Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Theory of Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Intelligent Design » Plant's Epigenome as Varied as Their Environments

Plant's Epigenome as Varied as Their Environments

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You probably remember that an organism’s DNA is collectively referred to as the genome and that it contains genes that code for proteins. What you may not know is that the genome is tagged here and there with small molecules helping to determine which genes to express. These small molecules are collectively referred to as the epigenome and one recent study found a tremendous variation between the epigenomes in the same species of plant collected from different locations around the world. As one researcher explained:

We looked at plants collected from around the world and found that their epigenomes are surprisingly different. This additional diversity may create a way for plants to rapidly adapt to diverse environments without any genetic change in their DNA, which takes a very long time.

In other words, different specimens of a given species of plant, all with the same genome, had significantly different epigenomes.

Epigenetics is another example of how the species do not appear to have evolved. Evolution may be true or false, but the scientific evidence presents a great many challenges to the idea. Recall that under evolution the idea is that random biological changes that naturally occur and are inheritable, such as mutations in the germline, might luckily sometimes be an improvement to the organism’s fitness. In those cases the organisms with the change would likely be successful and procreate, thereby passing on the change to future generations.

But epigenetics challenges all this. First, the tagging of DNA does not naturally occur as mutations do. In order for an epigenetic change to occur and have any effect, there must be a small army of coordinated molecular machines that are working according to the same code. Some machines attach the tags according to external, environmental signals. Other machines remove or move the tags, again according to other signals. And yet other machines interpret the tags, thus influencing which proteins are expressed.

This is far more involved than a random mutation occurring that just happens to improve slightly how the organism works. In fact epigenetics would involve literally hundreds (and that is conservative) of changes required before any benefit would be realized.

The tagging machines not only need to be built, or adapted from other machines, but they need to know where in all the genome to place the tags. Likewise for the machines that remove and move the tags. In other words, it is not good enough merely to evolve the machines. They somehow much know where to place the tags given a spectrum of environmental signals.

And then the machines that interpret the tags would have to do so correctly. They would have to know what the tag means. So again, not only must these machines have evolved or adapted, but they must know what they are doing.

That is astronomically unlikely to occur according to our knowledge of science.

But that is not all. For even given such a miracle, such epigenetic tags would not be inheritable. And yet they are. So there are even more machines that must have arisen by chance to preserve the tags when the cell divides.

This brings us to yet another set of problems with epigenetics: the machinery described above is not inheritable unless is evolves in the germline. But in the germline it doesn’t do anybody any good. Only when it is a passed on to the progeny can it help.

But even then the epigenetics capability likely won’t help because this capability gives the organism the ability to respond to a wide range of environmental conditions—conditions that probably won’t even occur in the organism’s lifetime.

In other words, we must believe that an astronomically unlikely capability arose by chance and though most of it wasn’t helpful, it was preserved anyway. Then, in future generations, when a particular environmental shift occurred, the epigenetics came to the rescue.

These problems are highlighted by the new research discussed above, showing how the epigenetic tagging can be so different in the same species of plant, in different locations around the world. Those environments are very different, so the tagging is very different.

But the origin of the epigenetics machinery would have had to anticipate all these different environments, long in advance.

Simply put, this just doesn’t make much sense under evolution. Epigenetics goes against the evolutionary model. Not surprisingly, evolutionists resisted the early epigenetic findings. And when the findings became undeniable evolutionists downplayed their significance.

But these findings are an obvious and dramatic falsification of evolutionary expectations. And this problem comes after several other, equally vexing, problems, many of which were at least somewhat understood in Darwin’s time.

Epigenetics is an example of how the science does not bode well for evolutionary theory. But in evolution the science does not carry the day. The science represents a research problem to be worked out. Otherwise evolution is protected from such show-stoppers because evolution is known to be a fact from non scientific considerations. We may not know how epigenetics and a dozen other contradictions could have evolved, but we know they must have evolved.

For what about all the designs that make no sense, and all the designs that are harmful? No creator would have intended or created such a world. It must have evolved. That was Darwin’s argument and that remains the conviction today. As Stephen Jay Gould once explained:

Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.

You see evolution is, quite literally, a religious theory. Sometimes people say evolution is a religious theory because it is so unlikely and therefore requires faith to believe it. Others say evolution is a religious theory because it is driven by atheism.

No, evolution is a religious theory because it entails religious claims about God. Claims that, to a great many people, seem to be a given. These claims, as in Gould’s quote above, are taken to be so obvious that they are in no need of explaining or defending. In fact, they aren’t even religious. They simply are.

And so evolutionists do not understand the objection. They do not understand why their theory would be considered to be religious. Are they not simply reasoning according to evidence and science?

Meanwhile, the science shows evolution to be astronomically unlikely.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

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