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Dinosaurs for Dummies                                  Richard Dawkins                                                   More To Life

Built on Rock ! Exploring Answers to Questions about Life, The Universe & Everything

What you are about to read comes from a lecture given by Professor Michael Akam: Head of Department & Professor of Zoology at Darwin College Cambridge. This is not a verbatim record of his talk, and in fact I recommend that you listen to it yourself, especially if you doubt my good intentions. But I have tried faithfully to represent what he said accurately and without bias. I watched the video of this talk which is freely available on the Internet. The following was taken down in writing while listening to this quietly spoken lecture from an clearly modest man. He is obviously an evolutionist, but as his lecture developed I realised I was hearing a devastating demolition job. He admits that such is the complexity of genetics, even the underlying logic cannot be understood.

2012 Darwin College Lecture Series: From Genomes to the Diversity of Life.

During the course of his lecture Professor Akam demonstrated just how many similarities there are between the genomes of widely disparate animal types. And strangely how different the physical appearances of some animals were which shared very similar genomes. He put up a series of pictures making the point that the golden mole bore a much closer resemblance in genomic terms to an elephant than it did to a European mole. Towards the close of his lecture he speculated that the cause of the great diversity in the animal kingdom may be found not in the genomes that have been sequenced as coding for proteins, which he described as being downstream from the genes, but rather from the much less well understood area upstream: this was the non-coding areas, the regulatory region. It is this area that baffles even the most highly qualified. And professor Akam is without doubt one of the few in this category.

(Incidentally Akam did not mention junk Dna once, but these non-coding areas are what was until very recently designated as junk Dna)

He said that to understand the observed diversity we probably have to change the way we are thinking about genes. Genes don’t just make proteins. Something is happening in the genes that do not make proteins that are telling the system where and when to make that protein. There are regulatory elements upstream that receive signals from their own cells, from neighbouring cells, from hormones, from light, all sorts of sources which they integrate to produce an output that turns genes on and off. Professor Akam suggests on the basis of work done elsewhere that we ought to think of genes more as a microprocessor rather than a machine tool.

He said, that if you think of genes in these terms then you will think of them as an interacting network, as talking together, like a circuit diagram in the sense that the activity of one gene will effect another, affecting another component in the system, turning them on and off. This will tell a cell what it should make, how much and when to cease. These essential but complex interactions are critical for creating diversity. How this is done is the focus of a network of labs of which Akam’s is one. He wonders whether in studying these interactions we can read in genomes the set of interactions of genes that control the network.

The problem he states is that “we do not know the code yet.” “We cannot simply take a computer and say tell me which genes this particular protein will control.”

“There are techniques which are beginning to figure this out…..but computers cannot do that yet. So it is a real challenge for the genome biologists to understand not just what the building blocks are but what the logic is.”

Professor Akam uses common design terms throughout his lecture. There is no reference implied or otherwise to any remotely random process. Mutations never appear as an explanation for anything. Akam expresses himself as dealing with design concepts. Microprocessors, networks, circuit diagrams, regulatory functions, switches and so on, all contributing apparently to the diversity that is usually accounted for by randomly occurring mutations and natural selection. According to him the complexity is so sophisticated and finely tuned that the logic behind it cannot yet be understood.

These admissions should not surprise anyone. Modern science is far from infallible. Quite early in his lecture he relates how the first published study on genome sequencing in 1988 was wrong in almost every one of its conclusions. You do not often hear that kind of confession published in the media. It might break the bond of certainty that ties the public to its general acceptance of science being the most reliable source of information. Any break of a promise made by a political party is broadcast far and wide in the media. Science and scientists however tend to wash their dirty linen in private and so avoid the stench of criticism. And the media does not seem to think itself equipped to question this secular priesthood.

Evolutionary theorists deny the existence of an intelligent agent as being the cause of creation. And yet at the very beginning of life, on the brink of the so called pre-biotic soup, these biological systems self originated and self organised themselves into an arrangement so baffling that even the underlying “logic” is hidden from sight. There is no denying that a designers logic must lay at the heart of these incredible systems, since what could be the basis of a denial that they were designed?  

This knowledge should cause some degree of humility, and I believe that in Michael Akam’s mind and heart, and no doubt in many others, it may  have that effect. But to diehard evolutionists the admission of errors and past and present ignorance seemingly makes no noticeable difference to their certainty.

