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Professor Larry Moran supports the use of ID-compatible science textbooks in Texas classrooms


Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Professor Larry Moran has written an astonishing post over on his Sandwalk blog, in which he rejects a proposal by David Evans, Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association, that Texas students be taught “evolution by natural selection as a major unifying concept in science,” and suggests that they simply be taught “evolution” instead, adding in a comment that “there’s no reason to eliminate the possibility of directed evolution” – a term which is broad enough to include both “theologically-directed evolution” (as one commenter calls it) and “the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

Readers may be wondering what accounts for Professor Moran’s surprising latitude of opinion. It turns out that he’s a big fan of evolution by random genetic drift, and he thinks that the phrase “evolution by natural selection” is simply inaccurate:

The problem with leaving the phrase is that it eliminates evolution by random genetic drift and that’s definitely known to occur. This means that the statement from David Evans is actually incorrect and not what the vast majority of expert scientists believe.

In his post, Professor Moran quotes two paragraphs from a Live Science Op-Ed titled, In Texas, Standing Up for Science (Op-Ed) (November 8, 2013) by David Evans. Here’s the first:

There are countless differing opinions about how best to educate our children, but presenting non-scientific or religious ideas in science class or in science textbooks is simply wrong and blurs the line about what is and what is not science. This will only confuse and mislead students and does nothing to improve the quality of science education and everything to weaken it. Decisions about what counts as science should not be a popularity contest. No matter how many people object, public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.

Am I the only one to notice that the last two sentences in Evans’ paragraph are mutually contradictory? If decisions about what counts as science “should not be a popularity contest,” then it is absurd to claim that “public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.” (Apparently none of Professor Moran’s commenters picked up on that contradiction.)

Professor Moran comments:

I like the way he expresses the idea that we “must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.” This avoids getting into definitions about what counts as science. It avoids the “methodological naturalism” trap. Well done!

Why does Moran think methodological naturalism is a trap? In his own words:

It’s a trap because some scientists and philosophers want to restrict science to studies of the natural world. They do this as a way of protecting religion from scientific investigation or as a way of excluding supernatural explanations from the American classroom.

In fact, the scientific way of knowing can been applied to ALL questions, including hypothesis that involve the supernatural.

Apparently Professor Moran thinks that Intelligent Design is legitimate science: it’s just bad science. As he explained in a post one year ago, titled, Is Intelligent Design Scientific? (November 12, 2012):

Intelligent Design is often dismissed as unscientific because it violates various criteria used to define “science.” One of the restrictions imposed upon science by some philosophers is “methodological naturalism.” This rules out any hypothesis that invokes a non-materialistic cause such as an intelligent designer.

I reject that limitation on science as a way of knowing.

In a comment on the same post, Moran goes on to say that he thinks the claims of Intelligent Design are scientifically falsifiable:

One of the main claims of Intelligent Design is that irreducibly complex systems cannot be explained by evolution. That’s definitely falsifiable. (In fact, it has been falsified.)

Another claim is that systems exhibiting specified complexity can only be created by an intelligent designer. That claim is also falsifiable.

Intelligent Design requires the existence of an intelligent designer and that’s a claim that can be falsified — although admittedly it’s hard to prove a negative.

Of course, most readers will be aware that the first two claims cited by Moran aren’t claims made by the Intelligent Design movement.ID proponents don’t claim that irreducibly complex systems cannot be explained by evolution; what they claim is that unguided evolution is a very poor explanation that’s astronomically unlikely to generate such systems. Also, ID advocates don’t claim that systems exhibiting specified complexity can only be created by an intelligent designer; what they claim is that systems exhibiting specified complexity beyond a certain threshold are best explained as the products of an intelligent designer, since an intelligent designer is perfectly capable of generating a high level of specified complexity, whereas an unguided (non-foresighted) process is extremely unlikely to do so, during the lifetime of the observable universe. In other words, Intelligent Design is the only reasonable explanation of the existence of systems exhibiting specified complexity beyond a certain threshold.

Nevertheless, I am heartened that Professor Moran regards the claims made by the Intelligent Design movements as scientific claims, even if he thinks they’re dead wrong.

