Copyright: iStockphoto.com/Jan Will

Author’s Note:  The media have been abuzz with the reports of a 47-million-year-old monkey-like fossil that researchers say could revolutionize the understanding of human evolution. In fact, The New York Times recently reported that the find “is the first stop in a coordinated, branded media event, orchestrated by the scientists and the History Channel, including a film detailing the secretive two-year study of the fossil, a book release, an exclusive arrangement with ABC News and an elaborate Web site.” 1  A previous article emphasized Joseph Smith’s and Charles Darwin’s views on the origin of life.  This is a second response focusing on the change and progress of living beings.

Joseph Smith taught that the universe is filled with spiritual and physical matter – light and intelligence that have existed eternally.  There is no beginning and there is no end to matter, intelligence, life and God’s family of celestial beings that govern the universe.  If we believe in Joseph Smith as a true prophet, there is no need for an origin of life because life is eternal. 2

Joseph Smith also taught that life progresses under the influence of powerful spiritual and intelligent forces.  He taught that through the agency of God’s word and power that life on this world has been carefully planned and created spiritually before being created on this earth in physical form.  Joseph Smith also taught that even the lowest of life forms contain intelligence and are quickened by the Spirit of God or light of Christ, which may explain life’s incredible ability to adapt to the many challenges of existence. 

 
Picture Caption: Joseph Smith boldly confronted the sectarian Christian world that believed in the contradictions of the Nicene Creed whose god creates all things “out of nothing.” Joseph Smith’s teachings of the eternal nature of matter, intelligence and the light of Christ can be used to evaluate theories that purport to explain the origin and progress of life on earth. 3

This teaching is contrasted with the evolution-based view that the roots of biological changes can only come from physical DNA mutations, without purpose, without a plan, and completely independent of any other change in the world or universe, in other words, out of nothing. 

We believe in Joseph Smith as a true Prophet and the “eternal round” of God’s work and glory. We believe in the spiritual creation of life before the physical creation and the power of the light of Christ that gives life to all things.  If we believe these revealed truths, then the random chemical changes that the theory of Darwinian evolution believes are responsible for all progress in living beings must be an incomplete description.  Like the 90% of the iceberg that is underwater and we cannot see, there are more forces that affect the progress of life than what we can see, study and measure in the physical world. 4


Picture Caption: Only 10% of an iceberg is visible above the ocean surface.  If the visible part of the iceberg were like the random DNA mutations we can trace to physical causes, then the hidden part of the iceberg might be the spiritual and intelligent forces that also can affect changes in the DNA life code. 5

Random Mutations

DNA is an information code that is essential to life.  If we take away a “letter” from the code, or add a letter, the whole meaning of the code can change, just like modifying the spelling of a typed word. 6  Random mutations, tiny changes to this code caused by outside influences such as x-rays, chemicals or copying errors inside the cell, occur in DNA on a regular basis. 7  Most of these mutations are corrected by programs inside the cells that automatically fix up DNA errors. 8  Many of the remaining uncorrected mutations are destructive mutations that harm or destroy the life form. 9 

The theory of evolution also provides a component that is not random.  As an individual of a species tries to survive, to be “naturally selected,” it may use its intelligence or do anything that might help its survival. But the root cause of all the variations that can be selected is claimed to only come from mutations that are unintelligent and without purpose. 10 


Picture Caption: X-rays and other forms of high energy radiation can cause DNA mutations.  The most powerful source of X-ray radiation in our Milky Way Galaxy is near the black hole with a mass of four million suns located in the galactic center in the direction of the constellations Sagittarius.  This image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory provides one of the best views of a massive galactic black hole.  It is located in Centaurus A, a nearby galaxy about 14 million light years from our galaxy.  Note the accretion disk seen edge on as matter is drawn into the black hole and the powerful jets of energy and matter shooting up and down from the plane of that disk, released as matter finally falls into the black hole. 11

Scriptural References to Forces and Intelligence that Affect Life

“Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. . Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space – The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things.” (D&C 88:7, 12, 13)

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.” (Moses 3:5)

“Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:29 – 30)

“for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.”
(2 Nephi 2:14)

“And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;” (Abraham 3:24)

“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.” (Alma 37:7)

“Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.” (D&C 35: 1)

Joseph Smith’s Teachings

Joseph Smith taught that God creates by organizing and reorganizing spiritual and physical matter and intelligence, rather than creating all things “out of nothing.”

