Scientific Vacuity of ID: Evolution hypothesis requires that the genome be a "multiple independent collection of selectable genes"

In the last few days we have witnessed a virtual epidemic of ill informed claims from our ID friends, so this time I will address a claim by Bornagain77 at UcD who argues:

I would also like to point out that since ENCODE found “an extensive overlapping network” for the human genome, this recently discovered fact clearly indicates that scientists are completely misinterpreting the genetic data from their preconceived evolutionary perspective, since the Evolution hypothesis requires that the genome be a “multiple independent collection of selectable genes”. Thus I predict all similarity based evidence culled from different genomes in support of the evolution hypothesis will have to be reinterpreted, from the proper engineering perspective, since it is now clearly impossible for the evolutionary scenario to overcome the the demonstrated poly-constrained nature of a poly-functional genome (Sanford Gentic Entropy; 2005)!!!

Despite Bornagain’s blind reliance on the work by Sanford, scientists have done some real science and shown actually quite the contrary. I will show that an interdependent network of is not only an inevitable outcome of evolutionary processes but that the nature of these networks, contrary to ‘intuition’ facilitate evolution rather than prohibit it. See for instance the work by Barabasi on scale free networks, the work by Stadler, Schuster, Toussaint and others on neutrality, RNA networks and many more:

Just a quick example:

The Emergence of Overlapping Scale-free Genetic Architecture in Digital Organisms by Gerlee

We have studied the evolution of genetic architecture in digital organisms and found that the gene overlap follows a scale-free distribution, which is commonly found in metabolic networks of many organisms. Our results show that the slope of the scale-free distribution depends on the mutation rate and that the gene development is driven by expansion of already existing genes, which is in direct correspondence to the preferential growth algorithm that gives rise to scale-free networks. To further validate our results we have constructed a simple model of gene development, which recapitulates the results from the evolutionary process and shows that the mutation rate affects the tendency of genes to cluster. In addition we could relate the slope of the scale-free distribution to the genetic complexity of the organisms and show that a high mutation rate gives rise to a more complex genetic architecture.

It somewhat surprises me that Sanford and IDers are unfamiliar with the extensive research on Scale Free networks, especially since I have discussed them in depth on Pandas Thumb. Contrary to intuition, overlapping scale free networks are not only common in the genome but their origins and evolution can be quite well explained using evolutionary theory.

I thank BornAgain for his contribution which allowed me to put to rest yet another creationist myth.

Poor St Augustine.

Since the concept of scale free networks, Gavrilets Holey Landscapes, protein protein interaction etc are quite dear to me, I intend to revisit some of these issues, on which I have extensively posted, to show how contrary to Sanford’s claims, the Evolution hypothesis does not require that the genome be a “multiple independent collection of selectable genes”.

I can understand why ID proponents may be gullible to accept this since from an uninformed perspective it seems quite reasonable that poly-functional and poly-constrained networks are less able to evolve. Yet, contrary to ‘common sense’, it is exactly the opposite.

I have a harder time understanding Sanford’s claim, as a geneticist he should know better.