|Evolution in the News - October 2012
|by Do-While Jones
Who would have thought DNA isn’t mostly junk? We did!
We just had to laugh when we read this startling “news!”
This week, 30 research papers, including six in Nature and additional papers published by Science, sound the death knell for the idea that our DNA is mostly littered with useless bases. A decade long project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has found that 80% of the human genome serves some purpose, biochemically speaking. “I don't think anyone would have anticipated even close to the amount of sequence that ENCODE has uncovered that looks like it has functional importance,” says John A. Stamatoyannopoulos, an ENCODE researcher at the University of Washington, Seattle. 1
Really? He doesn’t think anyone would have anticipated it? We anticipated it! We first said so five years ago, and several times since then.
In recent years scientists have discovered that a lot of that junk DNA really does have a purpose. 2
The DNA molecule contains large sections of “junk DNA.” These are sections of the DNA molecule which apparently have no function. The arrogant assumption is that since scientists can’t figure out what the function is, it must be junk without any function. It is unthinkable to entertain the notion that junk DNA might actually have a purpose, but we are too stupid to figure it out. 3
We’ve also said in previous newsletters that the theory of evolution hinders the advancement of science. This is a good example. The theory of evolution says that the DNA molecule evolved by chance. Therefore, one would expect a lot of it to be random junk, and would not expect to find any value in it.
Although catchy, the term “junk DNA” for many years repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding DNA. Who, except a small number of genomic clochards, would like to dig through genomic garbage? However, in science as in normal life, there are some clochards who, at the risk of being ridiculed, explore unpopular territories. Because of them, the view of junk DNA, especially repetitive elements, began to change in the early 1990s. Now, more and more biologists regard repetitive elements as a genomic treasure. 4
Creationists, however, are not “mainstream researchers.” They believe that the DNA molecule was intentionally designed, and expect to find reasons for every part of the DNA molecule. So they see hidden treasures rather than junk, and look for meaning in every part of the DNA molecule.
If you go to the junkyard, you will find junk. None of that junk was created to be junk. It was created for a purpose, but became junk later. Every old clunker on the road came out of the factory as a shiny new automobile.
Some small fraction of the DNA probably is now junk because of copying errors. People old enough to remember the first photocopy machines remember that one could easily tell the copy from the original. The copy was imperfect. If one made a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, the result was barely readable.
Every time a computer file is copied, there is an opportunity for a mistake. If that file is the executable source for a computer program, that mistake might prevent the program from operating properly.
With every generation, a new DNA molecule is created by copying parts of both parents’ DNA and combining them. There is an opportunity for error every generation. So, it is possible that some portion of the DNA might be miscopied, and no longer functional. If the error is sufficiently harmful, natural selection will eliminate the individual who has that harmful error. But, some errors aren’t fatal, so some genes might no longer function properly. That part of the DNA becomes junk.
If one takes the attitude that the entire DNA molecule had some function, but part of it no longer does, one would strive to figure out how it is broken and try to fix it. But, if one takes the attitude that junk DNA never had any purpose, one won’t try to fix it. That’s why creationist scientists go where mainstream evolutionists don’t think to go.
Many genetic diseases could be the result of accumulation of junk DNA over many generations. So, what little junk DNA there is should be given special attention to determine what function it previously served, and determine what changes have to be made to restore that function. An evolutionary scientist would never do that because the evolutionist doesn’t believe there was any function to begin with.
Continued next month ...
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Elizabeth Pennisi, Science, 7 September 2012, “ENCODE Project Writes Eulogy for Junk DNA”, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.337.6099.1159
2 Disclosure, February 2008, “We Often Agree”
3 Disclosure, February 2010, “Why, Oh Y?”,
4 Wojciech Makalowski, Science, 23 May 2003, pp. 1246-1247, “Not Junk After All”, https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1085690