DNA is like Computer Programming

DNA CG Drawing, Frchen, Wikimedia

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a redesign for this website. Even understanding a tiny bit about how computer programming works makes me think of DNA again:

Many websites today use something called CSS, or a Cascading Style Sheet. It’s a set of commands telling the computer what color and size to make things, what shape each letter should have, and where to put the pictures. You can even change how things look by giving a 2nd command about the same thing. The computer knows it is to obey the last command rather than the 1st one.

You also have to make sure all the codes are saying the right thing in the right place or it doesn’t work properly. Sometimes nothing happens at all and you don’t even see any sign of what was supposed to be there. Other times you see the code itself instead of the change it was supposed to tell the computer. This is worse than invisible: it’s ugly and everyone knows the code is broken.

It’s easy to see how this is like DNA:

  • Just about every cell has the whole code for your body, but it only follows the rules for the kind of cell it is supposed to be. The rest are turned off
  • There are dominant and recessive traits following rules like CSS does
  • If code gets messed with, things can disappear or get badly messed up

Of course, DNA is far more complicated than any computer program, but it gives us a taste of how much work went into making it.

Here’s the deal. No one would dream of saying a computer program had developed by random changes being refined by the Internet’s environment. But there are many people who expect us to believe the far more complex and useful code inside each of us developed in just that way. One that not only runs programs, but also builds new ‘computers’ to replace the old.

As for me, I’m going to praise, worship, and honor the greatest programmer of all time, our Creator Jesus!

Your eyes saw my substance, not yet wrapped up; and in your book all were written, which were continually shaped, before there were any of them. Psalm 139:16