We have been occasionally graced at UD by visits of DNA researcher Andras Pellionisz who wrote:
the issue of “Junk” DNA itself is much more vital for human kind, since hundreds of millions are dying of “Junk DNA diseases” while the urgency of plunging into active research is overlooked because on ANY ideological grounds.
Those looking at
will realize that for those to whom SCIENCE of “junk” DNA is still not the “mainstream” are socially guilty because of putting priority on ideology over survival.
Hundreds of millions of patients don’t appreciate delay of medicine by ideology.
Darwinists like Falk, Miller, Ayala, and Dawkins have generally argued DNA is mostly “junk”, the by-product of mindless Darwinian processes. The pro-junk, anti-mind Darwinist position is what Dr. Pellonisz has labeled a “socially guilty” position.
Personally, I’m ambivalent to the question of whether these Darwinists are socially guility or not. The point remains, however, that the issue of “junk” DNA is of great medical significance.
Recently at EN&V, evolutioanry biologist Richard Sternberg highlights some of the latest issues regarding DNA. I save the technical disucssions for the comment section.
In the mean time, I will highight Sternberg’s framing of the junk DNA issue through his version of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 a Space Odyssey. [Incidentally 2001 a Space Odyssey is not too far from some conceptions of Intelligently Designed Evolution (a view Pellionisz seems almost sympathetic to, and one that Hoyle accepted).]
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 about that moon back in 1859, and that the evidence demonstrates either that God doesn’t exist or that the deity left the cosmos to itself after the Big Bang.
You find, however, that these books almost totally ignore the findings of the billion-dollar missions sent to the surface of Y6-9 since the 1960s. Indeed, there is next to nothing in them about Y6-9’s actual geology.
So you contact the Lunarlogos Foundation, a Christian group that promotes such books. You tell them that you have a few specific questions about the Y6-9 mission findings. The response you get is that because you are a layman, you would not be able to comprehend the details. Besides, the Lunarlogos folks say, the mainstream experts have spoken authoritatively about the subject and that should be enough for you. As a consolation, though, they send you a CD that has songs that are sung by one of their founding members.
Somewhat disgruntled, you decide to spend a day at a university library. You ask a librarian for maps of Y6-9 and technical journals that discuss its features. An hour or so later, with stacks of data before you, something catches your eye—something never mentioned in any of the books you’ve read. Sitting in a Y6-9 crater is a large monolith. High resolution photos reveal it to be rectangular in shape, with a polished surface, and composed of some dense black material. This must be a mistake, you think. So you look at other craters on Y6-9 and many of them also contain the same kind of monolith. You discern their overall distribution to be non-random—and the monoliths themselves are highly non-random. Then, after consulting the literature, you learn: The existence of such objects has been known for over two decades. In fact, one of the experts of Lunarlogos wrote about them in the technical reports of the Y6-9 probe missions.
Now, more than disgruntled, you decide to write about what you have learned, citing the relevant literature in case someone might want to read about this topic themselves. After posting what you write on the Internet, Lunarlogos posts their reply. Their response reads something like this:
Okay. Sure. There are obnoxious monoliths littering Y6-9…everybody knows this. In fact, there are about a million of them. But they got there because of degenerative cosmic processes. While many of the structures Mr. X mentioned are suggestive of some possibly unknown cause that we have never denied, it is almost certain that much, if not most, of the Y6-9 surface is without any remarkable features. Besides, why would God put them there? They are simply nonsensical.
We have one more thing to say. We don’t appreciate how disrespectful Mr. X has been to our team of experts. Although Mr. X is a Ph.D. planetary scientist, he is not as qualified to write on this subject as scientists approved by Lunarlogos. So we ask him, for the sake of having meaningful dialogue: Please stop writing about this subject.
A Lunarlogos sympathizer writes on another blog:
We think you’re a nice guy, but your arguments are insane.
Here are the links to the rest of Sternberg’s essays which are rich with the technical details of his argument against Falk’s view.
In light of the potential medical importance of junk DNA researchers, it is apparent the issues surrounding ID vs Darwin debate are more than religious, social or political. Real science and important scientific questions are being explored by Pellionisz and his colleagues at the HoloGenomics Society, Sternberg at the Biologic Institute, and John Sanford at Cornell and Logos Research.
Casey Luskin offers his viewpoint: Does Darrel Falk’s Junk DNA Argument for Common Descent Commit “One of the Biggest Mistakes in the History of Molecular Biology”?