Let's look at how the IDiots are responding to this publicity fiasco. Casey Luskin begins with ...
University of Toronto biochemistry professor Larry Moran is not happy with the results of the ENCODE project, which report evidence of "biochemical functions for 80% of the genome." Other evolution-defenders are trying to dismiss this paper as mere "hype".I have consistently maintained that the junk DNA debate is a genuine scientific controversy. There are legitimate scientists on both sides of the issue. This often comes up when talking to creationists because they usually claim that the concept of junk DNA is a prediction of Darwinism and all Darwinists believe in it.
Yes that's right -- we're supposed to ignore the intentionally unambiguous abstract of an 18-page Nature paper, the lead out of 30 other simultaneous papers from this project, co-authored by literally hundreds of leading scientists worldwide, because it's "hype." (Read the last two or so pages of the main Nature paper to see the uncommonly long list of international scientists who were involved with this project, and co-authored this paper.) Larry Moran and other vocal Internet evolution-activists are welcome to disagree and protest these conclusions, but it's clear that the consensus of molecular biologists -- people who actually study how the genome works -- now believe that the idea of "junk DNA" is essentially wrong.
Junk & Jonathan: Part 6—Chapter 3.
Nothing has changed. The ENCODE consortium scientists were wrong in 2007 and they are still wrong—all of them. Casey Luskin thinks that these scientists are the experts on how the genome works but all the evidence suggests otherwise. It suggests that they haven't really thought about the big picture and about junk DNA. They didn't do their homework in 2007 and they haven't done it since.
Moran, for his part, thinks that all these other scientists aren't just wrong, but that they are misrepresenting the evidence -- with dire consequences for the public scientific debate over evolution. Over on his blog, he's been filling pages with words, pleading with the ENCODE project researchers, and their friends in the media, to tone down their discussions of these results so as not to lend support to intelligent design (or as Moran unendingly puts it, "the creationists").I would never, ever, try to misrepresent science in order to strengthen the argument against creationism. That's not what's happening here. The science is being misrepresented, in my opinion, and unfortunately the bad science being promoted by the ENCODE consortium plays into the hands of the creationists, especially the Intelligent Design Creationists.
I will fight that by continuing to present evidence that junk DNA exists and that our genome is mostly junk. I will also try to show why the ENCODE results don't say what the consortium claims. Yes, my life is more complicated because of the mistakes made by the ENCODE consortium but it's the science that concerns me, not the IDiots.
Aside from the fact that Larry Moran is very bothered by the prospect that our genome is "full of wonderful sophisticated control elements" and now sees his mission as controlling the "damage" done by scientists talking about that evidence, what else do Moran's words tell us?This is not true. Good science trumps all, as far as I'm concerned. If it turns out that almost all of our genome is functional then so be it. I'll be embarrassed as a scientist because I got it wrong. I really don't care very much about the creationists because they are wrong about everything else.
First, they show that evolution-activists are susceptible to letting sociopolitical concerns influence their words and behavior. They might treat a study one way, or another because of the feared implications of the evidence, not because of the evidence.
Second, Moran's writing shows that the implications evolutionists fear most are those that lend support to intelligent design (or as they often put it, "the creationists"). They claim their pages and pages of rebuttal-text are simply about enforcing "accuracy," but I suspect Moran et al. wouldn't be so up in arms if there weren't implications here that they fear lend credence to ID. It's not hard to understand why Moran and his colleagues are coming out and forcefully attacking this ENCODE paper.Right. It's not hard to understand. Unless you're Casey Luskin and you have an agenda.
Third, this shows that many evolutionists would like to believe that the mainstream news media are generally on their "side," and will respond favorably to requests, pleas, and demands to not print statements friendly to intelligent design. Based upon years of personal experience working with the mainstream media, I have to say that this assumption is mostly valid. In this case, however, it seems like folks in the media were largely oblivious to the implications regarding intelligent design, and the fact that ID proponents have been predicting the demise of junk DNA for years. The media certainly haven't mentioned ID at all in the flurry of stories on this paper. These new ENCODE papers, and their coverage in the media, appear to have been driven by the fact that hundreds of leading researchers from around the world are now convinced by massive amounts of data that junk DNA is essentially wrong.I've been upset with the way the media covers lots of science stories that have no implications for creationists. This is no different. My goal is good science education and scientific literacy.
I admit that if I succeed creationism will die but that's really just a bonus.
So we're left in a situation where evolution-activists are castigating the ENCODE project and the news media for allegedly "overstating" their findings with "hype" because "[t]he creationists are going to love" this research. But we're given no persuasive motive explaining why these scientists and reporters would overstate anything here. If the scientists and reporters allegedly promoting the "hype" are not friendly to intelligent design, what reason would they have to overstate evidence that's friendly to that position? These scientists involved with ENCODE already have all the funding, prestige, and CVs filled with publications that they need.Yes, it's puzzling why supposedly prestigious scientists would promote something that's wrong and why science journalists would aid and abet this publicity campaign without doing some investigation.
Does anyone else see the irony here? Prestigious evolutionary biologists have been publishing articles supporting evolution for decades and each time they do so the creationists try to discredit the "Darwinists." The instant a respectable scientist says something that's favorable to the creationists they are all over it. Now the reputation of prestigious scientists is something to be lauded and applauded.
It's called having your cake and eating it too. It's also called hypocrisy.