Monday, July 13, 2015

Casey Luskin doubles down on junk DNA

Intelligent Design Creationists are committed to the idea that most of our genome is functional. They oppose the idea that a significant proportion is junk. It's easy to see why a junky genome is incompatible with intelligent design but there's something more to their opposition than that.

I think they've painted themselves into a corner. They are so opposed to evolution and modern science that they will take any opportunity to discredit it. They saw a chance to do so about twenty years ago when they became aware of the controversy surrounding junk DNA. This was their chance to (pretend to) rely on real science to back their position. By taking a stance against junk DNA they could seen to be supporting the latest evidence ... or so they thought.

Intelligent Design Creationists claim that they "predicted" that most our genome would be functional. They claim that "Darwinists" predicted junk DNA. The second part isn't true since evolutionary theory is silent on whether some genomes could become bloated with junk DNA or not. However, the ID proponents are sticking to their guns in spite of the growing consensus that most of our genome is junk.

Now, Casey Luskin has doubled down on the bet in a series of articles in Salvo Magazine. (Salvo is a magazine that promotes a Christian worldview.) You can follow the links at: Trash Be Gone: Why Are Biologists Lashing Out Against Empirically Verified Research Results?.

The gist of his argument is that "Darwinists" are fighting the ENCODE claim because they are committed to the evolutionary worldview ....
... when a powerful evolutionary paradigm is threatened by the findings of molecular biology, don't expect the establishment to quickly concede defeat. Indeed, the entire debate over neo-Darwinian evolution and intelligent design (ID) may turn on the outcome of this question.
What's interesting is that Casey Luskin is staking the reputation of Intelligent Design Creationism on the outcome of a real scientific controversy that will be decided by scientist, not creationists. He's admitting that ID may be refuted if it turns out that most of our genome is junk.

That's a big stupid risk.
This report [ENCODE] was a game-changer in the debate over Darwinian evolution and intelligent design because, since the mid-1990s, ID theorists had been predicting that noncoding DNA would turn out to have function, and ID critics had been arguing that junk DNA drove a stake through the heart of ID.
Why would Casey Luskin take such a risk? It's because he is very confident that he has caught Darwinists with their pants down and Intelligent Design Creationists are on the side of the science experts.
Darwin defenders weren't going to take ENCODE's data sitting down. But this time, they found themselves in an unaccustomed position. Many Darwinians take great assurance in knowing they stand in the scientific majority, which enables them to appeal to the consensus and dismiss challengers as "deniers." But in the post-ENCODE world, Darwin defenders have found themselves challenging the consensus of an international body of leading molecular biologists who have discovered that the vast majority of human DNA has biochemical function.

How could they possibly oppose such empirically based conclusions? The same way they always defend their theory: by assuming an evolutionary viewpoint is correct and reinterpreting the data in light of their paradigm--and by personally attacking those who challenge their position.
Let's make sure we remember what the Intelligent Design Creationists are saying in 2015. In a few years they will have to eat their words and scrabble to explain why the validity of ID didn't really turn on the outcome of this question.

Either that, or Intelligent Design Creationism will have been falsified and disappear.


223 comments :

  1. Yep. It's pretty epic Not Getting It from the IDists. Let's see how he deals with the Onion Test. Hint for Luskin: the Onion Test is not just about onions. It's about the huge diversity in genome size between basically similar organisms. E.g. the differences within amphibians, within ferns, within fishes, within the carnivorous plant genus Utricularia. The organisms will have about the same number of genes, but will have huge differences in noncoding DNA, due mostly to huge differences in the number of repetitive/parasitic elements. Luskin has to explain why this isn't evidence of junk, and also has to explain why ENCODE ignored this basic, fundamental data which has been known to real cell biologists for 40+ years, but apparently not the ENCODE leadership.

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    1. I just wonder: they made their prediction on the basis of -- uh... -- what exactly? Scientific predictions normally follow from a theory and aren't conjured up from thin air. Could Casey Luskin (or anyone else) quote the ID publication(s) in which the prediction was formulated? Did it have a theoretical basis or was it revealed to someone in a prophetic dream?

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    2. What Piotr said. "No junk" doesn't follow from any ID theory (of course not, because there's no such thing)
      That's partly why I don't think ID will disappear when they're proven wrong. They've been proven wrong time and again after all, but they don't care about that, all they care about is how many people they can fool to believe they're right. ID will only be defeated with proper education.

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    3. But "no junk" is a requirement for "god did it". After all, god would not do (create) anything without a reason (function).

      But we all know that ID is not about a god....

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    4. Then again, IDiots won't miss the opportunity to claim that bad design is still design. How convenient, only that not too long ago they would have been burned for such a heresy

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    5. Acartia, you keep forgetting the Fall, which caused everything to get worse and was in no way God's fault or part of his plan, despite the fact that he's omniscient and omnipotent.

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    6. "After all, god would not do (create) anything without a reason (function)."

      But Acartia, this assumes we know something about the nature of the creator, something for which we could not possibly have any evidence. That is why 'no junk DNA' is not really a prediction of ID. It doesn't follow logically at all. Maybe the creator likes him(her/it)self a little junk DNA. Or a lot.

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    7. Luskin has an easy answer to the Onion Test: there is a core functional genome which can be increased by junk from whole genome duplications etc. ID wouldn't have a problem with that. I guess that means that the core vertebrate genome is ..the pufferfish? IDers would be loathe to admit that any of the extra DNA in humans is junk so they'd probably claim that the extra is for wiring the brain. But then chimps and even mice have about the same size genome.
      These arguments don't work but that doesn't matter. IDers only need to come up with superficial answers to the glaring problems with ID. If the counter, and counter-counter arguments are sufficiently complex they'll go over the heads of most of the audience and ID will have won in the minds of its followers

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  2. Acartia, but all species were created with perfect genomes, and they may have deteriorated since the Fall. See, there's an ID theory for anything.

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    1. It also explains why ID was originally a perfect scientific theory but degenerated into bullshit after the Fall.

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    2. Let me point out that Sal Cordova has used this explanation in this very thread.

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  3. "The second part isn't true since evolutionary theory is silent on whether some genomes could become bloated with junk DNA or not."

    This is not true. It's not silent at all.In the same post you can read.

    "It's not surprising that Graur would become emotional over ENCODE given his blunt framing of the issue in a talk he gave in 2013:

    If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function. If ENCODE is right, then Evolution is wrong".20

    This is practically all evolutionists position , you are the only one pretending not to be.
    Dishonest 1.

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    1. IDiots can't read for comprehension. Larry speaks generally of some genomes; Dan Graur's talk is about the human genome. What Graur means is that, given the known rates of mutation and the size of the human genome, there's simply no way most of this particular genome can be functional. The same would apply to any genome of a comparable size (or larger, as in frogs, lungfish, onions, etc.). In bats and birds, for example, the functional part is more or less the same size as in humans, but there's less junk. There's very little junk in pufferfish and bladderworts, but again the size of the functional part is of the same order of magnitude as in other eukaryotes. What Larry means is that all those genomes contain a functional core, which doesn't greatly vary in size, plus some amount of "junk", which does vary a lot, and is free to do so, since evolutionary theory normally does not constrain its accumulation (unless a given organism is under some extraordinary pressure to reduce its DNA content).

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    2. P.S. Since we have an ID advocate here, may I ask you, Unknown, where the ID prediction that there's no junk DNA came from? Which ID expert made it, and what reasoning had led to it?

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    3. More specifically, Unknown, does ID "predict" that the African lungfish, Niuse River Water Dog (an amphibian), the Norway Spruce, Polychaos dubium, cave cricket etc. etc. should have lots of junk? Their genomes are far larger than ours. Does ID "predict" that their huge amounts of extra DNA beyond the size of the human genome is junk? Or is every bssepair in the African lungfish (50x human) etc. etc. functional? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

      Since, as Casey Luskin says, "Bad Design is still design", how do you know it's not all a very, very bad design? And shouldn't you have known that all along?

      As I've said many, many times, the mark of a pseudoscience is that it's "predictions" do not logically follow from the claimed hypothesis. Thus I call them "fraudictions."

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    4. Casey Luskin is too cowardly to ever comment here, so let's use Unknown for bayonet practice.

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    5. I have an honest question for the biologists here please.

      How do animals with little to none junk DNA manage to handle mutations?

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    6. I'm not a biologist, but I think I can answer this. Mutation rates do not generally depend on the size of the genome. If you have a small genome which is almost entirely functional and a genome that is ten times longer but 10% functional, you get, on an average, the same number of mutations in the functional part in both cases, i.e. a smaller genome doesn't mean an increased mutational load.

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    7. Thanks Piotr, makes complete sense

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    8. By the way, Unknown is lying through his teeth as one would expect from a creatard:

      If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE project

      Even if ENCODE was right, they claimed there's still a 20% of junk DNA. Why does it matter if it's a 90, 50 or 20%?

      Didn't I read somewhere that they have somewhat retracted their original 80% figure and the're now at 50%? Can't find a link, can anyone help please?

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    9. You are wrong, Unknown. Junk DNA could accumulate, or if it were detrimental to the organism in some way, it might all be eliminated. Or if junk DNA cannot be eliminated as fast as it accumulates, it will increase regardless of the fitness consequences to the organism. According to evolutionary theory the amount of junk DNA can increase or decrease, but this is dependent on the specific circumstances of the organism, and is not a property of junk DNA itself. There is no single a priori prediction about junk DNA from evolutionary theory.

      Since you are quoting Graur, however, perhaps you could clarify the 'scientific' ID/creationist position on this part:
      "If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function."

      This implies that the 'intelligently designed' genome is all functional, has no junk DNA, and is stable in this way through time. This certainly would be at odds with evolutionary theory and everything we know about genomes. So what is the ID/creationist 'theory' on how these perfectly designed genomes remain stable through time?

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    10. What Piotr is actually saying here is: "whatever is needed for Darwinists to explain problems in evolution, evolution does or has done it."

      Unfortunately, this is baseless and pure speculation, just like mutation load flop......

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    11. Here's another ID expert. KevNick, please show us how "there's no junk DNA" follows from ID theory.

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    12. And your expertise comes from where??? Oh... I forgot that there is Wikipedia rigged by Darwinists......lol

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    13. KevNick, you shouldn't use words you don't understand, such as "Darwinist". But never mind my competence or its lack. Where was that ID prediction first made, and on what grounds?

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    14. Piotr,

      You should not forget your cant when you are trashing biologists for wearing lab coats. What grounds are you doing this on? Would you like a prediction on your answer here?

      Likely, your competence or its lack is however even clearer now when you succumbed to the lowest point by your moving goalposts, as any ID would've predicted you would.

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    15. What goalposts am I moving? I'm asking different IDiots the same question and -- predictably -- I'm getting no answers.

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    16. Your expertise goalposts and the grounds you are trashing experts on but not being one yourself. Don't pretend you can't comprehend this simple argument? But then again.....

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    17. QuesDick and Unknown, we ask again the same question IDers will not answer: given that IDiots always say "bad design is still design", how does the hypothesis "it was intelligently designed" lead to the prediction "The human genome has no junk"?

