Now that Casey is gone from the Discovery Institute, there’s no one was left to carry on his lonely crusade against junk DNA. As you know, the Discovery Institute has been claiming that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. They insist that the genome is perfectly designed, without flaws, and every little scrap of it is designed to be functional. That’s because their transcendental designer — blessed be he! — wouldn’t do it any other way.
The Discoveroids went bonkers over the ENCODE project. Casey posted Our Top 10 Evolution-Related Stories: #1, ENCODE Project Buries “Junk DNA”. We wrote about it here: The Discoveroids’ Top Story for 2012. Since then there have been studies that continue to confirm the fact that most of our genome is junk (see Hey Casey! Our Genome Is 93% Junk), but the Discoveroids have never abandoned their fantasy that the genome is perfect, from beginning to end.
As research into our genome continues, some regions of non-coding DNA have been found to be useful, but not very many. Each time that happens, the Discoveroids claim they were right all along. Today is different, however. Although some new research has found another functional tidbit in our junk DNA, and the Discoveroids are crowing about it, they seem to be receding from their original claim that our genome is perfect.
Their post, which has no author’s byline, is Junk DNA: Is Preventing Breast Cancer a Function?. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Each time a function is found for a piece of non-coding DNA, the “junk DNA” myth gets more mythological.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:
Here’s a function that has been revealed for a certain long, non-coding transcript of DNA into RNA (lncRNA). It helps prevent breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
They’re talking about this, from the University of Bath: ‘Junk’ DNA plays role in preventing breast cancer, which says:
Now a team of scientists from Bath, Cambridge and the USA has identified a piece of non-coding RNA – transcribed from a stretch of DNA that doesn’t code for a protein – that stops cells turning cancerous.
That’s very nice, but: (a) statistically, it’s trivial compared to the Discoveroids’ claim that all DNA was designed to be useful; and (b) like all useful research, it wasn’t done by the Discoveroids.
We’ll skip over the technical details of this research, and the Discoveroids’ retelling thereof, to focus on their reaction to the news. They tell us:
As we have reported often, some members of the evolution side of the debate expect most of the DNA is junk. The design side expects that much of it (but not necessarily all) is functional. Thanks to this research, we have a new case that may point the way to future discoveries.
That “not necessarily all” phrase tucked into parentheses is what we found particularly interesting. The Discoveroids are retreating from their original claim that our DNA is perfect. Now they are willing to accept that much of what has been considered junk may indeed be junk. That’s a very big concession, and it leaves open the question of why the designer put any junk in our genome.
It also leaves us with the question of why there are other organisms — regarded as less complicated that we are — that have genomes far larger than ours. Consider the Polychaos dubium. The genome of that amoeba has 200 times more base pairs than ours. And then there’s the humble onion, which has a genome that is five times larger than ours. What does that say about the work of the designer?
Okay, back to the Discoveroids’ post for one last excerpt:
It has become increasingly clear that non-coding parts of the genome play vital roles in regulating the coding parts. … How cool is it to find a code that codes for products that regulate the amount of products in other parts of the code? Not only do we see function emerging for the non-coding regions, we see design on a more colossal scale than anyone could have imagined.
How cool is it? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And how about their claim that “we see design on a more colossal scale than anyone could have imagined.” Hey — that’s cool!
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