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Another Intelligent Design Prediction Fulfilled: Function for a Pseudogene

Darwinists have long made an argument from ignorance, where our lack of present knowledge of the function for a given biological structure is taken as evidence that there is no function and the structure is merely a vestige of evolutionary history.  Darwinists have commonly made this mistake with many types of “junk” DNA, now known to have function.  In contrast, intelligent agents design objects for a purpose, and therefore intelligent design predicts that biological structures will have function.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Functionless structures may have been originally designed but were later rendered functionless by natural processes. For example, if you leave a laptop computer on the top of a mountain for 1000 years where it is exposed to the natural elements, it likely will no longer work. But that does not mean the laptop was not originally designed. In the same way, examples of loss-of-function in organisms may be best explained by natural processes of random mutation and natural selection. In this regard, features like functionless eyes on blind cave fish are probably best explained by Darwinian evolution. This poses no challenge to the validity of intelligent design in other cases. ID is far more interested in explaining the GAIN of biological function rather than loss of function.

Like other types of “junk” DNA, Darwinists have almost universally considered pseudogenes to be evolutionary garbage–once-functional genes that were rendered functionless by random mutations. But a recent article in Nature concludes the following:

“Our findings indicate a function for pseudogenes in regulating gene expression by means of the RNA interference pathway.”

The article of course seeks to retain an evolutionary interpretation of the data, but ID proponents find this scientific evidence unsurprising. To be sure, there are still pseudogenes for which no function is known, but it will be interesting to watch and see if future research crosses more and more pseudogenes off the list of “junk” DNA.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Junk DNApseudogene