A Nature Magazine page, explaining one of the standard causes of mutations in evolution.
Let's go down the list, see what problems I can turn up. I warn you: This is me arguably at my most monotonous.
Let's start right with the first question.
Cells employ an arsenal of editing mechanisms to correct mistakes made during DNA replication.
See, this is a line that wouldn't so much as bother a Young Earth Creationist, much less most full-blown Theistic Evolutionists. What is there to find objectionable?
Well, I don't know if I'd call it objectionable. But there's something odd going on with this language. Let's go piece by piece.
* "Cells employ an arsenal of editing mechanisms". Hey look, it's teleological language! Right in Nature! Now, those of you who have found my blog know I have zero problem with teleology. In fact, I think it's impossible to eliminate while still fully and adequately describing nature - chalk me up for the fifth way and all that. All that's important here is to notice that arguably the biggest science journal around, right on their homepage, is quite happy to make with the teleological language without qualification. Cells employ various programs towards an end.
Let's move on.
* "to correct mistakes made during DNA replication." And here's where the problem comes in. Mistakes? What mistakes are being made?
Now, I know what the immediate response is. "Well, the cell is trying to make a perfect copy during DNA replication, and it's failing to. Those are mistakes!" But, why is it assumed that a perfect copy, every time, is the goal of the cell - or of anything else?
There's another response. "Well, most of the time those errors are harmful to the organism!" While "harmful" is a loaded word, that still leads me to say: Fine, let's accept that for the sake of argument. Why is it assumed that the goal of the cell is to avoid all harm?
Let's skip down to the bottom of the page to illustrate why I find something disturbing and wrong with this rendition of cellular functions. Those of you who lean TE or see evolution as teleological may know where I'm going with this already.
Here we go, with some emphasis added: Of course, not all mutations are "bad." But, because so many mutations can cause cancer, DNA repair is obviously a crucially important property of eukaryotic cells. However, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. If DNA repair were perfect and no mutations ever accumulated, there would be no genetic variation—and this variation serves as the raw material for evolution. Successful organisms have thus evolved the means to repair their DNA efficiently but not too efficiently, leaving just enough genetic variability for evolution to continue.
Well there we go. If every replication were utterly perfect, it would be disastrous for life. No way to fill a new niche. No way to adapt at the biological level. It turns out some amount of "errors" are essential - at least if you want impart direction and development to life. But that speaks against regarding these changes in transcription as errors.
And there lies a major problem. How does evolution start to sound if an aspect of the process so fundamental to it is no longer described as "error" or "mistake" or "accident", but is instead recognized and treated as purposeful, essential, and evolution "working as intended"? And before it's pointed out that teleological language is supposedly verboten, note that the page in question is loaded with teleology anyway - it's doubtful they could scrub it all if they wanted to, but if so, "Error" and "Mistake" would have to be scrubbed too. It's just a different flavor of teleology, after all.
As I said, I'm focusing on something monotonous here, so monotonous that even the most critical ID proponents - who constantly (and with some justification) wage war against Junk DNA - tend to overlook. But I think this sort of re-evaluation of evolution and evolutionary language is key and essential. It's almost a kind of poisoning the well, trying to paint evolution in so negative a light that certain people would rather choke than consider it as teleology revealed.