Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Education of a Science Writer

Last week science writer John Farrell discussed the genetic evidence for evolution in his Technology article at Forbes. Farrell referenced evolutionist Stan Rice to argue the genome could not have been designed. Not only is it a clumsy design but it is susceptible to terrible, debilitating mutations. Such a design would never have been intended and must have evolved via the mindless play of natural processes.

Farrell’s other source was evolutionist Larry Moran, who has convinced Farrell that Jonathan Wells has it all wrong in his new book, The Myth of Junk DNA. As Farrell summarizes:

From which we are to conclude, the creationist argument goes, that most scientists are knee-jerk ideological Darwinists, and isn’t this another good reason to get a better theory like intelligent design into the public school science classrooms.

But Farrell’s conclusion does not stand up very well to a simple fact check. First, Wells is not a creationist. Second, Wells makes no argument for teaching intelligent design in public school science classrooms. Perhaps Farrell is confused because his source, Larry Moran, makes similarly erroneous claims.

Moran erroneously refers to Wells as a creationist. Moran also makes liberal use of the pejorative term “IDiot.” Why the harsh rhetoric? Let’s have a look.

Moran cries foul when Wells is asked in an interview to explain junk/non-coding DNA “for those who dropped science after Grade Ten.” Here is how Wells answered the question:

“Non-coding” in this context means “non-protein-coding.” An important function of our DNA is to specific the sequences of subunits (amino acids) in the proteins that (along with other types of molecules) make up our bodies. When molecular biologists discovered in the 1970s that about 98% of our DNA does not code for proteins, some biologists called non-protein-coding DNA “junk.”

This is a straightforward, factual response for those “who dropped science after Grade Ten.” But Moran warns that it is misleading. After all, there is non coding DNA, such as regulatory sequences and RNA genes, that we all agree is functional and not junk.

Anyone familiar with the subject matter will recognize this as a canard. Of course Wells is not referring to that small fraction of non coding DNA whose function was known in the 1970s. Wells is not giving a dissertation on the subject. He is giving a brief response, explaining why long stretches of DNA with no known function and not thought to be transcribed (not all non-protein-coding DNA), was considered to be junk DNA by some.

This is why discussions with evolutionists are often tedious. It is tiresome to stretch out explanations with lengthy caveats. And so, like lawyers, evolutionists follow the rule of “least charitable” reading to castigate those who doubt their dogma.

For sympathetic readers who are less familiar with the details of molecular biology, such as many science writers, Moran’s attempt to discredit will seem convincing.

Moran next thinks Wells has wrongly associated junk DNA with selection:

Implying that junk DNA has anything to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is totally wrong. No matter how you define “neo-Darwinism” the fact remains that most biologists who believed in adaptation were very skeptical of junk DNA precisely because it didn’t fit with Darwin’s view of evolution.

But Wells made no such assertion. Wells explanation was thoughtful and circumspect. He explained that “According to Charles Darwin’s theory, all living things are descendants of common ancestors that have been modified solely by unguided natural processes that include variation and selection. In the modern version of his theory—neo-Darwinism— genes control embryo development, variations are due to differences in genes, and new variations originate in genetic mutations.”

In fact, Moran’s assertion that junk DNA can have nothing to do with evolution by natural selection is an overly simplistic, black-white version of the theory. While advocating natural selection Darwin’s book was full of examples of dysteleology, and the same is true of today’s literature. Those who view selection as more important tend to look for adaptive explanations, but that by no means absolutely rules out non adaptive explanations.

Moran also objects to Wells’ reference to Richard Dawkins and the concept of selfish DNA. Moran writes:

Dawkins was writing about selfish DNA when he wrote that passage in The Selfish Gene. Selfish DNA is not junk DNA. It has an adaptive purpose and a function. It is completely wrong to claim that Richard Dawkins was a big fan of junk DNA in the 1970s. Dawkins makes that very clear in The Extended Phenotype when he proposes various explanations for the extra DNA in our genome.

Completely wrong? Selfish DNA is not junk DNA? It has an adaptive purpose and a function? Dawkins proposes various explanations?

Once again, to the uninformed reader this criticism may seem damning. Most readers will not have read The Extended Phenotype and so will trust Moran. But again Moran’s criticisms are obvious canards to those more familiar with the material.

Dawkins does not propose various explanations for the extra DNA in our genome in The Extended Phenotype. He reviews a couple of concepts by way of introducing the selfish DNA concept which, contrary to Moran’s canard, does not have an adaptive purpose. Dawkins writes:

the thing to notice in the present context is that [adaptive explanations] are hypotheses made in the traditional mould; they are based on the idea that DNA, like any other aspect of an organism, is selected because it does the organism some good. The selfish DNA hypothesis is based on an inversion of this assumption: phenotypic characters are there because they help DNA to replicate itself [158]

Dawkins goes on to explain the concept of intragenomic selection that he views as selecting for selfish DNA:

“Intragenomic selection” can therefore lead to an increase in the amount of certain types of meaningless, or untranscribed, DNA, littered around and cluttering up the chromosomes. [161]

In other words, contrary to Moran’s canard, the selfish DNA concept did not include adaptive purpose and Dawkins did not propose various explanations.

