Home » 'Junk DNA', Darwinism » If you make a prediction and it doesn’t happen …

If you make a prediction and it doesn’t happen …

In 2010, University of California Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology John C. Avise published a book titled Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design, in which he wrote that “noncoding repetitive sequences–’ junk DNA’–comprise the vast bulk (at least 50%, and probably much more) of the human genome.” Avise argued that pseudogenes, in particular, are evidence against intelligent design. For example, “pseudogenes hardly seem like genomic features that would be designed by a wise engineer. Most of them lie scattered along the chromosomes like useless molecular cadavers.” To be sure, “several instances are known or suspected in which a pseudogene formerly assumed to be genomic ‘ junk’ was later deemed to have a functional role in cells. But such cases are almost certainly exceptions rather than the rule. And in any event, such examples hardly provide solid evidence for intelligent design; instead, they seem to point toward the kind of idiosyncratic tinkering for which nonsentient evolutionary processes are notorious.”

- Jonathan Wells, The Myth of Junk DNA (Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2011), pp. 26-27

Wells goes on to point out,

The following chapters cite hundreds of scientific articles (many of them freely accessible on the Internet) that testify to those functinos – and those articles are only a small sample of a large and growing body of literature on the subject. This does not mean that the authors of those articles are critics of evolution or supporters of intelligent design. Indeed, most of them interpret the evidence within an evolutionary framework. But many of them explicitly point out that the evidence refutes the myth of junk DNA

Darwinism predicts something, based on its core principles, and it doesn’t happen. And there are no consequences? Only on planet Darwin. Where all correct predictions originate in Darwin’s theory and are grandfathered as such by his loyal heirs. All incorrect predictions are “proved” to have originated elsewhere, no matter where they actually originated.

At what point do we either have Darwin or evolution? “Science” or science?

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

15 Responses to If you make a prediction and it doesn’t happen …

  1. As I said before Avise is under the mistaken impression that A) The design has to be perfect and B) Even if it started out “perfect” that it had to remain that way over many, many generations.

    Also I doubt Darwnism or NDE “predict” junk DNA. They can accept it being present but that is about it.

  2. And I will continue to say it, even if 99% of the genome is actually junk, that says NOTHING about ID! What matters is the explanation of the existence of the functional, complex part. So “a case for non-intelligent design” based on junk DNA is pointless from the outset because it does not address the sole universal claim of ID, not even a little bit.

    At best it could contribute to a theological argument about whatever possible designer about which you want to debate.

  3. 4
    Elizabeth Liddle

    The way science works is this:

    You have a explanatory theory(like Darwin’s) from which you derive specific hypotheses (plural) from which you generate predictions, which you then test against data.

    If your prediction is disconfirmed, you do not necessarily reject your theory, but you do reject your specific hypothesis.

    This is an important distinction, not least because hypotheses tend to be hierarchically nested. Disconfirmation at one twig does not (necessarily) backproject on to the whole branch, if confirmatory data has been collected at an earlier “node”.

    This is part of what “Model fitting” is about. We can confirm a model, but still have wide confidence limits around the parameters, which will be subject to continued refinement. Every time we run new data and get new parameters, we “falsify” some specific earlier parameterized model; that does not mean we throw out the model, any more than we throw out the theory that smoking causes early death just because we find that the risks are slightly different to our estimates, and in a few people, the benefits of nicotine might outweigh the damage done by tar.

    As for non-coding DNA and pseudo-genes – we would certainly expect, given common descent, that pseudo genes to give us phylogenies that map on to independently derived phylogenies, and they do. Ditto with ERVs. We would also expect, if Darwinian evolution is broadly correct, that bits of DNA that do not have a phenotypic effect, for whatever reason (they are duplicated, or whatever they once did was now broken, or they never had any effect in the first place) will tend to collect in the genome, because they are selectively neutral. So yes, it would be surprising if there were not quite a lot of DNA that does nothing interesting at all.

    But finding some interesting function for a bit of DNA that people hitherto thought was non-functional doesn’t thwart a hypothesis-driven prediction. My own hunch is that the really important bits of the genome will prove to be the regulatory bits rather than the coding bits, and I find the growing body research into the role of regulatory genes in both development and organismal function absolutely fascinating.

