Side Comments on Hunt to Axe


Just a general question. Dembski came up with his upper probability bound, based on the idea there is one sequence that needs to be found in a vast empty sequence space. Durston et al, 2007 argue a similar line. Jack Szostak led the experimental approach to establish rarity of functional proteins.

Do you think establishing the real rarity of functional proteins as a fraction of all possible proteins is a fundamental metric that once established, would finally put the ID argument to bed?


One would hope so.

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Is this fraction pretty large?

In the sense that is relevant to evolution, it seems to be very large, and also interconnected. Different functions seem to be close to other functions, which makes exaptation more likely.

Are they close in a sense that is relevant to evolution?

I can write a universal Turing machine where any input results in a running program, but that doesn’t mean I can randomly evolve Microsoft Office.

The possible number of theoretically synthesizable proteins is yuge! But that doesn’t matter. A population of organisms doesn’t need to search the whole space - just find a sequence that will do until something better turns up or until the requirements of the niche change.

An example. Mike Behe talked about the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum. Yet some Archaea, prokaryotes but not closely related to bacteria, have a flagellum which is not homologous with the bacterial flagellum. Two morphologically very similar solutions sharing no sequence similarity.


Yes as relevant to evolution, and yes it’s not likely a Turing machine will evolve office. Though an infinite Turing machine would.

It helps to remember life is not very much like microsoft office. There is no reason to think evoution could evolve microsoft office.


There’s also no reason to think Microsoft Office was intelligently designed.


Actually, I mention one nice example in the Panda’s Thumb essay, one that relates directly to the enzyme Axe was studying. What about that example don’t you agree with, Eric?

The answer is most definitely yes.


I haven’t read your article, but if true, then we can do a Ninja Turtles scenario and evolve super organisms through controlled irradiation. Sounds implausible.

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Hoping to understand the significance of mentioning an “infinite” Turing machine…

How do you mean that life is not like MS Office? Are you suggesting that life is less complex / immense (in terms of “code”?) Or something else?

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I wish there was a “best comment of the day” award!!




An invention of mine. I mean a Turing machine that can run for an infinite amount of time.

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Would a Turing machine that runs for an infinite ammount of time be able to break through its limitations when only given a finite ammount of time?
(what exactly is infinite amount of time? Does the universe even have that much time?)