Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Study confirms that predictions about junk DNA by materialists are false

First, let’s see what Darwinian evolutionists predict about junk DNA, before we look at what the experiments show.

Here’s biologist John Timmer to explain the orthodox Darwinian view of DNA from 2007:

Personally, I fall into the “it’s all junk” end of the spectrum. If almost all of these sequences are not conserved by evolution, and we haven’t found a function for any of them yet, it’s hard to see how the “none of it’s junk” view can be maintained. There’s also an absence of support for the intervening view, again because of a lack of evidence for actual utility. The genomes of closely related species have revealed very few genes added from non-coding DNA, and all of the structural RNA we’ve found has very specific sequence requirements. The all-junk view, in contrast, is consistent with current data.

Got that? According to Darwinists, DNA is almost entirely junk – this is what is consistent with the view that creatures have evolved through a process of random mutation and selection. The estimates that I’ve seen from evolutionary biologists range from 95% to 99% junk. Now let’s compare the religion with science, and separate mythology from reality.

Now let’s compare that with intelligent design theorist William Dembski’s view of “junk” DNA, from 1998:

Even if we have a reliable criterion for detecting design, and even if that criterion tells us that biological systems are designed, it seems that determining a biological system to be designed is akin to shrugging our shoulders and saying God did it. The fear is that admitting design as an explanation will stifle scientific inquiry, that scientists will stop investigating difficult problems because they have a sufficient explanation already.

But design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term “junk DNA.” Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings suggest that designating DNA as “junk” merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function… Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it.

Now let’s look at the experimental evidence and see whose prediction was proven right by the progress of science.

Science Daily reports on a recent study that confirms the previous study that falsified Darwinian predictions about junk DNA.

Excerpt:

Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute have confirmed that, far from being “junk,” the 97 per cent of human DNA that does not encode instructions for making proteins can play a significant role in controlling cell development.

[…]Using the latest gene sequencing techniques and sophisticated computer analysis, a research group led by Professor John Rasko AO and including Centenary’s Head of Bioinformatics, Dr William Ritchie, has shown how particular white blood cells use non-coding DNA to regulate the activity of a group of genes that determines their shape and function. The work is published today in the scientific journalCell.

“This discovery, involving what was previously referred to as “junk,” opens up a new level of gene expression control that could also play a role in the development of many other tissue types,” Rasko says. “Our observations were quite surprising and they open entirely new avenues for potential treatments in diverse diseases including cancers and leukemias.”

Now, this is yet another falsification of Darwinism, to go with the other papers that I keep posting about new research that falsifies Darwinism. How many papers do we need to falsify Darwinism? I think if you are in an argument over Darwinism, and you produce these articles, then you win, so long as the other person cannot produce anything. It’s also a good idea to couple these pieces of evidence with a positive case for intelligent causes operating during the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion.

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New study confirms that predictions about junk DNA by Darwinian naturalists are false

First, let’s see what Darwinian evolutionists predict about junk DNA, before we look at what the experiments show.

Here’s biologist John Timmer to explain the orthodox Darwinian view of DNA from 2007:

Personally, I fall into the “it’s all junk” end of the spectrum. If almost all of these sequences are not conserved by evolution, and we haven’t found a function for any of them yet, it’s hard to see how the “none of it’s junk” view can be maintained. There’s also an absence of support for the intervening view, again because of a lack of evidence for actual utility. The genomes of closely related species have revealed very few genes added from non-coding DNA, and all of the structural RNA we’ve found has very specific sequence requirements. The all-junk view, in contrast, is consistent with current data.

Got that? According to Darwinists, DNA is almost entirely junk – this is what is consistent with the view that creatures have evolved through a process of random mutation and selection. The estimates that I’ve seen from evolutionary biologists range from 95% to 99% junk. Now let’s compare the religion with science, and separate mythology from reality.

Now let’s compare that with intelligent design theorist William Dembski’s view of “junk” DNA, from 1998:

Even if we have a reliable criterion for detecting design, and even if that criterion tells us that biological systems are designed, it seems that determining a biological system to be designed is akin to shrugging our shoulders and saying God did it. The fear is that admitting design as an explanation will stifle scientific inquiry, that scientists will stop investigating difficult problems because they have a sufficient explanation already.

