From Junk to Jewels

  Scientists are having to crack the genetic code all over again. Since the 1960s, scientists have known that the DNA molecule is like a written message--that it contains instructions for every living structure, from fish to flowers. But in higher organisms, the DNA code is broken up by sections of what looks like sheer nonsense--long DNA sequences that don't code for anything at all. Scientists have dubbed these sequences "junk" DNA. Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University, even uses junk DNA to attack the idea of divine creation. How could God have directly created us, Miller argues, if the human genome is littered with genetic trash? An intelligent Creator wouldn't write nonsense into our genes. But one researcher's junk can be another's jewels. At the same time Miller was attacking the notion of creation, other scientists were discovering that junk DNA does important work after all. It functions to correct errors and regulate genes, turning them on and off at appropriate times. Science is discovering that nonsense DNA actually makes very good sense. Who wrote the DNA code? It seems the foes of creation spoke too soon--and put their feet squarely in their mouths. As Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton argue in The Soul of Science, DNA actually provides remarkable evidence for creation, giving a new twist to the classic design argument. The classic argument goes like this: Suppose you discover a watch lying on the beach. Would you conclude that it was created by natural forces--by the wind and waves? Of course not. The type of structure we see in a watch is clearly the product of human intelligence. And if gadgets like watches require an intelligent origin, then so do living things. The design argument was presented nearly two hundred years ago by the English clergyman William Paley, and it rests on an analogy between the order found in manufactured gadgets and in living things. Later Charles Darwin attacked the design argument, countering that natural selection could create the same kind of order. And there the issue rested for more than a century. But today science offers a much more striking analogy than any Paley knew about--namely, the identical structure in written messages and the DNA molecule. Suddenly the design argument has become much more compelling. We could restate it this way: Suppose you discover not a watch but a book or computer disk on the beach. Are there any natural forces capable of creating written messages? None that we know of. Evolutionists say that the DNA molecule originated by purely physical-chemical forces. But that's like saying a book was written by chemical reactions in the paper and ink. Or that a computer program was created by the magnetic forces in a computer disk. Nonsense. The truth is that the DNA code is powerful scientific evidence that life is the product of intelligent design. It's an argument that is simple, easy to explain, and based solidly on ordinary experience. In all our experience, messages are written only by intelligent agents. That's why it's good news that "junk" DNA is not junk after all. Instead, it's bursting with information. Which is striking evidence that its message was "written" by an intelligent Being.


Chuck Colson


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