No Junk DNA vs. Rarity of Function


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #21

The closest to a model is @Winston_Ewert, but he hasn’t yet even attempted to engage with neutral differences. So the real answer is, “no.”

I think it is a reflex claim, that many began to then take seriously. The place you get to by taking “design” as an explanation for everything in biology is precisely:

It is the “design” equivalent of pan-adaptionalism. It kinda makes sense, because they argue (at least rhetorically) as if biologists are pan-adaptionalist darwinists. Except, we aren’t.

(Arthur Hunt) #22

I see what you are saying. I do not think that neutral theory factors into their “no junk” model. So they are oblivious to the problem.

(Dan Eastwood) #23

I second this request. From the basis of simple understanding alone it would be nice to know if this accurately represents their position. That might clear up a number of other arguments too.


I’m betting that Axe and Gauger are talking about amino acid sequence space, and only about “DNA sequence space” as it applies to amino acid sequences. Why would i think that, because that is what their work is about.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #25

I’m also convinced they believe this claim extends to “so called” junk DNA too. If not them, I know for a fact that Sternberg, Meyers, @Cornelius_Hunter, and several others there hold this view. If I’m wrong, I’m certainly they can come correct it. Go ahead and invite them to do so.


That’s a fair criticsm.

Would you say that the ID community thinks function in non-coding DNA is pervasive and easy to produce in random sequences?

(Dan Eastwood) #27

I think we might even delete the “almost”.


I don’t even know how to answer that. :slight_smile:

First, are we talking specifically about human DNA? Personally I accept that much of it has no “function” as many of us use that term. I’m interested in seeing how thigns change but as far as I am concerned nothing hangs on it.

Now if I were a YEC who believed that the Fall changed things I would also probably have no problem with “junk DNA.”

But the ID community as whole? No idea.


I would think that these concepts could apply to most species, not humans specifically.

You may think the majority of the human genome lacks function, but there are many in the ID community who have argued for decades that there isn’t junk DNA in the human genome. They also argue that functional DNA requires CSI, and random changes can’t produce CSI. In the vast majority of the human genome, it looks like randomly changing sequence. I am curious how they square that circle given what we know about neutral drift.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #30

They square it by disengaging from the literature about neutral drift. Remember, the argument is against Darwinism. But Neutral Theory killed Darwinism, so how does ID engage with neutral theory?

(Bill Cole) #31

Behe does not think we know how much of the genome is junk and that ID making any prediction here has little scientific basis.

(Bill Cole) #32

Can you explain how it killed it? Was it that natural selection could not account for the number of fixed mutations observed?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #33

Can you show us a quote? Where did he say that? I’d love to know, honestly. If he did, I really agree with him here.

(Bill Cole) #34

In our second discussion at 2 hrs into the same tape I reiterate his position on junk say I agree with him and he nods in agreement. This is written somewhere in the edge of evolution.

The issue is what model did design (ID) make to predict junk or no junk. There isn’t one.

At the end of the day you and Mike agree on a lot. You guys just choose to focus on different issues. In my opinion both of your points of focus are important.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #35

Please find that quote for me? It would be really helpful.

(Bill Cole) #36

I will look for it but you will see him agree at 1:58 in this video.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #37

I’m looking for the text from his book.

(Bill Cole) #38

I will look for it

(Bill Cole) #39

Michael Behe, 2007:

But in fact, DNA isn’t exactly like a blueprint. Only a fraction of its sections are directly involved in creating proteins and building life. Most of it seems to be excess DNA , where mutations can occur harmlessly.” [Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution (2007), p. 66]

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #40

Thank you!!! Can you give more of the text before and after?