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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Reproduction, Information, and Life

When you want to reproduce something, sometimes it's easy. You can "clone" your hard drive, make a copy of an image, paint a replica of a famous work of art, and so on. But those are just copies using existing materials. Suppose I saw a saddle I admired and wanted to reproduce it. That would take a whole heap of work, getting materials, laying out plans, having the intelligence to put it all together, and so on.

Mechanical reproduction is a far cry from the kind of reproduction that living things are able to do, using the information that our Creator has built into their DNA from the very beginning.
Image credit: Pixabay / JamesDeMers
Mechanically reproducing things, whether data, images, saddles, coffee tables, or whatever, come from the outside. An essential sign of life is that living things reproduce from the information that the Creator has built into their DNA — his mind and plans existed before he made everything.
‘Vital signs’. ‘Signs of life’. What are they? How do we decide if something is living or not? We know living things grow, respire/metabolize, move, and are responsive to the environment. Perhaps the most important ‘sign of life’, however, is the ability to reproduce—the power a living thing has to make a living copy of itself. How can this happen? How do we produce a copy of something, living or not?

Suppose we saw a coffee table at someone’s house, and wanted to make one for our own house, exactly like it. What would we need? We would need to know the materials it is made of, the exact shape of every component, methods of producing these components, and the order for putting the parts together (including intermediate stages such as supporting structures while glue sets, etc.) In other words, we need information, and lots of it.
Live a little, and read the rest of "Reproduction: the essential sign of life".