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Gems from headlines 2011-2012 predicting the demise of ID

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2011: Does anyone remember the Clergy Letter Project?

In case you had any doubt, the last nail was just placed in the coffin of intelligent design (ID). And, in case you had any doubt, that last nail joins many others that have been in place for quite some time.

The latest attack appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) and provides conclusive evidence that the design of the human genome is incredibly imperfect, or, in other words, very far from being intelligently structured. As John Avise, a University of California-Irvine biologist, noted in the paper, his focus “is on a relatively neglected category of argument against ID and in favor of evolution: the argument from imperfection, as applied to the human genome.”

Michael Zimmerman, “Intelligent Design: Scientifically and Religiously Bankrupt” at HuffPost

All genomes are a river of languages of creative information flowing through time. Sometimes, where the information ends up, it is not useful. We know a lot more about the human genome (and others) now than we did then but none of it suggests that there is no underlying intelligence.

2011: From a novelist and screenwriter:

Thanks to Michele Bachmann, the tired concept of Intelligent Design has once again become a topic of conversation among Creationists, most of whom, ironically, often sound like Neanderthals. In case you don’t know, this boneheaded theory claims that the human body is simply too remarkable to have come into being through millions of years of haphazard evolution, and that some super-intelligent deity must have been the engineering wizard behind the miracle of our anatomies.

Miracle? Really? If you’re over 50 and your body is starting to fall apart, it’s pretty obvious that the design is anything but intelligent.

John Blumenthal, “Intelligent Design? Not If You’re Over 50” at HuffPost

Somehow, Blumenthal has built into his definition of design the idea that in a finite and temporal world, designs should be ageless and invulnerable. Sure. That’ll work.

2012: A “physics professor, minister, major fan of Johnny Cash and the planet Saturn” holds forth:

For a person of faith, ID is not just an unnecessary choice; it is a harmful one. It reduces God to a kind of holy tinkerer. It locates the divine in places of ignorance and obscurity. And this gives it a defensive and fearful spirit that is out of place in Christian faith and theology. …

ID denies its proponents that freedom. Having opted to close the door on science, they steal from themselves the opportunity to see nature more deeply. In so doing they dig in their heels, refusing to be drawn, Kepler-style, closer to the creator God they all believe in. This is the great irony of ID.

Because ID is established in scientific ignorance, it cannot last. It is passing even now. And its religiously-motivated rejection by Kepler 400 years ago suggests that the seeds of its demise were planted even then. In this long view, it may be that ID never even managed to arrive.

Paul Wallace, “Intelligent Design Is Dead: A Christian Perspective” at HuffPost

As it happens, Darwin is in way bigger trouble now. One regularly sees stuff walloping along in the current of science information that isn’t consistent with any plausible interpretation of biology’s Big Theory. Not only does no one do anything about it but the worry that they ever will is beginning to fade.

See also: Direct Experimental Falsification Of Darwinism? (The Selfish Gene was heard to sob uncontrollably in the background.)

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25 Replies to “Gems from headlines 2011-2012 predicting the demise of ID

  1. 1
    ET says:

    Wow. Seeing that the ONLY way to defeat ID is to actually step up and demonstrate that blind and mindless processes are capable, ID and its future are very, very safe. I have never read so many totally lame arguments against ID as the arguments from an allegedly poor design. The morons look at extant life as if it was what was designed. They are too stupid to understand that extant life is NOT what was intelligently designed. And they are too cowardly to step up and try to demonstrate they have a process capable of producing what we observe.

    Unlike their position ID makes testable claims. That alone proves it is a scientific endeavor whereas there’s is not.

  2. 2
    Mimus says:

    I mean, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure the ID movement has demised. Here’s the google search trends for the term , the house journal doesn’t publish any research and here a the house blog there is only a mix of relgion, climate change and PR clippings from molecular and evolutionary biology papers.

    If you go back to the heydays of the ID movement before the Dover trial you can find lots of quotes about the imminent demise of all of evoluionary biology. That didn’t quite happen.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    LoL! Some people just don’t get it. There isn’t any research in any peer-reviewed journal that supports evolution by means of blind and mindless processes. The entire concept is useless and untestable. Eminent demise? We are still waiting for it to rise.

    The Dover trial proved that judges are not qualified to say what is and isn’t scientific. He fell for a literature bluff. He refused to listed to the ID experts. And he bought the lies of the evolutionists.

