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Batten #5: Junk DNA, Vestigial Organs, Kinesin, Intelligent Design

March 19th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 4 Comments

Hat tip to Auke for his transcript.
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Please keep in mind this is a transcript of a live talk, not something Dr Batten thoughtfully and carefully wrote himself.

A Japanese scientist suggested this was a rotary motor and he was scoffed at by the establishment, the scientific establishment. Why was he scoffed at? Because they said it couldn’t evolve. A rotary motor couldn’t evolve, therefore its not a rotary motor. This is why I believe evolution is actually anti-science.

[20:47] In fact, evolutionists also said, years ago, that no more than 1 or 2 percent of the human DNA could be functional, because even with their best possible scenarios, the best possible assumptions, they couldn’t account for more than 1 or 2 percent of the functional DNA. So <198> 98 or 99 percent of the human DNA must be junk.

And this was believed for many years, and impeded the understanding of this so-called junk DNA. Well, when people started investigating cancer and various genetic diseases and so on, have started to find that mutations in the so-called junk actually cause disease. And little bit by little bit, people started to realize that the junk wasn’t junk after all, and bit by bit, more and more of it started to realize, more and more people started to realize that it wasn’t junk.

In fact, a big project, called the encode project, published ah a lot in the last six months, shows that 90 percent of the so-called junk DNA is functional. So what’s this say about the evolutionary reasoning that said it’s junk? In fact, evolution is anti-science.

No, it says that the people that claimed it has no function was wrong, it doesn’t say evolution is wrong.

[22:03] Going back earlier, we had 150 uhm so-called vestigial organs, left-overs of evolution. Yeah, you probably heard in biology class that your tonsils are a left-over of evolution, or your appendix is a left-over of evolution. This is absolute rubbish. It doesn’t even fit an evolutionary pattern. But this is the idea… they had 150 organs which were supposed to be left-overs of evolution, and that impeded research into what they did. Things like the thymus gland, when.. oh, you don’t need this, we’ll take it out, the person died, woops, its important. {laughter}

That still doesn’t have anything to do with whether evolution is correct or not.

[22:44] Well also have not only linear motors but oh sorry not only rotary motors but linear motors. This is kinesin, this is on the Harvard Medical School website, and you can look up the Inner Life of the Cell animation, its about six minutes the full one, go and watch it, and ask yourself, is this something that you expect to rise arise by natural processes, or does this speak of intelligent design? In fact, this is made up of about 300 amino acids and it walks along road networks inside your cells, made of microtubules. This needs one ATP ah molecule for each step, and each step is 8 nanometres. So its 125 thousand steps for a millimetre. It drags this big bag behind it. What’s the bag? It’s a bag of proteins. That bag of proteins is assembled in the Golgi apparatus. When I was a student, an undergraduate student at <..> University Golgi apparatus no one had any idea what it did, it was just this sort of funny folds in the cell when you looked at it under <..> under a electron microscope. But in fact, Golgi apparatus assembles these bags of proteins and puts a label on them which says take this to a particular destination. This guys like the postman doing a delivery, or a stevedore. And all this just made itself by natural processes.

Absolutely stunning and remarkable, isn’t it?

Folks, it defies logic. It defies logic. How did this come about by some step-wise process, to use a pun. It had to be all functional for it to be working. And it had to run the right run the right direction. I mean, if its sortof woops I’m going the wrong direction it’s not gonna help much, is it?

Many things in science defies logic, yes. That doesn’t make it wrong. God also defies logic, y’know? Does that make God wrong?

(This section referred to a 3D computer animation of cellular mechanics. As an artificial representation, I think it served as a bit of a straw man. The real molecular mechanics look a lot more messy, don’t they?)

