How genetic science is pointing beyond genes
who currently lord it over our culture keep pounding it into our heads that genes, distinct sequences of four chemicals, are the ultimate stuff of life, that all features of living things are caused by, can be explained by, and can be reduced to, genes. They want us to believe that there is a one-on-one correspondence between the genes of a species and its morphological and other phenotypical characteristics. As I’ve often argued, the evidence of genetic science suggests the very opposite of what the genetic scientists tell us. For example, they constantly repeat that the human genome is 98 percent identical to the chimpanzee genome, as if to suggest that human beings are virtually the same as chimpanzees. But since, in reality, humans are massively different from chimps, what the 98 percent genomic similarity actually tells us is that genes are not the ultimate determining factor in living beings. It suggests that the same genes can be expressed very differently
, that genes have a range of potentialities
, and that these various potentialities are triggered into manifestation by some invisible factor or “program” of which we know nothing.
Support for this view is increasing. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, and drawing on a new book by British physician James Le Fanu, David Klinghoffer reports the finding from the Human Genome Project that while DNA determines the chemical building blocks of the cell, “the information needed to build the rest of the creature is seemingly, in large measure, absent.” The “rest of the creature,” for which genetic information is absent, includes the overall form of the creature. Thus,
Swiss biologist Walter Gehring showed that “the same ‘master’ genes mastermind the three-dimensional structures of all living things… The same master genes that cause a fly to have the form of a fly cause a mouse to have the form of a mouse.” The physically encoded information to form that mouse, as opposed to that fly, isn’t there. Instead, “It is as if the ‘idea’ of the fly (or any other organism) must somehow permeate the genome that gives rise to it.”
Here is the article:
The alphabet of life<br>
By DAVID KLINGHOFFER
- end of initial entry -
Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2009
DNA are three letters full of paradox. What they represent remains little understood by the public, yet they are on everyone’s tongue. Amid the chatter of popular culture, the truth gets lost that DNA is one of the most powerful clues we have of the existence of a spiritual reality, maybe to the existence of God.
An acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA refers to the form taken by the biological information that directs the production of proteins and other cell components. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick famously described its double-helix shape. The information thus encoded, the genome, influences how a living organism’s body gets constructed, though how far this goes, and how it works, are questions that remain obscure.
We talk about DNA as familiarly as we do the USA. The idea that your genes determine your susceptibility to diseases and addictions is a stock theme of popular health discussions. On TV cop shows, law-enforcement officials are constantly using DNA to solve cases, whether new or “cold”—as real police do.
For a fee, DNA testing can shed light on anyone’s genetic ancestry, including whether you have “Jewish genes.” There is supposed to be a “God gene” for religious belief in general. And a “gay gene.” And so on.
But all this is trivial compared to the largely unheralded insight gained from the Human Genome Project, completed in 2003. The insight is disturbing. It is that while DNA codes for the cell’s building blocks, the information needed to build the rest of the creature is seemingly, in large measure, absent.
CONSIDER THE HOX “master” genes that supposedly determine the spatial configuration of the front and back ends of creatures as diverse as frogs, mice and humans. As British physician James Le Fanu writes in a fascinating new book, Why Us? How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves (Pantheon), Swiss biologist Walter Gehring showed that “the same ‘master’ genes mastermind the three-dimensional structures of all living things… The same master genes that cause a fly to have the form of a fly cause a mouse to have the form of a mouse.” The physically encoded information to form that mouse, as opposed to that fly, isn’t there. Instead, “It is as if the ‘idea’ of the fly (or any other organism) must somehow permeate the genome that gives rise to it.”
Such an understanding, of nature driven by a force outside nature, was dominant in biology before Darwin. Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), director of Paris’s Musee d’Histoire Naturelle, held that there was an unknown biological “formative impulse,” an organizational principle of some kind that directed the formation of diverse kinds of life.
The concept goes still further back. Much further. What Cuvier called the “formative impulse,” was called God’s “wisdom” by the rabbis. The Bible teaches, “The Lord founded the earth with wisdom” (Proverbs 3:19).
