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A Stop to the Evolution Journey Of Birds

FAZALE RANA  Is the biochemical activity measured for the human genome merely biochemical noise or is it productive for the cell? The answer to this question doesn’t just have scientific implications. It impacts questions surrounding humanity’s origin. Did we arise through evolutionary processes or are we the product of a Creator’s handiwork?


 

The time my wife Amy and I spent in graduate school studying biochemistry were some of the best days of our lives. But it wasn’t all fun and games. For the most part, we spent long days and nights working in the lab.

But we weren’t alone. Most of the graduate students in the chemistry department at Ohio University kept the same hours we did, with all-nighters broken up around midnight by “Dew n’ Donut” runs to the local 7-Eleven. Even though everybody worked hard, some people were just more productive than others. I soon came to realize that activity and productivity were two entirely different things. Some of the busiest people I knew in graduate school rarely accomplished anything.

This same dichotomy lies at the heart of an important scientific debate taking place about the meaning of the ENCODE project results. This controversy centers around the question: Is the biochemical activity measured for the human genome merely biochemical noise or is it productive for the cell? Or to phrase the question the way a biochemist would: Is biochemical activity associated with the human genome the same thing as biochemical function?

The answer to this question doesn’t just have scientific implications. It impacts questions surrounding humanity’s origin. Did we arise through evolutionary processes or are we the product of a Creator’s handiwork?

The ENCODE Project

The ENCODE project—a program carried out by a consortium of scientists with the goal of identifying the functional DNA sequence elements in the human genome—reported phase II results in the fall of 2012. To the surprise of many, the ENCODE project reported that around 80% of the human genome displays biochemical activity, and hence function, with the expectation that this percentage should increase with phase III of the project.

If valid, the ENCODE results force a radical revision of the way scientists view the human genome. Instead of a wasteland littered with junk DNA sequences (as the evolutionary paradigm predicts), the human genome (and the genomes of other organisms) is packed with functional elements (as expected if a Creator brought human beings into existence).

Within hours of the publication of the phase II results, evolutionary biologists condemned the ENCODE results, citing technical issues with the way the study was designed and the way the results were interpreted.

Is Biochemical Activity the Same Thing As Function?

One of the technical complaints relates to how the ENCODE consortium determined biochemical function. Critics argue that ENCODE scientists conflated biochemical activity with function. For example, the ENCODE Project determined that about 60% of the human genome is transcribed to produceRNA. ENCODE skeptics argue that most of these transcripts lack function. Evolutionary biologist Dan Graur has asserted that “some studies even indicate that 90% of transcripts generated by RNA polymerase II may represent transcriptional noise.”In other words, the biochemical activity measured by the ENCODE project can be likened to busy but nonproductive graduate students who hustle and bustle about the lab but fail to get anything done.

When I first learned how many evolutionary biologists interpreted the ENCODE results I was skeptical. As a biochemist, I am well aware that living systems could not tolerate such high levels of transcriptional noise.

Transcription is an energy- and resource-intensive process. Therefore, it would be untenable to believe that most transcripts are mere biochemical noise. Such a view ignores cellular energetics. Transcribing 60% of the genome when most of the transcripts serve no useful function would routinely waste a significant amount of the organism’s energy and material stores. If such an inefficient practice existed, surely natural selection would eliminate it and streamline transcription to produce transcripts that contribute to the organism’s fitness.

Most RNA Transcripts Are Functional

Recent work supports my intuition as a biochemist. Genomics scientists are quickly realizing that most of the RNA molecule transcribed from the human genome serve critical functional roles.

For example, a recently published report from the Second Aegean International Conference on the Long and the Short of Non-Coding RNAs (held in Greece between June 9–14, 2017) highlights this growing consensus. Based on the papers presented at the conference, the authors of the report conclude, “Non-coding RNAs . . . are not simply transcriptional by-products, or splicing artefacts, but comprise a diverse population of actively synthesized and regulated RNA transcripts. These transcripts can—and do—function within the contexts of cellular homeostasis and human pathogenesis.”2

Shortly before this conference was held, a consortium of scientists from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan published an atlas of long non-coding RNAs transcribed from the human genome. (Long non-coding RNAs are a subset of RNA transcripts produced from the human genome.) They identified nearly 28,000 distinct long non-coding RNA transcripts and determined that nearly 19,200 of these play some functional role, with the possibility that this number may increase as they and other scientific teams continue to study long non-coding RNAs.3 One of the researchers involved in this project acknowledges that “There is strong debate in the scientific community on whether the thousands of long non-coding RNAs generated from our genomes are functional or simply byproducts of a noisy transcriptional machinery . . . we find compelling evidence that the majority of these long non-coding RNAs appear to be functional.”4

Copied by Design

Based on these results, it becomes increasingly difficult for ENCODE skeptics to dismiss the findings of the ENCODE project. Independent studies affirm the findings of the ENCODE consortium—namely, that a vast proportion of the human genome is functional.

