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Common descent: Are Christian Darwinists fighting a battle that has already been lost?


It would be useful to know, in light of the recent Christianity Today cover story on Christian Darwinism in general and Francis’ Collins’s BioLogosin particular. Here, for example, in Karl Giberson and Francis Collins’s The Language of Science and Faith, they inform us,

We suggest that Darwin’s theory of evolution, now that it has been confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt by science, offers the sane sort of help in understanding the Genesis creation story as Galileo’s work helped his generation to better understand the psalmist’s references to the mobility of the earth. (p. 89)

Are the following not reasonable doubt?

1997: Russell F. Doolittle ( Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California at San Diego) wrote in “A bug with excess gastric avidity” (Nature 388, 515-516, 7 August 1997):

Of the many details reported, the generalizations about molecular evolution are the most interesting. H. pylori is a Gram-negative bacterium, so most of its protein sequences would be expected to resemble other Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Haemophilus influenzae. Most of them do, of course, but a considerable number have sequences that are most similar to other, more distantly related, bacteria. One enzyme that is involved in chorismate biosynthesis is even reported to be most closely related to an equivalent in chloroplasts.

Although the significance of these anomalies is not clear, the possibility of rampant horizontal gene-transfer is unnerving to a community that hopes to reconstruct the history of life on the basis of amino-acid sequence comparison10. To test the point, I examined a number of bacterial urease sequences including H. pylori (Fig. 2). I found it unsettling not only that the generic boundaries were so ill-defined, but that the plant (jackbean) sequence was almost as similar to each of the bacterial sequences (an average of 65 per cent identity) as most of them were to one another.

In short, if horizontal gene transfer really occurs (and there is lots of evidence for it), the tidily trimmed Darwinian tree of life could be a rubber fake. Maybe it didn’t happen that way at all. (Of course, Doolittle may have been proven wrong or backtracked since then.)

Then how about 2009?: Patrick Forterre and Danièle Gadelle (nstitut de Génétique et Microbiologie) report, in “Phylogenomics of DNA topoisomerases: their origin and putative roles in the emergence of modern organisms” (Nucl. Acids Res. (2009) 37 (3): 679-692.),

As in the case of other enzymes working with DNA, such as DNA polymerases, the distribution of topoisomerases families and sub-families among modern organisms is not congruent with the universal tree of life based on 16S rRNA sequence comparison (with the trinity Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya). This is a challenging observation, since the phylogenies of many other important cellular proteins (universal ribosomal proteins, large RNA polymerase subunits, components of the protein-secretion system, ATP syntheses), as well as whole genome phylogenies (based on various methods) follow the tripartite rule.

But these people are French, so forget it.

Well then, in 2011, genome mapper Craig Venter denied it. He isn’t French, but he’s just a capitalist pig, unlike Francis Collins, who works for the US government. Some ask, why do Christian Darwinists need Christians to believe what scientists, due to new evidence, set aside for the present?

Some argue that the inability to live with uncertainty is a major barrier to learning. What if all these scientists can just live with uncertainty, but Christian Darwinists can’t? Why not?

Note: This is the homework Christianity Today should have done.

One has to wonder what ever happend to the much vaunted twin nested hierarchy. Mung
OT: Granville Sewell semi-vindicated on censorship of his paper on the Second Law: Journal Apologizes and Pays $10,000 After Censoring Article - Granville Sewell episode - June 2011 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/journal_apologizes_and_pays_10047121.html bornagain77

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