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September 23, 2015
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Fine Tuning of the Universe
October 2, 2015



DNA as evidence for Intelligence behind the origin of Life

I recently came across a book, ‘Signature in the Cell – DNA and evidence for Intelligent Design’, in which its author, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer has provided a strong scientific evidence for Intelligence behind the origin of life.

In this book, Dr. Meyer explains the problem and its solution as summarized below:

In 1953 Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. Later on Francis Crick gave the “sequence hypothesis” according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. Just as English letters may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, so too do certain sequences of chemical bases along the spine of a DNA molecule convey precise instructions for building proteins.

Thus, the DNA molecule has the same property of “sequence specificity” that characterizes codes and language.

Thus the arrangement of the chemical’s represented by A C G & T dictate instructions for arranging constituent parts of proteins called Amino Acids.

The shape of the protein determines its functions. These shapes of proteins are determined in large part by Interactions between each of these amino acids. Each Amino acid has side chains. The interactions between the side chains set constellations of forces that causes different shapes to form.

How does that shape arise? The shape arises from the specific Amino acids, which in turn is derived by the specific arrangement, the digital code stored along the DNA molecule.

Where does this information arise? This is what lies at the heart of origin-of-life research.

As Bernd-Olaf Kuppers has stated, “the problem of the origin of life is clearly basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information”

Till date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. Why? There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. And the information in DNA has also been shown to defy explanation by reference to the laws of chemistry. Saying otherwise would be like saying that a newspaper headline might arise as the result of the chemical attraction between ink and paper. Clearly “something else” is at work.

As Pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, “information habitually arises from conscious activity.”

The information on a computer screen can be traced back to a user or programmer. The information in a book ultimately came from a writer-from a mental, rather than a strictly material, cause. This connection between information and prior intelligence enables us to detect or infer intelligent activity even from unobservable sources in the distant past.

DNA functions like a software program. We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know generally that information-whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book or encoded in a radio signal-always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of information in the DNA molecule, provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a role in the origin of DNA, even if we weren’t there to observe the system coming into existence.

Functional proteins or information-rich DNA molecules arose from the random interactions of molecular building blocks in a prebiotic soup, if you argue DNA before Protein or Protein before DNA this would end up as a boring egg or chicken came first debate. But if you agree either one of them came first, still both of them are with complexity, pattern and specificity. There is not a single living cell that qualifies to be called as life which does not have at least 100-300 amino acids or proteins.

Proteins capable of performing many necessary features of a minimally complex cell often have to be at least 150 amino acids in length and for such proteins to be another 100 or 1000 with patterns? imagine one protein needs 150 amino acids in exact specificity and pattern, but also those proteins are organized in another pattern of 100s or 1000s where each of them already hold their own amino acids. DNA will only make things more complex even if you dont like to touch it.

What i explained is the minimum requirement for something to be qualified as ”life”

May be you have studied Shannon information, but origin of life researches recognize that DNA and proteins posses functionally specified, rather than just Shannon, information.

What are the odds that a functional protein or a minimally complex cell would arise by chance, given the available probabilistic resources/change hypothesis?

Axes improved estimate of how rare functional proteins are within ”sequence space” has now made it possible to calculate the probability that a 150 amino acid compound assembled by random interactions in a prebiotic soup would be a functional protein. This calculation can be made by multiplying the three independent probabilities by one another: the probability of incorporating only peptide bonds (1 in 10^45), the probability of incorporating only left-handed amino acids (1 in 10^45), and the probability of achieving correct amino-acid sequencing (using Axes 1 in 10^74 estimate). Making that calculation (multiplying the separate probabilities by adding their exponents: 1045+45+74) gives a dramatic answer. The odds of getting even one functional protein of modest length (150 amino acids) by chance from a prebiotic soup is no better than 1 chance in 10^164 .

Reference: Dr. Stephen C. Meyer on Discovery Institute website at DNA and the Origin of Life: Information, Specification, and Explanation





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