Explaining Biological Processes Using Unscientific Language.

mitotic spindleAs I have noted in other posts, I greatly admire Deb and Dee over at The Wartburg Watch (TWW) because they are good examples of thoughtful Christians. Among many things, Deb and Dee are pro-science and are concerned at the level of ignorance in conservative communities.

One of the pet peeves is the fear and ignorance surrounding the theory of evolution.  I am thinking about writing a column  for them and here that will be themed “Explaining Biological Processes using proper unscientific English.

First, I will introduce a concept.

Next, I will explain the process using unscientific English but I will also introduce the reader to some vocab with simple explanations.

Finally, I will put the concept into context within which the concept becomes of some significance to most people

Here is an example of DNA replication and how homologous genes supports evolution.

I am a Biologist

I am also a Christian

I also firmly believe that life evolved from common ancestry.

I need to refresh myself with respect to Venema’s writings but based upon what Lyn wrote, it looks like he has focused on molecular genetics particularly the sameness of the genome of different species.

The same-ness of the DNA between species is called homology.
Things that are shared by almost everything is called deep homology.
Another term you will see is “conserved.”
Everything uses DNA or RNA to encode its information in order for it to be passed down to the next generation. Almost everything uses DNA to pass the directions onto the next generation Almost everything transcribes RNA from a template of DNA when it is time to make something the organism needs (protein) The only exception is retroviruses (Like HIV) that uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to use RNA to make DNA to insert into the host DNA (likely losing people here so I’ll stop.)
So almost everything uses DNA to pass traits to the next generation
The DNA is the same no exceptions. (How amazing is that!)
The way DNA works is base-pairing (that is why the code is accurately passed on and on and on with very few mutations.)
There are four bases in DNA no more, no less. They have a complimentary base they always base pair with one another. A, T, G, C.
A is always with T
G is always with C

Always.

There are a lot of molecules that are similar to these (Look at adenine and caffeine and chocolate which is theobromine and they are almost the same but only these four bases are used.) Why? Why is this? It points to everything coming from a common ancestor that gave rise to what we have today via natural selection.

If I am helping, I’ll do another post (explaining the insulin and transcription and translation and codons but lets see, if I’m blabbering at bedtime and doing no good, I’ll just fade into the woodwork.

Next, I discuss transcription and translation using simple words.

Here you go

Transcription and translation simplified.
DNA is a long chain of bases that base-pair to form the famous double helix. It opens up and each half is used as a template during replication.
That is how instructions (everything an organism will need) is passed onto the next generation.
That is DNA’s first job.
DNA has a second job and that is to provide a template to be used to transcribe a stretch of DNA needed to make a protein. That stretch of DNA is called a gene. When the organism is ready to make protein, it needs instructions because all proteins are a long chain of building blocks called amino acids. There are twenty essential amino acids.
This is a bit complicated.
DNA is a very old molecule that, in organisms more complicated than bacteria, (eukaryotes) live in the nucleus and is protected there so it will survive.
RNA, on the other hand, isn’t expected to live longer than it needs to finish the job of making a protein.
DNA provides the template to translate the gene that is found on DNA into RNA and the RNA gets taken out of the nucleus to the cell to help make protein.
A special molecular machine called a ribosome actually does the hard work of putting the amino acids together in the correct order (which is critically important because one mistake can kill a new baby.) The RNA tells the ribosome what the correct order is. RNA does this by the order in which the bases are found on that gene. Because there are twenty amino acids and you need a start code and a stop code, you need three bases for each amino acid or stop or start. If there were only fourteen amino acids instead of twenty, we could have squeeked by with two bases for each amino acid.)
Because we have a triplicate code, there are 64 possible combinations which means there are several codes for some of the amino acids. http://barleyworld.org/sites/default/files/figure-09-08_1.jpg
Almost forgot, one difference between DNA and RNA is in RNA, the T is substituted with U. (there are reasons beyond scope.)
So, you could build an insulin protein using many combinations of triplicate codes but only the same ones are found across a diverse cohort of organisms.
This also supports common ancestry

Please send me feedback.

Advertisements

4 responses to “Explaining Biological Processes Using Unscientific Language.

  1. rdrift1879

    There are some big problems with this theory of a common ancestor. 1. The enormous lack of transitional fossils. Extremely complex and diverse forms of life appear suddenly in the fossil record. There is no evidence of a common ancestor. 2. There is no evidence that natural selection can begin to account for incredibly sophisticated structures that appear in every way to be brilliantly engineered. 3. Natural selection and mutation does not add new information that builds unique complex structures. It doesn’t happen. 4. Which came first: the information to build the complex structures of a living cell, or the living cell that produces the information?

