On-Line Debate

Round 2B

An online debate between
Walter ReMine (creationist/Intelligent Design theorist)
and Dave Thomas (evolutionist).





"Comparisons of molecules (proteins, DNA) of various species
provide independent and compelling support
for the hypothesis of biological macro-evolution"

By Walter ReMine (Response #2 of 3)




Biologic Universals are complex traits possessed by all, or virtually all, lifeforms. They're abundant biochemically, including:

  • DNA>RNA>protein, tri-nucleotide genetic-code, left-handed amino-acids, bi-layered phosphatide cell-membrane.[1]
  • alpha-bonded amino-acids, ribosomes, limited 20 amino-acid subset from thousands
  • Ubiquitin.[2]
  • ATP, biotin, riboflavin, hemes, pyridoxin, folic acid, vitamins B12 and K.[3]

Among them, known exceptions to perfect universality are relatively rare (~several dozen); isolated (not forming substantial lineages of exceptions); and puncture evolutionists' genetic-code "frozen accident" story.

"Biologic Universals" were central evidence for evolution in Dobzhansky's notoriously-titled paper[3]. (Similarly, my debate opponent, Dave Thomas, claims "molecules were in perfect accord with evolutionary expectations".) But Nobel-laureate Francis Crick contradicts:

"Such an astonishing degree of [biochemical] uniformity was hardly suspected as little as forty years ago"[4]

Evolution never predicted biomolecular unity! Ironically, the data compels evolutionists to reject these traits as too complex for earliest life! Evolutionists claim many lifeforms completely lacking the known biologic universals must have existed on Earth![5,6] Some evolutionists suggest those other lifeforms "are indeed all around us"![5,6] Moreover, considering macroevolution's many mechanisms, there's no reason yeast and elephants should share any similarities. (See my essay-#1:Table-1:E4/E5/E11/E13/E14)

Thomas notes that yeast "function just fine" with human cytochrome-c engineered into them - he claims there are "untold trillions" of other "perfectly functional" combinations. Likewise, origin-of-life theorists (to make naturalistic origins more probable) claim there's countless other workable life-arrangements unlike known-life. Some evolutionists claim multiple-origins of distinct lifeforms must have occurred,[7,8] or came from Space! Given such latitude in workable molecules/arrangements, this is another reason why biomolecular unity is unexpected from evolution.

Evolution doesn't predict biomolecular unity, if anything it predicts the opposite! This dilemma was obscured, because evolutionists claimed bio-transformation and bio-genesis are separate/unrelated problems.[9]

Message Theory claims lifeforms are designed to look like products of one designer - and only biomolecular unity can broadly accomplish that. There's no better way to unify diverse organisms - yeast and elephant. Putting tusks on yeast doesn't work! Moreover, biomolecular unity simultaneously contradicts evolution. In both respects, it supports Message Theory! If there exists even one endemic living species dis-associated from our life-system, then Message Theory would be refuted - Message Theory is testable - macroevolution isn't.[10]


Plants make cellulose. Then fungi and microorganisms digest it with complex forms of "cellulase" enzyme-systems.

Generally, multicellular-animals don't have cellulase, so cannot digest cellulose. Instead, herbivores prolong digestion long enough for microorganism symbionts to digest the cellulose - then the animal digests the symbionts. Anti-creationists raised this issue, noting the panda is only 17% efficient at assimilating bamboo. It's bad design, they said, a good designer would've endowed herbivores with proper enzymes![11]

A theory is especially potent when it turns critical objections into corroborating evidence. Message Theory does that.

We're concerned about planetary de-forestation, so consider the consequences if most higher-animals could efficiently convert forests into progeny - catastrophe for the system. Therefore, a designer should protect plants from limitless overgrazing. Multicellular animals' inability to efficiently digest cellulose is one-facet of ecological balance for the system.

This simultaneously resists evolutionary explanation - (another goal of Message Theory) - because natural selection cannot look-ahead to benefit the system. Cellulose is Earth's most abundant food compound, so cellulase would evolutionarily benefit practically any individual, and selection cannot coherently discriminate against such individuals. So why are these enzymes not nearly universal in multicellular-animals? Evolutionists glibly explain origins of hearts, brains, and hemoglobin; so what deterred evolution from Earth's most abundant food-source?![12] This shows evolutionary theory has no coherent structure.

