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Author Topic:   Simultaneous Evolution?
sac51495
Member (Idle past 2330 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 1 of 42 (574110)
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


Although I don't necessarily plan to get really into this discussion, I would like to start this discussion up and hope that some discussion will ensue.

The topic name - simultaneous evolution - indicates that this is to be a discussion of those characteristics that we see in the world around us which are mutually supportive of one another, and necessary to one another. The question is this: how would these things evolve in the world of an evolutionist?

For example, take the second most important chemical in cells (second perhaps to proteins) - deoxy-ribonucleic acid. Without this chemical - which is the information base of the cell - no life could be expected to carry on, because there would be no way of creating proteins, nor of reproduction. But is DNA the only necessary chemical for the creating of proteins in a cell? Ribonucleic acid is equally as important. It's primary distinction from DNA is (unless I'm remembering wrong) that it has the nucleotide uracil, whereas DNA has the nucleotide thymine instead. RNA is also comprised of a single strand, while DNA is comprised of two.

So here we have two chemicals working together to create something, with DNA being the information, while RNA can be seen as the language interpreter.

So where does the problem arise? Well, information is useless unless it is organized into a form in which it can be made useful. I could write "qbcab, sei8bj - eisligh", and tell you that that was information, but unless it is organized into a recognizable form, or a workable form, it is entirely useless. RNA serves this function in a cell, by "interpreting" the information in the DNA, and translating it so that it can be useful, through the correct sequencing of amino acids to form proteins to be used in the cells for various functions...

But DNA (information) is completely useless, that is unless it has RNA (the language interpreter). But RNA serves no function unless there is DNA (information) to be interpreted.

So the question is this: why, or how, could information (DNA) and an interpreter (RNA) conveniently arise at the same time so that they can be useful to one another? Aside from the obvious complications of forming information by itself, there is the extreme difficulty of getting an "interpreter" (RNA) to arise at the same time...Without RNA, DNA is completely and utterly useless, even if it is organized in such a way that it contains information, and RNA is completely and utterly useless unless DNA is present.

So:

(1) - Neither DNA or RNA by themselves would have any "survival value" whatsoever.

(2) - You still have the complication of getting the DNA to be organized in a useful way in the first place.

(3) - You also have to have a cytoplasm in which the RNA can use the information to synthesize proteins.

(4) - ...I'd be glad for some other people to think of more difficulties that would be brought about by this example.


There are other examples of "simultaneous evolution" in this world that are difficult to deal with, but I will not list them now, though I may in a later post. If anyone else can think of any other example of simultaneous evolution that they think are very good examples, please share them, for our mutual enlightenment.


"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my motherís womb." - (Psalm 139:13)


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Message 2 of 42 (574126)
08-14-2010 7:38 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Simultaneous Evolution? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
nwr
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From: Geneva, Illinois
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(2)
Message 3 of 42 (574137)
08-14-2010 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


sac51495 writes:
So here we have two chemicals working together to create something, with DNA being the information, while RNA can be seen as the language interpreter.

Whether or not DNA is information, is actually a contentious question. I am one of those who prefers to not consider it information.

If I look inside the gear box of my car, I can see gear wheels with cogs. It seems to me that saying "DNA is information" is comparable with saying that the cogs are information.

The DNA is part of a physical causal process, just as are the cogs on that gear wheel. We normally think of information as abstract, and as separated from its uses. DNA lacks that abstractness aspect.

As I said, the issue is contentious. I don't expect my comments above to settle anything. I made those comments to indicate the kind of disagreements that you will find.

As for RNA, it is my impression that there are places where RNA is used without DNA. There seems to be a consensus that RNA probably arose before DNA in the history of early life (or early pre-life). And then there's the possibility that early proto-life forms did not depend on either DNA or RNA.

All of this is, of course, related to the question of abiogenesis (the formation of life from non-life). It is very much an unsettled area of science, so you probably won't find definitive answers.

Here are my own current view on possibilities for the formation of early life on earth (in no particular order):

1: Early proto-life forms emerged from the chemical soup, and possibly did not depend on DNA or RNA, with the use of those evolving later;

2: Panspermia - life on earth arrived from elsewhere. However, this only shifts the problem to somewhere other than earth. There is the possibility that life always existed in the universe, so never needed to emerge. However, that seems to be incompatible with current ideas in cosmology.

3: Divine creation.


