I have always considered that those in the latter group have a very weak case. As Dr. John Sanford demonstrated a while ago, the “gold standard” digital simulation of evolution (Avida), requires at least 85% of the starting genome to be junk in order to produce any significant evolution. However, while reading Chapter 13 of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies (written by Salvador Cordova), I learned about another argument against the idea that evolution doesn’t depend on junk DNA. It comes from evolutionist Dr. Dan Graur, who says quite plainly:
If ENCODE is right, evolution is wrong. (p. 234 of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies)
Even though I am a creationist, I would never make such a strong statement, but Dr. Graur thinks it is obvious. Why? According to Chapter 13 of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies, it’s because each generation suffers from genetic mutation. In order for natural selection to “weed out” most of the deleterious mutations, each generation needs a certain number of individuals from which natural selection can choose. The more possible deleterious mutations, the more individuals natural selection needs in each generation.
Now, if the vast majority of the human genome is junk, then the vast majority of mutations are not deleterious, because they occur in the unused, junk portion of the genome. As a result, we don’t need to produce many offspring in order to give natural selection enough choices so it can keep most of the deleterious mutations out of the gene pool. However, if the vast majority of the genome is functional, then there are a lot of deleterious mutations, so we need to have more offspring to give natural selection what it needs to weed them out. According to Graur, if ENCODE is right, each person needs to have 3×1019-5×1035 children in order to keep those deleterious mutations from piling up in each generation. Obviously, that’s not possible, so if ENCODE is right, evolution is wrong.
Of course, as a creationist, I like Dr. Graur’s conclusion. Indeed, it fits in very well with Dr. John Sanford’s view that the human genome can only be thousands of years old specifically because natural selection cannot weed out the deleterious mutations. However, I am willing to consider a third option. Perhaps Dr. Graur is wrong. Perhaps the human genome is more resilient than he thinks. Unfortunately, I really don’t know. As I said, I hadn’t previously heard Dr. Graur’s argument. I have since read about the concept on which it is based (mutational load), and his calculations seem correct. However, I really doubt that I understand the details well enough to spot any serious errors.
I am wondering if any of you have heard this argument before. If so, what do you think about it?