It’s drafty in here (science is way cool)

Several posts over the next couple weeks are being pulled out of my drafts, if the title wasn’t a clue. I’ve been storing ideas in there for..oh, months now, and it’s high time some of them see light.

New Scientist was reporting in January on something called “horizontal evolution.” I don’t subscribe to their site, sadly, but since we’re talking about the internet here, others have put up information about this topic elsewhere. Sadly, they’re taking interesting research that can revolutionize the way we thought species evolve, and claiming it’s proof evolution never happened at all. Yes, the only places that seem to be quoting this piece are Intelligent Design places.

Cornelius Hunt over at Darwin’s God writes,

What do bacterial resistance to antibiotic drugs and the universal genetic code have in common? They both have been explained by horizontal gene transfer, a mechanism that evolutionists are increasingly using to explain the origin of the species. And what’s wrong with that? First, it makes evolution superfluous and second, it makes evolution ridiculous.

Um, no it doesn’t. It clearly shows how fucking cool it is. If gene transfer is possible, then all species are closely related enough (at a genetic level) to allow that to be feaseable. It’s further proof that evolution has had a hand in the making of everything from bacteria to elephants.

Humans can get mad cow like cows can. We can get rabies like dogs do. There are probably several diseases shared across species like that. We have to be close via gene pool for that kind of shit to affect us equally, yes? I’m not up on my biology, though. But if they can test treatments for humans using mice, that’d be more proof, yes?

Cornelius has more.

Various studies have found that bacterial sequences often do not form the predicted evolutionary tree, and in such cases horizontal gene transfer is the typical explanation.

But while such explanations make sense, they also make evolution vulnerable to Occam’s razor. For when evolutionary predictions fail, as they often do, we find scientific explanations that are independent of evolution. Organisms intelligently adapt to environmental challenges and genes show up in the wrong place. We now understand that epigenetic and horizontal gene transfer mechanisms, respectively, often account for such phenomena. And while evolution requires such mechanisms to save it from its failures, those mechanisms do not need evolution.

But I’m sure anyone with their head on straight would argue that this process must have evolved at some point. There was probably a useful reason genetically for this kind of adaptation to become prevalent. The ability to borrow shit from other organisms and make it yours is dead handy. If lowly bacteria sorted out how to utilize that ability and benefit from it, it should be a wow moment. Not a “Wow, ain’t God the Greatest!?” moment, but a “Holy Crap, bacteria can do this easier than we can. Wow! (And, just how much trouble are we in here anyway?)”

Unlike the bumper sticker’s reminder, horizontal gene transfer is not something that just happens. It is a consequence of various complex mechanisms for which evolution has no explanation beyond the usual speculation.

So we must believe that evolution, sans horizontal gene transfer, somehow happened upon such a facility which then allowed for more evolution. Apparently we are living in the right multiverse.

Yes, yes we are, Corny. And yeah, a lot of science is speculation. But once you have a hypothesis, you can start doing some work to try and prove it well enough to create a viable theory. If enough work is done that can suggest the theory is more right than it is wrong, then the theory will gain ground. If research heads the other way, the theory will scrapped for a better hypothesis. I might not be able to wrap my head around the science of molecular biology but I certainly understand the scientific process inherent in the discovery of stuff worth reporting on in New Scientist. I did enough science in school to know that’s how science works.

Evolutionists are now making the Greek myth makers appear downright sober. In an all-time understatement they do admit that pinning down the details of that early process remains a difficult task. This work augments the already rampant evolutionary serendipity with absurdity. Evolutionary theory is not merely superfluous, it is ridiculous.

Well, I make the hypothesis that Cornelius is ridiculous and I offer up his entire article as proof of my theory. Sheesh.

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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