Intelligent Design

NRC Admits Mutation Not Sufficient Explanation for Evolution

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I thought this was worth sharing:

On Page 8 of a Report from the National Research Council there is an interesting admission:

“Natural selection based solely on mutation is probably not an adequate mechanism for evolving complexity.”

Of course the report itself supports the concept of Darwinian evolution. But I think the admission that mutation is an insufficient mechanism is significant.
They invoke lateral transfer of genes as the alternate explanation:

“More important, lateral gene transfer and endosymbiosis are probably the most obvious mechanisms for creating complex genomes…”

Of course this begs the question; where did the genes come from that are being laterally transferred?
As far as I saw in the report, the authors only indirectly address this problem by speculating that viruses or “virus-like entities” with rapid mutation and replication rates were involved in early cellular organism evolution.

I thought this admission by a mainstream publication was significant. And a small step in the right direction.

31 Replies to “NRC Admits Mutation Not Sufficient Explanation for Evolution

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    There isn’t much here to get excited about, IMO. The problem with most Darwinists is their deficient philosophy of science, which is theologically motivated, whether they realize it or not. The effects won’t change much until the causes are changed.

  2. 2

    […] NRC Admits Mutation Not Sufficient Explanation for Evolution On Page 8 of a Report from the National Research Council there is an interesting admission: […]

  3. 3
    dacook says:

    You’re basically right, but I thought it was interesting.
    If enough undeniable implausibilities build up in their worldview, some of them may start to question their underlying assumptions.

  4. 4
    Collin says:

    I wonder if lateral gene tranfer can account for abiogenesis. If mutations aren’t enough for evolution even after there already are genes proteins and dna, then how could it possibly be enough for the beginning of life and all of its nano-machines?

  5. 5
    Charlie says:

    dacook,
    I believe it is more than interesting.

    From EBs themselves (and often via UD) we have learned that there is no tree of life, mutations are not the source of variation, natural selection is not the mechanism, gradualism is not the pattern, teleology is not eliminated, DNA is not junky, and the development of life is not random, etc. – everything the critic of ND has always said.

    The fossil record, for instance, has changed little, but it is now admitted that it doesn’t support neo-Darwinian gradualism. The reason for the admission is the fact that there now exist naturalistic alternatives to RM/NS.
    Likewise, with endosymbiosis and lateral gene transfer now available as explanations, the nature of the evidence suddenly has changed and EBs can admit that there is no tree of life – it was merely a useful fiction whose rhetorical value is no longer required.

    And yet, as Allen MacNeill has told us on these forums, none of this argues against “evolution”.
    How can every tenet of “evolution” be in question and yet “evolution” remains untouched? Because it is an unfalsifiable, non-scientific, metaphysical world-view – not a science.

    Anyway, that’s my opinion on evolving evolution and why these types of posts are important and not merely interesting.
    So please keep them coming even though we continue to hear “that doesn’t prove anything”.

  6. 6
    Atom says:

    And yet, as Allen MacNeill has told us on these forums, none of this argues against “evolution”.
    How can every tenet of “evolution” be in question and yet “evolution” remains untouched? Because it is an unfalsifiable, non-scientific, metaphysical world-view – not a science.

    Nail, on the head, hit it was – Master Yoda

  7. 7
    shaner74 says:

    “Because it is an unfalsifiable, non-scientific, metaphysical world-view – not a science.”

    Yup…what kills me is that the majority of Darwinists almost never seem to question what they believe in. How can they not?? I question my beliefs on an almost daily basis. Continue to be a materialist or atheist or whatever, but give it up with Darwin! As DaveScot mentioned a few days ago, the universe is a big place. You can admit obvious biological design without dropping to your knees and asking Jesus to save you – you can have ID and atheism. Also, mad props to Yoda.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    Hi Dr. Cook!

    Nice find. I’ve read about the lateral gene transfer and endosymbiosis theories before. Lynn Margulis is a big proponent.

    At any rate the same question occurred to me about where the transferred genes come from. What I thought might be an answer is they were generated by microbes in the billions of years when nothing but single celled organisms lived on the earth. Basically all the genes in use today were made by microbes billions of years ago and get passed around to multicellular organisms by the means mentioned.

