Thursday, October 29, 2009

The “Chance” Of A Lifetime

Daniel Dennett says that mutations don’t occur even once in a trillion “copyings.”

Geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti says,“[Mutation] effect in all instances is to demolish. Transgressions of the kind needed by Darwinian evolution have never been documented.”

Never documented? Perhaps atheists are suggesting that trillions of “helpful” mutations actually come about easier in the wild than in the lab?

9 comments:

Adam L Clardy said...

First off, Dennett is a philosopher, not a geneticist. Second, that quote is no longer in context. You've used it to make it appear he is refuting evolution when he's stating just how fantastically slow genetic mutation really is. There are estimates ranging from 55 to as many as 100 trillion cells in an average human body, each containing 3 meters of DNA, which is made up of over 3 billion base pairs. Approximately 100 billion cells die every day which other cells must divide to replace, creating yet another cell which may possibly end up with mutated DNA. Genetic mutation is going on inside you right now. Luckily we have a 'copy protection' system built into our cellular structure which tend to destroy corrupted DNA before division. Genetic mutation is a fact, not a theory. Just ask someone with cancer.
As for Sermonti, he's been irrelevant since the mid 70's. He spent the 80's writing about fairy tales and the 90's denying that AIDS exists. Now, he's spending the waning years of his life making contradictory comments and speeches. That quotation of his is flawed in two ways:
First, mutations do not only "demolish". There are islands throughout the world, to shorten this without an overly long discussion on this topic, that have animals that are merely 'pygmy' versions of what you find on the mainland. Their genes have mutated to cause them to grow to smaller sizes to fit their habitat.
Second, mutations like those he is denying take generations to occur. Much more time than the relatively few years the field of genetics has been around to observe. However, we see mutation occuring all the time in organisms with short life spans such as bacteria and viruses.

Adam L Clardy said...

I apologize for the long comment as well as this one...
I just want to clarify that I am NOT atheist. I'm agnostic. I believe there is god. I can discuss that topic all day long showing proof there is a creator. I just do not believe in Christianity or any other religion. My issue with you is two fold. The first is that the "burden of truth" is on those who believe, not on those who do not. The second is that I cannot in any way comprehend the christian vehemence toward science or it's advancement. It should be looked at from the point of view that we are trying to understand gods truth. His power and mystery. We can do it philosophically but not scientifically? I find that very small minded and dishonest. When topics such as quantum mechanics and subatomic particles are discussed, why do people not look at these discoveries in awe? At the complexity and amazing detail? And evolution does NOT say god does not exist. It's merely a theory among many trying to understand how god completed these works and continues to do so.

Chris Mackey said...

http://slashdot.org/story/09/10/18/1947238/Observing-Evolution-Over-40000-Generations

The Atheist Missionary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Atheist Missionary said...

"small minded and dishonest". Yup, that about sums it up.

Tristan Vick said...

I suggest reading Daniel C. Dennett's book "Darwin's Dangerous Idea." It's one of my favorites. "Consciousness Explained" and "The Crucible of Consciousness" are also greatly informative reads. Let's not forget, Dennett is not only a Philosopher but also the co-director of Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

Makarios said...

Easy Adam. I agree with you. I just posted a couple comments in fun. Thanks for the reply.

Makarios said...

I know who Dennett is. And if he says that consciousness and awareness of the "I" is just an illusion, well, atheist sheeple have to believe him.

Hugo said...

@Adam
Don't apologize, it was a good detailed description.
I do agree that evolution does not disprove God at all, so you're safe... for now ;-)

However I do think it disproves at least one important idea in Christianity, even though many Christian accepts evolution, and it's the idea of original sin.

I don't like describing religious beliefs, but if I am not mistaken, Jesus died for our sins, liberating man from the burden of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve. But without the original sin, Jesus could not have died for that, so he still died for all our sins, past and future, but there is something missing there, no? I don't know they rationalize that, I should go read about it...