WITH DNA, there is, in one sense, less there than meets the eye. But in another sense, there is much more. For if DNA can’t entirely account for the way bodies are put together, there remains something deeply suggestive about the fact that curled at the heart of every cell there lies a code. How did it get there?
A staple of media coverage of DNA is the story, repeated endlessly, about some scientist or other who’s the latest to synthesize molecular precursors of DNA (or its genetic partner, RNA), thus purportedly showing how biological information could have arisen on Earth unaided. The problem with these demonstrations is that they always depend on intelligent guidance, that of the scientist in his lab, thus suggesting the very opposite lesson of the one intended.
In another new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne), my colleague Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science, reminds us of the failure of every avenue by which science has tried to explain the origin of the genetic information required for the first life. Explanations depending on unguided material processes alone usually founder on a chicken-or-the-egg paradox: notably, that “specified information in DNA codes for proteins, but specific proteins are necessary to transcribe and translate the information on the DNA molecule.”
DNA acts like a computer code, or like a language consisting of letters and words, arranged in specific sequences to accomplish a specific task or convey a specific meaning. As Dr. Meyer observes, the only kind of source we know of that can produce a “functionally integrated information-processing system” like that in the cell is an intelligent source.
As a Jew, I find it intriguing, at the very least, that Jewish tradition anticipated precisely the kind of evidence that Meyer deals with in his book. DNA refers to the letters of a genetic “alphabet” that in the correct combinations encode the diversity of all life forms. Kabbala too speaks of such an alphabet, comprised of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with which God continually speaks the world into existence.
Different combinations of letters produce different creatures. A century and a half before Watson and Crick, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi sought to make Kabbala accessible to ordinary readers. In the Tanya (1796), he writes of how “the creatures are divided into categories [both] general and particular by changes in the combinations, substitutions and transpositions [of the letters].”
Something is out there beyond nature, guiding the destinies of living creatures. Whether we think of it as God or some other unknown agent makes a big difference. But the progress of science from imagining existence as a purely material affair, without purpose, as Darwinian evolution still portrays the matter, to the more advanced description toward which biology increasingly points, is a major step in the right direction.
The writer, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, writes the Kingdom of Priests blog at Beliefnet (blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests).
[end of Klinghoffer article.]
Ben W. writes:
This is a bogus god-of-the-gaps argument! Just because the biological engine hasn’t been found that informs genes how to form certain structures, doesn’t mean this points to another reality. When Klinghoffer writes, “The truth gets lost that DNA is one of the most powerful clues we have of the existence of a spiritual reality, maybe to the existence of God,” he is committing that logical stunt of which we are all aware. Puleeeeeze, so transparent…
DG , who sent me the Klinghoffer article, writes:
Many thanks for posting the article “The materialists,” as you call them are just a few good psi experiments away from having their world demolished. If psi can take place then they are forced to admit the possibility of God.
Here are some psi wheel demonstrations on you tube. Some under glass.
Here is an Italian kid who is very good with Rubik’s cube who got the psi wheel spinning. Not under glass but I doubt he is a liar.
I am going to try it myself.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 08, 2009 04:55 PM | Send
“The materialists,” as you call them are just a few good psi experiments away from having their world demolished.
I’m not sure of that. Since many of the materialists argue with a straight face that consciousness and thought are just manifestations of matter that we haven’t “understood” yet, what will keep them from saying the same about paranormal mental events?
Of course, it is definitional that thought and consciousness are different from matter. To say that thought is material is the same as saying that two equals three. But so filled with hatred and will to power are many of today’s ideological materialists that I do not consider it impossible that some day in the not distant future, just as O’Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four demanded that Winston Smith on pain of horrible tortures say that two fingers were three fingers, the materialists will strap us into a chair and command us on pain of torture to say that consciousness is material. Not only that, they will do so in the name of love, since, from their point of view, anyone who says there is a non-material reality is a hater and enemy of mankind.