Shapiro Buries Naturalism

Posted in Creation/Evolution on July 24th, 2011 by dhawkinsmo

Shapiro is awesome! James Shapiro that is – bacterial geneticist at the University of Chicago. (Note: I’m not praising him because he is a creationist – he’s not) Two of his papers are a must read for anyone questioning naturalism. First, there is his 1997 paper, “A Third Way” – read the whole thing. It’s short and laymen like me can understand it. Secondly his 2010 paper, “Mobile DNA and Evolution in the 21st Century.” Read the conclusion. It’s all you need. Now let me whet your appetite … From “Third Way” …

Localized random mutation, selection operating “one gene at a time” (John Maynard Smith’s formulation), and gradual modification of individual functions are unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the molecular data, no matter how much time for change is assumed. There are simply too many potential degrees of freedom for random variability and too many interconnections to account for.

It has been a surprise to learn how thoroughly cells protect themselves against precisely the kinds of accidental genetic change that, according to conventional theory, are the sources of evolutionary variability.

(3) Mobile Genetic Elements and Natural Genetic Engineering. The second major lesson of molecular studies into the origins of genetic change is that all cells possess multiple biochemical agents for natural genetic engineering–processes that include the cutting and splicing of DNA molecules into new sequence arrangements.

In other words, genetic change can be massive and non-random. Some organisms, such as the ciliated protozooan Oxytricha, completely reorganize their genetic apparatus within a single cell generation, fragmenting the germ-line chromosomes into thousands of pieces and then reassembling a particular subset of them into a distinct kind of functional genome.

The point of this discussion is that our current knowledge of genetic change is fundamentally at variance with neo-Darwinist postulates.  We have progressed from the Constant Genome, subject only to random, localized changes at a more or less constant mutation rate, to the Fluid Genome, subject to episodic, massive and non-random reorganizations capable of producing new functional architectures. Inevitably, such a profound advance in awareness of genetic capabilities will dramatically alter our understanding of the evolutionary process. Nonetheless, neo-Darwinist writers like Dawkins continue to ignore or trivialize the new knowledge and insist on gradualism as the only path for evolutionary change. Read more »

Life Without Food

Posted in Healthy Food & Agriculture on July 1st, 2011 by dhawkinsmo

My close friends know that I have over the years had a fascination with agriculture – i.e. food production. My first foray into food production was with greenhouse tomatoes. My friends will tell you that the tomatoes were wonderful but making a living at it was hard and I sold that business. My next attempt in agriculture was with grass fed beef. This enterprise was inspired by Joel Salatin and his revolutionary agricultural practices. Unfortunately – again – my specific enterprise failed, but I continue to be inspired by Joel Salatin, my latest read of his being “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.” Since about 2001 or so, my father has been praying and encouraging me – of all people – to help the Wai Wai Indians (he’s a missionary to them) improve their agriculture. This year I made my first visit to the Wai Wais in 31 years and my visit made a profound impact on my view of how people feed themselves. Shortly after my return, I was given information by a lady at our church about how the American diet with it’s refined foods and excessive protein and dairy is literally killing Americans by the truckload — by causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and the like. A month or so later, I watched “Food Inc.” So my fascination with food production continues. I don’t know where it will lead, but I have a funny feeling that God has plans for me related to agriculture.

With that background, I would urge you to read the following insightful article which I ran across just today …

Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1
Wall Street, BP, Bio-Ethanol and the Death of Millions
By William Engdahl06/29/2011 Here’s a snippet from the article …

The record rise in grain and food prices in recent years is not a mere Wall Street profit gimmick, although obscene profits are being made. Rather, it is apparently an integral part of a long-term strategy whose roots go back to the years just after World War Two when Nelson Rockefeller and his brothers tried to organize the global food chain along the same monopoly model they had used for world oil. Food would henceforth become just another commodity like oil or tin or silver whose scarcity and price could ultimately be controlled by a small group of powerful trading insiders. At the same time the Rockefeller brothers were expanding their global business reach from oil to agriculture in the developing world through their technology-driven Green Revolution scheme after the war, they were also financing a little-noticed project at Harvard University. The project would form the infrastructure for their plan to globalize world food production under the central control of a handful of private corporations.

Its creators gave it the name ‘agribusiness,’ in order to differentiate it from traditional farmer-based agriculture — the cultivation of crops for human sustenance and nutrition. The push to place world national governments’ emergency grain reserves into private hands was merely a logical expansion of the original Rockefeller agribusiness strategy, as was their highly mis-represented “Green Revolution” which at day’s end merely promoted a huge sale of US agriculture products from John Deere tractors (using large volumes of Standard Oil Rockefeller products) to US chemical fertilizers made by other companies in the Rockefeller orbit—forcing a trend to large scale farming and forcing millions off the land into cities where they former a cheap labor pool for large multinationals. The highly-touted harvest yields turned out to be actual losses after several harvests. 1