In the second paragraph of the Op-Ed quoted by Professor Moran, David Evans continues:

Texas students deserve the best science education possible, as do students everywhere. This means teaching them sound science, including evolution [by natural selection] as a major unifying concept in science. It is firmly established as one of the most important and robust principles in science, and is the best and most complete scientific explanation we have for how life on Earth has changed and continues to change. Furthermore, the very foundation of science is grounded in, and based upon, evidence. Classrooms will use the textbooks Texas adopts for years (the last science textbook adoption was a decade ago). Compromising the integrity of science for a whole generation of students to satisfy a few vocal ideologues is simply not acceptable.

Moran commented:

The next paragraph isn’t quite as good. It could have been a lot better. All he had to do was leave out the little phrase that I underline and enclose in brackets. It would not change the meaning but it would properly reflect “what the vast majority of scientists accept as settled science.”

But as we’ve seen, leaving out those three little words leaves evolution without a specified mechanism – which means that the course taught to Texas students would be compatible with intelligently guided evolution. It appears that Professor Moran is happy with that. I presume he believes that these science textbooks could also include proposed (unguided) mechanisms for generating systems exhibiting a high degree of specified complexity. Actually, ID proponents are fine with that – as long as the limitations and uncertainties of these explanations are also pointed out to students.

And while we’re on the subject of academic honesty, how does Professor Moran feel about Texas students being exposed to evolutionary biologist Dr. Eugene Koonin’s peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life (Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15)? In his article, Dr. Koonin claims that the emergence of even a basic replication-translation system on the primordial Earth is such an astronomically unlikely event that we would need to postulate a vast number of universes, in which all possible scenarios are played out, in order to make its emergence likely.

How does Professor Moran feel about including Dr. Koonin’s article in the Texas school curriculum? Or what about claims by paleontologists Douglas Erwin and James Valentine, that currently known evolutionary processes are utterly unable to account for the relatively sudden appearance of about 30 phyla of animals with different body plans, in the Cambrian period? Should Texas students get to hear about that too?

What do readers think?