      What is the upper limit % predicted? What is the lower limit % predicted?

      And I ask again: if species like the African lungfish, Niuse River water dog, cave cricket, Norwegian spruce etc. have dozens x human genome size, what fraction of junk would you predict for the biggies? 90%? 99%? If they'te designed and we're designed, why would they have far more junk than we have-- if "designed" forbids junk? If they have NO junk, what's all that DNA doing?

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    18. Something is not right here. Can anybody tell what that could be? Is it possible that someone had an "accident" here? It does "smell like "that"...

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    19. Piotr,

      It is actually quite humorous to watch idiots like yourself calling others "idiots" because this is exactly what you and other do here on this blog.

      Idiots like yourself strongly believe that matter somehow self-assembled itself. After this first "scientific"miracle that second miracle happed; the self-assembled matter later became alive and on its own.

      Here is the kicker thogh: Whoever does not believe such an obvious scientific fact of abiogenesis, because idiots like you have so many pieces of evidence to back up their claims (seems they don’t want to provide even one due to the overwhelming number of the evidence; you just can’t seem make up your mind or something) is being mocked and called an idiot.

      Think about it: How many examples of matter self-assembling into something complex have you seen?

      This is not the end of it: How many examples of self-assembled matter that became alive and on its own have have you seen?

      Well, if you haven’t, you must be an idiot according to the assembly of very confident atheists on this blog and beyond for whom such an event is just piece of cake.

      Idiots actually believe such an event took place because they have many, many examples of self-assembly and self-resurrection of dead and mindless matter….

      Can’t argue with such scientific evidence…..

      BTW: If any other kind of science made claims like the atheistic Darwinism does, it would be laughed off the stage with vengeance. But this baseless "science" gets a break for some reason. I wonder why? I wonder......

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    20. BTW: If any other kind of science made claims like the atheistic Darwinism does, it would be laughed off the stage with vengeance. But this baseless "science" gets a break for some reason. I wonder why? I wonder......

      The reason you wonder why explains everything. Do you not understand that you are gaining a sense of satisfaction from proposing an stupendously extraordinarily complex solution to a problem that is already quite complex enough?

      That your explanation, which you mistake for simple, gives you something to pray to, doesn't help from a scientific perspective, I am afraid.

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    21. Larry, didn't you promise to delete KevNick's comments changing the subject to Origin of Life when he himself refuses to give his explanation for OOL when asked?

      KevNick has again refused to give his explanation for OOL and again changes the subject to OOL.

      The topic of this thread was junk DNA. I asked KevNick how ID proponents derived their prediction that the genome has no junk. Simple question.

      He responded Something is not right here. Can anybody tell what that could be? Is it possible that someone had an "accident" here? It does "smell like "that"...

      He's calling me a poopy-head and trying to be witty, and failing. Now I want to know how Intelligent Design arrived at its predictions about no junk DNA. No IDer will answer.

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    22. I repost the questions no IDer will answer: QuesDick and Unknown, given that IDiots always say "bad design is still design", how does the hypothesis "it was intelligently designed" lead to the prediction "The human genome has no junk"?

      What is the upper limit % predicted? What is the lower limit % predicted?

      And I ask again: if species like the African lungfish, Niuse River water dog, cave cricket, Norwegian spruce etc. have dozens x human genome size, what fraction of junk would you predict for the biggies? 90%? 99%? If they'te designed and we're designed, why would they have far more junk than we have-- if "designed" forbids junk? If they have NO junk, what's all that DNA doing?

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    23. I'd like to see if they can derive a single testable prediction about anything from their cargo-cult theory.

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    24. "I'd like to see if they can derive a single testable prediction about anything from their cargo-cult theory."

      Well, they did try the 'within 10 years ID will demolish Darwin' prediction, 20 odd years ago, but I do get the impression that's one they'd like to forget ever predicting.

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    25. Diogenes & KevNick

      You both should go to uncommondescent and do the search on OOL vs creation. I remember a good discussion there on why life had to have been created and possibly how. Top to bottom, not bottom to top as evolutionists claim.

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    26. Septic Mind, I argued with UDites about OOL many times. The just hurl insults and name-calling (Joe Gallien, Mung, Barry Arrington, etc.) or sanctimoniously accuse you of threatening and stalking their family (KairosFocus) or change the subject to the magic properties of the gravity-defying Quantum Shroud of Turin (BornAgain77.) They never have scientific explanations, and they banned me 3 times. You Google that cesspool, I need to hose off.

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    27. Diogenes

      I don't recollect you being involved in the discussion on OOL then but it was last year, so I'm not sure.

      When it comes to insults and name calling this blog must be the worst I have ever seen. Just look at your last 10-15 comments. I'm not surprised you got banned at UD. I'm surprised you got reinstated twice.

      Instead of insults, name-calling and trying to figure out who uses what sockpuppet, you and many others on this blog should come up with some scientific and experimental evidence for the skepticism that many present here. Unfortunately, you and many others seem to resort to insults rather than providing the evidence as you should. I kind of know why. What a pity

      Btw: I'm not going to lower myself to your level and call you what you deserved to be called.

      From now on, I'm going to ignore your posts so your gonna have to use a sockpuppet.

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    28. Septic Mind, this is typical trolling.

      Instead of insults, name-calling and trying to figure out who uses what sockpuppet, you and many others on this blog should come up with some scientific and experimental evidence for the skepticism that many present here.


      We already did, and creationists just deny having seen it after we present it. Creationists are not "skeptics", they're deniers. They say "Where is your evidence?" and we explain it at a simple level so creationists can understand. Then they say, "I know why you haven't presented any evidence" after we did. That's not being a skeptic, that's a denier.

      Now *we* demand evidence from *you.*

      You say we have never presented evidence for evolution, right? You and 100 other trolls say that, without ever searching the scientific literature or reading a book. No, *we* demand that *you* present evidence that we have never presented evidence for evolution. No, you prove that.

      None of you ever search the scientific literature, you don't read science books, you don't even go to museums, you don't use science jargon correctly-- and you say you know we never presented evidence for evolution? $%&* that. You prove it. You're claiming a universal negative, now you prove your universal negative.

      We know why you won't.

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    29. Sceptical Mind,

      I'm not sure what you mean by "top to bottom and bottom to top"?

      Can you elaborate?

      When it come to OOL I noticed that we are almost on the same page. Note quite. You think that life is irreducibly complex (in a sense I agree).

      I know the simplest forms of life like the simplest cells are without a doubt irreducibly complex.

      Other life forms especially more complex could have evolved within kinds which Neo-Darwinists call it "the evolution of new species". People like myself just call it a change within kinds.

      Just keep ignoring the angry A-hole. It will eventually give up.

      What discussion where you talking about at UD about the OOL? Can you at least remember when it was more or less?

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    30. KevNick said:

      "Think about it: How many examples of matter self-assembling into something complex have you seen?"

      With that in mind I have some questions for KevNick, Sceptical Mind, Unknown, and all others who believe in an 'assembler' (i.e. designer-creator-guider-god):

      If it were found (for sure) that there actually was/is a designer-creator-assembler-guider but that it wasn't/isn't anything at all like the so-called 'God' that you believe in, would you immediately discard your religious beliefs and feel stupid for ever holding them? What if the 'real' designer-creator-assembler-guider of absolutely everything were found (for sure) to be a 90 headed, 450 eyed, purple and green striped, slimy, 600 armed, squirrel sized, fire breathing, pig faced, drooling, rotten smelling, constantly burping, sabre-toothed, gynandromorphic being in the 57th dimension? Would you accept that? I would, if it were true. I'm open to anything, if it's true. Are you?

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    31. I'm also open to anything regarding 'junk DNA', if it's true. To me, the evidence, so far, strongly points to there being plenty of 'junk DNA' (when correctly defined) in many organisms, including humans. If new evidence shows otherwise, it won't bother me. My acceptance of scientific evolutionary theory as being the best explanation of evolution (at least generally) does not hinge on the existence, non-existence, or percentage of 'junk DNA'. However, I do think that it's important to study and figure out DNA, including any 'junk', and whatever is true I'll accept.

      It's obvious to me that you creationists are against the idea/suggestion/evidence of 'junk DNA' because you don't want to believe that 'God' creates or allows any 'junk DNA' or anything else that could be thought of as useless or inferior, especially in humans. If scientists were to say that 'junk DNA' only applies to non-human organisms and that humans are special/exceptional when it comes to 'junk DNA', I don't think that you creationists would complain much or at all about the idea/suggestion/evidence of 'junk DNA' in other organisms.

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    32. @The whole truth,

      "Think about it: How many examples of matter self-assembling into something complex have you seen?"

      With that in mind I have some questions for KevNick, Sceptical Mind, Unknown, and all others who believe in an 'assembler' (i.e. designer-creator-guider-god):

      If it were found (for sure) that there actually was/is a designer-creator-assembler-guider but that it wasn't/isn't anything at all like the so-called 'God' that you believe in, would you immediately discard your religious beliefs and feel stupid for ever holding them?”

      I personally think this is a good question…. I guess it is up to each one of us come up with the answer for “what if”…..

      ”What if the 'real' designer-creator-assembler-guider of absolutely everything were found (for sure) to be a 90 headed, 450 eyed, purple and green striped, slimy, 600 armed, squirrel sized, fire breathing, pig faced, drooling, rotten smelling, constantly burping, sabre-toothed, gynandromorphic being in the 57th dimension? Would you accept that? I would, if it were true. I'm open to anything, if it's true. Are you?”

      I wouldn't want to answer this question for everyone because it wouldn’t be fair….

      One question I will answer though because I think it helps everyone to understand how desperate for arguments some atheists are on this blog…

      If it were found (for sure) that there actually was/is a designer-creator-assembler-guider even if that it wasn't/isn't anything at all like the so-called 'God' that we believe in, whether we would you immediately or later discard our religious beliefs and feel stupid for ever holding them would be an individual thing.

      One thing would be for certain that day though and it would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth; it would be the end of all yours and morons like you the so-called scientific beliefs… That fact would not need any further speculations. The so called science would not be needed and we would not need faith anymore…

      Can you grasp the concept?

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    33. If OOL is something that evolutionists don't what to discuss, there are many, many other issues that they think they can just wave away as if it was a fly...

      The origin of information, for example...

      But I'm more interested in what could have been copied Ina a lab experiments to copy the supposed evolutionary intelligence......

      Let's look at some supposedly simple cells evolving into other more complex cells. Prokaryotes evolving into eukaryotic cells...
      It apparently happened in the past but this particular event was not replicated in the lab.
      I wonder why intelligence can't replicate this? Maybe the lab has hired dumbasses ?

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    34. One thing would be for certain that day though and it would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth; it would be the end of all yours and morons like you the so-called scientific beliefs.

      You see, this is why you are a dumbass Kevnik. You think creator/designer is actually an answer. Mechanism, Kevnick, mechanism. How does all this get created? What is the mechanism by which the creator/designer arose? etc. etc. etc.

      Incurious Kevnick: structures, mechanism and effects, these are the things that concerns science. The only reason we do not insert "creator/designer" into hypotheses, like "cdesign proponentsists" do, is because there is no evidence yet of such a thing. But it wouldn't matter if we did, because it still does not represent all that needs to be known, except to the incurious, the religious, the people who do not wonder at it all, but merely need something to pray to.

