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Monday, August 29, 2022

The creationist view of junk DNA

Here's a recent video podcast (Aug. 23, 1022) from the Institute for Creation Research (sic). It features an interview with Dr. Jeff Tomkins of the ICR where he explains the history of junk DNA and why scientists no longer believe in junk DNA.

Most Sandwalk readers will recognize all the lies and distortions but here's the problem: I suspect that the majority of biologists would pretty much agree with the creationist interpretation. They also believe that junk DNA has been refuted and most of our genome is functional.

That's very sad.


Neil Taylor said...

Maybe this is something to be crowd sourced on Panda's Thumb, but I would appreciate a list of the main errors being made here. Is it mainly if a function is found in one area previously thought to be junk it is wrong to extrapolate from this to assume all junk areas also have this function (and a rejection of mutational load)? Fascinated by Tomlin's rejection of the power of natural selection... What does he think is driving population changes in SARS-CoV-2 etc! He's willfully blind of course, and highly selective in his blindness which does make it interesting seeing how his views on junk DNA are so close to those Prof Moran has spent many years refuting in the scientific rather than religious field. Rationalisations against deflated egos all round?

Athel Cornish-Bowden said...

That's a useful link. I've added it to the Wikipedia article.

Larry Moran said...


Why did you do that? It seems like a very unwise decision.

Athel Cornish-Bowden said...

OK, I'll undo it if you like. But I don't think it does any harm for people who think "junk DNA" doesn't exist to know what sort of company they keep. What do others think?

Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen said...

I'm inclined to think creationists and laypeople are more likely to look at the wikipedia article on non-coding DNA than are actual molecular biologists. Just a hunch. As such i suspect it's more likely it just provides ammunition to creationists to say that science supports their claim that there's no junk DNA, than it is likely to help change minds of molecular biologists.

On another note Dan Stern Cardinale did a response video to ICRs nonsense here:
Bad Creationist Genetics: NO Junk DNA???.

Both Dan and I posted substantive criticism in the comments to ICRs crap, but the comments were quickly hidden and can no longer be seen.

Mark Sturtevant said...

@ Athel: I think that is a good reason to put it into Wikipedia. I don't know why it would be a bad idea, put that way.

Neil Taylor said...

Slightly humbled to see that Prof Felsenstein has taken up my suggestion and started a Thread on Panda's Thumb debunking the video.

Thanks, Professor!

Prof Felsenstein highlights Daniel Stern Cardinale's video debunking ICR's claims.

Dr Cardinale has a further video on his YouTube channel which educated me.

I hadn't realised Prof Dan Graur's work on the connection between mutational load & the fraction of the genome which is functional had been finessed from infinite to finite populations and that this further work had shown that the mutational load argument isn't as clear an argument as it was originally claimed against widespread functionality. Always learning!

Robert Byers said...

Robert Byers.
whats sad is the accusation of lies and distortions against me fellow creationists. list three~ Why couldn't they just be wrong like these scientists? In fact likely they get their material exclusively from them. Nobody pays creationists to explore these obscure points.