Genetics

Epigenetics as forerunner of design?

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We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in our understanding of how evolution can act…on evolution, yielding mechanisms that allow both adaptation and heritability within the course of a lifetime. And such paradigm shifts almost always have societal consequences. Manel Esteller shows that epigenetics also impacts the “dark genome” in a way that may improve cancer diagnostics.

So says Andrew D. Ellington in “Epigenetics and Society: Did Erasmus Darwin foreshadow the tweaking of his grandson’s paradigm?”(The Scientist, Volume 25 | Issue 3 | Page 14). He means, roughly, a revival of Lamarckism, the idea that life forms can acquire genetic information from their environment as well as through Darwin’s natural selection acting on random mutation. Why that was controversial, I will never know.

But, he warns,

We can expect that epigenetics will be held up as the forerunner of that bastard child of Creationism, Intelligent Design. Dribs and drabs of this are already appearing on the Interwebs, but it may soon come to a school board near you.”

If so, that will mainly be because this is the current paradigm: Mediocrities camped in lecture rooms spout Darwin-only and obsess about the possibility that high school teachers may be preparing their students to … doubt! Well, I always say to students, when in doubt, doubt. And when spouted over by mediocrities, keep quiet until you are clear of the mess, and meanwhile doubt plenty.

2 Replies to “Epigenetics as forerunner of design?

  1. 1
    Collin says:

    It seems like he is experiencing some doubts of his own and trying to cover it up by insulting the intelligence of us IDiots.

    It does seem congruent that a savvy designer would design an organism that could respond to and adapt to a changing environment.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Collin you wrote;

    ‘It does seem congruent that a savvy designer would design an organism that could respond to and adapt to a changing environment.’

    You are right, and that is exactly how computers, as primitive as they are compared to the programming in life, are built;

    A comparative approach for the investigation of biological information processing: An examination of the structure and function of computer hard drives and DNA – David J D’Onofrio1, Gary An – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: It is also important to note that attempting to reprogram a cell’s operations by manipulating its components (mutations) is akin to attempting to reprogram a computer by manipulating the bits on the hard drive without fully understanding the context of the operating system. (T)he idea of redirecting cellular behavior by manipulating molecular switches may be fundamentally flawed; that concept is predicated on a simplistic view of cellular computing and control. Rather, (it) may be more fruitful to attempt to manipulate cells by changing their external inputs: in general, the majority of daily functions of a computer are achieved not through reprogramming, but rather the varied inputs the computer receives through its user interface and connections to other machines.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/7/1/3

    Jack T. Trevors – Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8
    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

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