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    35. KevNick said:

      "I wouldn't want to answer this question for everyone because it wouldn’t be fair…."

      Answer it for yourself then. I never expected you to answer it for everyone.

      You asked:

      "Can you grasp the concept?"

      I can easily grasp the concept that science would not be needed only if all knowledge about everything were available in some other way. If a designer-creator-assembler-guider were found to exist but it didn't make all knowledge about everything available to everyone, many people would still be curious and want to find the missing knowledge. Many people wouldn't, as SRM pointed out.

      Regarding "faith" (as in religious faith), in my opinion it's already not needed, although I suppose an argument could be made that some people 'need' religious faith (actually fear of punishment by their imaginary sky daddy) just to behave decently. Trouble is, many people with religious faith are far from decent (ID-creationists for example). Religious faith does way more harm than good.

      You apparently believe that "scientific beliefs" (as you put it) are bad, wrong, and not needed, but even you rely on "scientific beliefs" in many important ways. Everyone does, but many arrogant, religiously deluded people, like you, bash science as though you could live and thrive without it. You can try to prove that by getting rid of everything and every bit of knowledge that science has ever provided that you have ever benefited from or ever will benefit from, including indirectly. You can start by getting rid of your computer and the controlled electricity that powers it.

      In another comment you said:

      "I wonder why intelligence can't replicate this? Maybe the lab has hired dumbasses ?"

      That's just a typical ignorant demand from a religious fool who thinks (I'm being generous with the word "thinks") that just because something hasn't been accomplished by scientists yet, it never will be accomplished. And even if many things are never figured out or accomplished by science, that doesn't mean that your chosen, so-called 'God' or any other so-called 'God' exists. Your religious beliefs are not evidence for anything other than your gullibility, arrogance, ignorance, fear, indoctrination, and lack of curiosity and knowledge.

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    36. Hey Kev, you were asked a question, but you didn't answer it.Let me repeat the question for you:
      "”What if the 'real' designer-creator-assembler-guider of absolutely everything were found (for sure) to be a 90 headed, 450 eyed, purple and green striped, slimy, 600 armed, squirrel sized, fire breathing, pig faced, drooling, rotten smelling, constantly burping, sabre-toothed, gynandromorphic being in the 57th dimension? Would you accept that? I would, if it were true. I'm open to anything, if it's true. Are you?”

      Care to answer the question this time? Or are you going to side step the question *again*?

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    37. Kev,
      "It apparently happened in the past but this particular event was not replicated in the lab. "
      While you're at it, do show that you or you designer of choice proponents have in fact replicated a miracle? If you haven't replicated a miracle, it can't have happend.
      There's one that should be the cool bit of genetics from the bible (if that's your preferred designers book), the one where offspring of mating goats take on the striping of sticks with bark removed. Genesis 30:37 if I'm correct.
      If you can't reproduce a simple miracle like that, it clearly can't have happend.

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    38. Kevnick

      "Top to bottom" is an attempt by scientists to create simplest life forms with already existing life forms rather than what evolutionists suggests -bottom to top.-life emerging from lifeless matter.

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    39. How the Designer/God/or whoever created life may very well be explained by quantum physics.

      1. Life is irreducibly complex and requires ALL of it's parts to be present at the same time for life to function
      2. Each particle of life is arranged in specialized way to form life and to function. This arrangement of particles requires specific information. It is called the quantum state of particles
      3. So the designer of life had to have known the exact quantum state of each particle in order to for life to be created and stay alive. That is why poor designers like Szostak can't duplicate this process because they have no inside into the quantum state of particles that form life.

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    40. Each particle of life is arranged in specialized way to form life and to function. This arrangement of particles requires specific information. It is called the quantum state of particles.

      No. Just no. That has nothing to do with quantum physics. If anything, it's the exact opposite.

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  4. Larry, I was hoping you would comment on this piece by Luskin which is more hilarious because Luskin says that no matter what percentage of the genome is functional, it still proves ID is right. He is reacting to recent news (the ENCODE meeting in Maryland two weeks ago) that some ENCODE researchers are walking back their claims of 80% functionality and now put it at 50%. But ID wins no matter what, says Luskin.

    Luskin: Here’s what I wonder: Do any of them [Darwinists] appreciate that even the 50 percent of our genome that they already believe is functional refutes unguided evolution …? So whether it’s 50 percent functionality or 80 percent functionality, that’s bad for unguided evolutionary models!

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    1. I don't know where the 50% value comes from so I'm not going to discuss it until I see a reference. However, I take note of the awkward position that Casey Luskin has created for himself. According to him, his "experts" are now saying that half our genome is junk. This clearly refutes the ID prediction.

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    2. I think you're all far too optimistic about the chances for ID to be embarrassed about this. Its far easier to show that some lncRNA has a function, or that some pseudogene or transposon has acquired a secondary function, than it is to show that a significant portion of the genome has no function. Work that demonstrates lack of function very often turns on esoteric arguments and techniques. The DI will just trumpet every new paper that finds a function for junk and downplay the fact that functional junk adds up to a fraction of 1% of the genome.

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    3. Diogenes,
      It looks like he's hedging his bets just in case the 50% or lower number becomes widely accepted. If so he'll just say the junk is irrelevant for ID because the core of the genome that's functional is irreducibly complex and 'digital code' can't be created by natural processes. QED

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    4. What counts is that Luskin lies when he says that "since the mid-1990s, ID theorists had been predicting that noncoding DNA would turn out to have function". He lies on two levels. First, several types of functional non-coding DNA had been known long before the 'nineties (Jacob, Lwoff and Monod got their Nobel Prize in 1965). Secondly, ID theory can predict bugger-all about anything.

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    5. I'm a bit confused Professor. You didn't seem to have much use for the encode findings before

      "I'm not letting the science journalists off the hook but I reserve my harshest criticism for the scientists, especially Ewan Birney who is the lead analysis coordinator for the project and who has taken on the role as spokesperson for the consortium. Unless other members of the consortium speak out, I'll assume they agree with Ewan Birney. They bear the same responsibility for what has happened. "

      Now you're ok with their findings as long as they disagree with the "ID prediction"? Assuming they claim the %50, it still goes against your thinking doesn't it?

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    6. I'm a bit confused Professor.

      On this I think we can all agree. Larry isn't OK with their findings. He merely points out that he who lives by the ENCODE — specifically Casey Luskin —will die by the ENCODE.

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    7. What counts is that Luskin lies when he says that "since the mid-1990s, ID theorists had been predicting that noncoding DNA would turn out to have function".

      He is also conveniently ignoring those he would have himself called 'Darwinists", who would have predicted that the cruel knife of natural selection would have eliminated any non-functional DNA from a genome.

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    8. SRM "He is also conveniently ignoring those he would have himself called 'Darwinists", who would have predicted that the cruel knife of natural selection would have eliminated any non-functional DNA from a genome."
      I'm not sure that actual scientists label themselves "Darwinist". Darwin seems to be the ultimate strawman for creationists. The science has moved on a little in 150 years. He did get an awful lot right though.
      Darwin had no knowledge of DNA but said this: "Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element".

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    9. Darwin also had reservations with the blending inheritance theory of his time which posited that inherited traits were determined randomly, from a range bound by the homologous traits found in the parents

      In a letter to Alfred Wallace, dated February 6, 1866 Darwin said:

      ... I do not think you understand what I mean by the non-blending of certain varieties. It does not refer to fertility; an instance I will explain. I crossed the Painted Lady and Purple sweetpeas, which are very differently coloured varieties, and got, even out of the same pod, both varieties perfect but not intermediate. Something of this kind I should think must occur at least with your butterflies & the three forms of Lythrum; tho’ those cases are in appearance so wonderful. I do not know that they are really more so than every female in the world producing distinct male and female offspring ...


      So although Darwin not know about DNA he was of the opinion that inheritance was a digital/discrete rather than an analogue process.

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    10. I'm not sure that actual scientists label themselves "Darwinist".

      I meant that Luskin would have called such a person a Darwinist.

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  5. This is Sal (don't know why word press gives me the name LiarsForDarwin when I sign in as stcordova, I do own the blog by that name, but LiarsForDarwin isn't supposed to be my username)...

    I personally agree with you the non junk DNA was not a prediction of the ID hypothesis. This isn't the only time I've broken ranks with my own, probably won't be the last...

    Not every creationist believes the genome has to be 100% or 80% functional. The genetic entropy community (John Sanford and other creationists) predict there is a continuing accumulation of defects in the human genome because of mutation load problems. So there is a segment of the creationist community which predicted some of the genome is junk, especially those who believe Adam's sin in the garden of Eden precipitated the eventual death of the human race....

    The 50% figure was likely a whisper number among the ENCODE community. I speculate in part because 54% to 60% of the human genome is mostly repetitive. My search for FASTA files for HG37 with repeat masking on indicates a 54% whereas C-values hint that it could be 60% since it says the human genome is 3.5 gigabases, not 3.1 (for FASTA HG37). ENCODE does not provide much in the way of annotations for repetitive elements except to say it transcribes to repetitive RNA!

    You ask, "why would Casey take such a risk". The real question is why would you and Dan Graur take such risks. There is so little that we know. We have good evidence the repetition in repetitive elements could be key to navigating molecular machinery to do various tasks since it seems there is machinery in Eukaryotes that is tailor made to seek repetition. The repetitive elements can also be highly information bearing in a readable/writable way like random access memory in a computer because of the methylation markings (among other memory mechanisms).

    The NIH ROADMAP project has a comparable budget to ENCODE, and it is constructing maps of the methylome (yet another -ome). However this will be a daunting task since there are probably over a quadrillion methylomes expressed in a human since there is a separate transciptome and methylome for each cell, and the methylome changes even within the lifetime of the cell. If we then take every cell as a separate memory device through the methylation marks on the DNA, then the sum total of repetitive DNA in the entire body in every cell could be hosting pentilliions of bits of information because each DNA strand in each cell has a different methylome...


    Many of these methylomes which t-off the repetitive DNA and are tissue specific. ENCODE and ROADMAP track only 150 of the possible quadrillion methylomes.

    So why are you and Dan Graur sticking out your necks? It's too early in the game for either side to make the call for sure since everyone is just guessing.

    I'll tell you why I think Casey's taking the risk. He has nothing to lose. That is sharp wagering. On the other hand you, Dan Graur and Ken Miller do. You could be the but of jokes 20 years from now....

    And why are you railing against ENCODE and practically agree it's a debacle. Some of your colleagues at U Toronto is possibly getting some $$$$ from the ENCODE consortium directly or indirectly. Couldn't you be a little more toned down about their sake? They have to bring home the bacon for some of their kids you know...

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    1. So there is a segment of the creationist community which predicted some of the genome is junk, especially those who believe Adam's sin in the garden of Eden precipitated the eventual death of the human race....

      Yeah, Sal, but how did lungfish, salamanders, spruce-trees, whisk ferns and onions offend Yahweh that he should have punished them with even more junk? Dammit, they don't even eat apples. And before you reply that it's somehow the consequence of Adam's sin, think of a convimcing reason why pufferfish, bladderworts and Antarctic midges were exempt (or prokaryotes, for that matter).

