Also Available in:
This article is from
Creation 21(1):10–11, December 1998

Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe
Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles below.

Man’s achievements vs amazing ‘living computer’ technology


A silicon computer chip like this, small enough for an ant to hold in its jaws, can easily process all the letters in the Bible more than 200 times per second. Yet these achievements pale into insignificance next to the technology and design in the living world.

Sometimes a comparison helps us grasp the fantastic design in miniature in the living world. Let’s start by looking at an outstanding achievement of man’s technology, the silicon chip shown here in the photo.

This chip is undoubtedly a brilliant feat of miniaturization. It requires enormous amounts of skill and ingenuity to have so much information processing capacity in an object small enough for an ant to hold in its jaws!

But before we get too carried away, let’s scale down to something even smaller than the ant itself, the common dust mite—smaller than a pin-head.

Even smaller, E.coli bacteria can be clustered on the surface of a pin point.

We have now scaled down to a level which is dramatically smaller than the silicon chip, and what we are looking at is these amazing biological machines.

Each one of these bacteria is a single cell with capabilities which outstrip anything our technology has been able to put together.

Among its many astonishing features is the ability to make a complete copy of itself in only a few minutes!

Public Domain HouseDustMite
The common dust mite. Click for larger view.

Public Domain ScanningElectronMicrographOfEColi
Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip. Click for larger view.

See image of a close-up view, going even further down in size, of these E. coli bacteria.

We’ve now left the silicon chip far, far behind in miniaturization. Within each of these bacterial cells is their most ‘high-tech’ feature, namely their ‘central command module’—the amazingly designed DNA molecule, with its incredible capacity to store information.

Illustration ©iStock.com/BlackJack3D

To the left is a stylized reconstruction of a small portion of the strand of DNA, magnified still further.

Each strand is so thin that if you drew out a pinhead with a 2mm diameter till it was a wire as thin as DNA, the wire would be long enough to go around the equator 33 times!1

This fantastic molecule is so way, way beyond the capacity of even our most advanced information storage systems as to almost defy our capacity to describe it.

It represents the highest storage density of anything on Earth, i.e. the highest amount of information which can be packed into a given space.

To help understand this, note that the amount of information in one strand2 of human DNA is the same as that in 1,000 books of small print, each around 500 pages thick. Now imagine the total information carried in every human being on Earth—that of one human multiplied five or six thousand million times.

If all that information were stored on DNA and packed into one volume, it would be no bigger than a couple of aspirin tablets!3

The silicon chip, for all the intelligent effort it represents, has now vanished into insignificance next to God’s design achievements. It seems unnecessary to point out that such things are not the result of chance evolution.

The Bible says (Romans 1:20) that all who reject God are without excuse; the things He has made testify clearly to His incredible intelligence and power.

References and notes

  1. Source: Information scientist Dr Werner Gitt, in Faszination Mensch (in English as The Wonder of Man). Return to text.
  2. Regarding the whole genome as one strand, regardless of the fact that it is broken up into 23 chromosomes. Return to text.
  3. Source: French cytogeneticist Jerome LeJeune, famous for discovering the cause of Down’s Syndrome, in Anthropotes, Rivista di studi sulla persona e la famiglia, Citta Nuova Editrice, 1989. This is also confirmed by calculations supplied by Dr Werner Gitt, whose book In the Beginning was Information inspired this article. Return to text.