Biochemist Fazale Rana’s boyhood hopes to become a major league baseball player ended when he moved up to the Babe Ruth League and discovered he couldn’t read the code.
The “code” in Rana’s case was the indicator in the third-base coach’s stream of signs to him just before he stepped into the batter’s box. Among much else, the coach’s signs were meant to ensure batter and runner were on the same page when the next pitch was thrown.
Rana’s experience was an early lesson that served him well later in life when he became a biochemist and a researcher for a Fortune 500 corporation: Codes require code-makers, the more complex the code, the more intelligent the code-maker must be.
The most sophisticated code is the one that can detect errors in its transmission. And it turns out that all of us have such a code within us, it’s the human DNA genetic code.
“This biochemical code consists of a set of rules that define the information stored in DNA. These rules specify the sequence of amino acids that the cell’s machinery uses to build proteins,” Rana explains in a thought-provoking post on The Stack at Reasons to Believe.
“In this process, information formatted as nucleotide sequences in DNA is converted into information formatted as amino acid sequences in proteins. Moreover, the genetic code is universal, meaning that all life on Earth uses it,” Rana continues.
“Biochemists marvel at the design of the genetic code, in part because its structure displays exquisite optimization. This optimization includes the capacity to dramatically curtail errors that result from mutations,” he writes.
Discoveries in the past two decades have made it increasingly clear that the level of complexity in the genetic code is vastly beyond that of even the smartest human programmers.
Most recently, as Rana notes, a German research team, building on the prior work of teams in the UK. Germany, and Israel, concluded that the “optimality” of the Standard Genetic Code (SGC) “is a robust feature and cannot be explained by any simple evolutionary hypothesis proposed so far . . . the probability of finding the standard genetic code by chance is very low. Selection is not an omnipotent force, so this raises the question of whether a selection process could have found the SGC in the case of extreme code optimalities.”
Put more simply, this means the SGC requires a code-maker. And if that’s the case, you and I aren’t here by chance, we are here for a reason. That ought to be best news you’ve ever heard.