Embryology Evolution Intelligent Design

Biophysics is starting to matter in evolution

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From Suzan Mazur at Oscillations:

The mechanics of morphogenesis is something European scientists, in particular, seem to find intriguing. However, physical biology is an approach many classical biologists in America have had a difficult time in the past understanding as well as accepting, as evidenced by vociferous attacks in the blogosphere on scientists working in that area. Fortunately, this is changing with America’s new generation of scientists, with project support from organizations like the Simons Foundation, and with publicly funded research in Europe that continues to explore along those lines.

Jean-Leon_Maitre

French scientists, in particular, have been central to the inquiry into the mechanics of shape in developmental biology. An inspiring example is the current work of Jean-Léon Maître, who is leading a team at Institut Curie in Paris looking at how the mammalian embryo is built.

Much that happens to embryos is not usefully seen as natural selection acting on random genetic mutation but as applied physics and chemistry. Yes, we are talking about structuralism, the much-maligned approach to evolution that sees it as critically dependent on physics and chemistry, not accidentally so (as in random evolution).

Suzan Mazur: A fair number of classical biologists in the US don’t understand this idea of physical forces and have in the past ridiculed and rejected this approach. Regardless, the science now seems to be moving center stage. It’s interesting.

Jean-Léon Maître: There is a huge contribution that biophysics or physical biology can make to biology. Biology is becoming more and more quantitative and our field is quantitative by nature, so it is really helping to push quantitative measurement into biology in general.

A dose of biophysics rids us of any number of Darwinian just-so stories. That is, “It happens this way because of these specific laws of force” strkes a different note from “It evolved this way because natural selection somehow favored it [insert just-so story here].”

Suzan Mazur: And why do you think these cyclic contractile events have been conserved in evolution?

Jean-Léon Maître: This short answer is, I have no idea. What the field is leaning towards is that this constraint on the time scale of contraction is some kind of structural constraint. The way the actin cytoskeleton and myosin forces are organized at the molecular level kind of defines the time scale. More.

Some ID types have been studying biophysics for years, for a more complete picture of the history of life.

See also:Is Nature now giving space to structuralism?

Denton, as his book Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis reveals, is a structuralist. He thinks that many puzzles of evolution will turn out to relate to as yet unidentified laws of physics and chemistry.

Of course, if one insists, with Stephen Jay Gould, that evolution is random, any such quest is in vain.

Denton himself certainly learned what can happen to those who search for such laws.

See also: Convergent evolution: “Emerging view” that evolution is predictable?

Vid of early mouse embryo reacting to the absence of calcium, by Maitre

5 Replies to “Biophysics is starting to matter in evolution

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Of semi related note:

    Out of One Cell, Many Tissues — But How? – May 15, 2018,
    Excerpt: From this solitary cell emerges the galaxy of others needed to build an organism, with each new cell developing in the right place at the right time to carry out a precise function in coordination with its neighbors.
    This feat is one of the most remarkable in the natural world, and despite decades of study, a complete understanding of the process has eluded biologists.,,,
    In several instances, they found that the DNA sequence of a gene — and the structure of the protein it encodes — could be nearly identical between species but have very different expression patterns.
    “This really shocked us, because it goes against all the intuition we had about development and biology,” Klein said. “It was a really uncomfortable observation. It directly challenges our idea of what it means to be a certain ‘cell type.’”,,,
    “We found that this expression plasticity is independent of variation in protein sequence itself, surprisingly decoupling a gene’s structure from its expression pattern in the embryo across evolution.”,,,
    ,,, the authors of the Xenopus paper were rather surprised that a gene’s expression pattern could be decoupled from its structure. What does that do to the old neo-Darwinist mutation/selection theory?,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/05/out-of-one-cell-many-tissues-but-how/

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    In the following video, at the 5:55 minute mark, Stephen Meyer states that ‘you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan.’

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body-plan. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’
    – Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins and Information for Body Plans – video – 5:55 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/hs4y4XLGQ-Y?t=354

    The failure of reductive materialism to be able to explain the basic form of any particular organism occurs at a very low level. Much lower than DNA itself.
    In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    supplemental note on the discontinuity between man and apes:

    (March 2018)
    1. The DNA similarity (between chimps and humans) is not nearly as close to 99% as Darwinists have falsely portrayed it to be.
    2. Even if DNA were as similar as Darwinists have falsely portrayed it to be, the basic ‘form’ that any organism may take is not reducible to DNA, (nor is the basic ‘form’ reducible to any other material particulars in molecular biology, (proteins, RNAs, etc.. etc.. ,,), that Darwinists may wish to invoke. That is to say, ‘you can mutate DNA til the cows come home’ and you will still not achieve a fundamental change in the basic form of an organism. And since the basic ‘form’ of an organism is forever beyond the explanatory power of Darwinian mechanisms, then any belief that Darwinism explains the ‘transformation of forms’ for all of life on earth is purely a pipe dream that has no experimental basis in reality.
    3. To further drive this point home, Dolphins and Kangaroos, although being very different morphologically from humans, are found to have very similar DNA sequences.
    4. Where differences are greatest between chimps and humans are in alternative splicing patterns. In fact ., due to alternative slicing, “Alternatively spliced isoforms,,, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,” and “As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms,,”
    5. Although the behavioral differences between man and apes are far greater than many Darwinists are willing to concede, the one difference that most dramatically separates man from apes, i.e. our ability to speak, is the one unique attribute that leading Darwinists themselves admit that they have no clue how it could have possibly evolved, and is also the one attribute that most distinctly indicates that we are indeed ‘made in the image of God’.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/comparing-human-and-chimp-dna-using-a-software-analogy/#comment-654633

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    The brain is certainly organized and probably built in sync with slow waves. The brain requires reinforcing rhythms from the rest of the body to stay in sync. Prolonged sitting or bedrest loses sync and allows the cortex to run wild.

    Dance or die.

  3. 3
    DATCG says:

    … but random mutations… yada, yada, yada and this story and that story. 😉 Poof the Magic Darwin.

  4. 4
    DATCG says:

    BA77,
    thanks for the PHYS.org link.

  5. 5
    Belfast says:

    “My background has very little to do with that. At some point the first cell appeared through some self-organized process. So, yes, I guess so.”
    Two important “somes”

    He believes the RNA World theory??
    Chance chemicals give rise to a molecule which somehow replicates??
    I’m surprised, a bit anyway. The French didn’t take to Darwin, originally anyway.

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