Author: Jeff Otto Over the past few years, in the SCIENCE echo, there has been a continuou
Author: Jeff Otto
Over the past few years, in the SCIENCE echo, there has been a
continuous Creation vs Evolution debate. In these discussions,
individuals that support Creation have attempted to discredit
evolution on a broad number of topics. They have also claimed
scientific evidence that supports Creationism. In my opinion,
that evidence is lacking. However, as a scientist, I accept
evolution not as dogma, but rather by its ability to explain and
predict physcial phenomenon. If Creationism is tenable as a
scientific theory, then it too, should be able to explain what we
see around us. When thinking about molecular genetics and
development, I personally have great difficulty seeing how
creationism can offer a superior explanation than evolution.
Nevertheless, time and time again, individuals claim that it
does. The following questions are open to anyone who would like
to address them. The questions deal with various broadbased
topics in molecular genetics and development. The questions
themselves are not important since the principles behind the
questions can be applied to many different systems. These merely
reflect my own area of expertise.
1) Am I correct in assuming that the two flies _Drosophila
melanogaster_ and _Drosophila virilis_ represent a single kind?
That is, the concept of "micro-evolution" allows for a common
"Drosophilian" ancestor? If so, then continue. If not, skip to
next question. Are chimps and man considered two different
kinds? That is, "micro-evolution" does not allow for a common
primate ancestor? If both of these statements are true, then
please explain comparisons of chromosome number and organization,
banding patterns, sequence similarity (or divergence), and
population polymorphisms between the two species of flies, and
the two species of primates.
2) In terms of creationism, please explain the significance of
pattern formation genes in flies, worms, mice, and humans. Pay
special attention to the homeotic genes, since they are the best
characterized. Discuss their structural organization both at the
level of intron-exon structure, and the presence of structural
domains of the proteins that the genes encode.
3) In terms of creationism, please explain the concept of
functional constraints. Address the significance of different
domains of given proteins. Explain how creationism predicts the
following: Dominant gain of function mutations; recessive loss
of function mutations; null mutations; neutral mutations.
4) In terms of creationism, explain developmental regulation of
gene expression. Compare and contrast bacteria, protists, flies,
worms, mice and humans. Pay special attention to those features
which are similar in the different systems, and those that are
unique or characteristic of a given system.
5) Address novel means of generating genetic diversity:
programmed recombination, horizontal gene transfers, transposable
elements, viral infections. In terms of creation explain how
these events affect genome functioning. Can these events result
in aquisition of new functions? Isn't such aquisition
contradictory to Creationism predictions?
These questions are only a few that occur to me at the moment. I
could easily come up with five more, and am certain that any
geneticist could come up with ten or fifteen different questions,
that all deal with different aspects of genetic function. If
Creationism could satisfactorily address even one of these
questions, there might be room for discussion of Creationism as a
Scientific theory. I realize that I am making an assumption that
Creationism cannot answer these questions, but from past
experience questions such as these have never been answered. On
the flip side, although evolution certainly is an imperfect
theory, it does make satisfactory predictions regarding the
questions above. Any individual well versed in molecular
genetics would have little or no difficulty answering the
questions above. That is perhaps what is most significant here.
Evolutionary theory allows for real-world predictions and
explanations of observations of various genetic systems. That
means that evolution can be used as a tool to help us understand
the underlying mechanisms of genetics and development.
Creationism cannot make real-world predictions regarding
observations of genetic systems. It is useless as a tool for
helping scientists understand mechanisms of genetics and
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