We have come a long way from the early days of the human genome project. When completed in 2003, many scientists at that time estimated that around 95% of the human genome consisted of junk DNA. And in doing so, they seemingly provided compelling evidence that humans must be the product of an evolutionary history.

But, here we are, nearly 15 years later. And the more we learn about the structure and function of genomes, the more elegant and sophisticated they appear to be. And the more reasons we have to think that the human genome is the handiwork of our Creator.

Endnotes

  1. Dan Graur et al., “On the Immortality of Television Sets: ‘Function’ in the Human Genome According to the Evolution-Free Gospel of ENCODE,” Genome Biology and Evolution5 (March 1, 2013): 578–90, doi:10.1093/gbe/evt028.
  2. Jun-An Chen and Simon Conn, “Canonical mRNA is the Exception, Rather than the Rule,” Genome Biology 18 (July 7, 2017): 133, doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1268-1.
  3. Chung-Chau Hon et al., “An Atlas of Human Long Non-Coding RNAs with Accurate 5′ Ends,” Nature 543 (March 9, 2017): 199–204, doi:10.1038/nature21374.
  4. RIKEN, “Improved Gene Expression Atlas Shows that Many Human Long Non-Coding RNAs May Actually Be Functional,” ScienceDaily, March 1, 2017, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301132018.htm.

 FABRIZIO FRATUS  (Transcript of Dr. Fratus' talk on the 2nd International Conference) The first thing I want to say is that I personally think that Darwin's theory is a lie, a falsehood. I will start from the question: Is it myth or reality? To give an answer to this question we must first know if Darwinism is science.


The first thing I want to say is that I personally think that Darwin's theory is a lie, a falsehood. I will start from the question: Is it myth or reality? To give an answer to this question we must first know if Darwinism is science.

So let's try to understand in a simple way what science is. Science must be observable, repeatable and testable. We must be able to verify that an experiment produce an effect that cannot be falsified. In this regard, it is very important to understand Karl Popper's theory. In an attempt to epistemologically understand what Darwin's theory was and how it has evolved, Karl Popper tried to find out a proof that could confute the theory itself. At some point, Karl Popper came to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable theory but it is just a metaphysical research program. This means that Karl Popper, an atheist philosopher, described Darwin's theory as a metaphysical theory that has nothing to do with science.

Antonino Zichichi, president of the World Physics Association in Italy, wrote a book entitled Colui Che Ha fatto Il Mondo in which, by explaining what the credibility of a scientific theory is, he said that the evolution of the human species remains below the level of scientific credibility because Darwin's theory does not pass the test of reproducibility and, since it is not possible to study events that are not reproducible, it is also impossible to observe an effect that have occurred only once. So, Antonino Zichichi thinks that Darwin's theory is not science, to and therefore it is not observable, it is not repeatable and not testable. This is an important point because it means that when we speak about Darwinism, we are not talking about science. Therefore, the science system must reject this hypothesis.

Let's now talk about what Darwinism produces. Let’s see the definition of the word "race" found in Italian vocabularies. A race is a human population locally or globally located, distinguished as a group more or less differentiated by genetically transmitted physical characteristics. So this is the definition of “race”. We know that anthropologists classify the four existing races in: Australians, Negroide, Mongols, and Caucasians. What does Darwinism say instead? Darwinism says that races have developed independently, and that some of them have developed better than others. This is an important point to understand.

In 1833 Darwin wrote, referring to the inhabitants of Terra del Fuoco: “These were the most abject and miserable creatures I anywhere beheld. Viewing such men, one can hardly make oneself believe that they are our fellow-creatures.” In 1871, speaking about the descendants of man, he said that non-white races simply cannot elevate entirely to the level of civilized human beings, and that they are mentally and morally at a lower level, in a way they are stuck at a previous stage of the biological evolution of human species. This means that they are inferior. That's what Darwin said. Darwinism creates racism. When we talk about Darwin we talk about racism.

