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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 24 2012: The problem just saying that there are trillions of collisions means little especially given only 13 billion years to create life in - and many of those years were useless in terms of the evolution of just amino acids let alone the human brain and DNA.

    The one who posits intelligent design has to answer for the existence of the creator. But the agnostic must answer for everything else. It seems much more reasonable to side with the former. I could describe love as seen through brain scans and physiological terms but I would not have understood love in the slightest. The scientific process can only describes process not meaning, purpose, intention, etc.

    Judaism has for the last thousands of years long before the debate such as ours states that the creator did not just create matter, but time and space. Therefore, ascribing the concept of time, space and matter to the creator is untenable. This is logical if you think it through. This is a longer theological discussion, but I only mention it because the God you believe in I also do not believe in. This is the one we learned about in day school or bible classes if you went to such thing. Few have really spent much time really forcing themselves to seek an answer from different sources whether a creator exists. I don't mean reading a few articles on the internet, but meeting people of different views and conversing as if your life depended upon it. AND I will admit that many religious people have not asked the questions to really know logically why they believe what they do about a creator as well. I care for a faith based on reason, but you'd laugh at that idea...and perhaps you have done the research, but I have rarely met an agnostic who has. Instead they assume that theology is simple. It is not. I would never say I understand astrophysics because I read the poem Twinkle Tinkle Little Star, but many who have not studied the most important question feel able to comment because they once had a conversation...

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