See Jonathan Wells on his book, The Myth of Junk DNA – yes, it is a Darwinist myth and he nails it as such. As I read the article I thought of how bias can get in the way of scientific discoveries.
The conventional wisdom is that religion and science are at odds or are at least “non-overlapping magesteria.” Philosophical naturalists like to posit that religion impedes scientific progress. That is a false dilemma, of course, because the notion that God is orderly and that we can think his thoughts after him drove early science and is still logical.
But look what happens when atheistic assumptions get in the way of science:
“The amount of DNA in organisms,” neo-Darwinist Richard Dawkins wrote in 1976, “is more than is strictly necessary for building them: A large fraction of the DNA is never translated into protein. From the point of view of the individual organism this seems paradoxical. If the ‘purpose’ of DNA is to supervise the building of bodies, it is surprising to find a large quantity of DNA which does no such thing. Biologists are racking their brains trying to think what useful task this apparently surplus DNA is doing. But from the point of view of the selfish genes themselves, there is no paradox. The true ‘purpose’ of DNA is to survive, no more and no less. The simplest way to explain the surplus DNA is to suppose that it is a parasite, or at best a harmless but useless passenger, hitching a ride in the survival machines created by the other DNA.” (The Selfish Gene, p. 47)
Dawkins’ worldview caused him and many others to “know” that this must have been “junk” DNA. Who knows how many important scientific advancements were delayed because of bias like this? Christians know that there are natural and supernatural forces in the world, and that the composition of the universe screams out design. Even Dawkins concedes that it appears to be designed.
More from the link:
Collins also wrote that intelligent design is a “God of the gaps” position that is doomed to collapse with further advances in science (p. 193). But Collins has it exactly backwards: He and other promoters of the myth of junk DNA have put their faith in a “Darwin of the gaps” argument that must now retreat in the face of new advances in genome research.
Truly open-minded scientists wouldn’t assume that the “junk” DNA was evolutionary baggage. They would have considered that perhaps it had another function put there by an intelligent designer.
Scientific progress can be negatively impacted by bad philosophy — just not always the kind people assume. How many other discoveries are hindered by the false Darwinian worldview?
P.S. This topic always reminds me of a funny bit in an episode of The Simpsons where Lisa finds a phony fossil of what appears to be an angel. The episode cleverly skewered both sides of the debate – though mostly against Christians. (Sadly, this is one of the last episodes Phil Hartman did before he was killed. He played the attorney Lionel Hutz). I loved this line from the judge presiding over the trial:
As for science versus religion, I’m issuing a restraining order: Religion must stay 500 yards from science at all times.
If only the (ir-)religious bias of Dawkins et al had a restraining order against it!