Why are there big differences between races? The human beings body contains melanin, and this applies to all human populations. Depending on the decrease or increase of the level of melanin, the skin color is lighter or darker. So dark skin people, i.e. Negroid, have high levels of melanin and light skin people i.e. Caucasian, have lower levels of melanin. When there is a low level of melanin and a very sunny weather, the consequence will be skin cancer, when there is low level of melanin and a little sunny weather the consequence will be a vitamin D deficiency. We all know that for the northern populations it is very difficult to sunbath because their skin become red easily under the sun.

Let's now explain the eyes’ differences: why do some populations have almond-shaped eyes while others have eyes with a different shape? For a simple reason: it depends on the fat quantity present in the part above the eye. The greater the fat quantity is in this part, the more the eye will have an almond shape. So, in this case, it is not a breed difference but just an encoded feature. The DNA contains everything that represents human being.

The entire codes necessary for man is found on the DNA. Just as our colleague explained before, all are registered on the DNA in the form of codes. How tall we are, the size of our nose, the size of our feet, if we are fat or thin, these are ciphered on the DNA. Actually, DNA’s are long sequences of information and inherited from one generation to another. Genes are smaller parts of the DNA. Mutations are errors that occur during reproduction and are generally harmful. It is important to understand this, because Darwinists claim that new generations emerge through mutations. This has never been proven, and it is mere manipulation.

We see different genes here and look into the difference between genes in various races. This is the Negroid race, and here is the mixture of the white and black people. According to this, no Caucasian parent could give birth to a Negroid child. In a similar way, no Negroid parent could give birth to a Caucasian child. Darwinism says that natural selection would eliminate these children. But, the truth is not like this, it is different. I am repeating again, this is only manipulation.

Here below, we can see various probabilities, which show the combinations of genes. The combinations from the egg, and the sperm may occur differently. Let me give you an example from the Anglo-Saxon race. A couple gives birth to twins, and one is white and the other is black. Because this was coded on their DNA before, this is not new information. Yet, newspapers and media culture outlets regard this to be a mutation. However, the situation is different here, we can only talk about the information coded on the DNA right from the start.

Now, I am going to give another example. In a Newsweek article dated 1988, they made research on Adam and Eve. This research was carried out using placenta from 147 women with claims that the DNA of the mitochondria was not the product of the mixing. They named this to be “mitochondrial DNA.” This date caused more problems for evolutionists because they presumed that man had appeared millions of years ago. They had no agreement on the date of man’s origin. And only 10 years after this in 1998, Science magazine wrote about mitochondrial DNA saying it changed faster than expected. This fact raises doubts on the history of evolutionary claims since evolutionists are concerned because of the effects of a more rhythmic mutation. Evolutionists thus proved that research made 10 years ago was in fact invalid. It mentions of a faster mutation here and claim in the Science magazine that Eve’s age is only 6000 years. And that is a scientific research held by Darwinists, the supporters of evolution theory. However, the author of the article kept on with his manipulations saying that nobody could think like him and only his allegations were the facts. For them this evolution did not occur through millions of years, but only in thousands of years.

Now, let me mention of evolutionist propaganda that is so influential in the media. From magazines to cinemas, there is strong indoctrination and pressure on people. If we mention of textbooks used for education, Haeckel’s drawings are included. Haeckel produced some embryo drawings that would indicate evolution according to his suppositions. In brief from fish to salamander, salamander to frog, frog to rabbit, and rabbit to man, he came up with a strange theory. Even though these fallacies were disclosed many times, this error is repeated over and over again in textbooks.

And there is the truth about Lucy that we all know very well. In Italy, we still see Lucy introduced as a chimpanzee with long arms, jaw and thighbone structure, hands and brain size. The Australopithecus were monkeys. The Australopithecus we’ve heard about in the last decades are irrevocably not part of the history of the evolution of human bipedalism. This should create doubts about the traditional representations of man's evolution in textbooks. This is what a paleontologist has written.

Another very important case is that of the Neanderthal man found for the first time in 1856. In Italian textbooks, the Neanderthal man is described as the man who precedes Homo sapiens.

About the Neanderthal man, it has been discovered that he used to bury the deaths, wear jewels, create paintings, he used an advanced communication language, used to play musical instruments, and that he lived in the same era as the modern man. Neanderthal man's DNA analysis revealed that there is no difference between the Neanderthal man and us. But in the textbooks it is said that the Neanderthal man is the man who preceded the Homo sapiens. The Neanderthal man fossils analysis has revealed that there is no difference between the Neanderthal man and us. But in textbooks it is said that the Neanderthal man is the man who preceded the Homo sapiens.

