Discoveroids Flip-Flop on a Key Principle

We’ve been avoiding most of the innumerable posts about Casey’s New Book that keep appearing at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

But we can’t resist their latest. It’s Here Comes McBride (Again): The Debate on Junk DNA Continues. Most of it is about an online feud regarding Casey’s claims about junk DNA. We’ve written several times about the Discoveroids’ bizarre insistence that the genome is perfectly designed, without flaws or redundancies, and every little scrap of it is functional. The intelligent designer — blessed be he! — wouldn’t do it any other way.

Most of our genome appears to have no purpose, and it’s believed to be accumulated debris that we’ve inherited after of millions of years of evolution. But whenever researchers find that some previously unappreciated portion of the genome has a function, the Discoveroids leap upon it as further proof that the genome is entirely perfect. Their hope of 100% functionality is doomed to failure, of course, because the amount of apparent junk is overwhelming. Perhaps the most obvious evidence for the existence of junk is the fact that the amoeba has a genome ten times larger than ours. Anyway, the last time we posted about this issue was here: Discovery Institute: Junk DNA Dismay.

We won’t spend any time on the minutiae of the Discoveroids’ current debate, but we found that their final paragraph goes beyond this issue, so it’s worth mentioning. Here it is, with bold font added by us:

In short, while it is certainly true that function has not yet been identified for the majority of the genome, there is no reason to think that the trend — of finding new, previously unsuspected functionality — will not continue, or that the “unexplored non-coding knowledge” will not continue to shrink.

Why do we find that interesting? Surely you can see it. It’s the Discoveroids’ claim that their position will eventually be vindicated by future research. Think about it. That confidence in future research — rather desperate in this case — is something they routinely criticize when genuine scientists invoke it regarding other gaps in our knowledge. Consider a few examples:

What is it that creationists always say when we predict that one day we’ll probably create life in the lab? Or when, based on paleontology’s track record, we say that we’re likely to find even more transitional fossils? You know — they say “dream on,” and they declare that evidence which hasn’t been found will never be found because it doesn’t exist, and therefore their magic ‘theory” is correct. They thrive on gaps.

We summarized a few such items here: Fearless Predictions of Creation Science, in which we said:

All creationists, including creation “science” types, rely on their claim that the natural origin of life is an impossible occurrence, so it must be be attributed to magic or miracle. For example, see Discovery Institute: Ignore the Miller-Urey Experiment! This means that they’re all predicting (and praying) that no lab will ever create life from non-living material. …

They also predict that there are no transitional fossils to be found, and as a result they must frantically deny the existence of those that actually are found, and gloat over the inevitable absence of those not found. For example, see Discovery Institute: Transitional Fossils? No Way!, and also Casey Luskin and Lucy, and also Fossil Gaps Discredit Darwin.

We see the same denial of the possibility of future evidence in the frantic creationist prediction that life can’t exist on worlds other than on earth. After all, we haven’t found any yet. That’s because the designer violated all the laws of nature when he uniquely created the earth and our wonderful selves. For example, see Discoveroids React to the Martian Landing.

Creationists’ constant argument is that evidence not yet found will never be found, and the gaps in our knowledge are “proof” of their supernatural claims. But when it comes to junk DNA, the gaps (vast areas of functionless debris in the genome) are inconvenient, so they unhesitatingly flip-flop and take the opposite position: Future discoveries will prove them correct.

So what do we learn from this? Nothing new, but it’s confirmation of what we’ve always known: Creationists have no theory, and no coherent methodology or principles. Contradictory positions are no problem. All that matters is their fanatically held dogma that the magic designer is responsible for everything. Therefore, gaps are good — except when they’re not.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Discoveroids Flip-Flop on a Key Principle

  1. Well done.

    Larry Moran at “Sandwalk” has done a good job of documenting the many creationist flip-flops and walkbacks on this issue.

    A major flip-flop was that the IDologues said scientists had equated non-coding DNA = junk DNA. That was obviously a lie; no molecular biologist or geneticist would say something so stupid, since molecular biology lab work depends crucially on functional, non-coding DNA.

    This post at Sandwalk documents dishonesty of IDers as they walk back their absurd accusations (later, they walked back their walking back.)

    At this post, Dingle Klingleberry himself shows up (a rare appearance) merely to snark. When challenged about the inaccuracy of his claims, Klingleberry runs off, never to be heard from again.

  2. The above link from the Whole Truth is an excellent post by Afarensis, who catches Luskin lying through his teeth.

    Luskin supposedly quotes Johanson describing the discovery of Lucy. In fact, the quote given is from Tim White describing the discovery of OH 62. Luskin has been flogging that quote for years to stomp down Lucy, citing the wrong speaker, wrong species, and wrong genus. Apart from those few little mistakes, he’s still a moron.

