Salvador seems to have successfully hijacked the early embryonic mutations thread and turned it into a discussion of junk DNA. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject of junk DNA. Why care?
Various strains of creationism hold that the earth and life started out perfect, then came the fall, and it all went downhill from there. Both young earth and old earth forms can easily accommodate the presence of junk in DNA. So the presence of junk DNA does not mitigate against the creationist position. But what of it’s absence?
Now perhaps it would appear to be nothing short of miraculous if it turned out that the genomes of organisms were mostly or completely functional or otherwise serve some identifiable purpose. But are we even close to being able to demonstrate that such is the case? Anywhere close at all? I think not. Thus the opportunity for much hot air and no end of people willing to spout it. We are far from having a complete understanding so perhaps a wait and see attitude is appropriate.
So arguments over how much DNA is junk and how much isn’t don’t serve much useful purpose in the debate. People aren’t going to be converted. If we simply must talk about junk DNA wouldn’t it be better just to discuss the implications one way or another? If neither side can make predictions that can be falsified what is the point? Ah. Pointless debate. Of course.
Does evolutionary theory predict junk DNA, and if so how much junk does it predict?
What does a phylogeny of junk DNA look like?
If it turned out that the genomes of organisms were mostly or completely functional or otherwise serve some identifiable purpose would evolutionary theory be falsified? My answer to that question is no, evolution would not be shown to be false.
The debate is mostly a waste of time. The irony. 🙂