Meyer Responds to Stephen Fletcher’s Attack Letter in the Times Literary Supplement

Ever since Thomas Nagel selected Signature in the Cell as one of 2009’s best books, the Times Literary Supplement has had a vigorous back and forth in its letters section. The last salvo published was by Loughborough University chemistry professor Stephen Fletcher. The response below was submitted by Stephen Meyer to TLS, but they opted not to publish it. To the Editor The Times Literary Supplement Sir–I see that the Professor Stephen Fletcher has written yet another letter (TLS Letters, 3 February, 2010) attempting to refute the thesis of my book Signature in the Cell. This time he cites two recent experiments in an attempt to show the plausibility of the RNA world hypothesis as an explanation for the origin 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 ›

Ayala and Falk Miss the Signs in the Genome

In his recent response to Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, Francisco Ayala claimed that repetitive portions of our DNA called “Alu” sequences are “nonsensical.” Ayala wrote: “Would a function ever be found for these one million nearly identical Alu sequences? It seems most unlikely.” In his response to Ayala, Meyer showed that Ayala is factually wrong about this. According to recent technical papers in genomics, Alu sequences perform multiple functions. In a rejoinder to Meyer, Darrel Falk defended Ayala and claimed although “a number of functional regions have been discovered within Alu sequences,” there “is no question that many Alu sequences really have no function.” In my last blog, I showed that the vast majority of the genome is Read More ›