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    2. Seems like brainless evolution punished some with junk DNA and some almost without junk DNA by an unknown mechanisms of selective genomic constrains and unconstrained imagination of its believers blah blah blah blah....

      Seems like a fairytale to me....

      Darwinists don't know who did it and so for the first time they make God responsible for something- junk DNA. If only they could come to their senses with other obvious things God must be responsible for like the beginning of the material universe or the origins of life....

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    3. Piotr,

      Plants like ferns have a substantially different architecture than humans. You don't know that the extra genome copies are junk anymore than the space shuttle have 5 backup navigation systems is junk. There are contexts where copies can be functional. You can prune the limbs off ferns and they'll grow more limbs. Pruning limbs off humans doesn't work so well for humans. Those other copies in ferns can be a useful source of adaptive variation....


      Prokaryotes aren't multicellular and don't need to have the sort of epigenetic imprinting required in multicellular creatures (prokayotes don't need huge amounts of repetitive DNAs that act as a methylated substrate for regulatory information related to ontogeny). Prokayotes don't have spliceosomal introns either, and spiceosomal introns are evidently important to regulation and the ability to create multicellular creatures that have many protein isoforms and cells.

      All the differences you point out suggests different regulatory architectures which sort of argues against common descent. You surely aren't going to argue E. Coli has the regulatory architecture of a mutli-ellular eukaryotic mammal!

      And developmental information isn't just nuclear (as in DNA), there is cytoplasmic and autocrine memories, and we've barely scratched the surface. Until we know more, it is premature to declare much of anything non functional.

      What Larry, Dan, Nick Matzke, and Ken Miller are doing is arguing clumsy architecture -- IDists argue for Rube Goldberg architecture, which may look clumsy but in fact are designed to showcase extravagance like the peacock's tail (the tail that made Darwin sick).

      Amazing that evolutionary biologists say lungfish are highly similar to humans since the lungfish genome is 40 times bigger. How can there be 90% similarity when the human genome is only 1/40 the size?

      But anyway, what will the Graurists have to say as ENCODE and ROADMAP begin to find more and more regulatory influence of the non-coding DNA with every new cell type in every new development and tissue context and every new environmental context entered into their database?

      ENCODE will have a quadrillion opportunities to find function, and they only have expened 150 opportunities so far. It's early on, but I think they'll keep finding treasures of regulatory function in ncDNA.


      How does Graur know he's right? Does he have intimate knowledge of a quadrillion methylomes hosted by non-coding DNA? Doubtful.

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    4. Sal, so what is your explanation of the C-value enigma? The pufferfish is an animal and the bladderwort a plant. Both can do bloody well with very little non-coding DNA; the bladderwort can regenerate its tissues without it.

      Note that not only has the pufferish got less junk DNA than other fishes (or humans); it also has much smaller genes because its introns are shorter (though its gene count is more or less the same as ours).

      C-values may differ wildly among closely related species with practically the same morphology and life style. One species of tree frog may have a genome twice as large as another species of tree frog in the same genus, both with the same number of chromosomes. Among flowering plants, genome sizes may differ by two orders of magnitude; ditto for amphibians (not to mention all of Vertebrata).

      Amazing that evolutionary biologists say lungfish are highly similar to humans since the lungfish genome is 40 times bigger. How can there be 90% similarity when the human genome is only 1/40 the size?

      Care to cite the "evolutionary biologist" who claims that lungfish and human genomes are 90% similar?

      How does Graur know he's right? Does he have intimate knowledge of a quadrillion methylomes hosted by non-coding DNA? Doubtful.

      Yep. Since I have no intimate knowledge of every square inch of the woods outside my house, how can I know they are not populated by millions of leprechauns?

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    5. All the differences you point out suggests different regulatory architectures which sort of argues against common descent. You surely aren't going to argue E. Coli has the regulatory architecture of a mutli-ellular eukaryotic mammal!

      It's not just significantly different organisms. You get substantial C value variations within the same genus, hence 'the Onion Test'. Unless you'd care to argue against common descent from the proto-onions that strolled off the Ark.

      It is certainly not surprising that cellular mechanisms access all DNA (and hence show up in assays). Functional regions are not magnets; they have to be located. Nor is it surprising that, if one particular repetitive DNA motif is methylated, then so are other instances of that motif.

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    6. The genetic entropy community (John Sanford and other creationists) predict there is a continuing accumulation of defects in the human genome because of mutation load problems.

      Funny - Ewens thinks that whole issue is a farce. Odd that ReMine cited him so favorably. I guess he just ignored or dismissed his hero's words when they did not comport with his religious gibberish.

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    7. Piotr,

      No one knows very much about how regulation works compared to what we may know a thousand years from now. C-value enigma suggest different regulatory strategies for various organisms.

      Why is so hard to suppose C-value variation in a species is part of a regulatory or adaptive strategy where duplication is a mode of backup or adaptive variation. Even some evolutionary biologists have suggested as much.

      Extrapolating speculations about ferns to humans is less accurate to solving the C-value enigmas than actually collecting GWAS, methylome and transriptome data as ENCODE and ROADMAP researchers do.

      Even if the 80% functional figure is wrong, the work ENCODE is doing needs to be done for medical research because we don't know ahead of time where all the function is located in the cell regardless if function is in 10% or 100% of the genome.

      Those potential functions in ncDNA aren't akin to non-existent Leprechauns in your yard because ENCODE researchers are finding more function each year as more and more of the quadrillion transcriptomes are cataloged, and we only have about 150 catalogued so far. They have been successful finding function in regions that have been overlooked, and in some cases resulting therapies are going to clinical trial.

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    8. "No one knows very much about how regulation works compared to what we may know a thousand years from now."

      Or maybe we do already know quite a substantial fraction of what there is to know about regulation, maybe you're just wrong for the reasons already stated?

      "C-value enigma suggest different regulatory strategies for various organisms."

      No it doesn't. At all. It suggests the random activity of selfish genetic elements over evolutionary time in many different lineages. That's why so much of the genome size is dead transposable elements.

      "Why is so hard to suppose C-value variation in a species is part of a regulatory or adaptive strategy where duplication is a mode of backup or adaptive variation. "

      Because that is all it would be, a supposition not based on fact. An ad-hoc rationalization you engage in because you are seeking to try to square the real world with your religious beliefs.

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    9. "No one knows very much about how regulation works compared to what we may know a thousand years from now."

      Those are creationist years, each day of which is like a thousand years for someone willing to learn.

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    10. Why is it so hard to suppose C-value variation in a species represents variation in useless DNA? After all, we know that some of the "junk" DNA consists of broken genes, "dead" viruses, and transposons (still working or long "dead"). Those components of our DNA didn't get there because they're useful to us (though a very few of them have been co-opted to function for us). Humans have no known mechanism for selectively removing useless DNA, so once useless DNA gets in there, we're pretty much stuck with it.

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    11. @liarforjebus

      You can prune the limbs off ferns and they'll grow more limbs. Pruning limbs off humans doesn't work so well for humans.

      Bullshit and bad analogy.

      The fern will grow new "limbs" whether you cut off existing limbs or not.

      No new limbs will grow to replace existing cut off limbs.

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    12. steve oberski

      There are animals that are able to regenerate lost parts and entire limbs after amputation.

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    13. bwilson295

      Humans have no known mechanism for selectively removing useless DNA, so once useless DNA gets in there, we're pretty much stuck with it.

      What mechanism takes care of jDNA in other organisms? Let me guess: natural selection?

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    14. So there is a segment of the creationist community which predicted some of the genome is junk, especially those who believe Adam's sin in the garden of Eden precipitated the eventual death of the human race....

      See? Clear, logical cause and effect - who says IDfolk don't do science?!

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    15. What mechanism takes care of jDNA in other organisms? Let me guess: natural selection?

      Sheez, dense is not an adequate description. Natural selection is survival and reproduction, or not, based on some characteristic of the organism. "Junk" is by definition not advantageous for survival, and it also obviously can't be more than very slightly disadvantageous, because if it were disadvantageous to survival, species with it would not survive and would go extinct. Therefore natural selection doesn't operate on "junk."

      I hope that's elementary enough that even you can understand it, but I'm not holding my breath.

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    16. Let me see if I understand it correctly:

      Natural selection removes junk but doesn't operate on it once natural selection doesn't remove it because it is essential for survival?

      I think I understand. You don't know what you are talking about.

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    17. Natural selection doesn't operate on the sequence of junk (which is what makes it junk). It can conceivably constrain its amount in some environments, which may partly account for C-value differences between related taxa.

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    18. It can conceivably constrain its amount in some environments, which may partly account for C-value differences between related taxa.

      I'd think we'd want to be careful about attributing, for example, differences between "junk" levels of various species of allium to natural selection - what environmental differences would account for the difference in selection constraints?

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    19. I said "partly". Unlike ID creationists, I have no universal answer to all questions.

      From the article I linked here:

      Angiosperms have a nearly 2400-fold range in their genome size,far exceeding that found in the gymnosperms (16-fold range). Despite this, 50% of angiosperm species for which we have data have a small genome size of 1C = 2.5 pg or less and all have a modal genome size of just 1C = 0.5 pg (Fig. 2e). It is likely, therefore, that for most angiosperms there is strong selection against large genomes. That selection may arise in part through constraints imposed by limiting amounts of available phosphates and nitrates that can be assimilated and are needed for DNA synthesis (Leitch & Leitch, 2008). In addition, given that there is acorrelation between genome size, cell cycle time and minimum generation time (the minimum time taken from the seed of one generation to the seed of the next), this may impose an upper limit on the genome sizes of all species that are annual or ephemeral (Bennett, 1987).

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    20. I have not read the article, so without any notion of evidence they adduce in favor of their hypothesis, I'll just say I wonder how powerful the hypothesized limits might be, given the extremely high range of genome sizes. Could "evolution by accident" be as good an explanation, or even better? Obviously I don't know, but a 2400-fold size range does have me questioning.

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    21. Have any of you read Michael Lynch's "The Origin of Genome Architecture"? If not, I would highly recommend it (I'm reading it now). He argues that patterns of genome composition must be understood based on the specific population genetic context of the taxon in question. In particular, he argues that effective population size may be a large factor when considering how efficient selection is when it comes to removing superfluous (or even harmful) genetic sequences. It's dense, but a good read!
      A shorter version of some of his arguments was also published in PNAS in 2007:
      http://www.indiana.edu/~lynchlab/PDF/Lynch155.pdf

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    22. Population size may well be a factor, but that does assume that s values associated with excess DNA are in a range such that they flip from effectively neutral to selected at some realistic population-size threshold. That's not really been demonstrated, although a correlation has been noted.

      I'm not sure anyone knows what the selective effect really is in a given taxon, though it's likely stronger in prokaryotes than eukaryotes, and in flying vs non-flying species for example. Determination is likely to be complex, requiring consideration (in sexual species) of the added complications of meiotic compatibility and modes of drive- and transposition-related increase, and the effect is unlikely to be linear with increasing surplus bases.

