Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design

Hardcover | March 8, 2010

byJohn C. Avise

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Humanity's physical design flaws have long been apparent - we get hemorrhoids and impacted wisdom teeth, for instance - but do the imperfections extend down to the level of our genes? Inside the Human Genome is the first book to examine the philosophical question of why, from the perspectivesof biochemistry and molecular genetics, flaws exist in the biological world. Distinguished evolutionary geneticist John Avise offers a panoramic yet penetrating exploration of the many gross deficiencies in human DNA - ranging from mutational defects to built-in design faults - while at the sametime offering a comprehensive treatment of recent findings about the human genome. The author shows that the overwhelming scientific evidence for genomic imperfection provides a compelling counterargument to intelligent design. He also develops a case that theologians should welcome rather thandisavow these discoveries. The evolutionary sciences can help mainstream religions escape the shackles of Intelligent Design, and thereby return religion to its rightful realm - not as the secular interpreter of the biological minutiae of our physical existence, but rather as a respectablephilosophical counselor on grander matters of ultimate concern.

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Humanity's physical design flaws have long been apparent - we get hemorrhoids and impacted wisdom teeth, for instance - but do the imperfections extend down to the level of our genes? Inside the Human Genome is the first book to examine the philosophical question of why, from the perspectivesof biochemistry and molecular genetics, flaw...

John C. Avise is Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, at the University of California, Irvine, and an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.3 × 5.7 × 1 inPublished:March 8, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195393430

ISBN - 13:9780195393439

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Table of Contents

Preface1. The Eternal ParadoxTheodicyGod's Will Be DoneRevolutions of Planets, and of Human Thought:The Copernican RevolutionNatural TheologyThe Darwinian RevolutionThe Intelligent Design Movement:HistoryCourtroom DecisionsGoals and SubstanceCommon Misconceptions about Natural Evolutionary Processes:Falsehood 1: Evolution Equals UnsophisticationFalsehood 2: Evolution Equals Random ChanceFalsehood 3: Complexity Equals Evolutionary ImprobabilityFalsehood 4: Natural Equals ProperA Paradox Eternal?The Human Genome2. Fallible Design: Protein-Coding DNA SequencesA Brief History of Biochemistry and GeneticsBad-housekeeping Genes:When Protein-coding Genes Go BadMorbid Anatomy of the Human GenomeHumanity's Genetic BurdenErrors and Forgiveness:Mutational Mistakes and CorrectionsPopulation Genetic ExcusesOther Explanations3. Baroque Design: Gratuitous Genomic ComplexitiesSplit Genes:IntronsEvolutionary EnigmasTheological EnigmasGene Regulation and RNA Surveillance:MechanismsFunctional ProblemsEvolutionary and Theological EnigmasGenetic Imprinting:MistakesTheological and Evolutionary ExcusesMitochondrial DNA :StructureFunctionMalfunctionLudicrous Design4. Wasteful Design: Repetitive DNA ElementsDuplicate Genes:Duplicons and Their DisordersPseudogenesMicrosatellites and Their DisordersMobile Elements:BackgroundAs Phylogenetic MarkersWhat Good are They?Genomic DamagesTheological ExcusesEvolutionary Excuses5. Intelligent or Non-Intelligent Design?Rampant Molecular ComplexityReducible ComplexityInevitable Imperfection:Mutational GlitchesInherent Design FlawsNatural Theology and Theodicy RevisitedEmancipation and ReconciliationEpilogueNotes and ReferencesGlossaryIndex