'Junk DNA' Intelligent Design

The ID guys vs. the Darwinists on junk DNA

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Yesterday, original Darwinist assumptions about “junk DNA” were offered; today, again courtesy Donald Johnson’s Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability LITE: A Call to Scientific Integrity. Now, let’s see what the ID guys had to say about it (p. 57):

“Junk DNA” has been classified as a misnomer by ID proponents as early as 1986 [Den86], since “Junk DNA and directed evolution are in the end incompatible concepts” [Den98] The journal Science refused to print a 1994 letter that pro-ID scientist Forrest Mims wrote warning about assuming that “junk DNA” was useless [Mim94*]*9. Rejected Publications

They’ve been saying it ever since, popular or otherwise.

Some have raised the question: Darwinists used “junk DNA” as support for their theory (there is no actual design in nature). And ID proponents believed that the non-coding DNA wasn’t junk and that its functionality, when discovered, would support their theory (there is design in nature). So where do we stand today?

Others venture to predict: Darwinists will continue to frame the situation so that nothing ever counts as evidence against Darwinism.

10 Replies to “The ID guys vs. the Darwinists on junk DNA

  1. 1
    Joseph says:

    While Intelligent Design may be a “big tent” the theory of evolution is a big trash bag- the junk goes in and then becomes something.

    Ya see that is the real story- these sequences were junk until they evolved a function, then natural selection took over.

    So yeah, they may do something now but believe them they were once junk. 😉

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    semi OT:

    New Darwinian strategy to defeat Intelligent Design???; Just don’t talk about the elephant in the living room and maybe it will go away!! 🙂

    Newspeak in Biology Erases Design in Favor of Evolution – Casey Luskin – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_48-07_00

  3. 3
    DrREC says:

    I’m curious what Wells (or any of you predict)-

    Would ID predict that all the genome has function, the majority of it has function, or just some part of it is functional?

    Is there a percent threshold at which design should be declared?

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Is there a percent threshold at which design should be declared?

    I declare it 100% designoid!

    To be honest, I don’t know upon what basis any such prediction can be made, either pro or con.

    You sure as heck can’t make any predictions based on “God wouldn’t have done it that way” like the anti-ID crowd is always trotting out (in the supposed name of science no less).

    The genome of a species is either a fixed size or it is not.

    If it is a fixed size but with changeable content (use a computer hard-drive as an analogy) then one might expect to find unused regions even under a design hypothesis.

    If the genome is not a fixed size, is there any evidence that size is changed “on demand”?

    Also, I think it depends on how you define “junk” and whether that definition is supportable from the evidence.

    Do designers typically just leave junk lying around in their designs? Not so much. But I would nto be at all surprised to find that I had coded some function and left it in my code base only to discover at some point that I never actually make use of the function.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    The quote’s from the OP are also found in Probabilities Nature and Nature’s Probability p. 67 of the “non-LITE version.

    As I’ve stated elsewhere on this blog this Donald E. Johnson’s “intelligent design” books consist in the most part of quotes mined from other sources, as is born out by the OP, and Chapter 7 of this book is no different.

    It contains a section on “Junk DNA” which consists of at least 13 quotes in about a three page span, and not much else.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find where he makes the case that ID makes any prediction and why.

  6. 6
    DrREC says:

    “You sure as heck can’t make any predictions based on “God wouldn’t have done it that way” like the anti-ID crowd is always trotting out (in the supposed name of science no less).”

    Yeah, I think that is a terrible way for them to express the argument. I can see saying a broken pseudogene that is conserved in the way it is broken in primates is most consistant with common ancestry (which, as Joseph has been arguing isn’t mutually exclusive with ID). You could even say it is inconsistant with independent designs-but perhaps not dependent ones.

    I think your prediction: “Do designers typically just leave junk lying around in their designs? Not so much” is probably a good one. So for ID, it seems important that the non-functional bits be minimal, which I don’t think has been shown.

    For anti-common descent types (not all ID advocates) the question is why broken genes and non-functional bits seem related by common ancestry.

  7. 7
    T. lise says:

    This thought just cross my mind.

    Is it not true that evolutionist keep saying “Modern ID movement or arguments are just that of Paley’s argument applied at molecular level”? Dembski, I think, elsewhere responded to that already, but rather this statement I think this is true of evolutionist argument for Darwinism based on Junk DNA. “Is it not true that Junk DNA argument is that same old vestigial organ argument applied at DNA level??”

  8. 8
    Joseph says:

    DrREC:

    For anti-common descent types (not all ID advocates) the question is why broken genes and non-functional bits seem related by common ancestry.

    Why would broken genes and non-functional bits hang around intact enough to be used as a gentic marker over all these generations while all these other changes are going on in the genome?

    Why do football and baseball throwing machines use tires as a mechanism for launching the ball- tires that are normally used for transportation? Are they related by descent with modification?

  9. 9
    DrREC says:

    “Why would broken genes and non-functional bits hang around intact enough to be used as a gentic marker over all these generations while all these other changes are going on in the genome?”

    Are you arguing they are ALL functional? Much of the genome isn’t even transcribed. And the answer to your question is that they aren’t ‘hanging around’-they are in a state of decay. For example, the human GULO pseudogene has lost most of its exons, and accumulated an array of would-be inactivating mutations. These aren’t selected against.

    But, the loss of GULO is recent enough that it appears to be conserved (broken in the same way) among higher primates, which have a fairly recent common ancestor. It is a matter of degree.

    In fact, conservation (say, in-between mice and humans) of transcribed non-coding regions is a major motivation to look for function.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    new podcast: The Origin of the Myth of Junk DNA – Jonathan Wells – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_02-07_00

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