In light of the recent ENCODE results, we wanted to get Dr. Edgar Andrews’ take on the matter, particularly as it concerns his debate with Dr. Richard Dawkins. It is said that the last “creationist” Dr. Dawkins debated, before refusing to debate creationists (as defined by Dr. Dawkins), was Dr. Andrews. After listening to this debate, I discussed it with Dr. Andrews and he permitted me (Maryann Spikes) to share some of his comments.
The rest of this post is by Dr. Andrews, regarding his debate with Dr. Dawkins and the ENCODE results:
Dawkins does himself no favors in his speech but sadly misrepresents my position on Genesis 1, even though that position is set out clearly in the final chapter of “From Nothing to Nature,” my 1978 book that he critiques throughout his oration.
Either he didn’t do his homework, or else he was deliberately misrepresenting me. For example, he says that I believe the universe is no more than 10,000 years old, when this is the figure I put on the date of Adam!
In the final chapter of the book I expressly say (1) that Gen. 1:1 describes the origin of the universe at an unspecified time in the past (consistent with a big-bang type of origin); (2) that the six days of creation refer only to events on (or observed from) earth; (3) that the fourth day describes the appearance of the heavenly bodies in the sky as cloud-cover cleared and not their creation.
Dawkins of course claims that I say the very opposite, as I point out in one interruption.
The other misrepresentation regards the genes of different creatures being different, where he quotes from passages in which I was discussing gene *expression* in different organisms (though I admit I could have made myself clearer in retrospect). Of course, recent research, such as the ENCODE results published just this last month, reveal that the concept of a gene is much more slippery than once thought and goes a long way to justify my claim that human genes and e.g. monkey genes are different even when the basic nucleotide sequences may be very similar … because the genetic control ‘switches’ are totally different.
The other issue that makes Dawkins look weak is his claim that molecular evolutionary ‘trees’ turn out to be the same regardless of the protein on which they are based. This is completely untrue as Michael Denton’s 1985 book “Evolution; a theory in crisis” documents very clearly.
With regard to the current debate over the ENCODE findings on ‘junk DNA’, …I predicted and documented the demise of ‘junk DNA’ in my 2009 book “Who made God?” published before Dawkins’ own “Greatest show on earth”. Here is an extract from p.235:
What should impress us, however, is the entirely different junk-to-jewelry story now emerging from the study of ‘genome sequencing’ in living species (genome sequencing is the determination of the precise sequence of bases throughout an organism’s entire DNA). When sequencing began (7) in the 1980s it was a very slow process, and workers concentrated on the genes that code for proteins and RNA. The remainder of the DNA didn’t seem to have any useful function and was labeled ‘junk DNA’. Thus not so long ago, we were assured that the very existence of junk DNA — ranging roughly from 98% of the total DNA in advanced organisms to 80% in bacteria — was clear evidence of evolution. It represented the rubbish left over from failed evolutionary ‘experiments’. For example, Francis Collins employs an interesting argument in support of evolution based on the unimportance of junk DNA.(8) He gives figures suggesting that historical mutation rates were significantly higher in the junk DNA of various species than in their protein-coding DNA. He then attributes this to natural selection weeding out mutations in the functional genes while leaving the useless junk DNA to its mutational fate. It all sounds convincing until you hear the latest news — junk DNA is probably not junk after all! [arguments and documentation follow].