'Junk DNA'

All junk, no junk, who’ll give a buck for junk – thoughts on junk DNA

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It looks like Francis Collins’ famed “junk DNA” – that proves Darwinism – is not junk after all. And that an ID theorist predicted we would find that. Of course, because Darwinism must be correct, a fact can only confirm it, never disconfirm it.  So it makes no difference that the Darwinists were wrong and an ID guy was right. Watch the spin, but not so close you get dizzy.

Meanwhile, a question arises: If design is real, must all DNA be functional? I don’t see why that should necessarily be so. A designed system may accumulate junk. A well-designed system accumulates much less junk. So if design is real, we should see a system with only a small amount of junk, and the reason for it is inevitability.

Think about your own closet, a designed system (if you are not an utter slob), and you will see what I mean:

Possible classifications of junk that is not trash:

1. I will need it later, but it seems like junk now (snow shovel).

2. I may need it later, and it seems like junk now (snorkel).

3. I will likely never need it but the by-laws require me to have one (50 litre bottle of water).

4. I can’t imagine needing this but you never know (hibachi and charcoal bricks).

5. I don’t need it but it is too much trouble/expense to get rid of (awkward shelves built into the wall).

6. I used to need it but can’t make up my mind to get rid of it yet (clothes from younger days).

7. I don’t need it but it has intrinsic value. (The bread machine my sister left here when she moved.)

8. Stuff I was planning to give to the Sally Ann, in a bag, but they haven’t called by yet.

9. Trash. (Candy wrappers on the floor, the pink second copies of the dry cleaner’s invoices (never detached), dead house fly.)

So far, the volume of trash in a reasonably well-organized person’s closet is comparatively small, by mass.

(Note: For these purposes, if your attachment to any object is sentimental, we will assume you do need it, so it doesn’t count as junk even if no one else  can figure out its function. 😉 But we aren’t likely to find that in the genome, so we will drop it from consideration.)

My drift is that if design is correct, what we should ultimately see in the genome is – apart from items that do have a function now – mostly items that apparently do not presently have a function but turn out to have one, under a category such as those above, and others that readers may suggest.

23 Replies to “All junk, no junk, who’ll give a buck for junk – thoughts on junk DNA

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Yes, but if my closet, or this room, or my apartment, or my office, is messy, I can blame it on ENTROPY!

    Poor design not required.

    If you’re a child, and you’re told to clean up your room, ask those ignorant parents of yours if they have not heard of the law of entropy.

    To be sure, if you clean up your room, the rest of the universe can only get messier. Isn’t that even worse than the contribution you’d be making to global warming?

    The more work I do, or the harder I work, the sooner the end must come!

    At’s a law of nature, don’t you know.

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Funny you should mention this. Just today I was working on a computational project which involves CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) using an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) solver. The current project involves using ALE/FSI (Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian/Fluid Structure Interaction) concepts.

    I pulled up some of my old code in an effort to modify it for this project. Unfortunately, the old code, which worked marvelously in another computational domain, contained some “junk” which I had to tediously remove because it was completely inapplicable to the current project, and caused catastrophic side-effects.

    Keeping obsolete junk around in a computer program guarantees disaster, and, since life is obviously based on the most sophisticated computational algorithms ever devised, an accumulation of junk code would be the equivalent cyanide poisoning.

    By the way, the great mathematicians — Lagrange (1736 – 1813), and Euler (1707 – 1783) — figured out all the math used in ALE computation, which is why it is named after them.

    Three hundred years ago these great minds figured this stuff out.

    The miracles of random mutation and natural selection never cease to amaze.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Funny you should mention this. Just today I was working on a computational project which involves CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) using an FEA (Finite Element Analysis) solver. The current project involves using ALE/FSI (Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian/Fluid Structure Interaction) concepts.

    None of that stuff is real. You, sir, are from another planet, and it is plainly obvious that your first language is not English, which merely further establishes the fact that you are an ALIEN!

    Dear reader. Even more important than protecting hearth and home must be the requirement that you protect your MINDS from these insidious messengers of Satan.

    GilDodgen + Denyse O’Leary = 666.

    The confluence of these two messengers has been foretold from of old and is a sure sign that the end is near. (+ or – 8 trillion years).

    And UD does not mean Uncommon Descent but rather Ultimate Destruction. OF YOUR SOUL!

    RESIST!

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    By the way, the great mathematicians — Lagrange (1736 – 1813), and Euler (1707 – 1783) — figured out all the math used in ALE computation, which is why it is named after them.

    Sure, take all the fun out of life.

    For you, Lagrange is some eye tal eye nan fo rhine er. For me, la grange is a ZZ Top song.

    On the basis of American exceptionalism alone I win.

  5. 5
    ellazimm says:

    What about the sections of DNA where different individuals have different number of repeated sections? Used in DNA identification procedures I believe. If you and I have different amounts then it can’t be functional. Could it have been functional at one time?

    Oh, and, is the number of repeats then ‘information’?

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Oh, and, is the number of repeats then ‘information’?

    No. A repeat does not add information.

  7. 7
    ellazimm says:

    Mung: But, if an extra repeat allows us to distinguish between people who are and are not descendants of a particular individual then it IS information. It would have to be.

  8. 8
    JGuy says:

    @GilDodgen

    I like your comment on the guys from three hundred years ago. This is the kind fo stuff that amazes me…today, we think we (conditioned society) are so much more civlized and evolved.. bah!.. I say, you take the most intelligent person three hundred years ago, and put him in all the same schools as today’s most intelligent person. I’d put my bets on the less degenerate genes/mind of 300 years ago.

