DNA – The Amazing Program of Life
What is DNA, and Why is it so Crucial for Life Forms?
DNA is short for deoxyribonucleic acid–the instruction book of life that provides the hereditary material that is a blueprint for living organisms.
The building blocks of life (proteins, ribosomes, enzymes etc.) are formed at the direction of specific nucleotide sequencing in DNA, the largest molecule known. In humans, DNA contains as many as 10 billion atoms. The adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine bases in DNA are linked in a particular order to form the genetic code (the “instruction book”, if you will) containing “the master program for every organism” – for example, how you will grow and develop from a single cell to a fully grown person; whether you’ll be a male or female; what color eyes you will have; the color of your hair; and the height of your frame.
The information in DNA guides and instructs the formation of proteins; without it, protein formation would be a haphazard, hit-or-miss proposal. The nucleic sequence in DNA is informational.
Where is DNA Found, and How is it Used?
DNA does not exist in inanimate objects. It is found only in living organisms. It is, in common terms, the “instruction book for life” – for any and ALL living things. DNA resides inside a special area of the cell called the nucleus. Because the cell is very small, and because organisms have many DNA molecules per cell, each DNA molecule must be tightly packaged. This packaged form of the DNA is called a chromosome.
During DNA replication, DNA unwinds so it can be copied. At other times in the cell cycle, DNA also unwinds so that its instructions can be used to make proteins and for other biological processes. But during cell division, DNA is in its compact chromosome form to enable transfer to new cells.
Researchers refer to DNA found in the cell’s nucleus as nuclear DNA. An organism’s complete set of nuclear DNA is called its genome.
Coded Information that Provides a Complex Program for Life
Stephen C. Meyer is director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC). In this short video below, Stephen offers a very crisp and helpful introduction to the code breaking work of Francis Crick, considering DNA and the reality of the biological information it encodes. According to Meyer, strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotides in DNA store and transmit the assembly instructions – the information – in a four character digital code foe building the protein molecules the cell needs to survive. Crick developed his “sequence hypothesis”, in which the chemical bases in DNA function like letters in a written language, or symbols in computer code. Its interesting to note that even Richard Dawkins observed, “the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.”.
According to Meyer, “coded information of this kind is a profound problem for theistic or atheistic evolution. The information features of the cell clearly give the appearance of design. Yes, to date, no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. Why? According to Meyers, there is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone.
The information in DNA (and RNA) has also been shown to defy explanation by forces of chemical necessity. Saying otherwise is like saying a headline arose as the result of chemical attraction between ink and paper. Clearly, something else is at work.” Watch this excellent brief video, “DNA 101: How It Works and Why It’s Astounding,” and find out why.
>> Watch the video: https://player.vimeo.com/video/242153906?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0
Could DNA have Evolved by Itself?
According to an Evolution FAQ web site, “While there is no direct fossil evidence for the evolution of DNA (because of its size and fragility), scientists have theorized on its origins based on verified laboratory evidence. One theory goes like this:
RNA, the compliment molecule to DNA, was the first to evolve naturally from materials already common in the pre-biotic Earth. Self-replication was achieved through catalytic actions in RNA-based molecules, called ribosomes, or possibly through an intermediary molecule. This step still remains unverified to science as of this writing.
Once self-replication had been achieved, the forces of Natural Selection took over. For example, those molecules which were protected from the elements survived longer and reproduced more. So, any molecules which found themselves with a lipid bubble (which also forms naturally) would have a better chance of reproducing. After many incremental steps, the lipid bubbles eventually became cell membranes, and the molecules DNA.”
What conclusion can we draw from this “theory”:
- There is no direct fossil evidence for the evolution of DNA
- The assumption that RNA evolved first, a steps which is unverified at this point in time
- That the appearance of RNA led to the evolution of DNA through naturalistic, undirected evolutionary processes
- That over many “incremental steps”, (with sot of a wave of the hand), the lipid bubbles became cell membranes, and the molecules DNA
Why Evolutionary Theory is Inadequate to Explain the Origin of DNA
Physicist Paul Davies explains why this evolution theory is insufficient to explain the origin of DNA: “Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis is clear. Since the heady successes of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is a classic case of confusing the medium with the message. The secret of life lies, not in its chemical basis, but in the logical and informational rules it exploits.”
