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Are mutations part of the “engine” of evolution?
AiG ^ | February 13, 2009

Posted on 02/13/2009 8:34:41 AM PST by GodGunsGuts

Are mutations part of the “engine” of evolution?

....

Are mutations really the “key to our evolution”? Do mutations provide the fuel for the engine of evolution? In this chapter, we take a close look at mutations to see what they are and what they are not. When we understand genetics and the limits of biological change, we will see how science confirms what the Bible says, “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind” (Genesis 1:25)...

(Excerpt) Read more at answersingenesis.org ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: creation; evolution; intelligentdesign; mutations
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1 posted on 02/13/2009 8:34:42 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 02/13/2009 8:35:35 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Here's the situation ~ the ancient pagans had this belief about "perfect images". This "after their kind" business reflects that belief.

Time to move on.

3 posted on 02/13/2009 8:41:47 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

move on, then.


4 posted on 02/13/2009 8:43:19 AM PST by FreedomOfExpression
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To: GodGunsGuts

Yes, they are. You do know, of course, that not all mutations are bad.


5 posted on 02/13/2009 8:50:52 AM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: Buck W.

Almost all mutations are harmful. However, the tiny fraction of mutations that are non-harmful/beneficial almost always result in a loss of information, which is precisely what Creation Science predicts—devolution.


6 posted on 02/13/2009 8:55:27 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
"Are mutations part of the “engine” of evolution?"

Yes. Mutations can be major or minor in nature. The probability of successfully changing to gain an advantage in the natural selection process diminishes the greater the change, but when successful can significantly alter the competition. The concept has been used in computer modeling of complex systems. Traditional finite element analysis methods can produce results, but take a long time to conclude. Modeling programs that include infrequent, but extreme leaps have proven to greatly shorten the time in identifying the optimum conditions.

7 posted on 02/13/2009 8:55:51 AM PST by Natural Law
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To: muawiyah
I would like to cling to that old pagan belief "after their kind", otherwise it would be really creepy to think my next grandchild may be a mastodon or something. Its much easier to live with that they will be a blend of my daughter and son in law.
8 posted on 02/13/2009 8:59:02 AM PST by svcw (This maybe my last transmission - God have mercy on us.)
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To: Natural Law

==Modeling programs that include infrequent, but extreme leaps have proven to greatly shorten the time in identifying the optimum conditions.

From DetectingDesign.com:

It all sounds very good, and quite convincing actually, except perhaps for one little problem. Natural selection is limited in that it can only select, in a positive way, for changes that show improvement in function over what was there before. As it turns out, many mutational changes (i.e., changes in the underlying genetic codes of DNA that dictate how a creature is formed) have absolutely no affect on the function of the organism. Such changes, or mutations, are called “neutral” with respect to functional selectability. There is even a “Neutral Theory of Evolution” proposed fairly recently by Motoo Kimura.

A neutral difference is like “spelling” the code for the same function in a different way. This different spelling still results in producing the same / equal / equivalent result - as I just did by using three different words that mean pretty much the same thing. Or, neutral differences may exist between equally non-meaningful sequences - like the difference between “quiziligook” and “quiziliguck”. Both are equally meaningless when spoken in most situations - right? Therefore, neither has more meaningful or beneficial “fitness” in a given environment as compared with the other. Obviously then, selection between them would be equal or “neutral” with respect to function - i.e., completely random.

Beyond this, most mutations that do happen to affect function do so in a negative way. Natural selection actively works against such mutations to eliminate them from the gene pool over time. These mutational changes are not therefore “beneficial” either.

So, why might this be a problem for evolution? Well, at very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., functions that require a very short sequence of fairly specified genetic real estate to be realized) the ratio of potentially beneficial to non-beneficial sequences is quite high. So, the numbers of non-beneficial differences between one beneficial sequence and the next closest potentially beneficial sequence in sequence space are relatively few.

