The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
2 Points

DNA is a code and therefore requires an intelligence to create it

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,633 times Debate No: 41113
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (1)




DNA is not a code, instruction, or message and does not contain letters or symbols or meanings. It is a molecule which causes chemical effects under certain conditions.

To claim DNA is a code is metaphorical reasoning similar to claiming that one billiard ball "sends a message" to another telling it to drop into a pocket when struck by the first; or that warm air "sends a message" to an ice cube telling it to follow the coded sequential instruction to become water and then vapor.

Physical responses to physical causes are not the reading of codes. DNA is a physical cause of physical responses. Metaphorically claiming it is a code so as to reason backwards to an intelligent writer of that code so as to arrive at creationism is not valid.


I would like to thank my opponent for having this topic to debate.

DNA is sequence specific, meaning that the order of DNA matters to its function. Changing the order of the nucleotides will cause the DNA to not function properly just like changing the order 1s and 0s of binary will cause it to not function properly.

Billiard balls are not a good analogy because they are not sequence specific. It could be the 3 ball or the 7 it would not matter to the outcome. Also Morse code is ink on a paper meaning if you follow its instruction you are just responding to a physical cause.

Even the most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, refers to DNA as "The Genetic Code" and says how it is "uncannily computerlike"[1]

Debate Round No. 1


It is true that the DNA molecule will not function as it does if the order of its component parts is changed, but this is true of all molecules. Nearly all chemical reactions between complex molecules, especially catalytic reactions, occur in a certain sequence, one atom forming a bond leading to the making or breaking of further bonds, etc.

That its effects are sequential may remind us of language, but it is not language. Language transfers information to an intelligence which then initiates action. DNA causes physical effects directly.

Dawkins is right: DNA is indeed "uncannily computer like" and that is exactly why the mistake is being made which is the subject of this debate. But reminding us of a computer does not make it one.


I couldn't find your definition of language in any dictionary, so I found one.
Language: A system of objects or symbols, such as sounds or character sequences, that can be combined in various ways following a set of rules, especially to communicate thoughts, feelings, or instructions. [1]
DNA is a system of nucleotides that conveys info [2] on instructions to build proteins. Scientist have stored MLK's "I have a dream" speech into DNA. [3]

DNA conveys info, unlike other molecules. That is why specified DNA is different.

Since DNA has info, and the only known cause of info is intelligence; therefore, there must be an intelligent cause for the DNA info.


Debate Round No. 2


I say language transfers information to an intelligence and you say it communicates. These mean the same thing. Communication implies knowledge, which in turn implies intelligence " at BOTH ends of the communication. When a DNA molecule undergoes a chemical reaction, it is not communicating anything to anyone.

Human minds storing an MLK speech on DNA is no different than storing it on colored rocks. Both cases involve storing symbols and then symbol reading by humans, not a direct chemical reaction.

DNA does not "convey info on instructions to build proteins". It directly causes the proteins to form as a result of the chemical reactions that it undergoes. Chemicals don't communicate. They interact physically.


People can communicate to a wall, and that wall has no knowledge; therefore, communications does not imply knowledge.

Storing the speech on the colored rocks means the color rocks are a language just like reading the speech in A, G, T, C's.
A scientist can read a DNA section and tell you what protein it makes. [1] If you give a cell that section of DNA it will make that protein. That means the DNA is instructions to build proteins, and is a language. Since DNA is a language, and languages are codes that contain info; therefore, DNA is a code that contains info. Then follows that because DNA is a code that contains info, and the only source of info is intelligence; therefore, DNA requires intelligence.


Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Guidestone 3 years ago
The word restrictions were tough, but posed an interesting challenge.
Posted by myrrh 3 years ago
I also would be interested in taking part in this debate if the time and word limits were less restrictive.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
I personally prefer longer time and word limits, but would probably accept it anyway, however, I'll be to busy until after Thanksgiving.
Posted by Howardofski 3 years ago
I have set this debate to be brief since I believe brevity is one of the cardinal virtues of good philosophy. It is 3 rounds, 24 hours for argument, and 750 words per argument.

But I am new to this site and perhaps these settings are unwise. If someone would like to debate, but only if I modify those conditions, I am open to suggestions.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
How long would I have for each argument?
Posted by Ramshutu 3 years ago
I agree with you; but I'm willing to take the challenge on the grounds that you may actually get a good debate out of it.

The only "condition" I would add, is that we extend the computer metaphor (as mentioned in the comments) is to allow Code not just to mean the combination of DNA base pairs that cause a particular feature (Akin to Code in computer science), but also to mean the raw instruction set that DNA provides (Akin to the generic processor instructions in computer science)
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
I see everyone is not wanting to take the debate for similar reasons. Maybe Howardofski wants to redefine the argument.
Posted by IslamAhmadiyya 3 years ago
Of course it isn't a literal code. But it certainly works like a code.

If you remove one small section from a DNA strand, the entire organism will cease to function or stop functioning properly, just like a corrupted code in a computer or machine.
Posted by Oromagi 3 years ago
You might try messaging user myrrh, he has some interesting arguments in favor of DNA=code
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
I agree and disagree. The nucleobases by themselves do not have meaning, but when aligned in sequences they do have meaning. However this is a code, but does not mean anything special except in evolutionary terms.

This will be a good debate, I just am not sure how to debate this logically so I wont take you up on it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: I think both Pro and Con made good arguments. Due to the limitation on words it s difficult to decided a winner,as Con made some good points but never addressed the issue of an intelligent creator.In fact this was only addressed by Pro as a final caveat in his last argument, a such I am not giving convincing arguments points to either debater. The debate is decided by sources, as Pro had citations and Con had none. Conduct and grammar was good by both Pro and Con, well done at been civil.