Ann Gauger: Humans, Chimps, and Dishwashers

As you know from our recent post, Casey Luskin Leaves the Discovery Institute, Ann Gauger (a/k/a “Annie Green Screen”), is now Casey’s replacement in the blogging department. Annie was previously toiling in obscurity at the Discoveroids’ clandestine creationist research facility, Biologic Institute, but her revolutionary output was apparently deemed less important than pumping out propaganda.

If what we found at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog today is a fair example of what we can expect from her, the Discoveroids may continue to provide us with entertainment even without Casey. Her latest is Common Sense Design Principles and the Real World.

It’s superficially about an article in PLOS Genetics, Origins of De Novo Genes in Human and Chimpanzee, which you can read online without a subscription. The paper’s abstract begins by saying:

The birth of new genes is an important motor of evolutionary innovation. Whereas many new genes arise by gene duplication, others originate at genomic regions that did not contain any genes or gene copies. Some of these newly expressed genes may acquire coding or non-coding functions and be preserved by natural selection. However, it is yet unclear which is the prevalence and underlying mechanisms of de novo gene emergence. In order to obtain a comprehensive view of this process, we have performed in-depth sequencing of the transcriptomes of four mammalian species — human, chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse — and subsequently compared the assembled transcripts and the corresponding syntenic genomic regions.

Annie ignores the fact that the PLOS Genetics paper is a study of four mammalian species. She’s concerned only with humans and chimps — presumably because she ain’t no kin to no monkey. We won’t even try to follow Annie’s article as if it were a coherent discussion of the paper. Instead, we’ll excerpt a few of her more amusing paragraphs — which could only be written by a creationist — and we’ll add some bold font for emphasis. Here we go:

Something to bear in mind — all these conclusions are based only on the comparison of DNA sequences among species. They are conclusions based on the assumption that the differences reflect some sort of genetic history based on common descent — the conclusions are not based on any experiments or observations of real events happening in real time.

She’s right. DNA comparisons are useless, because no one has ever observed an armadillo give birth to a cat. Here’s another excerpt:

[W]hat is true in the microscopic world about evolution is also true in the macroscopic world. What works (or doesn’t work) with enzyme evolution demonstrates what evolution can or can’t accomplish on a large scale. If it’s not possible to evolve new proteins from any starting point, evolving buttercups or cows won’t work either. That is, unless the buttercups and cows pretty much already are buttercups and cows.

Yes — if microscopic evolution is impossible, then large scale evolution is ridiculous, and all species had to be created fully formed. Annie continues:

Evolution can’t build something new from scratch. And it can’t reconfigure something that already exists into something different. That’s why I doubt the story of evolving new human genes from random non-coding sequences. I don’t doubt that the genes are there — they are. It’s just that I think they were designed, not evolved.

Those genes are the work of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! Annie’s logic is undeniable. This is our last excerpt:

We all know you can’t take a pile of scrap metal and turn it into a washing machine. You’d have to start from scratch, even though they are both made mostly of metal. What about turning a washing machine into a dishwasher? There’s more similarity there — after all, they both wash things. Still, neither process will happen without a designer or without considerable refashioning. Now what if a washing machine was merely broken? What if it had a few loose bolts and a torn gasket on the door? A blindfolded repairman might be able to fix that. That would be harder but not impossible. But even this analogy breaks down because the repairman is intelligent.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It’s going to require some time for us to adjust to the loss of Casey, but if what we’ve just seen is typical, then maybe Annie is capable of filling his shoes.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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25 responses to “Ann Gauger: Humans, Chimps, and Dishwashers

  1. Our Curmudgeon admits

    It’s going to require some time for us to adjust to the loss of Casey

    Congratulations, you have taken the first essential step: admitting that you have a problem! Now the support group with its 12-step plan for others with this afflication will be able to help you! Just step up to the front of the group and introduce yourself:

    Hello. I’m the Curmudgeon, and I’m a Gerbilholic!

  2. I’ve gotta love Annie Green Screen.

    “neither process will happen without a designer or without considerable refashioning.”
    The correct analogy is washing machines and dishwashers having a common ancestor …..

  3. I’m guessing that Annie Green Screen has never heard of Richard Lenski.

  4. Her evolution as propaganda minister and loss of function in the green-screen laboratory is a net gain for biology.

  5. michaelfugate

    Annie is a classic creationist. That first paragraph you quote is perfect – induction – is there a creationist on the planet who doesn’t use it selectively if at all.

  6. A classic indeed, in my humble opinion. The opening of the paper gives examples (of many) of new gene generation which she blithely ignores or dismisses.