We cannot rely on anatomy and fossil record to reconstruct the evolutionary connections. Despite everything, paleontologists continue to use the same methodology. They know they are wrong, but they carry on with their works because they want to keep telling us about these lies. Let’s now speak about a topic that is very dear to me since I am carrying out studies on it. We describe the free will as a denial of materialism and therefore of Darwinism.

In Darwin's theory, we know that nature is a continuous war for survival, a battle that every living being must constantly fight against his own kind and other species. This is the interpretation of evolutionists and not the reality. It is clear that, if man believes he descended from the monkeys, he will believe in values ​​that would be different from the values ​​he believed in if he knows that he is created by God. We can have societies based on the accumulation of money and materialistic, or a system of completely different values ​​if based on the existence of the Lord. Darwin's theory teaches us that man is perpetually in competition to survive and that his survival depends on his ability to choose what is best for him, inside the system in which he lives. This is the environmental adjustment. The Western system is capitalistic and therefore based on the accumulation. He, who accumulates more money and power, in the eyes of Darwinian, is better and the others have failed. This is Darwin's theory applied to the social system.

Solidarity is against Darwin's logic. Donating and sacrificing oneself is the empirical testimony that man has a conscience that cannot be explained through materialistic interpretations. Evolutionist psychology has no satisfying answers that can explain how man can donate without asking for anything in return. This is free will. If analyzed with the materialistic model, many man's choices are incomprehensible, and according to Darwin's theory, it is not possible to understand some of man's choices. But these choices can be understood by interpreting them with a completely different way of thinking.

Let’s try to apply man choices that in our system are considered irrational, to the model represented in Thomas More's book. We will then understand that we live in a fictitious system, that we organize this world ourselves but that, at the same time, it does not care about all the spiritual needs we have. We will encounter different things when we read this book. The relationship of man with nature in the postmodern world is not healthy. He can be manipulated socially and turn out to be a slave of a system that does not belong to him. However, man has a very precious value, which is free will. Yet, in a postmodern society man has lost his connection with his true perceptions and thus turned out to be easily manipulated socially. Free will is the direct and unequivocal testimony of the lack of validity of the materialistic hypotheses. Man is not the son of chance, he is not a mistake, but he is a perfect being and so are all the living things on earth. The Designer cannot be other than God. Thank you.

Another very important case is that of the Neanderthal man found for the first time in 1856. In Italian textbooks, the Neanderthal man is described as the man who precedes Homo sapiens.

About the Neanderthal man, it has been discovered that he used to bury the deaths, wear jewels, create paintings, he used an advanced communication language, used to play musical instruments, and that he lived in the same era as the modern man. Neanderthal man's DNA analysis revealed that there is no difference between the Neanderthal man and us. But in the textbooks it is said that the Neanderthal man is the man who preceded the Homo sapiens. The Neanderthal man fossils analysis has revealed that there is no difference between the Neanderthal man and us. But in textbooks it is said that the Neanderthal man is the man who preceded the Homo sapiens.

We cannot rely on anatomy and fossil record to reconstruct the evolutionary connections. Despite everything, paleontologists continue to use the same methodology. They know they are wrong, but they carry on with their works because they want to keep telling us about these lies. Let’s now speak about a topic that is very dear to me since I am carrying out studies on it. We describe the free will as a denial of materialism and therefore of Darwinism.

In Darwin's theory, we know that nature is a continuous war for survival, a battle that every living being must constantly fight against his own kind and other species. This is the interpretation of evolutionists and not the reality. It is clear that, if man believes he descended from the monkeys, he will believe in values ​​that would be different from the values ​​he believed in if he knows that he is created by God. We can have societies based on the accumulation of money and materialistic, or a system of completely different values ​​if based on the existence of the Lord. Darwin's theory teaches us that man is perpetually in competition to survive and that his survival depends on his ability to choose what is best for him, inside the system in which he lives. This is the environmental adjustment. The Western system is capitalistic and therefore based on the accumulation. He, who accumulates more money and power, in the eyes of Darwinian, is better and the others have failed. This is Darwin's theory applied to the social system.

