How Does DNA Code Support Intelligent Design?
Meyer: Well, it’s the fundamental question, how do you get life going in the first place? We talked about how it changes and evolves after it started, but if you can’t explain where it came from, you have a huge gap in understanding. And in the 19th century, in Darwin’s time, when he developed his theory, it was thought that the cell was simple, a simple homogeneous globule of plasm, is one of the things that one of the scientists said. But we now know that the cell and immense complexity, it’s an integrated complexity, and it’s an information based complexity. Inside the DNA molecule, we’ve discovered there’s a four character digital code. Bill Gates says it’s like a software program, only much more complex than any we’ve ever created. And we now know that the information in the DNA is crucial for directing the construction of other complicated molecules, called proteins, which do all the important functional jobs inside this cell, they’re the toolbox of the cell. So, you’ve got information directing the construction of machines, and complicated molecules that do all kinds of important jobs.
So, if you don’t mind, I’ll give just a little tiny science lesson that explains how the information in DNA constructs the proteins. I’ve got some snap-lock beads here. And I stole these from my kids when they were really young and they’ve been bitter and twisted ever since. But anyway, the idea here is each one of these snap-lock beads represents an amino acid. Proteins are made of subunits called amino acids. There are 20 different varieties, and depending on the arrangement of those 20 different kinds of amino acids, the protein will form a different shape. It forms chain-like molecules; and depending on the arrangement, it will either make a shape like this or maybe if you rearrange them you’ll get a different constellation of forces between these amino acids, and it will make a different shape, okay? Now, proteins depend, for their function, on having the correct shape. So if you get the arrangement of the amino acids correct, then you’re going to get the correct three-dimensional shape, and a protein will form that can accomplish a job inside the cell. So, how does all that happen? Well, part of the answer is, the instructions on the DNA molecule are directing the cell’s information production apparatus to produce those proteins. But there’s more to the story, because that production apparatus is itself incredibly complex. It’s a wonderful kind of machinery. So we’ve got some animation to show the whole process, not like in civics, where you know, how a bill becomes a law, this is how a DNA sequence becomes a protein.
Ankerberg: How many amino acids actually form a protein? What’s the smallest protein and what’s the largest?
Meyer: Well, the average protein is on the order of 300 amino acids in length.
Ankerberg: All linked together…
Meyer: All linked together.
Ankerberg: …exactly right.
Meyer: Right. And you have very short hormones that you can make with 8 or 10, but typically you need about 300. But some proteins even have thousands.
Ankerberg: Thousands. Yes.
Meyer: So, it depends. It really depends on the job the protein’s doing as to how complicated the structure needs to be and therefore how many precisely sequenced amino acids need to be put in place.
Ankerberg: Yeah, and again folks, this information has got to be arranged completely right or the protein will not form; or the shape won’t be there and it won’t do its job. It’s a dead deal, okay.
Meyer: And it’s the information on DNA that gets it completely right, that directs that arrangement.