F Rosa Rubicondior: Creationism in Crisis - Improving on the "Intelligent Designer's" Designs

Thursday 12 January 2023

Creationism in Crisis - Improving on the "Intelligent Designer's" Designs

Rice Breeding Breakthrough to Feed Billions | UC Davis
Rice field in Bangall, India
A rice field in Bengal, India. Rice is a staple crop for billions of people, but it has proved difficult to bring high-yield hybrid rice strainers to farmers. UC Davis scientists have developed a method to propagate hybrid rice as cloned seeds, reducing costs for growers and allowing them to save improved seed from season to season.

Getty Images

A paper published a couple of weeks ago should have been a major embarrassment to Creationists who believe the Bible tale that a perfect, supremely intelligent designer designed all the plants and animals of the world for mankind.

If that were the case, why have a team of scientists at UC Davis managed to improve the rice plant - a basic staple in the diet of many people.

In fact, of course, the rice plant, like all human crops and just about every domestic animal, has been improved immeasurably in the few tens of thousands of years since humans transitioned from hunter-gatherers to cattle-herders and farmers.

(341-270 BCE)
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
If they had been intelligently designed, especially by an omniscient, omnipotent god, they would be perfectly fit for purpose already with no room for improvement. The fact that they aren't, should suggest to Creationists that there is a problem with their notion, since there was self-evidently no omniscient, omnipotent intelligence involved.

Human domestic animals and cultivated crops have been produced by selective breeding, and now genetic engineering, from the wild types that evolved without a plan and fitted only for maximising the number in the next generation. Nothing, and no-one bred wild rice, wild cattle, wild corn or wild sheep for human consumption or ease of harvest and storage. We did that from whatever starting point the natural processes of evolution had provided.

To anyone who understand it, it presents what amounts to the Epicurus Paradox all over again. The research and its significance is explained in an article by Andy Fell in UC Davis News:
An international team has succeeded in propagating a commercial hybrid rice strain as a clone through seeds with 95 percent efficiency. This could lower the cost of hybrid rice seed, making high-yielding, disease resistant rice strains available to low-income farmers worldwide. The work was published Dec. 27 in Nature Communications.

First-generation hybrids of crop plants often show higher performance than their parent strains, a phenomenon called hybrid vigor. But this does not persist if the hybrids are bred together for a second generation. So when farmers want to use high-performing hybrid plant varieties, they need to purchase new seed each season.

Rice, the staple crop for half the world’s population, is relatively costly to breed as a hybrid for a yield improvement of about 10 percent. This means that the benefits of rice hybrids have yet to reach many of the world’s farmers, said Gurdev Khush, adjunct professor emeritus in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. Working at the International Rice Research Institute from 1967 until retiring to UC Davis in 2002, Khush led efforts to create new rice high-yield rice varieties, work for which he received the World Food Prize in 1996.

Once you have the hybrid, if you can induce apomixis, then you can plant it every year.

Professor Gurdev Khush (not an author of the paper)
Department of Plant Sciences
University of California, Davis, CA, USA
One solution to this would be to propagate hybrids as clones that would remain identical from generation to generation without further breeding. Many wild plants can produce seeds that are clones of themselves, a process called apomixis.

However, transferring apomixis to a major crop plant has proved difficult to achieve.

One Step to Cloned Hybrid Seeds

In 2019, a team led by Professor Venkatesan Sundaresan and Assistant Professor Imtiyaz Khanday at the UC Davis Departments of Plant Biology and Plant Sciences achieved apomixis in rice plants, with about 30 percent of seeds being clones.

Sundaresan, Khanday and colleagues in France, Germany and Ghana have now achieved a clonal efficiency of 95 percent, using a commercial hybrid rice strain, and shown that the process could be sustained for at least three generations.

Apomixis in crop plants has been the target of worldwide research for over 30 years, because it can make hybrid seed production can become accessible to everyone. The resulting increase in yields can help meet global needs of an increasing population without having to increase use of land, water and fertilizers to unsustainable levels.

Venkatesan Sundaresan, co-senior author
Department of Plant Biology
University of California, Davis, CA, USA.
The single-step process involves modifying three genes called MiMe which cause the plant to switch from meioisis [sic], the process that plants use to form egg cells, to mitosis, in which a cell divides into two copies of itself. Another gene modification induces apomixis. The result is a seed that can grow into a plant genetically identical to its parent.

The method would allow seed companies to produce hybrid seeds more rapidly and at larger scale, as well as providing seed that farmers could save and replant from season to season, Khush said.

The results could be applied to other food crops, Sundaresan said. In particular, rice is a genetic model for other cereal crops including maize and wheat, that together constitute major food staples for the world.

Khush recalled that he organized a 1994 conference on apomixis in rice breeding. When he returned to UC Davis in 2002, he gave a copy of the conference proceedings to Sundaresan.

“It’s been a long project,” he said.
None of that would have been beyond the capabilities of an omnipotent god, an omniscient god would have known it would provide humanity with more food, more cheaply and an omni-benevolent god would not have held back from creating it.

It's a form of the Epicurus Paradox all over again. The evil a creator god could have foreseen and prevented, if it had had the ability or the willingness to, would have been the future needs of the human population in the 21st century, and the inevitability of starvation and undernourishment.

Very clearly, none of our cultivated plants or domesticated animals were created to prevent that great evil, and none of them were even created to fill our needs at any point since we stopped being hunter-gatherers, and maybe even before that, hence the extreme modification by selective breeding and using the natural evolutionary process of selection of inherited characteristics.

Thank you for sharing!

submit to reddit

No comments :

Post a Comment

Obscene, threatening or obnoxious messages, preaching, abuse and spam will be removed, as will anything by known Internet trolls and stalkers, by known sock-puppet accounts and anything not connected with the post,

A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Remember: your opinion is not an established fact unless corroborated.

Web Analytics