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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Educating an Intelligent Design Creationist: Introduction

Andyjones is a frequent contributor to Uncommon Descent, one of the main Intelligent Design Creationist websites. I don't know very much about him except that some people refer to him as a physicist and he seems to be based in the United Kingdom..

Andyjones and I debated the results of the ENCODE project in a series of posts ....
Function, the evolution-free gospel of ENCODE
ENCODE & Junk and Why We Call Them IDiots
(More) Function, the evolution-free gospel of ENCODE
ENCODE, Junk DNA, and Intelligent Design Creationism
He has now replied to my second post and I think I detect a real desire to learn about the issues [see (More and more) Function, the evolution-free gospel of ENCODE]. This could just be my imagination but please bear with me while I try to explain the facts to andyjones.

Andyjones begins with ...
Larry’s ‘reply’ (to my first post) appears to have replicated and evolved into a real reply (to my second post) with some real information. Well, a little information. When I say information, I don’t just mean grammatically correct and unambiguous English text, I mean things that offered ‘surprisal’ and improved my ability to understand the world and to function better in this debate. I learnt three things: firstly, some people have known since the mid 70s that most DNA is transcribed into RNA, but sat on it because apparently they didn’t realise its significance; secondly, where DNA is transcribed but a function is not known, it is generally transcribed only relatively rarely; and thirdly, that RNA polymerase (RNAP) binds at sites other than recognised promoters.
Later on he adds two other issues that he wants to learn about so that makes five in total. I'll devote a seperate post to each one.
  1. Pervasive Transcription—especially the idea that this isn't new.
  2. Most Transcripts Are Very Rare—what does this say about their possible function?
  3. The Specificity of DNA-Binding Proteins—non-specific (i.e. nonfunctional) binding is an essential property of RNA polymerase and regulatory proteins.
  4. The Meaning of Darwinism—why abuse of this term confuses creationists.
  5. Evidence for Junk—there is plenty of data supporting the concept of junk DNA

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