Discoveroids Admit that Some Junk DNA Is Junk

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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13 responses to “Discoveroids Admit that Some Junk DNA Is Junk

  1. Those discoveroid “scientists” better watch out. First one tiny thing the blessed designer messed up and soon the whole edifice will come tumbling down.

  2. “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.”

    If I read their message correctly, the “we” appears to imply the Dishonesty Institute is somehow associated with this research, directly or indirectly, which I think is a totally false association.

  3. The fact that some of the RNA transcribed from DNA is used to regulate gene activity has been known for long time. So what, the 98% of DNA which is not used to make proteins is needed to regulate the 2% which does? Perhaps that absurdity is the real meaning of “design on a more colossal scale than anyone could have imagined.”

  4. Ted says: “So what, the 98% of DNA which is not used to make proteins is needed to regulate the 2% which does?”

    It’s like government. Two percent are doing the work, and 98% are regulating them.

  5. I expect the creationists to fully embrace junk DNA sooner or later. After all, think of it: if you come across a junkyard in the middle of the wilderness, you know it didn’t get there naturally. Some slovenly builder dumped it there. Ergo, junk DNA is proof of the existence of a Slovenly Designer. We see his grimy fingerprints on practically everything in nature!

  6. Paul D: Indeed, it’s clear that if there were a designer, he/she/it was both slovenly and not too bright. I like the Slovenly Designer term!

  7. “That’s a very big concession”
    Perhaps that’s why the Attack Gerbil left? The man stands for his principles! Sort of.

  8. Slightly OT: I listened to a DI interview between David Berlinski and Michael Denton. Here’s my favorite bit (NOTE: I cannot tell who said it since they didn’t introduce themselves):

    The question we should ask, with a certain amount of humility, I think, because we’re all intellectuals, we all are very vulnerable to the same temptation… temptations… assuming we’re just so smart that “We couldn’t be wrong”. The question we should ask is, “Is there a shrewd insight to that?” This deep, instinctive unwillingness to say that the human lineage goes back to simian ancestors. I’m not saying it doesn’t. Please, please understand it. I’m not making a judgement about current doctrine of human ancestry, although I think the story is infinitely more complicated than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History would acknowledge, but I say perhaps there was a very shrewd insight in this stubborn unwillingness to credit a story with insufficient evidence. And that pattern, I think, has persisted to the present day. There’s a rhetorical stability now. You have three sides. The public. Very skeptical by every, every estimate. The professional academy of Darwinian propagandists who spend all their time blogging about the glories of Darwinian theory and very little time doing anything else. And the critics. And we’ve reached a three-way point of equilibrium.

    To which I can only add, “Project much?”

  9. Cyano de Bacteregerac

    There is no junk DNA. There has never been an extinction. An intelligent designer wouldn’t waste stuff or design anything in vain. Oh, and the Heavens from the moon and up are fixed and unchanging. Supernova? What supernova? You shaddap or I’m gonna sic* the Inquisition on ya!

    * transit gloria mundi

  10. Absolutely brilliant, Gary. Jumping from this

    “assuming we’re just so smart that “We couldn’t be wrong”.

    to

    “Darwinian propagandists …. very little time doing anything else”

    is an excellent example of IDiot blinkers. Nothing like a good creacrap quote to cure me from my early morning mood. Thanks!

  11. One wonders just what creation “researchers” do besides propagandizing for Genesis. Attend Bible study, perhaps? Or maybe help build creationist “museums” or theme parks? And where is their money coming from? I can’t believe it all comes from small donations by blue-haired old ladies.

  12. “Consider the Polychaos dubium. The genome of that amoeba has 200 times more base pairs than ours. … What does that say about the work of the designer?”

    Hey — give the Grand Ol’ Designer credit. That level of microminiturization is really, really hard, you know?😉

  13. Charles Deetz ;)

    Ahh, give them a break! Just like science has to adjust according to the evidence, so do the DIdiots. This gem snuck in here for future referring links to prove they didn’t believe there couldn’t be junk in the junk DNA. Slowly fixing the doctrine the gerbil must have laid down.