    John Davison says:

    By assuming a single origin one is basically assuming that the origin of life was a rare event and an accident. That is basically the monophyletic posture of the Darwinian myth. If all the cellular machinery were identical in all living things, which is far from the truth anyway, it would in no way detract from a huge body of compelling evidence in favor of multiple origins. Ye Gods we are 50% identical with bananas at the DNA level. Is anybody weak minded enough to believe that proves we had a common ancestor? Apparently there are thousands of such poor misguided souls. I’m not one of them and I am very grateful for it.

    We are 100% compatible with the genetic code of bananas. The genetic code came along long before sexual reproduction too. I’d tell you to write it down but you won’t. You’re evidently prescribed to ignore the homogeneity of the genetic code. -ds

    I’ll follow and recognize the evidence thank you very much and I refuse to shackle that enterprise with any a priori assumptions. They aren’t worth a nickel and never were. Got that? Write that down too.

    “There are more horses asses than horses.”
    anonymous

    “Men are most apt to believe what they least understand.”
    Montaigne

    “We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.”
    ibid

    As for the ghastly way I insist on ridiculing my adversaries and there are thousands of them, one more from Montaigne:

    “A little folly is desirable in him that will not be guilty of stupidity.”

    How do you like them patboiled parsnips? I think they are pretty tasty myself.

  6. 6
    Scott says:

    Actually I think it’s 70% DNA we share with nanners.

    🙂

  7. 7
    John Davison says:

    I have no responsibility to explain WHY there is a common genetic code. Scientists do not ask why. They ask only HOW. Why is for philosophers and I am not one and I am very grateful for that too. So was Einstein by the way as he often proclaimed.

    “Isn’t all of philosophy like writing in honey? It looks wonderful at first sight, but when you look again it is all gone. Only the smear is left.”

    and

    “Upon reading books on philosophy, I learned that I stood there like a blind man in front of a painting. I can grasp only the inductive method….the works of speculative philosophy are beyond my reach.”

    Me too Albert.

    Fine. How did all the points of similarity come to exist in the genetic code? You can answer me now, correct? -ds

  8. 8
    John Davison says:

    I already have if you would just notice. A common genetic code in no way militates against separate origins. On the contrary, to insist that life was created only once just because there is a common genetic code is pure unadulterated Darwinism especially in view of an enormous literature from developmental biology that indicates that is not so. If you or any one else is going to continue to ignore the fact that different vertebrate taxa employ nonhomologous germ cells for reproduction then you are denying cold hard facts that will never be reconciled with reproductive continuity. When reproductive continuity cannot be demonstrated there is only one explanation. It never existed. Got that? Write that down too. There may be other interpretations that might support reproductive continuity but, until they are established, separate creations are definitely on the table. The origin of life was a miracle by any standard imaginable. Multiple orgins are no more miraculous than one and seem to be required based on our present knowledge. I have no intention of ignoring that which cannot be denied. Science does not proceed that way, at least the brand I have been practicing for over a half century brand doesn’t.

    “Science commits suicide when she adopts a creed.”
    Thomas Henry Huxley

    “Men believe most firmly what they least understand.”
    Montaigne

    “It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for believing it to be true.”
    Bertrand Russell

    So much for Darwinism and monophyleticism too. As far as I am concerned they both suck with a vacuum exceeding one atmosphere. I understand that is impossible.

    How do you like them hard boiled, incontravertible, undeniable, cold hard facts boys and girls? They are pretty hard to swallow aren’t they? Eat them anyway or I won’t let you watch TV after supper.

    Skoal

    “Multiple orgins are no more miraculous than one”

    Well then, by your logic of one miracle being no more miraculous than many miracles, we can just say that 6 billion humans were all created in 6 billion separate miracles and throw out evolution altogether. Case closed. -ds

  9. 9
    John Davison says:

    I love that “case closed” DaveScot. That is a beauty. I’ll give it my careful consideration. I would of course consider an apology. That is the kind of a remark that has no place anywhere in a forum presumably concerned with a phenomenon that has never been observed. Have a nice forum.

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    I love that “case closed” DaveScot. That is a beauty. I’ll give it my careful consideration. I would of course consider an apology. That is the kind of a remark that has no place anywhere in a forum presumably concerned with a phenomenon that has never been observed. Have a nice forum.

