Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #4

Before we bring you the latest entry in the Discovery Institute’s list of their Top Ten stories for the year, we need a bit of background. Our regular readers can skip over the next few indented paragraphs:

The Discoveroids are working their way up from the bottom, and they’ll probably reach their Number One creationist news story on New Year’s day. We mentioned their first two items, numbers 10 and 9, in Christmas 2015. Then we wrote about the next two in Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #8 & #7. Then we discussed the next items in their series in Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #6 & #5.

As we move up the list, one might expect that the quality of the stories should steadily improve, but no such trend is apparent — at least not to us. That doesn’t matter. The purpose of their series is to impress their generous patrons with the progress they’ve made this year.

We were hoping to post about their #4 and #3, but so far they haven’t posted today, so all we have to talk about is what they gave us yesterday, when they posted #4 of Our Top Stories of 2015: Fear of Intelligent Design Prevents Some Biologists from Accepting ENCODE. It was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Once again, all he does is refer to and then copy one of his earlier blog posts.

We didn’t bother with the thing when it originally appeared, because it was merely one more in a long series of posts by Casey about the ENCODE research project, which the Discoveroids think solves their problem with the existence of so much junk DNA in our genome — which is an insult to the magnificent handiwork of their intelligent designer.

Since the earliest days of this humble blog, the Discovery Institute has been claiming that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. They insist that the genome is perfectly designed, without flaws, and every little scrap of it is designed to be functional. After all, their transcendental designer — blessed be he! — wouldn’t do it any other way.

The Discoveroids went bonkers over the ENCODE project. Two years ago Casey posted Our Top 10 Evolution-Related Stories: #1, ENCODE Project Buries “Junk DNA”. We wrote about that here: The Discoveroids’ Top Story for 2012. Since then there have been studies that continue to confirm the fact that most of our genome is junk, but the Discoveroids won’t abandon their fantasy that the genome is perfect, from beginning to end.

The last time wrote about one of Casey’s posts on this subject was back in July — see Casey: 50% Junk DNA Is Proof of Design. But we now realize that the post we ignored was one of the Discoveroids’ top accomplishments this year, so we’ll give you an excerpt or two. Casey says:

It’s disturbing that scientists oppose empirically based research results or suppress their own doubts about the neo-Darwinian paradigm simply because they don’t like the perceived alternative — ID. These admissions show that evolutionary biology is in an incredibly unhealthy state, where devotion to the paradigm trumps the evidence.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And this is from the end of that post:

This much is clear: ID boldly predicted ENCODE’s results, and evolutionary biology didn’t. This puts ID in a strong position to lead science forward into a post-Darwinian world.

Okay, that was the Discoveroids’ Number 4 in their Top Ten list for the year. We’ll probably get to #3 and #2 tomorrow. Clearly, it’s been a great year for the Discoveroids. They’re probably saving the best for last, so stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #4

  1. The Tooters didn’t “predict” anything! Saying that unexplored parts of a genome will have function is not a prediction any more than, “It will rain somewhere next year.”

    The Gerb misses a subtle point about the ENCODE project: it didn’t discover ANY functionality. All ENCODE revealed was where some regulatory proteins have a sticking point, and where some segments are transcribed. For example, pseudo-genes (inactivated, dead, non-functional genes) are transcribed by ENCODE. What the project did uncover was places to explore for new functionality.

    It’s like taking a handful of banana pudding and throwing it against the wall. The banana slices are the “good stuff” and the rest is just gunk. The Tooters are claiming that everything that stuck to the wall was banana slices!

    Yes, we have no bananas, Gerbil, we have no bananas today!

  2. I’m pretty sure this has been raised before on this blog, but I don’t think (or else, don’t recall) if there was a definitive answer: Was ‘junk DNA’ ever a prediction? I don’t think it was–but would be happy to be corrected if anyone can point me to anywhere in the literature wherein a reputable scientist predicts that, once DNA was better understood, large portions would turn out to be non-functional.