These criticisms of Wells are not only unfounded, they come from Moran who, as an evolutionist, believes the world just happened to arise by chance. The entire biological world is a fluke that spontaneously arose. Indeed, Moran believes this is an obvious fact. After all, DNA, and the rest of this world, certainly would never have been designed:

It’s true that well-established bits of junk DNA—like known pseudogenes—have been effectively used to challenge the idea that our genome appears designed. Those examples remain powerful, and true, examples of evolution that cannot be explained by Intelligent Design Creationism. They have not been refuted and they have not been explained by the IDiots.

If it is true that junk DNA is impossible under creationism or design, then sure, they are probably “true” examples of evolution. But how does Moran know such truths? Metaphysical certainty is a dangerous thing. Religion drives science, and it matters.

74 comments:

  1. Hi,
    i think i don't get it right, that subject "junk-genome". is it a fact that there are useless codes in the DNA? Or is it the same story like the appendix, when years ago every doctor thoughts, it is useless and you can cut it out. now we know, the appendix is very important for the pathogen control. so - is it true that some informations in the DNA are useless? Or we do not know about there real function...
    maybe you can help me to understand this. and sorry for my bad english.
    greetings, ls

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lucas,

    Warum kommen Sie hier, um eine kreationistische Blog über Junk-DNA zu lernen? Google ist dein Freund.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hunter:

    If it is true that junk DNA is impossible under creationism or design, then sure, they are probably “true” examples of evolution.

    How does a creationist deal with the Onion Test?

    "Whatever your proposed function, ask yourself this question: Can I explain why an onion needs about five times more non-coding DNA for this function than a human?"

    http://www.genomicron.evolverzone.com/2007/04/onion-test/

    ReplyDelete
  4. "First, Wells is not a creationist."
    "Metaphysical certainty is a dangerous thing."

    Wells is true believer in Unification theology, which states that humans were specially created, and that human beings and the universe reflect God's nature, personality and purpose. So it is not surprising that he would be metaphysically certain that God would not create man with a bunch of useless baggage like junk dna. why else would he say "Far from consisting mainly of junk that provides evidence against intelligent design, our genome is increasingly revealing itself to be a multidimensional, integrated system in which non-protein-coding DNA performs a wide variety of functions. If anything, it provides evidence for intelligent design" yes intelligent design from an all-powerful god whose creation mirrors his nature. to paraphrase, religion drives Wells.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Having put their entire foot into their mouth with wrongly coining the JUNK DNA term, it is entertaining to see evolutionists jump through hoops and backpedal. It sticks to them like dog hair on an old sweater.

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  7. Pedant, said "How does a creationist deal with the Onion Test?"

    By not jumping to conclusions of labeling something junk based on the 19th century archaic philosophy of Darwinism. By not forcing the data to be interpreted by using a Morton fork to buttress evolutionary assumptions.

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  8. Tedford the Idiot said...

    Pedant, said "How does a creationist deal with the Onion Test?"

    By not jumping to conclusions of labeling something junk based on the 19th century archaic philosophy of Darwinism. By not forcing the data to be interpreted by using a Morton fork to buttress evolutionary assumptions.


    LOL! "Baghdad Bob" Tedford on the job!

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  9. Tedford,

    What was your explanation for the 5-fold greater size of the onion genome versus the human genome?

    To deal or not to deal, that was the question.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pedant said...

    Tedford,

    What was your explanation for the 5-fold greater size of the onion genome versus the human genome?

    To deal or not to deal, that was the question.


    I'll see your onion and raise you a Polychaos dubium, a freshwater amoeba with a genome of 670 billion base pairs, over 200 times the size of a human genome.

    How about it Tedford? Any explanation?

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  11. Re: The onion

    Don't plants of necessity have to produce lots of chemicals to protect themselves from insects and such that want to eat them? They can't run away. I would imagine that this requires a large genome.

    ReplyDelete
  12. natschuster said...

    Re: The onion

    Don't plants of necessity have to produce lots of chemicals to protect themselves from insects and such that want to eat them? They can't run away.


    They can't? But for years YECs have been telling us how the deciduous trees outran the velociraptors to higher ground during DA FLUD. That's how they explain the geographic distribution of the fossils.

    I would imagine that this requires a large genome.

    Why do you think that what you can imagine has any bearing on a scientific discussion?

    Are you ever going to explain how and why artificial selection works? Or how scientists identify transitional fossil series? Or are you going to just cut and run and move on to your next bit of Creto trolling?

    ReplyDelete
  13. What we need is a crazy idea. Does anyone have a crazy idea?

    Niels Bohr



    1.Cell probably needs the whole DNA otherwise it wouldn't spend tremendous operational and energy resources to copy it during the cell division. What could be the purpose for non coding ("junk") DNA?

    2. Scientists recently discovered the DNA fills certain volume inside nucleus in the shape of Peano curve. That provides for well organized structure instead of chaotic tangle.

    3. DNA Skittle visualization tool ( free download) clearly shows repetitive patterns interchanging with seemingly random distribution of nucleotides in non-coding DNA. Also, interference and modulation type patterns are visible.

    4. One dimensional string could be periodically marked (repetitive patterns from (3)) for bending and formation of two dimensional matrix (like a QR code). Next it is possible to layer (stack) multiple two dimensional data matrices to fill volume which is suggesting the shape of Peano curve from (2).

    5. Combining previous three points it is possible to envision a form of three dimensional chemical data storage system as a purpose for non-coding DNA.

    6. 3D chemical data storage would have enormous capacity and inherent information redundancy. For ex. smaller important 3D section could be repeated in layers imprinted radially away from original.