    Why aren’t genetic similarities due to a common designer rather than a common ancestor?

  2. rdrift1879,

    Welcome to my blog! Let me know if I know you from another blog or in real life so I can contextualize you and if you stumbled upon this blog, welcome I would love to get to know you.

    We obviously hold different views on evolution but I suspect we hold similar views on the Author of life.

    Instead of refuting your views, I offer a very good list of specific points that will address the issues you raised,

    I am inclined to appreciate and welcome free expression here so please feel free to participate.

    Almost forgot the link. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/topicbrowse2.php?topic_id=46

  3. rdrift1879

    Hi Debra, I’m just a stumbler. I was sort of hoping that you would answer my questions yourself because links to articles that are designed to promote evolution never address or include problems with their views. I read through several of those links. There are stuffed with assumptions and speculation. That’s why I asked my simple questions, which these folks don’t address. There are very complete fossil layers now in China on the pre-Cambrian and Cambrian “explosion.” No transitional forms.

    Since you are looking into genetics, why not ask hard questions of what you are being told? It can’t hurt. It’s always wise to read the best arguments on both sides. Start a dialogue with Georgia Purdom, she’s a very bright lady with a doctorate in genetics, and at least hear what she has to say. I asked her about Francis Collins and the human genome project, and she was very knowledgeable and helpful.

    • Fair enough but I’m winging it but here goes…..

      There are transitional forms. Google “Tiktaalik roseae” which is a transitional species going from fish to tetrapod.

      Going to your first response,

      1. The enormous lack of transitional fossils. Extremely complex and diverse forms of life appear suddenly in the fossil record. There is no evidence of a common ancestor.

      There *are* transitional fossils they don’t exist in large numbers because, if I understand correctly, the transitional fossils exist for relatively short streches of time.

      2. There is no evidence that natural selection can begin to account for incredibly sophisticated structures that appear in every way to be brilliantly engineered.

      Natural selection selects for the feature that will afford the organism some survival or reporductive advantage allowing for the adaptation of complex structures.Also, the process isn’t quite the way it is being represented in your question.

      3. Natural selection and mutation does not add new information that builds unique complex structures. It doesn’t happen.

      It does happen. Oftentimes, structures that existed in some form before they were adapted to serve a novel purpose. An example of this is cranial sutures in reptiles that were adapted to allow for live birth in mammals and feathers that apparently evolved for something like mating display and eventually evolved for flight. Some things only evolved once and other things evolved many times throughout history.

      4. Which came first: the information to build the complex structures of a living cell, or the living cell that produces the information?

      Ahhh, now that is a juicy question but my lunch is ready and getting cold (Newton’s second law of thermodynamics) There are loads of info but noone knows or even has a good clue. Google RNA first, I am fascinated with the idea that A and T(U) may have been the first way of storing genetic information in a binary instead of triplicate code.

      Sorry for the spellos and typos and lack of flow and I want to revisit question four because it is intriguing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Loura Shares A Story

One woman strives to teach and learn via creative storytelling using visual, written, and performing arts.

Baldscientist

Biology - Research - Neuroscience - Planaria - Pharmacology - Science - Education - Autism

Prone to wander...

Sporadic blogging about a myriad of topics

Opineaway

These words are mine, please opine!

Regina Galbick

Media & Technology. Education & Art. Community & Social Justice.

neuroecology

social neuroscience, decision-making, ecology, economics: thoughts from adam j calhoun

A limey's ramblings

Notes on life and maybe even something interesting, one day.

PhD(isabled)

What it's like doing a PhD with disability or chronic illness

Wide Open Ground

The Unfundamental Conversion

Homeschoolers Anonymous

A Project of Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out

The Upside Down World

~Online home of Rebecca Trotter; a mom, author, thinker, talker, teacher, Christian and odd duck . . .

Homeschool Planet

Keeping It Real ~ Homeschool Adventures and Other Tall Tales

Maura Mulcair

Musings and stories

Becoming Worldly

Thoughts of a former Quiverfull daughter who left the fundamentalist homeschooling lifestyle, got an education, and learned a different definition of "worldly."

Wide Open Ground

The Unfundamental Mission

WHEN THE ABUSER GOES TO WORK...

An employment law blog about workplace bullying, discrimination and abuse

Leah Hope

For Those Of Us Whispering. Screaming. Sharing. Rebuilding. Broken. Clinging. With Weary Hope.

%d bloggers like this: