Why is it that the funny stuff always breaks out when I’m away from the interwebs? The always looney DaveScot takes issue with the claim that the virgin birth of Jesus is biologically unlikely, and cobbles up a bizarre scenario to allow it. Why, I don’t know; is ID dependent on the chromosomal status of Jesus Christ, or something?
Anyway, DaveScot proposes that 1) meiosis was incomplete in one of Mary’s ova, producing an egg that contained 2N chromosomes; 2) this egg also bore a mutation that causes XX individuals to develop as phenotypically male; and 3) something then activated this egg to develop. Then he crows,
What I want to know now is whether ignorance or dishonesty explains why you’d quote someone who claims the virgin birth of Christ defies everything we know about mammalian reproduction.
His scenario has a number of problems. It won’t work. I don’t even need to touch on his mangling of the concept of diploidy, which Allen MacNeil dispenses with in the comments.
The resultant embryo would have a very high incidence of homozygosity. By suppressing the second meiotic division, he has generated an egg where all the pairs of chromosomes are the result of replication of a single DNA strand (less occurrence of recombination, which does ameliorate the problem.) This would unmask lethal recessives in Mary’s genotype. I suppose you could argue that Mary was picked by God for her amazingly complete lack of any deleterious alleles…
A second critical problem, though, is that the genes inherited from your mother and father have different patterns of imprinting. Genes in mammalian gametes are modified in different ways in males and females in order to suppress certain genes; all of Jesus’ genes would have a female imprinting pattern, and none with a male pattern, producing an imbalance in gene expression that is typically lethal. This can be overcome by experimental manipulations that mimic male imprinting by knocking out some of the genes, but it’s still problematic. Experiments that tinker with patterns of imprinting still start with zygotes containing nuclei from two different parents to avoid problem #1.
The end result of all this finagling is that Jesus was the highly improbable multiple mutant outcome of a cytological error, no divinity involved. That’s fine with me (does DaveScot really think that providing a natural explanation for a myth refutes my position?), but I don’t think it fits the expectations of the religious, and I sure don’t see how one absurdly unlikely chance occurrence would support the ID position in any way.
Watching DaveScot flail around with his barely-high-school understanding of meiosis and development is entertaining, but really, all it accomplishes is to diminish his credibility yet further, and it was already prostrate on the floor. I guess he felt the need to start digging to get it lower still.
Not content with exposing his ignorance of reproductive biology, DaveScot just had to end with a demonstration of his mastery of physics, as well.
So you see, Paul, matter and energy that we know about are only a small fraction of what makes the universe go ’round, so to speak. Who’s to say at this point in time that this huge amount of unknown “stuff” is incapable of organization that produces intelligence? Could God be lurking in the dark energy of the universe?
I wonder what Sean Carroll would think of this hypothesis that dark matter and dark energy constitute a giant intelligent entity that does genetic experiments on human females?
This is all just God of the Gaps guesswork, in which gods are tucked away in the empty spaces in our knowledge. In this case, those empty spaces are magnified by the inclusion of DaveScot’s personal ignorance…making his god a truly great god.