    Possible purpose for data storage system could be storage of: meta data, cell position, type, number of divisions or some general control.

    I would also expect powerful dynamic encryption as the critical information should be kept away from irresponsible users.

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  14. Pedant, your evading the problem of the "junk" term. Evolutionists labeled vast stretches of the genome as junk based on predictions of their theory. They were quick to jump to wrong and broad conclusions based on what they would expect from common descent, etc. However, as our knowledge of the genome grows, various functions for what was once termed junk are being found. So just admit it and move on.

    Evolutionists are at it again with the onion. It seems like being quick and sloppy with drawing conclusions is how evolutionists work. Some processes at work in onions and plants in general don't apply to animals and people. So I think we need to be careful about running off and labeling stuff as junk before understanding the genome fully.

    Help me to understand something here about evolution and "junk". Wouldn't the creatures that have come the farthest in Darwins tree of life have more "junk" than those on the bottom of the tree (amoeba's)? If not, why and what other factors could effect genome size rather than UCD?

    ReplyDelete
  15. What we need is a crazy idea. Does anyone have a crazy idea?

    Niels Bohr



    1.Cell probably needs the whole DNA otherwise it wouldn't spend tremendous operational and energy resources to copy it during the cell division. What could be the purpose for non coding ("junk") DNA?

    2. Scientists recently discovered the DNA fills volume inside a nucleus resembling the shape of Peano curve. This shape provides for well organized repetitive structure instead of chaotic tangle.

    3. DNA Skittle visualization tool ( free download) clearly shows repetitive patterns interchanging with seemingly random distribution of nucleotides in non-coding DNA. Also, interference and modulation type patterns are visible.

    4. One dimensional string could be periodically marked (repetitive patterns from (3)) for bending and formation of two dimensional matrix (like a QR code). Next it is possible to layer (stack) multiple two dimensional data matrices to fill volume which is suggesting the shape of Peano curve from (2).

    5. Combining previous three points it is possible to envision a form of three dimensional chemical data storage system as a purpose for non-coding DNA.

    6. 3D chemical data storage would have enormous capacity and inherent information redundancy. For ex. smaller important 3D section could be repeated in layers imprinted radially away from original.

    Possible purpose for data storage system could be storage of: meta data, cell position, type, number of divisions or some general control.

    I would also expect powerful dynamic encryption as the critical information should be kept away from irresponsible users.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ID doesn't need to pander to pathetic levels of detail to answer such meaningless questions as "the onion test". The answer is "we don't know"

    All ID teaches us is that the natural world is totally designed.

    Designed by something (we don't know what) at some point/several points in time (umm not really sure when).

    Why do you mechanistic fools want to "know" "details" about the chronology of life? It was just all designed at some point by something is that not enough for you?

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  17. Po-etic:

    ID doesn't need to pander to pathetic levels of detail to answer such meaningless questions as "the onion test". The answer is "we don't know."

    Brent, Bill Dembski would be proud.

    "You don't know and you don't give a damn!"

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  18. How poetic is it that someone name PO-Etic would fall for Poe's Law?

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  19. Thorton:

    Doesn't the production of lots of chemicals by a plant require a lot of genes? It makes sense.

    And artificial selection could be a: something like breeding dogs. b: computer evoltionary algorithms. As best as I can figure, EA work by testing the results of each iteration and picking the result that comes closest to the goal, e.g more efficient jet engines.

    And, it seems form what I've been reading, that scientists find a series of sedimentary layers. A layer on the bottom has organisms that have one form. A layer on the top has similar organisms that have some difference. It might be something like the shape of the shells of foraminifors or diatoms. Adn in between are layers that show gradual incremental change from the bottom layer to the top.

    I'm not sure I see the relevance.

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  20. It seems to me that the possession of a large, useless genome would place a heay burden on an organism. Making all the useless DNA would be metabolically expensive. And there is always the possibility of a harmful mutation. I'm just saying.

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  21. Tedford:

    Wouldn't the creatures that have come the farthest in Darwins tree of life have more "junk" than those on the bottom of the tree (amoeba's)? If not, why and what other factors could effect genome size rather than UCD?

    Thorton already told you that a species of amoeba has 200 times more DNA than you do. Do your own research and learn what factors affect genome size other than common descent.

    It's a fascinating topic, as Ryan Gregory explains at genomicron. He'll also bring you up to speed on the myth of junk DNA. Assuming that you care to learn.

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  22. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    Doesn't the production of lots of chemicals by a plant require a lot of genes? It makes sense.


    Then demonstrate it. How many chemicals does a Polychaos dubium make?

    And artificial selection could be a: something like breeding dogs. b: computer evoltionary algorithms. As best as I can figure, EA work by testing the results of each iteration and picking the result that comes closest to the goal, e.g more efficient jet engines.

    I didn't ask you for an example of AS, or about EAs. I asked you to explain how and why artificial selection (like as used in animal husbandry) works. Weak evasion noted.

    And, it seems form what I've been reading, that scientists find a series of sedimentary layers. A layer on the bottom has organisms that have one form. A layer on the top has similar organisms that have some difference. It might be something like the shape of the shells of foraminifors or diatoms. Adn in between are layers that show gradual incremental change from the bottom layer to the top.

    Wrong. Quit reading Creationist crap from AIG and try reading the primary scientific literature for a change.

    I'm not sure I see the relevance.

