Farrell’s other source was evolutionist Larry Moran, who has convinced Farrell that Jonathan Wells has it all wrong in his new book, The Myth of Junk DNA. As Farrell summarizes:
From which we are to conclude, the creationist argument goes, that most scientists are knee-jerk ideological Darwinists, and isn’t this another good reason to get a better theory like intelligent design into the public school science classrooms.
But Farrell’s conclusion does not stand up very well to a simple fact check. First, Wells is not a creationist. Second, Wells makes no argument for teaching intelligent design in public school science classrooms. Perhaps Farrell is confused because his source, Larry Moran, makes similarly erroneous claims.
Moran erroneously refers to Wells as a creationist. Moran also makes liberal use of the pejorative term “IDiot.” Why the harsh rhetoric? Let’s have a look.
Moran cries foul when Wells is asked in an interview to explain junk/non-coding DNA “for those who dropped science after Grade Ten.” Here is how Wells answered the question:
“Non-coding” in this context means “non-protein-coding.” An important function of our DNA is to specific the sequences of subunits (amino acids) in the proteins that (along with other types of molecules) make up our bodies. When molecular biologists discovered in the 1970s that about 98% of our DNA does not code for proteins, some biologists called non-protein-coding DNA “junk.”
This is a straightforward, factual response for those “who dropped science after Grade Ten.” But Moran warns that it is misleading. After all, there is non coding DNA, such as regulatory sequences and RNA genes, that we all agree is functional and not junk.
Anyone familiar with the subject matter will recognize this as a canard. Of course Wells is not referring to that small fraction of non coding DNA whose function was known in the 1970s. Wells is not giving a dissertation on the subject. He is giving a brief response, explaining why long stretches of DNA with no known function and not thought to be transcribed (not all non-protein-coding DNA), was considered to be junk DNA by some.
This is why discussions with evolutionists are often tedious. It is tiresome to stretch out explanations with lengthy caveats. And so, like lawyers, evolutionists follow the rule of “least charitable” reading to castigate those who doubt their dogma.
For sympathetic readers who are less familiar with the details of molecular biology, such as many science writers, Moran’s attempt to discredit will seem convincing.
Moran next thinks Wells has wrongly associated junk DNA with selection:
Implying that junk DNA has anything to do with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is totally wrong. No matter how you define “neo-Darwinism” the fact remains that most biologists who believed in adaptation were very skeptical of junk DNA precisely because it didn’t fit with Darwin’s view of evolution.
But Wells made no such assertion. Wells explanation was thoughtful and circumspect. He explained that “According to Charles Darwin’s theory, all living things are descendants of common ancestors that have been modified solely by unguided natural processes that include variation and selection. In the modern version of his theory—neo-Darwinism— genes control embryo development, variations are due to differences in genes, and new variations originate in genetic mutations.”
In fact, Moran’s assertion that junk DNA can have nothing to do with evolution by natural selection is an overly simplistic, black-white version of the theory. While advocating natural selection Darwin’s book was full of examples of dysteleology, and the same is true of today’s literature. Those who view selection as more important tend to look for adaptive explanations, but that by no means absolutely rules out non adaptive explanations.
Moran also objects to Wells’ reference to Richard Dawkins and the concept of selfish DNA. Moran writes:
Dawkins was writing about selfish DNA when he wrote that passage in The Selfish Gene. Selfish DNA is not junk DNA. It has an adaptive purpose and a function. It is completely wrong to claim that Richard Dawkins was a big fan of junk DNA in the 1970s. Dawkins makes that very clear in The Extended Phenotype when he proposes various explanations for the extra DNA in our genome.
Completely wrong? Selfish DNA is not junk DNA? It has an adaptive purpose and a function? Dawkins proposes various explanations?
Once again, to the uninformed reader this criticism may seem damning. Most readers will not have read The Extended Phenotype and so will trust Moran. But again Moran’s criticisms are obvious canards to those more familiar with the material.
Dawkins does not propose various explanations for the extra DNA in our genome in The Extended Phenotype. He reviews a couple of concepts by way of introducing the selfish DNA concept which, contrary to Moran’s canard, does not have an adaptive purpose. Dawkins writes:
the thing to notice in the present context is that [adaptive explanations] are hypotheses made in the traditional mould; they are based on the idea that DNA, like any other aspect of an organism, is selected because it does the organism some good. The selfish DNA hypothesis is based on an inversion of this assumption: phenotypic characters are there because they help DNA to replicate itself 
Dawkins goes on to explain the concept of intragenomic selection that he views as selecting for selfish DNA:
“Intragenomic selection” can therefore lead to an increase in the amount of certain types of meaningless, or untranscribed, DNA, littered around and cluttering up the chromosomes. 
In other words, contrary to Moran’s canard, the selfish DNA concept did not include adaptive purpose and Dawkins did not propose various explanations.
These criticisms of Wells are not only unfounded, they come from Moran who, as an evolutionist, believes the world just happened to arise by chance. The entire biological world is a fluke that spontaneously arose. Indeed, Moran believes this is an obvious fact. After all, DNA, and the rest of this world, certainly would never have been designed:
It’s true that well-established bits of junk DNA—like known pseudogenes—have been effectively used to challenge the idea that our genome appears designed. Those examples remain powerful, and true, examples of evolution that cannot be explained by Intelligent Design Creationism. They have not been refuted and they have not been explained by the IDiots.
If it is true that junk DNA is impossible under creationism or design, then sure, they are probably “true” examples of evolution. But how does Moran know such truths? Metaphysical certainty is a dangerous thing. Religion drives science, and it matters.