But design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term “junk DNA.” Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings suggest that designating DNA as “junk” merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function… Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it.

Now let’s look at the experimental evidence and see whose prediction was proven right by the progress of science.

Science Daily reports on a new study that confirms the previous study that falsified Darwinian predictions about junk DNA.

Excerpt:

Researchers from the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at Sydney’s Centenary Institute have confirmed that, far from being “junk,” the 97 per cent of human DNA that does not encode instructions for making proteins can play a significant role in controlling cell development.

[…]Using the latest gene sequencing techniques and sophisticated computer analysis, a research group led by Professor John Rasko AO and including Centenary’s Head of Bioinformatics, Dr William Ritchie, has shown how particular white blood cells use non-coding DNA to regulate the activity of a group of genes that determines their shape and function. The work is published today in the scientific journalCell.

“This discovery, involving what was previously referred to as “junk,” opens up a new level of gene expression control that could also play a role in the development of many other tissue types,” Rasko says. “Our observations were quite surprising and they open entirely new avenues for potential treatments in diverse diseases including cancers and leukemias.”

Now, this is yet another falsification of Darwinism, to go with the other papers that I keep posting about new research that falsifies Darwinism. How many papers do we need to falsify Darwinism? Or maybe belief in Darwinism is like belief in naturalism: just a philosophical presupposition that is not accountable to the evidence at all.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: function found for beta-globin pseudogene that was labeled “junk” during Dover trial

Casey Luskin tells us about a new study in Evolution News.

Excerpt:

A new paper in Genome Biology and Evolution argues that the famous beta-globin pseudogene is functional. Why is this pseudogene famous?

Well, it’s been Exhibit A — literally, offered as evidence in a court case — for critics of intelligent design who argue that our genome is full of useless, functionless junk, and therefore can’t be a product of design. Near the beginning of his testimony on the very first day of the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, Brown University biology professor Kenneth Miller testified to the court that the beta-globin pseudogene is “broken, and it has a series of molecular errors that render the gene non-functional.” (Day 1 AM, p. 79.) He further told the court:

And the fact that all three of these species have matching mistakes leads us to just one conclusion, and that’s the same conclusion that Charles Darwin predicted almost a century and a half ago, and that is that these three species share a common ancestor. Matching mistakes are evidence of common ancestry. (Day 1 AM, p. 81)

In his 2008 book Only a Theory, Miller is even more explicit in asserting that this pseudogene refutes intelligent design. He writes that “A detailed analysis of the beta-globin pseudogene shows a series of mutations have rendered it nonfunctional” (p. 102). In Miller’s view, that takes care of ID:

The gorilla and chimpanzee pseudogenes have exactly the same set of molecular errors [in their beta-globin pseudogene] … There’s no escaping the implication of these matching mistakes, and there’s no point in arguing that six identical mistakes could have turned up independently in three unrelated species. The only sensible interpretation is that the original errors developed at random in a single common ancestor of these three species. In a court of genetic copyright law, any motion that a designer could claim originality for the human genome would be tossed out in a flash. (pp. 102-103)

Now a new paper in Genome Biology and Evolution, “Evolutionary Constraints in the β-Globin Cluster: The Signature of Purifying Selection at the δ-Globin (HBD) Locus and Its Role in Developmental Gene Regulation, argues that the beta-globin pseudogene is not broken, but in fact performs an important function in regulating gene expression.

Remember, Darwinists are still reeling from the ENCODE study that found that the non-coding DNA that they said was 100% junk was actually 80% functional. The trouble is that they are always letting their philosophy of naturalism get in the way of their science. They assume that nature is all there is. They assumed that everything is not designed. Then they are quick to say that things that aren’t junk are junk, in order to confirm their assumption. Problems occur later when good science comes along and proves their philosophical assumption of naturalism wrong. Do they then give up the philosophical assumption? Heck no – that’s their religion! But they ought to give it up if they were honest, and stick with the science instead. Too much bad religion among the Darwinists – that’s the problem.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Peer-reviewed paper in Nature falsifies junk DNA prediction by Darwinists

First, let’s see what Darwinian evolutionists say about junk DNA, before we look at what the experiments show.

