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How do things know how to evolve? (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (How do things know how to evolve? (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CB941:

How do things know how to evolve? For example, how do plants know what flavor of berries to evolve so the birds will eat and disperse them? How does a coconut tree know there is an ocean nearby?

Source: "Roadking1576", 2003 (Aug. 20). Got a question. Talk.origins post, Message-ID: <20030819222202.05573.00000213@mb-m16.aol.com>


CreationWiki response:

NOTE: Talk.Origins is not quoted because we do not agree with this argument anyway, and pasting their arguments against it would not serve any purpose

The amusing thing about this claim is that the poster who made this claim was obvious unaware of the creationist position. In fact, creationists hypothesize that organisms do in fact know how to "evolve", for a limited usage of the term "evolve". The process is termed Natural Genetic Engineering or genomic modularity, and it allows organisms to adapt their genomes to the environment.

However, this type of "evolution" is restricted to the constraints of the organism -- the reworking of the genome still has to make sense in the context of the rest of the genome and the structure of the organism. This allows significant variability within a created kind, but maintains a unity within the created kind.

There are many instances of this. One of them is C3/C4 photosynthesis. In many plants, both mechanisms are fully coded for, but the existence of a promoter region will activate one or both of them. Thus, our genes likely have many adaptations "ready-to-go" in times of heavy environmental stress. In addition, genomes can manufacture certain new genes in response to nature. For a great example of this in action, the Nylon bug makes a great example. This bacteria was able to manufacture a new set of proteins to digest nylon. Yet, despite having a very adaptive genome and a very fast reproduction rate, this bacteria is still just as uniquely identifiable as when it was first discovered.

This is not to say that all genomic changes are like this. Creationists agree that random mutations occur. However, on the whole, random mutations are deleterious to life. In addition, the adaptive mechanisms are not as powerful as they have been in the past due to such mutations. For young-earth creationists, the period of the richest diversification was immediately following the global flood. The environmental pressures of the lack of food and the onset of the ice age caused very rapid diversification.

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