Team Returns Pseudogene to Junkpile to Counter ID Claim
An earlier claim that a pseudogene has a function (see 05/01/2003 story) has been debunked by a team of scientists reporting in PNAS.1 Their reanalysis of the claim made in 2003 “invalidates the data upon which the pseudogene trans-regulation model is based and therefore strongly supports the view that mammalian pseudogenes are evolutionary relics.” The end of their paper triumphantly announces that “our work reestablishes the evolutionary paradigm supported by overwhelming evidence that mammalian pseudogenes are indeed inactive gene relics.”
A press release by some of the researchers from Children’s Hospital at Pittsburgh took glee at this apparent slap in the face to intelligent design.
This finding, discovered in a mouse model, was hailed by proponents of “Intelligent Design” (ID). According to the Intelligent Design Network, the premise of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a disagreement with the core scientific basis of evolutionary theory.
However, researchers at Children’s and the Wadsworth Center in New York, including first author Todd A. Gray, PhD, have found scientific evidence that contradicts this finding. The pseudogene in question … is an inactive copy of a gene, an evolutionary relic as previously believed.
Some leaders in the ID movement found this press release ironic. Evolutionists have claimed that ID is not scientific because it is not testable or falsifiable. Why, then, are evolutionists claiming that this study refutes intelligent design?
1Todd A. Gray et al., “The putatively functional Mkrn1-p1 pseudogene is neither expressed nor imprinted, nor does it regulate its source gene in trans,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0602216103, published online before print August 1, 2006.
Finding one flaw in one claim (which did not originate with ID anyway) does not falsify ID, and there are many other cases where researchers have found treasure in the junk. Use the search box above with keywords “junk DNA” to find many more examples, such as 05/04/2006 (bullet six), 03/24/2006 and 04/13/2004. Finding something broken does not mean it never had a function, and finding something thought to be useless that really does have a function means we have much to learn. Darwinists should not bring science to a halt by assuming, “evolution did it.”