But There is One Glaring ErrorEvolution has always had a love-hate relationship with biological junk. When scientists discover something new in biology but don’t understand it, evolutionists—who believe everything in the universe just happened to form by chance—decide it is a useless evolutionary leftover. Such a useless design is pressed into service as an evolution apologetic. Is not our useless and dangerous appendix yet another proof text of Darwinism? Later, when the function is eventually uncovered, evolutionists begrudgingly admit to it while maintaining that its clumsiness still proves evolution. As Richard Dawkins explained, in response to the growing knowledge of how well our “backward” retina works, “it is the principle of the thing that would offend any tidy-minded engineer!” Just because it works doesn’t mean it isn’t junk. And whatever function it luckily has is claimed as an evolutionary achievement—an obvious example of the power of natural selection.
Dan Graur’s entertaining talk on junk DNA, at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution this week, reminds us of this dynamic. The human genome must be full of junk DNA, indifferent DNA, garbage DNA and yes, Lazarus DNA (junk DNA that has gained some kind of function).
For our genome is small, low on genes, unoriginal and repetitive. Sure it is bigger than the genome of a bacteria and of the pufferfish, but it’s ten to a hundred times smaller than the lungfish and canopy plant genome.
If recent claims from the ENCODE project, that the human genome is mostly functional, turns out to be true, Graur points out, then the human genome would be the Goldilocks of biology. Not too hot, and not too cold (or in this case, not too small, and not too large). Just right.
ENCODE’s interpretation of the evidence must be wrong. In fact, if ENCODE isn’t wrong, then evolution is.
But ENCODE is wrong, the University of Houston molecular evolution expert concludes. Junk DNA is a known known.
And what is this evidence from ENCODE that our genome is mostly functional? It is that the cell’s copying machine, RNA polymerase, makes copies of it. But so what? Just because it is copied doesn’t mean it isn’t junk. What we have is not functional DNA but an over active, out-of-control copy machine. Apparently evolution’s natural selection didn’t mind this massive waste of cellular energy.
Perhaps so, but there is one glaring error in Graur’s otherwise excellent presentation. I assure you that the truth of evolution is not vulnerable to the status of junk DNA. Contrary to Graur, if ENCODE is right, that most assuredly will not mean that evolution is wrong.
If evolution can sustain the long history of false predictions that it has, then it will not be harmed by one more; namely, that there is more functional DNA than evolutionists would like. What is yet one more just-so story to a narrative so full of them?
Surely it won’t be a problem to explain that “Science has provided yet another surprise as we continue to learn how evolution worked. It turns out that most of the genome performs useful cellular functions, though as evolutionists point out, they are backwards and inefficient.”
Graur may or may not be correct that junk DNA is a known known, but for evolutionists, evolution is definitely a known known.