Author: Jeff Otto Over the past few years, in the SCIENCE echo, there has been a continuou

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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 development. Jeff

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