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    23. "Natural selection removes junk but doesn't operate on it once natural selection doesn't remove it because it is essential for survival?

      I think I understand. You don't know what you are talking about."

      Perfect evidence that Septical Mind is incompetent at simply READING.

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  6. Dazz:"By the way, Unknown is lying through his teeth as one would expect from a creatard:"

    where did I lye? I just put a quote from Graur

    Dan Graur:
    "If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function. If ENCODE is right, then Evolution is wrong".

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    1. In that case, my bad. Apologies

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    2. I think he goeth a bit far though. If ENCODE is right, some evolutionary assumptions need a rethink.

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    3. I've been reading Dr. Graur's critique to ENCODE, and I'm curious how they respond to this argument:

      A recent slew of ENCODE Consortium publications [...] put forward the idea that more than 80% of the human genome is functional. This claim flies in the face of current estimates according to which the fraction of the genome that is evolutionarily conserved through purifying selection is under 10%. Thus, according to the ENCODE Consortium, a biological function can be maintained indefinitely without selection, which implies that at least 80 − 10 = 70% of the genome is perfectly invulnerable to deleterious mutations, either because no mutation can ever occur in these “functional” regions, or because no mutation in these regions can ever be deleterious

      I'm no biologist, but this sounds too obvious to ignore and a death knell for the 80% functional genome mantra. How do the members of ENCODE answer to this?

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    4. They seem to have (grudgingly) walked back the specific 80% claim in subsequent publications while still arguing that much of the genome may potentially be functional. See the following:
      http://www.pnas.org/content/111/17/6131.full

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    5. Thanks guys. More questions please. Is it possible to do gene knock down experiments on rats or other mammals to test those regions then ENCODE claims to have found a function for? Assuming those regions are present in humans too, that is

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    6. OK, I believe those wouldn't be genes to begin with, if those regions are transposable elements. Excuse my ignorance in the field. The question is if some sort of experiment can test individual elements for function

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    7. Yes those sorts of things can, and have, been done in certain cases. The problem is that they're costly, and it's sometimes hard to really identify subtle fitness costs in a laboratory setting.

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    8. Dazz, yes. The famous case is the Mega base Deletion Mouse which had 2 large chunks of nongenic DNA (the largest was 1.3 Mbp) dleted without effect on fitness.

      But the nojunkites dismiss this by saying, 'Yeah, no effect on fitness in the lab, but maybe fitness would be catastrophically affected in the wild or in some rare unknown situation' which makes no junk hypothesis not experimentally falsifiable.

      I have often said that somebody involved in the controversy, pro or con, should do ENCODE type assays on the chunks of the mouse genome that were deleted without effect. Does it have the same level of "activity" as the 80% of the human genome that ENCODE called active?

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    9. Thanks Dave & Diogenes, much appreciated, I'll google the Mega base Deletion Mouse right now, sounds fascinating!

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    10. I have heard it rumored that there was at least one ultraconserved element within the megabase deletion. Does anyone know anything about that?

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    11. @Diogenes: Your dismissal of the limitations of the lab experiment on mouse fitness is not justified:

      maybe fitness would be catastrophically affected in the wild or in some rare unknown situation

      In the lab we can detect fitness effects down to about 1% decrease of fitness. If the decrease of fitness were (say) 1/100th of 1% that can be quite effective in maintaining an ultraconserved region in a natural population. So the mouse experiment is not definitive.

      In general selection coefficients as small as 1/N can be effective, where N is the population size.

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    12. @ John Harshman,
      "We selected two regions for deletion, a 1,880kb gene desert mapping to mouse chromosome 3, and a second region 960k in length mapping to mouse chromosome 19 (Figure 1a) Orthologous gene deserts of approximately the same size are present on human chromosomes 1p31 and 10q23, respectivly. No striking sequence signatures such as repeat content, nucleotide composition or substitution rate distinguishh these two selected gene deserts for other regions of the genome, excpet fo their lack of annotated genes and evidence of transcription. Together, the two selected regions contain 1,243 human-mouse conserved non-coding elements (>100bp, 70% identity), also similar to genome averages, while no ultra-conserved elements or sequences conserved to fish are present".

      https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4fd0v6b0#page-3

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    13. OK, no UCEs. But is anyone wondering a bit about those conserved regions? If they weren't under selection, why would they be conserved?

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    14. As Joe pointed out, the experiment doesn't show that they are not under selection, though the results can be used to estimate an approximate upper bound on the selection coefficient. The authors are of course aware of it:

      It is possible, even likely, that the animals carrying the megabase-long genomic deletions do harbour abnormalities undetected in our assays, which might impact their fitness, in some other time scale or setting than the ones assayed in this study. (p. 6 of the free copy)

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    15. How much of the mouse geno was knocked down percentually please? And how much of this mouse dna is junk?

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    16. Something like 0.05% (of the haploid genome, but the experimenters bred mice homozygous for both deletions, lacking 0.05% of their total nuclear DNA). The difference in genome size between mice and humans is small, and the number of genes is practically the same, so the junk content is presumably also similar. The point of the experiment was to show that if you remove a fairly long stretch of DNA that doesn't contain any known genes, the resulting organism is likely to be viable. That is, the deleted part doesn't contain anything really essential.

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    17. Thank you Piotr, great stuff. I could only find the abstract of the paper, which contains this:

      were indistinguishable from wild-type littermates with regard to morphology, reproductive fitness, growth, longevity and a variety of parameters assaying general homeostasis

      I understand this doesn't mean there might be something eliminated that could effect the mouse fitness somehow because of the limitations of the experiment itself, but the very fact that it's acknowledged speaks volumes about the honesty of science that creationists completely lack. I'm sure they would be claiming total victory with a result like this.
      It still looks rather significant to me, but would it be possible to knock down most of the junk DNA? I take it it's not known exactly what portions of the entire geno are actually junk?

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    18. I don't think it's practicable in terms of cost and effort, with the technologies we have at present. The distibution of functional and non-functional fragments in the genome is sort of fractal-like, and if you wanted to snip out all putative junk, or even most of it, there would be a whole hell and hell of a lot of tiny fragments to delete on all chromosomes, and the effects would be hard to control. But I'd say that nature has already performed this experiment in the wild. There are processes that add junk, and there are processes that remove it. If, for whatever reason, there is a consistent selective bias in favour of the latter, the accumulation of junk may not only be held in check, but even carried to the logical end (leaving a functional core with hardly any junk at all). Some organisms (pufferfish, water fleas, tardigrades, the bladderwort family) have reached it, and are none the worse for the consequences. It happens tiny bit after tiny bit and takes millions of years of more-or-less consistent shrinkage, so it can't be done in a human-built lab.

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    19. Oops, I mean the accumulation of junk can be held in check, and its reduction carried to the logical end.

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    20. @John
      -First - I think that was a decent paper and a nebel effort, given the techniques available.

      But - is that sequence actually conserved? or does it just happen to be similar in rodents and primates? Given the publication date, there were only a handful of "complete genomes" out there. I don't think there has been a concerted effort to look at that region as more and more genomes enter the database.

      Any volunteers ;-)

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    21. I think that if you tried a statistical analysis, you would find that 70% similarity of bits that big purely by chance is unlikely enough that we could discount it. Though I have not done that analysis.

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    22. You guys are awesome, thanks for the info. And another question please. Can selective pressure on junk DNA be directly tested on a lab? I take it it's somewhat problematic, given that larger populations tend to do much better at keeping junk from accumulating (or at least I think so)

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    23. I vaguely recall someone has carried out experiments to see if living on a phosphorus- and nitrogen-depleted substrate had any effect on the genome size of some bacteria -- and it didn't; but then prokaryotic genomes are already so streamlined and miniaturised that further reduction would only be possible at the expense of something useful. I don't know if similar experiments have been conducted with any eukaryotes.

      Delete
  7. Apparently the response is that Graur is an atheist.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/04/dan_graur_the_v084181.html

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    1. That is an amazing post. I'm not surprised by their endless Appeals to Motive-- they're conservatives, and right wingers think Appeal to Motive fallacy is the beginning and end of logic.

      But their endless straw-manning never ceases to amaze. Dan Graur assumes no function as the default? Where in his papers did he write that?

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    2. As far as I know, no IDiot has ever directly confronted any of the arguments favoring junk DNA in any serious way. Then again, neither has any ENCODEiot.

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  8. I'd really like to see an evolutionary testable prediction for the vast variation of jDNA among the very similar species. If the C-value enigma is supposed to be some kind of the killer of IDiers, let's see the facts that explain how natural selection did it. Why some organisms have so much jDNA and some very little though apparently related.

    The ball is in your court.

    I'm pretty sure that when someone gets to the bottom of the problem, it will turn out to be just as vague as he age of the Earth or the toilet paper.

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    1. The age of the earth isn't vague; that's all your imagination. And natural selection didn't cause the C-value enigma; what part of "junk DNA" do you not understand?

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    2. It bears repeating: natural selection did not cause the C-value paradox.

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    3. Septic Mind,

      The shit in your brain blocks your understanding. We've already explained this to you.

      If there's no function, and no major cost to bearing the junk, then the junk would be invisible to selection, and thus the amount of junk can vary. It's too obvious you imbecile. Clean the shit out of your mind and think for once.

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    4. Sally is a YEC, remember? So, yeah, the age of the earth is as vague as Sally's knowledge about anything.

      Hey, Sally, got a job yet?

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    5. Bill, by Sally I assume you mean Sal Cordova. Do we know Sceptical Mind is Sal?

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    6. Here we go again. Natural selection is not responsible for the C-Value paradox or the vast variation in jDNA.

      If you know that natural selection didn't do it, what did? To make such a claim, you must know what mechanism (s) is responsible for it or you wouldn't say natural selection didn't do it.

      Let's see some evidence for that. I can't wait.

      Delete
    7. Septic Mind says: If you know that natural selection didn't do it, what did? To make such a claim, you must know what mechanism (s) is responsible for it

      We do. It's been studied to death. Prof. Moran has written many blog posts on it. We have been discussing it here *for years.* You're barging into a conversation that has been going on for years. That's OK, we don't mind you barging in. What we *do* mind is that you act like a dick when you tell us 'No scientist in the world knows X, you're all ignorant of Y blah blah' when we've been discussing X and Y and what causes them for years.

      If newcomers ask politely and aren't dicks Larry or somebody might politely compile a list of links to the basics for beginners. For newcomers who are dicks, we might let you remain ignorant and thrash about a looong time.

      Delete
    8. Septic Mind,

      At a minimum you should try not to be such an arrogant imbecile. If you wanted to understand it would take very little, but your religiously damaged mind does't seem to work for understanding. You must think that it's all "beliefs" in our side as it is in yours. If you tried thinking it might hurt, given your lack of practice. But feel free to prove me wrong:

      "Here we go again. Natural selection is not responsible for the C-Value paradox or the vast variation in jDNA."

      Again? So you had read this before! OK then, now think about what the answers mean. If you do, it will be so clear that you won't embarrass yourself so stupidly again.

      "If you know that natural selection didn't do it, what did? To make such a claim, you must know what mechanism (s) is responsible for it or you wouldn't say natural selection didn't do it."