  4. 4
    Mimus says:

    Let’s imagine everything in your post was true, ET. None of that would change the fact ID demised, passed, bereft of research and basically an ex-movement. Would it?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Mimus,

    perhaps you do not know the actual record of published results. Let me clip up to March 2017:

    BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF
    PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
    SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    UPDATED MARCH, 2017

    PART I: INTRODUCTION
    While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear. As of 2015, the peer-reviewed scientific publication count had reached 90. Many of these papers are recent, published since 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.

    Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologist Doug Axe, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature.

    Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming ”points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”

    Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

    These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Complexity, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Physics Essays, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of Bacteriology , Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.

    Collectively, this body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.

    Despite ID’s publication record, we note parenthetically that recognition in peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea’s scientific merit. Darwin’s own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species — not in a peer-reviewed paper. Nonetheless, ID’s peer-reviewed publication record shows that it deserves — and is receiving — serious consideration by the scientific community.

    The purpose of ID’s budding research program is thus to engage open-minded scientists and thoughtful laypersons with credible, persuasive, peer-reviewed, empirical data supporting intelligent design. And this is happening. ID has already gained the kind of scientific recognition you would expect from a young (and vastly underfunded) but promising scientific field . . .

    Besides, the only thing that would undermine the design inference would be actual observation of blind watchmaker forces producing by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity without intelligent input, functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information. There are trillions of cases of actually observed origin of such FSCO/I, and uniformly it is by intelligently directed configuration. This is backed by the search challenge to blindly find needles in haystacks of possible configurations beyond complexity levels of 500 – 1,000 bits (3.27*10^150 – 1.07*10^301) for sol sys or observed cosmos scope.

    The core design inference does not depend for its cogency on what academic gate keepers and funding politics or ill-advised court decisions may force through — notice, the implicit appeal to power as arbiter of knowledge? — but on reasoned argument i/l/o evidence. There is a trillion member observational base, there is a needle in haystack configuration space search challenge. They both render the same verdict to this day: FSCO/I is best explained on design.

    That implies that cell based life (which uses coded information and execution machinery) is designed, dependent on LANGUAGE in order to come into being. Likewise the fine tuned cosmos that sets up C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life is also credibly designed.

    KF

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Mimus claims,

    “I’m pretty sure the ID movement has demised.”

    And yet I am pretty sure that,,,

    “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
    – Mark Twain

    In fact, not only is ID not dead, but ID is physically fit, full of life, with no sign of illness whatsoever. For instance this article from a couple of months ago:

    “This is something no man-made microprocessors or circuit boards are yet capable of achieving.”

    Scientists discover signalling circuit boards inside body’s cells – MAY 24, 2019
    Excerpt: Cells in the body are wired like computer chips to direct signals that instruct how they function, research suggests.
    Unlike a fixed circuit board, however, cells can rapidly rewire their communication networks to change their behaviour.
    The discovery of this cell-wide web turns our understanding of how instructions spread around a cell on its head.
    It was thought that the various organs and structures inside a cell float around in an open sea called the cytoplasm.
    Signals that tell the cell what to do were thought to be transmitted in waves and the frequency of the waves was the crucial part of the message.
    Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found information is carried across a web of guide wires that transmit signals across tiny, nanoscale distances.
    It is the movement of charged molecules across these tiny distances that transmit information, just as in a computer microprocessor, the researchers say.
    These localised signals are responsible for orchestrating the cell’s activities, such as instructing muscle cells to relax or contract.,,,
    Professor Mark Evans, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, said: “We found that cell function is coordinated by a network of nanotubes, similar to the carbon nanotubes you find in a computer microprocessor.
    “The most striking thing is that this circuit is highly flexible, as this cell-wide web can rapidly reconfigure to deliver different outputs in a manner determined by the information received by and relayed from the nucleus. This is something no man-made microprocessors or circuit boards are yet capable of achieving.”
    https://phys.org/news/2019-05-scientists-circuit-boards-body-cells.html

    Think about that statement Mimus, “This is something no man-made microprocessors or circuit boards are yet capable of achieving.”

    Considering the extreme amount of engineering prowess that goes into designing microprocessors,,

    Intel’s Broadwell CPU Is a 13-Layer, 14nm Advanced Chip – Gallery
    https://news.softpedia.com/news/Intel-s-Broadwell-CPU-Is-a-13-Layer-14nm-Advanced-Chip-Gallery-463629.shtml

    Considering the extreme amount of engineering prowess that goes into designing microprocessors, it is simply insane to hold, as Darwinists do, that the cell is the product of unguided accidental processes.