Now free on kindle! "Biological Information: New Perspectives". Was $155.00, but now it is free! Loaded with lots of good information. Biological Information:New Perspectives - Proceedings of the Symposium [Kindle Edition] http://www.amazon.com/Biological-Information-Perspectives-Proceedings-Symposium-ebook/dp/B00EI4J4VK/ PDF format here: Biological Information - New Perspectives http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/8818#t=toc Story behind the book here: Censorship Loses: Never Forget the Story of Biological Information: New Perspectives Casey Luskin August 20, 2013 - See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/08/censorship_lose075541.html#sthash.MHGR4wx4.dpuf bornagain77
#19 Mapou
It scares you, I know, but that’s the way it should be in a democracy.
Luckily no real democracies run that way. They are all representative democracies as far as I know. Mark Frank
Graham, just because you cant understand Craig doesnt make him weird, but I can think of one thing more weird and thats atheism wallstreeter43
Slightly OT (well, BA77 gets away with it) ... Im on Lane Craigs Newsletter mailing list (lord knows how that happened) and this is what he had to say for November: This month I wrote another chapter of my projected book on God’s aseity, this one dealing with the view called divine conceptualism. This is the view that what are usually considered to be abstract objects like numbers, propositions, and possible worlds, are in fact not abstract at all but are thoughts in God’s mind. Can it get any weirder ? Graham2
If that was not crushing enough against the reductive materialism of neo-Darwinism, it is now found that mental states can have a epigenetic effect on gene expression. i.e. even our thoughts and feelings can 'epigenetically' control the gene expression of our bodies:
Genie In Your Genes - video http://www.genieinyourgenes.com/ggtrailer.html Upgrade Your Brain Excerpt: The Research; In his book The Genie in Your Genes (Elite Books, 2009), researcher Dawson Church, PhD, explains the relationship between thought and belief patterns and the expression of healing- or disease-related genes. “Your body reads your mind,” Church says. “Science is discovering that while we may have a fixed set of genes in our chromosomes, which of those genes is active has a great deal to do with our subjective experiences, and how we process them.” One recent study conducted at Ohio University demonstrates vividly the effect of mental stress on healing. Researchers gave married couples small suction blisters on their skin, after which they were instructed to discuss either a neutral topic or a topic of dispute for half an hour. Researchers then monitored the production of three wound-repair proteins in the subjects’ bodies for the next several weeks, and found that the blisters healed 40 percent slower in those who’d had especially sarcastic, argumentative conversations than those who’d had neutral ones. http://experiencelife.com/article/upgrade-your-brain/
and these studies appear to be solid, as is noted by this confirming evidence:
Anxiety May Shorten Your Cell Life - July 12, 2012 Excerpt: These studies had the advantage of large data sets involving thousands of participants. If the correlations remain robust in similar studies, it would indicate that mental states and lifestyle choices can produce epigenetic effects on our genes. http://crev.info/2012/07/anxiety-may-shorten-your-cell-life/
Of course as I said before, Dr. Meyer has, in his book 'Darwin's Doubt', much better notes on epigenetics than I do. ,,, You might also want to check out Tom Woodward's book, 'The Mysterious Epigenome' if you want more information: Verse and Music
Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Revive -Blink http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvuxFdM3S58
Here is the paper that accompanies the preceding video:
Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology - Denis Noble - 17 MAY 2013 Excerpt: The ‘Modern Synthesis’ (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-20th century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection.,,, We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual.,,, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/expphysiol.2012.071134/abstract “The genome is an ‘organ of the cell’, not its dictator” - Denis Nobel – President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences http://musicoflife.co.uk/
Of related interest:
The Mysterious Epigenome. What lies beyond DNA - (Tom Woodward) - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXs8uShFMo
Basically, the problem epigenetics presents to the reductive materialism of neo-Darwinism is best stated here:
“Live memory” of the cell, the other hereditary memory of living systems - 2005 Excerpt: To understand this notion of “live memory”, its role and interactions with DNA must be resituated; indeed, operational information belongs as much to the cell body and to its cytoplasmic regulatory protein components and other endogenous or exogenous ligands as it does to the DNA database. We will see in Section 2, using examples from recent experiments in biology, the principal roles of “live memory” in relation to the four aspects of cellular identity, memory of form, hereditary transmission and also working memory. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15888340
In fact, a recent paper was recently published which argued that the 'analog' structural information, and the digital information on the DNA, in the cell formed a irreducibly complex system:
