‘Controversy’ response 

He says “Innovation is the product of investigation.” Well,
no. Knowledge is the product of investigation. Let’s investigate and
apply some critical thinking to the Rev. Kern’s comments.

He suggests something is deliberately off-limits when it comes to investigating evolution and that all “junk DNA” has function. He insinuates science misunderstands “junk” DNA and assumptions have limited research in this area.

He is wrong. Scientists have long known that some noncoding DNA has wide-ranging function. Research shows, however, extensive sections of noncoding DNA — dead genes — that are known to have no function. Mapping and comparing genomes among species, including noncoding DNA, is one of the most vigorous areas of genetic research. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of papers are published every year in this rapidly expanding area of research. Nothing is off-limits and the data support evolution.

DNA has been referred to as
the ultimate forensic record of evolution. In fact, it is the very
“junk DNA” that Kern offers to cast doubts on evolution that provides us
with some of the strongest evidence for evolution. For just one
simplified example, we inherit our DNA, even the dead genes, from our
ancestors. Nearly all species of mammals have genes for manufacturing
vitamin C, including humans and the great apes. But, in humans and great
apes one gene, exactly the same gene in each, does not function. Why
would an omnipotent designer put exactly the same nonfunctional gene in
us and the great apes? Rigorous scientific investigation explains that
we and the great apes inherited it from a common ancestor. There are
many more examples.

There
are no “empirical scientific studies” “verified by credentialed
scientists” casting doubt on evolution that have survived honest
critical analysis by the scientific community. Not one. The reverend’s
comments are either significantly ignorant of the current science, or
they are dishonestly misrepresentative to forward a narrow religious
agenda. Yes, let’s teach our kids critical thinking! But is this the
quality of scholarship Rev. Kern is proposing? This is exactly why
scientists and many other people vigorously oppose permitting this
foolishness in the classroom.

—David Grow
Edmond

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