For example, consider the sequence: cat - hat - bat - bad - big - dig - dog. Here we just evolved from cat to dog where every single character change was meaningful and potentially beneficial in the right environment. It is easy to get between every potential 3-character sequence in the English language system because the ratio between meaningful and non-meaningful in the “sequence space” of 3-character sequences is only about 1 in 18. However, this ratio decreases dramatically, exponentially in fact, with each increase in minimum sequence length. For example, in 7-character sequence space, the ratio is about 1 in 250,000 - and that is not even taking into account the “beneficial” nature of a particular sequence relative to a particular environment/situation. Still, meaningful 7-character sequences are generally very interconnected, like a web made up of thin interconnected roads going around the large pockets of non-meaningful/non-beneficial potential sequences. However, the exponential decrease in the ratio is obvious and the implications are clear. For higher and higher level functions, requiring larger and larger fairly specified sequences to code for them, the ratio of meaningful to meaningless becomes so small so quickly that when more than a few dozen characters are needed the interconnected roadways and bridges that connect various island-clusters of beneficial sequences start to snap apart. At surprisingly low levels of functional complexity this process isolates the tiny islands of beneficial sequences from every other island to such an extent that there is simply no way to reach these tiny isolated islands except to traverse the gap of non-beneficial sequences through a process of purely random change(s) over time.

With every additional step up the ladder of functional complexity, this gap gets wider and wider, in an exponential manner, until it is simply uncrossable this side of trillions upon trillions of years of average time. Natural selection is simply blind when it comes to crossing such gaps. Without the guidance of natural selection, this crossing takes exorbitantly greater amounts of time since the non-beneficial junk sequences of sequence space must be sorted through randomly before a very rare beneficial sequence is discovered by sheer luck (see link):

Trillions upon Trillions of Years - - Not Enough Time

http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation


9 posted on 02/13/2009 9:03:41 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

“Almost all mutations are harmful. “

Neither true, verifiable, or even relevant. The remainder of your statement betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of natural selection, a process that is wholly consistent with belief in the Christian faith.


10 posted on 02/13/2009 9:04:43 AM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: svcw

“be a blend of my daughter and son in law.”

While I generally agree with your sentiment, you obviously never met my youngest daughters former boyfriend. It horrified me that I had sent her to college and she was dating this guy. And I was actually paying a lot of money to send her. Sorry - Sometimes Dads have nightmares. Good news is she realized the guy was a creep and dumped him.


11 posted on 02/13/2009 9:10:49 AM PST by Jubal Madison (Sic Semper Tyrannis)
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To: Buck W.

Given your response, I would say that it is YOUR STATEMENT that betrays a FUNDAMENTAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING of the insurmountable problems facing RM + NS with respect to functional complexity. May I suggest you read “Genetic Entropy” by John Sanford before venturing any further into territory you obviously don’t understand.


12 posted on 02/13/2009 9:12:08 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Almost all mutations are harmful.

Obviously due to a flaw in his "design," God being perfect and all, and able to produce species on a whim.

I'm still waiting for God to produce a species out of thin air to settle the debate, yet we can witness living things reproduce by biological means every day.

13 posted on 02/13/2009 9:24:02 AM PST by Moonman62 (I didn't compromise my soul to be popular. -- Jimmy Carter)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Not likely, but have a nice day. I prefer to consult unbiased sources.


14 posted on 02/13/2009 9:27:13 AM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

The mere existance of creationists certainly confirms a belief that some men has not evolved from the apes -— at least by enought to merit any special consideration. And those that feel the need for the pseudo scientific babbling of “intelligent design” certainly reveal a profound weakness in faith. The most important question might be why an all powerful god capable only of perfection employs so many idiots as spokespersons?


15 posted on 02/13/2009 9:39:08 AM PST by wow (I can't give you a brain. But I can provide a diploma.)
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To: GodGunsGuts

I am more of a fan of the devolution theory and mutations would fit with that.


16 posted on 02/13/2009 9:46:13 AM PST by PeterPrinciple ( Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: wow

How evolved of you.


17 posted on 02/13/2009 9:48:17 AM PST by svcw (This maybe my last transmission - God have mercy on us.)
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To: wow

“And those that feel the need for the pseudo scientific babbling of “intelligent design” certainly reveal a profound weakness in faith. “

That is a very insightful comment which reflects a position that I have held for some time. Adherents to creation science and ID seem to have a weaker Christian faith than those who believe that natural selection could be God’s way.


18 posted on 02/13/2009 9:48:57 AM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: Buck W.; wow
“And those that feel the need for the pseudo scientific babbling of “intelligent design” certainly reveal a profound weakness in faith. “

That is a very insightful comment which reflects a position that I have held for some time. Adherents to creation science and ID seem to have a weaker Christian faith than those who believe that natural selection could be God’s way.


Both of these comments are asterisks footnoting ignorance of millennia of scientific, theological, and philosophical inquiry. But I'm sure uttering them gives you both a great feeling of superiority.
19 posted on 02/13/2009 9:54:23 AM PST by aruanan
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To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


20 posted on 02/13/2009 9:57:36 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: aruanan

Not at all—it is, in fact, my observation. I am a devout Christian who believes that the Bible is, in part, allegorical. Many (not all) of those who believe that it is literally true in full succumb to the need to cling to a silly set of constructions and coincidences called ID. That is a demonstration of lack of faith on their part. The fact that they demand “equal time” when real scientists call them on their folly just further distances them from their own faith.


