The Foundation of All Life is the Written Word

That written word is in the cell of every plant, animal and human being on this planet. That word upholds all of life. Without the word all life perishes in an instant. There is not one process in the cell that will sustain life without the written word that is contained within it. All of life as we know it is utterly impossible without the written word - utterly, completely, absolutely and finally impossible. It would seem then, because these words are vital, that there would be a great deal of study in this area from those interested in proving that life evolved from nothing and without direction from an intelligent source. There has in fact been quite a bit of study in this area but the conclusion is always the same. After wading through complicated mathematical formulas and listening to philosophers and computer programmers and various theorists and "artificial intelligence" proponents it became clear that the solution is really quite simple and I will tell you what it is so you can save yourself the headache.

The type of instructions that are found in DNA cannot come into being without intelligent input. We have already seen how patterns can form and order can arise as we saw in the snowflake but we have also seen how that does nothing to help us here. I used to think that I was a professional gambler because I had a long winning streak. I thought I had the perfect system to beat the house. I finally gave up gambling completely, largely because of a book that I read that explained that it was not possible to add up a series of negative odds and come out with a positive chance of winning. With each throw of the dice the house has the odds. The customers will eventually lose and the house will eventually win. An acquaintance of mine happened to be around when I learned the losing part of the lesson. He saw me making quite a lot of money and he wanted to stake me with his money. That was a horrible night for him. I lost hundreds of his dollars with my "system." I never gambled after that.

Some people do not learn this information lesson quite so easily. They are still trying to beat the odds. I suppose it is because they have so much to lose now. Part of my system included doubling the bets when I lost. This works fine for two or three bets, but eventually you end up betting hundreds of dollars trying to cover a two dollar bet. I disciplined myself to stop doubling after the third bet and take my losses. I have an idea that there are some that have doubled their bets to the extent that now they have staked their very lives and reputations on odds that they can never overcome.

I am not going to go into much complication here because I would probably lose you and myself along the way. We will just discuss that which is already known about information of the type contained in DNA. Again, we are talking about specific instructions that can be read, understood and acted upon. For some reason I have found that information gamblers like to confuse this issue and start talking about patterns and order again. That discussion is irrelevant to this subject.

How do computers work? They are fascinating things and they are a perfect analogy that we can use here. I am well aware that the factory worker thing is not exactly what goes on in a cell but I think it worked pretty well to prove some points. In the case of computers however we have a near perfect analogy for studying the subject of information. I mean, what is the whole essence of a computer if it is not to process and contain information? Now, how can I obtain information from my computer without intelligent input? I will leave it to the reader to experiment on his own but I will tell you one thing, and that is that every single path that you choose to go down will lead you to the necessity of intelligent input at one place or another. Computers have the ability under established maxim to sort, copy, multiply, and otherwise manipulate information, but behind it all is a human programmer. He or she decides what is good and what is bad. That person decides what is to be multiplied or what is to be eliminated. That intelligent life decides how the system that he is designing will build itself, and multiply itself. All paths eventually lead to an intelligent mental source. Regardless of how one computer talks to another, or how one programs another, or any other scenario that you can think of, the beginning of the road is always intelligent life. I might add that a mental source is usually required in several places, but it is ALWAYS required somewhere. I emphasized the word always for a reason and that is because it is an absolute indisputable fact. There are no "could-haves" involved here at all. This is not a theory I am proposing that exists only in my mind. I am talking about an irrefutable law.

Anyway, when I refer to the necessity of intelligent intervention into the informational aspect of a computer, I am not talking about the actual construction of the computer here. We are assuming that the computer is working and plugged in. The information that is contained or will be contained in it has at its source a human being with the ability to make value judgements; In other words, someone who can tell the computer what is better than something else.

Now let’s show how this works. Let’s say there is a pile of plastic letters lying around outside. The wind blows these millions of letters around for millions of years and eventually we come on the scene and look the situation over. After searching through the confusion we eventually find a complete sentence spelled out that says, "Give this information to the DNA." Now remember, we are a distant observer looking at things like they were in the beginning before there was life, so let’s not interject ourselves into this situation. What would a creature with no mind do with that "information?" There is no information there because there are no instructions that can be read and interpreted. No one knows what any of it means. That sentence may as well be any other random jumble of letters. It only makes sense to us, but remember we are not supposed to be there. So the question is, who or what makes sense of it? How can anyone or anything follow these so called instructions?

Who says that a G means one thing and a U means another? Who or what decides that letters lined up to form "Give" mean anything at all? Please step back now; These questions are not for you. They are for the mindless matter and energy to figure out. What good are the letters anyway? Are they of any use at all without a mind? Why would one mindless-wonder read the order put down by another mindlesswonder? It is confusion to both. What seems so plain to us is utter confusion to that which has no mind. The DNA code came from somewhere. Where? Who decided that a T should attract an A? Who or what decided that it should be translated and interpreted using one grammatical method and not another? What possible good could it do if the code was not understood and translated correctly? How could even one letter in the DNA code have any significance whatsoever without a value judgement being made?