Solidarity is against Darwin's logic. Donating and sacrificing oneself is the empirical testimony that man has a conscience that cannot be explained through materialistic interpretations. Evolutionist psychology has no satisfying answers that can explain how man can donate without asking for anything in return. This is free will. If analyzed with the materialistic model, many man's choices are incomprehensible, and according to Darwin's theory, it is not possible to understand some of man's choices. But these choices can be understood by interpreting them with a completely different way of thinking.

Let’s try to apply man choices that in our system are considered irrational, to the model represented in Thomas More's book. We will then understand that we live in a fictitious system, that we organize this world ourselves but that, at the same time, it does not care about all the spiritual needs we have. We will encounter different things when we read this book. The relationship of man with nature in the postmodern world is not healthy. He can be manipulated socially and turn out to be a slave of a system that does not belong to him. However, man has a very precious value, which is free will. Yet, in a postmodern society man has lost his connection with his true perceptions and thus turned out to be easily manipulated socially. Free will is the direct and unequivocal testimony of the lack of validity of the materialistic hypotheses. Man is not the son of chance, he is not a mistake, but he is a perfect being and so are all the living things on earth. The Designer cannot be other than God. Thank you.

ADNAN OKTAR   There are several million ribosomes in a single cell. Ribosomes, which are protein production plants, have active roles in all the cells of the body. For example, combining the proteins in the cell to form larger macromolecular structures is among the tasks of the ribosomes. However, not all the functions of ribosomes, which are considered to be the "black box" of molecular biology, have been fully understood yet, and therefore new research has been frequently conducted on the ribosome.

ADNAN OKTAR  On 4 January, 2012, the U.S. news portal The Huffington Post carried an article titled “Does Islam forbid even studying evolution?” Written by Nidhal Guessoum, professor of physics and astronomy at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, the piece dealt with a recent report widely covered in the international media regarding the unwillingness of Muslim students in Great Britain to study evolution.

FAZALE RANA  (Transcript of Dr. Rana's talk on the 2nd International Conference) It’s exciting to be part of a project in which one of the goals is to show the world that Christians and Muslims can work together to demonstrate how scientific advance 1) points to the existence of God; and 2) undermines the evolutionary paradigm—a paradigm often used to justify atheism.


 

I am honored to be invited to take part in this year’s 2nd International Conference on the Origin of Life. I had the privilege of speaking at last year’s conference. And, like last year, I am grateful for this opportunity.

It’s exciting to be part of a project in which one of the goals is to show the world that Christians and Muslims can work together to demonstrate how scientific advance 1) points to the existence of God; and 2) undermines the evolutionary paradigm—a paradigm often used to justify atheism.

If evolutionary mechanisms can account for the origin, history of life and the design of biological systems, then the obvious question arises: ‘what role is a Creator to play?” Evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins wrote in his book The Blind Watchmaker: “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

Statements like this cause many people to conclude [mistakenly] that scientific advance makes belief in God impossible. Yet, it was science that led me to the strong conviction that a Creator must exist. When I entered college, I was an agnostic. I didn’t know if God existed or not, I simply wasn’t interested in religion. The focus of my attention was biochemistry. I wanted to do everything that I could to prepare myself to go to graduate school so that I could earn a PhD in biochemistry.

As an undergraduate, I was convinced that evolutionary mechanisms could account for the origin, history, and design of biological systems. My convictions were not based on a careful examination of the evidence. But instead, they were based on what my biology professors taught me. I admired my professors and because I respected them, I accepted their claims about the evolutionary paradigm without hesitation.

When I speak on university campuses in the United States, I often encounter students who—as I did—uncritically embrace the evolutionary paradigm, because they, too, respect and admire their professors.

But, my views changed during my graduate studies. One of the goals of a graduate education is to teach the student to independently think through the scientific evidence and develop conclusions based on the evidence alone, regardless of what other experts might say. And because I was learning to think for myself, I was willing to ask questions that I did not ask as an undergraduate student. One of those questions was: How did life originate?

The elegant design, the sophistication, and the ingenuity of biochemical systems prompted me to ask that question. I wanted to know: How does the scientific community account for the origin of such remarkable biochemical systems through strictly mechanistic processes? After examining the various explanations available at that time, I was shocked. The explanations presented by the scientific community seemed to me to be woefully inadequate. I was convinced that chemical and physical processes alone could not generate life itself. This realization coupled with the elegant design and biochemical systems forced me to that conclusion– for intellectual reasons alone– that a Creator must indeed exist and must have been responsible for bringing life into being.

After concluding that God exists, I asked myself: Who is the Creator? Do I relate to the Creator? If so, how? I became convinced that the answer to these questions was found in Christianity.

