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January 26, 2012

A Revealing Exchange of Emails

A couple of years ago I came across a comment made on line by an American university professor who teaches evolutionary biology that suggested he might be receptive to my idea linking cancer with the evolution of complex animals.

As has been my practice in recent years, I sent Professor X a complimentary copy of Cancer Selection. I don’t usually attempt further contact with recipients of my gift books, but in this case I did send him an email, a few months after I had sent him the book.

In response to something Professor X had posted on line I reminded Professor X that I had sent him a book and tried to elicit a positive response by including in the body of my email the argument I make in Chapter Five but using a slightly different approach. It is identical to the approach I later used in my 2011 talk to researchers at UCSF.

Here’s the argument I made in the email to Professor X: I claimed that there are certain “mega facts” regarding the history of Bilaterians, facts that all evolutionist would consider indisputable, facts that demand a mechanistic explanation, one not offered by accepted theory.

Fact 1. No Bilaterian animal that bred died as a juvenile. This is a tautological certainty: juveniles, by definition, cannot engage in the reproductive act, therefore all animals that engaged in reproduction lived long enough to reach adulthood.

Fact 2. Based on Fact 1, I infer that every breeding Bilaterian that ever existed was the product of “perfect” development: that all their vital organs had been constructed with such precision that they supported life until the animals engaged in reproduction. Anyone who disagrees with the validity of this inference is invited to consider all animals living today in the wild and to estimate how many of them survive to adulthood with non-functioning vital organs.

Fact 3 is simply this: “evolution happened”; the gene pools that today produce, for example, elephants, blue whales, bumble bees and humans are direct descendants of gene pools that were producing, 500-600 million years ago, completely different animals, creatures living in or on the sea bottom. Yet despite the cumulative enormity of the changes wrought by evolution in every extant Bilaterian lineage the chain of perfect development remains unbroken: in the actual breeders all those changes were expressed with great precision, no breeder died during development.

Here’s the question I posed in my email and in Chapter Five: how can you explain those mega facts? How were those unbroken chains of perfection maintained in all extant lineages, many of them (elephants, blue whales, humans) producing animals of great size, made up of trillions of individual cells?

The answer I propose, which I included in the email, is that we need to consider what could have happened to the breeders’ relatives, those that actually died as juveniles and whose genes were deleted from the evolving pool, that would explain the perfectly formed breeders. Juveniles that died due to grossly malformed organs would explain the rarity of such malformations in extant species. But all organs are made up of somatic cells and – it is self-evident – perfect organs were made of perfect cells. (Try to imagine a functioning liver composed of cells that were not functioning liver cells.) And that’s where lethal juvenile cancer comes in: cancer triggers (oncogenes) in every cell initiated transformation to the malignant state that led to the elimination of those particular animals (and their genetic material) in direct reaction to mis-replication – somatic mutation – that occurred in those cells. Imperfection in single somatic cells led to the death of the entire developing animal.

Cancer was Nature’s quality control system operating at the level of individual cells, creating selection pressure favoring utmost precision in developmental mitosis.

So how did Professor X respond? Well, he assured me that there was no need for “perfection”, that whichever animals left behind the most descendants would have dominated that lineage. He dismissed my “hypothesis” as unnecessary.

Get it? The successful construction over hundreds of millions of years in millions of diverse evolving lineages of the trillions upon trillions upon trillions of perfectly formed somatic cells that were needed to construct the most complex things known to exist in the universe – the Bilaterians – requires no explanation.

No wonder the evolutionists ignored the discovery of cellular oncogenes in all normal cells and no wonder none of them ask how mechanisms that kept cell colonies in the colonial state for hundreds of millions of years nonetheless managed to produce all the Bilaterians.

Comments and questions to the author ... are welcomed here.

 At this site you will find links to additional material including my original Letters to the Journal of Theoretical Biology and  the 1992 Nature review of my book.

 © 2012 by James Graham

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