I'm serious. Although I often make fun of the IDiots, I usually try hard to understand the points they are trying to make so I can expose them as nonsensical. But this one has me completely stumped. On the surface the author seems to be saying that "Darwinism" made a prediction "based on core principles" that wasn't fulfilled. This is bad for "Darwinism."
What is that prediction?
The author ("News") starts with a quotation from The Myth of Junk DNA.
In 2010, University of California Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology John C. Avise published a book titled Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design, in which he wrote that "noncoding repetitive sequences–'junk DNA'–comprise the vast bulk (at least 50%, and probably much more) of the human genome." Avise argued that pseudogenes, in particular, are evidence against intelligent design. For example, "pseudogenes hardly seem like genomic features that would be designed by a wise engineer. Most of them lie scattered along the chromosomes like useless molecular cadavers." To be sure, "several instances are known or suspected in which a pseudogene formerly assumed to be genomic ‘ junk’ was later deemed to have a functional role in cells. But such cases are almost certainly exceptions rather than the rule. And in any event, such examples hardly provide solid evidence for intelligent design; instead, they seem to point toward the kind of idiosyncratic tinkering for which nonsentient evolutionary processes are notorious."This is a pretty accurate representation of what John Avise actually says except that it juxtaposes two separate facts. It's true that repetitive DNA sequences—mostly defective transposons—make up about half our genome. Then there's pseudogenes. They are found in the other half and they make up about 1% of the human genome.
Jonathan Wells, The Myth of Junk DNA (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2011), pp. 26-27
Avise, and many others, point out that the presence of pseudogenes is inconsistent with good design and therefore poses a problem for Intelligent Design Creationism.1 I note that the IDiots have consistently refused to address this problem. Instead, they try and convince their followers that pseudogenes don't exist.
Here's what Avise says in his book Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-intelligent design (p. 115). You can see that Wells accurately represented the actual argument that he (Avise) was making.
At face value, pseudogenes hardly seem like genomic features that would be designed by a wise engineer. Most of them lie scattered among the chromosome like useless molecular cadavers. This sentiment does not preclude the possibility that an occasional pseudogene is resuscitated such that it contributes positively to cellular operations, several instances are known or suspected in which a pseudogene formerly assumed to be genomic "junk" was later deemed to have a functional role in cells. But such cases are almost certainly exceptions and not the rule. And in any event, such examples hardly provide solid evidence for intelligent design; instead, they seem to point toward the kind of idiosyncratic genetic tinkering for which nonsentient evolutionary evolutionary processes are notorious.It's important to make sure you understand the argument that Avise and others are making. When looking at the big picture the presence of thousands of pseudogenes in the human genome is a challenge for those who argue for Intelligent Design Creationism. The fact that a handful of these regions were misidentified as pseudgenes and now turn out to have a function cannot be taken as evidence that all of the 20,000 known pseudogenes have a function.
So, how does Wells deal with this challenge to his belief? On the next page of his book (p. 27) he says ...
This is a classic "bait-and-switch." The argument from Avise and the others is mostly about the presence of pseudogenes. There is solid evidence that many pseudogenes are completely non-functional. There is evidence that non-functional pseudogenes have been inherited from common ancestors, strongly suggesting that the genes were inactivated in ancient ancestors and passed down to modern species as the evolved.
But Is It True?
The arguments by Dawkins, Miller, Shermer, Collins, Kitcher, Coyne and Avise rest on the premise that most non-coding DNA is junk, wihout any significnat biological function. Yet a virtual flood of recent evidence shows that they are mistaken. Much of the DNA they claim to be "junk" actually performs important functions in living cells.
The following chapters cite hundreds of scientific articles (many of them freely accessible on the Internet) that testify to those functions—and those articles are only a small sample of a large and growing body of literature on the subject. This does not mean that the authors of those articles are critics of evolution or supporters of intelligent design. Indeed, most of them interpret the evidence within an evolutionary framework. But many of them explicitly point out that the evidence refutes the myth of junk DNA.
This argument is NOT about "most noncoding DNA." It's about that 1% of the genome that contains known pseudogenes. Unless that point is addressed directly (it isn't) then Wells is guilty of ignoring one of the main arguments of his critics.
But that's not the point of this posting. I'm concerned about the point that "News" makes in the recent posting on Uncommon Descent. He/she says ...