I reached these conclusions over 30 years ago. And in the prevailing decades, the scientific evidence has continued to confirm my convictions about God’s existence. The case that can be made for a Creator from the design of biochemical systems and the problems associated with the origin of life has become even more compelling.

The goal of this lecture is to give you a window into some of the reasons why—as a biochemist—I think a Creator must indeed exist.

Towards this end, I will focus on the elegant, ingenious design of DNA and describe three ways this biomolecule’s structure and function are inspiring new nanotechnologies.

 

The optimal design of DNA is inspiring technology development in at least three key areas:

  • new digital data storage media
  • computing
  • nanoelectronics

The use of biological designs to drive technological advance is one of the most exciting areas in engineering. This area of study—called biomimetics and bioinspiration—presents us with new reasons to believe that life stems from a Creator, and, at the same time, raises fundamental problems for the evolutionary paradigm.

DNA’s Role in the Cell

To appreciate how DNA can inspire advances in nanotechnology, it is important to understand the role this biomolecule plays in the cell. DNA’s chief role is as an information storage system. Built into the structure of the DNA molecule is digital information. The cell’s machinery uses this information to produce the molecules needed to form the cell’s structures and carry out the cell’s operations.

DNA’s Structure Is Optimal for Data Storage

As biochemists have characterized the properties of DNA, they have come to appreciate that this molecule is optimally designed as a molecular-scale data storage system. In fact, biochemists think that DNA approaches the theoretical maximum in terms of its digital data storage capacity.

Because of time constraints, I can’t describe all the features of DNA responsible for its optimal data storage properties. For those interested, I recommend my book The Cell’s Design, in which I describe many of the just-right chemical characteristics of DNA that make this molecule uniquely suited as an information storage medium.

DNA as a Digital Storage Medium

DNA’s data storage capabilities are inspiring nanotechnologist to explore the prospects of using this biomolecule to solve the data storage crisis that confronts us.

Currently, there is 44 trillion megabytes of digital data existing in the world today. To put this number into context, assuming 10 billion people in the world, each person would have to possess over 6000 CDs to store all this data. If we continue to generate data at this pace, by 2040 there will not be enough high quality silicon to produce digital data storage devices.

Because DNA approaches the theoretical maximum for digital data storage, one kilogram of DNA can store all the digital data existing in the world today.

In 2012, as proof of principle, a research team from Harvard University, headed up by George Church, encoded the entire contents of a 54,000-word book into fragments of DNA. In addition, they also encoded 11 jpeg images into the DNA fragments. These researchers also showed that they could read out the information found in the DNA fragments, using locater sequences designed into each fragment. These locater sequences function in the same way that page numbers function in a conventional book.

Since then, researchers have encoded computer programs and operating systems into the DNA molecule.

Not only are researchers exploring the use of DNA as a digital storage medium, they are also gaining inspiration from DNA’s structure and function to design novel man-made polymers with the capabilities of storing digital data.

DNA Computing

Computer scientist and molecular biologist have come to realize that the cell’s machinery which manipulates DNA literally functions like a computer system at its most basic level of operation.

The similarity between cellular processes, such as transcription, DNA replication, and DNA repair, and the fundamental operation of computer systems is inspiring an area of nanotechnology called DNA computing. The idea for DNA computing is the brainchild of computer scientist Leonard Adelman, who is at the University of Southern California in the United States.

DNA computers are made up of DNA and the proteins that manipulate this biomolecule inside the cell. These computers are housed in tiny test tubes, yet, they are more powerful than the most powerful super computer system we have available to us. That power largely stems from the capacity to perform a vast number of parallel computations, simultaneously.

Researchers have used DNA computers to solve problems that silicon-based supercomputer systems can’t solve, such as the Hamilton Path problems and the Knight problem.

DNA Wires

In the early 1990s, chemist Jacqueline Barton discovered an unusual property displayed by DNA: namely, this biomolecule can conduct electrical current through its interior, along the length of the double helix. Conductance of electrical current through DNA is more rapid and more efficient than through ‘standard’ wires.

A little over a decade later, Barton and her collaborators showed that charge conductance through the DNA double helix allows the cell’s machinery to efficiently detect damage to the DNA double helix that results from chemical or physical insults.

