AIG: Our Onion Overlords

At the website of Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis (AIG) — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — we found a goodie by Dr. Georgia Purdom, one of AIG’s best creation scientists. Her biographical writeup says: “She is the only female Ph.D. scientist engaged in full-time speaking and research for a biblical creationist organization in North America.” She “served as a professor of biology for six years at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio.” Additionally, we are told:

Dr. Purdom also has a passion to help women understand the importance of Genesis for their roles as wives and mothers and is an excellent choice to speak to women’s groups. As a wife and mother herself she has a vested interest in understanding what Genesis has to say to women.

Consistent with her interest in women’s issues, Purdom’s article is DNA in the Kitchen. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

DNA is all around us. It is found in every plant and animal. You literally eat it at every meal. It is possible to extract pieces of DNA, consisting of billions of basic units (called “bases,” abbreviated as A, C, T, and G), with just a common onion and a few household chemicals.

Wow — an onion! We know you’re interested. She continues:

It is amazing what you can hold in your hand. Each DNA strand is an extremely long molecule. While humans have about 3 billion bases in their DNA, the garden onion (Allium cepa) has 15 billion bases. If the DNA in a single human cell were stretched out it would be 6 feet (1.8 m) long, so imagine how long the DNA from an onion cell would be!

That’s the only paragraph that interested us. The onion’s genome is five times larger than ours. What does that say about the work of the designer? What wonders lurk within the onion’s DNA that were left out of ours? Purdom doesn’t tell us. She doesn’t even pick up on the question. She doesn’t say much at all, really. Here’s how she ends the article:

The DNA molecule is often compared to a book. The DNA bases (A, C, T, and G) form words called genes. The genes contain all sorts of information necessary for life. As we continue to learn more about this wonder, we can appreciate the wisdom and goodness of the author, God. He is the author of life, who created DNA to provide the information necessary for the development and growth of living organisms, including you and me.

Think about this the next time you eat an onion!

So what do we get out of this? Perhaps the onion is superior to us. Maybe they’re just biding their time, waiting to emerge from their apparent vegetative state to assert mastery over us. It must be so, or they would not have such an ominously large genome.

As we’ve written before, A Japanese Plant Has the World’s Biggest Genome. That plant’s genome is 50 times longer than the genome of a human being. Also, the amoeba has a genome far larger than ours.

Not only that, but there’s an even more recent discovery — the genome of the Christmas tree is being decoded. See Huge DNA code of the Christmas tree being revealed. PhysOrg reports that the Norway spruce has a genome six times bigger than ours, and other conifer genomes are even larger. And remember, creationists are always telling us that there’s no junk in DNA. The designer doesn’t do sloppy work.

So anyone who claims that DNA is perfectly designed must either acknowledge the divine superiority of the onion (and the amoeba and the Christmas tree), or he has a lot of explaining to do.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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33 responses to “AIG: Our Onion Overlords

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    Is it all DNA that doesn’t have junk, or just human DNA?

    Ultimately, I find it fascinating that plants and animals both use DNA. The same system. And plants do things without having a brain.

  2. “Think about this the next time you eat an onion!”

    More likely I’ll think about it the next time I read “The Onion.”

  3. In fact she did write about the onion test:
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/georgia-purdom/2012/10/04/encode-and-the-dark-matter-of-the-genome-part-2/

    (When I criticized her use of the canid DNA in that essay as an argument on her AiG FB site my comment,,and ability to comment, was deleted in about 20 minutes.)

  4. Alex Shuffell

    God clearly gave more attention to the creation of onions then he did us.

  5. I hope this information doesn’t get leeked out to the press that the onion is far more complex than we humans.

  6. If onions ever do “emerge from their apparent vegetative state to assert mastery over us,” they will fulfill the biblical prophecy that there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

  7. Perhaps evolution works like the sculptor. The artist starts with a block of marble and keeps chipping away until he achieves the desired result.

  8. Christine Janis

    “I hope this information doesn’t get leeked out to the press that the onion is far more complex than we humans.”

    That would cause shallot of problems.

  9. If no one else will say it, then I will. Inspired by this clip from The Simpsons:

    I, for one, welcome our pungent, bulbous overlords. And I would like to remind them that as an influential blogger, I can be helpful in rendering the human population appropriately docile.

  10. Laugh at her at your own peril. When she debates Behe – you know, that evolution-denier who concedes billions of years of common descent – she rips him to shreds every time. Not by Gish-galloping through PRATTs faster than anyone can refute them, but by calmly and thoroughly supporting her young-earth-young-life-independent-origin-of-“kinds” “theory” solely on the multiple lines of independent evidence. And not by dragging in unfalsifiable “creator” or “designer” diversions, or quoting scriptural “hearsay” evidence either. And she only debates ID peddlers because they don’t have that prior commitment to (methodological) naturalism that “Darwinists” have.