  4. 5

    Dr Liddle, can we expect your respons to this post at #339 anytime soon?

  5. You have to love how Darwinists assert such things as “it really is that simple” but then when you try to pin them down the response changes to “it’s really much more complicated than that.”

  6. If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.

    – Charles Darwin

    The problem is, Darwinists need to show that such a thing can and does happen rather than shifting the burden upon someone else to show that it could not possibly happen.

  7. Saint Chuckie’s silly little book is riddled with that sort of “reasoning” … and his heirs haven’t gotten any better at reasoning soundly.

  8. You have to love how Darwinists assert such things as “it really is that simple” but then when you try to pin them down the response changes to “it’s really much more complicated than that.”

    The Holy TalkOrigins site has an article which simultaneously asserts that “evolution” is a simple concept … and almost no one, including trained biologists, understands it. (I’m pressed for time, so i can’t dig for it to supply the link.)

  9. 10
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Darwin’s principle IS a very simple concept – it’s an account of how a very simple concept can result in astonishing complexity.

    So it isn’t very surprising that, depending on the question, the answer will be either simple or complex, or, even – “well that’s an interesting question that will require investigation”.

  10. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Darwin’s principle IS a very simple concept – it’s an account of how a very simple concept can result in astonishing complexity.

    Strange how there still isn’t any evidence for genetic ccidents accumulating in such a way as to construct new, useful and functional multi-part systems.

    A simple concept without supporting evidence isn’t science.

  11. EL:

    As for non-coding DNA and pseudo-genes – we would certainly expect, given common descent, that pseudo genes to give us phylogenies that map on to independently derived phylogenies,…

    Why is that? Why wiouldn’t a pseudo-gene or non-functional DNA not get scrambled- ie not remain intact enough to use as a marker- by mutational accumulation?

    So now selectively neutral DNA sequences can become fixed in a population? What is the experimental data that demonstrates this?

  12. 13
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Joseph: Well there is good theoretical reasons to believe that neutral DNA sequences can become fixed in a population. Indeed, Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy is based on theoretical population genetics studies that give the math that predicts this.

    Essentially, it’s the math of a drunkard’s walk: if a drunk starts at a lamp-post and walks randomly up and down the street, where at each step, he is as likely to go up as down, then you are very unlikely to find him near to the lamp post 12 hours later. And if you repeat the experiment many times, the distance of the drunk from the lamp post will have a distribution in which the variance increases as the time period increases.

    So there will be a small proportion of drunks that end up a very long way from the lamp-post. Those are the neutral mutations that go to fixation.

    It is difficult to get experimental data to “prove it” as there is no way of measuring “neutrality” except by reproductive success, even where that reproductive success is entirely due to chance (as in the drunk who ends up a long way from the lamp-post). However, we do know that new mutations go to fixation, and while some of them are clearly beneficial, some of them are not, and some are probably slightly harmful, but drift happened anyway.

    Again this is the basic theory underpinning Sanford’s book!

    I don’t agree with Sanford’s conclusion, but I do think he’s right about drift and neutral and near-neutral mutations.

  13. Joseph:

    So now selectively neutral DNA sequences can become fixed in a population? What is the experimental data that demonstrates this?

    Elizabeth:

    Well there is good theoretical reasons to believe that neutral DNA sequences can become fixed in a population.

    Now, if we follow the scientific method, we’d attempt to validate the theoretical expectations through observation and experimentation.

    Elizabeth:

    It is difficult to get experimental data to “prove it” as there is no way of measuring “neutrality” except by reproductive success, even where that reproductive success is entirely due to chance (as in the drunk who ends up a long way from the lamp-post).

    So it must remain forever, just a theory. Not science. Anti-science. It may as well be a supernatural cause, for all that science can tell us about it.

    Chalk up yet another untestable Darwinian claim.

    Essentially, it’s the math of a drunkard’s walk: if a drunk starts at a lamp-post and walks randomly up and down the street, where at each step, he is as likely to go up as down…

    Actually it’s more akin to asking a drunk to swim across the North Atlantic, where if you throw enough drunks at the problem eventually one of them will make it (or not).

  14. Darwin’s principle IS a very simple concept – it’s an account of how a very simple concept can result in astonishing complexity.

    No it isn’t.

Leave a Reply