Daily Archives: February 28, 2010

A Design Strategy

From The Design Matrix:

A core element of the non-teleological perspective of evolution is that mutations are random with regard to fitness. This means that mutations are not inherently forward- or outward-looking. Instead, a mutation simply occurs in a random fashion (a genuine mistake) and whether or not it benefits the organism depends on contingency, for as far as we know, evolution does not create targeted mutations to solve specific problems.

What you have instead are a large number of cells each mutating their genomes at random. The population of cells is effectively playing the lottery. The one genome that happens to mutate the “right” spot wins the prize, as this genome is at a selective advantage in comparison and will then spread its progeny throughout the population. The problem is that the lottery winners, over time, cannot be predicted and such winners may explore trajectories that not only were not intended by a designer, but may actually hinder the ability to design across time using reproduction. All of this unintended evolution can thus be considered noise.If a designer is trying to use reproduction to perpetuate a design far into the future, how does one control for all the noise that Darwinian evolution will produce along the way? What would prevent this noise from drowning out the signal of design? How can a designer solve these problems?

Continue reading

Intron Distribution

Let me now provide a couple of clues to support the hypothesis that introns facilitated the evolution of multicellular life.

First, as a general rule, introns are far more common in multicellular genomes than single-celled genomes.  Consider the human genome.  It has 21, 746 genes and only 1,760 are without introns.  Compare this to the genome of baker’s yeast.  It has about 6200 genes and only about 250 have introns.  In other words, while 92% of human genes have introns, only about 4% of the single-celled yeast genes have introns. What’s more, only about dozen yeast genes have more than one intron, while the typical human gene has around ten introns.

Continue reading