Refereed scientific article on DNA argues for irreducible complexity - October 2, 2013 Excerpt: This paper published online this summer is a true mind-blower showing the irreducible organizational complexity (author’s description) of DNA analog and digital information, that genes are not arbitrarily positioned on the chromosome etc.,, ,,,First, the digital information of individual genes (semantics) is dependent on the the intergenic regions (as we know) which is like analog information (syntax). Both types of information are co-dependent and self-referential but you can’t get syntax from semantics. As the authors state, “thus the holistic approach assumes self-referentiality (completeness of the contained information and full consistency of the different codes) as an irreducible organizational complexity of the genetic regulation system of any cell”. In short, the linear DNA sequence contains both types of information. Second, the paper links local DNA structure, to domains, to the overall chromosome configuration as a dynamic system keying off the metabolic signals of the cell. This implies that the position and organization of genes on the chromosome is not arbitrary,,, http://www.christianscientific.org/refereed-scientific-article-on-dna-argues-for-irreducibly-complexity/
Here are a few more notes that clearly indicate structural information in not reducible to genetic information:
Extreme Genome Repair - 2009 Excerpt: If its naming had followed, rather than preceded, molecular analyses of its DNA, the extremophile bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans might have been called Lazarus. After shattering of its 3.2 Mb genome into 20–30 kb pieces by desiccation or a high dose of ionizing radiation, D. radiodurans miraculously reassembles its genome such that only 3 hr later fully reconstituted nonrearranged chromosomes are present, and the cells carry on, alive as normal.,,, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319128/ An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications - September 2011 Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi1Qn306IUU http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/09/electric-face-rendering-worth-thousand.html What Do Organisms Mean? Stephen L. Talbott - Winter 2011 Excerpt: Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once described how you can excise the developing limb bud from an amphibian embryo, shake the cells loose from each other, allow them to reaggregate into a random lump, and then replace the lump in the embryo. A normal leg develops. Somehow the form of the limb as a whole is the ruling factor, redefining the parts according to the larger pattern. Lewontin went on to remark: "Unlike a machine whose totality is created by the juxtaposition of bits and pieces with different functions and properties, the bits and pieces of a developing organism seem to come into existence as a consequence of their spatial position at critical moments in the embryo’s development. Such an object is less like a machine than it is like a language whose elements... take unique meaning from their context.[3]",,, http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/what-do-organisms-mean
Shogun as to,
If you have links for more on this subject I would appreciate it.
Well, I'm sure Dr. Meyer's book, Darwin's Doubt, has a lot better references on epigenetics than what I have, but I will share the highpoints of what I have. Here are a few more notes I have from Dr. Shapiro;
Shapiro on Random Mutation: "What I ask others interested in evolution to give up is the notion of random accidental mutation." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-a-shapiro/jerry-coyne-fails-to-unde_b_1411144.html -Comment section "Establishing that teleological questions are critical will itself take a considerable effort because we need to overcome the long-held but purely philosophical (and illogical) assertion that functional creativity can result from random changes." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Upright_BiPed/genetic-recombination-not-random_b_1743647_175499059.html
Along that line;
Does the central dogma still stand? – Koonin EV. – 23 August 2012 Excerpt: Thus, there is non-negligible flow of information from proteins to the genome in modern cells, in a direct violation of the Central Dogma of molecular biology. The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein (epigenetic) variation into genetic variation. The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general ‘look-ahead effect’ of phenotypic mutations.,,, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22913395 Non-Random and Targeted Mutations (Epigenetics to the level of DNA) - lifepsy video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTChu5vX1VI
Of note, Shapiro's 'natural genetic engineering' model, although vastly superior to the neo-Darwinian model, suffers the same fatal flaw as does the neo-Darwinian model in that it cannot account for how novel protein/gene sequences appear in the first place:
On Protein Origins, Getting to the Root of Our Disagreement with James Shapiro - Doug Axe - January 2012 Excerpt: I know of many processes that people talk about as though they can do the job of inventing new proteins (and of many papers that have resulted from such talk), but when these ideas are pushed to the point of demonstration, they all seem to retreat into the realm of the theoretical. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/01/on_protein_orig055471.html 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
Back to falsifying the genetic reductionism (central dogma) model of neo-Darwinism, Dr. Nobel, who is President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, has also given his full weight to the fact that the modern synthesis is falsified by epigenetics:
Modern Synthesis Of Neo-Darwinism Is False – Denis Nobel – video http://www.metacafe.com/w/10395212
