“If you can read this sentence, I can prove God exists”

See this blog post I just wrote, that you’re reading right now?  This blog article is proof of the existence of God.

Before you read/watch/listen to “If You Can Read This I Can Prove God Exists,” read THIS first. (700 words – 2 minutes) – then come back and continue reading. Thanks.

Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy.  But I’m not asking you to believe anything just yet, until you see the evidence for yourself.  All I ask is that you refrain from disbelieving while I show you my proof.  It only takes a minute to convey, but it speaks to one of the most important questions of all time.

So how is this message proof of the existence of God?

This web page you’re reading contains letters, words and sentences.  It contains a message that means something. As long as you can read English, you can understand what I’m saying.

You can do all kinds of things with this message.  You can read it on your computer screen.  You can print it out on your printer.  You can read it out loud to a friend who’s in the same room as you are.  You can call your friend and read it to her over the telephone.  You can save it as a Microsoft WORD document.  You can forward it to someone via email, or you can post it on some other website.

Regardless of how you copy it or where you send it, the information remains the same.  My email contains a message. It contains information in the form of language.  The message is independent of the medium it is sent in.

Messages are not matter, even though they can be carried by matter (like printing this email on a piece of paper).

Messages are not energy even though they can be carried by energy (like the sound of my voice.)

Messages are immaterial.  Information is itself a unique kind of entity.  It can be stored and transmitted and copied in many forms, but the meaning still stays the same.

Messages can be in English, French or Chinese. Or Morse Code.  Or mating calls of birds.  Or the Internet.  Or radio or television.  Or computer programs or architect blueprints or stone carvings.  Every cell in your body contains a message encoded in DNA, representing a complete plan for you.

OK, so what does this have to do with God?

It’s very simple.  Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind.  A mind that agrees on an alphabet and a meaning of words and sentences.  A mind that expresses both desire and intent.

Whether I use the simplest possible explanation, such as the one I’m giving you here, or if we analyze language with advanced mathematics and engineering communication theory, we can say this with total confidence:

“Messages, languages and coded information never, ever come from anything else besides a mind.  No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind.”

Nature can create fascinating patterns – snowflakes, sand dunes, crystals, stalagmites and stalactites.  Tornadoes and turbulence and cloud formations.

But non-living things cannot create language. They *cannot* create codes.  Rocks cannot think and they cannot talk.  And they cannot create information.

It is believed by some that life on planet earth arose accidentally from the “primordial soup,” the early ocean which produced enzymes and eventually RNA, DNA, and primitive cells.

But there is still a problem with this theory: It fails to answer the question, ‘Where did the information come from?’

DNA is not merely a molecule.  Nor is it simply a “pattern.” Yes, it contains chemicals and proteins, but those chemicals are arranged to form an intricate language, in the exact same way that English and Chinese and HTML are languages.

DNA has a four-letter alphabet, and structures very similar to words, sentences and paragraphs.  With very precise instructions and systems that check for errors and correct them. It is formally and scientifically a code. All codes we know the origin of are designed.

To the person who says that life arose naturally, you need only ask: “Where did the information come from? Show me just ONE example of a language that didn’t come from a mind.”

As simple as this question is, I’ve personally presented it in public presentations and Internet discussion forums for more than four years.  I’ve addressed more than 100,000 people, including hostile, skeptical audiences who insist that life arose without the assistance of God.

But to a person, none of them have ever been able to explain where the information came from.  This riddle is “So simple any child can understand; so complex, no atheist can solve.”

You can hear or read my full presentation on this topic at
http://evo2.org/ifyoucanreadthis.htm

Watch it on video:
http://evo2.org/perry-speaks/perryspeaks.html

Matter and energy have to come from somewhere.  Everyone can agree on that.  But information has to come from somewhere, too!

Information is separate entity, fully on par with matter and energy.  And information can only come from a mind.  If books and poems and TV shows come from human intelligence, then all living things inevitably came from a superintelligence.

Every word you hear, every sentence you speak, every dog that barks, every song you sing, every email you read, every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God.  Because information and language always originate in a mind.

In the beginning were words and language.

In the Beginning was Information.

When we consider the mystery of life – where it came from and how this miracle is possible – do we not at the same time ask the question where it is going, and what its purpose is?

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

Full Presentation and Technical Details (please review before posting questions or debates on the blog, almost every question and objection is addressed by these articles):

“If you can read this, I can prove God exists” – listen to
my full presentation or read the Executive Summary here:

http://evo2.org/ifyoucanreadthis.htm

“OK, so then who made God?” and other questions about information and origins:

http://evo2.org/faq/#designer

Why DNA is formally and scientifically a code, and things like sunlight and starlight are not (Please read this before you attempt to debate this on the blog!!!):

http://evo2.org/blog/information-theory-made-simple and http://evo2.org/faq/#code

-The Atheist’s Riddle: Members of Infidels, the world’s largest atheist discussion board attempt to solve it
(for over 4 years now!), without success:

http://evo2.org/iidb.htm

Download The First 3 Chapters of Evolution 2.0 For Free, Here – https://evo-2.org/3-free-chapters/

Where Did Life And The Genetic Code Come From? Can The Answer Build Superior AI? The #1 Mystery In Science Now Has A $10 Million Prize. Learn More About It, Here – https://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

2,212 Responses

  1. JohnM says:

    Hello Perry,

    Are you aware of this video “riddle me this?” An alledged refutation. Hes trying to say entropy adds information or something. But it just looks like it ecoding only at best in my opinion. What do you think?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flyuUMXOp1g

    JohnM

    • He says, “The entropy of a system in fact encodes the amount of information required to reproduce the state of that system”

      That is a nonsensical statement. Entropy doesn’t encode anything. Entropy is a numerical measure of uncertainty on the receiving end of an information system.

