DNA and evolution

by onacruse 33 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Panda


    I didn't read the Discovery article. However a new publication titled Nature Via Nurture by a geneticist named Ridley discusses that very human genome project.

    Besides our Great Ape cousins the chimpanzees the project showed that the DNA of all life on earth is related. I believe the same author wrote The Red Queen and The Genome.

    Another astounding discovery in human DNA was that instead of the expected >100,000 genes we only have about 30,000. Quite a difference when you consider that with this information many of our genes must perform multitasking depending on their placement. This is a whole new can of worms and it's pretty exciting.

    Another book written before the completion of the human genome project is titled the Blind Watchmaker by Dawkins. Another great read is the Selfish Gene.

    Today the gene projects are increasing. I hope that now we see that everything living has the same basic DNA in varied configurations and quantities maybe we'll begin to look a our planet as something worth saving, What do you think?

    If you get a chance to peruse more science please post and many here will enjoy discussions with you.

  • OICU8it2

    Too strong odds against even the big bang being random.. Something has to have influenced it. Just the odds of an object striking the earth at the right time to produce an orbital fragmenta which congealed into a moon to give the earth a very stable orbit and inclination to allow a climate conducive to life needs to be considered. There was something being tinkered with. Not neccesarily perfect every time. The only other plausible notion would be the many worlds concept in which every possible random possibility exists. This is just my current opinion which is probably somewhat simplistic. Thanks for your post and thoughts on this

  • SYN

    OICU8it2: Is it not more logical that life evolved to fit the ecological niche created by those very random events you speak of?

    There are many fish, for instance, that rely on the Moon for their reproductive timing, just as an example.

  • Satanus

    Looking backward from an event or situation, and figuring the odds of it happening is misused by creationists. I mean, something has to happen, right? For instance, if you figure the chances of you coming into existence , as a result of one particular sperm out millions of your fathers sperms, which joined w a particular egg out of many. What are the chances? One out of billions? Than figure in the chances of you mother and father's meeting, etc. Yet it happened. It proves nothing.

    Creationists looking backward from what is, like to quote the chances as proof of their god. It doesn't prove anything.


  • stillajwexelder

    And since the universe is expanding the entropy (S) per unit volume of universe is probably not increasing.

  • ninecharger

    Interestingly in Studies from the Scriptures ( I have them) Russell suggested that evolution could have produced the species according to natural laws, with the exception of Man (cause that would make the whole ransom business a vast cosmic joke.)


    The rings of Saturn appear to have been positioned carefully, yet they are where they are as a result of a gravitational "sieving" process over millennia.

    If things in our solar system had been different we would not be here to discuss it now.

    I just think how incredibly lucky I am to have my own little slice of eternity to call my very own. If we are just one tiny tiny fiber in the vast cosmic tapestry we should be enjoying every second. I don't think that if there were a grand design we could ever understand it any more than some hypothetical intelligent microbe on a cog in London's Big Ben.

  • patio34

    Saint Satan, I loved your observation--thanks!

    Here's my two cents on the DNA and it's not mine really, but Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond's in his book The Third Chimpanzee (referring to humans). It all has to do with a DNA clock which shows how recently two species have branched off from a common ancestor in the evolutionary tree (or bush). The closer the DNA, the more recently they split. Humans are not that close to other mammals. However they are 98.4% the same as chimps.

    "humans and apes are more closely related to each other than either are to monkeys. Monkeys share 93% of their DNA with humans and apes and differ in 7%. Gorillas differ from chimps by about 2.3%. Humans differ from chimps by 1.6%. (Hence, the title of the book the 3rd chimpanzee.)
    The genetic distance of 1.6% that separates us from pygmy is less than between two species of gibbons (2.2%) or between such closely related North American bird species as red-eyed vireos and white-eyed vireos (2.9%). The remaining 98.4% of our DNA is just normal chimp DNA. Monkeys diverged from apes between 25 and 30 million years ago according to fossil evidence, and now differ in about 7.3% of their DNA (!).
    Since our own genetic distance from chimps (1.6%) is about half the distance of orangutans from chimps (3.6%), we must have been going our separate way for about half of the 12-16 million years that orangutans had to accumulate their genetic distinction from chimps. Each clock (DNA) indicates that humans have had only a short history as a species distinct from other apes, much shorter than paleontologists used to assume."

    I hope that made sense. I thought it was astoundingly clear in his book but it's condensed here.


