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John Scopes  George Gaylord Simpson

John Sanford  (b.1950Web  Amazon  GBS  Code

Most DNA sequences are poly-functional and so must also be poly-constrained. This means that DNA sequences have meaning on several different levels (poly-functional) and each level of meaning limits possible future change (poly-constrained).  For example, imagine a sentence which has a very specific message in its normal form but with an equally coherent message when read backwards. Now let's suppose that it also has a third message when reading every other letter, and a forth message when a simple encryption program is used to translate it. Such a message would be poly-functional and poly-constrained. We know that misspellings in a normal sentence will not normally improve the message, but at least this would be possible. However, a poly-constrained message is fascinating, in that it cannot be improved. It can only degenerate. Any misspellings which might possible improve the normal sentence from will be disruptive to the other levels of information. Any change at all will diminish total information with absolute certainty.     

There is abundant evidence that most DNA sequences are poly-functional, and are, therefore, poly-constrained. This fact has been extensively demonstrated by Trifonov (1989). For example, most human coding sequences encode for two different RNAs that read in opposite directions (i.e., both DNA strands are transcribed Yelin et al., 2003). Some sequences encode for different proteins, depending on where translation is initiated and where the reading frame begins (i.e., read-through proteins). Some sequences encode for different proteins based upon alternate mRNA splicing. Some sequences serve multiple functions simultaneously (i.e., as a protein-coding sequence and as an internal transcriptional promoter). Some sequences encode for bot a protein coding region and a protein-binding region. Alu elements and origins of replication can be found within functional promoters and within exons. Basically all DNA  sequences are constrained by isochore requirements (regional GC content), “word” content (species-specific profiles of di-, tri- and tetra-nucleotide frequencies), and nucleosome binding sites (because all DNA must condense). Selective condensation is clearly implicated in gene regulation and selective nucleosome binding is controlled by specific DNA sequence patterns that must permeate the entire genome. Lastly, probably all sequences also affect general spacing and DNA folding/architecture, which is clearly sequence dependent. To explain the incredible amound of information which must somehow be packed into the genome (given the extreme complexity of life), we really have to assume that there are even higher levels of organization and information encrypted within the genome. For example, we know there is another whole level of organization at the epigenetic level (Gibbs, 2003). There also appears to be extensive, sequence-dependent, three-dimensional organization within chromosomes and with the whole nucleus (Manuelidis, 1990; Gardiner, 1995; Flam, 1994). Trifonov (1989) has shown that probably all DNA sequences in the genome encrypt multiple codes (up to 12).    Genetic Entropy  2008  p.131-2

The poly-constrained nature of DNA serves as strong evidence that higher genomes cannot evolve via mutation/selection except on a trivial level.     Genetic Entropy  2008  p.133


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Like puns, palindromes, and other word puzzles, DNA contains poly-functional letters, words, and phrases. Such sequences can only arise by very careful design. Once they are created, they cannot be “mutated” to make them better. An excellent example is the painstakingly crafted poly-functional Latin phase shown above. This ancient word puzzle (dating back to 79 AD) has a translation something like, “THE SOWER NAMED AREPO HOLDS THE WORKING OF THE WHEELS.” It reads the same, four different ways: left to right, up to down, and starting at the lower right, down to up, right to left. Any single letter change in this system destroys all four messages simultaneously (all four of which happen to be the same in this example). Similarly, a simple sentence palindrome would be: ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA, which reads the same forward or backwards. Any letter change destroys both messages. A simple example of a poly-functional word would be LIVE, which backwards is EVIL. To change LIVE to HIVE might be desirable, but it turns EVIL which has meaning, to EVIH, which is meaningless. So this dual-meaning word, like the other examples above, is poly-constrained, precisely because it is poly-functional.     Genetic Entropy  2008  p.142

Carl Sagan  (1934 – 1996)  PhD Astronomy and Astrophysics  Web  Amazon  GBS  AV

The cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be.    Cosmos  (1980)  p.1 

Our ancestors looked at the elegance of life on Earth, at how appropriate the structures of organisms are to their functions, and saw evidence for a Great Designer. The simplest one-celled organism is a far more complex machine than the finest pocket watch. And yet pocket watches do not spontaneously self-assemble, or evolve, in slow stages, on their own, from, say, grandfather clocks. A watch implies a watchmaker. There seemed to be no way, in which atoms and molecules could somehow spontaneously fall together to create organisms of such awesome complexity and subtle functioning as grace every region of the Earth... But, as Darwin and Wallace showed, there is another way.    Cosmos  (1980)  p.18

