Yet More “Junk DNA” Not-so-Junk After All

Proponents of intelligent design (ID) have long predicted that many of the features of living systems which are said to exhibit “sub-optimal” design will, in time, turn out to have a rationally engineered purpose. This is one of several areas where ID actively encourages a fruitful research agenda, in a manner in which neo-Darwinian evolution does not. One such area, and a field for which I have long held an inquisitive fascination for, is the subject of so-called “junk DNA,” and the non-coding stetches of RNA which are transcribed from them. Skepticism of the “junk DNA” paradigm is not a phenomenon which is limited to proponents of ID. This popular view of the genome — while still resonating as the Read More ›

Academic Freedom Under Fire — Again!

A news article published yesterday on reported that the Israeli Education Minister has dismissed their chief scientist, Dr Gavriel Avital, over — wait for it — questioning particular elements of two theories, specifically those pertaining to Darwinian evolution and global warming. The article reports, Dr. Gavriel Avital has generated controversy in the past for his statements questioning the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He has also challenged conventional theory on pollution’s effects on global warming. “Someone who holds the opinions of Avital cannot serve as chief scientist of the Education Ministry,” said a ministry official. [emphasis mine] What was Dr Avital’s crime? Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Is Intelligent Design Viable?” William Lane Craig vs. Francisco Ayala

[Ed. Note: The previously published version of this post referred to Francisco Ayala as “of the BioLogos Foundation.” While Dr. Ayala has been a guest blogger with BioLogos, he is not directly affiliated with the foundation.] Late last year, the eminent Christian philosopher and proponent of intelligent design, William Lane Craig, crossed swords in debate with the avid apologist for Darwinian evolution, Francisco Ayala. The debate was chaired by philosopher of physics Bradley Monton of the University of Colorado, an ID sympathizer, though a convinced atheist himself. Monton is the author of the book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. A fascinating ID the Future interview with Professor Monton can be downloaded here. Following Dr. Ayala’s opening Read More ›

If Darwinian Evolution Can’t Fix Broken Genes, How Can It Create New Ones?

The Darwinian model of evolution holds that one of the key mechanisms of evolutionary innovation is the duplication of genes and the subsequent divergence of one of the duplicate copies to undertake a new functional role. Because a probability of a single gene stumbling upon a significantly different (yet functionally advantageous) sequence is so small, the idea is that, following a duplication of a gene, one copy is able to retain the original function, while the other is free to explore the vast sea of combinatorial possibilities in search of some novel function. It is widely believed that a duplicate gene has no phenotypic cost or advantage associated with it – that is, it is selectively neutral. In such a Read More ›

Newly Discovered Mode of RNA Replication Uncovers Previously Hidden Layers of Complexity

The mechanisms and processes of cellular information storage, processing and retrieval have always been a focus of ID argumentation and research. Indeed, it was the complexity and elegance of these systems which first captured my attention as a junior undergraduate as I became interested in the implications of information-rich systems in biology and the possible explicative powers of intelligent causation. In recent years, there has been a dramatic surge in our appreciation of genomics and the processes of information flow in the cell. Papers continue to flood in, reporting on a plethora of recent discoveries which take genomic complexity to a whole new level, leading many academics to tentatively re-evaluate the causal sufficiency of Darwinian mechanisms, the dual forces of Read More ›