Creation involves agency, purpose and a plan.  Whether it is at the level of a basic life form like a single-celled bacterium or amoeba, or whether it is a higher level of the complex system coordination between the bald eagle’s wings, eyes, talons and beak to successfully find and capture a fish, intelligent forces guide and govern the progress of life in the universe.



Copyright: iStockphoto.com/Frank Leung
We are so many levels high up in intelligence and have so much intelligent processing done for us with our senses and nervous system as we think and act that we often cannot “see the forest through the trees.”  Since so much happens automatically for us in our marvelous spirits and bodies, we cannot easily understand the incredible details of intelligent complexity and interactions that are required for higher level life forms to function.  The coordination of this bald eagle’s eyes, wings and talons that is necessary to catch a fish involves a high degree of intelligence. Having spent my career in the artificial intelligence field, I very much understand that programming this task would be very difficult to do.  From a radio controlled airplane to a cruise missile, modern man has learned about some of the complexity that this eagle easily coordinates every day. 12

“Learned men . say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. And they infer, from the word create that it must have been made out of nothing.   Now, the word create . does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship.  Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos – chaotic matter, which is element.  Element had an existence from the time He had. . [these elements] may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed.  They had no beginning, and can have no end.  . There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are coequal (co-eternal) with our Father in heaven.” 13

“Joseph’s teachings [such as man’s] .premortal existence . gradually unfolded to him.  . He learned that we were ‘created spiritually before we were naturally upon the face of the earth.’ (Moses 3:5)  A component of each individual existed before his or her spiritual creation, a component called intelligence, which was ‘not created or made, neither indeed can be.’ (D&C 93:29)” 14

The Case of the Evolved Beta-Galactosidase Gene

One of the best examples of “evolution in action” that is promoted by evolution advocates involves a genetic engineering experiment with the bacteria e coli.  This bacterium’s three million bases of DNA code are among the most studied genetic sequences in the world. 

In 1982, Barry Hall of the University of Rochester performed an experiment where he removed the gene that allows e coli to eat lactose (or milk sugar).  He then grew the bacteria on another food and then put them back on a plate of lactose.  This is like being surrounded by its favorite food, then starving to death because it cannot eat it.  However, within a short time, the bacteria DNA had somehow been modified to enable it to again digest milk sugar. 15

The original deleted gene sequence was not recreated, but three single base changes to three different genes allowed the bacteria to recover the capability to process lactose.  The chances that random mutations could result in just these three key beneficial changes are still billions to one against it.

Does e coli have the right as a living being to have its DNA repaired or to somehow have the adaptive programming to repair the missing ability itself?  Perhaps this is an example of the effect of the light of Christ, which “giveth life to all things.” (D&C 88:13)

Following the Scientific Method

When scientists perform a study and the data suggests odds 20:1, 100:1 or 1000:1 against the data being correlated to the predictions of some test hypothesis, they conclude that the given theory does not cause the results of the test data and try to find other better test hypotheses. 16  Ironically, in the case of evolution, the quest to find causes that do not include intelligent or spiritual forces has blinded scientists to ignore not just normal statistical odds against proposed cause being accurate, but odds that are truly astronomical. 17 

In the previous experiment where the three exact changes were made in the three million base DNA of the bacteria, the odds against that happening in a single bacterium would be 2.7 x 10^19, or 27 quintillion to one, assuming “random” mutations.  If 100 million bacteria were placed on the plate with milk sugar, those odds might still be 2.7 x 10^11 to one, or 270 billion to one. Also, this example is very simple compared with the complexity of higher life forms, with their amazingly complex organs and systems.

Random mutations are indeed part of the equation that is involved in the differences we see in various species. However, with almost every known example, except perhaps for the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, the odds against the physical causes of mutations being the complete reason for a biological change are still amazingly improbable.  This should lead scientists to proclaim that their description is incomplete and cannot account for the test data.

