Nature “writes back” to Behe Eight Years Later
|April 8, 2010||Posted by scordova under Intelligent Design, Darwinism, Science|
Eight years ago, biochemist Michael Behe wrote this open letter to the prestigious scientific journal, Nature:
As a public skeptic of the ability of Darwinian processes to account for complex cellular systems and a proponent of the hypothesis of intelligent design, (1) I often encounter a rebuttal that can be paraphrased as “no designer would have done it that way.” …
If at least some pseudogenes have unsuspected functions, however, might not other biological features that strike us as odd also have functions we have not yet discovered? Might even the backwards wiring of the vertebrate eye serve some useful purpose?
Hirotsune et al’s (3) work has forcefully shown that our intuitions about what is functionless in biology are not to be trusted.
Sincerely, Michael J. Behe
An Open Letter to Nature
Contrast that with Ken Miller’s now falsified claim in 1994:
the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles.
Although Miller won in Judge Jones’ Kangaroo Court, Behe has won where it counts, in the court of empirical facts. Behe has won the argument over the backward wiring of the eye (see the essay by medical researcher Michael Denton: Inverted Retina).
And Behe has scored a second victory in the debate over junk DNA. Although Nature may not have had Behe in mind when they wrote the following, it seems, the net effect is as if they have “written back” eight years later to Behe and affirmed his views while essentially trashing their poster boy Ken Miller the honest Darwinist.
In Human genome at ten: Life is complicated, we read:
Just one decade of post-genome biology has exploded that view. Biology’s new glimpse at a universe of non-coding DNA — what used to be called ‘junk’ DNA — has been fascinating and befuddling. Researchers from an international collaborative project called the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) showed that in a selected portion of the genome containing just a few per cent of protein-coding sequence, between 74% and 93% of DNA was transcribed into RNA2. Much non-coding DNA has a regulatory role; small RNAs of different varieties seem to control gene expression at the level of both DNA and RNA transcripts in ways that are still only beginning to become clear. “Just the sheer existence of these exotic regulators suggests that our understanding about the most basic things — such as how a cell turns on and off — is incredibly naive,” says Joshua Plotkin, a mathematical biologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
But here is something reported at UD from ScienceDaily regarding ENCODE almost 3 years ago:
The new data indicate the genome contains very little unused sequences and, in fact, is a complex, interwoven network…
So Miller is wrong, the genome is not “full of junk and scribbles” in the way he claims. Furthermore:
the ENCODE effort found about half of functional elements in the human genome do not appear to have been obviously constrained during evolution
Translation: at least half of the functioning genome didn’t acquire function via Darwinian processes! I remind the reader of Darwin’s own words:
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.
There you have it. We’ve discovered functional systems not under the constraints of Darwinian selection, therefore they were not evolved via Darwinian selection. So Darwin was wrong. [I referenced earlier how such inferences are made. See: Peer Reviewed Article Critical of Darwinian Evolution by NAS Member.]
Despite this we have Darrel Falk and friends repeating the same old line:
almost certainly much, if not most, of the DNA plays no role, and in many cases can be harmful
Professor of Biology
Evolutionary Biologist Richard Sternberg Challenges Darrel Falk
Given how badly Falk and Miller have been refuted by the evidence, I have to ask : “Is this their Varsity?”
HT: Rob Crowther: Exploding the Darwin Friendly Myth