More Recent Comments

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Casey Luskin posts misleading quotes about junk DNA

On Thursday May 2, 2024, Casey Luskin and Dan Stern Cardinale debated junk DNA on the YouTube channel "The NonSequitor Show." David Klinghoffer thinks that this debate went very well for the ID side [Debate: Casey Luskin Versus Rutgers Biologist Dan Cardinale, Thursday, May 2]. I agree with Klinghoffer; Luskin did an excellent job of promoting his case because many of his statements and claims were not challenged effectively.

I'll be putting up a separate post on the debate but for now I'd like to address an article by Casey Luskin that he posted before the debate as preparation for what he was going to say. The article consists of a bunch of quotes from prominent scientists about junk DNA [“Junk DNA” from Three Perspectives: Some Key Quotes]. Here are the three perspectives, according to Luskin.

Category 1: Quotes from evolutionists claiming (or repeating the widespread belief) that non-coding DNA is “junk” and has no function.

Some of the quotes represent the actual position of junk DNA proponents but Luskin has also picked out stupid quotes from scientists who think, incorrectly, that all non-coding DNA is junk. This is deliberate as we will see below.

Category 2: Early quotes from intelligent design theorists predicting function for non-coding “junk” DNA.

Luskin builds the case for function in non-coding DNA by quoting religious scientists who "predict" that there will be functional DNA in non-coding regions of the genome. This is disingenuous at best because Luskin knows full well that from the very beginning of the scientific debate we knew about functional non-coding DNA. It was never the case that all non-coding DNA was assumed to be junk.

Category 3: Quotes from mainstream scientific sources saying that we’ve experienced a shift in our thinking that junk DNA actually has function.

Many of these quotes are from scientists announcing that some non-coding DNA has a function. They support Luskin's false claim that all non-coding DNA was thought to be junk and the discovery of functional regions of non-coding DNA has resulted in a "paradigm shift" in our view of the human genome.

Casey Luskin should not have been allowed to get away with equating junk DNA and non-coding DNA in the debate. He should have been challenged to retract that false claim at the very beginning of the debate and called out whenever he used the term "non-coding DNA" during the debate.


Anonymous said...

Off subject, does anybody know a good introductory level book about cell evolution?

John Harshman said...

Is cell evolution different from evolution, full stop?

John Harshman said...

At least one of the category 1 quotes is a quote-mine, repeating a strawman junk DNA claim in order to show that it's wrong, and all that non-coding DNA is really useful. Some of them seem to claim that all non-coding DNA is junk, but it's amazing how much they vary in the percentage of the human genome they think is non-coding. Others of the quotes estimate the percentage in the genome of particular junk categories. Is this really the best Casey could find? I could do much better. But at least he quotes this Moran person.

gert korthof said...

César, you might have a look at Alfonso Martinez Arias (2023) 'The Master Builder. How the New Science of the Cell is Rewriting the Story of Life', John Murray Press

Anonymous said...

Thank you!