,, In the preceding video, Dr Nobel states that around 1900 there was the integration of Mendelian (discrete) inheritance with evolutionary theory, and about the same time Weismann established what was called the Weismann barrier, which is the idea that germ cells and their genetic materials are not in anyway influenced by the organism itself or by the environment. And then about 40 years later, circa 1940, a variety of people, Julian Huxley, R.A. Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, and Sewell Wright, put things together to call it ‘The Modern Synthesis’. So what exactly is the ‘The Modern Synthesis’? It is sometimes called neo-Darwinism, and it was popularized in the book by Richard Dawkins, ‘The Selfish Gene’ in 1976. It’s main assumptions are, first of all, is that it is a gene centered view of natural selection. The process of evolution can therefore be characterized entirely by what is happening to the genome. It would be a process in which there would be accumulation of random mutations, followed by selection. (Now an important point to make here is that if that process is genuinely random, then there is nothing that physiology, or physiologists, can say about that process. That is a very important point.) The second aspect of neo-Darwinism was the impossibility of acquired characteristics (mis-called “Larmarckism”). And there is a very important distinction in Dawkins’ book ‘The Selfish Gene’ between the replicator, that is the genes, and the vehicle that carries the replicator, that is the organism or phenotype. And of course that idea was not only buttressed and supported by the Weissman barrier idea, but later on by the ‘Central Dogma’ of molecular biology. Then Dr. Nobel pauses to emphasize his point and states “All these rules have been broken!”. Professor Denis Noble is President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. ,,You can pick up the rest of the high points of Dr. Nobel's talk at the two minute mark of the preceding video I referenced, or you can watch the entire video here:
Rocking the foundations of biology - video http://www.voicesfromoxford.org/video/physiology-and-the-revolution-in-evolutionary-biology/184
Here is a more recent talk by Dr. Nobel:
Physiology moves back onto centre stage: a new synthesis with evolutionary biology – Denis Nobel – July 2013 – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzD1daWq4ng
Mapou, Give it a rest. Your crazy act isn't fooling anybody.
Public action was used against science by the Communists in China in the fifties...
Now that's something we can all rally around! Daniel King
But any way there are pragmatic problems. Would you really want the science (or any other) curriculum to be decided by popular vote?
It scares you, I know, but that's the way it should be in a democracy. Mapou
He's sure not a dirt-worshipper, Gray. Are you? Axel
So Mapou is a gun-toting home-schooler. Graham2
BA77 @ 9 I find this concept very fascinating, the idea that adaptive genetic change is the result of natural cellular engineering rather than random accidents. I mean this is tantamount to a death blow to darwinism and the whole idea of random mutations getting creative. It seems that more and more discoveries are pointing in the direction that the apparent design is not the product of darwinian evolution, but rather, it is the inherently adaptive design of living things that produces evolution, not the other way around. If you have links for more on this subject I would appreciate it. Shogun
#13 VJ
Jefferson wrote that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.” That’s precisely the point that Mapou is making.
Well I wish he had written that. What he actually wrote was
We, the public, pay for science and we should be the ones to decide what can and cannot be taught to our children, right or wrong.
Which is different. But any way there are pragmatic problems. Would you really want the science (or any other) curriculum to be decided by popular vote? Mark Frank
Thank you Dr. Torley. The only reason that those busybodies in the Darwinian and materialist camp don't put cameras and microphones in our homes to monitor how we educate our children is that some of us are armed and determined to defend our freedom. We would not allow it. So those pesky tyrannical nannies of materialism did the next best thing: they took over the schools so that they can indoctrinate our children without our consent. But that, too, can be fixed if the public is given the opportunity to vote on it. Mapou
Graham2 & Mark Frank, Thomas Jefferson would have agreed with Mapou. In The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom of 1786, Jefferson wrote that "to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical." That's precisely the point that Mapou is making. vjtorley
Mark Frank I wonder how many people could have been saved from cancer, had we not listened to the evolutionists and their "Don't look there it's just junk belief"..... Just wondering..... Andre
In a democracy, everything, including science, should be decided at the ballot box.
Good idea - let's all vote that cancer is cured. Mark Frank
As a followup to what was said above:
And how often does it not happen that the proud and conceited judgment of an expert is put in its proper place by a layman! Numerous inventors built 'impossible' machines. Lawyers show again and again that an expert does not know what he is talking about. Scientists, especially physicians, frequently come to different results so that it is up to the relatives of the sick person (or the inhabitants of a certain area) to decide by vote about the procedure to be adopted. How often is science improved, and turned into new directions by non-scientific influences! it is up to us, it is up to the citizens of a free society to either accept the chauvinism of science without contradiction or to overcome it by the counterforce of public action. Public action was used against science by the Communists in China in the fifties, and it was again used, under very different circumstances, by some opponents of evolution in California in the seventies. Let us follow their example and let us free society from the strangling hold of an ideologically petrified science just as our ancestors freed us from the strangling hold of the One True Religion!