      As noise is added to a system, entropy increases.

      Many people invert Shannon’s thesis by saying that entropy increases the information in a system.

      Strictly speaking, that is true. But what is really happening is that entropy adds noise to a signal and the noise adds information to the signal. But this is useless information and it increases the uncertainty. Shannon and Weaver distinctly point this out in their book.

      Anyone who’s ever done audio recording understands this. Once you’ve added tape hiss to a recording, you cannot get it back out. And yes, the hiss does add more “information” to the signal but it is useless information. It degrades the signal.

      This guy is trying to say that because entropy adds noise to a system, entropy is a plentiful source of coded information.

      That is pure nonsense.

      (And is a very typical atheist distortion of Claude Shannon’s work.)

      He hasn’t explained or rebutted anything.

      Perry

  2. Führer [DGD] says:

    Greets my friend, well I’ve recived your E-MAIL, and you are right, every opinion about this topic is true, said in other wordsbut the same idea, I think that if we could comunicate with our minds only by thinking, we could understand better each other. But you know wise one, not every opinion said it’s true, those who are merely lies are said to plant the seeds of fear on weak people, and they will repeat the same words over and over again until they die or until they realize that THAT IS NOT THEIR OWN WAY TO THINK, every mind is a unique world and every mind has its own way to think, my friend, your presentation is realy good, your point makes a lot of sence, and about the internet fags, you are right, the only way to feel right, to feel power, its to insult and to humillate others, weak people do that hahahaha, I think the internet is a bad way to express yourself beacuse the one that you are trying to talk to will not understand you correctly and it will be like if you send that person a message with a lot of errors and forgotten words.

    Well I’m really happy to know that you are making conferences personally, only you can do that beacuse you are the one who made the idea. I hope that you can convence as much people as you can to open their minds, to not being such idiots.

    Oh and about that of atheists, I just realized that USA and México have really different ways to use that term, ahahha, here an atheist is not a guy who says: “Hey I’m atheist and I don’t beieve in God, I just believe in science and everyone else is an idiot beacuse I can do whatever the hell I want to” It’s someonte that says: “Hey my friend, come on, we are all humans and we need to be united, to help each other and not to exclude everyone else that doesn’t believe in your way to think”

    “THE ONE WHO CLAIM HIM SELF OF BEING ATHEIST JUST BEACUSE HE WANTS TO BE FREE, IT’S NOT AN ATHEIST, IT’S JUST SOMEONE AFRAID OF SOMETHING”

    I hope that you continue with your research and to shut the hell up those who apareantly are more inteligent than the others hahahaha.

    “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right yo say it to death”
    Voltaire

    Like I said, we all are different and unique, so, we may not agree with each other all the time, so, RESPECT OVER EVERYTHING AND PEACE WILL PREVEL.

  3. John Sawry says:

    Your argument seems stable enough.
    I don’t know if you discussed this, but the conclusion that God exists, besides getting you a lot of attention from religious people, seems faulty… Why? because it is incomplete. The conclusion of the argument is, in fact, that there is AT LEAST one God… I think this should be stressed, because suddenly your idea will clash with many religions that consider God as the only supreme entity.
    Also, I think you’re putting too much of a religious spin on this, okay, God exists, but don’t say God is in every dog barking, and non-speaking rock, this seems a bit… non-scientific. Stick to scientific means, provable facts.

    Respect,
    John Sawry

    • John,

      I acknowledge that at this point I have not done much to prove that God is not Zeus or Apollo or any other conception of God. (That argument will come in time.)

      What I am saying about dogs barking and rocks that do not talk – I’m dead serious. Please follow the logic here.

      Rocks do NOT talk.

      Information so far as we have ever observed does NOT come from material things.

      Yet we are drowning, as it were, in information.

      ALL of this information has to have an ultimate source. The bark comes from a dog which comes from a strand of DNA which is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy a billion times over – but it had to come from somewhere. By inference it came from intelligence.

      So yes, your dog barking and the text message on your cell phone, really are proof that God exists because they’re proof that information has to have an Ultimate origin.