      See what I mean, even though we explained, you keep showing up as a plain imbecile. We don't need to know what "did it," for us to reject that "natural selection did it." Read the fucking answers you sad excuse of a human being. It's above your new request. Try and understand what natural selection is about, then think. If something had minimal, if any, fitness effect, it will be practically invisible for natural selection to act on/against it. It's that simple you ass-hole. Think! Try and make the "Mind" part of your chosen "name" stand for something other than your brain being full of crap.

      We know of mechanisms that add junk to DNA. But I rather not distract you from trying to understand the first little and simple bit of information that you need to understand: natural selection.

      "Let's see some evidence for that. I can't wait."

      Some evidence for what idiot? Are you trying to understand what natural selection means, or are you here just to represent yourself as an imbecile?

      Delete

  9. "Think about it: How many examples of matter self-assembling into something complex have you seen?"

    As JBS Haldane would have said "you did it yourself in 9 months"

    ReplyDelete
  10. It is absurd to believe that the fate of ID theory depends on the outcome of the "junk DNA" issue. Sal already explained why (above).



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. ID "theory" is bullshit regardless of the amount of junk DNA in our genomes.

      Delete
    2. Sal already explained why (above).

      That was an explanation? Your dictionary must not have the same definition mine does.

      Delete
    3. The fate of ID cannot be affected by evidence or argument. That seems to be what Gary is saying.

      Delete
    4. In a nutshell: The ID movement is not going to give up, regardless of how much of the genome could qualify as "junk".

      It is like expecting news that ENCODE was correct will force Larry to become a Discovery Institute fellow. I doubt that would happen even where it was found that genomes like to collect stuff, thererefore 100% of it's DNA collection qualifies as "treasure". The word "junk" is so impossible to precisely quantify it most depends on who the collector is. That's how I see it anyway. If the junk collection does not bother the rest of the system then might as well keep it around. And at the molecular level: deactivated retroviral elements kinda make fine trophies. Are certainly a big help to the brain level intelligence trying to figure out what and where we have been, through the (millions of) years so far..

      Verse and lyrics:
      George Harrison - Got My Mind Set On You Official Video

      Delete
  11. Evolution Proponents seem to argue from emotion rather than reason when it comes to their evolutionary faith.

    The ones that are the worst tend to be leftists and leftists place more value on emotion than reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diogenes, I disagree strongly with Jack Jones' "argument", but you're not exactly doing an amazing job of proving him wrong with rants like that.

      Delete
    2. "but you're not exactly doing an amazing job of proving him wrong with rants like that. "

      The loony lefty diogenesis proves the point he is trying to deny.

      Delete
    3. OK. Out of respect for Dave's opinion, and because this is Larry's blog not mine, I'm going to delete the marvelous comment I made above which made Jack Jones so very angry.

      Instead, I will give you a summary of the comment I deleted.

      Jack has asserted that the scientists on this blog or "Evolution Proponents" use emotional arguments rather than evidence, which, besides being supported by no evidence from Jack, is terribly ironic. Virtually all anti-evolutionists use emotional arguments against evolution, e.g. "I ain't kin to no monkey", "If evolution is true then life has no meaning," "If evolution is true you don't go to heaven when you die" "...there is no morality etc. etc." These arguments are nearly universally employed by all anti-evolutionists. Even Stephen Meyer sticks it in at the end of his book "Darwin's Doubt" with a story about how, if evolution explains the Cambrian explosion, we'd be lost in an uncertain universe with no absolutes.

      Jack Jones presented no evidence of any emotional arguments used by the scientists on this blog. I asked him: please an example of Evolution Proponents here using an emotional argument in place of scientific evidence.

      This is a kind of trolling we've seen before: the creationist insults or threatens scientists, then when they get angry at being insulted or threatened, the creationist says, "Oh, you're emotional now! I thought you atheists were all about being logical, but you get all emotional just because I threatened to kill your family!"

      Next, Jack makes the assertion that "leftists" are worst at using emotional arguments in place of rational arguments, yet he presents no evidence or examples in favor of this, and he does not compare right-wingers against liberals to show that they don't do the same.

      While liberals do use emotional arguments some times, the conservatives are far worse at using emotion in place of logic by any objective criteria.

      This is obviously true at a time when many right-wingers in the US believe absurd conspiracy theories, to the point of saying Obama was born in Kenya after he published *two* birth certificates, and many seriously claim that the US president is currently *invading Texas* when a President cannot even invade his own country.

      Moreover, the extreme popularity of emotional, racist or Islamophobic arguments with right-wingers must be noted. The current frontrunner for the candidacy of the Republican party for US president is Donald Trump, who says Mexicans are rapists and that he will build a wall bigger than the Great Wall of China and *he will make Mexico pay for his wall.* Trump became the GOP front-runner because his arguments were emotional and racist. These were not logical claims, and he became popular because of them.

      And again, in the case of same-sex marriage, the best conservative minds in the country were unable to form a logical argument against SSM, as we saw in the arguments before the Supreme Court, but instead used emotional arguments like Rick Santorum's equation of gay marriage to "man on dog, man on turtle", etc. or Justice Scalia's emotional, logic-free "pure applesauce" dissent.

      Since SSM was legalized, the right wing in America has gone (even more) bonkers (than before), with leading conservatives claiming that SSM will destroy America, lead to terrorist attacks, destroy the entire Earth, etc. These are emotional, not rational arguments.

      For example, creationist Ken Ham recently said the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks were caused by homosexual behavior. This is not a rational argument, but an emotional one. The liberals have the rational arguments here.

      Delete
    4. Anyone visiting YouTube can find right-wingers pointing their assault weapons into the camera and threatening to kill Obama, liberals, blacks, Muslims, etc. These are emotional, not logical, arguments.

      For example, the YouTuber Joshua Feuerstein became famous for 5 minutes with a 3-minute refutation of the evidence for evolution. Recently, the SSM decision has made him so bonkers that he is literally pointing his assault weapon into the camera and threatening pro-equality liberals.

      This charming gentleman with a weapon is Drew Walker (warning: image is NSFW.) There's another where he gives a gun to his little girl and has her point it at him while he's holding the camera, as a way of threatening Obama. These are not rational arguments.

      Numerous studies, including the DHS study in 2009, the New America study, a study by Arie Pelliger etc. show that since 9/11, an American is twice as likely to be killed by a conservative right-wing terrorist than by a Muslim terrorist. So this right-wing emotionalism is a real problem.

      I wish that conservative Christians had some kind of moral teacher who would teach them that they should remove the plank from their own eye before they complain about the mote in someone else's. Alas, it seems they have no such teacher, but guns they have a ton of.

      Delete
  12. Jack JonesThursday, July 16, 2015 3:38:00 PM

    "Dick Jones, you have presented no evidence of any emotional arguments"

    You're presenting the emotionalism.

    I knew you would bite because you are very emotional when it comes to your faith.



    " used by the scientists here."

    You pass off your emotionalism for science?





    "So you're lying,"

    You're emotionalism does not entail anyone is lying

    " and we know why you're lying: conservatives feel intellectually inferior, and name-calling makes them feel less insecure for a minute or two. Then insecurity returns, and it must be repeated. Name-calling, appeal to motive, conspiracy theories, ad hominem, armchair psychoanalysis of their intellectual superiors-- these are the conservatives' equivalents to science and discovery. (I know. My dad is listening to Rush Limbaugh right now.)"

    Look at all of that emotional drivel from you. The rest that you posted has nothing to do with your faith either. Absolutely 0 content when it comes to your faith.

    The fact that you brought gay marriage into it demonstrates that it is about emotion when it comes to your faith and not rationality for you.


    You are ranting and raving like an lunatic.



    You just can't help with your emotionalism. You are a leftist after all, Your faith is about your emotionalism and not logic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, Like dave said ""but you're not exactly doing an amazing job of proving him wrong with rants like that. "

      Now...Diogenes can give his emotional rants and as a leftist then he may be used to it. It does not exactly help his side though and shows that his faith is based on emotion and not reason.

      Delete
    2. Please stop quoting me approvingly. Just because I didn't agree with Diogenes, that doesn't mean that I believe your opinion isn't deeply idiotic.

      Delete
    3. Calling Jack Jones an idiot is the epitome of rationality.

      Delete
  13. Jack JonesThursday, July 16, 2015 7:09:00 PM

    Jack JonesThursday, July 16, 2015 7:06:00 PM

    Diogenes said "So you admit you're trolling."

    Where did I admit that?

    "I knew you would bite" says the troll."

    Saying troll is no excuse for your meltdown.

    "You made accusations you cannot support with evidence."

    You are making an accusation that you cannot support with evidence.

    "Here again is what I asked: you have presented no evidence of any emotional arguments used by the scientists here."

    Here again is what I asked

    You pass off your emotionalism for science?



    " Please present an example of Evolution Proponents here using an emotional argument in place of scientific evidence"

    Please present an example of the emotional response you made to me here as being an example of scientific evidence for your faith and not just an emotional rant.

    "And you presented none, not one."

    And you presented none to me, not one.

    "You have to *show* that an argument is emotional and not based on evidence. It is not good enough to *claim it* and then repeat yourself."

    You have to show how your rant is not emotional but showing reason and rationality in support of your faith. It is not good enough to deny your ranting is emotional based and substitute your ranting as an argument for your faith.

    You can keep denying that your emotional rants to me are non rational based but that is not going to change the fact that your rant is based on emotionalism and not a rational argument for your faith.

    ReplyDelete
  14. One well educated creationist suggested that jDNA could have had regulatory function for immortality. I don't remember exactly what he said but he mentioned that some cells, such nerve cells do not regenerate. He said that if the bible is true, and there is much proof that it is as it contains scientific facts that science just recently discovered, then the immortality or longevity of bible characters like Noah could also be true.


    So it is quite possible that jDNA was preserved, but used to have a very essential function.
    It's a hypothesis but just as good as any other out there without any evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You chose your name for ironic effect, didn't you?

      Delete
    2. I figure it is only a matter of time until a "well-educated" creationist declares that so-called junk DNA actually encodes the soul.

      Delete
    3. ... I take that back, it would open the door to onions having souls, and that might prove theologically untenable.

      Delete
    4. jDNA could have had regulatory function for immortality

      The puffer fish! Will no-one think of the puffer fish?

      Delete
    5. No, there couldn't be any DNA for immortality in the human line, because Adam and Eve didn't eat from the Tree of Life. It's possible that the junk DNA encodes knowledge of good and evil, though. Don't you know your science?

      Delete
    6. How many Septic Minds does it take to form a SepticThink Tank?

      Delete
    7. Jeepers. Septic Mind writes: He said that if the bible is true, and there is much proof that it is as it contains scientific facts that science just recently discovered

      And this is why creationists should not call themselves "skeptical." They swallow super-science in the Bible hook, line and sinker.

      But what, pray tell, is this super science in the Bible?

      Like maybe when Jesus explained germ theory and told his followers to purify bread mold extract to make an antibiotic.