The reason the computer cannot design something on its own is because of value judgements that must be entered into the system by someone who can discern values. In other words, why is a word better than a letter? Or, why is a sentence better than a word? It seems like the word would be better at first glance because it is much more brief. Someone has to decide if the brevity is better or the more complete explanation is better. Is a tube better if it is porous and allows some of the liquid to seep through or is it better if it contains the liquid completely? Is a low electrical current better than a higher one? Is an image better than text or is text better?

The answers to the above questions may vary even within the same system. Who or what makes these decisions? In the case of a computer we can simply program it to select the color red each time it comes across it. After we do that the computer will do the work for us, seemingly making the value judgements, but we all know who is behind it don’t we? The ultimate conclusion that must be drawn is that an intelligent source is behind the design regardless of what the automatic system is able to do on its own. No one seriously thinks that by turning on a switch a complicated machine comes into existence and operates without the benefit of a designer somewhere along the line.

Let’s say that all the chemicals formed magically out of stuff lying around the earth and a string of DNA formed. Now what? Are there any instructions there? Remember, I am not talking to you. What is that string of DNA except a disordered mass of confusion of no use whatsoever in telling anything or anyone what to do. It can be a string of DNA a mile long that formed itself out of the earth but it is absolutely useless, just as the ladder was that you lettered in a random manner. Now if you had known the code ahead of time, then you could have made some real DNA that gave sensible instructions. Again, YOU could have done that. Play this game however you like, but you will find that all roads lead to intelligent life as the source of information.

You can probably make an interesting language out of snowflakes. I would suggest that you get 26 different ones, start out with an alphabet, and assign different sounds to each one. Then you could devise some type of grammatical rules so that they can be formed into words and sentences. Before you know it you have a language, all from mindless snowflakes. Happy day!

Now let’s move this analogy into the body. RNA, as has been mentioned, copies various pieces of information from DNA and gets the ball rolling so that it can be used in making things. This procedure is quite complicated in real life but I will try to simplify it here. There are plenty of books on the subject and I suggest that anyone who is inclined to pass it all off as a relatively simple thing read up on it first. It is to this day not completely understood how the information in DNA gets transcribed, translated, and then put to work at the appropriate moment. Some parts are now pretty clear as to their inner workings, and some are still a mystery, but it seems like the major components of the cell have at least been identified relative to their usual function. The ribosomes are one part that is still not entirely understood. These are an absolutely essential part and can only be described as information-based machines. There may be thousands of them in each cell and they are made up largely of unique structures of information carrying RNA.

Simply stated, we can say that the RNA follows close behind an ordered chemical reaction that directs the DNA to open itself like a zipper does. The mRNA (messenger RNA) then obtains a copy of relevant portions of the information. The relevant portion, and how that is determined is another area that is not completely understood although we already know that there are coded messages ordering the process to stop and start. Of course there are start and stop messages all through the code so there is still uncertainty as to how it all works. There is even a mechanism which double checks the copies to make sure that they are accurate.

Precisely timed release of certain chemicals causes the RNA to be cut at just the right places. In other parts of the cell these pieces are sometimes spliced back together or formed with precisely made proteins into other components. Those components help in the translation of the code that is interpreted by biological machines by way of other coded instructions into the actual work of making proteins. These unique proteins and enzymes are manufactured according to the strict instructions from a selection of 20 amino acids which themselves provide an endless possibility of combinations similar to the possibilities contained in the English alphabet. Nothing is possible without the information. The cell can do nothing without it except die. All of the processes in the cell are interdependent with each other and they all depend on the information and the precise instructions given by the DNA and by other means.

The cell is like a machine of life. Parts of the machine can be altered and it will still work to some extent, and people can purposely change some of the information in the DNA but the point is that there must be some logic to it. It definitely is not just a mindless code that can be ordered randomly. And it certainly is not just a disordered jumble of proteins that simply react according to the laws of thermodynamics. They do of course react precisely according to those laws but only as they are shielded and directed in those chemical reactions by the unique order dictated by the information. In other words, the proteins that are manufactured are not allowed to simply float about looking for a function or a random chemical reaction to engage in anymore than an automatic transmission is simply a box full of gears that are randomly thrown into a metal case.

Some have speculated that life began with RNA instead of DNA. One reason for this assumption is that it is between some of the main functions of the life process. The idea is that DNA initially copied from RNA and eventually took on a role of its own. Here is a brief description of the process of transcribing information from DNA that I copied from various biology textbooks. The "nucleotides" mentioned below are the lettered rungs of the ladder we have been talking about and the "polymerase" mentioned is a vital component in the process and it is used as follows:

1) The RNA polymerase has a natural affinity for DNA, and will attach itself to DNA, and start polymerization. a) If the RNA polymerase attaches to any DNA sequence, it will soon detach, and the tiny RNA generated by the polymerase will be hydrolyzed. b) If the RNA polymerase attaches to a special sequence called a promoter, an additional small protein, the factor sigma, will also attach to the polymerase and lock it on the DNA. The factor ‘sigma’ will only attach itself to the complex DNA / RNA polymerase when the RNA polymerase is attached to a promoter. Another hypothesis is that the factor sigma attaches to RNApol anyway and the enzyme is then able to slide along the DNA until it finds a promoter. It prevents detaching and speeds up promoter location, and decreases the affinity of RNApol for general regions of DNA. After some nucleotides have been added, the factor ‘sigma’ detaches, and can be reused for starting more RNA synthesis.