    What’s that? She did nothing of the sort? Oh. Never Mind.

  11. Charles Deetz notes:

    plants do things without having a brain.

    In contrast to the Creationists, who have brains that are not apparently used.

  12. Michael Shermer interviewed Purdom some time ago at the Creation Museum. She uses the usual Creationist canards, but Shermer should really have nailed her to the cross over the dating method used at Mt. St. Helens.

  13. Eddie Janssen

    I have just been reading the AIG website for half an hour. I now understand that The New Kingdom (the Amenhoteps, Thutmoseses and yes indeed Thutanchamun) is situated in time around 800 BC and that the pyramids were build thanks to knowledge brought to Egypt bij Abraham.
    The first faraoh was indeed Narmer but he lived somewhere around 2200 BC.
    Fascinating stuff.

  14. As one of my professors in graduate school used to say, scientists that do not support evolution should have their Ph.Ds revoked. It must be an embarrassment to Ohio State University that they gave a Ph.D to Purdom. My professor really did believe in “expelling” people.

  15. Ian: “Shermer should really have nailed her to the cross over the dating method used at Mt. St. Helens.”

    Behe and the other Discoveroids would too. But they won’t dare, because they need young-earthers in the big tent no matter how wrong they tink they are in terms of “scientific” conclusions or strategy to promote paranoia of evolution.

    Biokid: “My professor really did believe in “expelling” people.

    Why??? They only expel themselves. And if they do get PhDs, by whatever means * all the better to show the radical difference in terms of contribution to science between these snake oil peddlers and their peers in mainstream science.

    * Recall that “Discoveroid” Jonathan Wells admitted getting a PhD for the sole purpose of destroying “Darwinism,” in other words to learn how to better misrepresent it!

  16. Mount Vernon Nazarene University… Before the college was there, south of town, it was Lakeholm Farm. I remember as a kid riding my bike along the back road that went along the river and doing a little on-foot exploration around there. Some interesting landforms could be seen, including some cliffs both to the north and to the south overlooking a large, flat floodplain in the midst of surrounding hills, and I got the impression of an ancient shoreline for a long vanished lake. I would need to speak with a geologist familiar with the area to have my boyhood idea confirmed (I suspect the local geology is more complex than I realized at the time, defined by the Kokosing River and “glacial outwash” of the last Ice Age), but even as a kid I got a sense of changes in the landscape that must have taken a very long time. Both Mr. Freshwater of the nearby middle school and Dr. Purdom of the college went to work every day in that same landscape and never thought about it…

  17. Ceteris Paribus

    @Dekane: “[I] got a sense of changes in the landscape that must have taken a very long time. Both Mr. Freshwater of the nearby middle school and Dr. Purdom of the college went to work every day in that same landscape and never thought about it…”

    Probably Freshwater and Purdom did think about the local landscape, and saw evidence for a young earth, but saw something different.

    Go look up “Missoula floods” and “scablands” and you will find an important link to how George McCready Price helped in 1935 to found the Religion and Science Association in the 1930’s, when fundamentalism was taking hold, to promote “Flood Geology” as science.

  18. I knew about Price from the chapter about him and Creationism in Martin Gardner’s ’50s book about crank science FADS AND FALLACIES IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE. My impression is that when Gardner was writing in the ’50s, Creationism seemed to be nearly extinct, limited to remote social backwaters and not long from disappearing entirely. Gardner wrote about Price in respectful terms, as a last defiant holdout in a hopeless cause, thoroughly wrong but admirable in some ways for his courage and determination to carry on his futile struggle. Then came Morris’s book THE GENESIS FLOOD in 1961, based on Price and popularizing “Flood Geology” to a degree Gardner in the ’50s wouldn’t have dreamed possible in an educated age, modern Creationism took off from there, and so here we are.

  19. “While humans have about 3 billion bases in their DNA, the garden onion has 15 billion bases. If the DNA in a single human cell were stretched out it would be 6 feet (1.8 m) long, so imagine how long the DNA from an onion cell would be!”

    Ummmm… 30 feet? I don’t need to “imagine” 30 feet. That’s like from here to… that wall right there. The folks at AIG reel at the thought of multiplying single digits numbers. Wow.

  20. Purdom’s bizarre, ignorant article is coffee-spittingly stupid on so many levels.

    She says that we don’t need to explain the huge differences in amounts of DNA between different species of onion (the differences between them are sometimes larger than the whole human genome) because, she says, different canids (dogs, coyotes, foxes etc.) vary greatly in their DNA.

    And why does she think they vary greatly in their DNA? Because foxes have very different numbers of CHROMOSOMES. She’s so ignorant she thinks a significantly larger number of CHROMOSOMES in closely related species means one has far greater DNA.

    It’s like she’s never heard of chromosome fusion or splitting– never heard that human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two ape chromosomes corresponding to chimp chromosomes 2a and 2b.

    She’s totally ignorant of cytology.

