Evolutionists applauded the “discovery” of “junk” DNA, which they thought represented leftover and now non-functioning DNA from our evolutionary ancestors. After all, why would an Intelligent Designer pack our genes with worthless DNA? No, a Designer would never have done such a thing! Only the undirected processes of evolution could explain this.
However, the Encore project (2012), a consortium of 400 international scientists, found little evidence for junk or leftover DNA:
- “These data [of their
research conducted over the year] enabled us to assign biochemical
functions to 80 percent of the genome, in particular outside of the
well-studied protein-coding regions [and into what had once been regarded
as ‘junk’].” Ewan Birney, ENCODE’s lead analyst, explained in Discover Magazine that since ENCODE
studied 147 types of cells, and the human body has a few thousand cell
types, “it’s likely that 80 percent will go to 100 percent. Another senior
ENCODE researcher noted that “almost every nucleotide is associated with a
function.” A headline in Science
declared, “ENCODE project writes eulogy for junk DNA.” (Casey Luskin, Salvo Magazine, Winter 2014, 52-53)
What is the significance of their findings? It’s a major blow to the theory of evolution and support for Design (ID)!
However, it is not just IDers who regard these findings as vindication. Atheist and biologist Dan Graur also admits their profound impact:
- If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCORE project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function. If ENCODE is right, then Evolution is wrong. (54)
Graur understands that the stakes are high, but is hoping – perhaps even praying - that ENCODE will eventually be proved wrong.