From "Against Method" by Paul Feyerabend (emphasis added) I think the ID movement in the US should start collecting signatures and use the ballot box to their advantage. Mapou
The findings of epigenetics has falsified the whole reductive materialistic framework of Darwinian thought, whether the modern synthesis of neo-Darwinism, or whether genetic drift:
Why the 'Gene' Concept Holds Back Evolutionary Thinking - James Shapiro - 11/30/2012 Excerpt: The Century of the Gene. In a 1948 Scientific American article, soon-to-be Nobel Laureate George Beadle wrote: "genes are the basic units of all living things.",,, This notion of the genome as a collection of discrete gene units prevailed when the neo-Darwinian "Modern Synthesis" emerged in the pre-DNA 1940s. Some prominent theorists even proposed that evolution could be defined simply as a change over time in the frequencies of different gene forms in a population.,,, The basic issue is that molecular genetics has made it impossible to provide a consistent, or even useful, definition of the term "gene." In March 2009, I attended a workshop at the Santa Fe Institute entitled "Complexity of the Gene Concept." Although we had a lot of smart people around the table, we failed as a group to agree on a clear meaning for the term. The modern concept of the genome has no basic units. It has literally become "systems all the way down." There are piecemeal coding sequences, expression signals, splicing signals, regulatory signals, epigenetic formatting signals, and many other "DNA elements" (to use the neutral ENCODE terminology) that participate in the multiple functions involved in genome expression, replication, transmission, repair and evolution.,,, Conventional thinkers may claim that molecular data only add details to a well-established evolutionary paradigm. But the diehard defenders of orthodoxy in evolutionary biology are grievously mistaken in their stubbornness. DNA and molecular genetics have brought us to a fundamentally new conceptual understanding of genomes, how they are organized and how they function. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-a-shapiro/why-the-gene-concept-hold_b_2207245.html Revisiting the Central Dogma in the 21st Century - James A. Shapiro - 2009 Excerpt (Page 12): Underlying the central dogma and conventional views of genome evolution was the idea that the genome is a stable structure that changes rarely and accidentally by chemical fluctuations (106) or replication errors. This view has had to change with the realization that maintenance of genome stability is an active cellular function and the discovery of numerous dedicated biochemical systems for restructuring DNA molecules.(107–110) Genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome. These natural processes are analogous to human genetic engineering,,, (Page 14) Genome change arises as a consequence of natural genetic engineering, not from accidents. Replication errors and DNA damage are subject to cell surveillance and correction. When DNA damage correction does produce novel genetic structures, natural genetic engineering functions, such as mutator polymerases and nonhomologous end-joining complexes, are involved. Realizing that DNA change is a biochemical process means that it is subject to regulation like other cellular activities. Thus, we expect to see genome change occurring in response to different stimuli (Table 1) and operating nonrandomly throughout the genome, guided by various types of intermolecular contacts (Table 1 of Ref. 112). http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro2009.AnnNYAcadSciMS.RevisitingCentral%20Dogma.pdf How life changes itself: The Read–Write (RW) genome - James A. Shapiro - 2013 Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513000869 a few notes on 'drift': Here is a Completely Different Way of Doing Science - Cornelius Hunter PhD. - April 2012 Excerpt: But how then could evolution proceed if mutations were just neutral? The idea was that neutral mutations would accrue until finally an earthquake, comet, volcano or some such would cause a major environmental shift which suddenly could make use of all those neutral mutations. Suddenly, those old mutations went from goat-to-hero, providing just the designs that were needed to cope with the new environmental challenge. It was another example of the incredible serendipity that evolutionists call upon. Too good to be true? Not for evolutionists. The neutral theory became quite popular in the literature. The idea that mutations were not brimming with cool innovations but were mostly bad or at best neutral, for some, went from an anathema to orthodoxy. And the idea that those neutral mutations would later magically provide the needed innovations became another evolutionary just-so story, told with conviction as though it was a scientific finding. Another problem with the theory of neutral molecular evolution is that it made even more obvious the awkward question of where these genes came from in the first place. http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/04/here-is-completely-different-way-of.html Thou Shalt Not Put Evolutionary Theory to a Test - Douglas Axe - July 18, 2012 Excerpt: "For example, McBride criticizes me for not mentioning genetic drift in my discussion of human origins, apparently without realizing that the result of Durrett and Schmidt rules drift out. Each and every specific genetic change needed to produce humans from apes would have to have conferred a significant selective advantage in order for humans to have appeared in the available time (i.e. the mutations cannot be 'neutral'). Any aspect of the transition that requires two or more mutations to act in combination in order to increase fitness would take way too long (>100 million years). My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they're in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be." Doug Axe PhD. