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 ›

How The Junk DNA Hypothesis Has Changed Since 1980

As someone who has studied the concept of “junk DNA” for over twenty years, I am dismayed by two statements that appear repeatedly on various blog sites discussing evolution. No, I am not referring to arguments of the form “the onion has six times more DNA than do mammals; therefore, there is no deity,” that are invariably followed by terms of disparagement hurled at anyone who even marginally departs from the Darwinian perspective. Rather, my consternation stems from a half-truth and a false fact that are recycled ad nauseum by those who apparently believe that, despite all the genomic and transcriptomic data that have been obtained only in this decade — data that have overturned a number of trenchant assumptions–a Read More ›

Francis Collins, Karl Giberson, and Books and Culture Promote Misconceptions About Intelligent Design, Falsifiability & Junk DNA

In the media, it’s not unusual for an interviewer and interviewee to hold similar views on whatever subject they are discussing. Radio show hosts and podcasters, for example, commonly interview friendly guests. But imagine if Paul Allen interviewed Bill Gates on the merits of Microsoft, and then published the interview as an independent journalistic article in Wired magazine. Not only would it would read like a paid advertisement, but critics would begin wondering if Wired was in business to promote Microsoft products. The Microsoft example is of course fictional, but something like it happened recently when Karl Giberson (executive vice president of the BioLogos Foundation) interviewed Francis Collins (the president of BioLogos), and then published the interview in Christianity Today‘s Read More ›

God and Evolution: A Response to Stephen Barr (part 3)

This is the final installment of three posts responding to Stephen Barr. The first post can be found here, and the second post can be found here. The Collins/Barr Approach: A God Who Misleads? Stephen Barr identifies himself with the position of Francis Collins who argues that although evolution looks like “a random and undirected process,” it nevertheless could have been guided by God. “Evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified.” [Collins, The Language of God, p. 205.] Barr takes me to task for highlighting Collins’ use of the word “could” because I implied that “Collins is not sure whether God did in fact know beforehand. Anyone Read More ›