Chuck asked for a layman's explanation of Genomicus' position, and who better to do that than another layman? If this should be spun off into a Peanut Gallery thread, or even just a new parallel thread, I'd be happy to do that as well. As I said, I'm a layman, and though I think I understand the gist of what everyone is saying, any points I get wrong are due to my own misunderstanding, and corrections are welcome.
Essentially, Genomicus seems to be saying that evolution, as we know and love it, is correct, but is not the whole picture. He seems to think that some undefined designer created the first living creature with DNA that contained the instructions for functions or organs that would be necessary in the future, but that were not necessary at the time. (In other words, these functions were front-loaded.)
There seems to be two major issues with this idea that have been brought up by many posters on this thread. Now, before anyone accuses the evolutionists of being unfair to Genomicus, I feel I should point out that this is how science works. When someone has a new idea, it gets proposed, then the rest of the scientific community tries to tear the idea a new one. If the person who proposed the hypothesis (not theory) cannot answer these problems, either the hypothesis is wrong, and needs to be either changed or thrown out, or the proposer does not sufficiently understand the proposal or the consequences of the proposal. Either way, the proposer needs to go back and do more work.
The two problems in Genomicus' hypothesis are, basically, 1) mutation and 2) verification.
1) He admits that most of evolution happens via mutation and natural selection. The problem is, what mechanism does he propose that would shield these front-loaded genes, or protogenes from mutations that would make them unusable in the thousands or millions of years before they are needed? Secondly, does he have any evidence for this mechanism?
He seems to try to get around this issue by saying that these protogenes would do something different in the original life forms until they are changed to do what they are needed to do in later life. Again, by what mechanism does the geneome ensure the right mutation to change the gene in question, at the right time, to make it do the funtion it was front0loaded for, and does he have any evidence for it?
2) The second problem is verification. For a new hypothesis to be taken seriously, it needs to predict something that an established theory doesn't. So far, everything he's proposed support his idea and evolution as we know it equally well. What he needs is something that evolution doesn't predict, and can't be explained by a slight tweaking of evolutionary theory.
It doesn't matter which order Genomicus answers the two problems listed above, because either one of them, unanswered, is enough to discount the idea, however, it would seem that solving problem one (finding a mechanism to avoid or direct mutation) would solve problem two.
Is this a sufficiently "layman" description, and perhaps more importantly, am I correct in my basic description of the debate?