Damage detection is done by ‘surveillance’ proteins. These proteins bind to DNA. Once bound, they send an electron from an iron-sulfur redox center through the interior of the double helix, establishing a current through the DNA molecule. Once a surveillance protein loses an electron, it cannot dissociate from the DNA double helix. Other surveillance proteins bound to the DNA, pick up the electrons from the DNA’s interior at their iron-sulfur redox center. When they do, they dissociate from the DNA, resuming their migration along the double helix. Eventually, the migrating surveillance protein will bind to the DNA again, sending an electron through the DNA’s interior.

This process is repeated, over and over, again. However, if damage has occurred to the DNA molecule, it will distort the double helix, interrupting the flow of electrons through its interior. When this happens, the surveillance proteins remain attached to the DNA, signaling the location of the damage to the DNA repair machinery.

Currently, nanotechnologists are exploring the use of DNA as nanowires, allowing them to build nano-electronic devices. Researchers think that DNA nanowires may find specific use in building the next generation of medical diagnostic devices.

DNA Inspires the Case for a Creator

DNA’s optimal design not only inspires new technologies, it also inspires the case for a Creator. To more fully appreciate why this is the case, I would like to turn our attention to the Watchmaker Argument for God’s existence.

Paley’s Watchmaker Argument

Eighteenth-century Anglican natural theologian William Paley posited the Watchmaker argument. In the opening pages of his 1802 work, Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature, Paley sets the stage for his famous Watchmaker analogy:

“In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever… But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive - what we could not discover in the stone - that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are . . . or placed after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it... This mechanism being observed… the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer: who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.”

For Paley, the characteristics of a watch and the complex interaction of its precision parts for time-keeping purposes implied the work of an Intelligent Designer. Paley asserted, by analogy, that just as a watch requires a watchmaker, so too, life requires a Creator, since organisms display a wide range of features characterized by the precise interplay of complex parts for specific purposes. According to the Watchmaker analogy, both watches and organisms display design. Watches are the product of a watchmaker. Therefore, organisms are the product of a Creator.

It is straightforward to appreciate how advances in biochemistry breathe new life into the Watchmaker Argument.

As a case in point, DNA computers, inside the cell and test tube, highlight the remarkable similarities between human designs and the biochemical designs inside the cell. We know from common experience that computer systems—the pinnacle of engineering achievement in our day—require a mind (in fact, many minds) to explain their existence. And because we find computer systems operating within the cell, we can reasonably conclude that life requires a Divine Mind to account for its existence.

In light of this conclusion, consider what Adelman says about the relationship between computers and biology:

“The most important thing about DNA computing is that it shows that DNA molecules can do what we normally think only computers can do. This implies that Computer Science and Biology are closely related. That every living thing can be thought to be computing something, and that, sometimes, we can understand living things better by looking at them as computers.”

A Watchmaker Prediction

In conjunction with my presentation of the revitalized Watchmaker argument in The Cell’s Design, I proposed the Watchmaker prediction. I contend that many of the cell’s molecular systems currently go unrecognized as analogous to human designs because the corresponding technology has yet to be developed. That is, the Watchmaker argument may well become stronger in the future, and its conclusion more certain, as human technology advances.

The possibility that advances in human technology will ultimately mirror the molecular technology that already exists as an integral part of biochemical systems, leads to the Watchmaker prediction: As human designers develop new technologies, examples of these technologies, which previously went unrecognized, will become evident in the operation of the cell’s molecular systems. In other words, if the Watchmaker analogy truly serves as evidence for the Creator’s existence, then it is reasonable to expect that life’s biochemical machinery anticipate human technological advances.

Biomimetics and the Converse Watchmaker Argument

A related argument to the Watchmaker prediction can be dubbed the converse Watchmaker analogy: If biological designs are the work of a Creator, then these systems should be so well-designed that they can serve as engineering models and, otherwise, inspire the development of new technologies. In this way, the disciplines of biomimetics and bioinspiration add support for the Watchmaker argument. At some level, I find the converse Watchmaker argument more compelling than the classical Watchmaker analogy. It is remarkable to me that biological designs can inspire engineering efforts. It is even more astounding to think that biomimetics and bioinspiration programs could be so successful if biological systems were truly generated by an unguided, historically contingent process, as evolutionary biologists claim.

The Blind Watchmaker Rebuttal

I find the Watchmaker Argument to be compelling. Yet, in my experience when I present this argument to skeptics, they will argue that evolutionary processes can serve as the watchmaker. In fact, they regard these processes as the blind watchmaker. This idea is articulated by Richard Dawkins in his book The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins says this:

“Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.”

