Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Ironic Bluster


I’m not done mining the rich little vein of error ore that Evolve managed to compress into one paragraph.  Evolve writes:  “DNA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature. It is not a software program.”

Now, it is certainly true that DNA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature.  Here is a brief description from Wikipedia:

DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions . . . Each nucleotide is composed of a nitrogen-containingnucleobase—either guanine(G), adenine (A), thymine (T), or cytosine (C)—as well as a monosaccharide sugar called deoxyribose and a phosphate group.  The nucleotides are joined to one another in a chain by covalent bonds between the sugar of one nucleotide and the phosphate of the next, resulting in an alternating sugar-phosphate backbone.  According to base pairing rules (A with T and C with G), hydrogen bonds bind the nitrogenous bases of the two separate polynucleotide strands to make double-stranded DNA . . .  The two strands of DNA run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel.  Attached to each sugar is one of four types of nucleobases (informally, bases). It is the sequence of these four nucleobases along the backbone that encodes biological information. Under the genetic code, RNA strands are translated to specify the sequence of amino acids within proteins.



Everyone has seen an old-fashioned floppy disk, which consists of a round piece of plastic coated with iron oxide that can be magnetized.  When one saves data to a floppy, a machine called a recording head creates a magnetic pattern in the iron oxide.  The pattern of magnetized iron oxide is a digital code that can later be read by the computer.  Back in the old days computer software came on floppy disks.  I remember back in the 90’s installing one of the earlier versions of Windows which was shipped on 20 floppy disks.

Suppose I had said something like:  “A floppy disk consists of chemical molecules whose components are present in nature (e.g., plastic polymers; iron oxide).  It is not a software program.”  Now there are two ways to interpret my statement.  If I meant that the polymers and the iron oxide themselves were not the software program, I would be correct.  The statement is trivially true.   But suppose I had a meaning similar to Evolve’s meaning along the lines of “the information in a floppy disk is reducible to its chemical components.”  You would be excused for thinking I was a blithering idiot.  Not only is the statement false; it is obviously false and no sane person would say it.

Yet that is exactly what Evolve would have us believe concerning the information in DNA.  It beggars belief that someone is still trying to peddle the “information is chemicals” pabulum long after it has shown to be, without the slightest doubt, false.  What is more staggering still is that Evolve tries to pass it off with an air of intellectual superiority.  The irony of someone pushing an idea with a confidence that is inversely proportionate to its veracity is rather amusing (if one finds irony amusing, and readers of these pages know I do).  And what is most stunning of all?  What is most stunning of all is that Evolve probably believes what he is saying.  He has to.  His religion  is very demanding.

As Phillip Johnson said, “I would love to be a materialist; my life would be so much easier.  I just can’t handle the faith commitments.”