Four billion years ago, the Earth was a molecular Garden of Eden. There were as yet no predators. Some molecules reproduced themselves inefficiently, competed for building blocks and left crude copies of themselves. With reproduction, mutation and the selective elimination of the least efficient varieties, evolution was well under way, even at the molecular level.    Cosmos  (1980)  p.21

We are reluctant to acknowledge our relatives. They are strangers to us still. We feel ashamed: After imagining our Antecedent as King of the Universe, we are now asked to accept that we come from the lowest of the low -- mud, and slime, and mindless beings too small to be seen with the naked eye. ... The study of the history of life, the evolutionary process, and the nature of the other beings who ride this planet with us has begun to cast a little light on those past links in the chain. We have not met our forgotten ancestors, but we begin to sense their presence in the dark. We recognize their shadows here and there. They were once as real as we are. we should not be here if not for them. Our natures and theirs are indissolubly linked despite the aeons that may separate us. The key to who we are is waiting in those shadows.    Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors  (1992)  p. 6-7

 

Mae-Wan Ho and Peter Saunders  GBS

Much of the problem is that neo-Darwinism appears completely invincible to falsification by observations or by experiments, so much so that many doubt if it is a scientific theory at all. Partly, the stochastic nature of evolutionary changes must demand that there should be an unique explanation for each event, so that any difficulty raised by observations could be explained or explained away with ease, and partly, the practitioners of neo-Darwinism exhibit a great power of assimilation, incorporating any opposing viewpoint as yet another “mechanism” in the grand “synthesis”. But a real synthesis should begin by identifying conflicting elements in the theory, rather than in accommodating contradictions as quickly as they arise.    “Beyond neo- Darwinism - An Epigenetic Approach to Evolution”  Journal of Theoretical Biology  Vol. 78, 1979  p.574

It is now approximately half a century since the neo-Darwinian synthesis was formulated.  A great deal of research has been carried on within the paradigm it defines. Yet the successes of the theory are limited to the interpretation of the minutiae of evolution, such as the adaptive change in coloration of moths; while it has remarkably little to say on the questions which interest us most, such as how there came to be moths in the first place.    Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm  (1984)  p.ix

 

Mary Schweitzer  (b.1955?)  Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University  Web

So I showed these microscopic bone slices to my boss, paleontologist Jack Horner, renowned for his work on dinosaur nesting sites. He took a long look and then asked, "So you think these are red blood cells?" I said, "No." He said, "Well, prove that they're not." 

So far, we haven't been able to.    Earth  June 1997 

We first came upon the possibility that proteins might exist in the the T. rex quite by accident. In the fall of 1991, I was trying to find a way to prevent the T. rex bone sections from slipping off glass slides. Looking for some help, I took the samples to the university's vet histologist, Gayle Callis, who specializes in examinations of modern bone. Then I promptly forgot about them. Three months later she called. Apparently she had taken the samples to a conference, and someone asked her about the oldest bone she had ever worked with. She said, "I just happen to have this dinosaur sample...." and put it under a microscope. A pathologist took a look at it and said, "Do you know you have blood cells in this bone?" Gayle brought the slides back and showed me. And that's when all the excitement in the lab began.    Earth  June 1997 

So far, we think that all of this evidence supports the notion that our slices of T. rex could contain preserved heme and hemoglobin fragments.    Earth  June 1997 

Finding these tissues in dinosaurs changes the way we think about fossilization, because our theories of how fossils are preserved don't allow for this.    National Geographic  March 24, 2005

I had one reviewer tell me that he didn't care what the data said, he knew that what I was finding wasn't possible. I wrote back and said, "Well, what data would convince you?' And he said, 'None.'    Discover  April 2006  p.37

 

John Scopes  (1900 – 1970Web  Amazon  GBS

[Bryan] was one of the most perfect speakers I have heard; he was nearly always flawless in every way. Within moments he could grip and dominate an audience and make it respond at will.    Center of the Storm  1967  p.26

