Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for discovering DNA repair mechanisms.1 As the BBC article says, “In the 1970s, scientists had thought that DNA was a stable molecule, but Prof. Lindahl demonstrated that it decays at a surprisingly fast rate.” This led him and then the others to look for repair mechanisms, and the researchers found several (hence the three recipients of the prize).
The article speaks of the repair mechanisms as “essential processes”. Indeed, without the repair mechanisms, DNA falls apart “at a surprisingly fast rate”. Once an organism dies, the repair mechanisms no longer operate and DNA decays. This means that fossils that are supposedly millions of years old should not have any intact DNA; but they often do, including dinosaur fossils.2
It should now be obvious to all that DNA could never have arisen by natural processes (i.e. just chemistry and physics) because even if that could happen, the DNA would be useless without the repair mechanisms to preserve it. Without the repair mechanisms, DNA would fall apart quicker than it could possibly come together (if it even could in the absence of the cellular machinery to put it together, which is itself coded on the DNA). Furthermore, no natural origin could possibly explain either the coded information storage system of the DNA or the highly ordered sequences of information on the DNA that specify how to make the protein components of life.
The repair mechanisms involve incredibly complex nano-machines3 that themselves defy the notion of naturalistic origins. The more we know about the science of life, the more it becomes clear that life came about by the action of an incredibly intelligent creator.4
References and notes
Rincon, P., Chemistry Nobel: Lindahl, Modrich and Sancar win for DNA repair, bbc.com, 7 October 2015. Return to text
Doubtless, there is a Nobel prize waiting for any scientist who comes up with a halfway plausible DNA repair mechanism that could explain dinosaur DNA...
But a minor point, from the article:
"Without the repair mechanisms, DNA would fall apart quicker than it could possibly come together (if it even could in the absence of the cellular machinery to put it together, which is itself coded on the DNA)
The notion that the cellular machinery to fabricate DNA is coded in the DNA itself is an outgrowth of the assumption that the DNA of a cell contains ALL the information that a cell needs to be alive and reproduce. The error of that assumption becomes apparent when you consider that in mitosis, the entire cell, all of its components and all of its systems reproduce.
The various organelles of the cell contain most of the information needed to duplicate those organelles, that information is almost certainly mostly resident in the structure of the organelle itself. Even the nucleus duplicates itself; most of the DNA in the nucleus is "along for the ride" during mitosis.
Some have noted that the human genome contains 7 Gigabits worth of data and implied that that is the totality of the information within each of our cells; what that ignores is the vast information embedded in the structure of each of a living cell's components and within the active processes within a living cell. If we come up with a way to qualify that information, it may dwarf the 7gigabits of the genome.
Don Batten responds
Yes, the detection of dino DNA in fossil bones is rather problematic for their millions of years (no repair mechanisms can be operating, of course).
That there is much information in the cell itself that is not DNA that is necessary for life is a theme we have written about at length elsewhere. DNA acts differently in different cell types, so the cell determines how the DNA is 'read'.
However, there is no error in what I have written; the DNA repair mechanisms are indeed coded in the DNA. They cannot be manufactured without the DNA instructions.
Even mitochondria, which have their own DNA coding for a lot of their components, also have some of their parts coded on the nuclear DNA, and the reading of the mitochondrial DNA depends on machinery coded by the nuclear DNA.
Richard S., Canada, 8 March 2016
Trouble is, I think the Emperor enjoys walking around in his new clothes...
Robert W., United States, 8 March 2016
And it is clear that the intelligent creator is The Living God of The Bible, YHWH and His Christ.
Any force intelligent enough to create the things of the universe would surely leave a guide, a manual if you will. YHWH did this. So clear are the words of this book that we truly are without excuse if we fail to recognize God's majesty. (Romans 1:20).
But scientifically as well. This is just one example that contributes to the saga of the elusive "missing link" of transitional life forms. It is equally clear they can't be found because they do not exist.
In the light, that is Jesus Christ, we see clearly.
Don Batten responds
Of course a 'force' is not intelligent, whereas a person is. And so God is revealed as a person, especially in the person of Jesus Christ.
Douglas S., United States, 8 March 2016
I disagree with the comment "The various organelles of the cell contain most of the information needed to duplicate those organelles, that information is almost certainly mostly resident in the structure of the organelle itself." What is the basis for this statement? What information and molecular machinery does the ER or a Golgi App. or a cilium have for making itself?
Don Batten responds
Yes, I agree. I could have elaborated, but I thought it was sufficient to point out that there was no error in what I wrote.
Thomas R., Canada, 11 March 2016
Because cells are so complex and DNA programming within most cells is amazingly complex, it seems impossible that they could be constructed "from scratch" using atoms as the building blocks, by anything other than a super-intelligent, super-natural being. There is a new Godly science under development called "atomic biology" to study this awesome construction work.
Don Batten responds
If you Google 'atomic biology' I don't think it is quite like you have suggested here. Nevertheless, the book by that name does decribe in beautiful detail quite a bit what is known of the incrediblly sophisticated nano-machinery that operates inside our cells, and for those who have eyes to see, defies evolutionary story-telling.