The Discovery Institute has lately stopped posting about what they claim is actual evidence for intelligent design. Instead, they’ve been relying on analogies, their imaginary design filter, and their ever-reliable design intuition. But in the past, they used to claim that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. They insisted 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.
They’ve been quiet about junk DNA for the past six months, ever since some researchers deleted nearly half the genes of a microbe, creating a stripped-down version that still functions. That must have been devastating news. They tried to flip it around by claiming that it actually demonstrates intelligent design. Their effort was hilarious, and it inspired us to write Removing Junk DNA “Proves” Intelligent Design.
Since then the Discoveroids have avoided the issue, but they never abandoned their fantasy that the genome is perfect, from beginning to end. Today, however, they’ve ended their long silence. The latest post at their creationist blog is Surprise Grows Over Importance of Previously Dismissed Portions of the Genome. It has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
We’ve often pointed out how the collapse of the junk-DNA concept fulfills intelligent-design predictions while falsifying Darwinism. At the risk of being repetitive, it is important to keep reporting the latest evidence, for the benefit of holdouts.
Are you one of those holdouts, dear reader? Then pay attention, because this is for you. The Discoveroids say:
News from Duke University announces, “Variation in ‘Junk’ DNA Leads to Trouble.” Trouble, indeed: “unstable genomes, cancer, and other defects.” That’s what they found can happen when apparently worthless repetitive sequences around centromeres are varied.
This is the news story from Duke University: Variation in “Junk” DNA Leads to Trouble, sub-titled “Changes linked to unstable genomes, cancer and other defects.”
It’s risky to leap to conclusions based only on Duke’s headline, but it certainly suggests that a mutation occurring in a genome’s vast amount of junk could indeed be troublesome. Were that to happen, a sane creationist (if such exists) would have to wonder why the intelligent designer left all that potentially dangerous junk lying around — although it normally does nothing, if it gets scrambled it could harm the organism. Upon reading the news article, our initial reaction seems justified. It says:
Although variants are scattered throughout the genome, scientists have largely ignored the stretches of repetitive genetic code once dismissively known as “junk” DNA in their search for differences that influence human health and disease. A new study shows that variation in these overlooked repetitive regions may also affect human health. These regions can affect the stability of the genome and the proper function of the chromosomes that package genetic material, leading to an increased risk of cancer, birth defects and infertility.
The published paper appears in Genome Research: Genomic variation within alpha satellite DNA influences centromere location on human chromosomes with metastable epialleles. You can’t read it without a subscription, but the abstract concludes with this:
Our study demonstrates that genomic variation within highly repetitive, non-coding DNA of human centromere regions has a pronounced impact on genome stability and basic chromosomal function.
You’ve got to be wondering: How can the Discoveroids use that to support their “theory” of intelligent design? Stay with us and watch them try. After some selective quoting from the Duke article, they tells us:
This, then, constitutes an example of indirect support for function. What looks like a useless stretch of repetitive DNA cannot tolerate much variation.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Then why did the mystical designer put that potentially hazardous junk in the genome? The Discoveroids don’t consider that question. Instead, they rely on the finding that if it mutates, things might go wrong. That’s true of any part of the genome. It’s also true that mutations can occasionally be beneficial. But to the Discoveroids it means that the genome — including junk DNA — is perfectly designed and must remain just as it is. They conclude by saying this:
Yes, there’s function in the junk-tion, and it’s music to our ears.
If that’s the best the Discoveroids can do, then they’re wise to rely primarily on their design intuition. Other than the fact that it doesn’t get them anywhere, no one is going to dismantle it without probing their minds — and nobody wants to go there.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.