As a member of the human race, each and every one of us is a huge, walking library of exquisitely-crafted information.
Large Amounts of Data (Thirty Trillion DVDs) in each Human Body
Each human being is effectively a repository of a huge amount of data, and scientists are now beginning to discover the nature of the information that is encoded within the human body. It seems that not only is there an incredibly large amount of data in each human cell, but this data is also encoded into high-quality information. Looking at the amount of data present, Yevgeniy Grigoryev, doctoral graduate of the Scripps Research Institute, estimates information equivalent to 1.5 gigabytes to be present in a single DNA molecule. Using an estimate of one hundred trillion cells in the human body, he further equates this to an amount of information in the whole body equal to one hundred and fifty trillion gigabytes, or 150 x 1021bytes. In current storage terms this is equivalent to thirty trillion DVDs!
The high quality of the information within the body is described by Stephen Meyer in his book, Signature in the Cell. Quoted in a magazine interview about the book, Meyer states “the discovery that DNA codes information in a digital form points decisively back to a prior intelligence”. In the book, he describes the nature of the information in DNA as being of “specified complexity”. The term “specified complexity” or “complex specified information” relates to a concept adopted by William Dembski and describes the introduction of previously-determined constraints into otherwise random information. An example of this is the use of the English language, which employs the letters of a 26-character code, but only in specific combinations (words) that can also be recognized by any others familiar with the language. The creation of the language requires design, and hence intelligence, and it is reasonable to assume the same requirements for the organized and intricate information stored within the human body.
Meyer also quotes information scientist Hubert Yockey, “The genetic code is constructed to confront and solve the problems of communication and recording by the same principles found… in modern communication and computer codes.” Since “modern communication and computer codes” are obviously products of design, then it is reasonable to assume that the genetic code is also a product of design. A comparison of the efficiency and effectiveness of these two types of design shows the genetic code to be superior by far in all aspects. From this we can also conclude that its designer is much more capable than the best that mankind can offer.
Apart from the genetic code itself, there are many other attributes and processes of the cell that also require the existence of data to function correctly, including cytoplasm, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes and lysosomes. In popular school materials, these elements are likened to the factory floor, assembly line, workers, and maintenance crew of a functioning factory. While explaining the function of the elements, these materials all fail to explain how each element knows how to do the task assigned to it. A modern factory will have well-documented, designed processes, plus a training department to ensure that all staff members know how to do their jobs. The living cell, far more efficient than any process of human design, appears to have all of the required manufacturing and processing information designed into its various elements.
In part 2 of this blog – More Than One Form of Data.
Yevgeniy Grigoryev, “How Much Information Is Stored in the Human Genome?”Bytesize Bio, 16th March, 2012, http://bitesizebio.com/8378/how-much-information-is-stored-in-the-human-genome/, accessed February 29, 2016.
Stephen Meyer, Signature in the Cell,(New York: Harper Collins 2009), Kindle Edition, 110.
Stephen Meyer, “Can DNA Prove the Existence of a Designer?” Biola Magazine, summer 2010, http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/, accessed February 29, 2016.