Code as an Analogy of DNA?

Tying this back to the source discussion with @Perry_Marshall, I was looking for information about his Evolution 2.0 challenge, and came across this post:

There is some good discussion in the comments about what constitutes code in the sense Marshall is looking for.


Why does it seem that way?

Accurate, but incomplete. The original discussion was about whether it meets Perry Marshall’s definition, which it definitely doesn’t.

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Whoops, there’s an embarrassing mistake… The price of learning on a public forum! The 4 base pairs make the 64 codons (4^3) that make the 20 amino acids that make the essentially unlimited number of proteins… Do I got it now?

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Yep, you got it. Now for something really hard. Although most amino acids can exist in both left and right handed forms, Life on Earth is made of left handed amino acids, almost exclusively. Why?

Hi Patrick, I would appreciate any contribution you and other biologists would care to make to the thread I created for codes other than DNA.

It seems to me that codes as defined by Shannon information theory pop up everywhere in the domain of biology. If that is correct, it provides an important counterweight to the “DNA as code” argument that many ID proponents make.

However, I am not a biologist, so I would like to get the opinion of experts like you and the other biologists here (@swamidass @sygarte @John_Harshman @Mercer etc.) before I draw any conclusions.

Thanks! And a happy new year to you!


3 posts were split to a new topic: Patrick on ID Information Theory

Is anyone familiar with the word ‘irony’? :slightly_smiling_face:

//“The key to curing such conditions is our ability to elucidate underlying mechanisms,” said Thomas Gregor, an associate professor of physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. “The goal is to use these rules to regulate and re-engineer the programs underlying development and disease processes.”//

Are you familiar with the words “clueless” and “obscure”?


I take it that you saw no irony it the excerpt.

I take it you don’t want to say what your point is, assuming you have one.

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My point was, and I said it, there’s irony in the excerpt.

What is the irony? Please explain.

Yes. You posting about irony on the subject of junk DNA, is itself ironic.

Are you familiar with this literature?
Of course you aren’t.

You take up a subject of which you are evidently completely unfamiliar, claim that it is ironic presumably because some claimed piece of junk DNA has a biochemical effect(?), and through that reveal your ignorance of the concept, arguments, and evidence for junk DNA.

Now that is ironic.


Unsurprisingly, the actual published article does not even mention junk DNA. Nowhere in the article is ANY kind of evidence provided that the enhancer piece of DNA, or associated transcrition factor analyzed, was once thought to be junk DNA. They don’t even do any kind of comparative genetics to see how conserved it is between species. The word junk DNA is never used, no article or person is referenced as having claimed it was once thought to be junk, and nothing relating to the concept is discussed or mentioned.

So the grandiose press release article makes claims that NOTHING in the actual scientific article is capable of supporting. The published paper speaks only and exclusively about how enhancers and promoters can affect multicellular development.

That, too is, ironic.


If the irony is lost on you, it’s kind of like trying to explain a joke to to someone who didn’t get it: what’s the point?

But I’ll do my best: the irony is in the use of the terms in ‘re-engineer the programs’.

You seemed to have missed that I was referring to the excerpt, not junk DNA.

Go on. What’s the irony in that? Is it that you ironically don’t understand metaphors?

I will freely admit that I have failed. :slightly_smiling_face:

True, in more ways than you realize. Most of your irony is unintended.