The Hyper-Dynamics of Your DNA Will Blow Your Mind!
DNA is a digital memory. Human DNA has more than 3.1 billion ladder steps capable of storing information in base 4 arithmetic. This is the equivalent of over 6.2 billion binary bits (ones and zeroes) such as we use in our computers. If you wanted to print this information in book form with 50 characters (ones and zeros) per line, 30 lines per page, and 200 pages per book, it would take over 20,000 volumes, and a very big library, to hold all the information that can be stored in the DNA of one of your cells.
Less than two percent of this information storage capacity (about 300 of the 20,000 books) is used to store the instructions for the design of the more than 20,000 different proteins used in your body. Remarkably, these instructions control the cellular manufacturing process, which uses an alphabet of 20 amino acids to construct long strings of molecules (consisting of 100 to 2,000 amino acids each), which are then precisely folded to become the protein molecules you require.
So what does the other 19,700 books' worth of information do? Initially, scientists called the protein coding instructions "genes," and the remaining 19,700 books' worth of information "junk DNA." They assumed that this junk DNA had no purpose, that it just comprised the mistakes left over from a random, accidental evolutionary process. In retrospect, this judgment proved a bit rash, if not totally naive, since it takes a lot more information to design, construct, and maintain your body and mind than a list of protein molecule designs.
Today we are discovering the immense complexity of the program stored in human DNA. In particular, it has been discovered that RNA reads and uses over 80 percent of the DNA code.1 We don't know how it uses the vast majority of it; however, we now know that well over 17,000 volumes in the DNA library are not meaningless "junk." They are instead a remarkably sophisticated digital program.
This "software sophistication" starts with the fact that the DNA program is not a straightforward linear program, with one section of code determining a specific output. Instead, in many cases, it takes many totally different sections of code cooperating in a mysterious way to produce specific features and processes within you. Coding at this level is a little like graduating to playing three-dimensional chess.
Next, the DNA program is a marvelously adaptive program that expresses and suppresses sections of code and their actions depending upon the situation, the environment, the current state of the cell, and the entire organism that is you. This results in entire sections of code being used only on a very selective basis, and the intelligence to do the selecting is somehow written into the DNA program itself.
One very mysterious aspect of this adaptive coding is that apparently the same section of code can have different functions and even different purposes, depending upon how and when it is called upon. This property of the same section of code having different effects at different times in different cells makes understanding the flow of DNA code extremely difficult.
This adaptive coding capability spotlights the fact that the stored DNA program is only one part of the information processing system at work within your cells. The computers we humans design are static hardware systems that read digital instructions (like those stored in DNA) and act upon those instructions. These "hardware" computers are designed to respond to a specific code sequence in the same way every time it is read.
But the organic system that reads and acts upon DNA code is a constantly changing one. DNA is being read in different types of cells and under varying organic conditions in any individual cell. Effectively, the computer system reading the DNA code at time A is not exactly the same as the computer system reading that same DNA code at time B.
Similarly, the computer system reading a section of DNA code in, say, a muscle cell is not the same as the computer system reading the same section of DNA code in a nerve cell or a liver cell or any one of the hundreds of other types of cells in your body. Consequently, the same section of DNA code can have different effects at different times, depending on the state of the entire information processing system of the cell that is reading it at that instant.
If you are a computer scientist, the last few statements have probably just blown your mind. Welcome to the club. How are we ever going to understand all that is going on here, with these 20,000 volumes of non-linear, adaptive code being read by constantly changing organic computer systems that the code itself is creating as the total system flows through time?
Today, "epigenetic" is the term popularly used to describe information that supposedly does not come from DNA code but that still influences how your cells and body develop. I believe that most of what appears to be evidence for the existence of this mysterious "epigenetic" information can be attributed to all the confusion caused by time-varying processor systems that are unique to each different type of cell. However, since DNA code created all of these different types of cells and controls how they behave under different conditions, there is really nothing "epigenetic" about this information, nor is there any separate source for it; all of the information that defines these time-varying cellular processors is written in the DNA code.