      Oh wait. He actually told his followers *not* to was their hands before eating (in an environment full of sheep, goats and livestock! Who wants to bet they used sheep poop as cooking fuel? In Tibet people would load the stove with sheep pellets, then cook my dinner *with the same hand.*)

      Or the time Jesus said the mustard was the smallest of all seeds. Clearly, he never helped out with the cooking.

      Or the time Satan took him to the top of a high mountain, from which he could see all the kingdoms of the Earth. Even China, India, Bali and the Incas.

      Oh wait...

      Delete
    8. I stopped reading at "well educated creationist"

      Delete
    9. That's why I love this blog, it's the perfect mix between informative science and creationist comedy gold.

      Delete
    10. Let's start with this simple test. If someone knew 5 major or fundamental scientific facts thousands of years before science recently proved it to be true. What would you call a man with this kind of knowledge?

      I would like full participation of all the experts on this thread, including educated and not so educated but just feeling good to do the back stubbing.

      Here we go:

      photosynthesis
      SRM
      John H
      Piotr Gasiorowski
      Diogenes
      And the most educated Dazz

      Here is your chance to shine and show how much more knowledge you have than an old and forgotten book.

      Don't be cowards though, again.

      How would you call a man or a book with information preceding scientific discovery by thousands of years?

      Delete
    11. I'm so sorry Larry. I didn't mean to omit you. My apologies.

      Delete
    12. Oh boy, this is unreal. LMFAO!

      Delete
    13. Do you mean a person who knew thigs such as:

      1. The Universe was created about 4004 BC.
      2. The Earth is one day older than the stars and the Sun.
      3. Birds and whales are older than land animals.
      4. The first woman was made from the first man's rib.
      5. Locust, crickets and grasshoppers walk on four legs.

      ?

      Delete
    14. Piotr I would invite you to read some older commentary. Today's interpretation is quite different than that which proceeds the war of science and religion. Ramban is a good place to start.

      Delete
    15. Hey everyone! breaking news! I just had a revelation and I'm in a position to affirm, beyond any doubt, that this is the meaning of life and the ultimate Theory Of Everything:

      Skanksan murlok, forket le obsnig, dingy donge eeeeeek, workikokerkt im la mootesrt go umpa lumpa koo koo rikitown

      Now all you need to do is wait until science finds the answer and reinterpret my words to mean exactly what science finds.

      Y'all worship me now. Thank you

      Delete
    16. Beau, an interpretation a posteriori is something entirely different than prior knowledge. Frankly, I don't care a damn what the modern interpretation is. The fact that you can interpret the same text in many different ways (and that one reading may contradict another) only disqualifies it as an expression of anything resembling scientific knowledge.

      Delete
    17. Piotr I respect that, that being said, I could say the same thing about the scientific community. This thread is an excellent example of that. The ENCODE findings have caused much a great amount of turbulence among the scientific community. Why are there different interpretations of their results? As I've stated many times I'm as far from a scientist as one can be but I do follow the debates. What's made evolution so hard for me to believe has nothing to do with my belief in God but the differing idea's within the field. So I understand where you're coming from.

      Delete
    18. Septic Mind,

      Don't bother, I've heard them all. As Piotr said, it's all eisegesis. Instead of bombarding us with the "scientific wisdom" from your Bible, I invite you to actually check the cited biblical passages within their context. Make sure you read the shit and then that it clearly means what your eisegetes say it says. Also be careful that in getting such scientific "wisdom" from your Bible you are not implicitly accepting something you reject about science.

      Mainly, make sure it's not just the thing people do when they read horoscopes and fit them into their lives, then get all marvelled at how well the horoscope guessed them.

      Now, since you can't figure out what natural selection means, I doubt that you'll be able to understand that horoscope-like interpretation of your bible means that such predictions are put into the text (eisegesis, wishful thinking), rather than being actually there. We'll see.

      Delete
    19. Beau, the great thing about science is that interpretations depend on reasoning from data. The reason the ENCODE hypothesis is in disrepute is that it conflicts with the data, and the reason ENCODE folks can continue to maintain it is that they haven't confronted the data.

      We may contrast that with theology, which doesn't make use of data.

      Delete
    20. Let's start with this simple test. If someone knew 5 major or fundamental scientific facts thousands of years before science recently proved it to be true. What would you call a man with this kind of knowledge?

      Sure, I'll play. I would call that pretty amazing, assuming that the 5 things weren't cherry-picked from a list of hundreds of claims and weren't reinterpretations of completely ambiguous statements whose natural interpretation is nothing like what you say.

      So, what do you have?

      Delete
    21. John, I would still have to disagree. Professor Moran blogs often about his difference in opinion on scientific positions. He may be right every time, I don't know. The fact is when he and let's say Nessa Carey look at brute facts they have a difference in their interpretations. To me that's a bit more concerning than when people interpret a philosophical work differently I would think science would lead to consensus at a much higher rate.

      Delete
    22. "Why are there different interpretations of their results? As I've stated many times I'm as far from a scientist as one can be but I do follow the debates. What's made evolution so hard for me to believe has nothing to do with my belief in God but the differing idea's within the field."

      Beau, I understand your concern and doubt, to some extent. Various interpretations, disagreements (sometimes heated), 'confirmed' conclusions that change, and the occasional perpetration of fraud can make science (and scientists) seem untrustworthy. I also often wonder 'what' or 'who' to trust when it comes to science. I mostly don't focus on 'who', and when I'm really interested in 'what' to trust I look for more information. If there isn't enough information available (yet) to make me feel that I can trust (accept) particular scientific claims, I try to adjust my acceptance of those claims accordingly until more information is available. I don't give up on science though.

      If you'll take a look at religions, or even just the one that you've chosen, you should see that there are, always have been, and always will be various interpretations, disagreements, 'confirmed' conclusions that change, massive perpetration of fraud, and that religious people have, still do, and will continue to indoctrinate, oppress, enslave, imprison, rape, rob, conquer, control, abuse, murder, and wage war on other people who don't agree with them. The atrocities that are committed because of disagreements in and/or between religions are too many to count, and many atrocities are committed even when religious people agree or mostly agree on their beliefs. When it comes to various interpretations and disagreements, nothing beats religion.

      Delete
    23. Piotr

      1. The Universe was created about 4004 BC.
      2. The Earth is one day older than the stars and the Sun.
      3. Birds and whales are older than land animals.
      4. The first woman was made from the first man's rib.
      5. Locust, crickets and grasshoppers walk on four legs.


      All those common misinterpretations could be answered easily if you googled them. It's not difficult and you google other responses all the time.
      This tells me that you are just arrogant, self-righteous ignorant not worth spending time on. Just like someone pointed out, you feel obliged to criticize people with scientific credentials, and yet you are an uneducated imbecile in the field. You must be an undeniable pride of your university.

      Delete
    24. Sceptical Mind, what are the "5 major or fundamental scientific facts" that "someone" allegedly "knew" "thousands of years before science recently proved it to be true"?

      Delete
    25. What's made evolution so hard for me to believe has nothing to do with my belief in God but the differing idea's within the field.

      Right, Beau, right. 'Cuz, as we all know, there is no such thing as differing ideas regarding God and religion.

      Stop bullshitting. You're not fooling anyone.

      Delete
    26. Beau, if you don't understand the arguments, you aren't qualified to judge. Unfortunately, fringe wackos in the modern age can attain considerable prominence, and yes, Nessa Carey seems to be such a person. You really have to follow the arguments and evidence, not just watch people have opinions. Are you confused because Peter Duesberg doesn't think HIV causes AIDS?

      Delete
    27. All those common misinterpretations could be answered easily if you googled them. It's not difficult and you google other responses all the time.

      Misinterpretations? Either you read the text literally, so that days are days (rather than eons) and four is four (rather that six plus a lame explanation why six really equals four), or you "interpret" it, so that it can mean whatever you want it to mean.

      But, by all means, go ahead, show us the "five modern discoveries" known to the authors of the Bible.

      Delete
    28. 4. The first woman was made from the first man's rib.

      I googled that one, but only had time to read the first hit, and the second, which was the Wickipedia entry on Eve.

      From this I conclude that Eve was made either from Adam's Rib, or more generally his side, or from his now missing baculum.

      Or, Sceptical Mind, is it (and all of Genesis) just allegorical? Its tought to decide because the last input (data?) from the creator/designer apparantly occurred 15 or more centuries ago.

      Delete
    29. Beau,

      OK, I have to tell you that there's huge differences between "interpreting" the bible, and the differences of opinion about what the facts say in science. I was close to feel insulted, when I realized. Even though there's huge differences, scientists are humans too. Blowing results out of proportion comes more often naturally to some so-called scientists, that maybe you have a tenth of a point. however, in the end, when further evidence comes, and some idiots with power retire, the scientific disagreements tend to disappear. I'm afraid, though, that some myths will prevail forever because more and more scientists are hyper specialized, and very poorly trained. Science is becoming the plan B of most of the people who end in it. But now I;m ranting. Let's see what you wrote:

      John, I would still have to disagree. Professor Moran blogs often about his difference in opinion on scientific positions.

      Sure. But find me the cases when those opinions are based on the interpretation and reinterpretation of a single and obscure sentence taken out of context from some article. Larry focuses on points, sure, but he compares that with a body of data, and a wider understanding of the scientific field. I have seen him mistake some author;s intentions, but rarely, and when explained, Larry normally corrects errors.

      He may be right every time, I don't know.

      Sometimes there's not enough data to know. But Larry goes with what better fits current understanding of, say, population genetics and such. Some stuff is still in dispute, and Larry acknowledges this.

      The fact is when he and let's say Nessa Carey look at brute facts they have a difference in their interpretations. To me that's a bit more concerning than when people interpret a philosophical work differently I would think science would lead to consensus at a much higher rate.

      Science does, except when it's about cutting edge research, when there's not enough data for a devastating conclusion, when scientists are ignorant of much more than a narrow research field.


      But I would not call something like this an "interpretation of philosophical work":

      "He stretches the heavens like a tent to dwell in" being interpreted as some god telling us that "The universe is expanding incredibly quickly."

      I would rather call that bullshit. Wouldn't you? I would also be very careful before comparing that kid of bullshit with the scientific disagreements you read around here. I mean, seriously, how could anybody start there and later find evidence either for or against this "interpretation"? How open would anybody be? How much confidence could anybody have on this kind of shit?

      You said that you don't know if Larry is right or wrong when he differs on what other people think about the scientific data, results, interpretations. Fine. But with science, at least potentially, you can check the data yourself. you can learn how this result could mean this or that. You can then plan for complementary experiments to see if you can solve an issue if the currently published experiments and data are insufficient. You can further discuss the issues with other scientists who might have other ideas about how to solve the issue. With biblical bullshit, all you have is exactly that: bullshit.

      Delete
    30. Beau: Professor Moran blogs often about his difference in opinion on scientific positions.

      Differences of opinion are the norm in science. Different opinions lead to different predictions, and so conflicts can be resolved as new facts come to light (or are produced in controlled experiments).

      Let us imagine that Dr. Franklin Doodlebugger, an independent geologist, develops an alternative method of dating rocks, called the pataphysical method. It can be done cheaply, with some simple instruments (a pendulum and a dowsing rod). He dates a piece of limestone and finds that it was formed 5000 years ago. Fragments of the same rock are sent to several different laboratories which date thenm using different standard methods. They all conclude, independently, that the rock is about 100 million years old. What can Dr. Doodlebugger say?

