Archive for September, 2009
In principle, probabilities smaller than 1 over 1,050 are thought of as having a zero probability. Since an average-sized protein molecule is composed of 288 amino acids with 12 different types of amino acids, this protein can be arranged in 10,300 different ways, which is 10 followed by 300 zeros. Since 10,300 far exceeds 1,050, the probability of the formation of only one protein molecule by random chance is zero. Molecular biologist Harold Blum concludes that from the mathematical perspective, probability of a protein autonomously assimilating by chance is zero:
“The spontaneous formation of a polypeptide of the size of the smallest known proteins seems beyond all probability.”
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin concurs with Blum in the larger context,
“Mere chance, as we may call it, might cause one variety to differ in some character from its parents, and the offspring of this variety again to differ from its parent in the very same character and in a greater degree; but this alone would never account for so habitual and large a degree of difference as that between the species of the same genus.”
A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial, according to its producer.
The film entitled Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s “struggle between faith and reason” as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.
The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere this Sunday, September 20. Creation was developed by BBC Films and the UK Film Council. US distributors, however, have resolutely passed on the film. The film has sparked fierce debate because of Darwin’s known influence on the wave of twentieth century social engineering struggles, and more simply, the convergence physical of evidence has failed to support Darwin’s theory after 150 years.
Movieguide.org, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as “a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder”. His “half-baked theory” directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to “atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering”, the site stated. According to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.
Had pre-production marketing not been so far off-target, Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, would not have been so stunned and left wondering why “People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.”
Last impressions can be quite different from first impressions. Take Darwin’s first and last impression of the Galapagós Islands as an example.
Initially, the islands were far from fascinating: “Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance. A broken field of black basaltic lava, thrown into the most rugged waves, and crossed by great fissures, is everywhere covered by stunted, sunburnt brushwood, which shows little signs of life.”
After 35 days on the island, however, Darwin gathered a range of specimens. The collection of specimens included tortoises, some weighing up to 500 pounds; iguanas—and the finches “mingled together.”
With surveying nearing completion and Captain FitzRoy ready to set sail, Darwin’s time on the islands was running out. Lamenting the brief stay, Darwin wrote a consolatory perspective: “It is the fate of every voyager, when he has just discovered what object in any place is more particularly worthy of his attention, to be hurried from it.”
Wondering—what impression Darwin would have on his theory of evolution today?
With the evaporation of the Central Dogma of evolution, there has been a resurgencent interest in Charles Darwin’s forerunner, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and the Lamarckian theory of evolution. Epigenetics and Larmackian experimentalists are the new trend.
Darwin was on target stating, “Lamarck, who believed in an innate and inevitable tendency towards perfection in all organic beings, seems to have felt this difficulty so strongly that he was led to suppose that new and simple forms are continually being produced by spontaneous generation. Science has not as yet proved the truth of this belief.”