This message is a reply to:
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ringo
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From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
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(1)
Message 4 of 42 (574179)
08-14-2010 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


sac51495 writes:

So the question is this: why, or how, could information (DNA) and an interpreter (RNA) conveniently arise at the same time so that they can be useful to one another?


That's kinda like asking how a car's engine and fan could arise at the same time. The engine is needed to turn the fan and the fan is needed to cool the engine. You're saying that neither would work without the other.

The answer, of course, is that they both existed before they came together in one system. Fans were used for ventilating mines and engines were cooled by convection. They both had other uses and were independent of each other.


Life is like a Hot Wheels car. Sometimes it goes behind the couch and you can't find it.
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jar
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Joined: 04-20-2004
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Message 5 of 42 (574183)
08-14-2010 1:47 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ringo
08-14-2010 1:35 PM


Also, there is no indications yet that they evolved together. It's entirely possible that one (likely RNA) evolved before the other.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Dr Jack
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Posts: 3506
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 6 of 42 (574186)
08-14-2010 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


So here we have two chemicals working together to create something, with DNA being the information, while RNA can be seen as the language interpreter.

Both these statements are only true to the same extent that "the sun is a bit like a campfire" is true. And your reasoning is akin to you referring to God as "our father" and me going "WTF?!? God had sex with my mum?" - it's taking a metaphor used to simplify and explain, and treating it as reality.


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sac51495
Member (Idle past 2330 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 7 of 42 (574187)
08-14-2010 2:36 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by nwr
08-14-2010 9:08 AM


Exclusively chemical?
nwr,

I am one of those who prefers to not consider [DNA] information.

And I also consider the statement you just made to contain no information...following your logic that is.

Information in language is formed by the correct sequencing of letters...If I write "het sargs si rnege", I have written no information, whereas if I unscrambled it, it contains information: "the grass is green".

Information in DNA is formed by the correct sequencing of nucleotide bases, which are sequenced just in the correct way that sections of the DNA can be copied in order to form various proteins. All of the instructions for the makeup of your body - eye color, nose length, skin color, etc. - are contained in a single strand of DNA, in each of your cells. How is this not information? I guess you'd better go tell all the information scientists that study DNA that they need not bother because DNA isn't really information, if indeed you are correct.


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sac51495
Member (Idle past 2330 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 8 of 42 (574188)
08-14-2010 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ringo
08-14-2010 1:35 PM


Ringo,

The answer, of course, is that they both existed before they came together in one system. Fans were used for ventilating mines and engines were cooled by convection. They both had other uses and were independent of each other.

And before DNA and RNA were brought together in one system, DNA was used for....? And RNA was used for....?


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Blue Jay
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Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(2)
Message 9 of 42 (574189)
08-14-2010 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


Hi, Sac.

sac51495 writes:

But DNA (information) is completely useless, that is unless it has RNA (the language interpreter).

This part of your argument is plausible. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but let's assume you're right that DNA cannot function without RNA.

-----

sac51495 writes:

But RNA serves no function unless there is DNA (information) to be interpreted.

This part or your argument, however, is clearly inaccurate.

RNA and DNA both do pretty much exactly the same thing. RNA stores information just like DNA does, and it stores that exact same information. Dividing the two "roles" of the molecules into "information storage" and "information interpretation" is just playing with words, like Mr Jack said.

RNA does not really require the presence of DNA to function. RNA can store information in the same way that DNA does. In fact, there is a common type of virus that uses RNA to store information: the retrovirus.

The "RNA World Hypothesis" is the idea that RNA was doing its thing long before DNA came on the scene. And, RNA seems fully capable of living up to the hype. With such a hypothesis as this, Abiogenesis proponents have essentially discredited this entire issue of simultaneous evolution/irreducible complexity that you raise here.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 13963
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 10 of 42 (574196)
08-14-2010 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:39 PM


sac51495 writes:

And before DNA and RNA were brought together in one system, DNA was used for....? And RNA was used for....?


It doesn't matter what they were "used for". The point that negates your argument is the fact that they could both exist and have the same chemical behaviour as they do now but without "working together". The parts of a system do not have to develop at the same time.


Life is like a Hot Wheels car. Sometimes it goes behind the couch and you can't find it.
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Dr Adequate
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Message 11 of 42 (574201)
08-14-2010 4:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:38 AM


RNA can store information just like DNA can. And it can act as an enzyme, catalyzing (for example) the production of more RNA (see here, for example).