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/thou_shalt_not062351.html Majestic Ascent: Berlinski on Darwin on Trial - David Berlinski - November 2011 Excerpt: The publication in 1983 of Motoo Kimura's The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution consolidated ideas that Kimura had introduced in the late 1960s. On the molecular level, evolution is entirely stochastic, and if it proceeds at all, it proceeds by drift along a leaves-and-current model. Kimura's theories left the emergence of complex biological structures an enigma, but they played an important role in the local economy of belief. They allowed biologists to affirm that they welcomed responsible criticism. "A critique of neo-Darwinism," the Dutch biologist Gert Korthof boasted, "can be incorporated into neo-Darwinism if there is evidence and a good theory, which contributes to the progress of science." By this standard, if the Archangel Gabriel were to accept personal responsibility for the Cambrian explosion, his views would be widely described as neo-Darwinian. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/11/berlinski_on_darwin_on_trial053171.html Ann Gauger on genetic drift - August 2012 Excerpt: The idea that evolution is driven by drift has led to a way of retrospectively estimating past genetic lineages. Called coalescent theory, it is based on one very simple assumption — that the vast majority of mutations are neutral and have no effect on an organism’s survival. (For a review go here.) According to this theory, actual genetic history is presumed not to matter. Our genomes are full of randomly accumulating neutral changes. When generating a genealogy for those changes, their order of appearance doesn’t matter. Trees can be drawn and mutations assigned to them without regard to an evolutionary sequence of genotypes, since genotypes don’t matter. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/evolution/ann-gauger-on-genetic-drift/
Graham2, give it a rest. The context is democracy and the ballot box. Mapou
Since my taxes pay for the teachers, I have decided that my child (and yours) should spend 8 hrs a day, every day, learning Homeopathy. And Scientology on Fridays. No scientific elite is getting in my way. Graham2
Graham2 @5, You must be one of the self-righteous elite, then. If so, you can go fly a kite. In my book, those who pay for a service are the bosses and the ones who work for the money are the servants, not the other way around. Mapou
we should be the ones to decide what can and cannot be taught to our children I assume this is parody. Graham2
"It turns out that he’s a big fan of evolution by random genetic drift, and he thinks that the phrase “evolution by natural selection” is simply inaccurate". Moran wrote an entire post dedicated to criticizing Jonathan Wells' book on "The Myth of Junk DNA" where quotes Jerry Coyne as one of the world's leading experts on speciation thinking that Coyne supports his view of evolution by random genetic drift. http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2011/05/junk-jonathan-part-4-1.html?showComment=1306079597701#c6155073077891854185 However, Coyne later corrected him that he is actually a supporter of evolution by natural selection. What did Moran do? As if nothing happened, Larry turned around and found Futuyma as an authority for his views of evolution by random genetic drift. One does not need to go to a comedy show to have a good laugh:) Just read his blog. Dominick
Decisions about what counts as science should not be a popularity contest. No matter how many people object, public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.
Aside from the contradiction, which you pointed out, this is how those guys feel free to continue to lord it over the rest of us with their BS. In a democracy, everything, including science, should be decided at the ballot box. We, the public, pay for science and we should be the ones to decide what can and cannot be taught to our children, right or wrong. Anything else is elitism and tyranny. Mapou
Am I the only one to notice that the last two sentences in Evans’ paragraph are mutually contradictory? If decisions about what counts as science “should not be a popularity contest,” then it is absurd to claim that “public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.”
I see what you're saying, although if asked to clarify, he'd probably say that he was differentiating between what's popular among scientists as opposed to what's popular among the general public. I think he's arguing that the leading theories among scientists should be taught in science class regardless if the theory is unpopular among most people in general. goodusername
“there’s no reason to eliminate the possibility of directed evolution” These people are so confused about their own theory. It is supposed to be natural selection that contributes 'direction' to evolution. What else could possibly account for finding the phrase "methinks it is like a weasel" amidst all the possible nonsensical combinations of 26 letters and a space? Mung

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