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Similarities in DNA and anatomy are due to common design (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Similarities in DNA and anatomy are due to common design (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 CI141:

Similarities in anatomy and DNA sequences simply reflect the fact that the organisms had the same designer.

Source: Sarfati, Jonathan, 2002. Refuting Evolution 2. Master Books, chap. 6.

CreationWiki response:

1. Different forms also (it is claimed) come from the same designer, so similar forms are not evidence of a common designer. Evidence for a designer must begin by specifying (before the fact) what is expected from the designer.

No one is claiming similar forms to be exclusively evidence of a common designer, this is simply a response to the Evolutionary claim that it is evidence of common decent.

When do we expect similar forms, and when do we expect different forms? "Intelligent design" theory will not answer that.

This is another example of "your theory doesn't work under my theory", though in a slightly different way. Talk Origins is wanting us to give a deterministic list of rules for creation. However, the very notion of agency and creativity implies that such things cannot be determined by exact rules. You cannot say "creativity does not exist because you haven't found the rules!" because finding exact rules would undermine the concept of creativity itself!

However, what we do know about designers is that designers usually design in patterns. While you can usually organize work into hierarchical patterns, they are usually not composed of strictly hierarchical patterns. That is precisely what is seen in the design.

"Convergent evolution" is just a term which indicates a pattern that doesn't follow the strict hierarchy. In the design context, in very different populations, "convergent evolution" would mean that the designer is simply applying design patterns in a way that isn't strictly hierarchical.

Evolution theory has made that prediction, and the pattern of similarities and differences that we observe accords with what evolution predicts.

Actually, what Evolution theory predicts is that similar forms are found in organisms of common ancestry, but since they use similar forms to determine common ancestry, it is Circular Reasoning to argue that this prediction fits observation.

Furthermore, Evolution theory says that similar forms come from common ancestry, and so it predicts that similar forms are produced by the same genes. This prediction is contrary to what is observed since often similar forms come from different genes.

2. There are similarities that cannot rationally be attributed to design. For example, an endogenous retroviral element (ERV) is a retrovirus (a parasite) that has become part of the genome. There are several kinds of ERVs, and they can insert themselves at random locations. Humans and chimps have thousands of such ERVs in common -- the same type of ERV at the same location in the genome (D. M. Taylor 2003).

Actually this can be rationally attributed to design, when one understands how viruses fit in to the design scheme. If viruses were designed as a DNA transfer system intended to aid adaptability, then this is to be expected. Such a virus would not insert themselves totally randomly, but in a location dictated by the existing genetic code. The result is that even unrelated organisms with similar DNA would tend to get such viruses in the same location. Furthermore deterioration caused by mutations would make it likely that insertion would be come more random over time.

This interpretation is supported by studies showing that at least some E RVs are specific in their genome integration into the genome.

The present results indicate that there are highly specific integration patterns for each endogenous retrovirus that do not readily relate to their sequence or particle classification. Each host genome may utilize these elements for contrary, and possibly beneficial functions.

Replication of retroviruses and retrotransposons depends on selecting a favorable chromosomal site for integration of their genomic DNA. Different retroelements meet this challenge by targeting distinctive chromosomal regions. Despite these differences, recent data hints at a common targeting mechanism-tethering of integration complexes to proteins bound at favorable sites.

There is also evidence based on their functions that at least ERVs could have been created in the genome.


3 The "form follows function" principle is the opposite from what we expect from known design.

This is a ridiculous statement, the form of a designed object is often dictated by its function. Other considerations may influence form as well but function is a critical issue, since form needs to be compatible with function.

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