      Perry

  4. Cristiano says:

    Dear Perry,

    I’m totally at your side in the point of the existence of God, but after reading all the answers to your post one thing becomes incomprehensible to me; people keep asking or stating that there is no scientific proof of the existence of God, but what do they mean by “scientific proof”? If all that you told, and not only you, but thousands of the best minds that ever walked on this earth who have agreed upon and believed in the existence of such a Being, is not a “scientific proof” what would be? I’m not posting this question to you, but to everyone that denies the existence of such a Creator. What would be the proof they want? Do they want someone to tell that they have seen Him and touched Him? Isn’t the Bible all that about? Isn’t it the witness of men who saw Him and spoke with Him and touched the body of his flesh? Don’t we have enough “scientific proof” that the Christ lived? Or do we believe that to be a byproduct of an agrarian society?
    Do they want to see Him and touch Him and hear His voice? What would that matter? The future generations will criticize such testimony and tell that we living today were also an “agrarian” society full of foolish beliefs! Even if all the earth could see God today and now in no more than 3 or 4 generations it would all be forgotten and our written witness would be to them only the fruit of our imagination and even if we could record in movie the personal appearance of God our 4th generation would say that is a product of make-up, computer generated, or any excuse than can find.
    What is the scientific proof they want? Is not this universe with all its complexity and wonder sufficient proof of such a Being? I read one guy say here that when we state that there is a Creator we say he must have being created also. I would like to ask: Can this guy comprehend something as small and as wondrous as one electron? Can he comprehend all the interactions, powers, movements, combinations, and ins and outs if all the science in the world today cannot comprehend perfectly something so small? If we cannot comprehend something so small how can we ever wonder to comprehend the interaction of trillions and trillions of all the electrons that comprise the universe? Of exotic matter, atoms, all kinds of particles, molecules, up to the entire galaxies with exotic ecosystem of their own with forces so powerful that we can scarcely imagine? How can we even bother to say that a Being with such an intellect and power to comprehend all these wonders and complexities can even be matched to us?
    If we cannot comprehend what is visible to us and near to us we will never comprehend such a Being, though He would burst open the veil that hid Him from us we would gaze at Him and never fully understand who He is and how He came to being unless we come to posses some different spirit and mind, which is greater than ours.
    I plead with those who say there is no “scientific proof” to open their eyes to such a foolish belief, I plead with them to see reason in what they say, to think for a moment about how far we have come in the search of knowledge and how few we know even of what has being discovered up to now. We have more books being filled with new knowledge and wisdom delivered in one month worldwide than a man could possible read in his entire life. More discoveries are made each decade today than in all the entire existence of man upon this earth. How can we dare to say that we know there is no “scientific proof”? How can we dare to say that in a thousand years we will not have power and knowledge sufficient to populate worlds and create our own planets and encompass the entire breadth of the universe since in only two hundred years we evolved from an era of total darkness and mysticism to such an enlightened era?
    I say, I bear witness and I testify as one who has personal knowledge, something that no one can take from me, even though my very flesh and bones melt away, that God not only exists, he Lives today! He is not an incomprehensible force that fills the entire universe and that is within us, He IS a human being, not like us who decay and die, but an immortal one, who has all the perfections that are possible for us to attain, who has the deep breadth of all the knowledge that we can ever possess, who has lived and loved from one eternity to another, whose presence shines as a light to the world and whose voice is like the voice of many waters rushing into the sea. His countenance is like the a lightning and His eyes are filled with the fire of His might. No one can look upon Him and not see the width and breadth of His creations and love towards man. How can we dare not believe? I testify of Him, for I do know that He lives. There are no words to explain how that feels like: to know. From the deep of my soul I say that anyone who want to know CAN know. “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:16-17). I testify that God do answer prayers and that He knows our names and cherishes us eternally as children of His own. He is not only the Creator of innumerable worlds, He is our very Father.
    If anyone doubts this I plead with him to kneel and bow down his head, and open up his hearth in mighty prayer and wrestle with God and ask for a witness of His existence and divinity and do not stop or be discourage and not cease to claim until your voice reaches heaven and then, when tears shall flow in your face and an inexplicable joy burst out in you and you feel as if the very marrow were melting due to the power of such assurance you SHALL know that he lives. I have witnessed of myself and I KNOW that you shall do.
    “[For I, Enos,] will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins. Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said: Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen… wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole. And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings… And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.” (Enos 1)

  5. Cristiano says:

    The point here, though the title is “If this can read this sentence I can prove God exists”, I comprehend as being to show that science CAN also be a witness unto God. Since the bible says that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established”, the religion is ONE witness and the science is the SECOND witness. But there is a THIRD witness that can testify of the existence of God, that is the very God. Though religion can show us the way to God through faith and science can prove us of His mighty and power through evidence there is a better way to know and that is through Him. Was that not the case with Adam? Enoch? Abraham? Moses? Isaiah? Jeremiah? Paul? Stephen? John the Beloved? Mohammed, who saw angels and received manifestations of God? They not only believed in the knowledge of their time, but they reached high in heavens to see by themselves and know exactly how it was. We need religion and we need science, but we can’t get all the facts by basing our lives only upon them, we need a higher source! I testify that there is balm in Gilead. I testify that he who shall knock, shall have it opened unto him. That the heavens are not closed and that God still manifests himself unto His children. How do I know that? I have myself knocked many times until it was opened and I can now testify of that.

  6. leo says:

    !Fantastic!

  7. Ahmad Javed says:

    Dear Mr. Marshall,
    I have been reading your mails regularly. Your mail of July 08, 2009 is referred. The concept and broadly the attributes of God is that: He is Almighty, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, above the limits of time & space, immortal etc. In light of these attributes, He does not need a confirmation from us who for all practical purposes are at the end of the day mortal. Even if I or we do not confirm He will still remain the God. And if He is God only if someone confirms His existence, then I am sorry we are not referring to a God with attributes as spelled out above. If I or somebody else does not confirm or agree to a prime mover of this universe, will it stop existing.

  8. Cristiano says:

    Dear Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr,

    Explaining how the brain works does not explain what information IS, but only how it is stored and accessed in the brain. Could I use your thought to say that the process used to record information in your PC HD makes information recorded and recording information one and the same? I’m sure it doesn’t. One thing is the information recorded by intricate processes, which is immaterial, and other is the process of storage and recover of this information.

