Smithsonian’s New Human Origins Exhibit Targets Students Who Doubt Darwinism

The Smithsonian has a new human origins exhibit, “What does it mean to be human?” specially targeted at swaying student visitors who might doubt Darwinian evolution. The most amusing part of the exhibit proudly explains that evolution predicted we’d lack evidence for evolution; that’s how we know it’s true! That’s right, this is how the nation’s most prestigious natural history museum presents evolution: evolution predicts that evolution is supported both when we do and when we don’t find confirming fossil evidence. Consider the following from the educator’s guide: Misconception: Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution. Response: Science actually predicts gaps in the fossil record. Many species leave no fossils at all, and the environmental conditions for forming good fossils Read More ›

Berlinski’s Dismantlement of Darwinism “A Virtuoso Recital”

David Berlinski’s collection of essays, The Deniable Darwin, garnered a favorable review over at Hot Air, where CK Macleod had this to say: The Deniable Darwin collects essays written from 1996 to 2009 mostly on the same general theme: That the insufferable pretensions and aggressive self-certainty of science ideologues prevent us from justly appreciating how much we actually have learned about the natural world, and how wonderfully little that is. He applies his dauntingly well-informed, remorselessly cogent skepticism to several fields of study — theoretical physics, mathematics, linguistics, molecular biology — but it’s his dismantlement of Darwinism that he takes to center stage for a virtuoso recital. Macleod understands that critics of Berlinski are wrong to accuse him “of the Read More ›

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 ›

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 ›