    The relevance is you continually discount evolutionary explanations as being wrong when you are totally ignorant on the topic and can't even properly state what the evolutionary explanations are.

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  23. And here we are yet again. From an earlier comment...

    Please point out a paper or reference a quote that suggests DNA classified as Junk is universally non-functional, rather than non-coding. We keep asking for such references, yet none are produced.

    But, sooner or later, the very same people make the same complaint without backing it up their claim. We again ask for references and none are provided, etc. ad nauseum.


    Here we have more of the same disingenuous hand waiving. Nothing new has been presented. In the absence of such a reference...

    What other other conclusion should we reach other than these continually repeated, yet never substantiated, complaints reflect offense to calling anything they perceive as being made by God "junk"?

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  24. Thorton:

    I really don't know why an amoeba needs such a large genome. Is there an evolutionary explanation? The wikipedia article linked does sya that more recent research causes someto question whether the genome is really that big

    Didn't i mention dog breeding? That works when breeders select dog that have desirable traits, and breeg them. Then they do it again. But, so far, dogs stil remain dogs.

    And my description of a a species to species transitional series is based on my understanding of the evolutionary literature.

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  25. Pedant:

    Wasn't junk DNA the whole point of Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene?"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

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  26. natschuster said...

    Didn't i mention dog breeding? That works when breeders select dog that have desirable traits, and breeg them. Then they do it again.


    You still didn't explain the underlying mechanisms. What causes desirable traits to occur in the first place? What's the difference between breeders artificially selecting animals with long coats, and colder temperatures causing natural selection for long coats?

    But, so far, dogs stil remain dogs.

    How much would a dog have to change to be a non-dog? Be specific. Given enough time, what barrier would prevent such accumulated small changes from occurring?

    And my description of a a species to species transitional series is based on my understanding of the evolutionary literature.

    Exactly. That's why it's painfully obvious you've never bothered to read the actual evolutionary literature, just crap fron Creto sites.

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  27. natschuster said...

    Pedant:

    Wasn't junk DNA the whole point of Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene?"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene


    No, not even close.

    Did you actually read the book?

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  28. Thorton:

    A breeder has a trait in mind. He selects a dog that has part of that trait, like slightly longer hair. The hair might not be long enough to make a difference now. But the breeder knows that if he breeds the dogs with this trait, eventually he will get the long hair he wants. That's a little different than nature, which doesn't have a goal in mind. Slightly longer hair might have no survival advantage, so it won't be selected for.

    And humans have been breeding digs for thousands of years, selecting for all kinds of traits. Yet they remain dogs, canis familiarus. It looks like this is as far as it can go.

    I did read "The Selfish Gene." Dawkins' idea was that selection takes place at the level of the gene. Genes can reproduce within the genome even though they might not benefit the organism. That's why they are called selfish. Hence the accumulation of junk DNA.

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  29. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    A breeder has a trait in mind. He selects a dog that has part of that trait, like slightly longer hair. The hair might not be long enough to make a difference now. But the breeder knows that if he breeds the dogs with this trait, eventually he will get the long hair he wants. That's a little different than nature, which doesn't have a goal in mind. Slightly longer hair might have no survival advantage, so it won't be selected for.


    Once again you avoid answering the questions: What caused the desirable traits to arise in the first place? What if long hair IS an advantage? All the breeder does is alter the environmental selection pressure. Everything else in the process works exactly the same, although you're too much of a chump to admit it.

    And humans have been breeding digs for thousands of years, selecting for all kinds of traits. Yet they remain dogs, canis familiarus. It looks like this is as far as it can go.

    More cowardly avoidance of the questions. How much would a dog have to change to be a non-dog? Be specific. Given enough time, what barrier would prevent small changes from accumulating into large ones?

    Are you pathologically incapable of giving a straight answer?

    I did read "The Selfish Gene." Dawkins' idea was that selection takes place at the level of the gene. Genes can reproduce within the genome even though they might not benefit the organism. That's why they are called selfish. Hence the accumulation of junk DNA.

    Jesus H. Christ - if that's what you got out of the book you're even dumber than I thought.

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  30. Hi, Cornelius good to see you back!

    On the topic of nitpicking:

    In science there are times when you can be pretty sloppy with your terms and then there are times when you need to be pretty anal about your definitions. Curiously it is often when scientists are sloppy the creationists will start nitpicking about the terms. The famous example is probably selection when to every scientist it is obvious that it does not matter whether the selection is natural or artificial whereas the creationist will insist that these are totally different things.

    With respect to “junk DNA” the opposite is true. The creationist will avoid to define what she means by function like the devil will avoid holy water. Because depending on how you define function any evolutionary biologist will grant you that in fact most of the human genome is functional and that there is nearly no junk. The biologist will simply add that that definition is not really useful.

    What I am wondering is whether these “communicational problems” are a bug or a feature? Do you really not understand when precise definitions are important and when not or are you just playing?

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  31. Thorton:

    Natural selection will work to increase hair length in dogs if each small incremental increase provides a benefit. If not, then there is no selection effect. It might even work against longer hair if it has a negative effect, e.g. more hair for parasites to hide in. But a human breeder knows that eventually he will get the desired hair length.

    And I don't know how much change is needed for a dog to turn into a non-dog. Maybe it can't happen at all. I guess we will have to see it actually happen before we'll know.

    And what exactly would the point of "The Selfish Gene." be if my undertanding is wrong?