    • We distinguish information from energy using an undefined notion of “sameness” based on primitive operations with everyday objects. Two things are (perceived as) the same when we cannot detect differences. We also have a primitive notion of “structure” based on the nervous systems abstraction of figure and background. Two undifferentiated “structures” (perceived) are “the same” in neurological terms when the output of s4 is active. We infer that that which gave rise to the activation of figure a and figure b are “the same”. Empirically we can test this with physical objects, but not so fine as to be able to tell one iron atom from another, and therein lies our projection of our primitive “same”. “Different” instantiates in our brains as a separate neurological circuit activation (d3). Do not be seduced by Descartes homunculus, or you will be in infinite regression. We may have hundreds and even thousands of levels of connections physically mapping as circuits in various regions of our brains, but the notion that information is the same in a “copy” of distinct energy. arises only through the fact that d3 and c4 activity occurs in distinct circuits – physically separated. We have diference detectors and similarity detectors, but they do not measure what stimulates; they measure the response to stimulation.

      Information – the most basic: as a “signal” that a human being can use to distinguish between two possibilities, is a response by humans to energy conigurations. We do not “know” in any strong sense what is going on “out there”; we can only construct our own internal model – a map – that we use to effect changes to our stimulation – by taking actions.

      When reference, representation, and even perception, are placed on a strict causal basis, “information” falls out of the picture. See http://xenodochy.org/article/mathesis.html
      We measure information, and we differentiate information from energy by virtue of our nervous system’s ability to record matching stimulation and unmatched stimulation – by the gigabyte – in neurological connections. Information has no physical “existence”, not like energy. No two pieces of energy can be the same, as they differ by location and time at a minimum. Information instantiated in energy, represents and invariance over time and space in an organization of energy. Invariance means, primitively, “seen as the same by an appropriate sampling neurological structure.

      Information, in general, is energy that enables a person to diferentiate between two possibilities.

      One if by Land, Two if by Sea – pre-arranged – no lights – one bit – no British. light(s) British are coming; one light, land; two lights, sea = one bit.
      Since not coming by land and not coming by sea are equivalent, two bits, capable of distinguishing among four possibilities, redundanty distinguish only among three possibilities.

      The lights mean nothing to someone not informed in advance.
      The lights can be used by anyone for any thee-possibility distiction unrelated to their intended purpose. Anyone who does so, is using the signals as information about what to do among his or her own three possibilites.
      Only the minutemen, who by prearrangement know what their intend use is, use the signals to distinguish among their prepared actions.

      Information, then is what we make of a signal.

      When does energy convey information and when does it not? To the casual observer of a signal? To the trained observer of a signal?

      • Ralph,

        You are making this way too complicated. This is not subjective. Judgments like “primitive” do not belong in this discussion.

        DNA is a code, and a self contained encoding / decoding system. See http://evo2.org/dnanotcode.htm

        You ask: “When does energy convey information and when does it not? To the casual observer of a signal? To the trained observer of a signal?”

        Answer: It conveys information when it is sent by an encoder and received by a decoder and processed according to the agreed-upon system of symbols. At the level of my present argument this can be as simple and mechanical as a garage door opener doing its job.

        Perry

        • You wrote, “DNA is a code, and a self contained encoding / decoding system. See http://evo2.org/dnanotcode.htm“, I’m well aware of the structure of communication you assume and present. Unfortunately it presumes “naive realism”, and it is question begging by assuming that a transaction occurs between an encoder and a decoder. My earlier post, which you did not respond to, laid out the flaws in this argument.

          We do not “see” “information”; we “see” and react to “energy”. We have a neurological (and cognitve) structure which distinguishes figure from background, the simplest form of which (which I called “primitive”) is the ability to detect a point of light againts a dark background. One pixel bit changed. We can divide that no further in what we physically see and in what we “cognize” as a “base case” for a recursive definition of figure and background distinctions. These are reactions to our sensory inputs. We do not know what caused it, as Descartes “evil genious” hypothesis which he doubted (pun intended) and as the succeding philosophical discussion of the “brains in a vat” (living in a complete virtual reality) illustrated. When you claim the process is simpler (by saying that I’m making it too complex) you are introducing many equivocation in your argument by failing to distinguish what modern science and the philosophy of science, and epistemology, have come to distinguish.

          You cannot assume there exists another encoder, decoder outside of your nervous system. You can only validly hypothisize that such might probably account for your experiences. Even if you could, you have another problem. You cannot directly compare your decoded internals to the assumed other encoder’s internals prior to encoding. You always get your decode of what you heard, and what you heard is not what was encoded. In short, everyone’s encode and decode functions are unique, as even experiements with identical twins have shown. We do pretty good with machine encode and decode when we design the program encode and decode as reciprocal functions. But they still occasionally fail. Practice isn’t theory.

          I can note “obvious” differences in terminology use, such as your use of the word “theorem” where “postulate” or “axiom” were technically correct. When we differ that much in such “simple” extremely well defined concepts by postulation used in mathematics, physics, and philosophy, well, chaos theory shows that from imperceptably small differences great diference eventually arise. So after many levels of high level abstractions, how are we to have any confidence that we understand each others?