    It also resonates well with me, as a young earth creationist. I hold a persuased view that the neanderthals were the generatiosn after Noah that lived hundreds of years. Check out hte book “Buried Alive”, you can see evidecne of this in their skull features (e.g. slow aging, evidence of long lives by certain parts of the skulls bing thicker, better teeth pulp, and other evidence of less degenerate genetics such as more effective digestive enzymes)…not to mention 10% larger brian capacity! I know I know… but just saying. 😀 So, I woudn’t take offense if someone called me a neanderthal.

  9. 9
    junkdnaforlife says:

    i rip out java, nested div tags etc from the body of websites, sometimes i leave part of the code in the head, or in the style sheet if i think i may bring back the function, css at a later time.
    if 50,000 years from now, some scientists looked through my css they would find non-functioning #div tags etc, assume that my website evolved, and hold it up like a trophy to taunt religious people with.

  10. 10
    JGuy says:

    @junkdnaforlife

    Good point. Perhaps, with certain environmental stimuli, supposed junkdna will show itself to actually be useful at providing tools for adaptation(if neccessary).

    Something akin to epigenetics. Reminds me of an Discover magazine article on epigenetics that said somethign like ‘Lamark is has the last laugh’ (referring to genes that were triggered into action by the environment – in that case food given to a mouse).

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Oh, and, is the number of repeats then ‘information’?

    No. A repeat does not add information.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    If design is real, must all DNA be functional? I don’t see why that should necessarily be so.

    I also don’t think that all DNA must currently be functional in order for DNA to have been designed. Who knows, perhaps the intent is that it have future functionality.

    Perhaps it had functionality in the past and the designer is just too lazy to come in and clean it up.

    I think the “junk DNA” = not designed relies on a view that the DNA was created last Tuesday and should therefore be perfect.

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    What about the sections of DNA where different individuals have different number of repeated sections? Used in DNA identification procedures I believe. If you and I have different amounts then it can’t be functional. Could it have been functional at one time?

    I agree it could have been functional at one time, but I disagree that simply having different amounts allows us to conclude that it’s non-functional.

    Perhaps the different amounts merely control a change in quantity or rate of production of some other DNA, in which case it’s not a question of whether there’s a product but rather the question becomes how much.

    if an extra repeat allows us to distinguish between people who are and are not descendants of a particular individual then it IS information. It would have to be.

    I would have to argue that the information is in the missing sequence in the individual that did not have the repeat.

    It’s the absence that is informative.

  14. 14
    ellazimm says:

    Mung: Well, it sounds like exploring your contention that the differing amounts might control a change in quantity or rate of production would be a good area of research!!

    Okay, so adding a repeat is NOT adding information . . . I can see your argument . . . I think . . . The information is in having a missing sequence/repeat because . . . the DNA change was losing a repeat not gaining one? Don’t let me put words in your mouth. Please clarify. This is very interesting.

    It’s tricky I think . . . we can distinguish between lines of descent because of different number of repeated non-functional (?) DNA sequences . . . . Is one more OR one less repeat classified as added information dependent on what the original/base/source number of repeats are/were?

    It reminds me of a basic math problem I used to give my students: If a stock rises from $100 a share to $125 a share that’s a 25% increase. If it then drops back to $100 what the % drop? So many people get that wrong.

    Interesting . . .

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    ok, I was joking about a repeated sequence not being information. 🙂

    Actually your original question was about the number of repeats.

    …is the number of repeats then ‘information’?

    I would say that it can be. Or that fewer repeats can be.

    Sometimes it’s more difficult to remember to look for what’s missing, say in an argument, it could be the thing not stated that can be most informative.

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    it sounds like exploring your contention that the differing amounts might control a change in quantity or rate of production would be a good area of research!!

    I can’t take credit for it though, lol.

    I’m reading the Jonathan Wells’ book on Junk DNA and that’s where I came across the idea. And yes, it’s an active area of current research.

  17. 17
    ellazimm says:

    Mung: lots to research and explore. This is good.

    Yes, what’s not indicated sometimes IS the story. But how to quantify or qualify that . . . Easy if there’s an accepted format or nomenclature. Or is it? If a person doesn’t answer the Sex question on a form what conclusion can you draw? On the other hand if a job reference says: was very creative in his approach to his work then you may be justified in reading well into that.

    I’m going to have to think about this number or repeats issue. I wish I was better at thinking.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Does information tell us what a thing is, or what it is not?

    Twenty Questions

    Animal, Mineral, Vegetable

    Do you get more information when you are told it’s not Animal, or when you’re told that it is Mineral, and why?

  19. 19
    GilDodgen says:

    Mung: You, sir, are from another planet, and it is plainly obvious that your first language is not English, which merely further establishes the fact that you are an ALIEN!

    I’ve been discovered! My first language is a combination of music, soul-searching, and logic, so you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    I am an alien, because my interest in mathematics, engineering, and computation has convinced me that Darwinism is a huge pile of transparently obvious pseudo-scientific crap.

    I am an alien from another planet and proud of it! Where is the tolerance for us, from the Darwinists, who espouse tolerance as the highest virtue but persecute aliens like me from another planet?

    Must I end up like Klaatu, the victim of mindless people who kill peaceful aliens from other planets?

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Mung says:

    Is klaatu edible?

  22. 22
    O'Leary says:

    I’m the other half of 666, and normally inhabit a troll-free planetary system.

    I’m just hear on intergalactic business.

    You can imagine what my first encounter with trolls was like. They can’t remember it, due to ringing in the ears and sudden fits of the shakes. 😉

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    A troll free universe is also a universe free of magic! 🙂

    666 is the sole property of Antichrists Unlimited and any connection between 666 and any individual living or dead is strictly prohibited!

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