  3. I believe it was a bit of a surprise when it was discovered that most of the genome is “junk.” Darwin, of course, didn’t know anything about DNA, so the original theory had no such prediction. It would be interesting to know if and when “junk” DNA began to be incorporated into the overall evolutionary theory.

    Since there is no ID “theory” on which to base any prediction at all, it is disingenuous to claim that ID predicts no junk DNA, counter to all the empirical evidence. The claim is based on assumptions about the designer, which ironically the DI insist they cannot identify.

  4. Actually, at least some of the “junk” is indeed functional: it doesn’t code for proteins, so it was originally assumed to be useless, but it has been found to play a regulatory role.

    However, significant portions of the genome still do not seem to serve any function, and some of it seemingly can’t, since it doesn’t appear to form complete genes.

    However, this whole issue is bogus. Suppose it were found that every last piece of our DNA has a function. Would this prove intelligent design? No, for evolutionary scientists could point out that Darwinian evolution might achieve the same result via natural selection. Given the choice between two competing views, one of which has masses of evidence on its side and the other of which has little or none (guess which is which in this case!) I’ll go with the former over the latter any day of the week. Even on the Sabbath.

  5. Eric Lipps says: “However, this whole issue is bogus. Suppose it were found that every last piece of our DNA has a function. Would this prove intelligent design? No …”

    The best rebuttal — aside from the fact that there’s obviously a load of junk in the human genome — is those organisms that have genomes far larger than ours. I’ve mentioned before an amoeba that has 200 times more base pairs than ours, and the onion’s genome is five times larger than ours. What was the designer thinking when he did that?

  6. michaelfugate

    Apparently the black mulberry Morus nigra has 308 chromosomes or 22x the diploid number.

  7. Curmudgeon wonders “What was the designer thinking when he did that?” Well, it’s another one of the many clues that the designer (blessed be his/her/its name) doesn’t think about much and is certainly far less intelligent than a freshman engineer at oh, say Lehigh.

  8. Christine Janis

    “It would be interesting to know if and when “junk” DNA began to be incorporated into the overall evolutionary theory.”

    Evolutionary theory has been used to *explain* “junk” DNA, but it is not in any way incorporated into the theory as part of the premise. This is where the IDers (and, especially, their supporters) fail so miserably —- they make the absurd assertion that the notion of “junk” DNA is somehow essential for evolutionary theory, and that ENCODE has struck it a mighty blow.

  9. And let us imagine that there is NO evolutionary explanation for something-or-other. That evolution is an abject failure when it comes to s-o-o. What does this tell us about “intelligent design”? Nothing.

  10. Our Curmudgeon proposes

    The best rebuttal — aside from the fact that there’s obviously a load of junk in the human genome — is those organisms that have genomes far larger than ours.

    Bah! When did empirical data about reality—if in conflict with predetermined dogma—ever constitute any sort of ‘rebuttal’ in the mind (or whatever passes for such therein) of a Creationist?

    I’m afraid you simply don’t grok the splendours of Magical Thinking, for which the foundations are Teleological Logic Pretzels and Arguments from Asymmetrical Analogy. Allow me to illustrate step by step:

    [1] Begin, as always, by consulting the unchallengeable Axioms to which you have subscribed in your choice of

    (a) The D.I.’s Wedge Strategy Manifesto,
    (b) The A.i.G. Statement of Faith, and/or
    (c) other similar Statement of Faith from a suitably biblically-grounded institution, such as Patrick Henry College or the like.

    From these Axioms, you may take as absolute givens that the cosmos exists in order for you to exist, as demonstrated by the fact that you do exist!. And though we human beings are pretty smart and can make all sorts of things from various materials and components, we did not make ourselves out of materials and components, ergo something really smart must have done so! Unfortunately, that pesky ole US Constitution does not permit us to say just Who that really smart Somebody was, so we’ll just have to settle on calling it The Intelligent Designer (nudge nudge, wink wink).