The Real Mystery
Take a breath; despite all of this coding complexity, the real mystery of the DNA code is what it does. DNA starts with the capability to control the remarkable complexity of a single cell, creating and controlling protein workers in an automated factory assembling millions of parts per second. Then, somewhere in those 20,000 volumes of code, DNA stores the design of your entire body; every cell, every capillary, every organ, your brain, your senses, your physical and mental capabilities.
You emerge from the information stored in your DNA. Now the question I want to address is, "What are the mathematical chances that this level of coding complexity could have come about through a series of fortuitous random accidents?"
Let us consider a very small subset of the coding problem, finding the design of a specific protein. Recently, several scientific studies have sought to determine the precise probability of random accidents within the DNA code resulting in the creation of functional proteins. Let us take a relatively small protein, one composed of only 150 amino acids. The results of research by Dr. Douglas Axe show that you would have to have more than 1074 random trials on a protein made of a string of 150 amino acids to "randomly" come up with just one of the smallest proteins used in your design. It has been estimated that it would take over 10225 random trials to "accidentally" design all 20,000 proteins in your body.
These are startling numbers considering that there are fewer than 1090 quantum particles in the entire visible universe. Furthermore, if you consider all the biomass, all of the living cells, that could have existed in the three billion years of life on Earth and allowed every cell to randomly make a single DNA mistake every minute, you would end up with fewer than 1050 random trials available to write the correct code. Therefore, in the entire history of Earth, the number of random trials (DNA mistakes) possible is far fewer than the number of random trials required to stumble upon the right sequence of DNA code to design even one of the proteins in your body.2
When a mathematician compares 1050 available trials to the trials actually required, he realizes that, even if all of the random DNA trials possible in the history of life on Earth occurred, he could not possibly find the 20,000 proteins required by the human body. Furthermore, if he did accidentally find a useful protein, it would have to be produced at exactly the right time and place to be of any use in improving the design. That adds hundreds more powers of ten to the already astronomical odds against its ever happening.
Thus, it is safe to say that it is mathematically impossible that random accidents produced the 300 volumes of DNA code that contain the design of the 20,000 proteins in your body. Now, the DNA code that contains the protein design is very simple linear code. It simply lists the amino acid sequence required for each protein. We actually understand this code. It may be the only section of the DNA code that we really do understand.
As discussed above, the other 19,700 volumes of code are much more complex, embodying a level of sophistication we are just beginning to decipher. Now, any rational person, when faced with the impossibility of randomly writing the 300 volumes of simple protein design code, has to realize that the probability of randomly writing the other 19,700 volumes of extremely sophisticated DNA code dwarfs the protein code writing problem.
Giving Reality a Purpose
Since random accidents could not have written these volumes of DNA code, the only rational conclusion is that some form of intelligence had to be involved to make this all happen. And given the sophistication of the code and the constantly changing organic information processing system it creates and functions within, we might say that the Intelligence that designed this total system is playing N-dimensional chess, and we have no idea how large N is.
The fact that all of this "N-dimensional" code designing results in the mental dimension that we are free to roam around in is an incredibly beautiful and meaningful thing. It gives reality a purpose, and if you really think about it, the mental dimension is the only thing that could give reality a purpose.
The designing Intelligence began by creating digital information in quantum fields and then designed layers of progressively more sophisticated and capable information processing systems until He reached the level of DNA-controlled life. Then He wrote the grandest program of all, and our mental realm emerged to take information processing to exciting new levels, to experience, explore, and love His design.
Perhaps, the most intriguing feature of His amazingly complex design is that He has given us the mental capabilities required to start to glimpse how He created us.
1. Jonathan Wells, Zombie Science (Discovery Institute Press, 2017).
2. The last two paragraphs are a very brief summary of chapter 11 of my recent book, Modern Science Proves Intelligent Design (Archway Publishing, 2019), and much of that chapter was derived from the work of Douglas Axe in Undeniable (HarperOne, 2016) and Stephen C. Meyer in Signature In The Cell (HarperOne, 2009).
holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and is a retired Vice President of Raytheon, with a 45-year career in system engineering and information processing. He is the author of Modern Science Proves Intelligent Design: The Information System Worldview (Archway, 2019) and Jenny’s Universe ( “O” Publishing, 2002)This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #54, Fall 2020 Copyright © 2020 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo54/the-grandest-paradigm