Nils Reinton of The Sciphu Weblog has just posted an article entitled Junk, DNA, RNA, Brain, Biology and Possible Solutions.
Nils makes the point that biology is very complex and we may only have scratched the surface. He then writes,
New ideas, approaches and tools are needed to explain how this seemingly chaotic system works. Dismissing reasons for the obvious complexity using terms like “junk-DNA” is not going to get us anywhere.This statement combines two of my pet peeves. First, our use of the term "junk" DNA is not based on ignorance in spite of what Nils implies. We know, for example, that 50% of our genome consists of defective transposons. That looks like junk to me [Genomes & Junk DNA]. It makes me really, really annoyed when fellow scientists assume that junk DNA supporters are basing their entire argument on lack of knowledge about biology. Instead, it appears that the other side is the guilty party.
Instead, let’s start by acknowledging that we know very little. All we know is that function comes out of an apparent chaotic mixture of DNA protein and RNA. Let’s assume that everything is there for a reason. Without reason you loose hope and visions and those are qualities that science is vitally dependent upon.
Second, by explicitly stating that one should assume that everything is there for a reason, Nils is making the case for adaptationism. It's a weak case. Why should we assume, without evidence, that everything is an adaptation? Why not consider the possibility that it may have no function and proceed to investigate while keeping an open mind? [Adaptationomics] If becoming a pluralist makes you lose hope and visions then maybe you're in the wrong business.