April 23, 2011 | David F. Coppedge

Why Stuff Evolves: Not Having Stuff Would Be Terrible

The delicate yet effective choreography of DNA Damage Repair was described by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in terms of amazement: “Safeguarding genome integrity through extraordinary DNA repair.”  DNA repair is essential for health: “To prevent not only gene mutations but broken chromosomes and chromosomal abnormalities known to cause cancer, infertility, and other diseases in humans, prompt, precise DNA repair is essential.”
    But can something evolve just because it is needed?

Homologous recombination is a complex mechanism with multiple steps, but also with many points of regulation to insure accurate recombination at every stage.  This could be why this method has been favored during evolution.  The machinery that relocalizes the damaged DNA before loading Rad51 might have evolved because the consequences of not having it would be terrible.

That seems an odd way to describe evolution.  If evolution is a chance process with no goal or purpose, it would not care if something emerges or not.  How can a mindless process “favor” a method?  How would a mindless process “know” that the consequences of not having something would be terrible?  How would that motivate a non-mind to produce machinery and complex mechanisms to avoid terrible consequences?

Let’s extend this logic to other areas:

  • The constants of physics became fine-tuned because the consequences without it would be terrible.
  • Earth emerged because the consequences of not having one would be sad.
  • Life emerged because the consequences of not having it would be a lonely universe.
  • Eyes emerged because the consequences of not having them would be blindness.
  • Flowering plants emerged because the consequences of not having all that color would be boring.
  • Mathematics emerged because the consequences of not having it would make science inaccurate.
  • A college education emerged in your brain because the consequences of not having one would be hard on your career.
  • Fire trucks emerged because the consequences of not having them would be disastrous.
  • Missile defense emerged because the consequences of not having it could be catastrophic.
  • The machinery that repairs DNA might have evolved because the consequences of not having it would be terrible.
    The consequences for intelligent researchers who misuse logic in support of evolutionary myths should be terrible.  Instead of Charades, let’s play Truth or Consequences.
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