It was evident to me then, as now, that only one man was responsible for Bryans’ death and that was Bryan himself. No reasonable man would call his a martyr’s death. His eating habits must have, in some way, hastened his death. I had seen him eat quantities of forbidden starches -- corn and potatoes, for instance -- and I am sure he must have ignored his diabetic diet on other occasions as well. The heat too undoubtedly had exacted its toll. Certainly Darrow hadn’t killed Bryan, nor had Malone. As far as Bryan’s defeat at Dayton was concerned, Malone had punched him, figuratively, and Darrow had knocked him down. Neither blow, in my opinion, had any effect on the physical Bryan. Each day he had bounced back, as exuberant as ever. By then he was inured to defeat. He had tasted it too often in the past to let it sap him now and he had overcome any dejections he had felt. Many persons did not realize, as some of us did, that Bryan would have died soon even if he hadn’t taken the stand or if Malone and Darrow had not come to Dayton . Of course, since his death came so close to the end of the trial I feared some scapegoat would be sought, and I was not mistaken.    Center of the Storm  (1967)  p.198

I carried with me a bound two-volume copy of Anatole France’s Penguin Island, given me by Jack Stark with whom I had shared a study room at Rosenwald Hall at the university. Jack, who later became dean of arts and sciences at Northwestern University, could draw intricate devils around the margins of his class notes without missing a word of the lecture, and he had drawn devils on the margins of every page of Anatole France’s great satire on the Christian Church and the French state. It was one of the most valuable possessions I had.    Center of the Storm  ( 1967)  p.241-2

If a state is allowed to dictate that a teacher must teach a subject  in accordance with the beliefs of one particular religion, then the state can also force schools to teach the beliefs of the person in power, which can lead to suppression of all personal and religious liberties.    Center of the Storm  ( 1967)  p.271

Unless we, as individuals and as a society, respect the other man’s point of view, no matter how far out he seems and no matter how vigorously we disagree with him, we are not going to give full expression to our own laws that insure the right of the individual to be his own man. And intolerance apparently plays no favorites. I have often said that there is more intolerance in higher education than in all the mountains of Tennessee.    Center of the Storm  ( 1967)  p.276-7

see also: Scopes Trial

 

Eugenie Scott  (b. 1945)  Executive Director of the NCSE  Web  Amazon  GBS  AV

Most of the time a well-meaning evolutionist accepts a debate challenge (usually "to defend good science" or for some other worthy goal), reads a bunch of creationist literature, makes up a lecture explaining Darwinian gradualism, and can't figure out why at the end of the debate so many individuals are clustered around his opponent, congratulating him on having done such a good job of routing evolution -- and why his friends are too busy to go out for a beer after the debate.     Debates with the Globetrotters  July 7 1994

Before you accept a debate, consider if what you are about to do will harm the cause more than promote it. Many scientists justify the debate by saying, "creationists will claim that scientists are afraid to debate them." So what? Who are they going to make the claim to? Their own supporters? A letter in the local newspaper that will be read by how many people, and remembered for how long?

If the alternative is to show that scientists are not afraid of creationists by having some poor scientist get beat up on the debating stage, are we better off?

And let's face it -- some scientists do it out of a sense of ego. Gee, I'm really going to make mincemeat out of that creationist, they think. Well, are you such a big shot debater that you can guarantee that people in the audience aren't going to go off after your debate and make life miserable for the local science teacher?     Debates and the Globetrotters  July 7 1994 

I have argued that a clear distinction must be drawn between science as a way of knowing about the natural world and science as a foundation for philosophical views. One should be taught to our children in school, and the other can optionally be taught to our children at home. Once this view is explained, I have found far more support than disagreement among my university colleagues. Even someone who may disagree with my logic or understanding of philosophy of science often understands the strategic reasons for separating methodological from philosophical materialism -- if we want more Americans to understand evolution.    Science and Religion, Methodology and Humanism   May 1998

One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!    Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology  April 2002  p.3

The core idea of evolution is common ancestry, and we’re not likely to change our minds about that.    ScienceNews  August 1 2009  p. 32 

 

Adam Sedgwick  (1785 – 1873)  Woodwardian Professor of Geology at Cambridge  Web  GBS

I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly’ parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow; because I think them utterly false & grievously mischievous -- You have deserted – after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth – the true method of induction -- & started up a machinery as wild I think as Bishop Wilkin’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the Moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?     Letter to Charles Darwin  November 24, 1859