The Wiser Course

When the Savior comes, He will give a presentation that we will not want to miss.  Section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that “Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things – Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof.” (D&C 101:32-33)

Honest scientific study of the origins and changes in living things leads to the conclusion that the pure materialistic theory of evolution’s proposed forces that cause change in life is an incomplete description.  The Lord says that He will show “hidden things which no man knew” about His creations.  Does that sentence not suggest that in spite of our current understanding and even more that we might learn before that great day, we do not now currently know, nor will we know before that day, exactly how He creates and organizes this and other worlds? 

Does that scriptural standard not expose as hypocritical for evolution proponents like Richard Dawkins to proudly proclaim their purpose “to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence? This makes it a doubly satisfying theory. A good case can be made that Darwinism is true, not just on this planet but all over the universe wherever life may be found.” 18

Thankfully, I believe that there will be no one present at that great and glorious day who will attempt to correct the Savior and tell Him how He created the world and life upon the earth.  I believe that all present at that time will have a testimony of the truth of King Benjamin’s inspired statement in the Book of Mormon:

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4: 9)


Notes

1   Tim Arango, “Seeking a Missing Link and a Mass Audience,” The New York Times Online, May 18, 2009.

“The specimen, designated Darwinius masillae, is of a monkeylike creature that is remarkably intact: even the contents of its stomach are preserved. The fossil was bought two years ago in Germany by the University of Oslo, and a team of scientists began work on their research.


Some of the top paleontologists in the world were involved in the project, and it impressed the chief scientist at the Natural History museum enough to allow the press conference.

“We would not go forward with this, even in a hosting capacity, unless we had a sense of the scientific importance,” said Michael J. Novacek, the provost of science at the museum.

“But despite a television teaser campaign with the slogan ‘This changes everything’ and comparisons to the moon landing and the Kennedy assassination, the significance of this discovery may not be known for years. An article to be published on Tuesday in PLoS ONE, a scientific journal, will report more prosaically that the scientists involved said the fossil could be a ‘stem group’ that was a precursor to higher primates, with the caveat, ‘but we are not advocating this.’

“All of this seems a departure from the normal turn of events, where researchers study their subject and publish their findings, and let the media chips fall where they may. But this campaign is only the latest example of the scientific media blockbuster, of which the National Geographic Society has become perhaps the most successful practitioner. It often gives grants to researchers, with National Geographic gaining the rights to produce television shows and magazine articles related to any discoveries.”
 

2  Ronald P. Millett, “Joseph Smith and the Origin and Progress of Life,” Meridian Magazine, May 26, 2009.

“As early as 1831, Joseph Smith introduced a startling doctrine: that both intelligence and matter (energy) are eternal, having always existed, and are destined to endure forever. ‘For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive a fullness of joy.’ (D&C 93:33-34) This doctrine is unique in a world where the prevailing view has been that the spirit of man had a beginning and where the view that God created the elements is still taught.” (William E. Berrett)

“And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom [society of intelligent beings]; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.” (D&C 88: 37)

3  Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume VI, p. 308-311, “King Follett Discourse,” March 9, 1844. 

“The mind of man is as immortal as God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their friends and relatives are separated from their bodies for only a short season; their spirits existed coequal with God, and they now exist in a place where they converse together, the same as we do on the earth. Is it logic to say that a spirit is immortal and yet has a beginning? Because if a spirit has a beginning, it will have an end. That is good logic. I want to reason further on the spirit of man, for I am dwelling on the spirit and body of man–on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal spirit, because it has no beginning. Suppose I cut it in two; as the Lord lives, because it has a beginning, it would have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation who say that man had a beginning prove that he must have an end. If that were so, the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself. Intelligence exists upon a self-existent principle; it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. Moreover, all the spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible to enlargement.”

4 Eldon G. Lytle, “LANGUAGE In Capital Letters,” eBook available at http://www.language-icl.com.  2009, Page 132.

“Albert Einstein, who presumably was no fool, did not espouse the notion of a material universe consisting solely of a menu of probabilities for consideration by observers the likes of you and me. As he put it:

“Marvelous, what ideas the young people have these days. But I don’t believe a word
of it.

“Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet
the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the
secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.

“It seems hard to look in God’s cards. But I cannot for a moment believe that He plays dice.”