Here’s biologist John Timmer to explain the orthodox Darwinian view of DNA from 2007:

Personally, I fall into the “it’s all junk” end of the spectrum. If almost all of these sequences are not conserved by evolution, and we haven’t found a function for any of them yet, it’s hard to see how the “none of it’s junk” view can be maintained. There’s also an absence of support for the intervening view, again because of a lack of evidence for actual utility. The genomes of closely related species have revealed very few genes added from non-coding DNA, and all of the structural RNA we’ve found has very specific sequence requirements. The all-junk view, in contrast, is consistent with current data.

Got that? According to Darwinists, DNA is almost entirely junk – this is what is consistent with the view that creatures have evolved through a process of random mutation and selection. The estimates that I’ve seen from evolutionary biologists range from 95% to 99% junk. Now let’s compare the religion with the lab experiments and separate myth from fact.

Now let’s compare that with intelligent design theorist William Dembski’s view of “junk” DNA, from 1998:

Even if we have a reliable criterion for detecting design, and even if that criterion tells us that biological systems are designed, it seems that determining a biological system to be designed is akin to shrugging our shoulders and saying God did it. The fear is that admitting design as an explanation will stifle scientific inquiry, that scientists will stop investigating difficult problems because they have a sufficient explanation already.

But design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term “junk DNA.” Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings suggest that designating DNA as “junk” merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function… Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it.

Now let’s look at the experimental evidence and see whose prediction was right.

Evolution News reports on a new peer-reviewed paper published in Nature, the top peer-reviewed science journal. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

A groundbreaking paper in Nature reports the results of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, which has detected evidence of function for the “vast majority” of the human genome. Titled “An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome,” the paper finds an “unprecedented number of functional elements,” where “a surprisingly large amount of the human genome” appears functional. Based upon current knowledge, the paper concludes that at least 80% of the human genome is now known to be functional:

The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project has systematically mapped regions of transcription, transcription factor association, chromatin structure and histone modification. These data enabled us to assign biochemical functions for 80% of the genome, in particular outside of the well-studied protein-coding regions. Many discovered candidate regulatory elements are physically associated with one another and with expressed genes, providing new insights into the mechanisms of gene regulation.

(The ENCODE Project Consortium, “An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome,” Nature, Vol. 489:57-74 (September 6, 2012) (emphasis added))

If you doubt Evolution News, we can always turn the ultra-leftist Los Angeles Times, reporting on the same study. (H/T Wes from Reason to Stand)

Excerpt:

The $123-million effort involved more than 400 scientists and more than 1,600 experiments during five years of work. If presented graphically, the data generated so far would cover a poster 30 kilometers wide and 16 meters high, Birney has estimated.

This is still just a start — akin to “grainy images beamed back to Earth by the first satellite,” said Dr. Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which funded ENCODE. But already, it’s throwing up surprises.

Strikingly, the data overturn old ideas that the bulk of DNA in our cells is useless — albeit inoffensive — junk just carried along for the evolutionary ride. Back in 2003 when the human genome was published, scientists estimated that less than 2% of it carries instructions for making proteins, and many of them thought the rest didn’t do very much.

But the new analysis shows that more than 80% of the human genome is active in at least one biological process that the ENCODE team measured. Nearly every part of it could end up being active when the data are more complete.

Here’s the ultra-left-wing New York Times, confirming the statement I made earlier about the dogma of the Darwinians:

The discoveries were published on Wednesday in six papers in the journal Nature and in 24 papers in Genome Research and Genome Biology. In addition, The Journal of Biological Chemistry is publishing six review articles, and Science is publishing yet another article.

[…]The thought before the start of the project, said Thomas Gingeras, an Encode researcher from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, was that only 5 to 10 percent of the DNA in a human being was actually being used.

The big surprise was not only that almost all of the DNA is used but also that a large proportion of it is gene switches. Before Encode, said Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, a University of Washington scientist who was part of the project, “if you had said half of the genome and probably more has instructions for turning genes on and off, I don’t think people would have believed you.”

It’s just another prediction of Darwinian orthodoxy falsified by experimental evidence published in the top scientific peer-reviewed journal. Will this cause Darwinians to revise their theory to fit the evidence? Not likely. Their motivations for clinging to naturalism, the religion that undergirds Darwinism, are entirely beyond correction by evidence.

