In Part One of this introductory series on DNA, a brief look at the history of the scientific achievements leading to our current understanding of genetics was presented. The series of scientific efforts that led to the discovery of the DNA molecule and the subsequent analysis of the molecule showed how genetic information is passed from generation to generation. The amazing property of DNA to encode instructions indicates a high level of complexity is barely matched by the human ingenuity to develop artificial languages used in computer science and the computers needed to transcribe and translate the code into useful information.
The ability of this molecule to undergo replication, while fascinating in itself, does not minimize the incredible specificity in the structure and function of the many different kinds of protein molecules that direct this replication process and decode the information in order to construct life itself. If this were not incredible enough, we must marvel that the same protein molecules that decode DNA are encoded in the very molecule that they decode and replicate. Similar to the classic question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, one given to evolutionary persuasions must also ask a similar question; which came first, DNA or protein? We find them interdependent and non-existent one without the other.
Furthermore, when we use words like transcription, translation, and information to describe the processes of information storage, retrieval, control, command, creation and development at the molecular and cellular level, it should not be difficult to conclude that the existence of genetic information seems miraculous. Yet we find ourselves studying biochemistry and the function of the information system of DNA using methods, machines and mathematics that are quite ingenious themselves. What does all this mean? What rational conclusions must be drawn to account for the level of intelligence needed to understand such things let alone the existence of physical materials and living systems that function to create and sustain life independent of our own intelligent intervention? Does chance and the elements of nature have anything to do with the existence of genetics? Can we honesty attribute to earth, water, fire, wind and time the power to create life?
Maybe it’s not fair to ask how all this began. After all evolution says it was a one-time event. Certain chemicals fell together in just the right proportion in just the right way to create the first living cell. Somehow that cell was able to replicate and to “create” hundreds of thousands of unique blueprints that gave rise to the hundreds of thousands, no millions of life forms that have been found on our planet.
For the sake of argument, let’s not deal with the one-time event; when the first living cell came into being by some freakish accident. Instead let’s look at the hundreds of thousands of different life forms on the planet and ask the question- where did all the information come from for building these plants and creatures, teaching them to eat, run, grow, fly, swim, reproduce, communicate, build homes or fight for existence?
Reproduction gives rise to offspring that are the same type of organism as its parents! As a matter of fact from Gregor Mendel to the present day there is a fundamental “Law of Inheritance” that has never been broken. This law states that every living type of organism will reproduce only after it’s kind. The inheritance of each blueprint of DNA is an unbroken law in nature. If biological evolution were true, this law would not exist. And yet it is one of the very first principles taught in biology class. Life reproduces after its own kind.
Think about it! So far we have to ignore the origin of life. Now we have to disregard the law of inheritance. What other known biological and chemical facts must be discarded in order to talk sanely about evolution?
Over the years, molecular biologists and geneticists have discovered that genetic inheritance is a controlled process and that there are instructions encoded at the molecular level for the production of life and allows for variation; an elaborate blueprint for creating the same type of organism generation after generation while allowing variation within the species. Geneticists, microbiologists and molecular biologists agree on this fact. It is bewildering why evolution has any place in these fascinating and hard sciences.
Mutations corrupt the message of DNA.
Biologists have noted repeatedly that mutations in the genetic code only give rise to defects, never improvements. This is true of the wingless fruit flies, antibiotic resistant bacteria, the 5 legged lamb, the 2 headed snake, and among human beings some 1500 genetic diseases like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and Huntington’s disease. The number of genetic defects in humans is probably much higher but may be masked as disorders or predispositions rather than outright disease. As a matter of fact in some cases such as thalasemia there are several hundred different mutations that lead to the non lethal form of this blood disorder. In familiar (genetic) Alzheimer’s disease, dozens of individual but separate genetic mutations lead to the same disorder. Literally thousands of genetic defects result in many of the same disease conditions in humans.
Mutations do not make improvements.
Just as remarkable as the DNA code, we have also discovered that the blueprint for human beings is not the same blueprint for the chimpanzee. There’s a blueprint for the crow and a different one for the cardinal. There is a blueprint for the horse, one for the red oak, the black snake, the blue whale, the trout and the rose. DNA is the substance for creating each blueprint for every type of living being on this planet; literally hundreds of thousands of different organisms. While we may share many of the same genes for digesting food or for cellular respiration, there remains an astounding number of differences in the coding sequence of the DNA for different organisms. To complicate things further, whole tracts of DNA code seem almost randomly dispersed among every living creature, thoroughly defeating the possibility that changes in DNA can be traced in any vertical sequence of events representing an evolution from anything. Cows share tracts of DNA with snakes. Whales share tracts of DNA with bats. Human DNA is shared with kangaroos. DNA appears to be a tool box of instructions with a common strategy. Regulatory regions choose which sets of genes are to turn on and how long they stay on in the developing life form. Genetic regulation is responsible for differentiating tissues during the development of body plans. And it gets more complicated.