 Relatively few multicellular-animals have cellulase, and even fewer have all components of a complete efficient cellulase system - so complete freedom from reliance on symbionts is exceptional. These various uncommon cellulase components are dispersed among extremely variegated taxonomic groups,[12] where they pose further problems for evolutionists to explain their repeated origins and loss!


Multi-gene-families display peculiar patterns unexplainable by ordinary evolution. The genes allegedly evolve "in concert," making similar changes to different genes - as though choreographed together. Evolutionists embrace this peculiar macroevolutionary explanation - called "concerted evolution" - based on patterns in living organisms. It isn't demonstrated over macroevolutionary-scales.

The alleged mechanism involves repeated, highly-fortuitous occurrences of gene conversion and/or unequal crossing-over (at precise locations!), followed by successful substitution. These improbable events wouldn't likely produce the observed patterns. However, these same mechanisms would: confound biomolecular clocks; aggravate error catastrophe; and be yet another reason why evolution doesn't predict hierarchy.

The so-called "concerted" pattern is unified and 'choreographed' - as from one designer - and simultaneously problematic for evolutionists - thus supporting Message Theory.


If human cytochrome-c had been "totally unlike the chimp's" - and instead like some other human gene - then evolutionists would simply say the gene was duplicated and co-opted for new purposes. Evolutionists often use such explanations. Yet Thomas claimed this would "severely challenge" evolution!

Even more potent 'explanations' exist. If the discordant gene were like:

  • combined portions from two separate genes - unequal crossing-over, transposons, gene conversion, hybridization
  • any DNA/RNA from any co-existent organism - Transposition
  • de-activated-DNA (from presumed distant ancestors), re-activated - Atavism

In short, identical-ness between any genetic-sequences anywhere in the biosphere, gives potential for speedy evolutionary 'explanation.' Evolutionists have incredible explanatory flexibility. They need only match-up an observed similarity/identity with some 'explanation.' Evolution doesn't predict hierarchy for cytochrome-c or anything else. Thomas is wrong.

Moreover, to resist those explanations, bio-sequences are distributed throughout the useable bio-sequence-space in particular ways (while simultaneously supporting the other goals of Message Theory). As one measure of success, notice evolutionists relatively rarely invoke the above mechanisms to explain large-scale biomolecular patterns. In this way, biomolecular patterns resist evolution's most potent explanations.


Thomas claims biomolecules are "independent" evidence. He's mistaken. Biomolecules don't stand-alone; instead they're compared (even by Thomas) with morphological/fossil data to interpret their meaning. They aren't independent.

Moreover, he falsely implies Message Theory must be judged on biomolecular comparisons alone. But Message Theory successfully resists common-descent because real, clear-cut ancestors are systematically absent from biomolecular patterns - and especially from fossils. So-called "convergences" (abundant at morphological, embryological, and biomolecular levels) further thwarts observers' attempts to impose ancestors onto life. Gradualism is systematically absent. Message Theory predicts these patterns.


Everything Thomas charged against Message Theory is false; founded upon his thoroughly erroneous representations of it. Message Theory does not explain biodiversity through appeals to "creativity." Also, Message Theory asserts several design goals simultaneously - not one goal in isolation. Attempt to think-up some hypothetical life-system satisfying the simultaneous goals clearly better than known-life does. If it's easier said than done, then Message Theory passes a worthy test - Message Theory predicts and explains life's major patterns.

Thomas claims biomolecules are "compelling" due to "repeated concordance" of hierarchies. He's mistaken. First, discordance at a given level is arbitrarily discounted or re-interpreted as so-called "convergence/parallelism" - similarities that cannot be explained by common-descent! This is profound 'signal,' which evolutionists ignore as essentially meaningless.

"Clarification of the phylogenetic relationships of the major animal phyla has been an elusive problem, with analyses based on different genes and even different analyses based on the same genes yielding a diversity of phylogenetic trees."[13]

"Congruence between molecular phylogenies...is as elusive as it is in morphology"[14]

Parallelism "is rampant at both the morphological and the chemical level."[15]

Second, discordance often occurs between levels.

"In our opinion cases where there is severe incongruence between chemical and morphological data do exist and such cases do pose both fundamental and practical problems for taxonomists."[16]


After arbitrarily filtering-out discordance, evolutionists are left with so-called "repeated concordance" - wording that considerably mis-states the situation. Nonetheless, there's some substantial concordance. What does it mean?

