However, some IDiots clearly should know better. They have advanced degrees in relevant fields and they have received considerable feedback on the claims they post or the books they write. We know they have read the critiques so when they persist in repeating falsehoods, there must be another explanation. They must be lying.
So what do we make of his recent post on Evolution News & Views) (sic) entitled Why All the Fuss Over Some Junk?. We are forced to conclude that Wells is dishonest. Perhaps with the caveat expressed by Peter Medawar many years ago in his review of Père Teihard's The Phenomenon of Man.
Yet the greatest part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that he has taken great pains to deceive himself.PZ Myers has already written about the extraordinary stupidity of what Wells posted a few weeks ago. Read it at: Jonathan Wells talks about history.
Let's take a second look. Wells says ..
Some historical context might help. After James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the molecular structure of DNA in 1953, Crick announced that they had found "the secret of life," a popular formulation of which became "DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us." But biologists discovered that about 98% of our DNA does not code for protein, and in 1972 Susumu Ohno and David Comings independently used the term "junk" to refer to non-protein-coding DNA (though neither man excluded the possibility that some of it might turn out to be functional).Many people have explained why Wells is wrong about the history of junk DNA. It has nothing to do with Wells' mangled version of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology because we knew in the 1960s that lots of functional DNA didn't encode proteins. His history is factually incorrect.
Why didn't biologists simply call non-protein-coding sequences "DNA of unknown function" rather than "junk DNA?" For some, it was because "junk DNA" seemed more suited to the defense of Darwinism and survival of the fittest. In 1976, Richard Dawkins wrote in The Selfish Gene that "the true 'purpose' of DNA is to survive, no more and no less. The simplest way to explain the surplus [i.e., non-protein-coding] DNA is to suppose that it is a parasite, or at best a harmless but useless passenger, hitching a ride in the survival machines created by the other DNA."Wells has been told that this is wrong. There was positive evidence that a lots of DNA was junk (e.g. pseudogenes, genetic load, Cot analysis, C-value paradox). Furthermore, true Darwinists, including Richard Dawkins, wanted the extra DNA to have a function. That's why the idea of selfish DNA (functional transposons) was so appealing to that group. Even today, most of us don't count active transposons as junk.
Dawkins continued to rely on junk DNA in his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. "It is a remarkable fact," he wrote, "that the greater part (95 per cent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well not be there, for all the difference it makes." In particular, pseudogenes "are genes that once did something useful but have now been sidelined and are never transcribed or translated." Dawkins concluded: "What pseudogenes are useful for is embarrassing creationists. It stretches even their creative ingenuity to make up a convincing reason why an intelligent designer should have created a pseudogene... unless he was deliberately setting out to fool us."Wells knows full well that the presence of pseudogenes at the same loci in different species is a powerful argument for common descent and also a difficult challenge for creationists. In fact, Wells is so sensitive to this argument that he put into his book an appendix on The Vitamin C Pseudogene here he argued, among other things, that the pseudogene might be functional.
But if most of our DNA is functional, as the ENCODE results suggest, then the "junk DNA" argument against ID collapses.
Wells must understand that the ENCODE results say nothing about the function of these sorts of pseudogenes and that the pseudogene argument is quite separate from the argument about the amount of junk in our genome. He know all this but he still posts nonsense.
Contrast this behavior with that of Jonathan McLatchie [An Honest Intelligent Design Proponent?].