In 2012 the ENCODE project has begun to bear down on understanding that most if not all of the genetic sequences in the human genome are functional. This means we have just become exponentially ignorant of our own genetic blueprint. We thought only 1 or 2 percent was important. The ENCODE project says at least 80% of the DNA in chromosomes is important, and mostly likely all of the DNA is going to be found to be functional.
What does this mean to you? Does biological evolution make sense? Is it possible for random chemical and biochemical processes to come together to produce something living without intelligent intervention? Is it possible that the first living cell continued to develop through hundreds of millions of years to form the millions of different species that have been or are now living on this planet? Please keep in mind; it is not the incredible complexity or the massive amount of information content found in the genetic code of different living organisms that we do not understand. We do understand! We also know that our chemistry, our biochemistry, our molecular biology, our cellular biology, our ability to induce mutations and to study them, our statistical and mathematical models, and our understanding of information content prove beyond doubt that DNA is evidence of a an intelligent designer – a Master’s blueprint for life on planet Earth.
This Master is not subject to our scientific studies. He is not accessible through microscopes, x-rays, or test tubes. Just like our theory of biological evolution, He cannot be proven but he can be sensibly, rationally inferred to exist.
The Master of life must be super-natural.
Evidence of his existence is clear in the things that have been designed. They are an indication of the Master’s invisible nature and his deity. Biological evolution on the other hand, is not subject to the microscope, or to test tubes, or to x-rays either. All of these techniques prove that the existence of DNA is the product of a deliberate design.
If knowledge about the origin of life in its varied forms is not accessible to our sciences then faith becomes the better answer. Not a blind faith, but a faith in the evidence. Biological evolution violates all the laws of our known sciences. Biological evolution violates what we know about chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, information science, cell biology, fetal development and common sense.
The idea of a creator God also violates everything we know about chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, information science, cell biology, fetal development, but not common sense. Design demands a designer and the proof is all around us. Some kind of super-natural intelligence must be the engineer for the blueprints of life.
Who is this Engineer? What is his/her name? Why don’t we see him? How can God be known? These are not the questions that science can answer. We need a revelation.
I hate the idea that somehow religion answers the question. I see in most religions man-made philosophies that embody some truths but have no substance to answer the big questions. I see in most religions a promotion of blind faith and support of delusions that have no bearing either on the value of human life or the purpose for our existence. True religion ought to promote intellectual freedom that embodies sensible conclusions about the existence of life. Human beings ought to have purpose, direction and a moral obligation with an ultimate goal to living.
So where does one turn? I don’t recommend turning to religion for answers. But I highly recommend a study of the ancient Jewish record that the world knows as the Bible. I know it sounds like an appeal to religion and men have spun off a web of contradictory religious beliefs from the Bible. But the book introduces an intelligent Creator of life and the universe. Here is a revelation of a creator God I can believe in. In these Scriptures I find answers; many of them miraculous. Some of them beyond my comprehension. This alone explains a lot of the unnatural phenomena of biology, astronomy and cosmology.
I do find a God who enacts a religion under an agreement with a certain tribe of men and although He creates a religious approach with robes, incense, holy water, candles and a temple these were only a temporary engagements to bring about a full revelation of himself with mankind in the person of Jesus also called the Christ. For this manifestation of God in the flesh we discover the divinity of man in the humanity of God. A new and more permanent agreement is made for all mankind, though He used a single nation to fulfill His purpose. Religion no longer has outward signs and symbols for the “…the kingdom of God is within you”. I do find an explanation to life and its complexity. It did have a miraculous beginning.
As important as this revelation is as an answer to creation, I find purpose in living. I find the highest of morality, certainly beyond anything man could come up with. I discover a Creator who has all power, all knowledge and has the ability to permeate all of space and time. He is personal and cares for our existence. Just as DNA is evidence of a Master’s blueprint for life, I have found the words of the Bible to be evidence for a Master’s blueprint for human living, a revelation of that which cannot be known by science; guidance for the heart, the mind and the soul of man. The Bible is sufficient for me as a partner to the revelation of all the complexity and manifest beauty that science reveals. Evolution is not an answer. I find it’s not even a good guess.
Whether you agree that the Bible is the necessary answer you must, even with a vague notion of the incredible molecular knowledge about life which we have gained, confront evolution. Is it credible? Is it even a workable hypothesis? Do the living things all around you indicate a random force of nature was at work in their existence? What are the rules for evolution?
We have found evidence of God in biology!
I don’t have all the answers but a few things are certain; evolution is a failed scientific hypothesis and yet it has been relegated to the level of religious dogma by the scientific community and called fact. Like religion it is based on blind faith. How did it get to this level of acceptance? I ask you to follow my other web series starting with “Foundations for the Argument”. There is a lot of information to gather and it ultimately points to a single conclusion. There is a God! He has a plan. You and I are part of the great mystery of being alive. We have a purpose and part of this purpose is to discover the wisdom of God in the created order and to know Him to fulfill our existence in joyful living.