Friday, February 7, 2014

Does an understanding of evolution help scientists understand the secrets of biology?

You're probably wondering why I would ask a question like, "Does an understanding of evolution help scientists understand the secrets of biology?" It's not my question. It's a paraphrase of a question asked by someone who goes by the pseudonym "PaV" on Uncommon Descent. Here's the full context from her post: Does Evolutionary Theory Really Help Scientists?

For a number of years, many of us at UD have made the argument that evolutionary theory, in practice, is of almost no help whatsoever in getting at the secrets of biology. I’ve taken the position personally that it actually hurts, and that it is not a matter of indifference to the study of biology whether evolution is employed or not. ID is the way to go.
Now, besides the fact that she is an IDiot, you may be asking why anyone would write such a thing.

Here's the scoop. Someone was looking at unknown RNAs in zebra fish and discovered that one of them encoded a protein that hadn't previously been characterized. This sort of thing happens all the time in various species so why is PaV so excited?

Here's the answer ...
They’ve studied this embryonic stage for 20 years, and couldn’t figure out the decisive signals for initiation of the gastrula. They had to look to “non-coding” RNA, i.e., “junk DNA,” in order to solve their new found secret.

And why didn’t they study “junk DNA” before? Well, evolutionary theory posits that it is “junk” (their word, not ours), so why investigate.
See? Evolutionary theory actually impedes scientific progress. And you wonder why we call them ....