Intelligent Design: Scientists Challenge Conventional Darwinism

Here are three unrelated but surprising discoveries that will be of interest to proponents of intelligent design theory.

Common Code

Scientists at Flinders University in Australia have discovered that our DNA spreads around us by up to a meter without even touching anything. We leave bread crumbs of genetic code everywhere we go!

A person can leave DNA on a surface without even touching it, a Flinders University study found, and the longer a person spends indoors, the more likely they are to leave a trail behind.

The researchers placed DNA collection plates half a meter to five meters apart in sanitized offices.

If no one touched the plates directly, several people’s DNA was already present on them a day later, and the DNA profiles were stronger the closer the plates were to the person and the longer he or she was in the room.

They published their findings in the journal Forensic Science International Genetics.

The discovery will alarm criminals because they will know that police can follow their trail even without fingerprints. For the rest of us, however, it illustrates two things: (1) forensics is an example of intelligent design in action, and (2) our Earth is truly a privileged planet. It is saturated with complex preset information!

What other world in our solar system can boast such distinction? Just think: coded information is everywhere in our world: in the clouds, on the walls of rocks, in the soil, and even under the seafloor. The code not only inhabits life; it makes the world livable by traveling the global transportation systems.

We spread our personal gene code everywhere we go, reminiscent of the character “Piggyback” from the old Peanuts cartoons, who walked around with a cloud of dust around him–except that our dust is the most densely packed information in the known universe.

Presumably, our entire genome can be reconstructed from the invisible particles that fly off our skin and breath, as if we were sharing copies of our biography wherever we go — a biography so packed with information that if it were printed in 130 volumes, it would take 95 years to read it.

Cambrian Giant.

Remember when fossil hunters discovered Marble Canyon in Canada, a fossil formation that surpassed the Burgess Shale in extent and species richness? Scientists discovered another amazing fossil there: a giant raptor unlike anything seen before. Named Titanokorys gainesi by the Royal Ontario Museum, it is half a meter long, almost as long as the famous Anomalocaris.

“The size of this animal is staggering; it is one of the largest Cambrian animals ever found,” says Jean-Bernard Caron, curator of invertebrate paleontology at ROM’s Richard M. Ivey.

Like Anomalocaris, it has a serrated round mouth characteristic of radiodonts (round teeth). And like all Cambrian animals, there is no evidence of transitional forms. Titanocaris had a large shell over its soft parts, including a huge head and a set of complex organs.

Like all radiodonts, Titanokorys had multifaceted eyes, a pineapple-slice-shaped mouth with teeth, a pair of barbed claws under the head for grasping prey, and a body with a number of flaps for swimming.

DNA cable call

Proteins communicate over long distances through DNA. This may provide new theories about how proteins activate genes, contrary to the old “central dogma” that taught one-way communication from DNA to protein.

Proteins can communicate through DNA by having a dialogue at a distance that serves as a sort of genetic “switch,” according to researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

They found that binding proteins to one part of a DNA molecule can physically affect another part at a distant location, and this “peer effect” activates certain genes. This effect has previously been observed in artificial systems, but the Weizmann study is the first to show that it occurs in the DNA of living organisms.

The study also relates to the interesting discovery of horizontal gene transfer occurring in DNA libraries in soil (see “Nemomendelian Inheritance Undermines Neo-Darwinism”). A team from the Weizmann Institute of Science studied how some bacteria can “enrich their genomes by borrowing segments of bacterial genes scattered in the soil around them” when they connected to a long-distance DNA “conversation.”

When two copies of a transcription factor called ComK bind to DNA, they transmit a signal through a “wire” that facilitates ComK binding at another distant binding site. Activation of all four copies exceeds a threshold level, “including the ability of the bacterium to destroy genes.”
“We were surprised to find that DNA, in addition to containing the genetic code, acts as a communication cable, transmitting information over a relatively long distance from one protein binding site to another,” Rosenblum says.

What is the physical mechanism for this information transfer? They suggest that it may be due to the tension of the double helix. It is possible, however, that it is just a signal-carrier through which higher-level information is transmitted.

They found that the sites must be at a certain distance from each other and have the same orientation, but the intermediate sequence of DNA letters is virtually unaffected. Perhaps this finding will reveal more functions in so-called “junk” DNA.

“Long-distance binding within a DNA molecule is a new type of regulatory mechanism that opens up previously inaccessible methods of constructing future genetic circuits,” Hofmann says.

In their paper in Nature Communications, Rosenblum et al. dispense with the obligatory Darwinian formalities. “The question of whether natural promoters evolved to efficiently transmit allosteric signals across many nanometers remains unclear,” they say. Perhaps it is unclear because Darwinism puts statism on the line.

The common code, another Cambrian giant, and communication in DNA all fit into expectations of intelligent design and challenge traditional Darwinism.

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