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  33. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    Natural selection will work to increase hair length in dogs if each small incremental increase provides a benefit. If not, then there is no selection effect. It might even work against longer hair if it has a negative effect, e.g. more hair for parasites to hide in. But a human breeder knows that eventually he will get the desired hair length.


    LOL! You just can't bring yourself to honest about this, can you? You can't admit that evolution through AS and evolution through NS work the exact the same way through the exact same mechanisms. The only difference is that to the animals in AS the breeder is part of the environmental selection pressure.

    And I don't know how much change is needed for a dog to turn into a non-dog. Maybe it can't happen at all. I guess we will have to see it actually happen before we'll know.

    Now we get Ken Ham's famous stupidity "Were you there??? Dids you see it???"

    Here's a clue nat. Science doesn't have to witness an event in real time to know that it happened. You accept plate tectonics, but have you ever seen Africa touching South America?

    Genetic evidence shows the Alaskan Inuits are descendent from Siberians. They crossed from Asia over a land bridge formed when sea level was lower 15-20K years ago. Are you going to tell the scientists "But no one's ever seen an Inuit walk from Siberia to Nome!!"

    Your willful ignorance gets worse every day nat. Do you have any idea how pathetic you look?

    And what exactly would the point of "The Selfish Gene." be if my undertanding is wrong?

    It wasn't your 'genes reproduce themselves inside the organism to see how big a genome full of junk DNA they can form'. That needs to go to FSTDF.

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  34. Thorton:

    There is a difference between natural selection and artificial selection. That is the fact that with AS there is a person with a goal in mind. There is no person, mind or goal in NS. This makes a difference in a case where there is no benefit until a number of incrmental chnages have occured, e.g. hair that is a little bit longer might have no selection benefit.

    And we aren't talking, in the case of dogs about what did happen, but what might happen. We don't know that dogs might evovle into a new species. Inuits and Siberians belong to the same species.

    And, according to Dawkins, the genes don't reproduce themselves for the purpose of cluttering the genome with junk. Some genes are better at reproducing themselves within the genome. So these genes go ahead and reproduce themselves within the genome. There is no purpose, just NS acting at the level of the gene. Junk DNA is a by-product.

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  35. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    There is a difference between natural selection and artificial selection. That is the fact that with AS there is a person with a goal in mind. There is no person, mind or goal in NS. This makes a difference in a case where there is no benefit until a number of incrmental chnages have occured, e.g. hair that is a little bit longer might have no selection benefit.


    Willfully ignorant nat schuster, dishonest to the last. Pity.

    And we aren't talking, in the case of dogs about what did happen, but what might happen. We don't know that dogs might evovle into a new species. Inuits and Siberians belong to the same species.

    Yes, we are talking about what did happen. Your "we didn't see it in person so it didn't happen" is as stupid an argument as they come.

    And, according to Dawkins, the genes don't reproduce themselves for the purpose of cluttering the genome with junk. Some genes are better at reproducing themselves within the genome. So these genes go ahead and reproduce themselves within the genome. There is no purpose, just NS acting at the level of the gene. Junk DNA is a by-product.

    That's not what you said above.

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  36. Thorton:

    What am I saying thats wrong about AS vs NS? A good educator does more than just note a students errors.

    Are you saying that we witnessed dogs evolving into a new species? To the best of my knowledge, chihuahuas, pugs, greyhounds, and mastiffs are all one species.

    And where di what I said RE: junk DNA contradict what I said above?

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  37. natschuster said...

    Thorton:

    What am I saying thats wrong about AS vs NS? A good educator does more than just note a students errors.


    And a student honestly interested in learning doesn't ignore and/or dishonestly spin the information he has been given.

    Are you saying that we witnessed dogs evolving into a new species? To the best of my knowledge, chihuahuas, pugs, greyhounds, and mastiffs are all one species.

    Quit being a clown nat. It's unbecoming.

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  38. "I'll see your onion and raise you a Polychaos dubium, a freshwater amoeba with a genome of 670 billion base pairs, over 200 times the size of a human genome.

    How about it Tedford? Any explanation?"

    Interesting, one data that have no explanation with RM + NS used to defend darwinism.

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  39. Blas said, "I'll see your onion and raise you a Polychaos dubium, a freshwater amoeba with a genome of 670 billion base pairs, over 200 times the size of a human genome"

    Your ignoring the problem. Evolutionists jumped early and quickly on the "junk-dna" term saying that human's DNA was 98% junk-dna. This was evidence of UCD of humans according to Miller and others. It turned out to be wrong. It is indicative of the kind of hogwash that evolutionists put out. If they can imagine it, then it must be true. However, when real science and not just speculation can be turned on to their claims the hogwash is exposed for what it is.

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  40. Neal: Your ignoring the problem. Evolutionists jumped early and quickly on the "junk-dna" term saying that human's DNA was 98% junk-dna.

    Neal,

    While I'm a poor speller and somewhat dyslexic, it appears that you have a serious reading comprehension problem, as We've gone over this several times.

    Again, please point out a paper or reference a quote that suggests DNA that was classified as" Junk" is universally non-functional, rather than non-coding. We keep asking for such references, yet none are produced.

    By doing so, you could easily settle this right here and now.

    Furthermore, you've had ample time to do so as this has been pointed out repeatedly. But, apparently, you can't. Otherwise, you would have by now.

