von Neuman Machine

von Neuman Machine


     Just Imagine, a car that builds itself in your garage, and then performs its own maintenance and repairs! In the 1950’s brilliant Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist and inventor John von Neumann, proposed a mathematical model whereby we could make machines that could self-replicate and self repair.  His proposals ignited a firestorm of scientific research and activity to realize the dream of constructing such a machine.  In spite of more than a half of a century of research and experimentation by the likes of N.A.S.A .and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we are nowhere close to the realization of such a physical machine.

     It seems that the construction of such a machine is beyond our level of technology and knowledge.  Despite our brightest minds and best engineering efforts our attempts come nowhere close to the success of the simplest of living organisms.

     Every living thing is a von Neumann machine. Even the simplest single celled organism is marvelously complex.

     Inside every living cell is DNA, blueprints for the entire organism.  DNA is organized into chromosomes, humans have 46. In each chromosome there are thousands of genes which determine how we will look, breath, eat, reproduce, everything about us, a complete set of plans for building and repairing a human.  This information is all stored in an amazingly compact  three dimensional storage system.  If we were too take the amount of information contained in DNA the size of the head of a pin and print in in paperback books, the stack of books would reach from here to the Moon… 500 times. What is really amazing is that each cell also has a number of molecule which repairs different types of damage that can befall the DNA strand.

     Each living cells also has RNA.  RNA is a tiny machine that, with the help of specialized proteins, reads the information in the DNA strand and manufactures new proteins.  What makes this process even more amazing is that many of life’s chemicals come in left handed and right handed varieties.  The machine that exists in living cells relies on the fact that all of the proteins have only left handed amino acids and that all of the RNA and DNA molecules have only right handed sugars.  In nature, absent a specific design, an equal number of right and left handed sugars and amino acids would normally be present.  The existence of even a few of the wrong “handed” sugars or amino acids would force the machine to break down, the cell to die.

     As a result even the simplest life form has immensely complex machinery that can replicate and repair itself. Without the presence of all of the complex machine parts, the cell would not survive. Even with the application of the highest intelligence and engineering abilities available to mankind, and in spite of decades of research and effort, we have not been able to produce any physical machine that even approaches the sophistication of the simplest bacteria.  To assume that this amazing complexity of design could happen as a result of random chance is to completely abandon common sense and reason.

     When we look at even the simplest machine, like a mouse trap, we know the following: 1. that it was designed and manufactured by a source of intelligence; and 2. that it needs all of its parts to work.  How is it possible that anyone could look at the irreducible complexity of life and deny that it was designed and created by a vast intelligence.

     Scripture tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.  Creation Happened, we can believe it.

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