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David Kaufman

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Intelligent Design

Nobel laureate, organic chemist and a leader in origin of life studies, Professor deDuve writes in his excellent book, Tour of a Living Cell, "If you equate the probability of the birth of a bacteria cell to chance assembly of its atoms, eternity will not suffice to produce one..”
Humans and all mammals have some 50,000 genes. That implies, as an order of magnitude estimate, some 50,000 to 100,000 proteins active in mammalian bodies. It is estimated that there are some 30 animal phyla on Earth. If the genomes of each animal phylum produced 100,000 proteins, and no proteins were common among any of the phyla (a fact we know to be false, but an assumption that makes our calculations favor the random evolutionary assumption), there would be (30 x 100,000) 3 million proteins in all life.
Now let's consider the likelihood of these 3 million viable combinations of proteins forming by chance: Proteins are complex coils of several hundred amino acids. Take a typical protein to be a chain of 200 amino acids. The observed range is from less than 100 amino acids per protein to greater than 1000. There are 20 commonly occurring amino acids that join in varying combinations to produce the proteins of life. This means that the number of possible combinations of the amino acids in our model protein of 200 amino acids is 20 to the power of 200 (i.e. 20 multiplied by itself 200 times), or in the more usual 10-based system of numbers, approximately 10 to the power of 260 (i.e. the number one, followed by 260 zeros!). Nature has the option of choosing among the 10 to power of 260 possible proteins, the 3 million proteins of which all viable life is composed. In other words, for each one correct choice, there are 10 to power of 254 wrong choices!

Randomness cannot have been the driving force behind the success of life. Our understanding of statistics and molecular biology clearly supports the notion that there must have been a direction and a “Director” behind the success of life.

Topics: evolution
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  • Jan 23 2012: In River Out of Eden, Dawkins describes the intricate functioning of genetic coding in the living cell: “The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers ... but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like… DNA messages ... are ... pure digital code. Dr. Paul Davies on the same subject: “In a living organism we see the power of software, or information processing, refined to an incredible degree ... the problem of the origin of life reduces to one of understanding how encoded software emerged spontaneously from hardware. How did it happen? How did nature "go digital?"
    Life is possible – if, and only if – the technology of life is in place. The entire apparatus of evolutionary explanation therefore depends on the prior existence of genetic material with these remarkable properties. So the problem is just pushed back a step: how did such a thing come into existence? How did life begin?
    Sir Fred Hoyle to describe the extreme improbability of a chance origin of the first living organism on earth: “A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.”
    In an interview with Ben Stein Richard Dawkins responded to questions about the Origin of Life from the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:
    Stein: How did it start?
    Dawkins: Nobody knows how it started, we know the kind of event that it must have been, we know the sort of event that must have happened for the origin of life.
    Stein: What was that?
    Dawkins: It was the origin of the first self-replicating molecule.
    Stein: How did that happen?
    Dawkins: I told you I don't know.

    What makes you so sure that there is no intelligent design
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      Jan 23 2012: David,

      Before deconstructing the fallacies in this comment of yours, can you be very honest and tell me where did you get those quotes from? Could it be that in the originals (if these are not invented quotes), the authors themselves told you how it actually is explained by natural processes, and where do these metaphors break?

      (The last one must be the mockumentary "expelled," which I would not take as reliable, but even if it were, why not knowing something should mean "gods"? If gods did not work for explaining volcanoes, why should they explain the origin of life? Why shouldn't you have to prove that there's gods before offering them as explanations for anything?)

      So, focus: where from those quotes? My bet: creationist propaganda. But let me know if I am wrong, and thus where else from. Not where did the creationist propagandists take those quotes from, but where did ***you*** get them from.

      Best,
      --G

      P.S. I already told you, tornadoes in a junkyard are a misrepresentation of what nature is all about. Neither evolution, nor the origin of life, are about utter randomness. How many times do you need to read this for you to stop misrepresenting them.

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