  • onacruse


    While I was still a JW, I considered "secretly" believing in evolution. But it didn't take me long to realize this is incompatible with so much of the bible. Very crucial parts of the bible. If evolution had occurred, homo sapiens would not have started with a single pair: Adam and Eve. This causes problems with original sin, the passing down of that sin, and hence the need for Jesus' sacrifice.

    How do you reconcile this in your mind?

    Ha! That's exactly why I "secretly" believed in evolution...and quite capably kept my head buried in the sand about the implications of my belief. Perhaps a classic example of punctuated personal evolution. Over the course of this last year I've abandoned (with considerably less difficulty than I'd imagined) my life-long idea that the Bible is inspired. Facts vs. faith, eh?

    et al, thanks for your thoughts! This is the first time in years I've really done any serious thinking about evolution; been doing a little research about entropy and chemical reactions. I'll post shortly


  • onacruse

    The book Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics has an interesting section on "Entropy and Universal Accidents" (pp. 120-122). Some excerpts:

    Entropy increases until it reaches a maximum value. The irreversible processes responsible for the increase of entropy are the same mechanisms which drive the system toward equilibrium...

    However, the myriad of irreversible processes which perform so ably in establishing equilibrium in subcosmic chunks of the universe seem to lose their punch when applied to that part of the universe visible to us...

    One suggested resolution of this paradox is known as the fluctuation hypothesis...by Ludwig Boltzmann...

    A fluctuation in a thermodynamic system is the result of an accident on the atomic level involving many atoms...Such fluctuations occur by chance--they are accidents of nature...

    Boltzmann's fluctuation hypothesis suggests that the universe is in equilibrium but that the portion which we observe is part of a gigantic fluctuation--the granddaddy of all accidents...However, the argument is unsound. It is enormously more likely that such a fluctuation would occur over a small volume, say the size of our solar system, and leave the rest of the immediate universe in equilibrium...

    How then can we explain the fact that we live in a restless universe? One possible answer is suggested by the theory of relativity...[which] teaches us that the geometry of space is determined by the masses within the space. As the distribution of mass in our universe varies so do the geometrical properties of space...Such a system would not approach equilibrium because the external conditions are changing.

    A couple thoughts:

    1) In purely physical terms, it would seem that "localized" non-entropic systems are accidental (insofar as they go contrary to the "direction" of irreversible processes tending toward equilibrium). And this would hold true as well on the atomic scale, e.g.: the formation of molecules usually requires overcoming the activation energy of the chemical bonding. Without some external influence (H2 + O + spark ---> H2O; or, the presence of enzymes or catalysts), such compounds would ordinarily not be formed. But quantum mechanics assures us that, however small the probability may be, it is possible for such compounds to form spontaneously, solely by chance (as indeed is observed, though the formation rates may be very low). It seems to me that both the cosmological and atomic processes involved here are completely random.

    2) Suppose that it is the relativistic variations of local space that "drive" these observable fluctuations. Then that too is a totally random process, unless we assume that someone is choregraphing the distribution of matter in space so as to produce "favorable" environments.

    If this is so, then from what I've read (yes, including that boogered but not completely erroneous Creation book) it would seem virtually impossible that even one strand of DNA would ever form as a result of such purely random processes. Thus my feeling that there is some as yet unidentified force that made this all happen.


  • rem
    If this is so, then from what I've read (yes, including that boogered but not completely erroneous Creation book) it would seem virtually impossible that even one strand of DNA would ever form as a result of such purely random processes. Thus my feeling that there is some as yet unidentified force that made this all happen.

    Exactly. It's called Natural Selection. Natural Selection doesn't generate the random building blocks, it just filters them and selects out the ones that are best at self replicating. A primary self replicator came to be by chance (though the environment on the earth at the time was probably favorable for such a molecule and made the probability of its spontaneous creation very high). This replicator was not as complicated as a strand of DNA. There are several different hypotheses about what these replicators could have looked like.

    This primary self replicator (or maybe many were created at the same time or over time but only one survived?) did what it did... replicated. This was the genesis of Natural Selection because then more random variation provided advantages and disadvantages for the progeny of the replicator. The fact that the self replicators were competing with each other for resources also caused more selection pressure (in addition to the environment). After billions of years of self replicators (along with random variation) competing for survival, you get some interesting results... from mushrooms, to trees, to crabs, to zebras, to bacteria, to humans, to viri, to prions, to sharks, to camels, to whales, to flowers etc.... these are all different ways self replicators have found to successfully compete in their niche environments.


Share this