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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God Don't Make No Junk

I recently saw a documentary about our DNA, and I heard something that I'd like to comment on. And this blog has always been "one Christian's view of the world"; I'm just an average person, only somewhat educated in Biology, who is evaluating and reacting to the everyday things that average people are exposed to. So I'm not claiming to have thoroughly researched this in technical scientific journals and such. This is just my reaction to what I heard on this particular BBC documentary, simply called "The Gene Code".

When Darwin developed the theory of Evolution, he reasoned along the lines that some species of animal have features in common with other species of animal. This is how we get the idea that man descended from apes. Apes have very similar bodies, it would appear, to human beings. This is what really drives the whole theory. So what happened when DNA was discovered? From a Christian perspective, I think it does serious damage to the theory of Evolution. It's nothing short of a miracle that all of our features are governed by this one "device", which is quite literally a language common to all life. However, Evolutionists stick to their guns and see DNA as responsible for all this evolution. When I have discussed evolution with other lay-people in the past, they have often explained to me that the similarity we find between species, such as humans and apes, correlates to the similarity between those species' DNA. But what I learnt on this documentary was that this isn't always the case.

There is a scene in the documentary in which the host is shown an array of quite diverse skulls. They had a number of them including a whale's skull, a hippo's, a crocodile's, a camel's, a tiny little bat's skull, and of course a human skull. Now according to Darwin's reasoning, animals which appear to have more in common ought to be more closely related. But it turns out, according to this documentary, that in terms of DNA the hippo was considered more closely related to the whale than to the camel! This was the example they used, and they acknowledged how completely unexpected this was. They were blind to the problem this poses for Evolution, but this evidence would be so unexpected to Darwin, I wonder whether he wouldn't have said, "Well, that just proves me plain wrong!"

What I learned was that all of those skulls were all constructed in the very same way. Apparently DNA works like this... All of those animals might have the exact same genes. Each would have the gene for a nose, for example. What makes the difference is the duration of time that gene is active during the development of the particular animal. While the nose gene is active, the nose is being "generated". The nose gene would be active for a short time in human beings, giving us a short nose, but for a longer time in a camel, giving it a long nose. To me, this suggests that every animal on the planet could have the exact same genome, and yet still look as diverse as they do; because it's not what genes you have, it's in this orchestration of when each gene "switches on and off".

But who or what is performing this orchestration? Is it God Himself? In a sense, I would say that it is. And that's based on the Bible, in a passage such as Psalm 139:13 which reads "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb." In what specific ways God is involved, I don't know, but it may simply be that He designed the DNA structure, and fore-ordained the DNA I would inherit. But the documentary goes on to talk about something which scientists call "Junk DNA". This is DNA which doesn't seem to have any purpose. Now, I recall a conversation I had once with an atheist chap. I asked him "Surely, according to Evolution, the living world should be full of features which have no real purpose, since some parts of us should be random mutations and such which haven't actually formed anything useful "yet". Why does everything have a function or a purpose?" Well, he suggested I consider nipples on a man... But, no, I think my point is still an important one. I think that even nipples on a man have a purpose - in relation to temperature control, I've heard. Often we may not have come to know or understand the purpose of something, but I believe that all physical features have a purpose. Even if we grant what must be at least 99.9% of features which are known to have a purpose, this is highly suggestive of a Designer-God. So I was not convinced that some 80% of our DNA is useless "junk". And the host of this documentary acknowledges this, agreeing with my opinion that we simply haven't discovered its purpose yet. And part of its purpose, he suggests, could be in this orchestration of when genes are switched on and off.

Yet another conversation I had with an atheist comes to mind. He argued, (parroting Dawkins), that theism hinders science because theists are content to simply say "God did it!" Of course, this isn't really true at all; there are few genuine examples of a Christian scientist resigning to the idea that "this is a mystery of God which we will never know." But on the other hand, the Evolutionist clearly expects (and should expect, if they are to be consistent with their world view) that some things simply have no function or purpose at all, and so write them off as "junk", ceasing further investigation. This is certainly a world view which hinders science. Of course, Evolutionists aren't consistent with their world view, which is why the host of this documentary was able to say that scientists now suspect that Junk DNA isn't junk after all. But this inconsistency demonstrates how they are essentially dishonest with themselves, accepting a world view which contradicts reality.

But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’ (Job 35:10-11)

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