Casey Luskin has a post up on the Disco-Tute’s blog, entitled Nature Paper Shows "Junk-RNA" Going the Same Direction as "Junk-DNA". He’s read a paper in Nature that he thinks shows that junk DNA and junk RNA, may not be junk. This is an interesting point, since junk DNA is often given as evidence of unguided evolution, rather than purposeful design. And you know that’s his point because his post ends with:
As an ID proponent, I'm still waiting for Darwinists to let go of their precious "junk" arguments for blind evolution and common descent and learn the lesson that you can't assume that if we don't yet see function for a biomolecule, then it's probably just "junk."
To which I would reply, as an evolution proponent, I'm still waiting for IDists to let go of their precious "irreducible complexity" arguments for design, and learn that if we don't yet see see every step of how an irreducible complex entity evolved, we can't assume that it must have been designed. Yes, Luskin was in effect calling evolutionists on an argument from ignorance fallacy – if we don’t know what it is then it’s junk. Pretty funny considering ID is nothing but an argument from ignorance.
Of course Tu quoque is a fallacy too. Unfortunately for Luskin though, evolutionists rely on more than just, “we don't yet see function therefore it’s junk”. Luskin is wrong in his interpretation of the Nature paper, as Larry Moran explains. First, let’s go back to see what Luskin wrote on the subject. Quoting the Nature paper, he writes:
The article makes an extremely important point: "Strictly speaking, the absence of evolutionary conservation cannot prove the absence of function."
But Luskin has been quote mining. Larry Moran quotes a larger part of the Nature paper. Read this – note that the first sentence below is the only bit that Luskin quoted; he omitted the sentences that followed immediately afterwards:
Strictly speaking, the absence of evolutionary conservation cannot prove the absence of function. But, the markedly low rate of conservation seen in the current catalogues of large non-coding transcripts (<5% of cases) is unprecedented and would require that each mammalian clade evolves its own distinct repertoire of non-coding transcripts. Instead, the data suggest that the current catalogues may consist largely of transcriptional noise, with a minority of bona fide functional lincRNAs hidden amid this background. [My bold.]
Now, whether you agree with that or not, you have to admit that the Nature paper simply does not say what Luskin quoted mined it to make it appear to say. It actually states the opposite, namely that 95% of the transcribed sequences are not conserved (and therefore are unlikely to have function).
So we have poor understanding of logical fallacies, and quote mining, from the ID camp. In other words, nothing new.