5  Picture from Wikipedia commons area:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iceberg.jpg

6  Ronald P. Millett, “The Miracle of the Human Genome,” Meridian Magazine, September 25, 2000.

“This ‘book of life’ is written as a sequence of only four different ‘genetic letters’: the nucleotides thymine (T), cytosine (C), adenine (A) and guanine (G). The sequence is over three billion letters long, and it is the transcribing of that sequence which is now being completed. The series of these four nucleotides is coiled along the extremely long DNA spiral. This code is contained in each of the trillions of cells of the human body. If unraveled from a single cell, it would be over six feet long, but only 50 trillionths of an inch wide. For the areas of the DNA that define proteins, groups of only three of the genetic letters form a “genetic word” that specifies one of the 20 amino acids. The three billion genetic letters of the human genome contain about the same amount of information that can be stored on a typical CD-ROM [disk – not a DVD disk].”

7  Genetics Encyclopedia:  “Mutagen,” Answers.com.

“A mutagen is any substance or agent that can cause a mutation, or change in the sequence or structure of DNA.”
“There are many hundreds of known chemical mutagens. Some resemble the bases found in normal DNA; others alter the structures of existing bases; others insert themselves in the helix between bases; while others work indirectly, creating reactive compounds that directly damage the DNA structure.”
“Radiation refers to two different phenomena: light and high-energy particles. Visible light represents a small slice of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes long-wavelength (low-energy) radio waves and short-wave-length (high-energy) ultraviolet waves, plus X rays and gamma rays. These high-energy forms can directly disrupt DNA by breaking its chemical bonds. In severe cases, this can break apart chromosomes, causing chromosome aberrations. More often, they create mutagenic free radicals in the cell.”

See also: Kumar S, Subramanian S., “Mutation rates in mammalian genomes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 2002 Jan 22;99(2):803-8.

“Knowledge of the rate of point mutation is of fundamental importance, because mutations are a vital source of genetic novelty and a significant cause of human diseases. Currently, mutation rate is thought to vary many fold among genes within a genome and among lineages in mammals. We have conducted a computational analysis of 5,669 genes (17,208 sequences) from species representing major groups of placental mammals to characterize the extent of mutation rate differences among genes in a genome and among diverse mammalian lineages. We find that mutation rate is approximately constant per year and largely similar among genes. Similarity of mutation rates among lineages with vastly different generation lengths and physiological attributes points to a much greater contribution of replication-independent mutational processes to the overall mutation rate.


Our results suggest that the average mammalian genome mutation rate is 2.2 x 10(-9) per base pair per year, which provides further opportunities for estimating species and population divergence times by using molecular clocks.”  [emphasis mine]

RPM Note:  Considering the complexity of human DNA, this low rate of mutations, just a couple of DNA changes per year in the three billion bases of our genetic code, is very low.  With all of the “false tries” that are theorized to be necessary to get a beneficial mutation of this random mutation rate, it seems to me that this mutation rate is inadequate to the task of any significant changes at all, even in the millions of years that are theorized to be available. Imagine typing the encyclopedia with one or two random keystrokes per year.  It would be impossible.

8  Genetics Encyclopedia:  “Mutagen,” Answers.com.

“DNA is constantly being damaged, and it is constantly being repaired as well. It is only when the damage is not repaired that a mutation can lead to cancer or cell death. The DNA repair enzymes can recognize damaged nucleotides and remove and replace them. The human liver contains a large number of enzymes whose role is to detoxify toxic compounds, mutagenic or otherwise, by chemically reacting them. However, in some cases these enzymes (called cytochrome P450s) actually create mutagens during the course of these reactions. Such “bioactivation” may be a significant source of mutagens.”

See also:  “DNA Repair,” 2005,
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/D/DNArepair.html

“1. Direct reversal of base damage
The most frequent mutation is when a C gets chemically altered into a T. The
repair operation reverses the process back to C

“2. Base Excision Repair (BER)
It is estimated that this occurs over 20,000 times a day in each cell of the
body. This involves the detecting removal of the damaged base nucleotide by
at least 8 kinds of DNa glycosylales. After removal of the base and its
backbone deoxyribose phosphate, the correct nucleotide is inserted and the
break in the strand is repaired.

“3. Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER)
This repair differs from BER in that a patch of DNA bases are removed and
restored.

