Meyer's book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, is an attempt to present Intelligent Design Creationism as genuine science. I'll have more to say about this later but for now I want to concentrate on one particular aspect of his case.
Mayer claims that one requirement of a genuine scientific theory is the ability to make falsifiable predictions. Does Intelligent Design Creationism make such predictions? Yes, one of the predictions is that genomes will not contain very much junk DNA. It will be instructive to see how Intelligent Design Creationists handle this issue, especialy since I've just finished a thorough review of The Myth of Junk DNA by Jonathan Wells.
Here's what Meyer says about junk DNA.
Consider the case of so-called junk DNA—the DNA that does not code for proteins found in the genomes of both one-celled organisms and multicellular plants and animals. The theory of intelligent design and materialistic evolutionary theories (both chemical and biological) differ in their interpretation of so-called junk DNA. Since neo-Darwinism holds that new biological information arises as a result of a process of mutational trial and error, it predicts that nonfunctional DNA would tend to accumulate in the genomes of eukaryotic organisms (organisms whose cells contain nuclei). Since most chemical evolutionary theories also envision some role for chance interactions in the origin of biological information, they imply that nonfunctional DNA would have similarly accumulated in the very first simple (prokaryotic) organisms—as a kind of remnant of whatever undirected process first produced functional information in the cell. For this reason, most evolutionary biologists concluded upon the discovery of nonprotein-coding DNA that such DNA was "junk." In their view, discovery of the nonprotein-coding regions confirmed the prediction or expectation of naturalistic evolutionary theories and disconfirmed an implicit prediction of intelligent design.As I explained in my review of Wells' book, this historical description differs substantially from the truth (i.e. it's a lie). It is not true that neo-Darwinists, or any other advocates of evolution, "predicted" that junk DNA would accumulate in eukaryotic genomes. It is not true that the "discovery" of nonprotein-coding DNA "confirmed the prediction or expectation of naturalistic evolutionary theories." Lots of nonprotein-coding DNA was known to have a function even as far back as 1970.
It's not even true that the presence of true junk DNA (as opposed to nonprotein-coding DNA) was a prediction of evolutionary theory. It looks like Meyer is just parroting the views of Jonathan Wells without applying the requisite skepticism and critical thinking.
As Michael Shermer argues, "Rather than being intelligently designed, the human genome looks more and more like a mosaic of mutations, fragmented copies, borrowed sequences, and discarded strings of DNA that were jerry-built over millions of years of evolution." Or as Ken Miller argues: "The critics of evolution like to say that the complexity of the genome makes it clear that it was designed .... But there's a problem with that analysis, and it's a serious one. The problem is the genome itself: it's not perfect. In fact, it's riddled with useless information, mistakes, and broken genes .... Molecular biologists actually call some of these regions 'gene deserts,' reflecting their very nature." Or as philosopher of science Philip Kitcher puts it, "If you were designing the genomes of organisms" you would not fill them up with junk."Shermer, Miller, Kitcher ... don't those names sound familiar? It's the same cast of characters that Wells refers to in his book. What they're saying is that, based on scientific evidence, some genomes have lots of junk DNA and this doesn't fit with the idea of Intelligent Design Creationism. They are correct.
ID advocates advance a different view of nonprotein-coding DNA. The theory of intelligent design predicts that most of the nonprotein-coding sequences in the genome should perform some biological function, even if they do not direct protein synthesis. ID theorists do not deny that mutational processes might have degraded or "broken" some previously functional DNA, but we predict that the functional DNA (the signal) should dwarf the nonfunctional DNA (the noise), and not the reverse. As William Dembski explained and predicted in 1998: "On an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function." The discovery in recent years that non-protein coding DNA performs a diversity of important biological functions has confirmed this prediction. It also decisively refutes prominent critics of intelligent design—including Shermer Miller and Kitchener—who have continued to argue (each as recently as 2008) that the genome is composed of mostly useless DNA.There you have it. Intelligent Design Creationism is a valid scientific theory because it makes a falsifiable prediction. It predicts that most of our genome will contain functional sequences and only a small amount can be junk.
This prediction has been falsified. Most of our genome is junk. I wonder how long it's going to take before the IDiots realize that they've hitched their theory to a falling star. I wonder how they're going to handle the truth when it finally dawns on they that they are wrong. (I expect a lot of backpeddaling and no outright admission that their "scientific theory" has been falsified.)
Contrary to their claims, recent scientific discoveries have shown that the nonprotein-coding regions of the genome direct the production of RNA molecules that regulate the use of the protein-coding regions of DNA. Cell and genome biologists have also discovered that the supposedly "useless" nonprotein-coding regions of the genome: (1) regulate DNA replication, (2) regulate transcription, (3) mark sites for programmed rearrangements of genetic material, (4) influence the proper folding and maintenance of chromosomes, (5) control the interactions of chromosomes with the nuclear membrane (and matrix), (6) control RNA processing, editing, and splicing, (7) modulate translation) (8) regulate embryological development, (9) repair DNA, and (10) aid in immunodefense of fighting disease among other functions. In some cases, "junk" DNA has even been found to code functional genes.What an impressive list! Unfortunately for Meyer, none of these functional regions of DNA were ever thought to be junk. Collectively they account for only a few percent of the genome. He probably got all of his scientific information from a fellow IDiot—I wonder who?
Overall, the nonprotein-coding regions of the genome function much like an operating system in a computer that can direct multiple alterations simultaneously. Indeed, far from being "junk," as materialistic theories of evolution assumed, the nonprotein-coding DNA directs the use of other information in the genome, just as an operating system directs the use of the information contained in various application programs stored in a computer. In any case, contrary to the often heard criticism that the theory makes no predictions, intelligent design not only makes a discriminating prediction about the nature of "junk DNA"; recent discoveries about nonprotein-coding DNA confirm the prediction that it makes.Oops, sorry to disappoint you Stephen Meyer, but you're dead wrong about the facts. The Intelligent Design Creationism prediction has been falsified. Our genome is full of junk DNA. The evidence has allowed us to discriminate between evolution and "God did it." Guess who lost?
Take your friend Jonathan out for a beer, You're both going to need it.