There is a moral of metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly. Tis  the crown & glory of organic science that it does thro’ final cause, link material to moral; & yet does not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, & our classification of such laws whether we consider one side of nature of the other -- You have ignored this link; &, if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it possible (which thank God it is not) to break it, humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it -- & sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.    Letter to Charles Darwin  November 24, 1859

I have read Darwin’s book. It is clever, and calmly written; and therefore, the most mischievous, if its principles be false; and I believe them utterly false. It is the system of the author of the Vestiges stripped of his ignorant absurdities. It repudiates all reasoning from final cause; and seems to shut the door upon any view (however feeble) of the God of Nature as manifested in His works. From first to last it is a dish of rank materialism cleverly cooked and served up. As a system of philosophy it is not like the Tower of Babel, so daring its high aim as to seek a shelter against God’s anger; but it is like a pyramid poised on its apex. It is a system embracing all living nature, vegetable and animal; yet contradicting – point blank – the vast treasury of facts that the Author of Nature has, during the past two or three thousand years, revealed to our senses. And why is this done? For no other sold reason, I am sure, except to make us independent of a Creator.    Letter to Miss Gerard January 2, 1860

I want to learn your views about creation’s law. It is clear that there has been a law governing the succession of forms. But here, by law, I mean order of succession, and not a law like that of gravitation, out of which the actual movements of our system follow by mechanical succession. In that sense I do not believe in any law of creation. The highest point we can, I think, ever reach is a law of succession of forms, each implying a harmonious reference to an archetype, and each having indications of the action of a final cause – i.e. of intelligent causation, or creation. My belief is: 1st, that Darwin has deserted utterly the inductive track – the narrow but sure track of physical truth, -- and taken the broad way of hypothesis, which has led him (spite of his great knowledge) into great delusion; and made him the advocate, instead of the historian – the teacher of error instead of the apostle of truth: 2nd, I think that (whether he intends it or not, or knows it or not) he is a teacher of that which savours of rankest materialism, and of utter rejection of the highest moral evidence, and the highest moral truth.    Letter to Professor Owen March 28,1860

Some of these facts I shall presently refer to. But I must in the first place observe that Darwin's theory is not inductive, -- not based on a series of acknowledged facts pointing to a general conclusion, -- not a proposition evolved out of the facts, logically, and of course including them. To use an old figure, I look on the theory as a vast pyramid resting on its apex, and that apex a mathematical point. The only facts he pretends to adduce, as true elements of proof, are the varieties produced by domestication, or the human artifice of cross-breeding. We all admit the varieties, and the very wide limits of variation, among domestic animals. How very unlike are poodles and greyhounds! Yet they are of one species.    Spectator April 7 1860

The pretended physical philosophy of modern days strips Man of all his moral attributes, or holds them of no account in the estimate of his origin and place in the created world. A cold atheistical materialism is the tendency of the so-called material philosophy of the present day. Not that I believe that Darwin is an atheist; though I can not but regard his materialism as atheistical; because it ignores all rational conception of a final cause. I think it untrue, because opposed to the obvious course of Nature, and the very opposite of inductive truth. I therefore think it intensely mischievous.    Spectator April 7 1860

I cannot go on any further with these objections. But I will not conclude without expressing my deep aversion to the theory; because of its unflinching materialism; -- because it has deserted the inductive track, -- the only track that leads to physical truth; -- because it utterly repudiates final causes, and thereby indicates a demoralized understanding on the part of its advocates.    Spectator April 7 1860

His explanations make demands on our credulity, that are utterly beyond endurance, and do not give us one true natural step towards an explanation of the phenomena – vis. , the perfection of the structures, and their adaptation to their office. There is a light by which a man may see and comprehend facts and truths such as these. But Darwin willfully shuts it out from our senses; either because he does not apprehend its power, or because he disbelieves in its existence. This is the grand blemish of his works.    Spectator April 7 1860

 

Michael Shermer  (b. 1954)  Editor of Skeptic  Web  Amazon  GBS  AV

In my opinion, the Intelligent Design creationists I have met believe their own rhetoric about only doing science and having no religious or political agendas, and they also believe in the religious and political tenets to which they adhere.    Why Darwin Matters  2006  p.107

Darwin matters because evolution matters. Evolution matters because science matters. Science matters because it is the preeminent story of our age, an epic saga about who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.    Why Darwin Matters  2006  p.160

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