Consider the Evidence
YOU are on a remote, uninhabited island. While walking along the beach, you see “John 1800” engraved on a boulder. Do you assume that because the island is isolated and uninhabited, the marks must be the result of wind or water erosion? Of course not! You rightly conclude that someone made that inscription. Why? For one thing, a string of well-defined letters and numbers—even if they are in a foreign language—does not occur naturally. Second, the statement contains meaningful information, indicating an intelligent source.
In everyday life, we encounter information encoded in many forms—such as Braille or letters of the alphabet, as well as diagrams, musical notes, spoken words, hand signs, radio signals, and computer programs involving the binary code, using zeros and ones. The information-conveying medium can be virtually anything, from light to radio waves to paper and ink. Whatever the case, people always associate meaningful information with an intelligent mind—unless such information is contained in a living cell. That information, say evolutionists, just happened or wrote itself somehow. But did it? Consider the evidence.
Can Complex Information Write Itself?
Safely stored in the nucleus of nearly every living cell in your body is an amazing code called deoxyribonucleic acid, abbreviated DNA. It is carried by a long, double-stranded molecule that looks like a twisted ladder. Your DNA is like a recipe, or program, that directs the formation, growth, maintenance, and reproduction of the trillions of cells that make up your body. The basic units that make up DNA are called nucleotides. These units are called A, C, G, and T, depending on which chemical base they contain. * Like letters of the alphabet, these four characters can be combined in many ways to form “sentences”—instructions that direct replication and other processes within the cell.
The entire package of information stored in your DNA is called your genome. Some sequences of letters in your DNA are unique to you, for DNA contains your hereditary information—your eye color, skin color, the shape of your nose, and so on. Simply put, your genome can be compared to a vast library of recipes for every part of your body, and the end product is you.
How large is this “library”? It is about three billion “letters,” or nucleotides (bases), long. If it were transcribed onto paper, the book would fill 200 volumes the size of a 1,000-page telephone book, according to the Human Genome Project.
These facts call to mind an amazing prayer recorded some 3,000 years ago. Found in the Bible at Psalm 139:16, it reads: “Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing.” Of course, the writer did not have science in mind, but in simple language he conveyed an amazingly accurate concept to illustrate God’s awesome wisdom and power. How unlike other ancient religious writings, which were filled with mythology and superstition!
Who Assembled the “Library”?
If reason tells us that “John 1800” engraved into a rock must have an intelligent mind as its source, should not also the infinitely more complex and meaningful information found in DNA? After all, information is information no matter where it is found or what the medium may be. Computer and information scientist Donald E. Johnson said that the laws of chemistry and physics are unable to create complex information or systems that process that information. And it stands to reason that the more complex a package of information, the greater the intelligence needed to write it. A child could write “John 1800.” But only a superhuman mind could write the code of life. What is more, “the complexity of biology has seemed to grow by orders of magnitude” with every new discovery, says the journal Nature.
To attribute the complex library of information in DNA to blind, unguided processes conflicts with both reason and human experience. * Such belief also stretches faith to the breaking point.
In their efforts to remove God from the picture, evolutionists have, at times, drawn conclusions that were later found to be wrong. Consider, for example, the view that some 98 percent of our genome is “junk”—a library of recipes with billions of useless words.
Is It Really “Junk”?
Biologists have long held that DNA is a recipe for the manufacture of proteins and nothing else. However, in time, it became evident that only about 2 percent of the genome consists of code for proteins. What is the purpose of the other 98 percent of DNA? This mystery DNA was “immediately assumed to be evolutionary junk,” observed John S. Mattick, professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
The scientist who is credited with coining the term “‘junk’ DNA” was evolutionist Susumu Ohno. In his paper “So Much ‘Junk’ DNA in Our Genome,” he wrote that the remaining sequences of DNA “are the remains of nature’s experiments which failed. The earth is strewn with fossil remains of extinct species; is it a wonder that our genome too is filled with the remains of extinct genes?”
How did the concept of “junk” DNA affect the study of genetics? Molecular biologist Wojciech Makalowski says that such thinking “repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding [junk] DNA,” with the exception of a small number of scientists, who, “at the risk of being ridiculed, explore unpopular territories. Because of them, the view of junk DNA . . . began to change in the early 1990s.” Now, he adds, biologists generally regard what was called junk “as a genomic treasure.”
In Mattick’s opinion, the junk-DNA theory is a classic example of scientific tradition “derailing objective analysis of the facts.” “The failure to recognize the full implications of this,” he says, “may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of molecular biology.” Clearly, truth in science needs to be determined on the basis of evidence, not by popular vote. That being the case, what does recent evidence reveal about the role of “junk” DNA?
What the “Junk” Does
A factory that makes cars uses machines to manufacture the parts. We can liken the parts to the proteins in a cell. The factory also needs devices and systems that assemble those parts step-by-step and others that serve as controls, or regulators, in the assembly line. The same is true of the activities inside the cell. And that, say researchers, is where “junk” DNA comes in. Much of it contains the recipe for a class of complex molecules called regulatory RNA (ribonucleic acid), which play a key role in how the cell develops, matures, and functions. * “The sheer existence of these exotic regulators,” says mathematical biologist Joshua Plotkin in Nature magazine, “suggests that our understanding about the most basic things . . . is incredibly naive.”
An efficient factory additionally needs effective communication systems. The same is true of the cell. Tony Pawson, a cell biologist at the University of Toronto in Ontario, explains: “The signalling information in cells is organized through networks of information rather than simple discrete pathways,” making the whole process “infinitely more complex” than previously thought. Indeed, as a geneticist at Princeton University said, “many of the mechanisms and principles governing inter- and intracellular behaviour are still a mystery.”
Each new discovery about the cell points to ever higher levels of order and sophistication. So why do so many people still cling to the notion that life and the most sophisticated information system known to man are products of a random evolutionary process?
^ par. 5 Each nucleotide contains one of four chemical bases: (A) adenine, (C) cytosine, (G) guanine, and (T) thymine.
^ par. 11 Evolution allegedly occurs as a result of mutations, which are briefly explained in the following article.
^ par. 19 Recent research indicates that long noncoding RNAs are quite complex and that they are actually required for normal development. Researchers have found that malfunctions in long noncoding RNAs are associated with many diseases, such as various cancers, psoriasis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. What was previously labeled as “junk” may hold the key to diagnosing and treating various diseases!
[Box on page 5]
HOW LONG IS YOUR DNA?
Stretched out, the DNA in one cell of your body is about six feet (2 m) long. If you were to extract the DNA from all your body’s trillions of cells and put the strands end to end, the total length according to some estimates would be nearly 670 times the distance from the earth to the sun and back. To travel that distance at the speed of light would take about 185 hours.