  7. Nothing new so far with Annie. She’s apparently just another dullard creationist. I already miss the Gerbil. . . .

  8. Didn’t Behe accept common descent?

  9. Derek Freyberg

    Annie:

    Second, it’s not possible to take a weakly functional, but already structured enzyme and change it to a new function at wild-type levels, even when the protein’s not junk to start, and already has a small amount of the new function. If it has the wrong shape, the function can’t be improved much at all — nowhere near the levels normal wild-type enzymes have.

    So all those companies that are tweaking enzymes to enhance production of biofuels, biocatalysts and the like (Amyris, Codexis, Solazyme, etc.) are wilfully ignorant, and doomed to failure? Or – gasp! – could it be that Annie is wrong? I know where my money would go.

  10. EN&V celebrtated Dr. Gauger’s cluelessness already before. It appears quite surprising that as a denier of evolution thinks that loss of genetic diversity might impose a problem for wild salmon populations:

    Gauger is concerned about possible unintended consequences such as the loss of genetic diversity. If the sterile, genetically engineered salmon become the main version of salmon, they will all be of one genotype, leaving them particularly vulnerable to disease. Our knowledge of the way things are designed is very limited, she said: “We don’t know what a particular change will do downstream.”

    As I already mentioned at ATBC the moneyshot is that she thinks sterile salmons could dominate the populations.

  11. Annie Green Screen can’t explain how that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.

  12. What your coworkers should be telling you…You’re a woman, shut up and make lunch!!! Being a woman you are not bright enough to tell us anything!!! From what I understand those words are right from the ID dude!

  13. L.Long, She was going to make lunch, but it turns out her kitchen is as real as her lab.

  14. @Paul S: Actually, the kitchen and lab are real; it’s Annie that’s green screened.

  15. @docbill: We don’t know about the deaf and blind part, but Annie sure is dumb. And she’s probably not a pinball wizard, either. (Very few women are. It’s a guy thing. Although my daughter could clean just about anybody’s clock at Pacman.)

  16. > What about turning a washing machine into a dishwasher?

    That’s been tried. Also a combination clothes washer and dryer. Neither was good!

  17. michaelfugate

    People have used dishwashers as ovens too.

  18. @sparc

    You’re cracking me up. 🙂

  19. Green Screen Annie admits

    But even this analogy breaks down because the repairman is intelligent.

    Maybe because science needs something other than analogies? Like data, perhaps?

    But if we have to stick to analogies, how about: natural languages that have come about by ‘undirected’ evolution–English, Mandarin, Serbo-Croatian, Swahili, &c. &c.–versus the ‘intelligently designed’ language Esperanto?

    Or maybe COBOL? Imagine Shakespeare constrained to writing only in intelligently designed machine code, viz.

    (2b || !2b)

  20. This is a HUGE promotion for Ms Gauger: from mere “researcher” to PR flack! A truly immense increase in importance and responsibility considering the relative importance of mis-information to actual facts in ID. She must be so proud yet humble. Let us all join together and congratulate her – most sincerely.

  21. @Megalonyx
    Way back 40 years or so, I had a book that you read by reading the letters. E.g. Cdb, dbezbzb

    Can’t remember what it was called.

  22. Reading Annie’s post, it becomes apparent that she believes that every single mutation must create something that is selected for in order for it to be conserved and passed on to the next generation. If it doesn’t create a marginal benefit to the organism, it will be eliminated. Neutral mutations and genetic drift, like “junk” DNA, presumably do not exist in ID world.

    ID requires an incredibly busy designer. With a designer involved in every single step in the evolution of every single species, it should be possible to detect his/her/it’s actions real-time. If only Lenski had an angel-detector in his lab.

  23. We all know you can’t take a pile of scrap metal and turn it into a washing machine. You’d have to start from scratch, even though they are both made mostly of metal. What about turning a washing machine into a dishwasher? There’s more similarity there — after all, they both wash things. Still, neither process will happen without a designer or without considerable refashioning. Now what if a washing machine was merely broken? What if it had a few loose bolts and a torn gasket on the door? A blindfolded repairman might be able to fix that. That would be harder but not impossible. But even this analogy breaks down because the repairman is intelligent.

    Egad! The evolving-junkyard argument has risen from the grave!

    Annie misses several important differences between dishwashers and living things:
    (1) dishwashers aren’t alive. Therefore:
    (2) they can’t grow;
    (3) they can’t heal themselves; and
    (4) they don’t reproduce themselves, with or without variation, so
    (5) natural selection is irrelevant where they’re concerned.
    Since all these things are true, dishwashers have to be designed and built. Since none of them are true for living things, Ms. Gauger’s argument is also irrelevant.

  24. (6) the energy is different by orders of magnitude
    (7) designing is different from building

  25. @Eric Lipps: Good debunking of ID’s junkyard argument.