21 posted on 02/13/2009 10:39:46 AM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: GodGunsGuts; All
the tiny fraction of mutations that are non-harmful/beneficial almost always result in a loss of information, which is precisely what Creation Science predicts

Where did Creation Science predict that? Anyone have a link? What about the cases where it doesn't result in a loss of info?

22 posted on 02/13/2009 10:49:18 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists, still bad at math.....)
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To: Toddsterpatriot
This is going with the premise that any CHANGE in information is a LOSS of information.

For example a couple mutations in a gene on an esterase plasmid in a bacteria enabled the new enzyme to digest nylon. The ability to digest esters was not “lost” as it is present in multiple copies on a plasmid, but new information was definitely GAINED, as now the bacteria can digest both esters AND nylon.

Devolution is a sad sad joke played upon any creationists who wishes to embrace it.

The fact is that any expanding population has an INCREASE in genetic diversity; and some of that genetic diversity will lead to new and interesting “information”, such as the ability to digest citrate in e.coli.

23 posted on 02/13/2009 11:11:01 AM PST by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
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To: Buck W.
Neither true, verifiable, or even relevant. The remainder of your statement betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of natural selection, a process that is wholly consistent with belief in the Christian faith.

You lose the argument automatically, because GGG has invoked UPPER CASE.

UPPER CASE always wins over mixed case.

24 posted on 02/13/2009 11:14:23 AM PST by js1138
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To: Buck W.
That is a very insightful comment which reflects a position that I have held for some time. Adherents to creation science and ID seem to have a weaker Christian faith than those who believe that natural selection could be God’s way.

Make sure that you distinguish between young-earth creationists (YECs) and old-earth creationists (OECs). YECs deny the overwhelming preponderance of scientific observations in order to cling to an unwarranted interpretation of the Bible. They believe that God's revelation through his creation is wrong and cling to wacko theories of all sorts of scoundrels so as not to damage their faith.

OECs believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life. We believe that God not only revealed himself through his word in the Bible, but also in his creation.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
Do I have problems with some of the claims of evolution? Yes, but they're scientific, not religious. If we had incontrovertible proof tomorrow that humans evolved from single-celled organisms, it would not affect my faith at all. Genesis tells us all about the Who, but next to nothing about the How.

I've seen God's work and God's miracles in my life and the lives of others. I've seen healings that happened literally while we were praying. I don't doubt God's existence any more than I doubt my own. Unlike the YECs, my faith in God does not depend upon a medieval -- and quite wrong -- interpretation of the Bible.

25 posted on 02/13/2009 11:21:26 AM PST by DallasMike
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To: PeterPrinciple

The translation of the following book isn’t the best, but I think you will find it a fascinating read:

http://www.evolutionisdegeneration.com/index.asp?PaginaID=2577

All the best—GGG


26 posted on 02/13/2009 11:25:22 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: wow

==The mere existance of creationists certainly confirms a belief that some men has not evolved from the apes

The mere existence of any life-form confirms that materialist evolution is a farce.


27 posted on 02/13/2009 11:26:40 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: js1138
You lose the argument automatically, because GGG has invoked UPPER CASE.

Yes, and he doesn't like it when real scientists totally refute the work of his favorite, discredited YEC scientists. If you do that, you are a believer in ATHEIST SCIENCE and you WORSHIP AT THE TEMPLE OF DARWIN CULT. Logic and scientific observations have no place in his world.

I know that it's considered proper etiquette to ping someone that you're talking about, but HE-WHO-HATES-TO-BE-PINGED gets all whiny when you ping him. The Mods slapped him around about this, but it still doesn't stop the whining.

28 posted on 02/13/2009 11:29:35 AM PST by DallasMike
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To: GodGunsGuts

Humans grow mutated cells all the time - they are known as cancers.


29 posted on 02/13/2009 11:31:19 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Last Dakotan

==Humans grow mutated cells all the time - they are known as cancers.

And thus harmful.