So, in fact when you look at living cells, you find that func function after function after function requires whole suites of proteins, enzymes, all working together. You take one part of it out, it doesn’t work. There’s no step-wise process by which you can get one of the proteins, let alone all of them, working together. Things like ah apoptosis, by which you get fingers uh in the embryo. You form a plate, and then apoptosis, death of the cells in-between the fingers, results in the fingers being separate, toes begin separate. But apoptosis is also involved in avoiding cancer, when cells go haywire, our bodies, normal bodies, have a way of detecting they gone haywire and they self-destruct. They send up a flag and say, I’m out of control, get rid of me {laughter} And uh and the killer T-cells, and all that incredible complex uh immune system, that actually keeps us healthy, if you have mutations, in one of the several different uh systems involved there, you can end up getting cancer. Cancer is an indication, in fact, that you have something wrong with your systems which eradicate cancer.

He was doing well, until he made a sweeping statement: there’s no step-wise process by which…. Really? How does he know? And if someone like Richard Dawkins explains a step-wise process by which this could happen, would he admit he was wrong? (Nope, I doubt it. He generates income from spreading evolution denial.)

Uh, blood clotting, a whole suite of different things required. Protein synthesis, incredibly complex, about a 100 different proteins, enzymes, involved in manufacturing proteins. Cell division itself, requires incredible suite, just mind boggling, numbers of things involved. And of course reproduction, the simplest cell is not simple. Its far more complex than the most complex machine mankind has ever made.
Sometimes, there’s candour amongst uh evolutionary scientists, about the difficulties in explaining these things. Just sometimes. Very rarely at university undergraduate courses, because they’re interested in making you making sure you believe the status quo, generally speaking. Of course, university is supposed to be about critical thinking skills and questioning and things like that, but in fact if you question, in most courses, you get marked down, not rewarded, specially if you question the materialistic status quo.

In undergraduate courses, students are introduced to the stuff that is generally accepted. The difficult to explain stuff is the cutting edge research that you do in postgraduate work. Dr Batten, if you try to associate your seminar with critical thinking skills, you are gravely mistaken.

But here’s a statement by Franklin Harold, The Way of the Cell, he’s an evolutionist, and he said

“we should reject as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design, for the dialogue of chance and necessity, evolution. We must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”

A quote mine. This is a quote mine made to imply evolutionists are unfairly biased against Intelligent Design, when it is actually stating the basic principles of science. Yes, Intelligent Design is rejected as a matter of principle, because it cannot be investigated scientifically. We have covered this already. See the whole Intelligent Design section of the Index to Creationist Claims.

But we are told at university that evolution is a fact. That only an idiot, an uneducated idiot, like a creationist, like Dr Batten, would think otherwise.

Ooh, it is oh so tempting to quote mine that statement. ;-)

[27:20] Here’s another statement, Scott Todd, Kansas State University.

“Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”

Who decided that science can only speak of naturalistic things? The atheist decided that, that’s who.

Wrong.

Well, we see there’s plenty of evidence that scientists <..> accept design where it suits them. But what about biology? Uh-uh. Not allowed to have design. No intelligence allowed in biology. No, no, never. Why? Because the intelligent designer for biology must be super natural. Not just a human. Not just a little green men. But someone far beyond our capacity is involved in <...> the designing of life, its incredibly complicated, incredibly complex.

We’ve covered this. If the supernatural is supposed to be scientifically testable, as in, potentially disprovable. Please tell me how you would go about testing, in an attempt to disprove, God’s influence in creation?

So science, what is it? Is science the search for naturalistic explanations, or is it the search for logical explanations? I would suggest that a creationist, someone who believes there is a creator, actually has a much more open mind than a materialist. Because we are allowed to follow the data wherever it leads. If it leads to the idea there is an intelligent designer behind something, we can recognize that. If it says that natural natural things are responsible for it, we can recognize that. But an atheist can only allow there to be natural processes. Its a closed mind, in fact.

Science is the search for empirically testable facts, not the search for easy answers easily grasped by limited minds. Quantum physics is in no way logical, for example, but it is testable. Batten seems to be worshipping the God of the Gaps.

I don’t feel like stooping to the level of arguing about closed and open minds right now. Maybe I should just leave you with a thought: An excessively open mind is effectively a closed mind, because it is closed to any element of uncertainty. The open/closed idea forms a circle. (I don’t much like Dawkins’ linear model, whereby he argues that your mind shouldn’t be so open that your brains fall out. It’s too black-and-white, too linear for my tastes.)

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