It is scientists’ least appealing characteristic that they often pretend to turn ignorance into knowledge: spurious knowledge. A hundred years ago no one knew the nature of the cell’s contents so they called it “protoplasm”as if that represented a gain in knowledge. We’re still at it. It’s one thing to say, as they should have done 40 years ago, that we don’t know what the 98% does; it is quite another to label it junk and thereby to discourage anyone from investigating it. Not that it did, of course. It’s the same tendency that Francis Crick showed when he asserted the so-called Central Dogma, that information only flowed in the direction DNA –RNA-protein. RNA and proteins have a huge influence on what DNA is expressed and where.
But we can all breath more easily now. That irritating “junk DNA” has been consigned to the trash.