I wonder what people like P.Z. Myers and Larry Moran do when their religion comes into conflict with scientific evidence from lab experiments? Do they bitterly cling to their mythology from the 19th century? Or do they adjust their worldview to be in line with the progress of science?

Let Richard Dawkins explain evolution and the role of evidence:

“My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” — p. 287, Blind Watchmaker” (1986)

Or Richard Lewontin:

“Our willingness to accept [naturalistic]  scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our own a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, not matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.” (Richard Lewontin in New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997, p. 28)

Junk DNA isn’t the only battle in the long war between atheism and scientific evidence. Naturalists fought the Big Bang tooth and nail, trying to save their eternal universe from the progress of science. Naturalists invented the now discredited oscillating model of the universe in order to “explain” the evidence for a cosmic beginning. Naturalists invented the unobservable, untestable multiverse to “explain” the cosmic fine-tuning. Aliens are posited in order to “explain” the origin of life. Precursor fossils are invented without evidence in order to “explain” the Cambrian era explosion in complexity. And so on.

Evidence doesn’t matter to people who are motivated by naturalistic faith. Like belief in a flat-Earth, the delusion of naturalism is not accountable to scientific evidence. They believe what they want to believe. It’s not up for debate. For some people like Richard Dawkins, a prior lifestyle commitment makes theism (and the moral law!) an impossibility a priori. But rational people know that believing something just so that your actions are “justified” doesn’t make what you believe true.

For the intelligent design take on junk DNA, check out this article. To see who was right about predicting whether “vestigial organs” like the appendix have function, check out this post. You can find more predictions that follow from intelligent design right here.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pseudogenes: how Darwinian mythology negatively impacts the progress of science

The latest discovery that falsifies Darwinian religion wasn’t without cost. Our search for cures for cancer was negatively impacted by more of their prejudices about pseudogenes.

Uncommon Descent explains the new discovery and why Darwinians opposed it. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Because they are generally noncoding and thus considered nonfunctional and unimportant, pseudogenes have long been neglected. Recent advances have established that the DNA of a pseudogene, the RNA transcribed from a pseudogene, or the protein translated from a pseudogene can have multiple, diverse functions and that these functions can affect not only their parental genes but also unrelated genes. Therefore, pseudogenes have emerged as a previously unappreciated class of sophisticated modulators of gene expression, with a multifaceted involvement in the pathogenesis of human cancer.

And the paper concludes:

The function of the great fraction of the human genome (98%) composed of sequences that do not encode proteins remains a mystery. Pseudogenes are technically part of this fraction, and the examples described here clearly demonstrate that they perform a broad and multifaceted spectrum of activities in human cancer. Therefore, the name pseudogenes, which underlies their close sequence similarity with parental counter-parts, should not imply a negative connotation. They might be “pseudo” genes because they do not encode a protein or because they encode a protein that does not function in the same way as that encoded by their cognate genes. Nonetheless, they are functionally disabled but can perform different functions than their parental gene counterparts.

Here are a few of the more recent errors made by religious Darwinians:

Why do these people believe weird things in the absence of evidence, only to have their speculations falsified when the gaps in our knowledge are closed by scientific progress? Well, evidence doesn’t matter to people who are motivated by naturalistic faith. Like belief in a flat-Earth, the delusion of naturalism is not accountable to scientific evidence. They believe what they want to believe. It’s not up for debate. For some people like Richard Dawkins, a prior lifestyle commitment makes theism (and the moral law!) an impossibility a priori. So there is at the root of atheism a fundamentalist close-mindedness that leads to intellectual dishonesty – not just deceiving others but deceiving themselves. They cannot admit to what reason and evidence is telling them. And it really does affect our progress in many areas, such as cancer research.

The war between atheism (anti-rational hedonism) and science is everywhere, across many scientific disciplines. Science makes discoveries about the Big Bang, the fine-tuning, the origin of life, the usefulness of non-coding DNA, pseudogenes, etc. Instead of accepting what science says and living consistently with science, the naturalist turns to speculations about something coming from nothing, multiverses, aliens, “junk” DNA and other irrational nonsense. The truth of the matter is that atheists will literally believe anything no matter how irrational it is.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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