More Troubles in the Tree of Animal Life

In late 2005, three biologists published a study in Science which concluded, “Despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most [animal] phyla remained unresolved.” In 2008, the relationships among animals are still controversial. A recent news release at Science Daily highlights a new study, “Tree Of Animal Life Has Branches Rearranged.” The story reports, “The study is the most comprehensive animal phylogenomic research project to date, involving 40 million base pairs of new DNA data taken from 29 animal species.” According to the article, the study yielded surprising results: “Comb jellyfish — common and extremely fragile jellies with well-developed tissues — appear to have diverged from other animals even before the lowly sponge, which has Read More ›

Leading Biologists Marvel at the “Irreducible Complexity” of the Ribosome, but Prefer Evolution-of-the-Gaps

A roundtable symposium was recently held at by John Brockman entitled, “Life: What A Concept!” discussing how life arose. Participants included some huge names in origin of life research and genomics, such as Freeman Dyson, J. Craig Venter, George Church, Robert Shapiro, Dimitar Sasselov, and Seth Lloyd. None of the participants are favorable towards intelligent design, but the transcript of their conversations suggested that the ribosome may exhibit “irreducible complexity” (their words). It’s clear that these anti-ID scientists don’t even understand exactly how life works, much less do they know how it arose naturally, but that they are nonetheless taking an evolution-of-the-gaps approach, assuming that complex micromolecular machines like the ribosome will (despite their present appearances) indeed turn out to Read More ›

Is Panda’s Thumb Suppressing the Truth about Junk DNA?

The best way to rewrite history is to delete the views of those who remember it personally. The Scientist‘s editor Richard Gallgaher’s recent article on “junk”-DNA mentions that Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz suggested that The Scientist publish an “obituary” for “junk”-DNA. Gallagher wrote: Andras J. Pellionisz, to whom I am grateful for bringing this notable 35th anniversary to my attention, suggested that The Scientist publish an obituary to “formally abandon this misnomer.” Pellionisz’s objection is that scientific progress is being inhibited, and declaring junk DNA dead would align us with his own organization, the International PostGenetics Society (postgenetics.org), which disavowed the term on the 12th of October last year. Pellionisz is not alone. (Richard Gallagher, “Junk Worth Keeping,” The Scientist, Read More ›

Richard Gallagher Frames Intelligent Design Proponents While Rewriting the History of Junk-DNA (Part 3)

I stated in my previous post that “ID has long-predicted that junk-DNA has function, and ID was right.” So what has Neo-Darwinism done with respect to “junk”-DNA? The Panda’s Thumb post cited by Richard Gallagher in his recent attack on ID in The Scientist cites an ID-proponent that found that some Darwinian biologists predicted that “junk”-DNA would have function, and the implication is that Neo-Darwinism has not forestalled research into “junk”-DNA. So what if some biologists did buck the trend and investigate function for non-coding DNA? Good for them for being observant, and good for them for not relying upon the neo-Darwinian consensus! The fact remains that the entire false “junk” DNA paradigm was born out of the neo-Darwinian mindset, Read More ›

Richard Gallagher Frames Intelligent Design Proponents While Rewriting the History of Junk-DNA (Part 2)

In part 1, I explained that The Scientist‘s editor Richard Ghallager wrote a politically charged article to avoid acknowledging that ID proponents have long-predicted the death of junk-DNA. But have ID proponents made these predictions? In a previous post, I gave about 4 or 5 examples of predictions from pro-ID or ID-sympathetic scientists from 1994 to the near-present who were predicting the end of the junk-DNA mindset. But does ID logically predict that we should find more and more function for “junk”-DNA? In a post that Telic Thoughts called, “A Dubious “Opportunity” for IDers,” it was recounted that one evolutionary biologist challenged ID proponents to “Specify the basis” for predicting function for junk DNA. I’ve done this multiple times here, Read More ›