Life in a Lab?

Can we create life in the laboratory?

Biological systems are incredibly complex. To create our own life, we would have to assemble biopolymers (protein) with only the right building blocks(amino acids) and only the correct isomers (L-amino acids) joined with the correct bonds(peptide bonds) and with the correct sequence of building blocks1.

This problem of assembling amino acids into functional proteins in some form of primordial soup can be illustrated using probability and statistics.

* Let’s simplify the problem

The odds for one functioning protein is 4.9 x 10 -191! unimaginable! If all carbon matter on earth was in the form of amino acids and these amino acids were allowed to react with each other 10,000,000,000,000(1012) per second for one billion years (the max. time between the cooling of the earth and the first appearance of life), we would still conclude that it would be incredibly impossible for one functional protein to be made(10-65)! 1.

DNA and RNA by prebiotic synthesis are even more difficult. “The difficulties that must be overcome are at present beyond imagination”.

*Information Theory

In the late 1940, some Bell Telephone information theory has aided in the understanding of information intensive molecules. By making the degree of information measurable, Information theory can express degrees of organization using numbers.

The more specified something is, the fewer choices there are about fulfilling each instruction. A random order of letters on a page has low complexity and specificity. A snowflake is specified but has low information content because its pattern repeats over and over. On the other hand, a poem has not only high specificity but also high information content because the letters must be in a certain place in order for the poem to mean anything.

In nature, there are three kinds of order. In the first, the information is not specified and random like lumps of rocks. Information can be specified yet random (has low information)- like the snowflake.

The other kind of order is found in all living things. Molecules in all living things are both specified and highly complex (high information content). No non-living thing except for human inventions and language has specified complexity.

The sequence of amino acids in a protein is not repetitive like a crystal but like letters in a sentence.

All evidence indicates that it takes intelligence to create specified complexity.

DNA is a Language

The base sequences in DNA instruct the cell (through a code), how to build proteins. The genetic code functions exactly the same as our language. It uses chemical letters to store and communicate instructions to the cells.

So close are the analogies between human language and DNA sequences that the mathematical treatment to model both systems are the same. 1


Scientists today are analyzing the heavens for signs of intelligent life. The SETI community has the capacity to survey more than eight million radio frequencies. If they were to receive a sequence of prime numbers, they would immediately conclude that intelligence transmitted it. This is because the likelihood of this sequence of numbers being generated by some natural means is too improbable. A sequence of prime numbers has specified complexity- just like DNA sequences!


Is it intelligent to assume that, inspite of all that we know about specified complexity in nature, information can just happen? We live in a cause and effect universe. All measured and known effects have a cause.

There is a DNA Programmer.

1The Creation Hypothesis

Chapter 5: Information and the Origin of Life

By Walter L. Bradley & Charles B. Thaxton

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