          Since you cannot compare your internal understanding to my internal understanding directly (and that goes for any two people), we must resort to comparing our understanding of what we remember saying with our understanding of what we are hearing, and be conscious of the abstracting process involving.

          My abstracting frorm my understanding to language that I utter or write,
          Your visual or auditory abstraction from the language you hear or read (and these may differ due to noise distortion)
          Your abstracting from what you see or hear to your internal inderstanding taking into consideration your memory (totality).
          Your judgement as to how well that fits what your purpose in communicating is, and it is not guaranteed to be simply to understand.
          Your evaluational judgement reaction that includes motivation to output.
          Your abstraction from your semantic reaction to the input combined with your memory and your purpose into languge for you to utter or write.
          Your abstraction to actual utterance or writing.
          My visual or auditory abstraction from the language I hear or read (and these may differ due to noise distortion.)
          My abstracting from what I see or hear to my internal inderstanding taking into consideration my memory (totality), but in particular what I remember as having said.
          Now, I can compare my understanding to my memory of my prior understanding, and thus judge if they are similar enough to Judge if your understood my prior utterance
          My judgement as to how well that fits what my purpose in communicating is, and it is also not guaranteed to be simply to understand.

          When it comes to “codes”, we do not “see” information; we see energy. We then decide if this energy is a copy of earlier energy. In doing so we are relying on our previously illustrated neurological processes. Information, then, is a reaction-judgement by a listener. You can not “define” a complex code with having gone through a process of evolving a low-level, base-case, yes-no, distinction, which we interprete as “same” or “not same”. X is a copy of Y if it is “the same” in a recursive way. It has similar parts – all the way down to the basic (primitive) figure-ground neurological distinction. And this discussion ultimately goes back to Plato with his ideals versus accidental properties.

          Your garage door opener had a human designer. It’s question begging because it does not explain communication with assuming a designer.

          Begin with Descartes method of doubt. Follow the progress of the philosophy of science through fallibilism to Popper and Post Popper to evolutionary epistemology. We have epistemology – how we know what we know – based in scientific research on the human nervous system, language use, and brain function. We “know” what we know through our senses and our nervous systems into an organ that locates its experinces elsewhere. Our brains project its experiences external to itself. Our head doesn’t hurt when we stub our toe, the brain locates that pain in our toe (outside itself). What more, it does so after the fact, as it takes time for nerve impulses to get into the brain. Everything we think we see is a brain response. Look at colors – they are response in brains – not properties of objects, although some properties of objects can stimulate different colors. Our brain sees constant object shapes while the object image is continually changing on our retina. The brain “computes” a model and stabalizes it for us and projects it outside of us.

          We “know” what our brains construct; we know our “map”, not the original territory.

          We cannot know another person’s thoughts except through the unreliable process of multiple encoding and decodings. We ultimately decide at a higher level judgement. Sometimes simply, often never. It does not mean that we “really” know, or that we “really” understand; we just think, believe, hypothesize, etc., that we “understand”.

  9. Kieran says:

    Have you ever stopped to consider that some of your most basic laid out assumptions are completely wrong?

    I could elaborate…but whats the point. So many of the things you are saying just plain dont make any sense. All codes come from intelligent minds, therefore the genetic code comes from an intelligent mind, therefore god designed the intelligent code?

    Such outrageous bounding leaps of illogical conclusion. You use your example of information theory and why it proves god. You say you agree with natural selection…yet you never couple with the fact that natural selection drives the selection and increase in information. If there were no natural selection, then im sure there would be no increase in information, as you correctly assert.

    Every day i re-evaluate my positions, I look for contrary arguments that my hold water or stand up to close examination. I wonder – do you do the same?

    • Kieran,

      A broad general unspecific statement about how illogical my arguments are will not do. You’ll need to analyze specific statements and challenge them on specific grounds.

      I challenge you to spend a few hours on this site, read all the articles and links and see for yourself if I look for contrary arguments and hold my own up for examination.

      Perry

  10. Dave says:

    I would have only one question,Where did Intelligence originate or start so there would be a need for information?No matter the theory on this subject it always has and will contains a starting point that is unexplainable in proven 100% fact.

  11. Sheeba Mathews says:

    ‘Where did the information come from?’
    There are millions of unanswerd questions in the universe like the one u have asked. And GOD is NOT the answer for all of them. If u do not know from where the information came from then try to find the answer in a logical and possible way and do not just asume that God put those information into the DNA. Even if its true then who gave the information to God in the first place? SuperGod?

  12. al says:

    Isn’t DNA more like a proof that God does not exist? That there can be codes without a designer? You said that all codes WE NOW are designed by intelligent minds. I think you are just speculating that God designed it.
    You found DNA didn’t have a designer, so you say “That must have been God”.