    But hey, science is science. If you want to falsify ID then just empirically demonstrate that unguided Darwinian processes can out-engineer our best computer engineers and programmers.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you:

    Scientists Have Stored a Movie, a Computer OS, and an Amazon Gift Card in a Single Speck of DNA
    “The highest-density data-storage device ever created.”
    – PETER DOCKRILL – 7 MAR 2017
    Excerpt: In turn, Erlich and fellow researcher Dina Zielinski from the New York Genome Centre now say their own coding strategy is 100 times more efficient than the 2012 standard, and capable of recording 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA.
    For context, just 1 petabyte is equivalent to 13.3 years’ worth of high-definition video, so if you feel like glancing disdainfully at the external hard drive on your computer desk right now, we won’t judge.
    http://www.sciencealert.com/sc.....eck-of-dna

    The data compression of some stretches of human DNA is estimated to be up to 12 codes thick (12 different ways of DNA transcription) (Trifonov, 1989). (This is well beyond the complexity of any computer code ever written by man). John Sanford – Genetic Entropy – 2005

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – published online May 2013
    Excerpt: In the last decade, we have discovered still another aspect of the multi-dimensional genome. We now know that DNA sequences are typically “ poly-functional” [38]. Trifanov previously had described at least 12 genetic codes that any given nucleotide can contribute to [39,40], and showed that a given base-pair can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously. The first evidence of overlapping protein-coding sequences in viruses caused quite a stir, but since then it has become recognized as typical. According to Kapronov et al., “it is not unusual that a single base-pair can be part of an intricate network of multiple isoforms of overlapping sense and antisense transcripts, the majority of which are unannotated” [41]. The ENCODE project [42] has confirmed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in higher genomes, wherein a given DNA sequence routinely encodes multiple overlapping messages, meaning that a single nucleotide can contribute to two or more genetic codes. Most recently, Itzkovitz et al. analyzed protein coding regions of 700 species, and showed that virtually all forms of life have extensive overlapping information in their genomes [43].
    38. Sanford J (2008) Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. FMS Publications, NY. Pages 131–142.
    39. Trifonov EN (1989) Multiple codes of nucleotide sequences. Bull of Mathematical Biology 51:417–432.
    40. Trifanov EN (1997) Genetic sequences as products of compression by inclusive superposition of many codes. Mol Biol 31:647–654.
    41. Kapranov P, et al (2005) Examples of complex architecture of the human transcriptome revealed by RACE and high density tiling arrays. Genome Res 15:987–997.
    42. Birney E, et al (2007) Encode Project Consortium: Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project. Nature 447:799–816.
    43. Itzkovitz S, Hodis E, Sega E (2010) Overlapping codes within protein-coding sequences. Genome Res. 20:1582–1589.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    What is Code Biology?,,,
    A world of organic codes
    In addition to the genetic code and the signal transduction codes, a wide variety of new organic codes have come to light in recent years. Among them: the sequence codes (Trifonov 1987, 1989, 1999), the Hox code (Paul Hunt et al. 1991; Kessel and Gruss 1991), the adhesive code (Redies and Takeichi 1996; Shapiro and Colman 1999), the splicing codes (Barbieri 2003; Fu 2004; Matlin et al. 2005; Pertea et al. 2007; Wang and Burge 2008; Barash et al. 2010; Dhir et al. 2010), the signal transduction codes (Barbieri 2003), the histone code (Strahl and Allis 2000; Jenuwein and Allis 2001; Turner 2000, 2002, 2007; Kühn and Hofmeyr 2014), the sugar code (Gabius 2000, 2009), the compartment codes (Barbieri 2003), the cytoskeleton codes (Barbieri 2003; Gimona 2008), the transcriptional code (Jessell 2000; Marquard and Pfaff 2001; Ruiz i Altaba et al. 2003; Flames et al. 2007), the neural code (Nicolelis and Ribeiro 2006; Nicolelis 2011), a neural code for taste (Di Lorenzo 2000; Hallock and Di Lorenzo 2006), an odorant receptor code (Dudai 1999; Ray et al. 2006), a space code in the hippocampus (O’Keefe and Burgess 1996, 2005; Hafting et al. 2005; Brandon and Hasselmo 2009; Papoutsi et al. 2009), the apoptosis code (Basañez and Hardwick 2008; Füllgrabe et al. 2010), the tubulin code (Verhey and Gaertig 2007), the nuclear signalling code (Maraldi 2008), the injective organic codes (De Beule et al. 2011), the molecular codes (Görlich et al. 2011; Görlich and Dittrich 2013), the ubiquitin code (Komander and Rape 2012), the bioelectric code (Tseng and Levin 2013; Levin 2014), the acoustic codes (Farina and Pieretti 2014), the glycomic code (Buckeridge and De Souza 2014; Tavares and Buckeridge 2015) and the Redox code (Jones and Sies 2015).
    The living world, in short, is literally teeming with organic codes, and yet so far their discoveries have only circulated in small circles and have not attracted the attention of the scientific community at large.
    http://codebiology.org/