    In that light I’m waiting to hear more reports from Craig Ventor who recently circumnavigated the globe collecting microbes for shotgun DNA sequencing. He has millions of new genes to catalog. If we find a lot of genes in living microbes with little variance from genes in living multicellular life it would be a good bit of support for the NRC and Margulis position.

  9. 9

    There is another problem though. Getting all of that single-cell information to build something multi-cellular. And for multi-cellular organisms to have cells know how to differentiate.

    Good luck to the materialists.

  10. 10
    DaveScot says:

    geoff

    Sure. You can build lots of stuff out of tinkertoys but without plans and assembly they’re just an loose pile of parts with no collective function.

  11. 11
    GilDodgen says:

    Solving differential equations, learning finite-element analysis for dynamic non-linear physical systems, and writing computer programs that can beat the best human players in intellectual games are difficult pursuits.

    Figuring out that random events (whether point mutations or other stochastic processes) could not possibly have produced life’s information content and machinery — not to mention the human mind — is not difficult at all. The notion that this is how things happened is simply preposterous on its face. It is the ultimate get-something-for-nothing philosophical con game, and a lot of otherwise intelligent people have fallen for it, or are afraid to admit that they haven’t, for obvious reasons.

  12. 12
    Jehu says:

    Also from the cited article.

    An important implication of the existence of viruses or virus-like entities during the early evolution of cellular organisms is that their genomes may have been the source of most genetic innovations because of their rapid replication, high rates of mutation due to replication errors, and gene insertions from diverse host cells.

    So for example an early mammal wants to evolve a neocortex, along comes a virus with a gene that by pure luck gets inserted into the gametes of the mammal and then SHAZAM! The neocortex is born. Imagine the odds of a virus carrying the neocortex gene. Or how about the echolocation gene. Must be a common virus to carry that one because mammals evolved echolocation twice, once in bats and once in cetaceans. Or how about the placenta? That complex organ crops up in fish, sharks, mammals, and scorpions. What about the virus carrying the gene for eyes? That must be a very common bug because, according to Dawkins, eyes have independantly evolved 40 – 60 times!

    What is really amazing is that malaria has had more reproductive events every year for the last 100,000 years than mammals have had in their entire existance, yet viruses have been kind enough to give mammals the genes to become nimble flying bats and great big sea going whales and spaceship building humans while malaria is still a miserable life sucking plasmodium that can’t even reproduce below 60 degrees farenheit. How ’bout a little lateral gene transfer for the plasmodium? It could use it.

    Okay I am being sarcastic. The idea that novelty in large multicellur organism comes from lateral gene transfer is completely absurd. The idea that the specified complexity necessary to construct the extra-cellular matrix and novel tissue and organs comes from viruses that just happened to be wandering by is stupid.

  13. 13
    GilDodgen says:

    Jehu,

    Okay I am being sarcastic.

    Your sarcasm is perfectly justified. Proponents of such theses are the real latter-day flat-earthers.

  14. 14
    MatthewTan says:

    “How ’bout a little lateral gene transfer for the plasmodium? ”

    VERTICAL gene transfer, vertically from Heaven.

    But again, this is “creationism”, “untestable”,”unscientific”, “science stopper”.

    I have given up on “science” to pursue truth.

  15. 15
    DaveScot says:

    What is really amazing is that malaria has had more reproductive events every year for the last 100,000 years than mammals have had in their entire existance, yet viruses have been kind enough to give mammals the genes to become nimble flying bats and great big sea going whales and spaceship building humans while malaria is still a miserable life sucking plasmodium that can’t even reproduce below 60 degrees farenheit. How ’bout a little lateral gene transfer for the plasmodium? It could use it.

    I’d nominate that for the most entertaining and informative single paragraph of the year…

  16. 16
    shaner74 says:

    “I’d nominate that for the most entertaining and informative single paragraph of the year…”

    Yeah I second that. The whole notion of “unguided” evolution is just plain silly at this point. We know too much at this point for it to be a tenable position.

