March 26, 2024 | David F. Coppedge

Rethink of Genetics Supports ID over Darwinism

Out with junk DNA.
Out with the Central Dogma.
Make way for design thinking.


Let’s begin with the money quote from the press release we are looking at today:

Amazing FactsThe human body is among the most complex pieces of machinery to exist. Every time you so much as scratch your nose, you’re using more intricate engineering than any rocket ship or supercomputer ever designed. It’s taken us centuries to deconstruct how this works, and each time someone discovers a new mechanism, a few more mysteries of human health make sense—and new treatments become available.

Surely there must be a follow-up statement about evolution in this academic press release, right? Maybe a pinch of incense to Father Charlie? Not this time.

Surprise discovery shakes up our understanding of gene expression (University of Chicago, 22 Jan 2020). It’s an older press release than we usually report on, admittedly, but it’s too good to pass up. Four years ago, one of America’s most prestigious universities announced, “a group of University of Chicago scientists has uncovered a previously unknown way that our genes are made into reality.”

The quote above comes from Professor Chuan He, “a world-renowned chemist.” In 2011, Professor He was involved in the discovery that RNA methylation helped regulate DNA. This was contrary to the Central Dogma of biochemistry: DNA makes RNA makes protein. The Central Dogma considered DNA the mastermind of life. The field of epigenetics has changed all that.

He’s team found that the molecules called messenger RNA, previously known as simple couriers that carry instructions from DNA to proteins, were actually making their own impacts on protein production. This is done by a reversible chemical reaction called methylation; He’s key breakthrough was showing that this methylation was reversible. It wasn’t a one-time, one-way transaction; it could be erased and reversed.

That discovery launched us into a modern era of RNA modification research, which has really exploded in the last few years,” said He. “This is how so much of gene expression is critically affected. It impacts a wide range of biological processes—learning and memory, circadian rhythms, even something so fundamental as how a cell differentiates itself into, say, a blood cell versus a neuron.”

The remainder of the press release discusses how Professor He’s lab is working on projects to use what they have learned for applications in medicine.

He’s team discovered that a group of RNAs called chromosome-associated regulatory RNAs, or carRNAs, was using the same methylation process, but these RNAs do not code proteins and are not directly involved in protein translation. Instead, they controlled how DNA itself was stored and transcribed.

“This has major implications in basic biology,” He said. “It directly affects gene transcriptions, and not just a few of them.”

It’s time to admit that genes are not the blueprint for life (Denis Noble, Nature book review, 5 Feb 2024). More recent than the above, this article also dismantles the Central Dogma. It’s a book review by Denis Noble, one of the founders of the “Third Way of Evolution” that is trying to seek alternatives to classical Neo-Darwinism. Noble, a strong critic of Richard Dawkins’s “selfish gene” dogma, reviews Phillip Ball’s new book, How Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology (Macmillan 2024). Although the book review is behind Nature‘s paywall, we can get an idea of its contents from Casey Luskin’s review of it on Evolution News (16 Feb 2024). Luskin says,

Now another groundbreaking article in Nature by Oxford emeritus biologist Denis Noble is calling for a major “rethink” of biology by charging that “It’s time to admit that genes are not the blueprint for life” because this “view of biology often presented to the public is oversimplified and out of date.” Noble is reviewing a new book, How Life Works, by Philip Ball.

This is not to say that genes aren’t important for life — of course they are. It’s that they aren’t the fundamental blueprint that controls an organism. In fact, in a surprising twist, Noble argues that it’s the organism that controls the genome!

This article is also discussed by Stephen Meyer and James Tour in a YouTube conversation on Tour’s channel dated 22 March 2024, starting at minute 16:00. They express how discoveries of multiple codes and layers of regulators have overturned the simplistic views of genomics from the 1950s and 1960s. Such discoveries, they argue, are favorable to intelligent design and present overwhelming challenges to Darwinian evolution.

Denis Noble and his brother Ray can be watched in an interview with Perry Marshall in the YouTube channel Evolution 2.0, dated 22 Oct 2024. They argue for existence of purposefulness and agency in the study of life.

Today the Discovery Institute released an article and video reviewing the history of the myth of Junk DNA (Evolution News, 26 March 2024). The video begins by saying that the success of a theory can be measured by its predictions. Evolutionists predicted that 98% of our genome would be useless junk DNA left over from millions of years of tinkering. ID advocates believed functions would be found for the non-protein-coding regions—and they were right. Evolutionists have had to face a reckoning for Darwinism as “junk DNA” flopped.

The take-home is that serious biologists seem to be at the leading edge of shifts away from Darwinism and toward design. It’s not sufficient, but necessary, as a step toward a Kuhnian revolution in science that would be favorable to intelligent design and the existence of a Creator God.


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