Would God's Guidance Be DNA-Detectable?

(Herculean Skeptic) #81

It seems that you are suggesting that the creationists are guilty of cherry picking. If I had a way to calculate the functional differences between mice/rats or humans/chimps, I’d gladly do so. Everyone should be in equal pursuit of the truth, right? Whatever it may be.

(John Harshman) #82

I believe Joshua is referring to the ENCODE definition of function, which includes any sort of biological activity, such as “is ever transcribed” or “is ever methylated” or “ever binds a transcription factor”, but oddly enough not “is ever replicated”. Since random DNA sequences would demonstrate these “functions”, it’s likely that such a definition of function is spurious.

(Herculean Skeptic) #83

Ahhh… thank you. It is frightening (exciting maybe?) how quickly things can flip from nonsensical to meaningful in this realm!

(Jon Garvey) #84

Fine - you don’t speak the language, so you don’t see the meaning. But don’t assume it is not there. However, if you are going to make statements about “bizarre theological conclusions”, it might help to learn the language - back to Joshua’s comment earlier about dipping into theology and philosophy.

(George) #85


If you are in the middle of a large sub-routine and there are zero comments in the code… frewwently it is difficult to know whether a code is intentionally attempting to do something with erroneous code vs doing somethimg mysterious with correct code.

(George) #86


If God accelerated a genetic process that would normally take a century to occur… so that it would happen in just a year… how would you definitively prove God has accelerated the process?

(Alan Fox) #87

Courtier’s reply?

(Jon Garvey) #88

Myers shuffle?


I’m curious what you think of the work of Joseph Thornton’s laboratory at the University of Oregon that was said to show that one protein could not be evolved in reverse from another. Behe pointed out that if that is the case, if we could establish the ancestor of a gene, we might find out that it could not have evolved into its present form. So the signal of design would not be lost in the noise.

Behe began the discussion here:

Thornton replied. Behe replied. I think Thornton might have replied again, And Behe might have replied again. I’m pretty sure all the replies can be found in a search at discovery.org

(John Harshman) #90

Could you perhaps find them and provide links?

(T J Runyon) #91

Here’s the Zimmer article that kinda kickstarted it all. Contains the relevant links as well:

(John Dalton) #92

We had a similar discussion about miracles once on Biologos. I can’t say anything about the biological possibilities, but I do note there seems to be some dispute. That being said, it’s hard for me to understand why an action performed by an agent with intention would necessarily be indistinguishable from a naturally occurring one, unless the agent were trying to hide their tracks. Or is the contention that God is driving every mutation in the entire process, in other words, there are no naturally occurring changes? That there aren’t any detectable alterations doesn’t cause me to eliminate the possibility of God’s intervention outright, but it’s certainly not doing anything to convince me of it.

(John Harshman) #93

Thanks. It contains Thornton’s reply to Behe in its entirety, and there seems nothing more to be said after that. Its true that if Behe’s original notions were correct, we would be able to detect God’s intervention in evolution, which, apparently, would be constant and pervasive, involving almost every tiny adaptive change. But they aren’t, and we can’t, and it isn’t.

(George) #94


That is the perfect description!

(George) #95


As long as ones faith allows for the miraculous, there is always two ways for change to happen:

  1. by natural proximate causes (i.e. mutations triggered by natural processes - with or without an earlier miraculous cause) ; and

  2. by miraculous causes that may or may not appear miraculous.

(John Harshman) #96

Then we can have no argument except, perhaps, about epistemology.


As an atheist who used to be on the inside but is now looking at religion from the outside . . .

These concepts apply to mutations in the same way they apply to all of human experience. When people pray for sick loved ones they feel that God is involved in some way, even if the sick loved one is cured by known medical treatments or their own natural ability to heal. If parents have a really sick kid with a serious infection they may very well believe that God performed a miracle in healing their child even if antibiotics are thought to have cleared the infection . . . AND THAT’S JUST FINE.

When scientists talk about mutations being natural and/or random they are using the same language as a doctor talking about an antibiotic clearing an infection. It isn’t meant to exclude or include God, it is merely a description of how nature appears to work. The rest is left to the believer (or non-believer :wink: ).

(John Dalton) #98

That seems to cover all the bases! My issue is that though some events “may appear” miraculous, there is not solid evidence of such that I’m aware of. It presents a bit of a quandary. I’ve heard some people suggest that they couldn’t be verifiable in any empirical way, which confuses me.

(George) #99


Magnetism seems miraculous. Try to imagine being a 4 year old and coming across a rock that attracts some metals and not other kinds.

It seems miraculous. But by the time you take physics in high school… you realuze how ordinary a magnet can be!

(system) #100