Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More neo-Darwinian toxicity to science: "We have in vain spent much time" says Nobel Laureate Werner Abel

Yo all.

Daylight is burning and I'm keyboarding. Ugh.

This is now number 8 in my list of neo-Darwinian toxicities to the advancement of modern science. See my prior post for 1-7.

If you have read much of anything about modern genetics, genetic engineering, genetically modified foods ... or whatever ... you have most likely heard mention of "restriction enzymes." And if you are a professional researcher in the field, you are likely shaking these little guys into your daily lab soup.

Restriction enzymes are to genetics what cut-and-paste software is to word processing. They are the genius little chemical machines that snip and clip and toss and insert segments of DNA to get recombinant sequences. And they were doing that long long before man got involved in biochemical research.

In 1978, microbiologist Werner Arber was co-recipient of a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of restriction enzymes and their application to molecular genetics. Dr. Jerry Bergman in an article entitled:
"Werner Arber: Nobel Laureate, Darwin Skeptic"
http://www.icr.org/article/4095/
provides some keen insight into how a part of Dr. Arber's life was wasted (and considerably unpublished) as he pursued his work from a neo-Darwinian slant:
"Arber conducted extensive scientific research in genetics, evolution, and related areas. In his Nobel Prize autobiography, Arber described his research as long but fruitless attempts to document macroevolution with experimental evidence. For this reason, he wrote that much of his work in this area remains largely unpublished."

Bergman provides the following quotation from Arber:
"One could expect that mutations affecting the part of the enzymes responsible for recognition of the specificity site on the DNA might result in new members of the family, recognizing new specificity sites on DNA. We have in vain spent much time in search for such evolutionary changes both after mutagenization and after recombination between two members of the same family of (bacteria)." Emphasis mine. See:
Arber, W. 1979. Werner Arber: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1978 Autobiography. In Odelberg, W. (ed.), The Nobel Prizes 1978. Stockholm: Nobel Foundation. Also available online at Nobelprize.org.


And can you believe it? Arber is an advocate of (gasp) intelligent design! Continuing to quote Bergman:
"After a lifetime of research, Arber summarized his main conclusion about intelligent design (ID) in the following words:
Although a biologist, I must confess I do not understand how life came about.... I consider that life only starts at the level of a functional cell. The most primitive cells may require at least several hundred different specific biological macro-molecules. How such already quite complex structures may have come together, remains a mystery to me. The possibility of the existence of a Creator, of God, represents to me a satisfactory solution to this problem.3
He concluded that religion is important to help humans cope not only with the problem of biological origins, but also with the questions that we all encounter in life, noting that some ideologies "may take the place of a religion but science cannot, although some people tend to claim that it does."3 Arber wrote that his belief in God "helped me to master many questions in life; it guides me in critical situations," and his ID conclusions were "confirmed" by his research into the "beauty of the functioning of the living world."3

Bergman's refererence (3) is: Arber, W. 1992. The Existence of a Creator Represents a Satisfactory Solution. In Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese (eds.), Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. La Salle, IL: Open Court, 141-143.

Read the rest of the Bergman article at the link above. Then laugh or weep, depending on whether you are "one of us" or "one of them."

So, there you go again. If you are a researcher, just toss neo-Darwinism into the tank and get on with real research. Or, if you are a member of a state or local board of education somewhere trying to decide if you will permit the neo-Darwinian hegemony in your schools to inculcate failed and failing ideas into your little children's brains, just remember - neo-Darwinism has a long and consistent track record of hindering and obstructing real science.

Do you suppose that is because neo-Darwinism is simply NOT true science?

Go ahead - think it.

Go ahead - say it.

Go ahead - PROCLAIM IT!


Respectfully submitted,

D.U.


Yo all (take 2, updated October 29, 2008).
I need to add an additional note to the above post. After Dr. Arber wrote in his Nobel autobiography,
"One could expect that mutations affecting the part of the enzymes responsible for recognition of the specificity site on the DNA might result in new members of the family, recognizing new specificity sites on DNA. We have in vain spent much time in search for such evolutionary changes both after mutagenization and after recombination between two members of the same family of the above mentioned systems."
he then wrote
"That the basic idea for this search was good was recently shown by Len Bullas, Charles Colson and Aline van Pel (J. Gen. Microbiol. 95, 166- 172, 1976) who encountered such a new system in their work with Salmonella recombinants."
Well, this last sentence sounds like beginning with a Darwinian idea was not such a failure after all. When I contacted Dr. Jerry Bergman about that, he replied (Dr. J. Bergman, personal communication, October 29, 2008): (the) "authors (Bullas et al) concluded that the change in the restriction enzyme (the topic of the paper) was due to a recombinant event (page 167) and add 'perhaps' a 'mutation can produce a new active site' (page 171). I see nothing in this article that contradicts my paper. If someone finds something, please let me know!"
So number 8 in my list of Darwinian toxicities to modern science stands!

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