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Friday, November 22, 2013

Denyse O'Leary is at it again! (re: junk DNA)

In Denyse O'Leary's latest post she claims (again) that "Darwin's followers" used junk DNA as an argument for their position [What? Darwin’s followers did not use junk DNA as an argument for their position?].

No, Denyse, "Darwin's followers" (i.e. adaptationists) never used the presence of large amounts of junk DNA as evidence of the power of natural selection. Such a position would be absurd. The vast majority of "Darwin's followers" were opposed to the idea of large amounts of junk in a genome. Many still are.

Read this post and the links it contains: Darwinists Don't Believe in Junk DNA. You might enjoy my critique of Jonathan Wells book. (You can read, can't you?)

Denyse, you and the other IDiots are confused about a lot of things but this particular debate seems to have you all completely flummoxed. None of you seem to be capable of listening or of understanding simple logic.

It's true that many supporters of evolution evolutionary biologists like Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins, and Ken Miller used the presence of similar pseudogenes in different species as powerful evidence for common descent. They also pointed out that IDiots have a hard time explaining such pseudogenes. A direct challenge, by the way, that IDiots have avoided.

It's true that pseudogenes are junk. That does not mean that Collins, Dawkins, and Miller believe that most of our genome is junk. They are not saying that because most of our genome is junk, evolution must be true.

Denyse doesn't buy this when a commenter on her blog tried to explain it. She asks,
Question for readers here: Is it a sign of weakness in the Darwinians’ position that they can’t acknowledge that they made mistakes? They seem to have to defend, then deny.
Oops! Did I forget to tell you to turn off your irony meters? Sorry.


  1. There are two new problems with the "Recent Comments" thing. First, every response appears twice, which means that the list now contains half the depth it used to. And second, the topic it's a response to is no longer visible. What happened?

    1. What happened was that the old one stopped working and I couldn't find a good replacement that allowed more than 5 comments. This one was a trade-off. I thought it was better to show more comments than the show the title.

      That was a mistake. It doesn't actually show 10 comments. I'll try another.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Just a minor correction. Francis Collins is not an evolutionary biologist. In fact, he admitted in an interview several years ago that he wasn't particularly knowledgeable about the Theory of Evolution but based his views on the expertise of those who were knowledgeable.

    Similarly, Ken Miller is a cell biologist and admitted that, when he agreed to debate Henry Morris, at the urging of some of his students, he had to do considerable boning up on evolution as he was not particularly knowledgeable on the subject as it was not in his line of research.

    1. Thanks. I didn't notice that particular slip-up. I've corrected it.

      You forgot to mention that Richard Dawkins also doesn't know much about evolution. :-)

    2. You forgot to mention that Richard Dawkins also doesn't know much about evolution.

      Prof. Moran is kidding of course.

    3. Only partially kidding. Surely you know that Richard and I disagree on the importance of adaptation?

    4. Incidentally, things are still not entirely settled in Texas. Some members of the committee evaluating biology textbooks objected to one of them, and guess what, it's the one authored by Miller and Levine! The have proposed yet another panel of "experts" to "evaluate" it. Link to New York Times article and to Jerry Coyne's web site where he got a comment from Miller. Naturally Coyne has some snide comments about the holdup over the Miller/Levine textbook.

    5. Re Prof. Moran

      I am well aware of the disagreement between Prof. Moran and Dawkins, and incidentally, adaptationist Jerry Coyne over the relative importance of natural selection and genetic drift.

      As a PhD physicist who has never taken a course in biology I am totally incompetent to comment on the controversy and have steadfastly refrained for doing so. One can only wish that clowns like Klinghoffer and Lusken would also refrain from commenting on subjects on which they are totally ignorant.

    6. Richard Dawkins is trained and has his degree in Ethology, the study of animal behavior. He seems to have taken on an interest in evolution secondarily. He says the books he's most proud of himself are The Extended Phenotype and the like, which are mostly books about the evolution of behavior. It's true that Dawkins is not an expert in molecular evolution or molecular biology in general.

  3. The one thing that gets me about all this is that the IDiots have convinced themselves that a view that puts natural selection front and center is being rocked back on its heels by finding that the genome is actually functional*. Next up: "Darwinists" can't explain why herbivores have flat, grinding teeth and carnivores have sharp, tearing teeth. Intelligent Design is once again vindicated!

    Also, if the majority of the genome being junk DNA is held to be a prediction from Darwinism, then one can only conclude that not only can natural selection fix and maintain functionless sequences, but that at the molecular level this is its primary job. The mind reels at the ridiculousness of it.

    Anyone who could be made to believe this could be made to believe anything. And they've succeeded. I haven't heard a peep out of any member of the ID community pointing out the staggering absurdity of what they're arguing. I know it was never intended to be a science, but they must have turned the corner on not only ceasing to pretend that it is, but also on ceasing to make any frigging sense whatsoever.

    * Footnote: Yes, I know that it hasn't been demonstrated that the majority of the genome is functional, but I'm just taking the ID creationist/panadaptationist view as a point of departure.