Pim Van Meurs has an excellent post at the Panda’s Thumb about junk DNA and ID. As he notes, many IDers like to crow every time an article appears that concludes that some portion of non-coding DNA has a previously unknown function. They do this to make one of two arguments: either that it shows that there is no such thing as junk DNA (an incredibly stupid argument) or that ID somehow “predicts” or “inspires” such findings (an even more stupid argument). But I want to point out a problem that Pim missed, an internal contradiction in the ID argument about junk DNA.
The existence of large amounts of non-coding DNA that becomes corrupted and useless through unexpressed mutations that can’t be weeded out through natural selection has long been an argument against ID creationism for a fairly obvious reason: it’s just bad design. Why would an all-powerful designer create genomes that are, in some cases, mostly made up of useless genes that don’t do anything? Evolution can explain it; if a gene gets switched off so it no longer expresses in the phenotype, through any number of well known processes, then it’s going to quickly mutate into total uselessness. But from a creationist standpoint, it’s hard to explain.
Now, the standard response to this has always been the same response given to all other instances of bad design, design that makes sense if one accepts a constrained process of natural evolution but makes no sense from the standpoint of an omnipotent designer working from scratch; the argument is that we can’t judge the goals of God (or “the unknown designer”), so we can’t know that bad design wasn’t the goal. Perhaps “the designer” (wink, wink) intended it that way (or, for the truly deluded, “it wasn’t that way before the Fall”).
But let’s think about this. If they actually mean that argument, what’s the point of crowing when someone finds that a particular bit of non-coding DNA has function, particularly if you’re going to claim, absurdly, that eventually all such DNA will be found to have a function? If you’re going to claim that ID “predicts” or “inspires” such findings, then you are implicitly agreeing with the argument that a designer wouldn’t create junk DNA, the very argument you denied was true previously.