    There is even a 10 million dollar prize being offered for the first person that can falsify ID, That is to say, there is a 10 million dollar prize offered for the first person who can demonstrate the origin of a code by unguided processes:

    Entrepreneurs offer $10m prize for cracking mystery of DNA
    http://evo2.org/ft/

    Official Natural Code Prize Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNF2c3i6eJo

    So Mimus, instead of just spreading false rumors about the death of ID, why don’t you do the dirty deed yourself and kill ID with an empirical demonstration that unquided processes can create codes?

    After all talk is cheap buddy! Whereas you could be 10 million dollars richer if you can actually prove your claim that ID is dead.

  7. 7
    Brother Brian says:

    ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!
    ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig!
    ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!!

    THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    “I mean, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure the ID movement has demised.”

    Mimus,

    The fact that you are here defensively commenting is evidence that it’s still alive.

    Wouldn’t your time be better spent saving the world from Global Warming?

    Andrew

  9. 9
    ET says:

    LoL! @ mimus! ID is going stronger than ever. Unlike your position ID has the science. ID research pertains to detecting and studying intelligent designs in nature. That is still going strong, too.

    As I said- perhaps you should focus on your unscientific and very lame position. It is bereft of research and bereft of a testab;le methodology. Give us something to compare ID to.

    For example- How can anyone test the claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved by means of blind and mindless processes? And the answer still remains that no one has any idea how to test that claim.

  10. 10
    Brother Brian says:

    Andrew

    The fact that you are here defensively commenting is evidence that it’s still alive.

    We also slow down to look at car crashes.

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    “We also slow down to look at car crashes.”

    BB,

    I presume you then drive on after you get your jollies. So… go ahead and get lost already.

    Andrew

  12. 12
    ET says:

    We also slow down to look at car crashes.

    Is that why evolutionism is moving forward ever so slowly?

    It is very telling that when the only way to get rid of ID is to actually step up and produce the science that would support their position’s claims, they instead write fake obituaries for ID. Sad, but still pathetic.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Axel says:

    ‘Unlike their position ID makes testable claims. That alone proves it is a scientific endeavor whereas there’s is not.’

    I wonder if one of them was responsible for fairly recently diverting the contruction of a motorway in Ireland, to circumnavigate a fairy-tree (likely to be a hawthorn apparently). Apparently the fairy people can be very mean, if slighted in any way. Likewise, seemingly, even hard-headed Scandinavians (can’t remember the country) have a clause in building contracts concerning avoidance of disturbing trolls – proper trolls, not IT ones.

    That brilliant writer on skullduggery concerning derivatives and the money market in general, Michael Lewis mentions both in passing in one of his books. But such precautions would doubtless be more rationally based (recognition of the supernatural, here, demonic) , being built upon experience, than any materialists’ flights of fancy. But it makes you chuckle.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Earth to Bob O’H- EVERY scientific paper written about ATP synthase supports ID. EVERY scientific paper written about any bacterial flagellum supports ID. This list is as long as there are biological structures and systems.

  16. 16
    EricMH says:

    The irony of these quotes is they treat ID as if it makes scientifically testable predictions, thus qualifying ID as a scientific hypothesis. The central claim of ID is that it is scientifically testable, so these quotes claiming the demise of ID instead substantiate ID.
    The controversy over ID has diminished, and thus the traffic, but is this because ID is dead or because it has won?
    As I have mentioned before, at least in my in person interaction with atheists, the latter seems to be true. No one takes purposeless evolution seriously anymore, except for a few religious people who are trying to seem ‘with it’ to a few of their secular colleagues, and mass murderers and serial killers.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Yes, Eric, it is the ole “ID is not testable” followed by “By the way it failed our tests”.

  18. 18
    asauber says:

    “at least in my in person interaction with atheists, the latter seems to be true”

    EricMH,

    I can report similar interactions. Atheists on the street have talking points and when challenged invariably indicate they don’t really have any answers to them. They have what they have been told, and don’t understand that it only appears to work in an Atheist bubble, not in the real world or in other groups.