    Okay, then let me apologize. I’m sorry you felt compelled to call upon miracles in explaining evolution. I’m also sorry you don’t recognize that multiple miracles are not same as a single miracle. I’ll give your multiple miracles hypothesis all due consideration of course.

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  12. 12
    John Davison says:

    The choice is clear. Life either originated and evolved through chance as Gould and Dawkins insisted or it was Created and evolved according to law as Berg insisted. I’ll stick with Berg thank you very much and I see no middle ground. The most convincing evidence that evolution was the result of a plan is that it is no longer going on and hasn’t been since man appeared on this planet roughly 100,000 years ago.

    “Facts, in my opinion, testify in favor of Nomogenesis, and not in favor of the hypothesis of chance.”
    Leo Berg, page xviii, from the Preface to “Nomogenesis or Evolution According to Law.”

    “Organisms have developed from tens of thousands of primary forms, i.e, polyphyletically,.”
    ibid, page 406

    That closes my case too.

  13. 13
    YECist says:

    Seems to me that a common genetic code can only count as evidence for common ancestory if multiple genetic codes counted against common ancestory. Putting aside the different codes known to exist for a moment … At least some evolutionists think that the first life forms must have had a simpler code system than our current 3 codon/four base system — because it is just too complex to have come together from random chemicals glombing onto each other. They image that a simpler code system (say a two codon system with maybe fewer bases) evolved into today’s more complex system. Well if evolution can do that, why couldn’t all kinds of code systems have evolved? (and why didn’t they, by the way) So if we looked in the world around us and found many different DNA code systems, evolutionists would tell us that they would predict such a situtionation from evolutionary theory! (I suspect that a few of them would even be saying that single code system would go against what evolution would predict.)

    Differences in the genetic code are trivial in comparison to the similarities. The salient question isn’t how these small differences occurred with common ancestry but rather how the overwhelming similarity occurred without common ancestry. The only answer to the second question that I’ve seen is driven by faith in revelation for its authority. That said, I’m in full agreement that the evidence points to intelligent causation for the virtually universal genetic code. Only some specific interpretations of specific religious revelation argues against common ancestry. The writings of religious prophets have no place in science, although that’s not to say revelation can point to science for confirmation. The problem is in an unwillingness to accept scientific contraventions of revelation as well as confirmations. For instance, the best science indicates that the universe came about in a moment out of nothing. This agrees with many religious revelations and is happily embraced by the faithful because of it. The best science also indicates that all the extant life on earth came from a single original cell whose origin is in dispute. This doesn’t agree with some strict interpretations of revelation and is thus rejected because of it. -ds

  14. 14
    John Davison says:

    Well I guess that takes care of that. No further comments by me on that subject as mine are already in hard print and have been for some time. I would love to see the published proof or even the serious suggestion that all life came from a single original source. Even Darwin hedged on that one.

  15. 15
    John Davison says:

    I am also curious about which kind of science is the “best science.” It apparently doesn’t include my brand so naturally I am a little miffed. My science is based on what can be demonstrated in the laboratory and very little of it points to a single origin.

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  17. 17
    YECist says:

    DaveScot,

    Your second link above contains the follwing statement:

    “The fact that there must have been a LUCA [Last Universal Common Ancestor – YEC] was first made clear in the 1960s when the genetic code was deciphered and found to be universal.”

    That appears to be the sole evidence put forward for universal common descent. In my post above I have tried to make the case that a universal code does not logically entail universal descent and is fully compatible with common design/common designer. I made a logic based argument, not a revelation based argument. You haven’t addressed my logical argument. All you have done is basically said that the only reason for denying universal descent must be a religious one. I often hear evolutionists argue against ID with the same argument, “the only motivations for believing ID/rejecting darwinism are religious.” I assume you reject such assertions …

    The question, “Is all life around us the result of descent from a single common ancestor, or descent from multiple original ancestors?” is one that science can shed much light on. It is the implications of the answers that cause problems.

