Posts tagged ‘biochemistry’

March 16th, 2013

Two Leading Experts on Bacterial Flagellar Assembly Take on Michael Behe

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from Jonathan M. at Evolution News and Views…

I’ve been reading the recently published book Microbes and Evolution: The World that Darwin Never Saw, which combines my two primary areas of interest: microbiology and evolution. Chapter 38 of the book is written by Kelly Hughes and David Blair of the University of Utah, two of the world’s leading experts on bacterial flagellar assembly. Having followed the work of Kelly Hughes and his colleagues for a few years, I hold their work in the highest regard. I myself have a deep fascination with the subject of bacterial gene expression. I was intrigued, therefore, when I discovered the title of Hughes and Blair’s chapter: “Irreducible Complexity? Not!”

Following a very basic overview of flagellar structure and function (also described in my own detailed review of the subject), Hughes and Blair ask, “Is the flagellum irreducibly complex, or just complex?” They write,

It is clear that the flagellum is a complex structure and that its assembly and operation depend upon many interdependent components and processes. This complexity has been suggested to pose problems for the theory of evolution; specifically, it has been suggested that the ancestral flagellum could not have provided a significant advantage unless all of the parts were generated simultaneously. Hence, the flagellum has been described as “irreducibly complex,” implying that it is impossible or at least very difficult to envision a much simpler, but still useful, ancestral form that would have been the raw material for evolution.

November 26th, 2012

Call for Papers on the Philosophy of Science and Science

by Max Andrews

This is a call for papers to be submitted to me for online publication with Sententias. I’m looking for about ten papers. Please include an abstract and Turabian format. The paper can be a minimum of 4 pages but there’s not maximal limit. I will compile the papers and put them in the first volume and issue of the Sententias Journal (Free online PDF file). This is just to kickstart more activity for Sententias to take part in. Depending on the feedback and participation we can make this a peer-reviewed process so we can have some respectable esteem. But, for now, we need to start modestly. Theists, atheists, Christians, evolutionists, and intelligent design proponents are all welcome. Here are a few suggested options:

  • What’s a scientific theory?
  • What’s a scientific explanation?
  • Breaking down a particular interpretation of quantum physics.
  • Brak down a model of cosmological origins.
  • Argue for Darwinism
  • read more »

  • February 15th, 2012

    A List of Peer-Reviewed Articles on Intelligent Design

    by Max Andrews
    There’s been a long running tradition in the Darwinian anti-ID camp propounding that there are no published peer-reviewed papers on intelligent design.  Ever since this mantra was first popularly proclaimed they’ve been wrong.  Below is a list of peer-reviewed articles cataloged by the Discovery Institute.  For abstracts and more on the articles please visit their site.

    Publications Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals, Conference Proceedings, or Scientific Anthologies.

    1. David L. Abel, “Is Life Unique?,” Life, Vol. 2:106-134 (2012).
    2. Joseph A. Kuhn, “Dissecting Darwinism,” Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, Vol. 25(1): 41-47 (2012).
    3. Douglas D. Axe, Philip Lu, and Stephanie Flatau, “A Stylus-Generated Artificial Genome with Analogy to Minimal Bacterial Genomes,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2011(3) (2011).
    4. Stephen C. Meyer and Paul A. Nelson, “Can the Origin of the Genetic Code Be Explained by Direct RNA Templating?,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2011(2) (2011).
    5. Ann K. Gauger and Douglas D. Axe, “The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2011(1) (2011).
    6. Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke, “Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2010 (2) (2010).
    7. Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution,’” The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4):1-27 (December 2010).
    8. Douglas D. Axe, “The Limits of Complex Adaptation: An Analysis Based on a Simple Model of Structured Bacterial Populations,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2010(4):1 (2010).
    9. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, “Mutagenesis in Physalis pubescens L. ssp. floridana: Some further research on Dollo’s Law and the Law of Recurrent Variation,”Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology, 1-21 (2010).
    10. George Montañez, Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, and Robert J. Marks II, “A Vivisection of the ev Computer Organism: Identifying Sources of Active Information,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2010(3) (2010).
    11. William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Vol. 14 (5):475-486 (2010).
    12. Douglas D. Axe, “The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds,” BIO-Complexity, Vol. 2010 (1) (2010).
      read more »

    January 7th, 2011

    Addicted to Sin – Neuroscience and Depravity

    by Max Andrews

    Craig Gross from recently put out a series of books and I’ve been reading one of them titled Pure Eyes.  There are a few sections in the book that discuss the physical effects of addiction.  They equate the use and addiction of pornography to drugs. The similarity between behavior seen in chemical addiction (alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and so on) and pornography addiction is so profound that it is likely that similar neurobiological changes occur in the brain (73-74).  Here’s a few things they found:

    • Exposure to rewards (pleasures) triggers a portion of the brain called the ventral tegmental area to release a surge of the neurochemical dopamine into three different areas of the brain:  the nucleus accuumbens, the prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala.
    • Dopamine release into the nucleus accumbens gives a feeling of ecstasy and exhilaration in the body.
    • Dopamine release into the prefrontal cortex, or the reasoning part of the brain, leads us to strengthen the behavioral circuits needed to pursue and obtain a certain reward.  In other words, the more we have exposed our brains to [whatever pleasure], the more we are going to continue pursuing [that pleasure] whether we want to or not.
    • Dopamine release into the amygdala leads us to remember–both consciously and unconsciously–the details of a situation related to a reward.  In other words, through continued use of the pleasure, our brains remember the details of the situations associated with acquiring and using the pleasure.  For instance, environment, being alone, feelings such as sorrow, frustration, or stress can trigger a deep desire to seek that pleasure independent of that pleasure’s presence.
    • Our brains become increasingly tolerant of dopamine levels so that for an addicted person to achieve the same dopamine high, increasingly novel forms of the pleasure become necessary.  In other words, you seek more of it and in different forms if possible. (74-75)

    Gross and his source, biobehavioral scientist Dr. Ralph Koek from the David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA, get into more details about the chemical releases and effects in the book (please buy it).  My main concern is how does this relate to depravity?  Surely our sin is more than a biological defect, right?  I’m not suggesting that if we were to somehow knock out a certain gene or be able to manipulate the neuron and chemical releases we would be free of addiction and sin, quite the contrary.  Our brains are the most incredible machines in the universe.  Our hard-wiring is incredibly fine-tuned for the functions that God has intended.

    I’m not a scientist, I’m a philosopher and this is how I see it.  There’s a question of the will and the biochemistry.  The will is the initiating cause and the biochemistry follows suit respective to the will.  Our depravity isn’t a physical curse by any means, it pollutes our very being, our immaterial self.

    Why is it that we find so much pleasure in the worldly things?  Just imagine if our pleasures were founded in God and loving him and others.  Imagine the addiction then!  Have you ever heard of someone who was literally addicted to God?  They got so much pleasure from God that they were stimulated by environmental cues to need more of God.  Yet, we are so engrained in these worldly pleasures that our neuro-pathways have set their circuitry to need more worldliness.

    Sin is more than a biochemical addiction.  It can’t be treated with drugs and no scientific advancement will cure it.  Paul talks about this very thing in Romans 7.  He knows that he is caught in contradictions, he loves God but yet he does what he doesn’t want to do.  The only cure for this is Jesus Christ.  Please watch this video on Romans 7.