Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Biochemistry IS Nanotechnology

I watched this speech on television the other night. Dr. Weiner explained how a meter long string of DNA is contained within a bacterium measured in nanometers, while keeping the various gene segments available to the organism in a kind of RAM setup, i.e. each segment is available for access without having to unspool the whole genome and scan through it to find the information the cell needs. Tape is sequentially accessed. Hard disks are randomly accessed, and so is our DNA. The way this is done is unimaginably ingenious, yet we are told it's the result of a vast string of coincidences longer than the genome itself.

Instapundit links to this report about nanomachines for cleaning out arterial plaque. I could use some of that, but I doubt it will be available in my lifetime.

What keeps occurring to me about all this is that human beings think they're so clever in developing tiny machines out of silicon, when there are already molecule-scale machines at work in every living cell. One must ask, "If I found one of these silicon machines, how would I know it was made by an intelligent being rather than the result of evolution?" We see archeologists hold up chunks of flint all the time which they say were produce by flint napping by human ancestors. How do they know that these didn't just evolve or occur by chance? The logic that makes us draw the obvious conclusion when we see flint spearheads and arrowheads is, however, anathema to evolutionary biologists when intelligent design is mentioned. The difference is billions of years of chance. Because such time spans are unimaginably huge, we're told that they can explain anything; that Nature doesn't really tend toward entropy at the local level, but creates life, a creative force that brings higher levels of order out of chaos. I've been told that this is not a violation of thermodynamics because in the universe as a whole, entropy is increasing. Yet how does one square that with the existence of gravity?


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