    No, as I wrote in a previous article the major evidence is a virtually universal genetic code coupled with billions of observations of reproductive continuity without a single exception. Until an exception is found (which I doubt will ever happen but all science is tentative) the observation of life coming from life is a law of nature as well tested as the law of gravity. -ds

  18. 18
    YECist says:

    DaveScot,

    Please be patient with me, I am honestly trying to understand your position…

    It is my understanding that you are open to the idea of design in nature. Specifically, that you will allow that an intelligent designer could have been involved with the origin of various biological structures/beings. I think those of us who have thought about this issue for some time have come to the realization that studying the current workings of something, may not reveal to you the origins of that object. You can study how a clock works all you want, but that may not reveal to you the origins of that clock. The origins of clocks involve more than just springs, and gears and levers, etc. Just by looking at how the “natural” world around us works, doesn’t mean we will be able to decipher how that world came to be.

    You say, “Plop an organism down in front of me that can be shown to have not descended from a pre-existing organism. Absent that, naturalism rules and common descent is our default hypothesis.” If this is your position then how can we object to evolutionists saying “Show me a designer (other than the kinds we are already familiar with) making a novel structure/organism, absent that RM/NS is our default theory.”

    You claimed your adherence to common descent is based on two observations: Universal DNA Code, and lack of demonstration of an organism poofed into existence. I have questioned the logic of your first prong and you have not substantiated it. If common code doesn’t necessitate common ancestry, then we have to consider other lines of evidence to settle the question. Other lines of evidence bring common descent into question in my opinion. The second prong you rely on is the biological equivalent of the geological notion of uniformitarianism (the past was the same as today), with a strong whiff of naturalism. Uniformitarianism in geology is dieing a slow death — I don’t think we should hitch our horse to that wagon.

    If this is your position then how can we object to evolutionists saying “Show me a designer (other than the kinds we are already familiar with) making a novel structure/organism, absent that RM/NS is our default theory.”

    ID’s claim is design detection, not designer whereabouts. One can infer design without knowing anything about a designer. The demand to produce a designer is a red herring. We can, in some cases, discriminate between patterns generated by chance interaction of matter and energy and patterns that almost certainly must have an intellgent cause.

    You claimed your adherence to common descent is based on two observations: Universal DNA Code, and lack of demonstration of an organism poofed into existence.

    That is wrong. The second part is positive observation in a billion+ cases that life comes from life. The rule that life comes from life is a law of nature as well tested as gravity. It will predict with 100% accuracy that when any new life is observed coming into the world the source of that life is another living thing. However, all of science it tentative. Even laws of nature are subject to revision upon contrary observations. Until such time as someone shows an apple falling up or life coming from non-life the working assumption is that things fall down and life comes from life.

  19. 19
    John Davison says:

    Have fun folks. I have published my conclusions and see no reason to recant based on what I see here.

  20. 20
    YECist says:

    “The rule that life comes from life is a law of nature as well tested as gravity. It will predict with 100% accuracy that when any new life is observed coming into the world the source of that life is another living thing. … Until such time as someone shows an apple falling up or life coming from non-life the working assumption is that things fall down and life comes from life.”

    DaveScot,

    How would you respond to an evolutionist who says, “It is a rule of life that new structures/new organisms never come about through the intervention of an intelligent designer. In every single instance that we have observed, anything biologically novel that wasn’t produced by a human biologist, always came about through perfectly natural, unintelligent processes. WE have observed many thousands of mutations, and we can predict with 100% acccuracy that anything new biologically will come from unintelligent natural processes. Until such time as someone shows us an apple falling up or a novel biological structure being produced by an intelligent designer (other than humans), the working assumption is that things fall down and biological structures are produced unintelligently.”

    It is a rule of life that new structures/new organisms never come about through the intervention of an intelligent designer.

    All machines, where the origin can be determined, are the result of intelligent design. Cells are machines. Absent a demonstration that an unintelligent process can design complex machinery one must presume cells are like all other machines and are the result of design. It has not been demonstrated that random mutation + natural selection is capable of such design. -ds

    In every single instance that we have observed, anything biologically novel that wasn’t produced by a human biologist, always came about through perfectly natural, unintelligent processes. WE have observed many thousands of mutations, and we can predict with 100% acccuracy that anything new biologically will come from unintelligent natural processes.

    What test was performed to distinguish an intelligent from an unintelligent process? (answer: none) The claim that the process was unintelligent has no basis. It is an empty claim. -ds

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