Stop signals in the DNA indicate the end of the gene to be transcribed. It is a signal for the termination of transcription although the polymerase often goes on transcribing for a while before detaching. This long RNA is called pre mRNA, and needs further modification before being transported into the cytoplasm and translated into protein.

RNA is stable after modification steps:

Capping: most mRNAs have their starting end blocked by the addition of a cap (7-methylguanosine). The cap structure has no free phosphates, and then is protected from attack by phosphatases, or nucleases.

Addition of a poly-A tail: this polyadenylic segment is 100 to 200 nucleotides long and is added sequentially after transcription is completed by the action of a poly A synthetase that uses ATP as substrate.

Methylation: when a methyl group is added to nucleotides.

Cleavage of big RNAs: when the polymerase arrives at the end of the RNA, it does not terminate transcription abruptly, but goes on transcribing DNA (sometimes 1500 nucleotides). The transcript is cut and polyadenylated while it is still transcribed.

Splicing: eukaryotic genes are frequently interrupted by intervening sequences (introns). These sequences must be removed and the molecule precisely rejoined in the correct sequence, because an error of one nucleotide would cause the rest of the message to be read incorrectly.

As you can see, it is no simple process especially when we consider what is not known about it and the fact that all of these chemicals must be controlled so that nothing runs amok. The cell itself is isolated by partitions (or membranes) so the chemicals are kept under control. The RNA is eventually allowed to pass through special gates in the membrane surrounding the nucleus. This process of passing through the gate is also quite involved. The point to all of this is that having a piece of RNA or DNA does not help you in the formation of life without intelligent input that is necessary to form the machinery of life and give meaning to the otherwise useless chemical letters, words and sentences within the genome. The living cell is far different from random chemical reactions that can take place once the RNA or DNA somehow pops out of the earth. It is not enough to simply have a string of chemical reactions. They must be precisely ordered reactions designed to make the intricate parts of a machine. No random action known to man can produce this precise information that is necessary before any life can begin and natural selection certainly does not have this magical ability. The process of natural selection, even if it could help us later, certainly cannot help us in the beginning. Life cannot happen without intelligently ordered instructions at the very foundation of all of it, from beginning to end the essential ingredient in all of life is information. And even with the information life does not spontaneously form anymore than a building forms itself because the blueprints are floating around in space. The instructions must be translated, understood, read and actually used by the appropriate parts of the machinery of life as they are specifically directed.

Regardless of how many substances are blowing or floating around in a "warm pond" or sulphur spring with lightning striking it or whatever, the beginning of life must include intelligently ordered instructions. Warm ponds, ultra violet light, ammonia, hydrogen, lightning, etc. do not help us at all. To assume that life evolved from these natural things is to overthrow an established maxim regarding the source of information. As you will see later, even with this base information life is impossible without further intelligent input.

Now some will say here that I am going way too far because DNA simply codes for making proteins etc. This process occurs according to chemical laws. That is not disputed. What is disputed is that even if it was possible for something to evolve to the point of making proteins, now what? What do we do with a random pile of proteins? Is a brick a building? Is a pile of nuts and bolts a machine? The problem is not how to make proteins it is how to make an information based biological machine. Does "natural selection" have the omnipotent power to assemble these proteins into a machine with interactive and interdependent parts? Is that what Darwin taught? Darwin was not foolish enough to propose such a thing and neither is any other truly rational person. It takes someone who is truly blinded to all forms of reason to come up with an idea like that. The miracle that Richard Dawkins said "could happen" with the marble statue cannot happen here. It is not virtually impossible; It is utterly impossible. The only way out of this dilemma is to leave the realm of modern science and face up to reality. On the other hand, true science can solve the problem rather readily by consulting known laws. Here are the applicable ones and my challenge:

"It is impossible to set up, transfer, or store information without using a code. It is impossible to have a code without a free and deliberate convention. It is impossible to have information without a sender. It is impossible that information can exist without having a mental source. It is impossible for information to exist without having been established voluntarily with a free will. It is impossible for information to exist without all five hierarchal levels; statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics [the purpose for which the information is intended]. It is impossible that information can originate in statistical processes"

The above was taken from the writings of Werner Gitt in his book, In The Beginning Was Information pg. 80. Will my opponents please prove him wrong? And please show that information can exist without a cognitive source. So far, several thousand years of established evidence including today’s information age has proven the obvious source of instructive, specific instructions and information such as is contained in DNA. The burden of proof is on you who propose to overthrow that which is firmly established as a scientific maxim.

Francis Crick, one of the first to discover DNA, thought it must have come from outer space. That only moves the problem further back into obscurity. Where did the intelligent life or "mental source" from outer space come from? I guess it is time now for the fanatical atheist to engage in science fiction in his continuing quest to avoid the reality he fears.

© 2003 by Raymond F. Hendrix. All rights reserved.