    I think this is the proof that God does not exist

  13. Midas Vuik says:

    Perry Marshall,

    I have read your refutations, and they have, for the most part, answered the objections I raised earlier in the email I sent you. However, on closer inspection of your argument, I believe I have found a flaw. Premise 2 (All codes that we know the origin of come from a mind.) uses inductive logic. Now while there is nothing wrong with that (as scientists use inductive reasoning as well), it is fallacious, as I will soon demonstrate. First of all, why did you state that “all codes that we know the origin of”? Why not simply “all codes”? We do not know the origin of DNA at the beginning of the argument, so DNA is not a code that we know the origin of. Thus, the argument cannot flow from the premises to the conclusion. (As a side question, why do say the “sequence of base pairs in DNA” for premise 1? Why not DNA?) Also, according to premise 2, not only would DNA as a general category be the work of a conscious mind, but so must any give specific DNA sequence. (After all, the DNA in every individual is a unique “sequence of base pairs.) And since each DNA sequence in sexually reproducing organisms is distinct, necessarily, each specific DNA sequence is the result of a conscious mind. Obviously, you would not claim that a mind created your DNA. Rather, I imagine you would respond to be something akin to “the conscious mind in question acted on primordial DNA shortly preceding the origin of life.” Thus, I assume you would posit that the conscious mind intervened and directly created the first DNA sequence billions of years ago. The issue now is whether we can allow for supernatural intervention in designing the first sequence of DNA or instead posit some sort of natural process. Using your reasoning, however, it is far more likely that a natural process was responsible for the formation of DNA. Why? You reason “all known codes originate from a conscious mind, therefore all codes must.” By analogy, “all observed processes are natural processes, therefore all processes are natural processes.” You cannot object to this induction without special pleading. Hence, the argument fails due to inductive reasoning. In fact, the argument (because it is inductive) need not support the notion of a god serving as the creator of life. We can restate your argument as such in a far more specific manner:

    1. The sequence of base pairs in DNA is a code.
    2. All codes that we know the origin of come from a physical, conscious entity.
    3. Therefore, DNA came from a physical, conscious entity.

    Even better (and more accurate):

    1. The sequence of base pairs in DNA is a code.
    2. All codes that we know the origin of come from a human mind.
    3. Therefore, DNA came from a human mind.

    Thus, you have failed to prove the existence of God. As a final objection to this argument, consider the problem of infinite regression. If we accept the premise that DNA contains information, and that only minds can create information, then it is safe to assume that for minds to create information, they themselves must contain information too. This begs the question, for who created the information in God’s mind. Another deity? If so, who created the information in his mind? As you can see this results in an infinite regression. Now that I have been able to thoroughly address your thesis, we now can safely conclude that your argument fails. Now that you know, please do what is morally correct and cease your claiming that you have proven the existence of God and refuted atheism.

    Sincerely,

    Midas Vuik

    (Note: this is the third time I have tried to present this refutation to Mr. Marshall. Either he is ignoring me, or he does not know. I would greatly appreciate a response, Perry Marshall.)

    • Midas,

      Your second syllogism is absurd and everyone knows it. As I have said:

      We can explore five possible conclusions:

      1) Humans designed DNA
      2) Aliens designed DNA
      3) DNA occurred randomly and spontaneously
      4) There must be some undiscovered law of physics that creates information
      5) DNA was Designed by a Superintelligence, i.e. God.

      (1) requires time travel or infinite generations of humans. (2) could well be true but only pushes the question back in time. (3) may be a remote possibility, but it’s not a scientific explanation in that it doesn’t refer to a systematic, repeatable process. It’s nothing more than an appeal to luck . (4) could be true but no one can form a testable hypothesis until someone observes a naturally occurring code. So the only systematic explanation that remains is (5) a theological one.

      Your first syllogism

      1. The sequence of base pairs in DNA is a code.
      2. All codes that we know the origin of come from a physical, conscious entity.
      3. Therefore, DNA came from a physical, conscious entity.

      Is essentially no different than the law of biogenesis. Which says that living things only come from living things.

      Based on what we KNOW and can OBSERVE that is the only thing we can be sure of.

      It attempts to ignore the problem that there had to be a first living thing. But there did have to be a first living thing.

      We have two choices:

      1-DNA came from a non-living thing
      2-DNA came from a non-physical living thing

      Now we’re back to induction. We examine DNA and we find:

      -It is a multi-layered code
      -It has redundancy mechanisms
      -It has error correction mechanisms
      -It repairs itself
      -It makes copies of itself

      And we ask: what things are we familiar with that share these characteristics?

      The closest thing to the pattern in DNA is computer databases and communication protocols like TCP/IP.

      And we ask:
      Q: “How do TCP/IP and databases get their multi-layered structure?”
      Q: “How do TCP/IP and databases get their redundancy features?”
      Q: “How did the error correction mechanisms in CD players, DVD players and internet packets originate?”
      Q: “When you purchase a product that repairs itself, where does the repair capability come from? How does the repair mechanism come to be?”
      Q: “When you have a system that makes copies of itself or parts of itself, how does that mechanism come to have the structure that it has?”

      Which is the most logical answer?:

      A) “The structure of databases and TCP/IP comes from purely natural processes. They come from highly energetic organic chemistry in rare and highly fortunate sets of conditions. This is especially obvious, considering how incredibly similar databases and TCP/IP are to rocks and snowflakes and sand dunes and tornados.”

      Midas, is that a reasonable answer? Does it really correlate with your experience?

      Or

      B) “The structure of Databases and TCP/IP comes from very smart people, making careful conscious, purposeful decisions. Very deliberate design decisions which involve careful compromises and choices by very smart intelligent beings.”

      Does that correlate perhaps a little better with actual experience?

      If you reject the possibility of a non-physical living thing then the only choice you have left is a non-living thing.

      If you choose that, I demand evidence that any kind of codes comes from any non-living thing.

      Midas I am asking YOU to present an argument for the atheist point of view. Evidence, please.

      Show me one code that is not generated by a prior code or a mind. Show me a code that comes from a purely material, naturalistic process. Just one.

