Attempts to Refute Front-loading Part 1

In the previous posting, we saw that Brayton, MacNeill, and Neufeld all attempted to refute the hypothesis of front-loading evolution (FLE).  Yet in doing so, the three rely on only two basic arguments.  Let’s consider the first argument.

Brayton writes:

The other problem, of course, is that no one has ever found an organism that has all of the genes needed for later developments (feathers, wings, lungs, flagella, etc); that is, no organism actually has a fully complete genome front-loaded with all the goodies to be used later. If front loading was true, then the prokaryotes – the earliest existing life form on Earth – should have all of those genes. They don’t, of course.

And Neufeld makes the same argument:

For example, one can assume that God created the first life-form and put certain elements in its DNA that would eventually result in complex structures. It seems to me that this notion could be tested, because one should find apparent “junk” DNA in early creatures that looks like the DNA that creates complex structures in later life forms.

This argument fails.

It is simply untrue that FLE would predict that bacteria should have genes for feathers, wings, lungs, etc. that exist as useless junk in the bacterial genome.  I previously disposed of this criticism here.  Brayton and Neufeld are actually attacking a straw man version of front-loading that requires some “some sort of mystical force field” to protect these useless genes.

Recall FLE simply posits that the first cells could have been designed in such a way as to impart some form of guidance on subsequent evolution.  This simply means that evolutionary processes would have been exploited to accomplish a purpose or objective. Think of FLE as evolutionary processes (random mutations and natural selection) under control.  Once FLE is properly understood and grasped in an intellectually honest manner, it becomes clear that it does not entail the need for useless genes that persist billions of years or some sort of mystical force field.

Thus, this entire criticism collapses.

That was too easy.

Related reading:

Another misunderstanding about front-loading

Front-loading as nudging


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