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Prestin and Darwin’s Gardener

A fundamental, and often false, prediction of evolution is that functionally unconstrained DNA should not be conserved in distant species. As described here, everything from proteins to long stretches of DNA, though highly similar across different species, defy evolutionsts who search for a functional constraint, as required by their theory. And how do evolutionists respond? They claim that the mystery DNA must have a function, even though myriad tests have found none. If we cannot detect the function, then there must be a problem with the tests. There must be a function which otherwise is undetectable to us. It is a perfect example of how religious belief resists falsification as Antony Flew once illustrated in his gardener parable.  Read more

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11 Responses to Prestin and Darwin’s Gardener

  1. General recommendation
    Recommend readers add CA Assistant. as providing a very helpful compact editing bar with the comment entry screen.
    See: http://climateaudit.org/ca-assistant/

  2. I’m confused. Are you arguing that those sequences have no function or purpose? If that is the case, why would the ID-er put long sequences of non-functioning DNA in the genome? Did he get a bulk discount on amino acids and not want them to go to waste?

    “These sequences have no purpose, therefore they were put there on purpose,” isn’t a compelling argument in my book.

  3. Cornelius is suggesting that Prestin was designed once, and then implemented many times, possibly as part of a code ‘library’ used when programming. Thus functionally-neutral elements could be exist in ancestrally unrelated species. This would explain a lot of the evidence that is normally taken to be pro-Darwinism, but it also explains more: it explains why completely unrelated species, such as Bats and Whales can have the same functionally-neutral elements in their DNA, something that cannot be due to common descent.

    The specialised version used for ‘biosonars’ is found in both bats and whales. It could have been designed just once, whereas Darwinism would conclude that it evolved twice independently.

    One gripe I have with Cornelius’s analysis, is that he assumes that these 9 similar elements are irreducibly complex. This could potentially be proven, but it is not currently known.

    If it does turn out that these 9 similarities are contingent / functionally-neural (again future work will confirm or disprove this), then that would eliminate natural selection as a possible cause.

    That would suggest a close common origin for the code, even though it is clearly impossible for the two species to be close relatives. The simplest model for this, is ID. Darwinists would be forced to advocate a purely naturalistic kind of HGT, despite its doubtful probability; one more epicycle added to a doubtful theory.

  4. 4

    jurassic 2:

    “These sequences have no purpose, therefore they were put there on purpose,” isn’t a compelling argument in my book.

    To clarify, these amino acids are probably helping, but not nearly as crucial as evolution predicts. I would predict one or a few of them could be safely mutated without causing big problems. And my second prediction is that evolution wouldn’t skip a beat.

  5. 5

    Andy 3:

    One gripe I have with Cornelius’s analysis, is that he assumes that these 9 similar elements are irreducibly complex.

    No, I’m not assuming that. I agree with you that it might be the case.

  6. 6

    IC is just one argument in support of ID, but is not the only one. As new observations mount, such as this one, where similar functional features exist in unrelated species, ID becomes the more probable theory.

    Dr. Hunter, interesting use of a parable, which appears to have been originally intended as an argument against theism. Apparently it has applications elsewhere.

  7. A fundamental, and often false, prediction of evolution is that functionally unconstrained DNA should not be conserved in distant species. As described here, everything from proteins to long stretches of DNA, though highly similar across different species, defy evolutionsts who search for a functional constraint, as required by their theory. And how do evolutionists respond? They claim that the mystery DNA must have a function, even though myriad tests have found none.

    You seem to have that the wrong way round. My observation is that it is evolution that has no problem with so-called “junk DNA” in the genome and ID proponents who insist all DNA has a function.

    As for Flew’s gardener’s parable, it was clearly intended to illustrate that explanations which invoke some completely unobservable cause, as do some religions, are useless to science because there is absolutely no way to test them. Yet you attack methodological naturalism for refusing to consider such explanations even though the reason it does so is that there is nothing to consider. A designer that cannot be specified, a God that is beyond human observation, so-called supernatural causes that cannot be detected in any way are no explanation at all

  8. Wasn’t the very recent discovery of siRNAs spread throughout the genome a perfect example of such previously hidden function of the genome?

  9. Simple question: Have or have not geneticists simply thrown up their hands at the prospect of figuring out why that DNA is the way it is?

    Also, same question, but regarding IDers. (Any tests for what the original now-non-functional code may have done, or what it has been front-loaded to eventually do, or what linguistic message is encoded into it?)

  10. Seversky: evolution predicts junk DNA that follows a pattern of common descent.
    The bat/whale example does not follow common descent, so evolution does not predict it.
    It is also not ‘junk’: in English there are many ways of framing a sentence, and in some cases, some words are redundant or replaceable, but they are not garbage.
    E.g. by looking at the redundant elements of two essays, where free choices were made by the designer about words and structure, it is possible to infer when the two essays had common author. This is how plagiarism is detected. It would not be fair to conclude plagiarism based on the factual content of the essays alone.

  11. Phylogenetic trees constructed using synonymous nucleotide substitutions (relatively unconstrained, functionally) in prestin genes coincide with traditional phylogenetic trees constructed using morphological characters, whole genomes, and other data. Bats cluster together – separately from whales, porpoises, and dolphins which also cluster together.

    In contrast, phylogenetic trees
    constructed using using nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in prestin genes or the resulting prestin amino acid sequences do group certain echolocating bats together with certain echolocating marine mammals.

    I guess I don’t see how the prestin data pose any particular problems of interest to Mr. Hunter.

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