Falsification of the Junk DNA Paradigm

     For many years evolutionary biologists have seized upon the belief that a large percentage of human DNA is non-functional. By the 1970's, it was commonly affirmed by leading biologists that the existence of so-called "junk DNA" provided powerful evidence of evolution.  Many proclaimed that the evolutionary model predicted such a phenomenon.

For example, University of Chicago geneticist Dr. Jerry A. Coyne offered philosophical arguments to defend his conclusion that human DNA was not intelligently designed. These arguments were founded on the existence of perceived worthless segments of genetic code. In defending evolution, he wrote,

"Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution... we expect to find, in the genomes of many species, silenced, or 'dead,' genes: genes that once were useful but are no longer intact or expressed. These are called pseudogenes... the evolutionary prediction that we'll find pseudogenes has been fulfilledamply. Indeed, our genomeand that of other speciesare truly well populated graveyards of dead genes" 

Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller wrote, 

"The human genome is littered with pseudogenes, gene fragments, "orphaned" genes, "junk" DNA, and so many repeated copies of pointless DNA sequences that cannot be attributed to anything that resembles intelligent design.... In fact, the genome resembles nothing so much as a hodgepodge of borrowed, copied, mutated, and discarded sequences and commands that has been cobbled together by millions of years of trial and error against the relentless test of survival."

     In both of these statements, it should be noted that the founding evidence for evolution is the philosophical belief that DNA does not appear intelligently designed.

     Evolutionary biologists believe that the driving mechanism of evolution has been incremental fine tuning of a mutated genetic code, made possible through natural selection through the ages. At the same time, it is concluded that natural selection has replaced 98% of the genome with useless leftovers that it has been incapable of eliminating. If the doctrine of natural selection is to be believed, it remains to be explained how natural selection is capable of creating millions of finely balanced intricacies of nature and is incapable of ridding the human genome of 98% of its baggage. Specifically, why would a mutated offspring which was endowed with a piece of junk DNA be favored by natural selection such that its newly mutated DNA replaced all non-mutated individuals in the population who had not been endowed with similarly useless information?   
     During the last twenty years, geneticists have documented massive evidence that non-protein coding DNA segments are indeed functional.


Dr. Jonathan Wells summarized these findings in this commentary:

"That view [junk DNA] has turned out to be spectacularly wrong. Since 1990and especially after completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003many hundreds of articles have appeared in the scientific literature documenting the various functions of non-protein coding DNA, and more are being published every week."


In reference to the collapse of the junk DNA paradigm, evolutionist Dr. John Mattick, director for the Institute of Molecular Bioscience (Queensland, Australia), wrote,

"The failure to recognize the full implications of this--particularly the possibility that the intervening noncoding sequences may be transmitting parallel information... may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of molecular biology."

     The evidence of the important functionality of what was previously referred to as "junk" is now undeniable. This is a profound blow to the entire theory of evolution. The greater the percentage of DNA that is shown to be functional, the weaker the evolutionary hypothesis becomes. With the progressive expansion of man's knowledge of the sophisticated integrated components and elaborate control systems of DNA, geneticists are becoming increasingly aware that any proposed naturalistic origin of the genetic code is unthinkable.

Evolutionary theorists have relied heavily on the existence of non-functional DNA to counter probability challenges to evolution. Also, the presumed large repository of "junk" DNA" has been cited to effectively deny the deterioration of the human genome. Although mutations occur with each generation, they were believed to occur mostly in non-functional segments and therefore have been considered to be irrelevant.            The existence of "junk DNA" is a mathematical necessity to justify the assumption that random mutations can result in purposeful changes in genetic code.

     What was proclaimed as "predicted" by evolution just a few years ago now is viewed by many biologists as evidentiary of intelligent design by virtue of the great complexity of the genetic code and the extreme difficulty of explaining its existence in terms of evolutionary mechanisms. Now that the junk DNA paradigm has been falsified, leading evolutionary biologists are attempting to disavow themselves of their previous predictions, claiming that evolution predicts any percentage of non-functional DNA. Although evolution is commonly declared to be a unifying principle of all fields of biology, this example demonstrates how rigid adherence to evolutionary dogma has obstructed man's understanding of fundamental principles of molecular biology.

     Failed predictions of a hypothesis should prompt careful re-evaluation of its fundamental premises.  It is a serious error to contrive ad hoc explanations for such unexpected results in the attempt to preserve a theory that cannot be supported by empirical observation.  The junk DNA paradigm unfortunately remains an icon of evolution. It is still widely propagated in popular science books and reviews, despite the fact that it has been invalidated and results published in numerous scientific journals.* This illustrates the embarrassing lack of objective peer review that is so characteristic of evolutionary biology today. Most evolutionary biologists are not re-evaluating their commitment to the general theory of evolution or even to the junk DNA paradigm, but continue searching for naturalistic explanations to account for observations. Such proposals only require one to accept even greater complexities of nature at the molecular level.

     One of the functions of DNA is that it encodes for proteins. This means that the sequencing of complex proteins is directed by DNA. The idea that most of DNA was “junk” was based on the assumption that segments of DNA that did not direct protein synthesis were useless. This conclusion was drawn in plain view of the fact the encoding of proteins only represents one small aspect of the genesis of complex living organisms. Proteins themselves have no ability to oversee and direct many biologic processes. The shape of a person’s skull, the complex integrated circuitry of the brain, subtle traits such as the sound of one's voice, the creation of instinctive behavior, the direction of cell differentiation and numerous other vital biologic processes are all controlled by DNA. The same voices that proclaimed that DNA controls homosexual behavior and every other conceivable human trait also believe that all non-protein-encoding DNA segments are useless.