Arrington's version of "Darwinism can be seen in the Uncommon Descent glossary. It focuses on natural selection as the mechanism of evolution and doesn't mention Neutral Theory of random genetic drift.
Barry Arrington's challenge to me is ...
OK, Larry. I assume you mean to say that I do not understand the basics of Darwinism. I challenge you, therefore, to demonstrate your claim.Let's see if he understands how natural selection works.
On a blog post from October 2013 that's ironically titled Let’s Put This One To Rest Please, Barry Arrington wrote ...
Elizabeth Liddle from a prior post: “Darwinian hypotheses make testable predictions and ID hypotheses (so far) don’t.”I mentioned this ridiculous statement back when he first posted it [Intelligent Design Creationists Make a Prediction: How Did It Work Out? ] then followed up the next day with: Barry Arrington, Junk DNA, and Why We Call Them Idiots.
This statement is breathtakingly false. Let us take just one example. For years Darwinists touted “junk DNA” as not just any evidence but powerful, practically irrefutable evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis. ID proponents disagreed and argued that the evidence would ultimately demonstrate function.
Not only did both hypotheses make testable predictions, the Darwinist prediction turned out to be false and the ID prediction turned out to be confirmed.
EL, you are entitled to your own private opinion. You are not entitled to your own private facts. And when you make it up as you go like this, be sure you will be called out.
Here's the issue. "Darwinism" is defined as evolution by natural selection according to Arrington and the glossary on Uncommon Descent. (Barry Arrington is in charge of the blog.) He said that "Darwinists" predicted junk DNA and he states clearly that junk DNA is supposed to be "practically irrefutable evidence for the Darwinian hypothesis."
But, as most Sandwalk readers know, nobody predicted junk DNA, certainly not Darwinists. Junk DNA confers no fitness advantage on the individual. It's certainly detrimental at some level because it uses up resources for no benefit. If Darwinists were presented with the possibility of junk DNA back in 1970 then they would almost certainly have rejected it because it doesn't make sense in a strictly Darwinian world. In fact, most supporters of Neo-Darwinsm and the hardened version of the Modern Synthesis DID reject junk DNA back then and they still do even today.
Barry Arrington is dead wrong and his error shows that he does not understand evolution by natural selection (=Darwinism).1 The only reasonable explanation for the presence of massive amounts of junk DNA in a genome requires that you understand the role of neutral alleles and how they can be fixed in a population by random genetic drift. That kind of understanding has nothing to do with Darwinism.
Here's what he says in the comments to his latest post.
Moran made the claim that I do not understand Darwinism. As the one advancing a claim he has the burden of supporting it. He could do that by, for example, pointing to a statement I have made that contains a basic error about Darwinism. If he is unable to support his claim it means he made a claim he cannot back up.This is my claim. Barry Arrington says that Darwinism predicted junk DNA and that junk DNA is strong evidence of the Darwinian hypothesis. This shows clearly that Barry Arrington does not understand his own version of Darwinism and doesn't understand evolutionary theory. He committed a basic error about Darwinism.
Maybe he's changed his mind? Maybe the first 18 years he spent learning about Darwinism were wasted but he's learned a lot more in the past two years? That's not very likely.
Elizabeth Liddle posted a comment on Arrington's post about predicting junk DNA. She pointed out that: (1) junk DNA is not consistent with Darwinian mechanisms, and (2) junk DNA has not been refuted.
Elizabeth Liddle’s Revisionism is Astonishingly Audacious!. He doubles-down on his ignorance because he never heard the warning about what to do when you find yourself in a hole.
Dr. Liddle, have you no shame? All I can say is your revisionist history is stunning in its scope and audacity.Shortly after this Elizabeth Liddle was banned from Uncommon Descent.
Whole books were written by ID proponents about the Darwinist myth of junk DNA. See here.
The ID position has now been largely vindicated and the Darwinist position debunked.
You know that. Therefore, I simply cannot imagine that you assert to the contrary in good faith. If I did not know better, charity would demand that I ascribe your statements to near invincible ignorance. Sadly, that option is not open to me. Therefore, I can only conclude that you are willfully and mendaciously misrepresenting the record.
You made a false statement in the prior post. I posted a second post calling you out. Instead of conceding or retracting you doubled down. Will you double down again or will you retract?
I don't think Barry Arrington has changed his mind since then because it would have been accompanied by a great deal of grovelling and we surely would have heard about it.
It's safe to assume, therefore, that today he's as ignorant about the role of natural selection and junk DNA as he was two years ago.
Challenge met. Over to you, Barry.
1. I suspect he's confused about the conservation of pseudogenes, which some biologists have pointed to as strong evidence of shared ancestry and a challenge for ID. It's common for ID proponents to conflate that claim with the debate about the prevalence of junk DNA. It's just one more bit of evidence that they don't understand evolution.