Did You Read the Instructions?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, April 28, 2022 2 comments

by Steve Risner

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb." -Psalm 139:13

I’ve recently been in a conversation with some unbelievers concerning “information.” This is an interesting topic. The existence of coded information within the genome of every living thing (highly complex and specified information that dictates the development and maintenance of the most sophisticated machines known to us) is something no evolutionist I’ve encountered can adequately respond to. They will try. They will make up weird and embarrassingly silly things to “debunk” this idea, but it’s a fact that coded information—which is both complex and specific—can only come from an intelligent source. On the other end of that, there must be an intelligent recipient to decode the information and use it to build and maintain these highly complex machines (I’m speaking, of course, of living things here). These are very detailed instructions we’re referring to within genetic material.

As I’ve said, I’ve seen very silly and really remarkable things shared on this topic in response to information being a key factor in the debate on origins between Biblical Christianity and atheism. Unfortunately, there are way too many Christians who fight for the side of atheism, but that’s another topic for later.

DNA is a storage medium that houses the instructions for building and maintaining the most sophisticated machines known to us. The source of this highly specific, very complex, and sophisticated information seems to be an issue for someone claiming that natural and mindless processes birthed it. How do coded instructions for the development and maintenance of extremely complex machines (like living things) arise, if not from an intelligent source? These are some of the amazing things people who want to discard the Biblical narrative on creation will say in response to this issue about the information housed within the DNA of every living thing on earth. These are direct quotes from people online:

“I have a geology degree and can read information directly from an exposed rock face.”
“Because in reality, information did not come first and was produced by natural processes.”
“What is needed is time and space, not intelligence.”
“It [information] comes from all over the place.”
“All information moves or is stored in the form of some code or other.”
“Yes, it’s called code… that doesn’t make it code though.”
“A weathered rock has information. Show me the mind that produced it.”

I hope we can all see how most if not all of these statements are just silly. Saying you can take “information” from a rock or from “all over the place” and suggesting this is even similar to the instructions found in DNA is absurd. Determining what a rock is made of or how it got where you’ve found it has nothing to do with coded information that details how to build complex machines. This seems to be the best they have in response, which is not good for them.

For the instructions we’re talking about, they are coded. To be coded means there is a system of symbols that are used to represent something of an assigned meaning. This code is highly complex, of course, and is more sophisticated than any code we’ve developed. It’s far more complex than the binary computer code every computer on earth utilizes – much more complex, in fact. There are 4 nucleotides or bases that are found in DNA or RNA (RNA is just a single strand of DNA). These are guanine, cytosine, adenine, and thymine. They are frequently represented as G, C, A, and T, respectively. Certain arrangements of these bases in a strand of DNA codes allow for certain things to be made—namely proteins but other highly complex molecules as well. The fact that the genetic code is, in fact, coded information, is beyond debate at this point. It’s called the genetic code. It has bases found within it that do not mean anything except when they are assigned meaning in specific groups. DNA stores these instructions and accesses the specific parts of the code that are needed at the right time to generate the right molecules in the right amount. It’s amazing. DNA will “unzip” into a shorter strand of RNA. It will then read the strand of genetic code forwards or backwards or sometimes will splice different pieces together to generate the needed biochemistry.

These instructions are specific. This seems obvious, but I’m always asked when I suggest this, “What does specific mean?” Well, the definition is to explain or describe something clearly and exactly. The instructions for building proteins are long and detailed. They must be precisely built in order to do their predetermined job. Here are some basics for building a protein.

Proteins are made of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids. Three bases or nucleotides (the G, T, A, and C we discussed earlier) are needed to create one amino acid. Most proteins we’ve found are between 50 and 2000 amino acids. This means a length of DNA (which has been “unzipped” into RNA) 150 bases long is needed to make the simplest protein—which is highly complex and must be built exactly the right way. There are a number of folds that each protein has that must be correct or the protein is not right. All the amino acids that make these proteins are “left-handed,” which just means of the two mirror images of any given structure, the “left-handed” version is the only one we use for life. That’s an important hurdle for evolutionists as well, but that’s for another time.

But many of the proteins of life are much larger than that. A protein with 2000 amino acids would require bases in a length and specific order of 6000 nucleotides! Two thousand 3-letter combinations that are all exactly in the right order to generate one protein. Keep in mind some of these proteins are required for protein manufacturing, so there’s another hurdle for the evolutionist who believes in abiogenesis. How do proteins that require other proteins to be built find their way into existence? Which ones came first? When does the job of building a specific protein end? Why does the system “turn off” when it’s got enough of whatever protein it was manufacturing?

Genetic material is also complex. That, too, seems to have a very basic definition but, again, I am asked what that means. Most of the time when atheists are bringing up these questions, it is to trip you up or confuse you. Don’t fall for their games. They’re in a losing battle here and they know it, so they need to distract as much as they can. Complex simply means that the whole is made up of complicated or interrelated parts.

This is very easily demonstrated with genetics. There are countless molecular machines involved in the work of our genes. According to Dr. Bruce Alberts at cell.com, “We now know that nearly every major process in a cell is carried out by assemblies of 10 or more protein molecules. And, as it carries out its biological functions, each of these protein assemblies interacts with several other large complexes of proteins. Indeed, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.” This is exactly what complex means. This statement is speaking more broadly about cellular function, but the same is true just for the work that goes on inside the nucleus (or very close by to the nucleus) of a cell.

Each of these molecular machines can be built out of multiple proteins, which are themselves built out of dozens to hundreds or even thousands of amino acids. The spliceosome, for example, is a molecular machine that is comprised of some 50 proteins and 5 snRNA molecules. It’s enormous. If it’s built incorrectly, it doesn’t work. It has numerous interrelated parts that work together. We can easily see how the inner workings of a cell and, more specifically, what genetic material is doing inside a cell, are highly specific (it’s not randomly performing functions willy nilly) and complex (the intricate network of interworking parts is mind-boggling).

Next time, I’ll get into what information is and why the coded instructions found stored in the DNA molecules of each living thing on earth is very ordered, complex, specified data containing the instructions for building and maintaining a living thing—a highly sophisticated machine.

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Anonymous said...


ohiosnuccadoc said...

My pleasure, dear reader. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment