The subject of RNA editing is one we haven’t discussed before. Wikipedia says: “RNA editing is a molecular process through which some cells can make discrete changes to specific nucleotide sequences within a RNA molecule after it has been generated by RNA polymerase. RNA editing is relatively rare … . Editing events may include the insertion, deletion, and base substitution of nucleotides within the edited RNA molecule.”
The subject has come to the attention of Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — and it has boggled them completely. They just posted RNA Editing in Corals Stupefies Evolution.
Wowie — evolution is stupefied! It was written by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, described at the end as: “Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research.” They say he “earned his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Coral reefs are a key component of ocean ecology, providing homes and habitats for a wide diversity of life. While a head of coral may look like a single organism, it’s actually a conglomeration of numerous genetically-identical creatures called polyps. These multicellular organisms are thought to represent a primitive form of multicellular animal life. In fact, secular scientists allege that the first corals evolved at the earliest stages of life on Earth over 400 million years ago. But are corals actually primitive, or are they just another example of highly complex designed engineering?
Are they primitive or “highly complex designed engineering”? That’s the question for today. Jeffrey says:
A new study in corals is befuddling the evolutionary story that life became progressively more complex over eons of time. This research involves a highly elaborate system of cellular recoding that enables organisms to change genetic information in response to environmental cues or during different stages of development. The phenomenon called RNA editing is so complicated that it’s only beginning to be understood.
Jeffrey has a footnote linking to this paper, published in Molecular Biology and Evolution from the Oxford University Press: A-to-I RNA Editing in the Earliest-Diverging Eumetazoan Phyla. You can read it without a subscription.
Okay, back to Jeffrey’s article. He tells us:
The best-documented cases of RNA editing in animals have been in mammals, flies, octopuses, and squids. In mammals and flies, it’s thought to occur at fairly low levels, but plays a huge role in the nervous systems of squids and octopuses. And as RNA editing is being studied more in humans, our knowledge of its importance in the nervous system is increasing.
Fine, but where’s the creationism? Jeffrey continues:
In this most recent study, scientists analyzed RNA editing in the coral Acropora millepora, which was supposedly one of the most basal or primitive animals. The researchers focused on reproductive cells where RNA editing was believed to play an important role. Surprisingly, it was discovered that the RNA editing patterns in the corals resembled those found in mammals.
Then Jeffrey presents his bombshell question:
So how was a dynamic phenomenon like RNA editing as complex as that found in mammals also present at the supposed beginning of animal evolution in corals? This represents a repeating theme in scientific discovery: nearly infinite levels of complexity in cellular systems at all levels of life. Nothing appears to be primitive!
Egad! What does it mean? If nothing is truly primitive, could it be that life on Earth wasn’t created a mere 6,000 years ago? Let’s read on:
This pervasive paradigm completely befuddles the evolutionary idea that life started out simple and then became increasingly complex over time.
Huh? How does RNA editing “befuddle” the concept of evolution? The answer — make of it what you will — comes immediately after the question, and it’s the end of Jeffrey’s brief article:
Science and its amazing discoveries can only be rightly interpreted within the model that an all-wise and all-powerful Creator engineered it all from the beginning.
Whoa! What just happened? Coral have been evolving, in part via the mechanism of RNA editing. And that is supposed to be evidence for creationism? We don’t understand this at all. If you do, dear reader, please explain it to us.
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