What do you think?

Below is a video which I challenge any evolutionist to refute. It is the silver bullet, the lethal shot. But in this case because of the perversity of evolutionary theory, which is a religion for atheists, the death blow will never be delivered, at least not by the hand of man. This information cannot be received because its consequences, if thought through, will bring Darwinism down to its well deserved end: and that cannot be permitted. This is a very long video: 140 minutes, but his actual talk is only 40 minutes long, the rest is Q&A.

This talk is by Dr John Sanford a professor whose academic career was mostly associated with Cornell University. His speciality is Population Genetics. Until he began questioning what he calls the Primary Axiom underpinning evolutionary theory he was a Theistic Evolutionist, believing God used the Darwinian process. His questioning led him to a series of astonishing conclusions based on his scientific speciality and to his surprise, many affirmations of Holy Scripture.

Loss of Logic in Multiple Layers of Genetic Complexity

The Head of the Human Genome Project gets it all horribly wrong about

Junk DNA

Francis Collins headed up the Human Genome Project that in its time was hailed as if it were the one of the greatest events in modern science. Collins is a Christian and was welcomed in this high profile role by believers who found his presence reassuring, since many felt and still feel buffeted and marginalised by the world of science. I shared in this feeling at first, that is until I discovered he was a theistic evolutionist; a believer in both God and Darwinian evolution. He believes God created the universe and placed a soul or spirit into mankind but otherwise, for the most part, God left creation to get on with it through the process of evolution via natural selection.

Recently I found myself involved in a private debate with a convinced theistic evolutionist that very much centred on Francis Collins and his beliefs. These included a conviction that junk DNA represented the discovery of exactly what Darwinism would predict if we shared a common ancestor: loads of genetic rubbish left over from hundreds of millions of years of evolution. During the debate my opponent chided me for daring to challenge the opinions of such a man as Collins, a scientist of huge repute at the top of his game and his career. Well, let’s take a look at what Francis Collins believes. The following batch of quotes are from one of his books: The Language of God.

Collins claimed that huge portions of our genome are repetitive junk:

"Mammalian genomes are littered with such AREs (ancient repetitive elements)" wrote Collins, "with roughly 45 percent of the human genome made up of such genetic flotsam and jetsam." (p. 136)

And here is the Christian apologist for evolution speaking.


"Unless one is willing to take the position that God has placed these decapitated AREs in these precise positions to confuse and mislead us, the conclusion of a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable." (pp. 136-137)

He warns Christians of the dangers of trying to insert God as an explanation into areas that Darwinism has already fully explained.

“Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about the natural world may be headed for crisis if advances in science subsequently fill those gaps” (p. 93)

“Darwin’s framework of variation and natural selection,” but especially Darwin’s picture of a Tree of Life—the common ancestry of all organisms on Earth—“is unquestionably correct” (141)

Looking back I can appreciate that even while I was debating with my opponent via email the matter was being decided by ongoing scientific research: a follow up project to the Human Genome enterprise called Encode which has drilled an ever widening hole in everything Collins once believed about non coding DNA.

Below Encode scientists explain their work. You will hear that what is being discovered is a monumental new area for research. One of the speakers admits that the Human Genome Project that brought Francis Collins to the forefront of his profession was just the beginning.

For Francis Collins this more recent research has clouded the issue, as he more or less admits in his follow-up book released only four years later: The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine, pp. 5-6 (Harper, 2010)

“The discoveries of the past decade, little known to most of the public, have completely overturned much of what used to be taught in high school biology. If you thought the DNA molecule comprised thousands of genes but far more "junk DNA", think again.”

And yet more.

“The exons and introns of protein-coding genes add up together to about 30 percent of the genome. Of that 30 percent, 1.5 percent are coding exons and 28.5 percent are removable introns. What about the rest? It appears there are also long "spacer" segments of DNA that lie between genes and that don't crowd for protein. In some instances, these regions extend across hundreds of thousands or even millions of base pairs, in which case they are referred to rather dismissively as "gene deserts." These regions are not just filler, however. They contain many of the signals that are needed to instruct a nearby gene about whether it should be on or off at a given developmental time in a given tissue. Furthermore, we are learning that there may be thousands of genes hanging out in these so-called deserts that don't code for protein at all. They are copied into RNA, but those RNA molecules are never translated--instead, they serve some other important functions”.