    It takes an army to compile all his lies.

  3. Excellent post.

    While it’s gratifying to see the discoveroids admit that “it is certainly true that function has not yet been identified for the majority of the genome”; it would be even more gratifying to see them conclude that they cannot yet term junk DNA a myth, or hazard wild speculations that the genome is entirely functional. That would, of course, require integrity. It’s not going to happen.

    The most ironic part of this issue is that the DI did not need to make the claim in the first place. They’ve already taken the position that bad design is still design – they could certainly find a way to philosophize the existence of extra material in the genome. Maybe the designer was a bit sloppy. Maybe he preloaded the genome with material that could be useful in the future, as he matures his design objectives. Who knows? The DI could have simply explained it as consistent with design, as they do every other discovery of science. Instead, the go out on a limb, and can’t back down without losing face. Rationalizing the junk now, after claiming is isn’t, would expose the lack of any empirical method in ID.

  4. Ed says: “The most ironic part of this issue is that the DI did not need to make the claim in the first place. They’ve already taken the position that bad design is still design – they could certainly find a way to philosophize the existence of extra material in the genome.”

    True, but if I remember correctly, they stuck their necks out on junk DNA long before they started saying that bad design is still design. Too bad. But at least they woke up and recognized the need to account for obvious design blunders. Unlike the bible-creationists, they can’t blame it on sin, so they just cut the designer a bit of slack. Nevertheless, they’re stuck with their “no junk” prophesy, so they’ve got to see it through.

  5. It’s a SAFI argument: Scientists are Freaking Idiots.

    Creationists misrepresent what scientists say in order to smear scientists and make them look stupid. It’s the only way they can make themselves look smarter.

    Junk DNA is a common SAFI.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    The Discoveroids currently observed frothing at the mouth over conflicting views of junk DNA are merely following the dictates of their theological presuppositions.

    Consider the conundrum they previously set up for themselves by insisting that a small set of prototypical, specifically designed and created “kinds”, called baramins, were the original passengers on Noah’s ark. And that after the boat reached the dock on Mt Ararat, micro evolution set in and proceeded at a pace faster than any real biologist would ever envision. In just 6,000 years that handful of baramin DNA has produced the myriad of species seen on earth today.

    The IDiots continued failure to thrive mentally is a consequence of their Trinitarian scriptures. Here’s what agnostic Robert Ingersoll had to say about that over 100 years ago:

    ” Christ, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the Father being the first and the Holy Ghost third.

    Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both.

    The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten–just the same before as after. Christ is just as old as his father, and the father is just as young as his son.

    The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and Son, but was equal to the Father and Son before he proceeded, that is to say, before he existed, but he is of the same age as the other two.

    So it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son and the Holy Ghost God, and these three Gods make one God. According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three time one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar: if we add two to one we have but one. Each one equal to himself and to the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity. “


  7. There is a beautiful YouTube clip of PZ Myers calling out McLatchie to his face in public. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” PZ scolds to applause of the crowd. Then he gives JM a chance to ask a question and stupidity and hilarity ensue. Sorry, I don’t have access to find the clip at this moment, but it comes up easily via YouTube search.

  8. Merci, that’s the one. McTwerpie gets pwnd.

  9. @Ceteris Paribus: … after the boat reached the dock on Mt Ararat, micro evolution set in and proceeded at a pace faster than any real biologist would ever envision. In just 6,000 years …

    I’d note that the Bible mentions distinct animals within the family Bovidae (cattle, sheep, goats) already in the time of Abraham, who is (depending on which Biblical tradition you take) something like only 300 to 1200 years after Noah. Not to mention other ancient sources.

  10. @TomS-
    It’s worse than that. They generally assume that human races had diversified by the time of the Tower of Babel, at most 300 years after the Flood. Racist creationists like Josiah Nott and Samuel Morton delighted in pointing out that black people in ancient Egyptian paintings look just like black people today. So Hamites “devolved” at hyper-speed.

    Of course cave men are “devolved” Hamites, immediately post-Flood. Ancient cave paintings show (30 Kya) show lions without manes, mammoths, and horses that look like the wild Asian horse (Przewalski’s). So felines, proboscideans, and euqines had already diversified at hyper-speed after Noah’s Flood.

    When creationists finally admit that whales and dolphins have been born with hind limbs, they simply state that perhaps their ancestors had hind limbs, and lost “information” for making them. At hyper-speed apparently. Cretan murals are contemporaneous with early Egyptian civilization, and they show dolphins with no rear limbs.