When I first got involved with the intelligent design debate in the late 1990s and early 2000s, one of the most common rebuttals we’d hear was, “If life was designed, then why is over 90 percent of the genome composed of junk DNA?” Critics thought this was a knock-down refutation of ID, and they used the argument frequently. But that was in the early days of genome sequencing, and very little was known at the time about non-coding DNA and whether it was truly junk or had useful and important functions.
Many thinkers in the ID movement felt it would be imprudent to concede that most of the genome was junk when science had not yet established that this was in fact the case. Our response was therefore, “We don’t really know what most of the genome is doing. It’s better to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Let’s find out where research goes in the future before we conclude that the genome is mostly junk.” It’s incredible to see how things have changed since that time…
What’s striking about this passage [dismissing the idea of a genome full of junk] is not only that the evidence for function in junk DNA is so overwhelming that they declare “The days of ‘junk DNA’ are over,” but also that these authors remember a day when “the common doctrine was that the nonprotein coding part of eukaryotic genome” consisted of “’useless’ sequences, often organized in repetitive elements.”Casey Luskin, “Scientific Paper on Repetitive Elements Slams “Junk DNA”” at Evolution News and Science Today October 7, 2021
Indeed. It won’t be very long before Darwinians start claiming that they never thought it was junk. Keep the history alive.
I remember those days as well. When I started the first IDEA Club at UC San Diego, we were hit over the head constantly with that “common doctrine” that non-coding DNA was junk, and we were told that it refuted intelligent design. But the authors go on to say that “This view has fundamentally changed.” I see no evidence that these authors are supportive of intelligent design. But it turns out we ID proponents were right all along to encourage critics to take a cautious “wait and see” approach, and let the evidence, rather than evolutionary “doctrine,” determine which paradigm was correct.Casey Luskin, “Scientific Paper on Repetitive Elements Slams “Junk DNA”” at Evolution News and Science Today October 7, 2021
If we don’t keep the history alive, the Darwinians will start insinuating that WE said it was junk. No, that doesn’t make any sense but if the history is forgotten, it doesn’t need to either.
You may also wish to read: Term “junk DNA” critiqued at journal. But now remember the history! “The days of ‘junk DNA’ are over…”? So the house is clearly supporting this move away from the Darwinian position. Oh yes, let’s not forget that “junk DNA” was very much a Darwinian position. Most or all of the Darwinian Bigs signed onto junk DNA as part of their thesis about the unguided nature of life. The big question will doubtless be put off for now: Why does it only count if Darwinian predictions are right but never if they are wrong?