30 posted on 02/13/2009 11:32:17 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
"Trillions upon Trillions of Years - - Not Enough Time"

Not sure about your word based model, but I have used this method in an number of significant design advancements. Think of evolution as representing a slope with the Y axis representing the relative success of an organism to compete within its environment, or to adapt to changes in its environment. Small changes will move the survival index minimally up or down the slope resulting in little evolutionary change. However major changes, as represented by mutations, will move an organism a greater distance up or down the survival index. Most often, mutations are unsuccessful, resulting in the death of the mutation. However, occasionally a mutation will represent a significant advancement and allow the offspring of the mutation to dominate and replace their competitors and predecessors.

31 posted on 02/13/2009 11:35:28 AM PST by Natural Law
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To: allmendream

==For example a couple mutations in a gene on an esterase plasmid in a bacteria enabled the new enzyme to digest nylon.

There is no gain of information. The bacteria are merely drawing upon was already frontloaded by the Creator. As Dr. Sanford points out in his book Genetic Entropy, virtually all beneficial mutations are the result of information loss, not information gain—just as predicted by the creation model.


32 posted on 02/13/2009 11:35:39 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
The ability to change was “front loaded” into EVERY bit of DNA. That was all that was needed, was the ability to change into something else that was also useful, that is a gain of information.

You are attempting a ‘there are no changes that are beneficial, and any changes that are beneficial were “front-loaded’ defense.

It is either...

a) no gain of information is possible

or

b) gain of information is possible

The fact that you want to tack onto b) ‘but only if the information was “front-loaded’ is inconsequential.

It is either a) or b).

Obviously you just admitted to b) which makes your a) statement no longer “operable” as the Clinton White House used to say.

33 posted on 02/13/2009 11:40:17 AM PST by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
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To: svcw
Turns out your kids aren't "a blend". Genes are expressed in a sort of quantum fashion ~ all by their lonesomes. So your grandkids have a set of genes from each parent (only half of what they had), and they are either turned off or they get expressed.

In fact, if you had something like 4 children, you'd find each of them ending up quite different because of the differences within your own existing genome. You could have a red-head, platinum blond, ordinary blond or brunette, with as many or more differences in skin-tone ~ and every bit of it would be YOUR FAULT ` and with no blends at all.

Obviously our own children do not recapitulate "their/our" kind ~ more like they recapitulate "somebody else's" kinds, if at all.

Sometimes folks get surprised when one of those stray kinky hairs pops up (unless, of course, you already know your relatives have such hairs, and then it shouldn't be a surprise).

When you have a system like ours, change happens whether we want it to or not ~ and then there's the reshuffeling trick. Sometimes the genes in a chromosome get resorted, or even duplicated, and then all H' breaks out.

You could go thousands of generations with absolutely no mutations, random or otherwise, and still have kids who ended up looking like the neighbors rather than anyone in your own family.

Not saying that happens all the time, but as soon as you have several different genes in your grandparents' generation, your own turns into a kind of crapshoot of quantum resolution ~ not a "blend". The math behind it is quite probabilistic.

34 posted on 02/13/2009 11:49:44 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: allmendream

There is no gain of information. It is just a matter of taking advantage of the information that is already there. And as Dr. Sanford points out in his book Genetic Entropy, when we do see actual beneficial mutations that change the total amount of available information, they invariably result from information loss, not information gain.


35 posted on 02/13/2009 11:51:55 AM PST by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts
Before the mutations. Bacteria could not digest nylon.

After the mutations. Bacteria could digest nylon.

Obviously that information was GAINED, even if you insist that the nylonase enzyme was simply ‘hidden’ within the esterase enzyme; it took MUTATION to UNLOCK that NEW INFORMATION.

36 posted on 02/13/2009 11:56:13 AM PST by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
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To: allmendream

It’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation with people who don’t even understand thermodynamics and entropy.


37 posted on 02/13/2009 11:57:36 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Protectionists, still bad at math.....)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Not quite ~ once you get a chunk of genes together that gives you a relatively stable platform, you can build all sorts of things pretty quickly.

HOX genes give us walking/flying/swimming critters with front ends, back ends, tops, bottoms and sides. Probably only a handful of ways you can structure control genes like that ~ and they are incredibly stable platforms.

In fact, let me go further, there's probably only a very small number of possible AND useful HOX genes in the Earth environment.

Now, a quick return to the news ~ listening to Nancy Pelosi tell me a lie about "middle class tax cut". The woman is mentally ill ~ too much botox. It's changing her genome as well ~ she's growing a tail ~ look at her dress in the back when she turns to leave ~ there's something in there and that's not good.

38 posted on 02/13/2009 11:58:36 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: GodGunsGuts
Apparently the “information” on how to make a human being was also “front-loaded” into our hominid ancestors, all that it took to ‘unlock’ that ‘front-loaded’ information was about a 3% genomic change.

