If you look at the details of biochemistry molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer. In biology, I suppose it would have to be the double-helix Watson and Crick discovery of the structure of DNA which was far more than just the discovery the crystallographic work, discovering the structure all of a big molecule because what that led up to was a major revolution in which much of biology became a sort of branch of information technology. The consequence of the Watson-Crick discovery, with all that it led on to, the DNA code and the sort of various genome projects that are going on now is that genes, which from my point of view are absolutely central to biology, genes are information. They’re coded information. It even looks like computer information. I mean a chromosome is a great long computer tape. It’s linear, runs one one dimensional digital code. It’s not binary, it’s quaternary but apart from that, it’s just the same as computer tape. It’s read in sequence. It’s copied and pasted from one part of the organism to another in just the same way as a computer programmer would copy and paste. So biology has turned into computer science.
Whereas we thought that only a minority of the genome was doing something, namely that minority which actually codes for protein, and now we find that actually the majority of it is doing something. What it’s doing is calling into into action the protein coding genes so you can think of the protein coding genes as being the sort of toolbox of subroutines which is pretty much common to all mammals. In all mice and men have the same number roughly speaking of protein coding genes and that’s always been a bit of a blow to the self-esteem of humanity. But what the point is: that that was just the subroutines that are called into being. The programmers calling them into action is the rest which had previously been written off as junk.
An individual organism is a throwaway survival machine for the self-replicating coded information which it contains. And the fate of that coded information is crucially bound up with the fate of the body in which it sits.
The origin of life, the chemical circumstances that gave rise to the first self-replicating molecule, the first proto-gene. The origin of life is something we don’t know anything about and we want to know something about it. And I would love to know how life actually got started. That the origin of the first self-replicating entity nobody knows how it got started. We know the kind of event it must have been, we know the sort of event that that must have happened for the origin of life.
Now what was that?
It was the origin of the first self-replicating molecule.
Now how did that happen?
I told we don’t know.
So you have no idea how it started?
No. Nor has anybody.
Have an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?
Can you just stop?