Casey Luskin Contradicts Self, No One is Surprised

This post is respectfully dedicated to Richardthughes
Awhile back I noticed something interesting about the intelligent design movement and their use of junk DNA. For the longest time intelligent design advocates insisted that there was no such thing as Junk DNA.


Here for example is Casey Luskin on the subject:

Rather, ID predicts function because the basis for ID’s predictions is observations of how intelligent agents design things, and intelligent agents tend to design objects that perform some kind of function. As William Dembski wrote in 1998, “If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function.” It seems that the expectations of ID are turning out to be right.

So far, so good. ID does not predict junk DNA. Yet, when the need arises, that is. About a month earlier Casey found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two new fossils had just been discovered and these fossils said something important about the evolution of flatfish – orbital migration in particular. So, does Casey explain this? If you said by invoking junk DNA you would be 100% correct. Here is Casey:

No. Assuming these fossils are related to flatfish, for all we know, perhaps the “eyes on top” condition is the primitive basal condition for flatfish, and the “eyes on side” condition was evolved simply through LOSS of genes causing eye migration during early development. In other words, perhaps these newly discovered fossil fish species lost the genes for eye migration so the eyes got “stuck” on the sides of the head after the bones ossified. Genetically speaking, that seems like the easiest way to account for these fish. But in such a scenario, these fish would be descended from “eyes on top” flat-fish, and are not their evolutionary descendants, not precursors. At best, these fossils document a new morphological state that at best shows fairly trivial evolutionary change or loss of function–not “major morphological transitions” (as the paper’s author claimed).

Clearly, then ID’s predictions on junk DNA are entirely dependent on the need for making a negative argument about evolution. Consider, also, the notion of genetic entropy gaining currency in the ID movement. More than anything else, genetic entropy seems to be a mechanism that creates large quantities of junk DNA (ditto for Dembskis “law of conservation of energy”). That being the case, is anyone really surprised when Luskin contradicts himself?

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17 Responses

  1. Good post! could use more CAPS and outrage, but you’re right- “We don’t have a theort but I sure don’t like yours!”

  2. That’s a good point. These folks insist all mutations are neutral or negative, and that evolution only proceeds through loss of function, but then they insist that there’s no junk in the genome.
    I note that some of the “Uncommon Descent” posters seem to be backing off the “no junk DNA” line of late. They’re coming around, just slowly.

  3. I just want to know where the Junk DNAs wrists are.
    Gawd I hope Casey keeps writing FOREVER!

  4. Of course, the only way he could even try to make this false argument was by ignoring the evolutionary tree of these fish based on the fossils. It clearly points to a eyes-on-both-sides–>one-eye-on-the-top–>both-eyes-on-one-side transition.

  5. Actually, Casey goes pretty darned far to try to prove his point. He functions using only a very small part of his brain, yet appears to be pants-loaded to ignore his abysmal lack of knowledge and is able to write while his cranium is thrust far, far up his rectal cavity.
    Proving that The Intelligent Designer has a warped sense of humor, and loves Teh Tard.

  6. “genetic entropy”
    How long until the phrase “after The Fall” slips out of his mouth?

  7. ” note that some of the “Uncommon Descent” posters seem to be backing off the “no junk DNA” line of late. They’re coming around, just slowly.”
    I wouldn’t say they’re comming around – more ‘pushing god upstream’ as they get proved wrong.

  8. Of course, the only way he could even try to make this false argument was by ignoring the evolutionary tree of these fish based on the fossils. It clearly points to a eyes-on-both-sides–>one-eye-on-the-top–>both-eyes-on-one-side transition.

    He also seems to think bones being ossified is an impediment to the eye orbits moving. Apparently he has never heard of deposition and resorption, bone is a living tissue after all.
    P.S. The Borg will have you back Locutus.

  9. You can actually get a type of “social entropy” from Plato’s theory of Forms from Republic. I supposed its not christian enough for them to bastardize..

  10. …the basis for ID’s predictions is observations of how intelligent agents design things, and intelligent agents tend to design objects that perform some kind of function.
    Yeah, like automobile tailfins about 50 years ago.

  11. ID is so pitiful, it’s almost funny. Reminds me a medieval essay a history professor once read for us, which was actually written in the Middle Ages, a great long, utterly pointless dissertation on how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Say, now there’s an idea! Let’s ask Casey Luskin! How many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin — and are there eyes on the top of their heads, or on the sides? And are they properly ossified, or what? And how do we know? And, if I’m remembering my medieval vocab correctly, are they corporeal or incorporeal, or somewhere in between??????

  12. Clearly, then ID’s predictions on junk DNA are entirely dependent on the need for making a negative argument about evolution stuff up.

    There, fixed that for you.

  13. ‘cept of course that the strike tag doesn’t work….
    d’oh.

  14. Weird, it’s supposed to be angle bracket s angle bracket, but that isn’t working either…weird

  15. I’ve never been able to get “strike through” tags to work. Not once. And I’ve always been jealous of the people who get to make all those witty strike-through comments. :(

  16. Well Wes, they work on WordPress blogs, so if you have a burning desire to end the strike-through drought, feel free to come over and post random witty strike-through comments at my blog. :)

  17. They also work in the main body of the post here, just not in comments, apparently…

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