Cambridge education Philosopher of Science, Stephen C. Meyer, puts it another way “Proposals that merely transfer the information problem elsewhere necessarily fail because they assume the existence of the very entity—specified information—they are trying to explain. And new laws will never explain the origin of information, because the processes that laws describe necessarily lack the complexity that informative sequences require. To say otherwise betrays confusion about the nature of scientific laws, the nature of information, or both.”
Information in RNA presents a problem for those who propose RNA as the first molecule to appear through some combination of chance and chemical necessity. Even if RNA is a precursor to DNA, the first RNA molecules would have to be rich in information to replicate. Information must exist first, before any other transformational process can take place. Without the prior genetic information in DNA and RNA, nothing of significance happens within cells (see Cold Case Christianity for more on this).
The Information in DNA Clearly Points to Intelligent Design
According to Lee Strobel, noted author and speaker, “The existence of biological information in DNA points toward a Creator. Each of our cells contains the precise assembly instructions for every protein out of which our bodies are made, all spelled out in a four-letter chemical alphabet. Nature can produce patterns, but whenever we see information—whether it’s in a book or a computer program—we know there’s intelligence behind it.” According to information science, “information” cannot spontaneously arise from matter. Intelligence is required.
The chance arrangement of information in DNA is in fact prohibitively improbable, and there are no chemical or physical laws at work to dictate its existence. We are left, then, with a paradox: the laws and forces of nature cannot produce information, but information is required for life to begin.
According to Dr. John Lennox, noted author and Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, “We have only to see a few letters of the alphabet spelling our name in the sand to recognize at once the work of an intelligent agent. How much more likely, then is the existence of an intelligent Creator behind human DNA, the colossal biological database that contains no fewer than 3.5 billion ‘letters’ – the longest ‘word’ yet discovered?” From John Lennox, on DNA and Design – God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, p. 75.
Where there is a Program, there is a Programmer
Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it. Where there is a program, there must have been a Programmer. We call that Programmer the one, true God, Maker of the heavens and the earth.
Watch the Video on God’s Amazing Programming:
Conclusion: You are Programmed a Masterful Programmer!
You are no accident. Your DNA is only one small proof that you were designed for a purpose. The first purpose you and I have is to recognize our Designer, and to give Him thanks and praise for creating and sustaining each of us. But you were designed for more that that. God has a specific purpose and plan for your life. He’s coded special skills and abilities into your DNA, and has put you in circumstances to realize a special plan for your life. But in order for you to learn this, you have to first acknowledge Him, and receive Him into your life as your Lord.
The good news is that God, the Master Programmer of all life, has made a way for you to have a personal relationship with Him! How? He realized that humans were not able to save themselves, so He became one of us – by being born in the form of a man, living a perfect life, and then taking the penalty for our “sins” by sacrificing His life in exchange for ours. Who was this Lamb who “took away the sins of the world”? His name is JESUS. or Yeshua in Hebrew.
Do you have a personal relationship with Yeshua, the Lord of all Life? If you don’t, you can! You were made for a purpose, and receiving the Lord into your heart and walking daily with Him will help you come to realize His purpose in your life and fulfill it. Don’t put it off! Here is a link to Billy Graham’s web site that can show you how…
Invite JESUS in! Steps to Peace with God ==> http://www.billygraham.org/SH_StepsToPeace.asp
- Stephen C. Meyer: “Can chemistry explain the information in DNA”?: https://youtu.be/C6G2ADJ61GA
- John Lennox, “The Origin of Life and Information” https://youtu.be/xJiNWT7t1iM
- Apologetics 315: https://apologetics315.com/2012/02/john-lennox-on-dna-and-design/
- Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/why-the-information-in-our-dna-points-to-the-existence-of-god/
- Cross-Examined.org: https://crossexamined.org/essential-dna-required-life/
- Evolution News.org: https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/stephen-meyer-explains-the-dna-challenge-to-theistic-evolution/
- National Human Genome Research Institute: https://www.genome.gov/25520880/deoxyribonucleic-acid-dna-fact-sheet/
- Stephen C. Meyer, “Intelligent Design is not Creationism”: http://www.stephencmeyer.org/news/2012/06/this_article_was_originally_pu.html