The latest “junk” DNA finding is that pyknons have been found in the much studied plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Pyknons are short (about 20 nucleotides) DNA sequence patterns that are common, and show up in both genes and the “junk” regions of DNA (introns and intergenic).
Sometimes after explaining how the now-defunct junk-DNA mindset was encouraged and fostered by neo-Darwinian evolution, evolutionists respond by asserting that nonetheless some individuals from their camp explored function for junk-DNA. This, they claim, absolves their neo-Darwinian camp from any charges of science-stopping, and shows that the neo-Darwinian paradigm did not hinder research into junk-DNA. But if a 2003 article in Science is any indication, then it seems that the neo-Darwinian paradigm did indeed impose a taboo on research into function for junk-DNA. As the article stated: Although catchy, the term ‘junk DNA’ for many years repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding DNA. Who, except a small number of genomic clochards, would like to dig through genomic garbage? However, in science Read More ›
We are often told that the evidence for evolution is “overwhelming.” If “evolution” is defined as “change over time” or “minor changes within existing species,” this is a truism. But what if “evolution” means Charles Darwin’s theory? According to Darwin, all living things are descendants of a common ancestor that have been modified by unguided processes such as random variation and natural selection. Despite the hype from Darwin’s followers, the evidence for his theory is underwhelming, at best. Natural selection–like artificial selection–can produce minor changes within existing species. But in the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, no one has ever observed the origin of a new species by natural selection–much Read More ›
I am often struck by how the topic of evolution in general, and chimp/human ancestry in particular, can be an immediate conversation opener that just as quickly becomes a conversation closer. Mind you, I don’t go around buttonholing people at, say, my favorite lounge (this music will conjure up the atmosphere) about some phylogenetic arcana — at least, I try not to do so. But for some strange reason, there exist individuals of good will who apparently feel called upon to “raise my consciousness” about some Darwinian facts that I’ve presumably gotten wrong. Not just a bit wrong, but astoundingly wrong. You see, to their way of thinking, I am in dire need of reeducation and they are there to Read More ›
Note: This is Part 5 in a series reviewing Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. Darwin argued in The Origin of Species that the widespread occurrence of vestigial organs — organs that may have once had a function but are now useless — is evidence against creation. “On the view of each organism with all its separate parts having been specially created, how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility … should so frequently occur.” But such organs, he argued, are readily explained by his theory: “On the view of descent with modification, we may conclude that the existence of organs Read More ›