On Pharyngula, PZ Myers shows how Intelligent Design continues to be a scientifically vacuous concept.
Desperate to show that evolution can be detrimental to scientific inquiry, ID proponents have been arguing not only that junk dna was a prediction by ID, a statement which is logically flawed, but also that evolution and particularly Darwinism was the reason why people called non-coding DNA and pseudogenes ‘junk’.
The latter assertion has been more than once corrected on this blog but it seems that ID remains dogmatic in its claims, unable to learn from its own mistakes.
The same applies to the creationist understanding of the meaning of vestigial which they somehow believe to be equivalent to ‘no function’.
Vestigiality describes homologous characters of organisms which have lost all or most of their original function in a species through evolution.
As PZ Myers points out Junk DNA was a concept that arose out of the concept of neutral evolution. In fact, Darwinian theory would expect non-functional DNA to not be conserved in any form or manner. But that’s not where our poor ID proponent stops, he then continues to argue that:
I’m not big into counting genes, especially as regulatory regions (you know - “Junk DNA”) seem to be as important as the genes themselves.
However anyone familiar with the history of genetics would know that regulatory genes were never considered to be Junk DNA. How wrong can one be?
Is this truly the best ID has to offer? In that case it should be self evident that teaching the controversy becomes nothing more than a mindless repetition of past ignorant claims of creationists who had little respect for history.
Let this be a warning to educators and parents foolish enough to promote the teaching of ‘alternative theories’ of evolution or ‘controversies’ in evolutionary theory.
It’s also not true that science ignored junk DNA, in fact as this posting points out science has been studying Junk DNA for quite some time and in doing so discovered novel potential roles for some Junk DNA.
And finally for those interested in more on this topic, read Larry Moran’s contributions and be sure to follow the links in the article. Poor Larry has been busy correcting many misconceptions by ID proponents on this topic. Seems he will not likely be out of a job soon… Larry also notes how Bill Dembski got it all wrong. Perhaps Dembski’s flawed comments have caused the present case of ID ignorance?
Such is the contribution of ID to science, more ignorance.
Larry Moran wrote:
I suspect that the “junk DNA” hypothesis was originally made on explicitly Darwinian grounds. Can someone provide chapter and verse? Clearly, in the absence of the Darwinian interpretation, the default assumption would have been that repetitive nucleotide sequences must have some unknown function.
Fortunately, there are some smart people who post comments on Uncommon Descent. They have told Bill that the concept of junk DNA is explicitly non-Darwinian. It was proposed by scientists who didn’t feel the need to explain everything as an adaptation.
I don’t know how many times we’ve explained to Bill that not all evolutionary biologists are “Darwinists.” I know I first told him four years ago but I’m sure there were others before me. He seems to be a very slow learner.
It seems that Dembski may not be the only slow learner here.