Over on this thread we’ve had a lively discussion, primarily about common descent. However, one of the key side discussions has focused on the information required to build an organism.
Remarkably, some have argued that essentially nothing is required except a parts list on a digital storage medium. Yes, you heard right. Given the right sequence of digital characters (represented by nucleotides in the DNA molecule), each part will correctly self-assemble, the various parts will make their way automatically to the correct place within the cell, they will then automatically assemble into larger protein complexes and molecular machines to perform work, the various cells will automatically assemble themselves into larger structures, such as limbs and organs, and eventually everything will automatically come together into a completely-assembled, fully-integrated, functioning organism.
It all happens purely naturally and automatically. Just by force of chemistry. No additional information is necessary; no plan or programming are required.
Just the right sequence along the DNA spine to specify the various parts, and we’re done.
Move along, folks. Nothing more to see here. The nucleotide sequences that specify the gene products are all we need. Chemistry does all the rest.
It’s just “basic biology.”
For those who might be tempted to buy into the above storyline, let me share a recent news story. Actually I should have shared it on April 1st, but I’m sharing it today.
Evolutionary Theorists Discover How mp4 Videos Work
April 1, 2016. Somewhere on Planet Earth.
Recently a group of evolutionary theorists – specifically, theorists who claim that the cellular functions of biological organisms can be explained by chemistry alone – found a laptop with a number of video files contained on the hard drive.
Knowing little about computers and even less about systems engineering, the intrepid theorists began to examine the laptop and discovered a number of icons on the desktop. The icons in question had various names, but they all ended in “.mp4.” Upon pressing an icon, the theorists were amazed to discover that the desktop view disappeared, the screen went momentarily black, and then a movie began to play.
Much speculation ensued about how this was possible, but after a particularly valiant effort, they were able to determine that each icon referenced a long string of digital characters stored on the laptop’s hard drive. Further, each icon pointed to a different sequence of digital characters, thus explaining how a different movie was played for each icon.
After much careful thought, the evolutionary theorists announced the results of their discovery: Each sequence of digital characters on the hard drive represented a series of still images, thus containing all the information required for the movie.
It was an impressive result, to be sure, but some observers noted that the discovery still did not explain how it was possible for mp4 videos to be played.
When pressed for more details, the evolutionary theorists loudly reasserted that they had already solved the puzzle of how mp4 videos worked and wondered aloud how anyone could be so foolish as to question their results.
“It’s all there in the string of characters for the images,” one theorist confidently stated. “We can identify the sequences for the images right there. There is no other software or programming required to play an mp4 video. You just press the icon and everything happens automatically – all by the force of electrical impulses. There is no need for intervention, or intelligence, or design, or anything of the kind. The video simply plays as a result of a series of automatically-triggered electrical impulses, and nothing more is needed to explain how it works.”
Some skeptics questioned whether this explanation made sense, but the evolutionary theorists would have none of it, and roundly accused the skeptics of not having the proper background or education to question the Electrical-Impulse theory.
Confident that the Electrical-Impulse theory fully explained the operation of the mp4 files on the laptop, several of the theorists also concluded that everything else on the storage medium was unnecessary. “It isn’t needed,” one dryly remarked. “The image sequences are sufficient to account for the videos, so everything else on the hard drive is probably just junk.”
Finally, when asked where the laptop, the storage medium, and the processor came from in the first place, the theorists noted that they had also found a copy of the laptop’s parts list on the hard drive, so naturally it can be assumed, they reasoned, that the parts list was the source of the laptop itself.