A few weeks ago, PZ Myers commented on so-called ‘Junk DNA’. Under the headline, ‘Junk DNA is still junk’, Myers wrote: The ENCODE project made a big splash a couple of years ago — it is a huge project to not only ask what the sequence of a strand of human DNA was, but to analyzed and annotate and try to figure out what it was doing. One of the very surprising results was that in the sections of DNA analyzed, almost all of the DNA was transcribed into RNA, which sent the creationists and the popular press into unwarranted flutters of excitement that maybe all that junk DNA wasn’t junk at all, if enzymes were busy copying it into Read More ›
In their critique of William Dembski, Wesley Elsberry and Jeffrey Shallit write, “there is abundant circumstantial evidence that Darwinian processes can account for complexity in nature, but Dembski excludes this evidence because it does not pass his video-camera certainty test.” This badly misrepresents Dembski’s argument. Looking at all the theoretical work Dembski is doing to test the ability of Darwinian processes to generate specified complexity (see his papers at www.evoinfo.org) it should be clear that Dembski is NOT demanding “video-camera certainty” but rather is willing to test the ability of present-day causes to generate high CSI empirically, and theoretically, and then apply his findings to make inferences from the historical record. That’s exactly how historical scientists ought to study these Read More ›
What we know about the complexity of the cellular information storage, processing and retrieval mechanisms continues to increase exponentially, and at an unprecedented rate. Almost on a daily basis, new papers are published revealing the ingenuity of the elaborate mechanisms by which the cell processes information — processes and mechanisms that bespeak design and continue to elude explanation by Darwinian means. For how exactly could such a system – apparently, an irreducibly complex one – be accounted for in terms of traditional Darwinian selective pressure? A new paper has just been published in Molecular Cell, in which the researchers, Karginov et al. reported their discovery that messenger RNA (mRNA) can be targeted for destruction by several different molecules. According to Read More ›
Casey Luskin recently posted two blogs showing that textbooks still misuse Haeckel’s long-discredited embryo drawings when attempting to provide evidence for Darwinian evolution (see here and here). Luskin provided ample documentation to demonstrate that these drawings are still printed in some recent textbooks. Over at The Panda’s Thumb blog, apologists for Darwinian theory have defended (see here and here) Ernst Haeckel from the charge of fraud and have argued, albeit unconvincingly, that, in principle, the concept of recapitulation is a valid one.According to Nick Matzke: Haeckel didn’t ignore the differences in embryos in the earliest period just after fertilization (differences which are visually significant but mostly fairly trivial, due to the different amounts of yolk in different vertebrate eggs).
Scott F. Gilbert’s “Developmental Biology” (eighth edition) provides a stunning overview of the elegant biochemical mechanisms controlling the development of organismal form during ontogeny. The final section of the book, chapter 23 (“Developmental Mechanisms Of Evolutionary Change”) is devoted to a discussion of the new evolutionary synthesis, encompassing the new science of ‘evo devo’ (short hand for ‘evolutionary developmental biology’). The book even contains a short rebuttal directed at proponents of intelligent design and, in particular, Michael Behe.