James Shapiro: Dawkins “lives in a world of fantasy”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

|| By: Staff ||

James Shapiro of Fermilabs in a recent (Jan 22, 2010) lecture there said that Dawkins “lives in a world of fantasy.”

The difficulties on which Intelligent Design focuses — e.g., the sudden origin of new features — are real, and need to be answered. Current theory is not adequate. Genes are not in the driver’s seat of life, Shapiro urged; rather, the organism is. Biology needs to understand how organisms intelligently modify their genomes in response to challenges. Genetic change is not random, but controlled. Shapiro repeatedly contrasted his ideas with neo-Darwinism, and had nothing but scorn for Richard Dawkins, whom he said “lives in a world of fantasy.”

The simplistic idea of the causal primacy of DNA or RNA held by Dawkins and other evolutionists, most of whom are outside the field of practicing micro-biologists, is a central feature of the random mutation and natural selection theory that characterizes neo-Darwinianism. But such a theory is overwhelmingly refuted by the more sophisticated studies of actual molecular biologists.

Nascent or naked DNA (or RNA) on its own produces nothing. DNA + 0 = 0.

The actuality that micro-biologists deal with in cellular life puts the whole problem of the origin of life in a more realistic perspective. Compare the primitive notion of Crick’s formulation of the central dogma of molecular biology with the more modern version of the same:

• Crick’s central dogma of molecular biology:

1. DNA –> 2X DNA

2. DNA –> RNA –> Protein –> Phenotype

• Contemporary picture of molecular information transfers:

1. DNA + 0 –> 0

2. DNA + Protein + ncRNA –> chromatin

3. Chromatin + Protein + ncRNA –> DNA replication, chromatin

4. Protein + RNA + lipids + small molecules –> signal transduction

5. Chromatin + Protein + signals –> RNA (primary transcript)

6. RNA + Protein + ncRNA –> RNA (processed transcript)

7. RNA + Protein + ncRNA –> Protein (primary translation product)

8. Protein + nucleotides + Ac-CoA + SAM + sugars + lipids –> Processed and decorated protein

9. DNA + Protein –> New DNA sequence (mutator polymerases)

10. Signals + Chromatin + Protein –> New DNA structure (DNA rearrangements subject to stimuli)

11. RNA + Protein + chromatin –> New DNA structure (retrotransposition, retroduction, retrohoming)

12. Signals + chromatin + proteins + ncRNA + lipids –> nuclear/nucleoid localization

SUMMARY: DNA + Protein + ncRNA + signals + other molecules: Genome Structure & Phenotype

To conceive that all these necessary steps happened by accident or chance, and fortuitouly in just the right order, demonstrates a commitment to an ideological mindset that would rather put chance in the driver’s seat, than conceded any purposeful directive at work in Nature.

Actually, science does not affirm evolution – scientists are the only ones who affirm anything. Scientists who affirm the existence of purpose in Nature, and consequently the existence of a purposeful End or Goal to what is essentially a creation, are no less committed to what scientific evidence reveals, without being blindered by a materialist indoctrination that colors their interpretation of that evidence.

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