Dawkins goes on to add:

“[Paley] had a proper reverence for the complexity of the living world, and he saw that it demands a very special kind of explanation. The only thing he got wrong was the explanation itself… The true explanation… had to wait for… Charles Darwin.”

Biomimetics and Bioinspiration: The Challenge to the Evolutionary Paradigm

Work in biomimetics and bioinspiration provide a response to the blind watchmaker challenge. To appreciate this challenge, we need to discuss the nature of the evolutionary process.

Evolutionary biologists view biological systems as the outworking of unguided, historically contingent processes that co-opt preexisting designs to cobble together new systems. Once these designs are in place, evolutionary mechanisms can optimize them, but still, these systems remain, in essence, kludges.

Most evolutionary biologists are quick to emphasize that evolutionary processes and pathways seldom yield perfect designs. Instead, most biological designs are flawed in some way. To be certain, most biologists would concede that natural selection has produced biological designs that are well adapted, but they would maintain that biological systems are not well designed. Why? Because evolutionary processes do not produce biological systems from scratch, but from preexisting systems that are co-opted through a process dubbed exaptation (by the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould), and then modified by natural selection to produce new designs. Once formed, these new structures can be fine-tuned and optimized through natural selection to produce well-adapted designs, but not well-designed systems. According to biologist Ken Miller:

“Evolution… does not produce perfection. The fact that every intermediate stage in the development of an organ must confer a selective advantage means that the simplest and most elegant design for an organ cannot always be produced by evolution. In fact, the hallmark of evolution is the modification of pre-existing structures. An evolved organism, in short, should show the tell-tale signs of this modification.”

If biological systems, in effect, are kludged together, why would engineers and technologists turn to them for inspiration? If produced by evolutionary processes—even if these processes operated over the course of millions of years—biological systems should make unreliable muses for technology development. Does it make sense for engineers to rely on biological systems—historically contingent and exapted in their origin—to solve problems and inspire new technologies, much less build an entire subdiscipline of engineering around mimicking biological designs?

Using biological designs to guide engineering efforts seems to be fundamentally incompatible with an evolutionary explanation for life’s origin and history. On the other hand, biomimetics and bioinspiration naturally flow out of an intelligent design/creation model approach to biology. Using biological systems to inspire engineering makes better sense if the designs in nature arise from a Mind.

Biomimetics and the Book of Job

As a scientist and as a Christian, I find it remarkable how the Old and New Testaments anticipate scientific advance.

When it comes to biomimetics and bioinspiration, Job 12:7-9 immediately comes to mind:

7“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

   or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

   or let the fish in the sea inform you.

9 Which of all these does not know

   that the hand of the Lord has done this?”

13 “To God belong wisdom and power;

   counsel and understanding are his.

 

ADNAN OKTAR   Each person has an average of 100 trillion cells, each of which contains a DNA molecule. Just one of these contains information regarding 3 billion different subjects, enough information to fill approximately 1,000 volumes of books

   

Each person has an average of 100 trillion cells, each of which contains a DNA molecule. Just one of these contains information regarding 3 billion different subjects, enough information to fill approximately 1,000 volumes of books, each one containing 1 million pages. If we were to lay these pages out side by side, they would stretch from the North Pole to the Equator. If we were to read it 24 hours a day, it would take 100 years to finish it. This glorious information belongs to a single DNA molecule, which exists everywhere in our body, such as in a single fingernail or a single hair.

How could such an incredible library have been squeezed into a minute hair too small to be seen with the naked eye? How could it have been packed into all of the cells that constitute that hair and all of the other cells that make up our body? How could so much information, which we could never carry on our own, have been installed in our bodies 100 trillion times? Could human beings manage to do this themselves? Can any known technology achieve such an amazing feat? Could this glorious information be present in the cells by chance?

Clearly, random events, human beings, and technology cannot produce such an astonishing work. This fact has been scientifically proven. This amazing work in our bodies belongs to Allah, Whose might makes all things according to His will:

We created humanity from a mingled drop to test him, and We made him hearing and seeing. We guided him on the Way, whether he is thankful or unthankful. (Surat al-Insan, 2-3)

 

ADNAN OKTAR  The Discover Science TV channel presented space as the source of organic molecules, and featured the assertion that life might have  originated on other planets. In this article, we will focus on the fact that the existence of the chemicals in question does not point to life, and we will lay bare another distortion for the sake of evolution, which is far from explaining the origin of life.

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