Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Crick on DNA as text


His March 19, 1953 letter to his son Michael:

Crick's letter
Crick’s letter

Well worth pondering. END

AYfP, Sadly, that sounds all too familiar. In their view you were just a troll not to be fed; to be monitored and belittled until you gave an excuse to kick you out under a cloud. That is, they wanted to fold, spindle and mutilate you to fit their narrative and spin game, you were not involved in a genuine discussion towards truth on reasonable, responsible warrant. KF kairosfocus
KF In my several years of active participation in the NCSE blog, I can't recall a single instance where rebuttals of ID positions I took -- along with evidence such as the Kinesin motor -- included any tangible rebutal. The principle writers (NCSE staff) never responded, except to commenters who were in agreement with the writer, commenters were almost universally dismissive and insulting, sometimes viciously so. Plenty of claims of "mountains of evidence" with no such mountain forthcoming. ayearningforpublius
Notice the lack of interest of objectors in the actual science issues, key underlying observations and foundational principles of ID? Despite many professions to the contrary and attempted projection of lack of interest in technical matters to us? What does this tell us about the nature of debates surrounding ID? Especially, given the implications of lab coat clad evolutionary materialism for our civilisation? kairosfocus
Has anyone else noticed this trend with NCSE?
I have noticed it also. Activity has dropped off considerably. I wondered if it was the retirement of Eugenie Scott. She was such a 'rabid' ID-hater and controversialist "there are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory" that it might have drawn like-attitudes. Silver Asiatic
Folks: Let us ask ourselves about/ponder a few points: 1: What is text, apart from a digital [= discrete state], symbolic communication system, i.e. a linguistic phenomenon? 2: What is the only empirically verified source of complex instances of textual language?
[As in, digitally coded, functionally specific complex information, dFSCI; a key manifestation of the wider functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I . . in turn a functionally specified subset of complex specified information, CSI. (And no, don't try the oh this is a delusion trick, it is patent that these terms describe an observable and highly significant phenomenon, cf posts in this thread D/RNA and a 6500 C3 fishing reel, etc.) Where, 3-d functional structures can be reduced to a string of y/n answers to q's in some structured description language, as we see with AutoCAD etc that use bits and a description language to encode the design information of artifacts. And yes, a string of y/n q's is a bit string, an information metric. And, considerations on strings are therefore WLOG.]
3: What is the empirically observed cause of s-t-r-i-n-g data structures used to store and facilitate processing of textual information? 4: What is the empirically demonstrated cause of machine code, textual information generally stored in string data structures and used to control the sequence of information processing and/or operations in an information-based system? 5: When we see DNA converted into mRNA (often, with editing) and then used to control protein molecule assembly in the ribosome, is this not an example of numerically controlled assembly driven by a step by step sequence of processes involving start, proceed, and at some finite remove, stop? 6: Is this not, then, an algorithmic process? 7: Does this not then manifest computation in action in a physical machine implemented using molecular nanotech? 8: Does this not place intelligently directed configuration as the most credible candidate to account for cell based life, given the centrality of proteins in such life forms and the chicken or egg first implication of the system just described? 9: Can one algorithmic process of significant complexity, generally speaking, be readily incrementally converted into another stepwise, functional all the way? (That is, is not the phenomenon of islands of function in a large configuration space the NORMAL implication of FSCO/I as described?) 10: What, then, does this presence of textual information and of linked algorithmic processing with associated molecular nanotech execution machinery tell us about the most credible origin "mechanism" of cell based life? Its diversification across the space of body plans from microbes to man? (Where, design can be briefly defined: intelligently directed configuration.) 11: What, then, is the significance of information in the world of cell based life? 12: Where does this point onward for our investigations of the world around us, and our application of our findings to C21 industrial civilisation? (As in, what is the significance of the demonstrated potential of von Neumann, kinematic self replicating systems -- at nanotech and "clanking" scales alike -- for transforming the world of technology? 13: As in, does Marcin Jakubowski have a point when he speaks of a global village construction set? 14: Where does this point for transformation of industrial technology, development transformation and onward -- over the next 100 - 200 years -- for solar system colonisation? [Likely: Moon, Mars, Asteroid belt, possibly gas giant moons. Eventually, perhaps, outposts in the trans Neptunian cloud, especially on dwarf planets.] 15: In such light, is it a fair assessment or assumption, that a design inference framework is a science, thought, technology and progress stopper? 16: Why, then (given the history of modern science and the specific impact of the Judaeo-Christian worldview framework on it), has this been touted by supposedly well informed and educated people and their organisations? Why has such been taken seriously by many others? 17: What can we now see about the significance of information, information-rich organisation and a design based approach to understanding our world in a sci-tech context? 18: Is the import of the above not more than sufficient motivation -- almost, a manifesto in outline -- to follow up scientifically on this perspective? KF kairosfocus
