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Comment count is 17
baleen - 2013-05-31

This stuff basically flushes down the toilet most of the ideas of Neo-Darwinism, natural selection and junk DNA that I was taught in biology class. It's getting very little attention in the media.

fedex - 2013-05-31

I'm sorry, I'm not really up on this stuff but I am curious what the religious response to this has been..?

Black Napkins - 2013-05-31

If you mean Dawkins in his position as an evolutionary biologist, I can see that. If you mean that creationists have been right all along, I don't see that quite so clearly.

Granted, living things aren't exactly my specialty, but I know a few evolutionary bio folks who were expecting something along these lines eventually a while back now.

- Discover Magazine article about it: http://tinyurl.com/m92qsva
- And something from the RDF: http://tinyurl.com/mddk5xn

It looks like ENCODE has a slightly different idea about utility than some folks did, but this is still amazing stuff.

candyheadrobot - 2013-05-31

Dawkins had a good theory, but it really hasn't produced much more in the last 20 odd years. If this is going forward, the religious response doesn't matter, what does is that we actually start new science.

Oh yeah, thanks for this baleen ^^

January von Rodeo - 2013-05-31

I'm not sure I understand what is the breakthrough here or why it would be causing a religious fuss, this seems to be a project to catalogue the human specifics of concepts that have been around for a while now, the junk dna thing is pretty outdated -- I think ENCODE itself actually published findings about noncoding dna having effects on gene expression at least 5 years ago

a quick search reveals that answers in genesis has a page re: 'junk' dna which is kind a shock. Apparently the fact that it has functions = therefore god? Maybe I just haven't slept in a long time and am missing something obvious, I do not oppose enlightenment

jaunch - 2013-05-31

While I think this stuff is all cool, I don't understand what the big news is. We were taught in my university Genetics class all about introns (sections of DNA which do not code for proteins), which in fact do other things in the nucleus. Also, we spent agonizing weeks going over and memorizing gene regulators, promoters, etc-- all bits of DNA which don't actually code for anything, but which are essential to DNA replication.

Also, there's huge bits of chromosomes which don't code for anything, but again, are essential-- like telomeres and centromeres.

I guess my point is that I don't see why anyone would be shocked by this video, or by the idea that most of our DNA is indeed performing vital functions in the cell. And I don't see how this threatens Natural Selection, or emboldens Creationism.

Can someone explain?

candyheadrobot - 2013-05-31

For the overview:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonentine/2013/02/24/arguing-over- junk-scientists-attack-each-other-as-media-flub-dna-story-of-the-y ear/

and the religious response, which tbh I couldn't find much on:

http://www.ucg.org/science/god-science-and-bible-dna-discoveri es-demonstrate-divine-design/

jaunch - 2013-05-31

Ah, thanks candyheadrobot. From what I can tell, the dispute is their "80% functional" claim, with most scientists saying that number is way too high, and the ENCODE scientists saying "Well, it depends on what 'functional' means." They use that term to mean whenever something binds to a piece of DNA, somewhere in some cell, affecting gene expression-- something that we've known that happens for a long time.

Again, hardly a challenge to Natural Selection. I really don't see how this changes any arguments for or against Natural Selection or Creationism.

badideasinaction - 2013-05-31

Meh, every advancement since Darwin has been met with "so the scientists admit they're wrong, clearly Jesus is the answer since we've never been wrong!" And this case is no different.

gmol - 2013-05-31

FWIW there has been a very significant amount of heated discussion about the ENCODE hype:

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2013/03/15/more_encode_sk epticism.php

Quite entertaining reading.

baleen - 2013-06-01

"If you mean that creationists have been right all along, I don't see that quite so clearly." Of course I don't believe this.
What I'm saying is that we are discovering that the things we thought we knew about evolution are turning out to be mostly wrong.

baleen - 2013-06-01

Just do google searches like "ENCODE and neo-darwinism" and you'll find reels of pro-ID sites having a field day with this.

Those who know me know I am not a creationist, but this is a real controversy that is not going to go away any time soon. It's not just "hype." I feel it's just going to pick up steam and cause more division.

gmol - 2013-06-01

Most things we know about evolution are not turning out to be wrong.

This was a large project launched with tonnes of hype. No one doubts any of the experiments done, but the underlying message that "junk DNA isn't really junk" is what people are arguing about.

A good analogy is cited in the previous link I posted, it seems that ENCODE would say that because it had found that the human heart weighs 300 grams, the function of the heart is add 300 grams of mass to the body as opposed to pumping blood.

Scientists aren't really at some philosophical paradox, most of them are probably thinking "what a stupid project to fund, they should've spent that money on labs that were actually focused on specific systems".

memedumpster - 2013-05-31

Bad ass!

PegLegPete - 2013-05-31

This is awesome. Computer science and bioinformatics are further proving super useful and none of it would be possible without all the foundations laid. Science is so cool.

EvilHomer - 2013-05-31

Science ain't cool! It's like they be taken' all the magic up out this bitch, yo. Phhfff, punkass scientists. Motherfuckers lyin' and gettin' me PISSED!!!

Jet Bin Fever - 2013-05-31

Really cool stuff. I'll wait till the dust clears till I decide what it means to me though.

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