It’s another day, and Casey “The Energizer Bunny” Luskin is at it again, claiming that ID successfully predicted that “junk DNA” would be found to have a function. He has yet to explain how and why he believes that “Darwinism” somehow stifled research into those areas of the genome, and ignores the fact that scientists routinely use our understanding of evolution, common descent, and natural selection to identify areas of the genome to identify non-coding regions that are likely to have function. He does, however, provide us with an explanation for why he thinks that Intelligent Design somehow “predicts” function for all of the so-called “junk” DNA:
Intelligent design begins by studying the types of complexity produced by intelligent agents. We observe that intelligent agents produce things for a purpose, that is, to fulfill some function. This leads ID proponents to an expectation–yes, a prediction–that DNA will not tend to contain meaningless junk but will contain structures that have (or once had) a function for the organism. ID does not lead us to the expectation that our cells’ DNA will be largely non-functional garbate. The hypothesis–that “junk”-DNA will have function–is obviously experimentally testable. In fact, I know pro-ID biologists studying the function of junk-DNA who were inspired to do such research due to intelligent design. One biologist in particular is not yet tenured, and so I will not disclose his/her name. Suffice it to say, for this biologist, finding function for non-coding DNA was directly inspired by intelligent design.
If that explanation looks familiar to you, it should. It’s pretty much the same one he gave last month. This leads me to my two challenges – one that’s addressed to most of you, and one just for Casey:
First, the challenge for Casey. This is a two part challenge.
Part 1: Given the following, explain why you think that it is predictable that all intelligently designed DNA would have some function:
- Human designers have a long history of adding artistic touches to objects that they design. In many cases (i.e. spandrels) the artistry plays absolutely no role in the function of the object.
- Software engineers may annotate code with comments that are readable by the designers, but which do not have any effect on the function of the software.
- Human intelligence is, to date, the only intelligence that we have even limited understanding of, and you are therefore implicitly basing your “prediction” on your understanding of human design.
Part 2: Explain why you should be allowed to argue that concluding, based on our understanding of human design and designers, that “junk DNA” should have function, but I should not be allowed to argue, based on the lower back, the appendix, and other features, that whoever “designed” the human body was an inept klutz.
That brings us to the challenge for the rest of the readers. Last month, when Casey made this BS argument, I identified two occasions where ID proponents have told us that ID makes no predictions about the intent of the designer, and that we can’t use “bad design” as an argument against them. It’s currently Thursday afternoon. Let’s see how many other examples of ID proponents making similar arguments you can identify by the end of the weekend. I’ll count them up and condense the links into a single post sometime on Monday, along with identifying the person who comes up with the most unique examples.
A few rule-type things:
First, comments with multiple links are likely to get held in moderation, and my internet access is still sporadic enough that I’ll only be able to take care of that once or twice a day. If you limit to one link per comment, they should get through. (But no promises there.) This would seem to suggest that keeping things at one example per comment would be a good idea. I’m going to close comments on the Panda’s Thumb side to keep things simple for myself – this way I’ll only have to go through one comment thread.
Second, all examples need to include a verifiable citation. If the example is online, include a link. If it’s in print, include enough of a reference that someone reading your comment would have a reasonable chance of finding it.
Third, when I said “the most unique examples,” I was referring to the largest number of non-duplicated examples. Credit goes to the first person to find a case. If the example is held in moderation, don’t worry. It’s still timestamped, so you’ll get credit.
Fourth, have fun.