If ‘A’ is greater than ‘B’ then ‘C’

Posted: January 6, 2007 in Intelligent Design


Quite some time ago I was fortunate, well I think fortunate is the right word to describe being on a course concerned with a virus called Lambda λ.This virus is a bacteriophage infecting the bacteria E.Coli.Lambda is distinctive among it viral brothers in that it can exist in two states, either a lysogenous state or a lytic one.

 Lysogeny is where the foreign genetic information of the lambda virus is brought into the bacterium and becomes fused and part of the hosts own DNA ,the advantage for the virus is that subsequent generations of e.coli will not only inherit there parents good looks but also the lambda phage.The other lifestyle choice of the lambda virus is the more usual lytic life cycle, where the newly injected viral DNA uses the cellular machinery in the bacterium to produce many copies of itself, leading to cell bursting (lysis) releasing the viral particles to reek havoc on other unsuspecting e.coli.

The mechanisms underlying the lifestyle choices of lambda include regulated termination and anti termination of transcriptional elongation, proteolytic control of regulatory molecules, antisense control of gene expression, multiple start sites for transcription, DNA looping, feedback loops etc.

The mechanisms above represent the means of ‘decisions’ and constitute an algorithm; that is a set of instructions much like those used by computer programmers. If ‘A’ is greater than ‘B’ then ‘C’.From an origins point of view, just how did these mechanisms for making decisions evolve?

J.T.Trevors and D.L.Abel published a paper in Cell Biology International called ’Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life.‘  in which they state:  Thus far, no paper has provided a plausible mechanism for natural-process algorithm-writing…It is difficult to understand how natural processes could have generated the following aspects of life in such a short time: 

(1) a genetic operating system with which to recordprogramming instructions, (2) the programs themselves for production or assemblyof every individual building block, biochemicalpathway, and metabolic cycle needed for even thesimplest protometabolism to develop, and 

(3) a coding system with which to translate triplet codon‘‘language’’ into polyamino acid language.  Life-origin specialists should appreciate that the generation of instructions is a separate and distinct problem from that of devising a language system with which to record those instructions.We must not only find models for specific genetic programming, but for the genetic operating system.’ 

There are many instances of genetic switches and algorithms within nature; it seems that an exclusively naturalistic worldview cannot ignore these switches and will need to explain in purely physical terms, not only the origin and density of information, the origin of the operating system of the cell including the ability to have multiple responses to an event and to ‘decide’ which response is appropriate. 

  1. Good post. The best place to begin a case for intelligent design is DNA. Its properties align well with cognitive causal origins.

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