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Dr. Dan Has a Taste for Debate

Photo: Dan Stern Cardinale, via YouTube (screenshot).

Editor’s note: See also a follow-up to this post, “Documentation for Dr. Dan.”

Dr. Dan, aka biologist Dan Stern Cardinale at Rutgers University, has a taste for debate. He can’t get enough. First he debated geologist Casey Luskin about junk DNA, now he wants to debate me on Twitter. First of all, I’m not a scientist of any kind. And second of all, Twitter is not the place for extended discussions. It’s way too confusing to follow a thread there. So I suggested to him that he do as our ID scientists do and, if he’s got a further challenge for them, write it up in one place in a coherent form that an interested layman or scientist can understand.

I hope I’m following my own advice here. On Twitter, I had sent him several posts from Evolution News to address his concerns. He wrote in reply:

I’m *asking* the question “if those regions have functions, what are those *necessarily sequence-independent* functions?”

Do you understand why none of the functions named in any of those articles answer that question?

OK, Professor Cardinale. We’re seeing a repeated dysfunctional dynamic: You claim something isn’t functional or some function doesn’t exist, then we show that it does. Casey Luskin did this to you during the debate. Luskin, Jonathan McLatchie, and Richard Sternberg did this to you after the debate. Now I’m going to do it again.

From what I’ve been told, there are many examples of “non-conserved” regions having sequence-independent functions. Compare two strains of yeast, and they will often have almost no sequence identity between centromeric regions. Yet these regions are essential because this is where kinetochore is formed and spindle attachment occurs. There are many other examples. Is it not so?

How long do you want to keep playing this game? For “A Far from Exhaustive (Yet Still Exhausting) List of Papers Discovering Function for ‘Junk’ DNA,” see here. Incidentally, Dr. Dan first came to our attention when he critiqued a Long Story Short video. A new one is out now. Perhaps it’s time to move on: