Tag Archives: Denyse O’Leary

Jonathan Wells is interviewed about his new book on Junk DNA

Note to regular readers – don’t forget that the William Lane Craig vs. Lawrence Krauss debate is tonight at 7 PM Eastern time. And you can watch it online here. It is also being live-blogged here.

From Uncommon Descent. The interviewer is science journalist Denyse O’Leary.

Excerpt:

What caused the change of view about junk DNA? Can you suggest a couple of key findings?

In a word, evidence. The first to emerge was the fact that almost all of an organism’s DNA is transcribed into RNA. (So although most of it may be non-protein-coding, it codes for RNA.) From a Darwinian perspective, this is surprising: Why would an organism struggling to survive devote so many of its internal resources to producing supposedly useless RNA? Indeed, since 2003 it has become clear that non-protein-coding RNAs perform many essential functions in living cells.

Pseudogenes constitute one type of so-called “junk DNA.” These are segments of DNA that resemble segments that elsewhere (or in other organisms) code for protein. Yet RNAs transcribed from some pseudogenes have been found to function in regulating how much protein is produced by the DNA segments they resemble. Repetitive DNA, in which a non-protein-coding sequence is repeated many times, is another type of so-called “junk DNA.” Yet repetitive DNA is now known to regulate many essential functions, including embryo implantation in mammals.

There is also growing evidence that non-protein-coding DNA can perform functions that are independent of its sequence. One example is the region of a chromosome (called a “centromere”) that attaches it to other structures in the cell. Another example is the retina in the eyes of nocturnal mammals, in which non-protein-coding DNA acts like a liquid crystal to focus scarce rays of light.

Some claim that ID theorists predicted the finding and others claim they didn’t. What’s your take?

The literature doesn’t lie. Design theorist William A. Dembski wrote in 2004, “For years now evolutionary biologists have told us that the bulk of genomes is junk and that this is due to the sloppiness of the evolutionary process. That is now changing. For instance, researchers at the University of California at San Diego are finding that long stretches of seemingly barren DNA sequences may form a new class of noncoding RNA genes scattered, perhaps densely, throughout animal genomes. Design theorists should be at the forefront in unpacking the information contained within biological systems.” (The Design Revolution, p. 317.) At the time, biologists such as Dawkins, Coyne, Avise and Collins were still claiming that most of our DNA is junk.

Last week there was a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Science that discussed the problem of genetic similarities in different organisms that do not share a common inheritance. Evolution News talked about that here.

Denyse O’Leary and William Dembski author new book on theistic evolution

Here’s a post by Denyse on Uncommon Descent.

Excerpt:

In Christian Darwinism: Why Theistic Evolution Fails As Science and Theology (Broadman and Holman, November 2011), mathematician Dembski and journalist O’Leary address a powerful new trend to accommodate Christianity with atheist materialism, via acceptance of Darwinian (“survival of the fittest”) evolution.

[…]In the authors’ view, no accommodation is possible. More to the point, accommodation is not even necessary. There are good reasons for doubting Darwin and good reasons for adopting other models for evolution – or for deciding that there is not enough evidence to make a decision.

Dembski and O’Leary insist that this conflict has nothing to do with the age of the Earth. Darwinism is, as they will show, the increasingly implausible creation story of atheism, which diverges at just about every point from the Christian worldview on which modern science was founded.

Denyse’s blog on intelligent design is here.

My regular readers know that I consider theistic evolution to be equivalent to atheism. If a Christian thinks that we can’t detect God in the world using science apart from subjective opinions, then they might as well be an atheist. Christianity is a knowledge tradition, not a blind-belief tradition.

Denyse O’Leary tells about Uncommon Descent’s contest to win FREE STUFF

Denyse has started up a contest over at Uncommon Descent where you can win the following stuff:

10 DVDs of Expelled,courtesy the producers.

10 DVDs of Privileged Planet, courtesy the producers.

5 subscriptions, including back issues, to the excellent Christian/theistic science and culture mag, Salvo, complete with recent back issues, courtesy the editor-in-chief.

I already have those DVDs but I want the subscription to Salvo.

Now, what must I do to win? Denyse says:

I will pose a question based on a recent news story, and ask for responses within two weeks. I will publish the winning response in a subsequent post.

You must go to Uncommon Descent and register to comment. (You will not receive any solicitations – at least none that originate from us.)

Rules:
1. No more than 400 words in response. I will select the response I find most interesting and print it as a post. Be succinct.
2. New ideas impress me, even if I disagree. Rants and myths don’t. Re abuse: Uncommon Descent is not competing for Troll Hole of the Year, so …
3. I will not correspond with anyone about the award. My In Tray is already a natural disaster. If you don’t win, try again. And who knows, if this contest takes off, I may be offered more prizes.

The first question will come shortly.

Well, according to Denyse’s latest post on Colliding Universes, the first question is here!

This is Contest Question 1 for Earn Free Stuff: Does the multiverse help science make sense – or simply destroy science?

Question: For a free copy of Expelled, is this a way to do science? Note, you must register at Uncommon Descent to comment.

She has a link to an article that will help you answer, plus you can read my posts on the multiverse:

OK, now get right to work on your answer, and I’ll work on my answer. Denyse says that each contest will last about two weeks!

By the way, Denyse is a professional writer and editor. So watch your spelling and grammar!