I saw this article by Fazale at Reasons to Believe and I found it unsettling. It seems that new research has found evidence to generate genetic information by natural processes. I think the information may be trivial but it still proves that nature can create a genetic code of sorts. What do you think of it? The link is


First of all, you are misinterpreting this article. Dr. Fazale does not say that genetic information can be generated by natural processes. The article also does not say that nature can create a genetic code. The article is not even discussing how the genetic code was created or how information might have been created. It does impact the first question somewhat, but that is not what the article is about. What Fazale is saying is that if proteins were to be synthesized by accidentally/randomly created nucleic acids, the number of possible combinations which are relevant are not as high as some might calculate. In other words, the number of possible combinations of amino acids coded by a polypeptide of 30 codons is 30 to the 20th power, which is an astronomical number. What he is saying is that, although the 30 to the 20th power is a correct calculation, it overestimates the number of relevant possible thirty codon proteins because a number of them would create the same shape pocket for an active site. What he is saying is that we should calculate the number of active sites and ways to make these active sites. He is saying that the amount of random information needed to be created by accidental nucleotide combinations overestimates by a fair amount the unlikelihood of an active protein being produced.

I think that there is probably some truth to his statement, but, to be honest, I believe he is overstating the impact that this ought to have on how Christian apologists present the unlikelihood of life being created by accident. I believe that the argument remains essentially the same. Nature does not create information from random interactions and his paper is not saying that it does or that this barrier to the creation of life has been overcome by the discovery. It is typical to exaggerate the importance of a new discovery. I think a better statement he should have made is that Christian apologists better make themselves aware of this discovery and that, when they calculate the improbability of a particular protein being created at random, that particular number may not be all that relevant to the discussion about the random creation of life. We should be more careful about using such calculations, as they may not really be a relevant number.

Bottom line, I believe that I would have to make no change at all to the presentation I give because I have never used such calculations! However, I believe that I definitely ought to be ready to explain the relevance of this particular finding because at some point, a member of the audience will ask about this interesting discovery. By the way, I may be going a bit too far to underplay this discovery. I do believe that it is an interesting and important find. I just disagree with Fazale that this will make much difference to how believers make the case that life was created.

John Oakes

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