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The Forum > General Discussion > A simple question...but it stumped Dawkins.

A simple question...but it stumped Dawkins.

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You have to see this :)

The idea of 'evolution' is based on the premise that information in the genome 'increases' and becomes more complex over time. (if not, then we would have 'devolution')

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX7Htg2HxkA&NR=1

Dawkins simply has no answer.. and the one he does come up with sounds more like a 'hyper fundamentalist right wing religious nutter' grasping for some intellectual breath when confronted with an unpalatable attack on his faith.

Please don't turn this into a discussion about 'Evolution vs Creation'

But I'm interested in an exploration of the line of thinking that arises with the notion of "geneomes become more complex" as they evolve... If I'm reading Dawkins correctly, he is pretty much saying that the answer is 'no'...which fails to explain the complexity of modern life forms.

Perhaps it might be best to leave out the "Creation Alternative" side altogether.. most of us know where we stand on this, so it won't bring mass conversions or anything.

Is Dawkins clutching at straws?
Is the model he proposes an accepted one?
Is he lacking in understanding of the processes of which he speaks?
Do his statements make you 'more' or less confident in the idea of 'origins of life by spontaneous evolution and chance'?
Posted by BOAZ_David, Monday, 14 April 2008 10:19:51 AM
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Regardless of what Dawkins says, there are several ways that "information in the genome" can increase.

-gene duplication through inversions and tranlocations that often occur during meiosis
-transposon jumping
-Genome duplication (eg through polyploidy for plants)
-gene amplification, eg esterase mediated insecticide resistance in some insects.
-rethrovirus insertions

There are whole gene families that display duplication, then mutation and selection. This can happen without being detrimental to the organism, because then there are redundant copies of the genes.

If you think Dawkins is the last word on evolution, then the joke's on you. He's a teacher.
Posted by Bugsy, Monday, 14 April 2008 11:03:48 AM
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Just to add some context, this video is ten years old. Even if you discount the deceitful editing, Dawkins does hesitate for a long time in fact, he suddenly realises he's being set up and is trying to work out what to do:

Richard Dawkins explains:

"In September 1997, I allowed an Australian film crew [from the then Answers in Genesis] into my house in Oxford without realising that their purpose was creationist propaganda. In the course of a suspiciously amateurish interview, they issued a truculent challenge to me to "give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome." It is the kind of question only a creationist would ask in that way, and it was at this point I tumbled to the fact that I had been duped into granting an interview to creationists - a thing I normally don't do, for good reasons. In my anger I refused to discuss the question further, and told them to stop the camera. However, I eventually withdrew my peremptory termination of the interview as a whole. This was solely because they pleaded with me that they had come all the way from Australia specifically in order to interview me. Even if this was a considerable exaggeration, it seemed, on reflection, ungenerous to tear up the legal release form and throw them out. I therefore relented.

My generosity was rewarded in a fashion that anyone familiar with fundamentalist tactics might have predicted. When I eventually saw the film a year later 1, I found that it had been edited to give the false impression that I was incapable of answering the question about information content 2. In fairness, this may not have been quite as intentionally deceitful as it sounds. You have to understand that these people really believe that their question cannot be answered! Pathetic as it sounds, their entire journey from Australia seems to have been a quest to film an evolutionist failing to answer it."

See here for the science: http://thinkerspodium.wordpress.com/2007/07/12/creationist-crankery-flashback-richard-dawkins-stumped/
Posted by Vanilla, Monday, 14 April 2008 11:07:34 AM
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Dear Bugsy and Vanilla

as I said... this is not a 'Creation vs Evolution' rant :)

I just found it, and watched it..and it kind of stood out.. and knowing that there are among us some fairly qualified people (like Bugsy it would appear) who have more than a simple knowledge of these matters, I figured it might be a valuable thing to enquire about.

Bugsy..if you could expand a tad on those main points you listed, and if possible, show some critical assessments of them from 'the bright(dark?) side' :) or at least some alternative views I'm sure we would all benefit.

Interesting point Vanilla raises about 'deceitful editing' :) ohhhh my..I've NEVER seen that done by err say ..the ABC.. Greenleft weekly and so it goes on.

I agree with this though, there is no room for deceitful editing or cagey tricks in the presentation of what is meant to pass for serious journalism. I don't hold 'sattire' or discussion starter material to the same standard.. I want the same artistic licence as anyone else.

You folks might like to venture a comment on this:

<<What makes the origin of life and of the genetic code a disturbing riddle is this: the genetic code is without any biological function unless it is translated; that is, unless it leads to the synthesis of the proteins whose structure is laid down by the code. But the machinery by which the cell (at least the non-primitive cell, which is the only one we know) translates the code consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are themselves coded in the DNA. Thus the code can not be translated except by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a baffling circle; a really vicious circle, it seems, for any attempt to form a model or theory of the genesis of the genetic code.>>

Given the apparent dimensions of the intellectual problem (origins) don't you feel in all honesty that to maintain it 'must' have been by chance is just a bit like blind faith?
Posted by BOAZ_David, Monday, 14 April 2008 1:21:55 PM
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That is a stupid question.

Here's one that might stump Dawkins, though he may just accept it and move on:

http://www.ozpolitic.com/evolution/evolution-not-scientific-theory.html
Posted by freediver, Monday, 14 April 2008 4:23:39 PM
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Hi Freediver...

I had a peek at that link and it provides an interesting quote:

"Natural selection is a scientific theory. Evolution differs from natural selection by including the ideas of common ancestry and beneficial mutation. Just because a theory is not scientific does not mean that it has no merit. However, claiming that a theory is scientific lends it undeserved authority and diminishes the authority of science."

I tend to agree.."Natural Selection" alone..is scientific (and observable). But it seems the rest, where it is extended to... involves quite a bit of faith and not a small amount of bias
Posted by BOAZ_David, Monday, 14 April 2008 4:29:09 PM
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