      (1) Oops, it seems that my method doesn't work (which isn't all that surprising, because nobody knows why it should work). OK, I admit the rock seems to be much older than I thought.

      (2) My method works. I only forgot to mention a scaling constant of 20,000, so when I said "one year", you should have interpreted it as "twenty thousand years". The misunderstanding results from the fact that my method is based on ancient Vedic science, and the Sanskrit word for "one year" can also mean "a long time, an eon". [Not true, but if you know no Sanskrit, Dr. Doodlebugger can fool you.]

      (3) All dating methods are nonsense, except mine. I said 5,000 years. I am right and everybody else is wrong.

      If Dr. Doodleburger chooses the first option, he still deserves being treated like a scientist (even if he's a maverick one). The second option makes him look like an old Earth creationist. The third option is preferred by young Earth creationists. Both (2) and (3) are hallmarks of cargo cult science. You change your predictions after the fact or pretend that they were correct (though everyone can see they weren't). You can convince yourself that you're right, but "the planes don't land".

      Delete
    31. Septic Mind,

      "This tells me that you are just arrogant, self-righteous ignorant not worth spending time on.

      Do you mean like those guys that can't actually think about what natural selection means before making stupid assertions about junk DNA and "natural selection did it"?

      "Just like someone pointed out, you feel obliged to criticize people with scientific credentials, and yet you are an uneducated imbecile in the field."

      You're so good at projecting Septic Mind.

      "You must be an undeniable pride of your university."

      Just like you must be such a golden example of a believer. If it existed your god would be proud of your ignorant and deeply stupid assertions, right?

      Delete
    32. Differences of opinion are the norm in science. Different opinions lead to different predictions, and so conflicts can be resolved as new facts come to light (or are produced in controlled experiments).

      Beau, note what was written by Piotr, and others, and also note that Larry is highlighting what he (and many others) perceive as problems in the understanding how things work. If Larry blogged as much about principles that are no longer controversial, then there would be no space available for the controversial topics he likes to focus on.

      In other words, if you assume that the field of evol biol is in constant disarray based upon the posted topics, you are experiencing a selection bias effect.

      You would be well-advised to read the popular media with caution as well. Nothing sells magazines like scientific "paradigm shifts", though true paradigm shifts in science are rarer than hen's teeth because of the self-correcting and incremental nature by which scientific knowledge accumulates. (In fact, it is these false or over-hyped claims of paradigm shifts that most motivates Larry in terms of the topics he cares and blogs about, I think).

      Delete
    33. Lutesuite, thanks for putting words in my mouth, unfortunately they don't fit well. Maybe you can regift them? There are over 30,000 denominations in Christianity alone, I'd say that takes a wide range of interpretations.

      Delete
    34. Again, there's a difference between different interpretations of the evidence and paying no attention to the evidence. You will find hundreds of websites "explaining" why 4=6 (I mean grasshoppers being permissible for lunch since they walk "on all fours"). They all say: yeah, yeah, we know all insects have six legs, BUT... -- and what follows is invariably nonsense which you can falsify immediately with any video showing grasshopper locomotion. Biblical commentators who over the centuries have claimed that orthopterans are really quadruped because they have "four walking legs" and "two jumping legs" have only been interested in proving the inerrancy of the holy book to themselves and to others, not in what actual grasshoppers actually do. All those time-honoured explanations by the great sages of yore are a load of crap exactly because THEY IGNORE THE EVIDENCE.

      Delete
    35. Piotr Gasiorowski and John Harshamn

      Since when does science have proven that:

      1. Earth is a sphere
      2. Life structure variations are is based on specific information
      3. That the universe is expanding
      4. Hygiene is essential especially in medicine
      5. The sequence of steps how earth was being transformed for life habitation and in what order life appeared on it


      Delete
    36. 1. Known already to ancient Greek thinkers such as Pythagoras in the 6th c. BC. Unknown to the authors of the Bible, who thought the Earth was more like a pancake.
      2. I have no idea what you mean by "specific information", or what it has to do with the Bible.
      3. Most philosophers and scientists (including those who thought the Bible was the ultimate fount of wisdom) had believed in a stationary Universe until the mid-20th century (even when they stopped believing in crystal spheres revolving round the Sun). It's only modern creative interpreters who think the Bible says otherwise.
      4. In many cultures a connection between keeping your hands clean and not getting diarrhoea was made thousands of years ago. Minoan Cretans had baths, drains and flush toilets long before the Bible was composed. There were also baths, private and public, in ancient Egypt and Greece, the Indus Civilisation, and of course in Rome.
      5. As I said, whales and birds before land animals is hardly a good guess.

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    37. "There are over 30,000 denominations in Christianity alone, I'd say that takes a wide range of interpretations."

      Beau, that's what lutesuite is saying (using sarcasm). That's what several of us are saying.

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    38. "1. Earth is a sphere
      2. Life structure variations are is based on specific information
      3. That the universe is expanding
      4. Hygiene is essential especially in medicine
      5. The sequence of steps how earth was being transformed for life habitation and in what order life appeared on it "

      So that's your list of "5 major or fundamental scientific facts" that "someone" allegedly "knew" "thousands of years before science recently proved it to be true"?

      Wow, I thought that even you could come up with something better than that.

      Piotr's response is more than enough, but I want to have a little fun with your number 2:

      "2. Life structure variations are is based on specific information"

      Goats are a part of "life". The color patterns on goats are a part of their "Life structure". According to the bible, striped and spotted goats are that way because their parents mated while looking at striped sticks, which would of course mean that non-striped, non-spotted goats are produced by goat parents that were not looking at striped sticks when they mated.

      Based on your number 2, goats that produce striped/spotted offspring must get "specific information" by looking at striped sticks while they mate, and that "specific information" is then used by those goats to produce striped/spotted offspring. Did science recently prove that to be true?

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    39. "There are over 30,000 denominations in Christianity alone, I'd say that takes a wide range of interpretations."

      Beau, that's what lutesuite is saying (using sarcasm). That's what several of us are saying.


      That's right, Beau. Nice job of shooting yourself in the foot, while also demonstrating your inability to understand written English. Thanks for the entertainment!

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    40. "Right, Beau, right. 'Cuz, as we all know, there is no such thing as differing ideas regarding God and religion.

      Stop bullshitting. You're not fooling anyone."

      I never said there weren't different ideas regarding religion. You're being intellectually dishonest and a bit of an asshole. I don't understand why so many of you are incapable of civil discussion.

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    41. Beau said:

      "I never said there weren't different ideas regarding religion."

      Beau, whether you said that or not doesn't really matter to the fact that it's a valid point that pertains to religious beliefs (including yours) and to your concerns/doubts in regard to science.

      Since you obviously distrust science, or at least particular aspects of it, because of the various interpretations and disagreements between scientists, it's reasonable to point out that religious texts and beliefs are variously interpreted and disagreed upon too, especially since the various interpretations and disagreements within or between religions are far more numerous and harmful.

      It appears to me that you also doubt your religious beliefs, at least a little bit, otherwise it wouldn't matter to you what any scientists say. I suspect that you have at least some curiosity about nature that your religious beliefs aren't satisfying. I don't know if there's anything I could say that would steer you toward discarding your beliefs but I do suggest that you not let your beliefs kill that curiosity.

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    42. @Beau Stoddard

      I never said there weren't different ideas regarding religion. You're being intellectually dishonest and a bit of an asshole.

      And I never said you did. So who's the intellectually dishonest asshole, Beau? (Answer, since you seem to need everything spelled out for you: You, Beau Stoddard, are the intellectually dishonest asshole. Can you follow that?)

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  15. P.S. Of course, the same goes for early exegeses, such as Ramban's: they are nothing more than arbitrary interpretations, and they are themselves vague and ambiguous, so that you can reinterpret them at will.

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    1. Isn't it funny how the inerrant word of god needs to go through so much interpreting by fallible mortals?

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    2. If you don't like Rambam's interpretation, you can instead read Moses Maimonides ...

      ;-)

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    3. I meant "exegesis" when I referred to Nahmanides (a.k.a. Ramban), since that's what he practised (he tried to explain the biblical text in terms of philosophy and theology as he knew them). "Eisegesis" is what lots of "biblical interepreters" do today. They force an anachronistic, arbitrary reading on the text to make it look consistent with the scientific view of the world.

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    4. Apologies for my dumb joke, which assumed that "Ramban" was just a typo for "Rambam". Oops.

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    5. There are more such confusible acronyms. In addition to the famous "Maharal", i.e. Rabbi Loew of Prague, the main character in the Golem legend (incidentally, born in the city where I live), there have also been about a dozen famous rabbis dubbed "Maharam", as well as a couple of "Maharashes".

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    6. Piotr, I often hear people's religious views are largely formed by their parents beliefs and geographic location, I believe that's true to some extent. Do you believe the same could be said for science in some ways? For example if studied under
      Professor Moran and you studied under a professor with a different outlook, do you think that would shape a conflict in our outlooks?

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    7. Beau, do you believe there's a single scientist in the world who can reinterpret Newton's law of gravity to make objects fall upwards? If one scientist was taught Newton's law that way, can you think of an objective way scientists from all over the globe could prove him wrong?
      Of course some fields of science are more controversial than others, simply because sometimes there's a lot of conclusive evidence to confirm a theory, and sometimes there's not so much, but the principles of science are the same regardless. So if there's controversy on a hypothesis, what would you derive your position from? First you would need to actually understand the hypothesis, then be aware of the previous work/evidence on the field, then maybe run your own experiments. Experiments are repeatable, so it doesn't matter where you are, should serve as an objective means to confirm or discard a hypothesis.

      On the other hand, anything is allowed when it comes to religion. You can believe whatever you want and there's no objective way to crosscheck religious claims. But of course, almost invariably, everyone happens to believe in the dogmas that were taught to them at a young age. It's just amazing that every religious person happened to be born in the right place at the right time because they all claim to be right and the rest are wrong.
      Meanwhile, scientists agree on all sort of stuff no matter where they're from. What a coincidence isn't it? But of course doubters will ignore that and focus on what they don't agree in, also ignoring that there's still no particular cultural or geographical distribution of those who disagree.

      But the crux of the matter is, how many scientists will claim they will never change their position no matter how much positive evidence is presented to them? Conversely, what it would take to convert you to Islam for instance?

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  17. Dazz I'm not trying to compare religion and science the way you want to. Religion is a matter of faith, the bible isn't a science book and doesn't claim to be. All thung we experience shape our opinions and worldview. I don't think science is immune to that. I'm not trying to discredit science, I'm simply curios about others opinions. I don't subscribe to Islam probably for the same reasons you don't believe in any God. Islam doesn't make sense when examined with my personal knowledge.

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    1. Did you happen to notice the part where I mentioned evidence & experimentation? Those mean & work the same no matter where you are or where you come from. The natural world works the same everywhere. Theories and hypothesis must also be unambiguous. So the only metric to pick from two competing hypothesis is their explanatory power, which involves explaining as much as possible and being supported by ALL the available evidence.

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