Darwinism predicts something, based on its core principles, and it doesn’t happen. And there are no consequences? Only on planet Darwin. Where all correct predictions originate in Darwin’s theory and are grandfathered as such by his loyal heirs. All incorrect predictions are “proved” to have originated elsewhere, no matter where they actually originated.What are these predictions of "Darwinism"? It's surely not pseudogenes since no evolutionary theory that I know of predicted pseudogenes. Bacteria don't have many pseudogenes and that's perfectly consistent with evolutionary theory. Plant genomes have lots of pseudogenes and that's perfectly consistent with evolutionary theory. Yeast has a few pseudogenes but not nearly as many as plants and that's perfectly consistent with modern evolutionary theory.
Is "News" referring to junk DNA in general? That's not a prediction of "Darwinism" or any evolutionary theory that I know of. The fact that bacteria have very little junk DNA has never been taken as a fact that overthrows modern evolutionary theory. I'm unaware of any evolutionary biologist who predicted back in the 1960s that most of the mammalian genome would be junk and that this prediction was a requirement of modern evolutionary theory. The arguments of Avise et al. are not based on the "premise" that most of our genome is junk, they're based on the evidence that pseudogenes exist.
No prediction was made so no prediction has been refuted. The point that "News" is making seems illogical.
Unless I'm missing something obvious.
What about the predictions of the IDiots? Casey Luskin explains it [Intelligent Design and the Death of the "Junk-DNA" Neo-Darwinian Paradigm].
Proponents of intelligent design have long maintained that Neo-Darwinism's widely held assumption that our cells contain much genetic "junk" is both dangerous to the progress of science and wrong. As I explain here, design theorists recognize that "Intelligent agents typically create functional things," and thus Jonathan Wells has suggested, "From an ID perspective, however, it is extremely unlikely that an organism would expend its resources on preserving and transmitting so much ‘junk'."  Design theorists have thus been predicting the death of the junk-DNA paradigm for many years: ...and in Another Intelligent Design Prediction Fulfilled: Function for a Pseudogene ...
Darwinists have long made an argument from ignorance, where our lack of present knowledge of the function for a given biological structure is taken as evidence that there is no function and the structure is merely a vestige of evolutionary history. Darwinists have commonly made this mistake with many types of "junk" DNA, now known to have function. In contrast, intelligent agents design objects for a purpose, and therefore intelligent design predicts that biological structures will have function.2Here's another prediction, according to Barry Arrington on Uncommon Descent [FAQ4 is Open for Comment].
ID does not make scientifically fruitful predictions.It seems like it's the IDiots that have hitched their star to a prediction about junk DNA. If any genome turns out to have a substantial amount of junk DNA then Intelligent Design Creationism is refuted. As it turns out, many genomes do have a lot of junk DNA in spite of what Jonathan Wells would have you believe. Thus, Intelligent Design Creationism is no longer a credible scientific hypothesis.
This claim is simply false. To cite just one example, the non-functionality of “junk DNA” was predicted by Susumu Ohno (1972), Richard Dawkins (1976), Crick and Orgel (1980), Pagel and Johnstone (1992), and Ken Miller (1994), based on evolutionary presuppositions. In contrast, on teleological grounds, Michael Denton (1986, 1998), Michael Behe (1996), John West (1998), William Dembski (1998), Richard Hirsch (2000), and Jonathan Wells (2004) predicted that “junk DNA” would be found to be functional.
The Intelligent Design predictions are being confirmed and the Darwinist predictions are being falsified. For instance, ENCODE’s June 2007 results show substantial functionality across the genome in such “junk DNA” regions, including pseudogenes.
Thus, it is a matter of simple fact that scientists working in the ID paradigm carry out and publish research, and they have made significant and successful ID-based predictions.
But you knew that already, didn't you?
1. Most scientists actually argue a more specific point; namely, that the conservation of specific pseudogenes in different species is an especially serious problem for Intelligent Design Creationists.
2. It's interesting that Casey Luskin seems to know something about the motivations of the intelligent designer because when scientists point out that the genome doesn't look like it was designed this is not taken as an argument against the IDiot position. Instead it's taken as illegitimate science as pointed out by Wells in his book (p. 103), "Do arguments based on speculations about a creator or designer have a legitimate place in science? Not according to Canadian biologist Steven Scadding, who once wrote that although he accepted evolutionary theory, he objected to defending it on the grounds that a creator would or would not do certain things. 'Whatever the validity of this theological claim,' Scadding concluded, 'it certainly cannot be defended as a scientific statement, and thus should be given no place is a scientific discussion of evolution."