As far as nylonase bacteria, the “total amount of available information” before the mutation didn't include the ability to digest nylon. The “total amount of available information” after the mutation included EVERYTHING the premutation bacteria could do, but with ADDITIONAL INFORMATION on how to digest nylon.

Obviously the total amount of information went up.

39 posted on 02/13/2009 12:00:47 PM PST by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
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To: Toddsterpatriot
Or much of anything else.

I have long maintained that if you look at the belief set of creationists they will almost invariably also believe in many other equally unsupportable beliefs (UFO’s, Geocentricism, HIV-AIDS denial, Jesus rode on a dinosaur, etc, etc).

40 posted on 02/13/2009 12:05:38 PM PST by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")
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To: wow
Creationist folk would likely agree they didn't evolve from apes, they can speak to that point better than I can, but regarding:

“The most important question might be why an all powerful god capable only of perfection employs so many idiots as spokespersons?”

I can only sympathize and say Darwinism has to use whatever it says crawled out of the slime as its spokescritters even if idiots. Perfect? Maybe the spokescritters are perfect idiots.

41 posted on 02/13/2009 12:25:36 PM PST by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: GodGunsGuts
Almost all mutations are harmful. However, the tiny fraction of mutations that are non-harmful/beneficial almost always result in a loss of information, which is precisely what Creation Science predicts—devolution.

NOT! Here is a picture of a mutation which is neither harmful nor results in a loss of information. It's not even a devolutionary mutation, but it makes a he11 of a nose-picker:

Photobucket

42 posted on 02/13/2009 12:26:53 PM PST by Sarajevo (You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.)
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To: Sarajevo

I shouldn’t laugh, but that is one funky thumb...


43 posted on 02/13/2009 12:28:27 PM PST by Protect the Bill of Rights (Economic Stimulus: Creating jobs, one death at a time.)
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To: aruanan

Any issues of superiority are not a matter of “feeling”, though those discomforted may find comfort in such delusion.

And as you imagine superiority derivative of some higher source of information, perhaps you might consider the possibility that God might speak to you directly and plainly over the internet. I make no such claim, but certainly, such a prospect is no less sensible than by means of a burning bush.

And certainly a God which created the heaven and earth and all his critters would not require such multitudes of self-proclaimed and bickering middlemen, each claiming a superior understanding of truth revealed in superior clarity selectively to them.

When it comes to our evolving understanding of evolution, I’ll put my money on the 99% of real scientists that credit Charles Darwin with the intellectual foundation for all of the life sciences. By “real” I mean those that actually do the research which builds new and useful understanding of our world and which hold virtually all the faculty positions at the the major reseach universities.

Many are practicing Christians of strong faith not the least disturbed at discovery possibly conflicting with metaphorical religion having its roots in the Bronze Age and codified into dogma by candle by flea-bitten monks in the Dark Ages when the Earth was flat. So much for your millenia of inquiry. Indeed, every new discovery for most increases their marvel. Faith that is secure is not threatened by science.

Examine the CV of the garden variety creation “science”/ID type that claims to be a scientist and you typically find something like a third rate physical chemist or aerospace engineer without research portfolio in the life sciences and usually without much in the way of accomplishment in their field of training. What passes for “published research” is very selective review of “facts” at third hand glued together by illogic. “ID” is a joke. Proponents of it are frightfully close to being Christian Taliban.


44 posted on 02/13/2009 12:43:07 PM PST by wow (I can't give you a brain. But I can provide a diploma.)
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To: Buck W.
Do you believe that the story of Christ's resurrection from the dead is allegorical?
45 posted on 02/13/2009 12:50:21 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: DallasMike

You have a refreshing outlook. I would be happy to discuss this further with you.


46 posted on 02/13/2009 12:50:29 PM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe

No.


47 posted on 02/13/2009 12:50:50 PM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: js1138

“You lose the argument automatically, because GGG has invoked UPPER CASE.

UPPER CASE always wins over mixed case. “

Somebody’s ALWAYS sneaking in a new rule on me. Just like the NFL!


48 posted on 02/13/2009 12:52:50 PM PST by Buck W. (BHO: Selling hope, keeping the change.)
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To: allmendream

So the bacteria evolved into bacteria?


49 posted on 02/13/2009 12:53:23 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Buck W.

What about original sin? Do you believe that Christ defeated sin on the cross? If there was no Adam and Eve then where did sin come from?


50 posted on 02/13/2009 12:54:39 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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