Larry almost got it right, but he just can’t turn the corner
|April 17, 2014||Posted by scordova under 'Junk DNA', Genetics|
In 2013 Larry wrote On Beating Dead Horses
I was reminded of this while reading Salvador Corova’s latest post on Uncommon Descent because he refers to beating dead horses [If not Rupe and Sanford’s presentation (8/6/13), would you believe Wiki? In this case, yes]. I’m not going to make any comments. Read it and weep for the IDiots.
Well, it turned out Larry did make comments in that very same thread.
Sal begins with …
Evolutionists reluctantly admit most evolution is free of selection and therefore non-Darwinian …
I’ve been trying to teach this to the IDiots for over twenty years. Yet they still insist on referring to evolution as “Darwinism” and they continue to ignore random genetic drift in their attacks on evolution. About 99% of all IDiots have no idea what Sal is talking about. (Sal Cordova doesn’t know either.)
What Sal is saying is that practically all of the mutations being fixed in humans are either neutral or slightly deleterious. That has implications. It strongly suggests that most of our genome is junk.
Not quite, but almost, let me re-write the previous paragraph with errors corrected:
What Sal is saying is that IF practically all of the mutations being fixed in humans are either neutral or slightly deleterious, that has implications. It strongly suggests that most of our genome WOULD BE junk.
Larry Moran (with errors edited out by Sal)
My argument follows the form of a Proof by Contradiction. As we find more evidence that the genome is not junk, then it falsifies the premise that all of the mutations were fixed by neutral evolution in the first place.
VJ and I agree on the final conclusion, but I pleaded that an alternate line of proof was needed to falsify Kimura/Nei’s version of neutral theory (neutral evolution all the way) in favor of ReMine/Sanford’s version of neutral theory (special creation + neutral evolution ).
If Larry believes that neutral evolution makes junk, this may lead to a logical contradiction depending on how neutral evolution makes junk. If making junk includes eroding existing function at a rate higher than creating function, then this falsifies neutral evolution and casts doubt on evolution in general as the mechanism that assembles design out of many damaging mutations.
Empirically speaking, with respect to function, most observed evolution in the lab and field is loss of function, therefore it seems that indeed the rate of function loss is outpacing rate of function acquisition. This is known as “Behe’s Rule.” I even quote one of Larry’s heroes, Koonin in the discussion of Behe’s Rule in reductive evolution of complexity.
These considerations lead to scientifically testable predictions related to ENCODE, junk DNA and deeply conserved sequences. If the deeply conserved sequences are evolving in the present day according to neutral evolution, then how did they arise in the first place and remain conserved? It might be difficult to test this because of the expense, but what might we find when it is eventually done right? I’ve predicted rise in Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in conserved regions since January 2007 here. I discussed this idea with Dr. Sanford and Dr. Carter at ICC 2013, and they were enthusiastic about the testability of the idea.
The publication of my prediction in 2007 got a rare public chastisement from Bill Dembski in the comment section, he said, “Be careful, Sal.” On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have been so careful. Even though I didn’t know much then and still don’t know much today, here is a related development 5 years after my prediction in Nature News:
Of 1.15 million single-nucleotide variants found among more than 15,000 protein-encoding genes, 73% in arose the past 5,000 years, the researchers report. On average, 164,688 of the variants — roughly 14% — were potentially harmful, and of those, 86% arose in the past 5,000 years. ‘There’s so many of [variants] that exist that some of them have to contribute to disease,’ says Akey
So if my prediction bears out observationally, then this debate will be closer to being settled. No need for a protracted internet war. We’ll let good old observation, hypothesis and testing settle the issue as to which side is closer to the truth.
HT JoeCoder x10
[Thank you UD commenters for all criticisms and suggestion in improving my essays which will be archived, revised and re-expressed in various ways at CEU. I will be speaking tonight at JMU and referring students to the CEU website, and although the website is not yet the educational resource that is envisioned, maybe by next year it will have the depth I envisioned. I cross posted this draft at CEU IDCS Larry almost got it right, but he just can’t turn the corner]