“4. Mismatch Repair (MMR)
When the bases do not match up with the other side of the DNA helical
ladder, this process will repair the mismatch. How does it know which side of
the ladder has the correct value? In bacteria, the older adenines become
methylated shortly after they are synthesized. It assumes the parental strand
to be correct and removes and then fixes up the new daughter strand
nucleotide. It is not known how this mechanism works in mammals.

“5. Repairing Strand Breaks
This is for both single strand breaks and double strand breaks. Especially the
double strand breaks require either direct joining of the broken strands or
homologous recombination looking at the original DNA to correct a daughter
copy of the DNA that has just been created. This uses the original DNA as a
template.”

9 Here is an example of a single change in the genetic code that causes a genetic disease.  Sickle cell anemia is caused by one of the genetic “letters” switching to change the three letter amino acid formula from glutamic acid to valine (GAA or GAG changed to GTA or GTG).

Department of Health and Senior Services, “Hemoglobinopathies Including Sickle Cell Disease,” State of New Jersey Family Health Services.

“Sickle Cell Disease refers to a group of genetic disorders characterized by the presence of sickle hemoglobin (HbS), anemia, and acute and chronic tissue injury secondary to blockage of blood flow by abnormally shaped red cells. Normal adult hemoglobin, hemoglobin A (HbA), is composed of two alpha globin chains and two beta globin chains. In HbS, the alpha chain is the same as in HbA, but the beta globin chain differs from the normal by the substitution of valine for glutamic acid at the sixth position.”

10  Gordy Slack, “The Atheist,” Salon.com online, April 28, 2005. An interview with Richard Dawkins.  Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explains why God is a delusion, religion is a virus, and America has slipped back into the Dark Ages.  Retrieved August 2, 2009.

“The idea that evolution could be “random” seems to frighten people. Is it random?
This is a spectacular misunderstanding. If it was random, then of course it couldn’t possibly have given rise to the fantastically complicated and elegant forms that we see. Natural selection is the important force that drives evolution. Natural selection is about as non-random a force as you could possibly imagine. It can’t work unless there is some sort of variation upon which to work. And the source of variation is mutation. Mutation is random only in the sense that it is not directed specifically toward improvement. It is natural selection that directs evolution toward improvement. Mutation is random in that it’s not directed toward improvement. [bold emphasis mine]

“The idea that evolution itself is a random process is a most extraordinary travesty. I wonder if it’s deliberately put about maliciously or whether these people honestly believe such a preposterous absurdity. Of course evolution isn’t random. It is driven by natural selection, which is a highly non-random force.”

Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, New York:W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1986, pp. 307-308.

“If you think that ‘random mutation’ implies that all genes are equally likely to
mutate, then hot spots show that mutation is not random. If you think ‘random
mutation’ implies that all chromosomal loci the mutation pressure is zero, then once
again mutation is not random. It is only if you define ‘random’ as meaning ‘no
general bias toward bodily improvement’ that mutation is truly random. . The
Darwinian says that variation is random in the sense that it is not directed towards
improvement, and that the tendency towards improvement in evolution comes from
selection.” [emphasis mine]

RPM Note:  What a convoluted definition of random!  It reminds me of the logic of the Nicene Creed talking about the “everywhere/nowhere” “immaterial/substantive” “three yet one/one yet three” Godhead.  With gene “hot spots” where mutations happen with varying frequencies, and “ultraconserved regions” where no mutations ever happen, the mutation component of the evolutionary theory seems less and less like one that is powered by random X-ray bursts or chemicals that affect DNA and more like a carefully designed life-programming environment, no doubt greatly affected by the spiritual and intelligent life forces that we cannot measure.

 

11   A Black Hole Overflows (NASA, Chandra, 2/2/09) 

“This image of Centaurus A shows a spectacular new view of a supermassive black hole’s power. Jets and lobes powered by the central black hole in this nearby galaxy are shown by submillimeter data (colored orange) from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile and X-ray data (colored blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Visible light data from the Wide Field Imager on the Max-Planck/ESO 2.2 m telescope, also located in Chile, shows the dust lane in the galaxy and background stars. The X-ray jet in the upper left extends for about 13,000 light years away from the black hole. The APEX data shows that material in the jet is travelling at about half the speed of light.”

