Fallacy Friday!

Today's Logical Fallacy is... Half Truth!

(Cherry-Picking, Card Stacking, Incomplete Information, Texas Sharpshooter, suppressed evidence, fallacy of incomplete evidence, argument ...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Common Creationist Complaint: How did the DNA code originate?

Common Complaint: How did the DNA code originate? The code is a sophisticated language system with letters and words where the meaning of the words is unrelated to the chemical properties of the letters—just as the information on this page is not a product of the chemical properties of the ink (or pixels on a screen). What other coding system has existed without intelligent design? How did the DNA coding system arise without it being created? [1]

Logical Fallacies:
  • False Analogy (the analogy between our language and DNA is flawed); 
  • Straw Man (in using flawed metaphors, it claims that evolution says something that it doesn’t and then dismisses it); 
  • Argument from Ignorance (just because the author doesn’t understand how DNA could have arisen doesn’t mean that scientists don’t);

Answer: We have discovered structures called ribozymes, little pieces of RNA that can self-assemble, self-replicate, carry genetic information, and act as enzymes. In other words, it is a very primitive genetic code that forms spontaneously and operates independently.

The metaphor the author uses is flawed; while the letters in words is unrelated to the chemical properties of the ink, the DNA code and resulting proteins are entirely based on the chemical properties that compose them. DNA bonds to RNA that then corresponds with amino acids to form proteins based entirely on the chemical composition of the molecules. While you could change the ink you use and the words remain the same, if you change the chemical makeup of any part of the DNA/RNA/protein sequence, the message changes. This is why biology majors have to take four semesters of chemistry and two semesters of physics.

[1] 15 Questions for Evolutionists. Evolution: the naturalistic origin of life and its diversity (The General Theory of Evolution, as defined by the prominent past evolutionist Kerkut; see introduction to Origin of life) by Don Batten

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