At five a.m. this morning, I visited the American Physical Society website.
One might suggest that I have too much spare time on my hands. I went to read one article, but a headline that announced “Large Scale DNA patterns” grabbed my attention.
Okay, so “Testing for Vanishing Dimensions” also caught my eye, but I’m only writing about the first article this morning. And neither article inspired my visit to the website; there’s yet a third article to mention.
The “Large Scale DNA patterns” article asserts that
The human genome contains about 3 billion “letters,” the chemical nucleotides adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine (A, C, G, and T) that encode genes. Gene sequences are embedded within much longer stretches of DNA known as isochores. An isochore is defined by the percentage of G and C in its sequence
Ah, DNA – the building block, or “Lego” forming the blueprint for each individual form of life on Earth.
The article continues,
Pedro Carpena of Harvard University and the University of Málaga and his colleagues wanted to look for regularity on scales larger than a single isochore. They searched for large-scale GC-rich and GC-poor regions in the sequences of human chromosomes using a conventional algorithm based on the concept of entropy–a measure of the number of different ways that a state can be generated. If ten coin flips come out with five heads followed by five tails, the whole sequence has high entropy, as there are many ways to achieve such a 50-50 result. But the two runs of five identical flips each have very low entropy, as there’s only one way for each to occur.
This introduces into the discussion one of my favorite mathematical tools: statistical analysis, the study of probabilities and conversely, improbabilities.
The flip of a coin is most frequently used as an analogy for any binary decision. Yes/no, true/false, on/off conditions all describe a binary state, just like heads/tails.
Now I know a little bit about entropy – it’s related to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, loosely translated as the rate of decay of a given molecule.
Entropy is one of my primary objections to the theory of abiogenesis.
Let’s say you do get the perfect combination of amino acids in a primordial soup just right for life to form. The chemicals don’t have forever to pull it off. Environmental factors begin to cause decomposition quickly, rendering the whole idea of “accidental” spontaneous RNA combination absurd. The article said about Carpena and his team
They found that each human chromosome segmented into a few huge segments tens of millions of nucleotides long–longer than any previously known organizational structure in the genome. These segments, which they’ve dubbed “superstructures,” were found to contain two hundred genes on average.
As Bond villain Auric Goldfinger famously uttered, “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time is enemy action!”
However, God is not your enemy.
Amino acids combine to form proteins. Proteins form genes. Genes form chromosomes, which pair and form DNA strands. It’s all part of a master plan. Somewhere in the middle are these new, previously unknown, complex “superstructures” that are intermediate yet obviously important.
What does all this mean? If each letter A, C, G, and T in the DNA sequence to come in place is simply a flip of the coin, the probability of that letter occurring is fifty percent. Technically, if it’s one in four it’s actually twenty five percent, but they referenced the coin flip and that’s a fifty/fifty proposition and we’ll use that as our starting point.
However, if the following letter in the sequence is predicated on the previous letter, then the probabilities are multiplied together. It’s no longer simply a matter of heads, but that tails must have been the previous result.
In other words, 0.50 * 0.50 = 0.25. In other words, the odds decrease that you’ll get the “right” coin flip result in every chance. It’s sort of a way of restating Murphy’s Law to say the more elements involved that can go wrong, the more likely something will.
But more often than not, nothing goes wrong.
Some people like to focus on the negatives, and therefore seek the exceptions. “What about the child born with genetic defect? Why does your creator God allow bad things to happen?”
I’ve said before that I’m not authorized to speak for God. However, I have several possible responses from my own mind, all of which will certainly fail to satisfy those critics.
It’s best if I’ll stay on topic and save that argument for another day.
It requires roughly three billion iterations of these coin flips to make one cell in your body. This is why your DNA is unique.
The four building block nucleotides arrange in extended sequences that scientists group together and call genes. These units of organization form groups then paired into structures called chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell in their body that determine sex, height, etc.
This latest announcement means is that scientists have looked for more, new evidence of the meticulous organization of these building blocks of life in our body, and found it.
The odds against your existence are not 50/50 or even 1 in a million. They’re more like 1 in 6 billion. Yet here you are, reading my article. That makes you special.
The mathematical observations of DNA simply illustrate how much you are a unique creation.