Why Kissing the Wall is the Worst Possible Heuristic for Biological Discovery
|July 28, 2010||Posted by Paul Nelson under Intelligent Design|
And would be the worst, whether one is an ID proponent or not.
Many UD readers know the Australian molecular biologist John Mattick as a leader in thinking about functional roles for so-called ‘junk DNA.’ Mattick has earned the implacable ire of ID critics such as Larry Moran and T. Ryan Gregory, although not because Mattick is an ID proponent. He’s not — see the opening sections of this interview, which is also available as a video. (Scroll to the Supplementary Material at the end; SIZE WARNING: 46M.]
It’s a fascinating exchange, although I think Mattick greatly underestimates the significance of clade- or taxon-specific novel proteins in eukaryotes.
If nothing else, however, empirical discovery itself stands entirely on Mattick’s side. In biology, the claim “structure x has no function” can only topple in one direction, namely, towards the discovery of functions. “No function” represents a brick wall of infinite extent, from which one can only fall backwards, into the waiting arms of a function one didn’t see, or overlooked.
Because one was kissing the wall, so to speak.