The Demise of Another Evolutionary Link: Archaeopteryx Falls From Its Perch

A few days ago we saw Ida fall from her overhyped status as an ancestor of humans. Now some scientists are claiming that Archaeopteryx should lose its status as an ancestor of modern birds. Calling Archaeopteryx an “icon of evolution,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) borrows a term from Jonathan Wells while reporting that “[t]he feathered creature called archaeopteryx, easily the world’s most famous fossil remains, had been considered the first bird since Charles Darwin’s day. When researchers put its celebrity bones under the microscope recently, though, they discovered that this icon of evolution might not have been a bird at all.” According to the new research, inferences about growth rates made from studies of Archaeopteryx‘s ancient fossilized bones show Read More ›

The Evolution of “Ida”: Darwinius masillae Fossil Downgraded From Ancestor to Pet

A few months ago, “Ida” was sitting on top of the world. She’d been lauded as the “eighth wonder of the world” whose “impact on the world of palaeontology” would be like “an asteroid falling down to Earth.” Falling, indeed. On October 21, Nature published an article announcing that “[a] 37-million-year-old fossil primate from Egypt, described today in Nature, moves a controversial German fossil known as Ida out of the human lineage.” Wired also published a story, noting that, “[f]ar from spawning the ancestors of humans, the 47 million-year-old Darwinius seems merely to have gone extinct, leaving no descendants,” further quoting a paleontologist calling Ida “a third cousin twice removed … only very distantly related to living and fossil anthropoids.” Read More ›

Experimental Data Force Researchers to Admit There’s “No Such Thing As Junk RNA”

Originally, proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution lauded “junk” DNA as functionless genetic garbage that showed life is the result of blind and random mutational events. Then “junk” DNA was disproved by the discovery that the vast majority of DNA is being transcribed into RNA. Did the failure of this Darwinian assumption cause evolutionists to terminate their love affair with biological “junk”? Of course not. They just shifted their argument back, claiming that the cell is full of “junk RNA”–DNA that is being transcribed into RNA but still does nothing in the cell. Earlier this year we reported on a Nature paper suggesting function for “junk” RNA. Now a Science Daily NewsArticle is confirming that finding. Aptly titled “No Such Thing As Read More ›

Ken Miller Confuses Weak Assertions of Common Ancestry With Darwinian Evolution of Blood Clotting Cascade (Updated)

Update 8/7/13: Since this response to Ken Miller was posted, even stronger evidence of function for the beta-globin pseudogene has been reported in the scientific literature, further refuting Miller’s argument. See Dover Revisited: With Beta-Globin Pseudogene Now Found to Be Functional, an Icon of the “Junk DNA” Argument Bites the Dust. In his book Only a Theory, one of Dr. Kenneth Miller’s main response to Michael Behe’s arguments for the irreducible complexity of the blood clotting cascade is that sequence similarities between various blood clotting factors demonstrates that they share a common ancestry. Indeed, in his response to me on the irreducible complexity of the blood clotting cascade, Miller again conflates evidence for common ancestry with evidence for Darwinian evolution. Read More ›

Jonathan Wells Hits an Evolutionary Nerve

When intelligent design (ID) proponents press neo-Darwinian evolutionists on the inability of Darwinian evolution to produce new functional genetic information, a common response from evolutionists is that they get angry and engage in name calling. That’s what happened when Michael Egnor asked How does evolution produce new functional genetic information?, and it again seems to be the case now after Jonathan Wells bravely observed that “duplicating a gene doesn’t increase information content any more than photocopying a paper increases its information content.” Mathematician and ID-critic Jeffrey Shallit responded by calling Wells a “buffoon.” Dr. Shallit then proceeded to offer an irrelevant definition of information which supposedly showed that Wells was wrong. William Dembski has responded to Shallit here, but Shallit’s Read More ›