See also:  “Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole Awoke from Slumber 300 Years Ago,” Chandra X-Ray Observatory web site,  April 16, 2008,  Retrieved 08/16/2009.
Using NASA, Japanese, and European X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers has discovered that our galaxy’s central black hole let loose a powerful flare three centuries ago.
“The finding helps resolve a long-standing mystery: why is the Milky Way’s black hole so quiescent? The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (pronounced “A-star”), is a certified monster, containing about 4 million times the mass of our Sun.


Yet the energy radiated from its surroundings is billions of times weaker than the radiation emitted from central black holes in other galaxies.
“‘We have wondered why the Milky Way’s black hole appears to be a slumbering giant,’ says team leader Tatsuya Inui of Kyoto University in Japan. ‘But now we realize that the black hole was far more active in the past. Perhaps it’s just resting after a major outburst.'”

12  Online shareable picture from http://flickr.com/photos/7642212%40N05/2161358162/.

See also Lytle, op. cit., p. 52-53

“‘Yes,’ comes the rejoinder, ‘but you speak of gods, and angels, and miracles, and resurrection, and so on . . .’

“‘Oh, so it’s the usage that offends … but why should we allow the memory of religion gone awry to make ‘religiophobics’ and fools of us now, to render us oblivious to the obvious – namely,that the pattern of ascendant preskription [“K” misspellings are on purpose] holds, regardless of who the preskriptors [intelligent beings exercising agency in creative processes] turn out to be?

“‘Think about it … why (other than religious prejudice) do you refuse to acknowledge – after observing that a spider made this, a beaver that, and a man the other – that an intelligence above us has designed and fashioned what we have not?'”

“What could be simpler than a `grand unifying theory’ which generalizes from recipes for cakes, to blueprints that raise up skyscrapers, to texts that structure space stations, to LANGUAGE which informs worlds, solar systems, galaxies . . . Nothing really changes except the domain
and credentials of the skriptors. This account of things is in perfect harmony with the progression of order and control observed on every hand in nature, from bacteria to wood ants to groundhogs, all conforming matter to their needs . . . a system which, by the way, we daily exploit for
ourselves.”
 

13  Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume VI, p. 308-311, “King Follett Discourse,” March 9, 1844.
 

14  Alma P. Burton,  Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Doctrine,” New York, MacMillan, 1992, pp. 393-399.

15   Kenneth R. Miller, “A True Acid Test,” http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/DI/AcidTest.html. Retrieved 08/02/09.

“In 1982, Barry Hall of the University of Rochester began a series of experiments in which he deleted the bacterial gene for the enzyme beta-galactosidase. The loss of this gene makes it impossible for the bacteria to metabolize the sugar lactose. What happened next? Under appropriate selection conditions Hall found that the bacteria evolved not only the gene for a new beta-galactosidase enzyme (called the evolved beta-galactosidase gene, or ebg), but also a control sequence that switched the new gene on when glucose was present. Finally, a new chemical reaction evolved as well, producing allolactose, the chemical signal that normally switches on the lac permease gene, allowing lactose to flow into the cell.”

See Also Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin’s God, New York: 1999.

“What happens if we step things up to the next level, asking evolutionary mechanisms to ‘design’ a multi-part system, a system that, in Behe’s terminology, would be irreducibly complex? The most direct way to do this would be with a true acid test – by using the tools of molecular genetics to wipe out an existing multipart system, and then see if evolution can come to the rescue with a system to replace it.”

“The bacterium pulls this feat off by combining highly sensitive control genes with the “structural” genes that actually specify the amino acids in the galactosidase enzyme. The control gene keeps the enzyme gene switched off except when it is needed to produce enough of the enzyme to metabolize lactose. Could evolution have produced such a lovely two-part system? Barry Hall tested this possibility in 1982 by deleting the structural gene for galactosidase. He then “challenged” cells with the deletion to grow on lactose. At first, of course, they couldn’t. Before long, mutant strains appeared that could handle lactose nearly as well as the originals.