  17. 17
    scordova says:

    Shaner74:

    Yeah I second that.

    I third that.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    I “fourth it.”

    Can we get that to be put6 up on an independent page as a quotable quote?

    Maybe, we need to have a sub-site on major quotables [with aptly named topics] — with context links of course to deal with the inevitable charges of quote mining.

    GEM of TKI

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Honourable mention: MT’s VERTICAL gene transfer, vertically from Heaven.

  20. 20
    tb says:

    If you want something to be so true, you will have to find something to support your truth, like panspermia or in this case lateral transfer of genes. IMO Shifting the problem further up or down won’t solve the riddle.

    If there are microbes on Mars, well where did they come from? Did they lend their genes to the Microbes on earth? Were they the

    source of most genetic innovations because of their rapid replication, high rates of mutation due to replication errors, and gene insertions from diverse host cells.

    It sounds like a famous novel written Michael Ende.

  21. 21
    shaner74 says:

    “source of most genetic innovations… replication errors”

    Only a Darwinist, who has poisoned his thinking and softened his brain with illogical thoughts based upon a false view of reality, could believe that replication errors are the source of all biological innovation and diversity. Design and write a few pieces of software, then please tell me if you can honestly believe that errors will improve the functionality of your code. Oh, don’t forget that what you have written will not even come close to approaching the level of complexity inside the cell. We are all living in the twilight zone.

  22. 22
    jstanley01 says:

    Re: “If you want something to be so true, you will have to find something to support your truth…”

    Exactly right. It looks to me like, as usual, the Darwinists answer empirical reality with speculative virtuosity.

  23. 23
    Patrick says:

    Lateral gene transfer is now being invoked fairly often as a magic wand. Since we’ve been discussing the flagellum a lot lately:

    http://nsm.uh.edu/~dgraur/Arti.....al2003.pdf

    Type III secretion systems (TTSS) are unique bacterial mechanisms that mediate elaborate interactions with their hosts. The fact that several of the TTSS proteins are closely related to flagellar export proteins has led to the suggestion that TTSS had evolved from flagella. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of four conserved type III secretion proteins and their phylogenetic relationships with flagellar
    paralogs. Our analysis indicates that the TTSS and the flagellar export mechanism share a common ancestor, but have evolved independently from one another. The suggestion that TTSS genes have evolved from genes encoding flagellar proteins is effectively refuted. A comparison of the species tree, as deduced from 16S rDNA sequences, to the protein phylogenetic trees has led to the identification of several major
    lateral transfer events involving clusters of TTSS genes. It is hypothesized that horizontal gene transfer has occurred much earlier and more frequently than previously inferred for TTSS genes and is, consequently, a major force shaping the evolution of species that harbor type III secretion systems.

    Notice that it’s also used as a workaround to claim that the type III secretion system appeared in nature before the flagellum. Which of course is in competition with the scenario preferred by ID proponents by which the flagellum came first and the TTSS derived from it. But even going with the scenario the Darwinists prefer the same complex mechanism has to evolve at least TWICE (or evolved once and transferred successfully).

    Now I’ve seen this development coming for years. The Neo-Darwinist camp is still probably the biggest of all the Darwinist camps but people are likely to start abandoning “Neo-Darwinism as the primary mechanism” in droves. The Neo-Darwinist camp being so large is probably primarily due it being the only major version of Darwinism mentioned in higher education unless your degree program is focusing on evolution. And of course the media almost never differentiates between the various camps. So once education and media catch up I see the Neo-Darwinist camp shrinking even more rapidly.

    Looks like a good follow up to Behe’s Edge of Evolution would be to try and estimate the limitations of lateral gene transfer and endosymbiosis from experimental data (IS there ANY data on what they’re capable of?). Of course, a Darwinist will just claim that all these Darwinian mechanisms “help” each other: where one is weak/limited the other may not, blah blah. I personally differentiate by camp based upon where the Darwinist puts their “Darwinian mechanism” emphasis.

