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Can Genomics Be Explained by the Quran? Probably Not

At Pharyngula, PZ Myers has a message for Professor Pallacken Abdul Wahid of Kerala Agricultural University: If you don't understand genomics, don't try to explain it. Abdul Wahid's essay, "Phenomena of life and death explained based on a computer model of organism in the light of the Quran and the Bible," has drawn Myers' ire, because he says Abdul Wahid "hasn't the vaguest, foggiest notion of what genetics and genomics are." Abdul Wahid raises two objections: all cells have the same genetic constitution but express different activity and produce multiple tissue types; and second, that live and dead cells have exactly the same genome and therefore genetics can't explain death. The first issue can be explained by biology, Myers says. Genes are regulated by proteins in cells and different cells contain different proteins. As for the second issue, Myers says, "One has to say, DUH. Death is not a genetic process. It's a biochemical and physiological one… This is simply a silly argument he's making."

But Myers gets especially annoyed with Abdul Wahid's conclusion. "If we succeed in creating life from chemical molecules, it will mark the end of religion and God. On the other hand if the research fails, it will not only prove the molecular gene wrong but will also confirm that God exists and the Quran is true," Abdul Wahid writes. But Myers objects and says, "Creating a complete and functional chromosome is technically difficult, and that a non-trivial task is taking a while is no surprise." But, he adds, that doesn't say anything uniquely valid about the Quran and certainly doesn't disprove everything we know about genetics and genomics.

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