    In the absence of such substantiation, what other other conclusion should we reach other than these continually repeated, yet never substantiated, complaints reflect offense to calling anything they perceive as being made by God "junk"?

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  41. "please point out a paper or reference a quote that suggests DNA that was classified as" Junk" is universally non-functional, rather than non-coding."

    Wikipedia
    Junk:
    Waste, any undesired thing or substance

    May we understand "Junk" could be functional?

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  42. Blas said...

    "please point out a paper or reference a quote that suggests DNA that was classified as" Junk" is universally non-functional, rather than non-coding."

    Wikipedia
    Junk:
    Waste, any undesired thing or substance

    May we understand "Junk" could be functional?


    Since you like Wiki so much

    Noncoding DNA

    Junk DNA, a term that was introduced in 1972 by Susumu Ohno, was a provisional label for the portions of a genome sequence for which no discernible function had been identified. According to a 1980 review in Nature by Leslie Orgel and Francis Crick, junk DNA has "little specificity and conveys little or no selective advantage to the organism". The term is currently, however, an outdated concept, being used mainly in popular science and in a colloquial way in scientific publications, and may have slowed research into the biological functions of noncoding DNA. Several lines of evidence indicate that many "junk DNA" sequences are likely to have unidentified functional activity, and other sequences may have had functions in the past.

    So we have IDiots desperately clinging to an almost 40 year old, outdated, popular press term in order to somehow discredit modern geneticists.

    That's as worthwhile as trying to discredit evolution by mentioning that Darwin as a child once abused a puppy.

    You IDiots have no science to speak of, so I suppose smear tactics are all you can muster.

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  45. Scott, the above links by "TheJarJam" do a good job explaining the history of "junk-dna".

    So does that settle it for you?

    Here's a religious gem by renown evolutionist Dr Ken Miller in 1994, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. "

    A theory is in crisis mode when they find it necessary to try to rewrite history. When Dr Wells' book actually hits the shelves evolutionists will be sure to entertain us with lots of immaturity and sticks and stone throwing.

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  46. Bias: " Waste, any undesired thing or substance

    May we understand "Junk" could be functional?"

    Bias, what part of my comment do you not understand?

    Non-coding does not equal universal non-function. Its' really that simple.

    You've heard of a junk drawer, right? Can items in a junk drawer be functionally? Sure.

    Do we always use these items? No. Do they always work well or end up used for their original purpose? Not necessarily. But this doesn't mean they're universally non-funcitonal.

    Furthermore, waste can be recycled or used for other purposes. Nor does want necessarily coincide with functional. There are unwanted, yet functional viruses, parasites, etc., that clearly function, just to name a few.

    So, were again left with the conclusion that all of this hand waving is merely offense at the idea that anything God made could be "junk"

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  47. Neal:

    A quote from the second link …

    Dr Mervyn Jacobson: The word junk was applied and it stuck and people who came along thereafter saw that it was junk and took that as a message that there was no point looking in that area. So it became almost a convenience that instead of looking at 100% of a DNA you only need to worry about looking at 5%. But even that was daunting.

    What Dr. Jacobson is referring to here is a number of patents held by Genetic Technologies Ltd. These patents describe how specific sequences of non-coding DNA can be use as a diagnostic tool to detect specific diseases.

    It's not that GTG has determined these non-coding strands of DNA are expressed as disease, but they've discovered a correlation between the two.

    You can find more detail of this subject in interviews with John Sulston,, Dr Francis Collins and Professor John Mattick

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  48. Does the word junk imply universal non-function? I don't know. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was used in that way in the beginning, but it is hard to prove that.

    Junk does imply though that Darwinists thought that non-coding DNA were evolutionary leftovers that were no longer vital to cell function. They saw it as junk meaning unnecessary, or worthless. They thought the cell could get by just fine without it. Junk is stuff you don't need and could live without.

    I doubt any Darwinist would have so much faith in the Junk DNA paradigm that they would be willing to throw away all the "junk" DNA in their own bodies.

    Obviously, the term junk, was a Darwinian mistake. Everyone jumped on the junkwagon as it were because that idea so nicely seemed to support their pet theory. So now that the truth is out, to save face, we see all this backpedaling and redefinition going on.

    Scott wants us to believe that it was called junk simply because it was non-coding, not necessarily non-functional. If so, that is a terrible choice of words. I'm sure it is true that non-coding DNA was called junk, but that is only half of the truth. Non-coding DNA would have been a better term than junk DNA. Why did they choose the term "Junk DNA"?

    If we're honest, wasn't it simply because they just assumed that non-coding DNA was useless evolutionary leftovers that cluttered the cell? They assumed the cell did not need this DNA and hence the term "Junk DNA" was popularized.

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  49. Creationists don’t understand the difference between junk and garbage. Garbage is useless trash that we throw away. Junk is stuff that we keep in case it might be useful some day. That’s why junk yards are a good business. And it’s why some people keep junk drawers.

    Who are the people who have been uncovering functions of non-coding DNA? The creationists? Nah.

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  50. "Who are the people who have been uncovering functions of non-coding DNA? The creationists? Nah."

    The idea of Junk DNA is obviously a science stopper. It seems that every day scientists find new functions for Junk DNA that scientists will never find because they have already concluded that it's junk and therefore totally devoid of any use whatsoever. It's sad really that scientists are so invested in their evolutionary dogma that they will never discover the functions that they are discovering every day.