“How could this be? How could these cells have reconstructed the information from the missing gene in such a short time, using only the random, undirected processes of mutation and natural selection? The answer, of course, is that these bacteria didn’t make the new galactosidase enzyme from scratch. They made it by tinkering with another gene, in which a simple mutation changed an existing enzyme just enough to make it also capable of cleaving the bond that holds the two parts of lactose together. Now, you might think that this wouldn’t be enough, and you’d be right. Simply re-engineering an existing protein to replace galactosidase would make no difference unless the control region of that gene was also changed to ensure that the gene was expressed when lactose was present. Significantly, when Hall looked at the control regions of the mutant replacement gene, he found that they had been mutated as well – some of them were now switched on all the time, but a few of them responded directly to lactose, switching the gene on and off as needed.”

“Think for a moment – if we were to happen upon the interlocking biochemical complexity of the re-evolved lactose system, wouldn’t we be impressed with the “intelligence” of its design? Lactose triggers a regulatory sequence that switches on the synthesis of an enzyme that then metabolizes lactose itself. And the products of that successful lactose metabolism then activate the gene for the lac permease, which ensures a steady supply of lactose entering the cell. Irreducible complexity. What good would the permease be without the galactosidase? And what use would either of them be without regulatory genes to switch them on? And what good would lactose- responding regulatory genes be without lactose-specific enzymes? No good, of course. And therefore, by very same logic applied by Michael Behe to other systems, we could conclude that the system had been designed. Except we know that it was not designed. We know it evolved because we watched it happen right in the laboratory!”

RPM Note:  Notice that the options of what caused this amazing “evolutionary” feat is
limited by Mr. Miller to only be evolutionary theory as currently constituted or the miraculous feat of a God coming down to perform a design miracle, who he does not believe in at any rate.  Note also the descriptions such as “the bacterium pulls this feat off by combining highly sensitive control genes,” which seems to me to describe a life form with the ability to act for itself to help make this amazing change, perhaps a dreaded “directed mutation”(Science Frontiers, No. 64, Jul-Aug 1989).  The possibility of the organism having any “choice” in the repair of its DNA, the adaptability that might be preprogrammed into its DNA so it does not have to “call home” for every little problem, or even the chance that the genetic engineer might once again be spicing genes are not even considered as options.

17  Eldon G. Lytle, email to author, 8/10/2009.

“There is fundamental procedural flaw in Darwinism which seems to be consistently overlooked. Namely, he launched the theory of evolution by generalizing beyond the domain of his data (a localized population of finches) — which accounts all the `missing links.’ . Darwinists don’t seem to understand the fine line which the scientist must walk between specialization and generalization. Darwinism was fundamentally flawed in this respect from its inception.”
   –Eldon Lytle, Ph.D. Linguistics

18   Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, New York:W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1986, p. xiv.

See also:  the Link, history.com documentary, May 29, 2009, from audio transcript.

 “Today lots of people have trouble with evolution.  Lots of people don’t want to accept evolution.  People say: ‘I don’t believe in evolution.


‘  And I say: ‘I don’t believe in evolution either.’  And they go ‘What do you mean?’  ‘Anymore than I don’t believe in gravity. It is fact.’  If I let go of an object, it is going to fall to the ground.  No matter how many times you do this experiment, it is going to fall to the ground.  So gravity is a law.  It’s a fact.  It is an observable thing.  And it’s the same thing with evolution.  We’ve gotten to the point now that evolution is the grand explanation for the diversity of all life that there has been, the interrelatedness of life and all the life that is and all the life that will be on this planet.  Nothing in biology makes sense without evolution.” — Donald Johanson, Arizona State University

RPM note:  These scientists have taken a theory where all of the “magic” has to come out of a pseudo-random mutation component of DNA with impossibly unlikely sequences of events to derive the many DNA changes among even closely related species.  This does not to include the epigenetic DNA settings differences that appear to be very important as well in the differences between species.  They then assert that their explanation is the only one that it can be, that it must be, that it must have a purely materialistic explanation and that the intelligence in the universe and all life all the way up to the Intelligence of God Himself must not be allowed or considered a possibility.  That is classical Greek hubris.

For information on epigenetic research, see also: Aaron Rowe, “Don’t Miss the Ghost in Your Genes Tonight on PBS,” October 16, 2007

“Tonight at 8, PBS will air an episode of Nova that will explain one of the most exciting frontiers of biology.

” Epigenetics means “above genetics”. It deals with how the genes are switched on and off. Genes are recipes for proteins. When they are silenced, the proteins that they encode are not produced. This plays a huge role in cancer and other diseases as well as everyday life.