Syvanen promotes Transposition for solving evolution's serious problems with convergence and fossils.[17,18,19] He acknowledges many evolutionists disagree with him because if different macromolecules yield the same hierarchy, "then the occurrence of cross-species gene transfer must be unlikely."![19] Transposition would scramble hierarchies, therefore, hierarchies are powerful evidence against Transposition! (Syvanen attempts to make his Transposition theory compatible with hierarchy - a back-bending move that hasn't convinced most evolutionists.)

Remarkably, Transposition is the only mechanism for which Thomas cites large-scale experimental demonstrations. It would seem evolutionists' beliefs are inverse to their demonstration! Recapitulation, common-descent, "convergence," and "Concerted Evolution," (all lacking large-scale demonstrations) were embraced wholesale, while Transposition is largely rejected - all this based on pattern. Absences of demonstration or plausible mechanism hardly ever stopped evolutionists - they are moved more by pattern.

Therefore, the systematic absence of Transposition patterns (at all levels in macro-organisms) is profound 'signal' (predicted by Message Theory!). But evolutionists disregard it as meaningless.


Thomas cites an experiment that successfully deduced branching-points for nine strains of mutating viruses. But the loss/replacement/drift rates and divergence-time did not reflect fossil-organisms. If these values weren't within narrow ranges (influenced/chosen by researchers!), results wouldn't have been impressive. Also, it was microevolution - and evolutionary theory provides no structure for extrapolating to macroevolution; indeed punctuationists insist these are substantially different processes.[20] Lastly, interfering processes - such as Transposition, Atavism, and Concerted Evolution - were omitted. Thus this experiment carries little weight - it assumes-away any interfering factors, and assumes-true the very things Thomas attempts to prove.

For similar reasons, his examples of human paternity-detection merely "one generation removed" are even less relevant.



[1] Wilson, J. H. 1983, "The Origin of Life," in Did the Devil Make Darwin do it?: Modern Perspectives on the Creation-Evolution Controversy, Wilson, D.B.(editor), p 87-90

[2] Margulis and Sagan, 1986, Origins of Sex, p119

[3] Dobzhansky, T., 1973, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution," American Biology Teacher, Vol.-35

[4] Crick, F., 1981, Life Itself, p47

[5] Cairns-Smith, A.G., 1985, Seven Clues to the Origin of Life, p91, 100, 107

[6] Shapiro, R., 1986, Origins: A Skeptic's Guide, p186, 207, 293

[7] Woese, C., 2002, "On the evolution of Cells," PNAS, Vol.-99, Issue-13, 8742-8747

[8] Dyson, F., 1985, Origins of Life, p27

[9] U.S. District-Judge Overton, W.R., 1982, "McLean v. Arkansas, Opinion" part-IV(B)

[10] ReMine, Walter J., 1993, The Biotic Message: Evolution versus Message Theory, St. Paul Science/publishers, P.O. Box 28006, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55128, ISBN 0-9637999-0-8, http://www1.minn.net/~science

[11] Sonleitner, 1991, What's Wrong with Pandas? A Closeup Look at Creationist Scholarship," ~250 pages, NCSE

[12] Watanabe, H., and Tokuda, G., "Animal cellulases," Cell.Mol Life Sci. 58(2001)1167-1178

[13] Lynch, M., 1999, "The Age and Relationships of the Major Animal Phyla," Evolution, 53(1999);319-325, p323

[14] Patterson, C., et al, "Homology in Classical and Molecular Biology," Molecular Biology and Evolution 5(1988), pp.603-625

[15] Joysey, 1980, "Principles and Practice in Chemosystematics: a Summing Up," in Chemosystematics: Principles and Practice, Bisby et al,(editors), p 420

[16] Harris and Bisby, 1980, "Classification from Chemical Data," in Chemosystematics: Principles and Practice, Bisby, F.A, et al,(editors), p308

[17] Syvanen and Kado/editors, 2002, Horizontal Gene Transfer, 2nd-Edition

[18] Syvanen, M., 1986, "Cross-species gene transfer: a major factor in evolution?" Trends in Genetics, March, p63-66.

[19] Syvanen, M., 1987, "Molecular Clocks and Evolutionary Relationships: Possible Distortions Due to Horizontal Gene Flow," Journal Molecular Evolution, 26:16-23

 [20] Gould, S.J., 2002, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.


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