924) Random Mutation or Intelligent Design?

From The Information Enigma, October 21, 2015 blog by Eric Metaxas, at http://www.breakpoint.org

     What’s the greatest discovery in the history of biology?  If you said “seedless watermelons,” you’re close.  Actually, it’s probably the discovery of DNA.

     It’s hard to imagine in this age of genetic engineering, but scientists in Darwin’s time saw life as quite simple.  Cells were thought to be blobs of primitive chemicals called “protoplasm.”  But as technology advanced and scientists were able to peer inside the cell, they discovered something amazing:  Every living thing actually contains intricate, microscopic machines, performing functions without which life would not be possible.

     The real breakthrough, came in 1953 when Watson and Crick uncovered the structure and function of DNA— the molecule that programs and regulates cells.  It revolutionized our understanding of life.  And it stretched Darwin’s theory to the breaking point.

     DNA is essentially a form of incredibly efficient digital code, uniquely suited for storing the blueprints of living things.  And for something microscopic, it’s huge.  The human genome contains over a gigabyte of data!  Of course, like digital code on a hard drive, DNA can be corrupted.  The most recent iteration of Darwin’s theory claims that these corruptions— called mutations— are the engines of evolution.  But here’s the problem:  We don’t have a single example of a mutation resulting in a net gain of information.  Not one.

     As intelligent design theorists have pointed out, unguided, natural processes always degrade information— they never increase it.  If life at its most fundamental level is a digital code, then mutations are glitches that, if they accumulate, will eventually kill the organism.

     Information is at the heart of life, and our uniform and repeated experience tells us that matter, by itself, never produces information.  The only known source capable of producing information is a mind.

     Okay, fine, you say, but how do I explain this over the dinner table?  One great place to start is a new video from the Discovery Institute that condenses the main argument for Intelligent Design to a snappy 20 minutes.  It’s called “The Information Enigma,” and features noted ID authors Dr. Stephen Meyer and Dr. Douglas Axe.

     Here are the basics:  Using an analogy from Dr. Meyers’ book, “Darwin’s Doubt,” the video compares DNA with a bicycle lock.

     “The reason a bike lock works,” explains Meyer, “is that there are vastly more ways of arranging those numeric characters that will keep the lock closed than there are that will open the lock.”

     Most bicycle locks have four dials with ten digits.  So for a thief to steal the bike, he would have to guess correctly from among 10,000 possible combinations.  No easy task.

     But what about DNA?  Well, in experiments Axe conducted at Cambridge, he found that for a DNA sequence generating a short protein just 150 amino acids in length, for every 1 workable arrangement of amino acids, there are 10 to the 77th possible unworkable amino acid arrangements.  Using the bicycle lock analogy, that’s a lock with 77 dials, each containing 10 digits.

     Thus, as the film states, it is overwhelmingly unlikely that a random mutational search would produce even one new functional protein in the entire history of life on earth.  In other words, random mutation is not driving the biological bicycle.

See:   The Information Enigma Center for Science and Culture | The Discovery Institute | October 2015

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“When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA.  Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram.  A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare.  All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now.  In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram.

–John Bohannon at:

http://news.sciencemag.org/math/2012/08/dna-ultimate-hard-drive

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Genesis 1:1  —  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:31a  —  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

Psalm 19:1  —  The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Romans 1:20  —  Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

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 O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Refrain

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

–Carl Boberg  (1859-1940)

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