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Evolution News & Views
Intelligent-design theorists including William Dembski and Stephen Meyer have produced rigorous mathematical, logical, and empirical arguments showing that the mechanism described by the "chance hypothesis" is woefully inadequate to bring about the complex genetic information found in even the simplest life. Yet that has not stopped many a Darwinian from invoking chance as a cause of biological complexity. Information, they believe, "emerges" by accident.
One example is this from Yale University likening evolution to a "house of cards." Yes, you read that right. As Bill Hathaway says in the headline, "In evolution, 'house of cards' model wins." How can this be?
Using sophisticated modeling of genomic data from diverse species, Yale researchers have answered a longstanding question about which competing model of evolution works best.
Their research suggests that the "house of cards" model -- which holds that mutations with large effects effectively reshuffle the genomic deck -- explains evolutionary processes better than the theory that species undergo the accumulation of many mutations with small effects. [Emphasis added.]
Their reasoning seems to rely on the assumption that since evolution is an accepted fact, and intelligence is disallowed, it must have happened. But mutations, being random genetic changes, offer nothing better causally than the chance hypothesis.
Darwin, of course, knew nothing about genes [i.e., genetic information] when he formulated his theory of how natural selection preserves traits that benefit the survival of organisms. Once the crucial role of genes was discovered, most evolutionary biologists conjectured that random mutations in genes were preserved in populations when they helped an organism survive or reproduce. Since mutations that have large effects are almost always fatal to the organism, one classical model holds that most must have small effects and that many would have to accumulate in order to create new traits and forms.
Another theory hypothesizes the opposite: that mutations do not cause small changes in fitness, but trigger a cascade of changes -- the evolutionary "house of cards." A third theory is even simpler: that mutations have no effect on fitness whatsoever. Recent discoveries of how small bits of genetic material regulate expression of large networks of genes bolstered interest in the "house of cards" model, but only now has the theory been successfully demonstrated to be applicable to diverse organisms on a genomic scale.
Hathaway claims that the Yale scientists have demonstrated this for yeast, worms, and flies. But can a house of cards in a mutational breeze account for such large amounts of genetic information in organisms that have supposedly been stable for hundreds of millions of years?
Let's recall the high level of information we're talking about. Recently, a paper in Nature reported that "simple" yeast cells possess the most advanced rotary motors known in life…
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