This has lead some to postulate an "RNA world" of organisms which didn't use RNA. This is somewhat supported by the fact that a lot of the most basic nuts and bolts of the process of making proteins consist of RNA enzymes such as tRNA and rRNA.

---

However, if you really want to know about what you call "simultaneous evolution" you ought to look at something that would show up in the fossil record; that way you'd be exposed to more certain facts and fewer mere plausible conjectures.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5544
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 12 of 42 (574209)
08-14-2010 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by sac51495
08-14-2010 2:36 PM


Re: Exclusively chemical?
sac51495 writes:
And I also consider the statement you just made to contain no information...following your logic that is.

That's obviously false. If you had considered it to contain no information, then you would not have responded.

sac51495 writes:
Information in language is formed by the correct sequencing of letters...

That's a bit simplistic. For example, it ignores the role of semantics.

sac51495 writes:
If I write "het sargs si rnege", I have written no information, ...

It takes a bit more effort, but I could read that without any difficulty. If you had also scrambled the word order, that might have made it more difficult.

sac51495 writes:
Information in DNA is formed by the correct sequencing of nucleotide bases, which are sequenced just in the correct way that sections of the DNA can be copied in order to form various proteins.

Information in a gearbox is encoded in the correct sequencing of the cogs on a gear wheel, which are sequenced to that they mesh with the cogs on the next wheel in just the right way. You can see how well the paraphrase works. And if you don't actually think those cogs as part of an information sequence, then perhaps you can see why your parallel argument carries no persuasive force.

sac51495 writes:
All of the instructions for the makeup of your body - eye color, nose length, skin color, etc. - are contained in a single strand of DNA, in each of your cells. How is this not information?

The statement is factually incorrect. The DNA is used to generate proteins, and the makeup of the body is not entirely protein.

We use the word "information" in many different ways. Yes, DNA can be considered information in one particular way of using the term. The structure of a snow crystal can be considered information in another use.

The term "information", as it applies to human language, is very different from "information" as applied to DNA. In most ordinary use of "information", we are using it in the sense in which it applies to language. ID proponents like to conflate those different meanings of "information", but it is a mistake to do so.


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Message 13 of 42 (574211)
08-14-2010 5:50 PM


Moderator Ruling
A discussion about whether DNA is information, or contains information, or represents information, could be very interesting.

But in order to keep discussion on-topic, in this thread only please assume that DNA contains information.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

    
jar
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Posts: 29748
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 14 of 42 (574213)
08-14-2010 6:08 PM


sac51495 writes:

Well, information is useless unless it is organized into a form in which it can be made useful.

Fortunately life does not depend on everything being useful so even if that was true or relevant it has nothing to do with life or "Simultaneous Evolution". Life depends on something not being so bad that it kills the critter before it can reproduce.

sac51495 writes:

So the question is this: why, or how, could information (DNA) and an interpreter (RNA) conveniently arise at the same time so that they can be useful to one another?

As pointed out before, there is no reason to think that is what happened.

sac51495 writes:

(1) - Neither DNA or RNA by themselves would have any "survival value" whatsoever.

Doesn't matter. As long as they did not hinder reproduction all is fine.

sac51495 writes:

(2) - You still have the complication of getting the DNA to be organized in a useful way in the first place.

Not at all. Again, that is the beauty of evolution. There can be lots and lots of stuff that is not useful. When something though just happens to get arranged by chance in a useful way, it gets kept.

sac51495 writes:

(3) - You also have to have a cytoplasm in which the RNA can use the information to synthesize proteins.

No, we have that now but that does not mean that we always did or that it was needed.

sac51495 writes:

(4) - ...I'd be glad for some other people to think of more difficulties that would be brought about by this example.

So far I haven't really seen a problem. Did you have one in mind?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
  
sac51495
Member (Idle past 2330 days)
Posts: 176
From: Atlanta, GA, United States
Joined: 04-02-2010


Message 15 of 42 (575761)
08-21-2010 12:55 AM


RNA World?

RNA World...