    Andrew

  19. 19
    Fasteddious says:

    I have always wondered at the supposed put down of ID, that it turns God into just “a kind of holy tinkerer”. First of all, for those of us who love to tinker, tinkering can be very creative – a great way to make new things – so why isn’t God allowed to tinker? Secondly, those of a Theistic Evolution bent seem to think that God created the world in the Big Bang and then left it alone to generate the world and everything in it by natural processes, without interference. Aside from the fact that that approach has been shown not to work, the idea that God does not interact with and make changes to his creation is simply unbiblical. How many times in the OT did God not act to change something in the world? And of course, in the NT, God himself came into the world for 33 years of our time, interacting with it daily and making some important changes.
    For some speculation on how God might have done the work assumed by ID theorists, see the following:
    https://thopid.blogspot.com/2019/02/intelligent-design-speculations.html

  20. 20
    MatSpirit says:

    If ID is doing so well, why did the Discovery Institute lay off Dr. Dembski?

  21. 21
    ET says:

    MatSpirit:

    If ID is doing so well, why did the Discovery Institute lay off Dr. Dembski?

    The two are not related. How desperate are you?

  22. 22
    Brother Brian says:

    Eric

    The controversy over ID has diminished, and thus the traffic, but is this because ID is dead or because it has won?

    The journal Evolution, one of several journals for evolutionary biology, has published 93 research papers so far this year. BioComplexity, the ID flagship “peer reviewed” journal, has published zero. If evolution science didn’t stop publishing research after they became the predominant theory, why did ID stop publishing after they “won”?

  23. 23
    ET says:

    The journal Evolution, one of several journals for evolutionary biology, has published 93 research papers so far this year.

    So what? How many of those support evolution by means of blind and mindless processes? Or is equivocation really the best that you have?

    If evolution science didn’t stop publishing research after they became the predominant theory, why did ID stop publishing after they “won”?

    Total nonsense. If someone published anything that supports evolution by means of blind and mindless processes they would win a Nobel Prize for being the first to do so.

    No one is publishing any blind watchmaker research. No one uses the concept to drive their research.

    It is the published scientific research that supports ID. For example, all of the papers on ATP synthase support the design inference. There just isn’t any viable scientific alternative to account for it.

  24. 24
    EricMH says:

    @BB, you write:

    > If evolution science didn’t stop publishing research after they became the predominant theory, why did ID stop publishing after they “won”?

    That’s a great question. I have a paper pending, and perhaps others do. However, for whatever reason the publishing process is not proceeding very quickly.

    I don’t think it is for lack of interesting ideas. For example, both Montañez’s and Ewert’s papers last year propose some very novel ideas that have plenty of area of application and testing.

    My hypothesis is a combination of factors.
    – the laborers are few
    – takes a very long time to get a paper through the peer review process
    – ID proponents are trying to target mainstream journals as well as Bio-Complexity
    – still ongoing persecution by the establishment

    That being said, Johnnyb and I have published two journal issues this year in the vein of alternatives to methodological naturalism.

    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/issue/archive

    I personally have plenty of ideas, and a few contacts, so will be working on hopefully getting a third issue out this year. The main problem is lack of time between holding down a full time job that has nothing to do with ID, supporting a family, and the normal obligations of life.

    Big picture: there seems to be an embarrassment of riches when it comes to applications of ID, and we just need more hands. Feel free to pitch in!

  25. 25
    MatSpirit says:

    Upright, good to hear from you again. Could you tell me which message you were quoting me from? The search function here is a little crude and I couldn’t find it.

    The point I was trying to make, then and now, is that for a simple enough cell, such as the first living thing would have been, you don’t need a separate, encoded store of data describing what you’re trying to copy. You can get your information directly from whatever you’re trying to copy.

    Here’s a YouTube video that illustrates my point: https://youtu.be/HHXlhJlPqKg

    This is a video about Culver Props, a mom and pop propellor factory that makes wooden airplane propellers. They’ve been around a long time and have a very good reputation.

    The whole video is worth watching, but I’d like to recommend the section that starts at 22:50. This shows the room that contains the “DNA” of the factory. It’s not full of blueprints coded in ink on paper with encoded descriptions of the propellers Culver manufactures. Instead, it consists of actual propellers (actually half propellers to save space) and they are placed in a machine that duplicates them using a very simple mechanical setup. No DNA, no RNA and no coding system at all. Just a simple mechanical system that follows contours on the original prop and saws duplicate contours on the new one. This is a well known and much used system for copying something on a lathe.

    When you’re thinking of the first living thing, forget DNA and codes. Think of something that directly copies the original molecule and you’ll be on the right track.

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