The absolute friggin’ MIRACLE of “Junk DNA”

This week, 440 scientists from 32 labs published years of collaborative research, going far deeper into the human genome than ever before. The ENCODE project is publishing their encyclopedia of DNA. Conclusion Numero Uno was:

“Junk DNA” is an obsolete term.

For decades, up to 98% of our DNA was said to be useless leftovers from eons of random mutations. But now the New York Times reports quite the opposite:

“The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave.”

The article describes brand new implications for fighting diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis. Because of this, a more fitting term for the mysterious regions of DNA that don’t code for proteins is “dark matter,” a term borrowed from astronomy. In astronomy, dark matter is the target of intense investigation.

Extreme Darwinists have taken extreme offense at this. Larry Moran, a biologist at the University of Toronto, complains: “I’m up to my ears trying to convince sane people that the ENCODE papers are wrong….junk DNA is alive and well. In fact almost 90% of our genome is junk.”

Now… in my humble opinion, every scientist’s job is to find out why living things have certain features. And determine what they do. I don’t see how Larry or anyone else can do their jobs properly when they start out by assuming that 90% of anything in our bodies is “junk.”

But let’s set that aside for a minute. Let’s give Larry Moran the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say 90% of our DNA really is junk.

Since human DNA contains 750 megabytes of data (same as a CD), and if 90% is junk, then the remaining 10%, the only part that actually does anything, is 75 megabytes.

Did you catch the olympics and the incredible athletes? DNA contains most (though not all) of the instructions for building those amazing bodies. Gymnasts, dancers, sprinters, weightlifters, human machines in top condition, living works of art.

This means all of the plans for building their eyes, ears, legs, brains, hearts, muscles, circulatory and nervous systems – all the instructions for 200 different kinds of tissue, fit in a 75 megabyte file.

WOW. A Youtube video of the British women cyclists breaking a world speed record takes more hard drive space than that.

Windows 8 occupies 16,000 megabytes – 20X more than the human genome. Mac OS needs 5,000 megabytes, that’s 7X more space than the human genome. I don’t know anybody thinks Windows 8 is more impressive than an Olympic athlete. Macs are great, but they’re not as durable or versatile as the guys who built them.

Holy mackerel Batman, those scant 75 megabytes that actually do something must employ the World’s. Most. Amazing. Data Compression Scheme. Ever.

When I foolishly assumed the Human Genome was 1/20th the size of Windows 8, I was impressed. But now that I’ve learned from Larry Moran that it’s actually 1/200th the size of Windows 8, I’m friggin’ astonished.

Thank you Mr. Moran. Your faith in miracles has certainly strengthened mine.

Perry Marshall

7 Responses

  1. God Chaser says:

    As to be expected, Larry Moran is calling the 440 reputable scientists who wrote the 30 independent papers, a bunch of idiots who don’t know what they are doing, and that they are providing ammo for “Creationists”

    • John R Wallis says:

      Hi Perry,

      You think you are on to a hot potato, with the issues pertaining to;
      It’s the question of Evolution and the Origin of Life.

      Try the a real hot potato that will have you driven out of most churches today;
      “The Trinity”.

      If you want to really test your thinking ability, then, take an honest look at the doctrine of the trinity, for a doctrine is all it is.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      John R Wallis

  2. Sabina98 says:

    Dear Mr. Marshall,
    First, I want to apologize for leaving my comment here, in “The absolute friggin’ MIRACLE of “Junk DNA””, because it is about “Why the Big Bang was the most precisely planned event in all of history”.. By unknown to me reasons, I could’t leave comment on that page.. But I still hope, you will answer my question..

    You explained the “infinite universe” theory like there is an infinite number of
    universes where everything is possible, where there is reality samilar to ours.. That there could be/could exist same people like here, in this world, but with different actions, right(I am sorry if I didn’t understand you well..)? So, my question is:
    Is it really possible that somewhere deep in other unverse/universes there are we- like people with the same look like here (in our world), but with different actions? Does it mean then, that something that we call “reality” does not exist? Because, if there is so many different “realities” in other universes, aren’t we just some possibilities of one reality, not the true reality, just possibility?
    And I have one more question.. If there are so much possibileties, is it possible that somewhere in one universe there are same WE- like people with same look and actions? And if there are, what are the purposes for us to exist then? What are the purposes for existance of 2 same (for example) Elvises that don’t kick their drug habbits? Aren’t then these 2 universes parallel to each other? Can universes be parallel?

    I am again apologizing for leaving my comment on unappropriate place..

    I am 14 and I am really sorry if I didnt’t understand you well or understood in a wrong way the “infinite universe” theory..

    Hope You will answer my questions..

    • Personally I think that the idea that there is an infinite number of other universes is ridiculous. There’s no known way to prove it one way or the other; it’s like claiming that you were created 2 minutes ago with all your memories intact, or that you’re the only person in the world and everyone else is just a figment of your dream.

      But there are people who say there’s an infinite number of other universes and we just happen to live in one of the ones where everyone turned out nicely.

      Such theories are generally motivated by a desire to write God out of the equation. But such theories invoke an infinite set of complexities in order to get rid of one transcendent being.

  3. Lucjan Zeitman says:

    Hi Perry,
    (This is meant to be a new comment, not an answer to any previous one).
    I am reading your book on evolution 2.0. I have been
    looking for something like this for a long time.
    It seems that I have travelled the road opposite to yours.
    I started as “hardcore” atheist and after many years my interest
    in science and specially the theory of evolution made me believer.
    It has been a long and slow process which started with a book of Theillard de Chardin which I read as teenager. I did not bought his explanation of Alfa and Omega but anyway I started to wonder why evolution is the only known fenomen that seems to negate the law of entropy and why development of life seems to go in direction of intelligence and self consciousness, not just f.eks. just producing bigger and stronger organisms.
    Since then I have read more books on evolution and became less
    and less convinced in my atheistic faith (because atheism IS faith – you can hardly prove that anything (including God) doesn’t exists).
    Then a year ago or so I began to receive your e-mails (I don’t remember why) which were almost direct answers to my doubts and questions. When I read about your Evolution 2.0 book it was of course a must to buy it.
    I am more than half way reading it now and it is exactly what I was looking for.
    Thank you. My warm greetings.


    By the way – have you read Andreas Wagner “Arrival of the fittest:
    Solving the evolution’s greatest puzzle”? An interesting effort
    to explain how random mutations could anyway lead to improvement of living organisms. Wagner tries to show that genes, enzymes and proteins are forming what he calls “libraries” which are so structured that mutation (even random) of a member of such library leads with high probability to one of its neighbours. F.ex. one enzyme becomes another one cathalizing the same or a
    different process. Sometimes better or more effectively. It only seldom ends as a useless blob. Of course it begs a new question – how have those libraries come to be organized this way?

    • Lucjan,

      Sorry for not seeing this until now, somehow I missed it. Great to hear your story. I do have “Arrival of the Fittest” but haven’t read much of it yet. NONE of this organization is random. I suspect there are two things going on in cells:

      1) A fantastic mathematical matrix – something vaguely analogous to a Sudoku puzzle or Rubik’s cube – that determines what genetic combinations are allowable. Something incredibly elegant.

      2) Cells are in some sense conscious. I’m not sure what all that means. Just that they are predictively making free evolutionary choices.

      Good that you’re reading Theillard. Inspirational stuff.

      Don’t be a stranger.

  4. Jim Proctor says:

    I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.

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