    On a side note I really haven’t seen a good (short) name that encapsulates all these other camp’s ideas. Some Darwinists just call it “modern evolutionary theory with Neo-Darwinism still playing a minor part” but that’s way too long. Neo-Neo-Darwinism? Post-Darwinism is already taken by Dynese…

  24. 24
    Borne says:

    “It looks to me like, as usual, the Darwinists answer empirical reality with speculative virtuosity.”

    virtuosity (technical skill or fluency or style exhibited by a virtuoso)

    Indeed. Their brains have become software due to perpetual misuse of speculation equivocated to proof. 😉

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    I believe Dr. J.C. Sanford’s book “Genetic Entropy” has some excellent sources refuting this claim. Dr. Sanford actually invented the biolistic “Gene Gun” process so he is intimately familiar with what can and can’t be accomplished with DNA. His work truly is impressive!

  26. 26
    magnan says:

    Jehu: “What is really amazing is that malaria has had more reproductive events every year for the last 100,000 years than mammals have had in their entire existance, yet viruses have been kind enough to give mammals the genes to become nimble flying bats and great big sea going whales and spaceship building humans while malaria is still a miserable life sucking plasmodium that can’t even reproduce below 60 degrees farenheit.”

    I agree, except for the part about not adapting to low temperatures. I haven’t seen any credible refutations of Behe’s argument on the CQR complex, but his use of the failure of Plasmodium to adapt to cooler climates seems questionable. The reason is that the parasite is limited to the mosquito life cycle and the mosquito only reproduces in warm climates. The parasite would need to evolve to find a different, cold climate host, or the Anopheles mosquito would need to evolve cold climate adaptations.

  27. 27
    Jehu says:

    magnan,

    The reason is that the parasite is limited to the mosquito life cycle and the mosquito only reproduces in warm climates. The parasite would need to evolve to find a different, cold climate host, or the Anopheles mosquito would need to evolve cold climate adaptations.

    Sounds like somebody has been listening to Nick Matzke. That is always a mistake. Why? Because Nick Matzke is always full of it. At temperatures below 20°C (68°F), Plasmodium falciparum (which causes severe malaria) cannot complete its growth cycle in the Anopheles mosquito, and thus cannot be transmitted. The Anopheles mosquito itself, however, has no problem reproducing below 20°C (68°F).

    Check out this map which shows the global distribution of Anopheles. Now compare with this map that shows the endemic areas for Malaria. Notice all of the places where you find Anopheles but no Malaria.

    Furthermore, even if it were true that P. falciparum was limited by Anopheles and not 68°F, what kind of an excuse is that in light to the numerous adaptations mammals have supposedly made in exponentailly fewer reproductive events? Let’s just list the complex innovations of mammals: diaphragm, neocortex, hair, echolocation, three boned inner ear, placenta, mammary glands, uterus, anus, vagina, four chambered heart, wings, flippers, hands. Did I get all of them? So even if Malaria’s excuse were the mosquito and not 68°F, why hasn’t malaria found a new way to travel?

  28. 28
    jpark320 says:

    Did you guys see this?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292572,00.html

    In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period.

    That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said…
    It’s the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London…

    All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.”

    Overall what it paints for human evolution is a “chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us,” Spoor said in a phone interview from a field office of the Koobi Fora Research Project in northern Kenya.

    Predictable – RIGHT… Ppl just won’t give up will they…

  29. 29
    Lurker says:

    jpark,
    To be fair, the guy is saying it’s predictable for the theory to change as new evidence is gathered.

  30. 30
    jpark320 says:

    Thx for the insight Lurker,

    I know there have been lots of things that could change a theory as things have arrived and I haven’t much commented on those (ie like Out of Africa theory).

    I’m just asking the question when can we “cast some doubt” on human evolution. This was a big hit! The notion that we were once tree dewelling than bipeds on the ground was foundational (at least when i was in HS).

  31. 31
    russ says:

    In 2000 Leakey found an old H. erectus complete skull within walking distance of an upper jaw of the H. habilis, and both dated from the same general time period.

    That makes it unlikely that H. erectus evolved from H. habilis, researchers said…

    Not so fast. How do you know that the H. erectus was not an early paleontologist who was studying the bones of H. habilis when he died and his bones subsequently fossilized?

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