Does Darrel Falk’s Junk DNA Argument for Common Descent Commit “One of the Biggest Mistakes in the History of Molecular Biology”?

Recently I was e-mailed by an individual who had read the book Coming to Peace with Science, by Darrel Falk, president of the BioLogos Foundation. This person was interested in a response to the arguments for human/ape common ancestry in Dr. Falk’s book. Not having read Dr. Falk’s book before, I wrote back that I hadn’t yet read the book but had a strong suspicion that it would argue that shared non-functional (aka “junk”) DNA between humans, apes, and other species is evidence of their common ancestry. This is an extremely common argument from theistic evolutionists–Francis Collins made it in The Language of God (and Collins wrote the foreword to Dr. Falk’s book). Of course in 2010, we’re seeing more Read More ›

Michael Ruse, the Charming Darwinian Atheist

Unlike the reptilian Dawkins, sinister Dennett, or smug Coyne, Michael Ruse is a prominent Darwinian atheist by whom it’s hard not to feel charmed. I have never met him but his column in the Guardian could only be written by someone who is by nature very nice, very naïve, or probably both. Ruse considers the question of what impact belief in Darwinism should be expected to have on morality, and he answers with an “on the one, on the other hand.” Since God is dead (and Darwin killed him), there can be no objective moral ideas. Moses received nothing on Sinai. Yet, not to worry! This realization will not lead to bad behavior since our genes, inscribed by natural selection, Read More ›

Beginning to Decipher the SINE Signal

Remember the analogy of the two moons I used yesterday to discuss the distribution of SINEs in the mouse and rat genomes? Well, I am going to use it again today, but only for a moment. Moon Mysteries and the Lunarlogos Foundation Suppose you are keenly interested in the topography of one of the moons, named Y6-9. Suppose also that the books you first select to read on the topic are popular works, written by “experts” who are “living legends.” As you read through the works, you find paragraphs here and there about how utterly decrepit Y6-9 is, and how this space body exemplifies eons of random events. The authors argue that we already knew all there was to know Read More ›

Discovering Signs in the Genome by Thinking Outside the BioLogos Box

Yesterday I promised that I would show you a mysterious genomic signal, and today I shall fulfill that promise. The previous blog was devoted to describing the linear distribution of LINEs and SINEs along mammalian chromosomal DNA. We saw that L1 retrotransposons tend to be densest in the regions where Alus and Alu-like elements are the least common and vice versa. I included the following figure from an article co-authored by Francis Collins1 that showed this compartmentalization of LINEs and SINEs along over a hundred million genetic letters of rat chromosome 10: The blue line indicates the distribution of SINEs along a 110-million base pair interval of rat chromosome 10. (From Fig. 9d of Ref. 1.) Taxon-Specific Elements: The SINEs Read More ›

Rabbi Hirsch, Darwin Dissenter

Despite the old canard that the only people to question Darwinian evolution are evangelical Protestants (a canard regurgitated yet again last week by the New York Times), the fact remains that Darwin dissenters can be found among thoughtful scientists and other people from all religions and walks of life. There have been many Catholic dissenters from Darwin, from St. George Jackson Mivart and G.K. Chesterton a century ago to biochemist Michael Behe and philosopher/theologian Benjamin Wiker today. There also have been numerous Jewish dissenters from Darwin. David Klinghoffer writes about one of them in an essay for First Things on Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808—1888): Hirsch insisted again and again that God must be understood as acting with complete freedom Read More ›