      You have not addressed my thesis until you produce this evidence.

      I hypothesize that origin of life research will continue to hit brick walls for the next 100 years, just as it has for the last 100 years. The chasm will only grow wider as more is known.

      Philosophically and logically, we eventually arrive at a necessity for an uncaused cause.

      We have such a necessity in the case of the big bang, the singularity. It had to be caused by something. Nothing only causes nothing. The universe didn’t come from nothing.

      We also have the same problem in the case of the question of the origin of information.

      I assert that the origin of life is a Second Singularity. Both singularities require an uncaused cause.

      There is no evidence that information comes from non-living matter. Only that it comes from intelligence.

      The most logical answer is a metaphysical uncaused intelligent conscious being.

      Perry Marshall

      • Midas Vuik says:

        Perry Marshall,

        You said:

        “Your second syllogism is absurd and everyone knows it.”

        I know it is absurd. The point I am trying to convey is that you are only singling out ONE attribute of human designers that is consistent with your theology (in this case, consciousness) and are ignoring all other aspects of human designers (Which are the only designers observed to create codes, by the way. Your induction here can be turned on itself to lead to absurd conclusions, such as time traveling human which you and I both agree are very unlikely). We can pick out many other attributes of human designers which are inconsistent with your god, such as fallibility, “sinfulness,” and non-omniscience. These could very well be added to the second premise of your syllogism, thus altering your conclusion and ruling out the Christian god.

        You said:

        “We have two choices:

        1-DNA came from a non-living thing
        2-DNA came from a non-physical living thing”

        How can something non-physical be living? God certainly does not match any biological definition of life I have ever heard of. God may be animate, He may be conscious, He have free will, but that does not make Him “alive” in any scientific sense.

        You said:

        “Show me one code that is not generated by a prior code or a mind. Show me a code that comes from a purely material, naturalistic process. Just one.”

        Gladly. To quote at length from the Infidels thread:

        “PERRY MARSHALL:

        I define “Coded information” as a system of symbols used by an encoding and decoding mechanism, which transmits a message that is independent of the communication medium.

        PERFESSOR:

        I’m not sure that DNA meets your criteria; it uses no symbols, nor is its “message” (the protein it creates) independent of the communication medium.

        An example was raised in the other thread, that photons from a star convey information about its composition, temperature, age etc. I suppose you could say that the photons are not “independent of the communication medium”; but I fail to see how a photon striking a receptor is “dependent”, but DNA used as a template for protein production is not.”

        I would like to also add that ANY in the nucleotide medium corresponds to a change in the message. Thus, this message is entirely dependent on its medium. Commenting on the star example, I can say that although each individual photon is not coded information (similarly to how each individual nucleotide in DNA is not), taken COLLECTIVELY (like in DNA), all of the photons are coded information. They represent something other than themselves – a star. The encoding mechanism is the star releasing photons, and the decoding mechanism is our eyes reacting to the photons and conveying the message to our brain.

        “Philosophically and logically, we eventually arrive at a necessity for an uncaused cause.”

        This suffers the same problem as the more famous Cosmological Argument. If God does not require a creator, then why does DNA. It also is susceptible to infinite regression. Allow me to explain. You state on your website that information is different from matter and energy and on par with them. In other words, information is distinct from its physical medium of matter and energy. Fine. You then say that the origin of information must be non-physical (meaning it cannot be comprised of matter and energy). Now, you would agree that any mind must possess information, correct? We see this even in human designers – they must have information in their minds before they design. Hence, any mind that designed DNA must have information within it as well. Even if this mind is non-physical, it still must have (non-physical) information. However, this just raises the question – from where did the information in this “mind” responsible for creating DNA come? Another mind? And from where did its information come? Note that even though the mind in question is non-physical, it does nothing to alleviate the problem of infinite regression.

        I have also sent you an email with eight points I think destroy the argument. If you are able to sufficiently answer those points and the one iterated here, I will abandon atheism. (I will not become a Christian, however. At most I will be a deist unless provided with evidence pointing to a certain belief system.) Thank you for reading this. I truly await your response.

        Sincerely,

        Midas Vuik

        • Midas,

          Let’s begin with the most important points:

          First, “PERFESSOR” is wrong. A star has no encoding mechanism. This is covered at the end of item #2 at http://evo2.org/information-theory-made-simple/

          Furthermore if starlight hits an inanimate object there is also no decoding mechanism. No interpretation of starlight happens without an intelligent agent.

          However for the same reasons outlined in item #2 in the link above, DNA is a code.

          The burden still rests on the atheists to provide an example of a naturally occurring code. It’s been four years and nobody’s found one.

          Medium vs. Message: You can write the word “dog” with ink on a piece of paper but a dog is not ink or paper, and ink and paper are not a dog.

          A long string of DNA like ACGGGTCTTTAAGATG——- that DNA pattern might build a claw, but that string of letters itself is not a claw and the claw is not a string of letters.

          Thus the message in DNA is independent of the medium.


          Attributes of human designers:

          You did not respond yet to my points about the characteristics of the code. Let’s return to them:

          Q: “How do TCP/IP and databases get their multi-layered structure?”
          Q: “How do TCP/IP and databases get their redundancy features?”
          Q: “How did the error correction mechanisms in CD players, DVD players and internet packets originate?”
          Q: “When you purchase a product that repairs itself, where does the repair capability come from? How does the repair mechanism come to be?”
          Q: “When you have a system that makes copies of itself or parts of itself, how does that mechanism come to have the structure that it has?”