Some thoughts for Cabal re comparison between computer programs & DNA. When you look at a computer executing your program, you won't see loops, branching, recurtion etc. in your program as it is represented by electric charges in your CPU's registers, will you? And the ability of your CPU to handle these charges as you intended is hardwired into your CPU by means of electric circuits etc. If your program receives some input - which is without loss of generality equal to changing charges in some registers of your CPU, and then CPU combines this input with what you feeded into it as a program and gives you the output. The same thing happens in the cell (though things are of course far more complex there) - when, for instance, an internal or external signal it receives triggers some cascade of events that eventually leads to genetic expression which leads to production of something - a protein or an RNA-molecule which later does the necessary job - which is the response to the input. So here's the branching - if (some form of input) then (responce). If you feed another program to the cell, the response'll be different or there might be no responce at all. So at this level of comparison computer programs & DNA code are identical, aren't they? Perhaps someday we'll be able (when we gain enough knowledge) to write our own programs for cells using language like C++ and some sophisticated compilators will translate them into DNA sequences later to be inserted into cells, who knows. Lesia
Oh, Cabal. Where are you, Cabal? ;-) -Q Querius
Ignorance is apparently bliss. Cabal doesn't realize that the encoding of information in DNA represents biotechnology that's a billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion times as complex as the technology designed by people, and that it's far more likely for a bright red Ferrari Testosterone with leather seats and a musical horn to appear spontaneously in a warm pond than biological life. Dream on. -Q Querius
Arrington's prediction @ 10 confirmed. Cabal goes with "ignore." Barry Arrington
That's too easy - equating "software" with "computer program" A strign of code - say a random string as in a passsword is not a program. Most computer programs are extremely vulnerable. The change of only a single bit of the billions of bits in a program may jeopardize the program. But luckily our silicon machines are much more resilient than DNA. We all know that DNA is susceptible to random mutations - at a scale that would make computers as we know them useless. The hodge-podge of our chromosomes has very little in common with a computer program. That's my personal opinion Why is of such importance to critics to equate DNA with a computer program? What's the purpose? Cabal
In theory, humans could predict how dna would be interpreted. Based on that knowledge, humans should be able to make their own custom dna sequence insert it into zygote or stem cell, and watch their program come into fruition. Small scale - a custom virus that alters a biological function. Big scale - think a tree like organism that grows into the shape of a house, self building homes for all! Of course there are environmental factors at play and this is all hypothetical, but the fact that it is molecular means it obeys the laws of physics and as such is predictable. Therefore it can be used to produce a predictable output based on a predetermined input.... while it may or may not be designed* for this purpose it can certainly be used that way. DNA is a code if you like it or not. It is predictable, programmable and can produce a physical output... it is the mother of programming languages! *either by a "designer" or natural causes. bw
Cabal @4:
I agree (how could I not?) that DNA may be seen as contining strings of codes, but I don’t see the similarity with a computer program.
I am (almost) at a loss. In one sentence, Cabal allows as much as he can, "may be seen as containing" (feigning generosity?), only to follow it with "I don’t see the similarity with a computer program." Cabal, despite, the creative avenues (which you mentioned and have come to expect) that designers of software can engage in, please, do not forget: DNA contains strings of code. Software is strings of code, so . . . uh, er, they are similar. Tim
Cabal, "Dear Mr. Arrington, I just read the Wikipedia article and did not find any mention of DNA as a software program. I agree (how could I not?) that DNA may be seen as contining strings of codes, but I don’t see the similarity with a computer program. I read about transcription and things but nothing about in what way it is comparable to what I’d expect of a computer program." Think Cabal think. The only place where genetic codes are generally debated as being meaningless patterns with no real information as we as humans understand it, yet accomplishes great and complex things despite it's meaninglessness is inside these forums where ideologues and philosophers with an ax to grind against groups they hate, these retarded concepts and worldviews are only mentioned within these various confines. Out in the real world as a general rule, most all Scientists who are doing sincere important research don't describe these incredible informational run nano-machine communications systems within cells in these ridiculous details some of these armchair Darwinian Science insist on feeding the public. They use terms like computers, files, programs, etc. I posted an example I read some years back and it's hardly out of date and it's the only way to understand genetics. Mankind academically would have gotten nowhere with the stupidity these idiots try and shave down the rest of the word's throat for no other reason than they have a beef or bone to pick with someone's God. Most Scientists will make honorary reference to evolution or Darwin in papers without mention of how such can be proven. They don't have to, but it's expected by the ruling orthodoxy and perks like grant monies go hand in hand if they at least offer a pinch of incense before the image of Darwin as a form of Emperor Worshipful respect. But if they ever attempt to publish within their research some of the drivel atheists post in these forums, they'd be laughed at and probably would lose their employment. By the way, Coyne, Dawkins, Meyers, and others are not real scientists, they are power hungry & obsessed ideologues wanting obedience from the entire globe. I posted this elsewhere, but it's more appropriate here given the subject. Keep in mind, I highly doubt these researchers mentioned in the research are believing in creation. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091123114815.htm - DavidD
Prediction: Cabel will either ignore or say "not good enough" to all of the above. Again, the materialist religion is extremely demanding. Barry Arrington
or this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_digital_data_storage Barry Arrington
or maybe this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_computing Barry Arrington
or this:
When I was in my twenties, I read James D. Watson’s ‘Molecular Biology of the Gene’ and decided my high school experience [regarding biology] had misled me. The understanding of life is a great subject. Biological information is the most important information we can discover, because over the next several decades it will revolutionize medicine. Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.
William H. (“Bill”) Gates, III, The Road Ahead, rev’d ed. (New York: Penguin, 1996), 228. Barry Arrington
Or this:
After Watson and Crick, we know that genes themselves, within their minute internal structure, are long strings of pure digital information. What is more, they are truly digital, in the full and strong sense of computers and compact disks, not in the weak sense of the nervous system. The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers, nor an eight-level code as in some telephone systems, but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computerlike. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular – biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.
Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (London: Phoenix, 1996), 19-20. Barry Arrington
Cabal, how about this:
Generation after generation, through countless cell divisions, the genetic heritage of living things is scrupulously preserved in DNA . . . All of life depends on the accurate transmission of information. As genetic messages are passed through generations of dividing cells, even small mistakes can be life-threatening . . . if mistakes were as rare as one in a million, 3000 mistakes would be made during each duplication of the human genome. Since the genome replicates about a million billion times in the course of building a human being from a single fertilised egg, it is unlikely that the human organism could tolerate such a high rate of error. In fact, the actual rate of mistakes is more like one in 10 billion.
Miroslav Radman and Robert Wagner, “The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication,” Scientific American 259 (August 1988): 42, 40-46. Barry Arrington
Dear Mr. Arrington, I just read the Wikipedia article and did not find any mention of DNA as a software program. I agree (how could I not?) that DNA may be seen as contining strings of codes, but I don't see the similarity with a computer program. I read about transcription and things but nothing about in what way it is comparable to what I'd expect of a computer program. Could someone with a better understanding than mine of how the chemistry of DNA at work in a cell is comparable to the way a computer program works please explain this? I miss the loops, recursivity, decision branches (Decision Coverage or Branch Coverage) and such... Cabal
Axel, I've bean mung, and I've mung bean, but a mean mung bean I've never bean. Mung
Don't be mung, mean. I mean, mean, mung. Axel
// Now, it is certainly true that DNA is a chemical molecule // whose components are present in nature. Got to hand it to those evolutionists, they have a flair for stating the obvious! DNA is a chemical molecule present in nature. DNA has components. Therefore, the components of DNA are present in nature. Who woulda thunk otherwise? So ID is false. Mung

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