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.
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