Perhaps their influence is waning?
I doubt it, but one can only hope . . . Despite having had some favorable personal interactions with individual NCSE writers and staff over the years, I would not be sorry to see one less dogmatic, propaganda-driven organization in existence. Particularly not one bent on stifling debate and forcing consensus "science" down everyone's throat. Apologies, KF, for following the OT comment for a moment. Back to Crick . . . Eric Anderson
Somewhat related -- having to do with the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). I have been following NCSE for 4+ years now, and for a time actually was actively commenting on articles with reports from the ID community (mainly DI). Comments were plentiful, and especially brutal and nasty towards myself and a few other decenters. I finally responded in kind to one of the more egregious commenters -- this got me banned and saved my sanity. Lately I've noticed the NCSE seems to be in stasis with few articles on evolution posted by the NCSE staff, and also with far fewer comments than in years past. Perhaps their influence is waning? They never have had much in the area of science reporting, but it seems to have pretty much dried up. Has anyone else noticed this trend with NCSE? ayearningforpublius
KF @7: Precious piece of science history. Thanks to Eric A for requesting this. Thank you responding to EA's request and sharing this information here. BTW, regarding the onlookers you mentioned @4, here's a correction of the comment posted @6: the number of visits back then was 207, but now it's 238, which means that since comment @6 was posted, around 30 anonymous visitors, onlookers, lurkers, have stopped by this thread. Not bad, considering that some of my relatives and friends deem this site pretty boring (to say it nicely) but they know I'm a nerd. :) Please, note that Dr. Crick wrote:
[...] we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life.
life comes from life. BTW, there's much more to biological life than DNA. Dionisio
EA, This has the goods: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/25193 (Click on the reduced images page by page. The whole letter -- with fountain pen sketches and all -- is fascinating. The paper original was sold for US$ 6 mn, so let us be grateful for the scans of an original written in what looks like old Parker Blue-Black Quink ink.) KF PS: Text sans images:
My Dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery. We have built a model for the structure of des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read it carefully) called D.N.A. for short. You may remember that the genes of the chromosomes — which carry the hereditary factors — are made up of protein and D.N.A. Our structure is very beautiful. D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out. The flat bits are called the “bases”. […] Now we have two of these chains winding round each other — each one is a helix — and the chain, made up of sugar and phosphorus, is on the outside, and the bases are all on the inside. [...] Now the exciting thing is that while these are 4 different bases, we find we can only put certain pairs of them together. The bases have names. They are Adenine, Guanine, Thymine & Cytosine. I will call them A, G, T and C. Now we find that the pairs we can make — which have one base from one chain joined to one base from another — are only A with T and G with C. Now on one chain, as far as we can see, one can have the bases in any order, but if their order is fixed, then the order on the other chain is also fixed. […] It is like a code. If you are given one set of letters you can write down the others. Now we believe that the D.N.A. is [--> h/w has underscore] a code. That is, the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another). You can now see how Nature makes copies of the genes. Because if the two chains unwind into two separate chains, and if each chain then makes another chain come together on it, then because A always goes with T, and G with C, we shall two copies where we had one before. […] In other words, we think we have found the basic copying mechanism by which life comes from life. The beauty of our model is that the shape of it is such that only these pairs can go together, though they could pair up in other ways if they were floating about freely. You can understand that we are very excited. We have to have a letter off to Nature in a day or so. Read this carefully so that you understand it. When you come home we will show you the model. Lots of love, Daddy
KF @4:
I know there are such onlookers.
Yes, it seems like there are. You posted this interesting OP yesterday and by now it has a few comments posted but has received around 200 anonymous visitors. Apparently serious thinking visitors, because it's not a Beyoncé's show picture in the OP, but an old handwritten letter from a British scientist saying to his son that he has detected a code in the core of the cells. Not many can (or want to) appreciate the scientific significance of such a revelation made privately in 1953. It humbles me just to imagine how many breakthrough scientific revelations are going to be made in the near future. Now we know that there's much more in biological systems besides the DNA. Nevertheless, the discovery of DNA and its code-related function was a monumental event in science history. Dionisio
KF, interesting. Do you have the source handy you can share? Eric Anderson
DfO, the pattern of evasiveness in the face of direct facts of undoubted provenance is itself revealing to the informed onlooker -- and believe you me I know there are such onlookers. KF kairosfocus
Since 1953 Crick has known (or "believed") that DNA is a code containing letters creating genes that differ from each other like pages of print. Now, 63 years later, science has absolutely no idea how such a thing could arise through natural selection (or drift, etc.) working on random, unguided processes. No empirical evidence at all. No convincing working hypothesis. Nothing. And still they (atheists/materialists) believe. I have to give them credit for their unyielding faith. Truth Will Set You Free
The Crick letter. kairosfocus

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