Evolution Genomics Origin Of Life Tree of life

When genome mapper Craig Venter made clear he doubted universal common descent…

Spread the love

51rCibFn5xL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

We’d heard about Craig Venter’s dissent before but you should read the whole story: From Tom Bethell in Darwin’s House of Cards: A Journalist’s Odyssey Through the Darwin Debates,

This was publicized in a science forum held at Arizona State University in February 2011, a little over a year after Dawkins’s Greatest Show
was published. The physicist Paul Davies and others, including two Nobel Prize winners, participated in the event, which was videotaped. Richard Dawkins himself was on the panel. The forum addressed the question, “What is life?”

Image result
Venter, 2007/Liza Gross, PLOS

Most of the panelists accepted that all organisms on Earth represent a single kind of life because they believed that the genetic code is universal. The NASA scientist and panelist Chris McKay made the case that this single form of life—a “sample of one”—should encourage us to further explore Mars and other planets for signs of life.

Craig Venter then disputed the premise. He challenged the claim “that there’s only one life form on this planet.” We have “a lot of different types of metabolism, different organisms,” he said. He turned to Paul Davies and added: “I wouldn’t call you the same life form as the one we have that lives in pH 12 base. That would dissolve your skin if we dropped you in it.” (pp. 53–54)

Venter went on to doubt that there is a single “tree of life” and evolutionary bioinformatics specialist W. Ford Doolittle noted that “the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree.”

Guy to watch. In a world where so many people are defending themselves from shadows and rumours, he wants to look at reality. He should be banished from pop science coverage as a bad influence.

What if it turns out that there are multiple streams of life arising from a single era? How would that change the picture of the origin of life?

See also: Venter: We are missing a third of essential biology

and

Craig Venter’s minimal cell is a parasite

Follow UD News at Twitter!

2 Replies to “When genome mapper Craig Venter made clear he doubted universal common descent…

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The video of Venter challenging Dawkins ‘tree of life’ is comical:

    Dr. Craig Venter Denies Common Descent in front of Richard Dawkins! – video
    Quote: “I think the tree of life is an artifact of some early scientific studies that aren’t really holding up.,, So there is not a tree of life. In fact from our deep sequencing of organisms in the ocean, out of, now we have about 60 million different unique gene sets, we found 12 that look like a very, very deep branching—perhaps fourth domain of life. ”
    – Dr. Craig Venter, American Biologist involved in sequencing the human genome
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXrYhINutuI

    Venter has since been vindicated:

    Newfound groups of bacteria are mixing up the tree of life – June, 15, 2015
    Excerpt: University of California, Berkeley, scientists have identified more than 35 new groups of bacteria,
    The new groups make up more than 15 percent of all known groups or phyla of bacteria, the scientists say, and include the smallest life forms on Earth, microbes a mere 400 nanometers across. The number of new bacterial phyla is equal to all the known animal phyla on Earth.,,,
    the accepted tree of life – a division into the three domains of eukaryotes, which includes animals and plants, bacteria and Archaea – needs to be revised.,,,
    About half of all the genes in these 35-plus phyla are new and unlike other known genes. The recognizable genes suggest that most of the bacteria use a simple process of fermentation to make the energy they need, instead of using aerobic or anaerobic respiration like many other bacteria. They also have unusual ribosomes, the multi-protein machines that translate genetic instructions into proteins. In fact, routine genomic scans would not detect them because of their distinctive 16S ribosomal RNA genes.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2015-06-n.....-life.html

    Further notes:

    Venter vs. Dawkins on the Tree of Life – and Another Dawkins Whopper – March 2011
    Excerpt:,,, But first, let’s look at the reason Dawkins gives for why the code must be universal:
    “The reason is interesting. Any mutation in the genetic code itself (as opposed to mutations in the genes that it encodes) would have an instantly catastrophic effect, not just in one place but throughout the whole organism. If any word in the 64-word dictionary changed its meaning, so that it came to specify a different amino acid, just about every protein in the body would instantaneously change, probably in many places along its length. Unlike an ordinary mutation…this would spell disaster.” (2009, p. 409-10)
    OK. Keep Dawkins’ claim of universality in mind, along with his argument for why the code must be universal, and then go here (linked site listing 19 variants of the genetic code).
    Simple counting question: does “one or two” equal 19? That’s the number of known variant genetic codes compiled by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. By any measure, Dawkins is off by an order of magnitude, times a factor of two.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....44681.html

    Universal Genetic Code? No! – January 18, 2016
    Excerpt: “To date, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which houses all published DNA sequences (as well as RNA and protein sequences), currently acknowledges nineteen different coding languages for DNA… “,,,
    This was a shock to me. As an impressionable young student at the University of Rochester, I was taught quite definitively that there is only one code for DNA, and it is universal. This, of course, is often cited as evidence for evolution.,,,
    In the end, it seems to me that this wide variation in the genetic code deals a serious blow to the entire hypothesis of common ancestry, at least the way it is currently constructed. Perhaps that’s why I hadn’t heard about it until reading Dr. Rossiter’s excellent book.
    http://blog.drwile.com/?p=14280

    The Genetic Codes
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Ta.....cgi?mode=c

  2. 2
    J-Mac says:

    From what I can see Venter is not a stupid guy but many people use his scientific advances in a wrong way…

    The “artificial life creation” is one of the greatest overblown atheism driven publicity ever…

    This media driven nonsense has caused the most damage to ordinary people’s prospective since Darwin.

    I known that Venter has realized what damage his experiments caused but it is too late to correct them…

Leave a Reply