(Francis Collins, The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine, p. 9 (Harper, 2010)

Collins continues his partial eulogy to what he had once dismissed as left over junk.

“It turns out that only about 1.5 percent of the human genome is involved in coding for protein. But that doesn't mean the rest is "junk DNA." A number of exciting new discoveries about the human genome should remind us not to become complacent in our understanding of this marvellous instruction book. For instance, it has recently become clear that there is a whole family of RNA molecules that do not code for protein. These so-called non-coding RNAs are capable of carrying out a host of important functions, including modifying the efficiency by which other RNAs are translated. In addition, our understanding of how genes are regulated is undergoing dramatic revision, as the signals embedded in the DNA molecule and the proteins that bind to them are rapidly being elucidated. The complexity of this network of regulatory information is truly mind-blowing, and has given rise to a whole new branch of biomedical research, sometimes referred to as "systems biology."

There you have it, but only in part, he still claims some of this is junk and specifies some of these areas, but it sounds a bit like a beaten dog retreating while still barking in mock defiance from what seems like a safe distance. But is he safe? These parts of the genome are as he says: “… rapidly being elucidated. The complexity of this network of regulatory information is truly mind-blowing.” If they are mind blowing and being rapidly unravelled how can he know anything for sure?

The subject of junk DNA is one that has tripped up Collins and left him floundering between his once stated opinions and present reality. He remains it seems suspended between two polar opposites, a position that is very difficult to maintain. Theistic evolutionists expected to find junk DNA, it was almost inevitable if evolution had occurred as Darwinism proposes. They looked and they found exactly what was predicted, a huge preponderance of our DNA seemed to code for nothing and were therefore assumed to contribute nothing but waste and clutter. A vast gap had occurred between the good genes and the bad and the ugly and the useless. Before Encode had produced its results Creationists had claimed that these non-coding for protein parts of the genome would eventually be found to have a function. Evolutionists like Collins said this was a “God of the gaps” argument, one that would ultimately collapse as new scientific data closed the gap between false hope and scientific reality. The Creationist prediction, largely based on their belief in the character and power of the God of the Bible has been realised.

Current knowledge has driven Collins and his thinking into the very “gap” he had thought belonged to Creationists. A yawning gap has opened up in evolutionary expectations and into the void all Collins has as a filler is his faith in evolution. Faith that some sizeable part of these non-protein coding regions will yet prove to be without function. But this belief is being progressively and decisively falsified, as is Darwinism itself. Darwin’s Tree of Life would, if real, have caused an accumulation of genetic junk, just as Collins and his supporters had predicted. The lack of junk DNA might have had the effect of reversing this opinion, but it has not. He is a man of faith in a failed idea: neo-Darwinism. In the near future every gap that could support his position is likely to close altogether. The “God of the Gaps” jibe aimed at creationists may well become a noose tightening around his own neck. It is now accepted that 80% of this junk is known to have a useful purpose, and quite likely more than just plain useful, and the rest, according to an Encode researcher may follow suit, leaving this genetic “flotsam and jetsam” (a Collins quote) as a 100% and vital and sophisticated contributor to the working of our genome.

And there is a gulf between the hopes and expectations of Creationists and theistic evolutionists which illustrates that one of these two is about to disappear down a sink hole. The Francis Collins story is a warning to every scientist, however elevated his position. When science shuffles of its adherence to evolutionary theory it may begin to see what it has obscured and lost. It obscured the truth and lost precious time. If Neo-Darwinism had not predicted the existence of junk DNA then God knows how many careers may have turned towards something profitable in terms of science, and years of research and billions upon billions of pounds and dollars in funding could have been saved from waste and been more productively used.

Junk DNA was a myth and Darwinism has failed yet another test.

And finally is something as rare as hen’s teeth. A public media account that actually tells us something that very recent mainline science got totally wrong. And having followed a lead down a long blind alley real empirical science came back with something astonishing: the truth. The truth that the Human Genome is mind bogglingly complex, and that its quota of junk DNA is being steadily reduced, and in all probability eventually down to nothing at all. There is an exception to this of course: the genetic load. Mutations, the bedrock of evolutionary progress, the true genetic junk that will see the end of us all, given enough time.

Francis Collins Loses His Way