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  51. Pedant "Creationists don’t understand the difference between junk and garbage. Garbage is useless trash that we throw away. Junk is stuff that we keep in case it might be useful some day. "

    Darwinism is The Truth.
    If words do not fit change the meaning.

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  52. Amazing that all the IDiots have is a semantic argument over the meaning of the word junk.

    It's just like when the Cretos were screaming "ToE is wrong because the so-called vestigial appendix isn't useless after all!" Then you have to point out to them that vestigial doesn't mean useless, it means having lost or been degraded from its original function.

    Empty blustering rhetoric - the sole output of IDCers everywhere.

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  53. Blas said...

    Pedant "Creationists don’t understand the difference between junk and garbage. Garbage is useless trash that we throw away. Junk is stuff that we keep in case it might be useful some day. "

    Darwinism is The Truth.
    If words do not fit change the meaning.


    Words often have more than one meaning. To make a disingenuous IDiot argument, equivocate and pick the incorrect meaning. Then yell and scream and stamp your feet.

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  54. tokyojim said, "If we're honest, wasn't it simply because they just assumed that non-coding DNA was useless evolutionary leftovers that cluttered the cell? "

    Obsolutely as Dr Ken Miller of Dover trail fame said, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles."

    Now for some definitions...

    MedicineNet.com definition: "Junk DNA: Noncoding regions of DNA that have no apparent function. The term "junk DNA" is a disparaging one, expressing some of the disappointment felt by geneticists when they first gazed upon sizable segments of the genetic code and, instead of seeing one wonderful gene after another, they saw a few exons surrounded by vast stretches of "junk DNA."

    Biology online definition: "Junk dna - That portion of dna which is not transcribed and expressed, comprising about 90% of the 3 billion base pairs of the human genome; its function is not known. Stretches of dna that do not code for genes; most of the genome consists of junk DNA.DNA that seems to have no apparent function and is therefore obsolete in its current genome."

    American Heritage (2005) - "DNA that serves no known biological purpose, such as coding for proteins or their regulation. Junk DNA makes up the vast majority of the DNA in the cells of most plants and animals, composing, for example, about 95 percent of the human genome. "

    The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    Now for the 2009 version from American Heritage (note the change of tone on function):

    "DNA that does not code for proteins or their regulation but constitutes approximately 95 percent of the human genome. It is postulated to be involved in the evolution of new genes and possibly in gene repair."

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


    It will be harder for evolutionists to weasel out of this because the term itself "Junk" has a clear meaning. So we see a clear effort on the part of evolutionists to rewrite history, but their stuck with the term they invented.

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  55. Pedant said, "Creationists don’t understand the difference between junk and garbage. Garbage is useless trash that we throw away. Junk is stuff that we keep in case it might be useful some day. That’s why junk yards are a good business. And it’s why some people keep junk drawers."

    --

    Seriously?

    Here is a simple exercise. Go into your word processor (micrsoft word, etc) and type the word "Junk" and then right click and select synonyms. Mine shows... rubbish, scrap, garbage, trash, debris, litter as synonyms for "junk". If you prefer a good dictionary or Thesaurus will work.

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  56. Thorton:"It's just like when the Cretos were screaming "ToE is wrong because the so-called vestigial appendix isn't useless after all!" Then you have to point out to them that vestigial doesn't mean useless, it means having lost or been degraded from its original function."

    No, vestigial organ is not a problem of meaning of the word is a problem of logic. Other victim of darwinism.
    To be a vestigial organ you have to demostrate that it "has(ving) lost or been degraded from its original function". But to do that you have to assume evolution happened. Then is circular argument: is vestigial because evolved, evolved because is vestigial.

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  57. Teford contradicts himself in successive posts:

    First, he says:

    It will be harder for evolutionists to weasel out of this because the term itself "Junk" has a clear meaning.

    Then, using creationist reasoning, he says:

    Go into your word processor (micrsoft word, etc) and type the word "Junk" and then right click and select synonyms. Mine shows... rubbish, scrap, garbage, trash, debris, litter as synonyms for "junk". If you prefer a good dictionary or Thesaurus will work.

    A clear meaning, indeed. Tell the junk-yard owners that they are trading in garbage.

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  58. Pedant, sure... When Dr Ken Miller wrote, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles" he clearly had the analogy of a '67 Chevy or a perfectly good radiator sitting in "junk" yard in mind.

    Seriously? We don't have to guess what evolutionists had in mind, the definitions are out there and they say "no apparent function", "waste", and "scribbles". Newer definitions have backpedaled, but you can follow the history.

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  59. Tedford,

    What was Miller referring to when he wrote that?

    Precisely?

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  60. tokyojim: Does the word junk imply universal non-function? I don't know.

    Then wouldn't it appropriate to actually research the primary literature, as I've suggested, rather than speculate?

    tokyojim: I have a sneaking suspicion that it was used in that way in the beginning, but it is hard to prove that.

    And if you don't understand the publishing process, it's likely your suspicions are unfounded.

    Scientific theories start out as conjecture and guess work. We come up with a number of possible explanations for phenomena. It's likely one of these explanations was that Junk DNA did not influence expression at all. However, this would have been one of many explanations that were created as part of the scientific process. This includes highly unlikely explanations and a null hypothesis.

    These explanations are then tested and eventually the results are peer reviewed and published.

    As such, it seems you're conflating testing to see if Junk DNA did not effect expression (among many explniations) with actually concluding that Junk DNA was universally non-functional.

    These are two very different things.