Dr. Adequate referred to an RNA world as hypothetical; it is just that. The postulation of an RNA World reminds me somewhat of Dean Kenyon's co-authoring of Biochemical Predestination (with Gary Steinman). This was a postulation that certain amino acids had an attraction to other particular amino acids. And these attractions were such that when the amino acids connected to one another, they were automatically sequenced in the correct way so that proteins were formed (it must be noted that amino acids must be sequenced precisely the right way in order to form a protein). So this hypothesis would make possible (and really, unavoidable) the formation of complex proteins in a primeval pond. At the time, it appeared as though this could happen, but there was absolutely no evidence that it did happen. Dean Kenyon went on to reject his own hypothesis, and become a prominent YEC and an ID proponent.

This anecdote demonstrates the difference between postulation and empirically-based claims. One may postulate that there is a remote possibility of something occurring, or they may make claims backed by evidence. There is indeed a difference. The way that both "biochemical predestination" and an "RNA world" come across to me is as a person saying that they "know" that something (evolution perhaps) is true, and then they formulate every hypothesis necessary to describe parts of the world that the original theory fails to explain. But the only evidence that backs these hypotheses is the "fact" that evolution (yes, this is somewhat generalized) occurred. But this is obviously not good evidence.

Dr. Adequate mentioned that "a lot of the most basic nuts and bolts of the process of making proteins consist of RNA enzymes such as tRNA and rRNA". This is indeed true, but it does not support the notion that RNA, in and of itself, can carry out all of the necessary functions for life, including reproduction. It has indeed been shown that certain types of RNA have the ability to act as enzymes; but in cells nowadays, we never have RNA that acts completely independently of DNA. Typically, mRNA gets information for amino acid sequencing (this is slightly generalized) from the DNA, and then tRNA and rRNA may act as catalyzers [sic] for the process of protein synthesis. To summarize, we do not see in vivo any evidence of an "RNA world". But some people have been able to make RNA perform numerous functions under perfect conditions. This is analogous (credit for this analogy is given to Hubert Yockey) to building a roof for a house, in order that the walls and then finally the foundation can be built without worry of being rained on - because after all, there is a roof to cover you...In like manner, a biochemist can construct the perfect conditions for RNA, and then hypothesize the formation of all the parts we see in vivo.

And here are a few generalized postulates necessary to an RNA world, postulates which the hypothesis does not prove (of course), borrowed from (who else?) Dean Kenyon:

1. - There was a prebiotic pool of beta-D-ribonucleotides.

2. - Beta-D ribonucleotides spontaneously form polymers linked together by 3', 5'-phosphodiester linkages

3. - A polyribonucleotide (i.e. RNA molecule), once formed, would have the catalytic activity to replicate itself, and a population of such self-replicating molecules could arise.

4. - Self-replicating RNA molecules would have all of the catalytic activities necessary to sustain a ribo-organism.


Bluejay mentioned viruses that contain RNA as a storage of information. But this provides no evidence of the hypothetical RNA world, because the RNA in a virus absolutely cannot be used in and of itself to produce anything: viruses are, by definition, not life, because in order to reproduce, they must use the DNA of culprit cells. Note that we still do not have a case of RNA performing any sort of reproduction independent of DNA: an RNA world is purely in vitro, not in vivo. Not to mention the fact that we know relatively little about RNA in vitro.


If there is one term I hate, it is the term "science" used in reference to historical hypotheses. Science is the investigation of the world through data gathered, experimentation, etc., while historical "science" (ugh) really amounts to nothing less than randomly conjectured hypotheses that have no basis in the world we see around us. We don't see evolution in the world around us (talking about the present). Rather, if evidence is brought, the evidence is confined exclusively to the possibility that evolution could provide a plausible, naturalistic explanation for the world around us. I would actually disagree with even this, but besides the fact that evolution - in and of itself - is incredibly controversial, you still must deal with the problem that evolution deals primarily with possibilities, possibilities that involve such postulates as as the existence of a biologically-suited, primeval pond, rich with just the right chemicals (for some of which there is no plausible explanation as to how they could have condensed so close to the sun) to produce amino acids, which are formed by being struck by lightning (another hypothesis), which then interact with ribozymes to be formed into chains of amino acids, which then (through a complex process) form small clumps of RNA, which eventually produce more and more of themselves so as to form longer, and more suitable, RNA strands, which can eventually catalyze the synthesis of proteins, eventually forming a cell....

Okay, maybe my sequencing of events was not perfect, but please notice something about all of this: besides from some difficulties with the actual steps, one must realize that the steps are mere possibilities (if that), and really only serve as an escape device for evolutionists.

Edited by sac51495, : typo

Edited by sac51495, : No reason given.


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