    To make matters worse, she states that dogs and foxes and mate and produce offspring. Obviously, their chromosome numbers are too different and it’s never happened.

    For some strange reason, many creationists really do believe that dogs and foxes can interbreed. I’ve seen this many times. They think that dogs and foxes diverged from two super-canids on the ark, so that proves dogs and foxes can interbreed. They never question that bizarre doctrine.

    I’ve also seen them sometimes seriously claim that hyenas and jackals can interbreed. Even more ridiculous– that’s like cats and dogs mating. That’s like believing dogs can mate with cats and produce fertile offspring.

  21. I don’t think your real problem is Dr. Purdom… It’s admitting that there is a God. He’s not to be messed with and if I were saying what you all are… I would fear for my life.

  22. Kara says: “He’s not to be messed with and if I were saying what you all are… I would fear for my life.”

    And yet we are here. And so are you … for a while.

  23. And, after we all die… where do you think we go? Please, carefully consider what you are saying. We all know there is more to life and death.

  24. Christine Janis

    Eternal damnation, yet again. Sigh. Get in line with my personal beliefs (which in this case include giving up on reality) or you’re cursed for eternity.

  25. has anyone of you nay sayers ever met with her and spoke face to face??

  26. Kara asks: “And, after we all die… where do you think we go?”

    When I depart this life I shall dwell in the Isles of the Blessed with the heroes of old. My favorite girl friends — forever young and beautiful — will be there to attend me. I will also have the companionship of all the dogs I’ve ever owned, as they too shall have earned their place in paradise.

    My table will constantly be laden with bowls of fruit and platters of beef, prepared just as I like it. My goblet will always be filled with fine single-malt Scotch. My dining companions will be philosophers and scientists, and of course our lovely ladies. The conversation will be endlessly stimulating. The stars will shine brightly, and among them will be a new constellation which will bear my name.

    Across the galaxy will be another world — simultaneously glacial and volcanic — reserved for creationists. There they will lie, stacked thousands deep, each creationist contorted into a doughnut shape with his head jammed into his colon, eternally contemplating the meaning of creationism.

    Both worlds, creationists and mine, will be ruled by one law — Justice. Your next life will be what you earned in this one.

  27. Christine Janis

    Perfect, —- except there’s a couple of past dogs I wouldn’t invite.

  28. SC: “My dining companions will be philosophers and scientists, and of course our lovely ladies.”

    What? No female philosophers or scientists? Surely you didn’t intend to omit Olivia.

    “The stars will shine brightly, and among them will be a new constellation which will bear my name.”

    Send me $100, and you will receive your official certificate documenting the naming of your constellation now. Why wait ’til you’re dead?

  29. retiredsciguy says: “What? No female philosophers or scientists? Surely you didn’t intend to omit Olivia.”

    Olivia and Lisa will each have an honored place at my table.

  30. You are funny! Hope your old girlfriends are aware of their “fate”. :)
    I can see we have very different beliefs, but if you ever get tired of the fight, try reading the book of John until you fall in love with Jesus and then your eyes will be open to Genesis. An old Sunday school teacher gave me that challenge and it changed my life.

  31. Kara, I have read so many comments similar to your initial one above on the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. Many AiG fans seem to think that those of us who find evolution reasonable and who find Genesis to be (how to say this) unconvincing, are really just superficially rejecting Genesis (which we instinctively know is true, according to some Bible verses) so that we can continue with our sinful and selfish lives?
    If this is a correct assumption about what you think, do you realize how insulting and belittling it is to draw this conclusion about the thoughts and values and lives of people about whom you know nothing? You don’t know me; how can you possibly know that I secretly think your idea of a god is accurate but am refusing to admit it? Does it make you feel better about your beliefs to think that I secretly share them but am too proud to admit it, rather than face the truth that I do actually find your beliefs unconvincing and unreasonable at every level (and basically uninteresting, except for the way they intrude into the politics of this country)?

    You say, “We all know there is more to life and death” – actually no we don’t. You’re projecting your own thinking on other people. I think my consciousness ends at death.

    I do have a problem with Georgia Purdom. I would have given her the benefit of the doubt on her goof about the canid chromosomes and DNA. People do have momentary lapses in thinking. But when I pointed it out, she (or possibly someone else on their staff) deleted my comment. And more importantly, she didn’t correct her mistake. That is not being scholarly.

  32. BTW, Georgia Purdom has put a link to this page on her AiG blog.
    https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPurdom?ref=ts
    She has also put up a link to an AiG essay she wrote about the ENCODE project that mentions the onion test. Note that the linked essay was a combined streamlined version of her two original essays about the ENCODE project; it omits the section about the canid DNA that is in the essay I linked to above (the original part two of her ENCODE essays).

  33. mb says: “Georgia Purdom has put a link to this page on her AiG blog.”

    I guess that explains some of the comments we’ve received.