It’s funny how Paul Myers, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, et al say that evolution isn’t about religion yet you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one of their rants on religion. But that’s not the point of this article.
I have a problem with these people in that they arbitrarily limit what science can potentially explain. The so called supernatural remains supernatural only as long as there’s no metric by which to measure it. Once a metric is discovered the supernatural becomes the natural.
Paul quotes someone on the virgin birth of Christ saying that it defies everything science has revealed in regard to mammalian reproduction. This is utter dreck. Even (especially!) Myers should know that meiosis is a two stage process wherein the first stage results in the production of two perfectly viable diploid cells. The second stage of meiosis then splits these two cells into four haploid gametes. Interrupting the process at the completion of the first stage results in parthenogenesis. Indeed, there are number of organisms in nature that have lost the second stage of meiosis and now reproduce parthenogenetically. See here for more detail. Moreover, it has also been scientifically established that an XX genome can produce phenotypical male offspring. Morever, while all observed XX males in humans are sterile, pathenogenetic populations can still reproduce sexually if sexual reproduction still exists in the species (Da Vinci Code fans will be happy to know this). While it was widely believed that mammals had completely lost the ability for parthenogenetic reproduction, in 2004 researchers in Tokyo managed to create viable parthenogenetic mice. So Paul, science now reveals that the virgin birth of a human male is quite possible. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. What I want to know now is whether ignorance or dishonesty explains why you’d quote someone who claims the virgin birth of Christ defies everything we know about mammalian reproduction. Neither explanation becomes you of course and it gives me immeasurable delight to put you in the proverbial position of choosing between a rock and a hard place. 😆
The next thing I’d like to debunk in Paul’s latest diatribe is his assertion that matter and energy is all that exists in the universe and science can explain it all without reverting to anything else.
The latest findings in cosmology are that the universe is composed of 5% visible matter, 20% dark matter, and 75% dark energy. The theory of gravity applied to the visible matter and energy in our solar system and local region of the galaxy predicts with exquisite precision the motion of visible bodies. However, when applied to larger structures such as our galaxy and our local galactic cluster the predictions break down. In order to explain those motions there must be 5 times the amount of visible matter existing in some form of normal matter that is not visible. That’s not very incredible and many hypothesis based on known physics are on the table to characterize the dark matter component. See here for more detail. What’s more bizarre is that recently it was discovered that in the universe writ large (relative motions of galactic clusters) it is revealed that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. This was not predicted by the theory of gravity and the amount of matter and energy inferred from the motion of local galaxies. In point of fact there must be something completely unknown going on in the universe. 75% of the “stuff” which makes up the universe is an unknown coined dark energy that diffuses the universe.
So you see, Paul, matter and energy that we know about are only a small fraction of what makes the universe go ’round, so to speak. Who’s to say at this point in time that this huge amount of unknown “stuff” is incapable of organization that produces intelligence? Could God be lurking in the dark energy of the universe? Can science investigate the nature of dark energy? You bet it can. The jury is still out, Paul. You don’t know half what you think you know about the nature of nature nor of what you presume to be the bounds of science’s capacity to investigate it. Hence the subject line of this article.
Update: It has been suggested in the commentary from Professor of Biology Allen MacNeil of Cornell that I don’t know what I’m talking about regarding meiosis in that there is no stage wherein 2 diploid cells are present. I present to you The Phases of Meiosis from Biology 032 at Brown University.
Meiosis begins with Interphase I. During this phase there is a duplication genetic material, DNA replication. Cells go from being 2N, 2C (N= chromosome content, C = DNA content) to 2N, 4C.
In Cytokinesis I, the cells finally split, with one copy of each chromosome in each one. Each of the two resulting cells is now 2N, 2C.
Now I don’t know exactly where the good Professor MacNeil learned his elementary cell biology but where I did a 2n,2c cell is a diploid cell with the normal diploid chromosome count (2n) and the normal amount of DNA (2c). But I’d like thank the professor for keeping on my toes. For a moment there I’d thought I’d had a senior moment and forgotten basic things I learned 30 years ago.
Update 2: The preponderance of literature calls the intermediate cells 1N,2C. This appears to be just semantics. The cells contain 1n unique chromosomes but 2n total chromosomes. I can’t find a definition of “diploid” anywhere that says two identical paired chromosomes only counts as one chromosome. The situation is 23 paired chromosomes that are 100% homozygous. It’s still diploid except perhaps to a pedant.