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Evolutionist: We know very little about how evolutionary innovations originate

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When Charles Darwin presented his theory of evolution in 1859 it received instant approval.  Darwin’s tome was the perfect creation narrative for a culture and a clergy that viewed the creator as more eminent than immanent. Like Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover, the creator was exalted as transcendent, and so safely sequestered away from the details of this world which he should be neither aware of nor responsible for. A decade earlier John Millais discovered all of this the hard way when Charles Dickens, as just one example, scathingly criticized the young prodigy’s Christ in the House of His Parents (shown to the left) for its portrayal of the subject as a “hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-headed boy, in a bed-gown.” Another critic lamented the painting’s “studious vulgarity of portraying the youthful Saviour as a red-headed Jew boy.” Millais had presented a decidedly immanent deity that did not comport well with the Gnosticism of the day. Darwin, on the other hand, had been concerned for decades about how the creator should be juxtaposed against the various inefficient, ignoble or downright evil aspects of nature that he and others were uncovering. Do you believe “the shape of my nose was designed?” Darwin asked his friend Charles Lyell. If Lyell did think so then, Darwin added, “I have nothing more to say.” This ancient sentiment that our spiritual God should have little or nothing to do with this material world was more than just popular in Darwin’s day. It dictated what was acceptable and unacceptable in the arts and sciences. But what about the empirical evidence?  Read more

Exon Shuffling: Evaluating the Evidence - Jonathan M. - July 2013 The Problems with Domain Shuffling as an Explanation for Protein Folds Excerpt: The domain shuffling hypothesis in many cases requires the formation of new binding interfaces. Since amino acids that comprise polypeptide chains are distinguished from one another by the specificity of their side-chains, however, the binding interfaces that allow units of secondary structure (i.e. ?-helices and ?-strands) to come together to form elements of tertiary structure is dependent upon the specific sequence of amino acids. That is to say, it is non-generic in the sense that it is strictly dependent upon the particulars of the components. Domains that must bind and interact with one another can't simply be pieced together like LEGO bricks. In his 2010 paper in the journal BIO-Complexity Douglas Axe reports on an experiment conducted using ?-lactamase enzymes which illustrates this difficulty (Axe, 2010). http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/an_evaluation_o074441.html bornagain77
semi related: Exon Shuffling, and the Origins of Protein Folds - Jonathan M. July 15, 2013 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/exon_shuffling074401.html bornagain77

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