    So, again, please provide a reference that shows DNA categorized as Junk was universally non-functional.

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  61. Neal: Mine shows... rubbish, scrap, garbage, trash, debris, litter as synonyms for "junk".

    Neal, you keep objecting to the form of the word used, not it's implication on function.

    The term "junk" simply doesn't sit very well with you, does it?

    God doesn't make junk, right?

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  62. The question is, why couldn't God make junk?

    If the term designer when applied to God cannot be used to determine what God would or would not do, then it would seem that God could have put universally non-functional DNA in living organisms. Right?

    On one hand, you're throwing the term "design" under the bus. But, on the other hand, you're appealing to it in the case of junk DNA?

    What gives?

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  63. If my memory serves, correctly, evolutionists where siting the existance of junk DNA as evidence for evolution. How could it serve as evidence of evolution, if it serves a purpose. The arguements ran along the lines of "a designer would clutter up the genome with functionless DNA", or the possibility that natural selection functions at the level of the gene, so some genes replicate within the genome, even if there is no benefit for the organism. But if there is a function for the non-coding DNA, then these arguements don't apply.

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  64. Natschuster said, "If my memory serves, correctly, evolutionists where siting the existance of junk DNA as evidence for evolution. How could it serve as evidence of evolution, if it serves a purpose."

    That is entirely correct. As Dr. Ken Miller the famous evolutionist of the Dover Trial stated forcefully, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles". Therefore there was not a designer.

    Scott is in denial about the problem when he said, "If the term designer when applied to God cannot be used to determine what God would or would not do, then it would seem that God could have put universally non-functional DNA in living organisms. Right?"

    Scott is trying to turn it around. Junk-dna was an solely an evolutionist invention. It was an evolutionist boondoggle. Evolutionists made a bad call on terming what seemed at the time to be non-functioning dna. The "junk" part came out of Darwinian philosophy because it fit their imagined scenario. Others like Miller jumped on it and used it to hammer Darwinian skeptics.

    Scott, Dr Miller said, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles". If he thought they had function why did he call it waste? scribbles? He was clear that it was junk as in garbage that wasn't needed.

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  65. Gotta love the Idiots like Tedford. Here we get the fat fool screaming that 'junk' DNA must have a purpose because his GAWD designer wouldn't put it there otherwise.

    Then we ask him about things like atavistic legs in whales or atavistic tails on humans and we get "well, those are just left over unused featured in the DNA from a reused common design".

    No one ever expects consistency from these religiously-driven nutters.

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  66. Tedford:

    Scott, Dr Miller said, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles". If he thought they had function why did he call it waste? scribbles? He was clear that it was junk as in garbage that wasn't needed.

    Earlier, I asked Tedford what Ken Miller was referring to when he wrote that. No answer, just more blustering rhetoric. So here's the full quote (creationist-mined excerpt bolded):

    "From a design point of view, pseudogenes are indeed mistakes. So why are they there? Intelligent design cannot explain the presence of a nonfunctional pseudogene, unless it is willing to allow that the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, however, can explain them easily. Pseudogenes are nothing more than chance experiments in gene duplication that have failed, and they persist in the genome as evolutionary remnants of the past history of the b -globin genes."

    So, what creationist research shows that all pseudogenes have function?

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  67. Junk-dna was an solely an evolutionist invention. It was an evolutionist boondoggle.

    What? Like Tedford, I have a dictionary, and it says that a "boondoggle" is a wasteful or impractical project or activity.

    If the creationist story line is that evolutionists were so convinced that junk DNA was useless, that means they ignored it and weren't working on it. If they weren't working on it, how could they have been wasting time or money on it?

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  68. Neal: That is entirely correct. As Dr. Ken Miller the famous evolutionist of the Dover Trial stated forcefully, "the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles". Therefore there was not a designer.

    Quote mine often?

    Here's the full quote:

    “From a design point of view, pseudogenes are indeed mistakes. So why are they there? Intelligent design cannot explain the presence of a nonfunctional pseudogene, unless it is willing to allow that the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, however, can explain them easily. Pseudogenes are nothing more than chance experiments in gene duplication that have failed, and they persist in the genome as evolutionary remnants of the past history of the b-globin genes.”

    In case your'e unaware, pseudogenes are genes that once provided a particular function, but have ceased to do so due to evolutionary processes, such as retrotranspostion, duplications and other mutations.

    One example of this is the gene used to synthesize vitamin-c in mammals, which does not perform this particular function in human beings.

    In other words, genes are identified as pseudogenes because of their historical context where they did function in an common ancestor. This is in contrast to genes where no function has yet to be identified at all.

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  69. Ha, Scott, beat you to that quote mine by 19 minutes!

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  70. Pedantski wins!!

    Good teamwork.

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  71. Whoops! ha!

    Got stuck on the phone while looking that up. Then had to run out after posting.

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  72. Neal: Scott is trying to turn it around. Junk-dna was an solely an evolutionist invention. It

    Neal, you're avoiding the question.

    On one hand, CH claims that we cannot determine what God would do, despite God supposedly being a perfectly good and intelligent designer. Who are we to say that God would be efficient or reduce suffering caused by his supposed intentional design?

    As such, who's to say that God wouldn't put non-functional genes in our DNA?

    However, it sounds to me like you're implying that we *can* determine what God would or would not do, such as put non-functional genes in our DNA.

    Which is it? Will you make up your mind?

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