This Phys.Org press release isn’t about a particularly interesting scientific paper. However, what the authors tells us about how this paper came to be is very interesting. And, I may add, very revealing.
Listen to what they have to say about their “aha” moment:
Inside some of the data that a standard mapping algorithm normally clips out, Zhang and postdoctoral fellow Xiaolong Chen, Ph.D., recognized that the clipped pattern in the DNA looked like an L1 inside of the FOXR2 gene. In a moment of serendipity, Diane Flasch, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow who previously worked with L1s, recognized the signs of an L1 regulatory element. The researchers performed a special technique that sequences longer regions of DNA to decode the structure of this retrotransposed L1 in FOXR2.
This is exactly the mental process William Dembski proposes as underlying “design” recognition and so confirming a “design inference.” In the movie, Contact, the SETI researchers recognized that a string of 1s and 0s was not random but was actually the prime numbers from 2 to 101 and from this concluded this was evidence of “extraterrestial intelligence.” One has to ask: how is what is described by the authors here any different?
All this is now followed by the authors telling us why their “aha” moment hadn’t occurred to other scientists before:
The scientists used samples obtained over time to learn when the retrotransposition occurred during the tumor’s development. The L1 promoter donation happened before other cancer-associated mutations, so it likely was the driving event that caused the cancer.
Since inserted L1 regulatory elements had never been suspected to be involved in tumorigenesis, existing computational algorithms were not designed to detect such an event.
And what happened in their case?
It took a human mind to see and understand the pattern for the first time.
Yes, indeed, intelligence is all about recognizing patterns, as is intelligent design.
And the author’s bottom-line on all of this:
“Scientists need to keep their eyes open for all the possibilities,” Chiang said. “Don’t filter out information that you think is garbage. Sometimes the gold is in the garbage.”
Sometimes the “gold” is the “garbage”; as in evolutionary theory. Sometimes the “garbage” (in the mind of the evolutionary biologists, otherwise known as Darwinists) is “gold”; as in intelligent design.