    [2] Confronted by some godless atheistic curmudgeon slapping an outsized onion genome in our face, we counter by claiming that Size does not matter! And we buttress our assertion with a suitably asymmetrical analogy, to wit: Early computers like ENIAC filled a warehouse and were built from a vastly larger number of components than your smart phone but could perform only a tiny number of functions. Yet both devices are the products of Intelligent Design! The human genome is simply a better and more compact design than the onion.

    Indeed, since we are constrained in not naming the Intelligent Designer (just as the ancient Hebrews were not permitted to name YHWH), we can even playfully suggest that there could be multiple Intelligent Designers, and the one in charge of creating the allium family was a humble apprentice demigod who was not nearly as clever as designer of homo sapiens. We don’t actually believe that, of course, but we’re not interested in reality here, just rhetoric to confound those amoral haters of Baby Jesus.

    So you see, Onion Boy, your ‘rebuttal’ just won’t stick to my Teflon Shield of TRVTH! When you have learned these principles of Wishful Thinking Fulfilment, you too will be able to confabulate any quod that may be required to bring you to whatever erat demonstrandum your heart desires!

  11. Full Disclosure: I am indebted to the wonderful Olivia, who suggested (in a brief moment last night when she was coming up for air, as it were) that our Curmudgeon was particularly susceptible to the hoary old ‘Size does not matter’ myth…

  12. Christine Janis says:

    Evolutionary theory has been used to *explain* “junk” DNA, but it is not in any way incorporated into the theory as part of the premise.

    Right. It’s the same with vestigial organs. Evolution doesn’t require them, but their existence is understandable and compatible with evolution — and like “junk” DNA, they’re utterly incompatible with intelligent design. Continuing the analogy with “junk” DNA, if some residual function is found, as with the appendix, it doesn’t mean that the House of Darwin has collapsed.

  13. A “sad” conclusion of the year just gone by – Mega is better at formulating IDiocy then the IDiots themselves.

  14. Mega: I think that’s a wonderful way to end the old year, and I look forward to many happy returns in 2016. I’m sure the tooters will continue to provide us with many opportunities to enjoy your comments, and those of the Curmudgeon and others here..

  15. As Olivia and I watched the sunrise over the Mediterranean, the steward brought me my customary post-Olivia-night two dozen oysters on the half-shell and Olivia’s favorite, asparagus hollandaise. “Size or skill,” I asked her. Olivia gave me that Princess Diana look and just smiled.

    Happy New Year, Curmie, and better luck in 2016!

  16. docbill1351 says: “As Olivia and I watched the sunrise over the Mediterranean …”

    This is an outrage!

  17. docbill1351 unaccountably cut short his splendid narrative, which continues:

    Olivia gave me that Princess Diana look and just smiled; inscrutable, mysterious, and wordless as ever!

    And then a White Rabbit dashed on deck, nervously fumbling to remove a pocket-watch from his waistcoat and all the while muttering, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late! I’ve completely missed my chance to get fossilised in Pre-Cambrian strata!”

    So I told him, “Hey, chill, bro!” And, as I took another toke on the hookah the Caterpillar had given me, I offered the Rabbit an oyster.

    “Don’t mind if I do,” said the Rabbit. “Most uncommon kind of you; I am obliged!”

    But just then, from the sundeck, a Walrus appeared out of thin air, rushed over, and began devouring the oysters. He was closely followed by a Carpenter, who suddenly grabbed the pocket-watch out of the Rabbit’s grasp.

    “A cunning contrivance indeed!” declared the Carpenter. Then, turning to Olivia, he asked,“Do you suppose that seven maids with seven mops, sweeping for seven years, could have brought about this miracle of molecules to timepiece?”

    But answer from Olivia came there none. Her Mona Lisa smile had faded as her head drooped, first to her shoulder, then forward into her lap/

    “Damn it, Curmy, you lying son of a [beep beep boop]!” I bellowed. “You told me you had repaired the slow leak!!!”

  18. Alas, the “slow leak” explains many things, many things.