“The reason a bike lock works,” explains Meyer, “is that there are vastly more ways of arranging those numeric characters that will keep the lock closed than there are that will open the lock.”
Most bicycle locks have four dials with ten digits. So for a thief to steal the bike, he would have to guess correctly from among 10,000 possible combinations. No easy task.
But what about DNA? Well, in experiments Axe conducted at Cambridge, he found that for a DNA sequence generating a short protein just 150 amino acids in length, for every 1 workable arrangement of amino acids, there are 10 to the 77th possible unworkable amino acid arrangements. Using the bicycle lock analogy, that’s a lock with 77 dials containing 10 digits.
I believe this is what Mung has been talking about. I asked Mung:
How many goes do you get? How many bacteria in the earth’s soil?
Not nearly enough.
I feel this is interesting enough for an OP as it seems to finally touch upon what IDers think the designer actually does that can be investigated scientifically.
For example, if we find in a population a protein that is different to the version in an ancestral population but which still works, the by (their) definition, that is prima facie evidence of the designer at work.
Perhaps we can then take the population with the original protein, enclose it in our most sensitive equipment and attempt to detect the designers actions when it “solves the bike lock” and finds the new protein and somehow makes the required adjustment?
If I were an ID supporter these are exactly the sorts of experiments I’d be proposing, and with money on the table (Templeton) I continue to be surprised at the lack of such endeavours. At the very least they can rule out some levels of possible designer interaction at the macroscopic level.
And Mung, I’d be interested in knowing how many would be enough?
Earlier during his direct testimony, Behe had argued that a computer simulation of evolution he performed with Snoke shows that evolution is not likely to produce certain complex biochemical systems. Under cross examination however, Behe was forced to agree that “the number of prokaryotes in 1 ton of soil are 7 orders of magnitude higher than the population [it would take] to produce the disulfide bond” and that “it’s entirely possible that something that couldn’t be produced in the lab in two years… could be produced over three and half billion years.”