Behe right, Miller wrong?

Today at Uncommon Descent: “Junk” DNA may not be junk at all. From a June 13 article posted on Science Daily, the the ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) consortium (which, by the way, appear to be real scientists, not those ID people) has just published a group paper and 14 companion papers indicating a need to rethink what we presume about DNA. The Science Daily article states, “The new data indicate the genome contains very little unused sequences and, in fact, is a complex, interwoven network. In this network, genes are just one of many types of DNA sequences that have a functional impact.

As the Uncommon Descent post points out, in 1994 Ken Miller wrote, “the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, in contrast, can easily explain them as nothing more than failed experiments in a random process…” I’ve seen this “junk DNA” argument tossed around again and again by those wanting to simply dismiss people like Michael Behe.

Behe, on the other hand, proposed in Darwin’s Black Box that what was called “junk” DNA might not be junk after all, once we know more. Apparently Behe was correct.

4 thoughts on “Behe right, Miller wrong?”

  1. The handwaving comes in from the fact that after 11 years Behe still ignores the fact that his Irreducible Complexity has been completely demolished by the scientists who have examined it.

    Well, not all scientists…

    You’ve possibly noticed that Christians are not shy about challenging each other- it doesn’t matter what the topic is, I doubt that IDists would stand up for each other, just to keep the myth going. It really doesn’t make sense; if this were true, then it’s the first time since the 1st Century that there’s this kind of unity among believers … And, of course, not all IDists are necessarily Christians.

    You have to acknowledge the possibility that many IDists didn’t just adopt Irreducible Complexity because it “kept the dream alive;” perhaps it was IC that caused some to actually become IDists in the first place. Darwinists haven’t done as good a job of arguing against IC as they say, and have even resorted to a “science of the gaps” fallacy in the process. For some issues, handwaving is perhaps the best they can do…

  2. Never is anything cut and dried in science. It deals in probabilities. Whenever a scientist says something, he is a scientist. A Darwinist, no matter how the UD folks like to misuse the term, is a reductionist; who has come to the conclusion that natural selection and random mutation are the only real forces that drive evolution.

    These new results regarding the encoding and junk sections of DNA, despite what Dembski claims, are not evidence of design. Instead they lend a greater weight to the spandrel concept that Gould and Eldredge argued in their position that random genetic drift in populations plays as large a role as the strict darwinist position claims in shaping evolution.

    Dembski will crow on whatever is convenient. Behe is considered a crackpot because he has been shown where he is incorrect, and it is a case of either deliberate or ignorant misuse of probabilities in regards to the development of new structures in living populations. He is too smart to be ignorant, so that only leaves another conclusion.

    The study of “junk DNA” has advanced far beyond the way it was understood way back in 1974. This is an exciting discovery for the following reason:

    “”There are many cases that are unexplained by any changes in the genes,” says Haussler. “This is a new area to look. Doctors who have patients where they have collected DNA samples can look for something common in all of those DNA samples that might explain what is going wrong with their patients— how does the DNA from their patients differ from the DNA of other people who don’t have the disease? You look for the consistent difference. These places are a great place to look for some of the diseases that we are still mystified about.”

    The handwaving comes in from the fact that after 11 years Behe still ignores the fact that his Irreducible Complexity has been completely demolished by the scientists who have examined it. The handwaving comes in trying to get people’s attention to the fact that the scientists who study evolution are not trying to disprove God. They are trying to understand how nature works. The Discovery Institute’s aim is to disprove evolution not to get at any sort of “truth” but to cast doubt on the process that eliminates the evidence of their precious watchmaker. They are the ones that are making it a religious issue; truth be damned as long as they can make religion scientific.

  3. I find it interesting that whenever a Darwinist says something he’s a scientist, but whenever someone else says something, he’s a crackpot. The article at PT was pretty true to form: a lot of hand-waving, name-calling and standard rhetoric. What he fails to deal with is the point that “junk DNA” only relates to ID because Darwinists have used it to argue against ID, and that perhaps this issue – like so many others – are not so cut-and-dried.

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