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Monday, August 06, 2007

A new gene, within the past 100 years

The Panda's Thumb presents a summary of the evidence that a new gene (probably more than one) has arisen within the past century, in HIV. (That's the AIDS virus.)

This should not be a surprise to anyone. However, according to the blog post I cited in the previous paragraph, Michael Behe's book, The Edge of Evolution, has this statement, about that same virus: "There is no new molecular machinery." It must, therefore, be a surprise to Behe. I have not yet read Behe's new book. His previous book, Darwin's Black Box, is one of the pillars of the Intelligent Design movement. In it, Behe claimed that some biological phenomena were so complex that they could not have been developed over time by natural selection, but would have required a Designer. The Panda's Thumb has produced explanations, relying only on natural selection, for all of the phenomena Behe wrote about.

I believe that God designed natural selection.

Thanks for reading.


Rob Rumfelt said...

You know I just love this topic!

While I'm not a big fan of Behe OR ID, I'm certainly no fan of Panda's Thumb either. Most of their posters are just as religious as Behe, albeit in a different direction.

Sure, they can produce all sorts of explanations, but explanations are a far cry from proof. The thing with PT is that when they say Natural Selection, they really mean RANDOM, UNGUIDED selection. So how does one prove randomness?

I'm with you. I believe God designed everything in a most wonderous way. As He says in Isaiah: "My ways are not your ways. . ."

I recommend Gerald L. Schroeder's "Genesis and the Big Bang," and "The Science of God." I think you'd really enjoy those.

OK. There's my 2 cents worth! Have a great week!

Martin LaBar said...

You are right about the militant naturalism of most of the posters of The Panda's Thumb. However, once in a while, one of them acknowledges the legitimacy of religion.

The case I mentioned in the post appears to be more than an explanation -- it's proof. Perhaps I was being too kind to Behe.

Rob Rumfelt said...

Perhaps. I still ask, How does one prove randomness? Remember, I'm a layman, not a scientist. . .keep it simple!

Have a great day!

Martin LaBar said...

I stand rebuked. You can't prove randomness. Nor design. Let's just say that there are intermediate steps, consistent with random mutation and natural selection, and Behe, at least, didn't expect that.


Rob Rumfelt said...

Not my intention to rebuke at all. That's just one of the main questions I ask my atheist friends. (They can actually be very nice when they get off of the internet!)

I think one of Behe's problems (as well as many PTers) is that he has such an obvious agenda.

I so appreciate your blog for your honesty and sincerity and courtesy. I don't go to many blogs these days, but I usually stop by yours at least once a day.

All the best!

ERV said...

Nononono! Vpu isnt a new gene created in the past 100 years! The original Vpu probably originated a long time ago in chimpanzees-- its radically different in sequence and function in HIV-1, though.

SIV-->SIVcpz new gene-->HIV-1 new molecular machinery, new biochemisty-->HIV-1 Subtype B and C new biochemistry


Rob-- I am an atheist. I couldnt possibly care less whether Behe is a Presbyterian or a Catholic or a Mormon or an Arab or another atheist-- He is supposed to be a trained biochemist and he made a ridiculous error.

I was taught by theistic evolutionists-- this has nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of deities. Its about science vs Creationism.

Rob Rumfelt said...

Erv - You are obviously quite smart. Out of MY ballpark, anyway! Sure, Behe made a ridiculous error. So have I. Bet you have, too. We're all human, after all. But maybe his error was due, in part, to his beliefs, or "agenda" if you will. I don't think it's human nature to be objective all the time.

BTW, nice pic. I need to get me an icon.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, rob.

Thanks, erv. Readers interested in the molecular biology of what's going on should check the Panda's Thumb post, or, if possible, the original articles. Perhaps my "new gene" headline was overblown. However, when you say "radically different in sequence and function" (which is what has happened, as I understand it) that might be equated with "new gene," depending on how one would define "new gene." Perhaps "radically changed gene" would have been closer to accurate.

ERV said...

Rob-- Behe didnt make a "Whoops! My bad!" mistake. He made an error that a PhD in biochemistry shouldnt make. This mistake is the foundation of Behes arguments in 'Edge of Evolution'-- a diatribe against science. This error is going to be perpetuated in Creationist World for decades. Creationist never, ever admit to error (see Casey Luskis post on "Evolution News & Views").

Again, I want to reiterate that this isnt an atheist thing or a theist thing. This is a Creationist thing, you have no reason to give them a free pass on intellectual honesty.

hehe! And thats my AmStaf puppy, Arnie :) Rescued him off the streets last December... And now hes begging me for a PopTart, LOL!

Martin-- Ill have a diagram up soon (tomorrow?) that will help clarify when all the new genes/biochemistry popped up. I hope that will help!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, ERV.

Mirtika said...

I found the tone at Panda's Thumb as annoying as any ranting Creationist on the other extreme. Nasty, arrogant, superior. That's not a way to conduct a scientific debate.


Rob Rumfelt said...


All I'm saying is that humans are humans, PhD or no. Behe's worldview influenced his error, no doubt. I'm sure the same thing has happened on the other side of the fence. I'm not giving him or any "creationist" a free pass. If anything, I'm accusing him of letting his worldview get in the way of the facts. I even said in my previous post that he has an agenda.

Do you really think Dawkins, Dennett, et al, write in a state of total, scientific objectivity? Hmmmmm. . . . NOT! Even evolutionists have a world view. And an agenda.

Arnie looks cool! My wife and I have an Anatolian shepherd who thinks she can talk. Wish I could understand her!

Mir - That's exactly what drives me crazy about the PT. Thought I was just weird.

Martin - Enjoy your company and have fun!

Hey! It's Friday!

ERV said...

Martin-- Done! An Illustrated Guide to Vpu!

Rob-- But when Dawkins makes a mistake on his science, its fellow scientists who call him on it. The scientific community has nothing if we dont have peer-review-- Its how we keep everyone honest and on the right track.

Creationists do not correct one another. They defend one anothers errors to the death, again, look at their response to my post on 'Evolution News & Views'.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Mirtika. I have found some rather tranquil posts on The Panda's Thumb, but most are pretty strident. They think they are in a war.

ERV and Rob:

Some of what Dawkins is saying isn't science at all -- it's his beliefs, which, of course, he's entitled to, but stating one's presuppositions isn't scientific, even if you are a scientist.

ERV. Thanks for doing the chart.

Rob Rumfelt said...

ERV - Hoo Boy! I love this! Thanks for arguing points and not getting personal. Perhaps I've gotten a bit off-thread in this discussion. You're talking about the straight science of the matter and I am arguing about world view influencing that. So. . . .

I hereby concede your point and return this thread to its rightful owner. However, I would be interested in your definition of "creationist."

This has been fun. Anybody who likes Pink Floyd and "Almost Famous" is alright in my book! And thanks for the work you're doing with AIDS.

Until next time!