          The answers to all of these questions are a function of the intelligence and ingenuity of the human who architected the code. The sinfulness of the human in question has little to do with these factors.

          One need not be omniscient to perform this kind of design work, but any omniscience you can come by, helps. What we know about human-engineered databases, operating systems that crash, blue screens of death, and man-made communication protocols, the intelligence that designed DNA is ostensibly more omniscient than anyone you or I have ever met.

          Considering that the DNA code is over 3 billion years old and still intact, the error correction mechanisms are vastly superior to TCP/IP. Considering it has not crashed, it is vastly superior to Windows. The designer is thus less fallible than present humans.

          Nature of the Designer: You are assuming in advance that just because you have not met the intelligent designer that such a designer CANNOT exist. You are assuming at the outset that it is impossible for such a designer to exist.

          This is not a reasonable assumption because you cannot rule one out. We all know that it is categorically impossible to prove God does NOT exist because you can’t prove a universal negative.

          So if the inference to the best available explanation is God, and if you are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads, then we need not be stuck on humans as the only available answer.

          Uncaused Cause:

          I think you are stumbling here in your argument about infinite regression. You are explaining all the reasons why it’s unreasonable within the material realm, which is the only answer which the atheist position offers. You said: “If God does not require an uncaused cause, then why does DNA?” Midas you’ve got that backwards. Let’s turn this around and start with what we know.

          Is DNA its own uncaused cause?

          Is the information in DNA is it’s own uncaused cause?

          I’ll put that one back in your court. If DNA can be the uncaused cause, then I will need you to explain how that can be so.

          Subject DNA to infinite regression. “There is an infinite number of generations of living things.” How does that check out?

          Regarding my proposed uncaused cause, Let’s put forth a hypothesis and logically put it to the test.

          Hypothesis is:

          An intelligent, immaterial, conscious, uncaused cause is the origin of the information in DNA.

          Does there need to be an uncaused cause?

          I’m pretty sure, somewhere there has to be.

          And matter and energy themselves are not uncaused causes because they would have to be eternal. Entropy and the big bang and the interdependence of space-time all show they are not.

          Immaterial: The cause has to be immaterial, because of the above statement. And isn’t it interesting that information is immaterial as well.

          Conscious: The only known creators of communication systems are conscious. So that fits.

          Therefore DNA is created by an intelligent, immaterial, conscious, uncaused cause. One that cannot be deductively proven but must be taken as axiomatic in order for us to formulate a consistent theory of the universe.

          You’re welcome to post your 8 points.

          Perry Marshall

          • Midas Vuik says:

            Perry Marshall,

            First of all, thank you for having the patience to respond to all of my questions. Like you, I also want to get to the bottom of this complex issue of creation versus evolution. Also, thank you for your polite tone and civil conduct in answering my objections. This tells me a lot about your intellectual honesty and character.

            Now, you said:

            First, “PERFESSOR” is wrong. A star has no encoding mechanism. This is covered at the end of item #2 at http://evo2.org/information-theory-made-simple/

            Furthermore if starlight hits an inanimate object there is also no decoding mechanism. No interpretation of starlight happens without an intelligent agent.

            Looking at the link, I found:

            Sunlight is not a code because sunlight is just a stream of photons. There is no encoder in the sun. That photon does not symbolically represent some other thing. The sun does not send out digital streams of photons that obey the laws of a code.

            The photon IS sunlight, it does not SAY sunlight. It does not give instructions for making sunlight. It doesn’t have any instructions at all. It’s just a photon. It represents nothing other than itself.

            You seem to make the mistake of taking only one photon at a time. Yes, one SINGLE photon is not a code just as one SINGLE nucleotide in DNA is not a code. However, both of them, taken COLLECTIVELY, represent something other than themselves, meaning that they are coded information. All of the photon together represent a star. The encoding mechanism would simply be nuclear reactions in the star’s core eventually leading to the emission of photons into space. If you disagree with this, then please clarify your views.

            You said:

            You can write the word “dog” with ink on a piece of paper but a dog is not ink or paper, and ink and paper are not a dog.

            A long string of DNA like ACGGGTCTTTAAGATG——- that DNA pattern might build a claw, but that string of letters itself is not a claw and the claw is not a string of letters.

            Thus the message in DNA is independent of the medium.

            Very well, but under this usage, starlight also is independent of its medium. Consider: a myriad of photons does is not a star and a star is not photons. But the photons, taken COLLECTIVELY, can represent something other than themselves (such as a star) and convey information about it (such as size, color, magnitude).

            You said:

            The answers to all of these questions are a function of the intelligence and ingenuity of the human who architected the code. The sinfulness of the human in question has little to do with these factors.

            One need not be omniscient to perform this kind of design work, but any omniscience you can come by, helps. What we know about human-engineered databases, operating systems that crash, blue screens of death, and man-made communication protocols, the intelligence that designed DNA is ostensibly more omniscient than anyone you or I have ever met.

            Considering that the DNA code is over 3 billion years old and still intact, the error correction mechanisms are vastly superior to TCP/IP. Considering it has not crashed, it is vastly superior to Windows. The designer is thus less fallible than present humans.

            The point of that objection was to demonstrate the unreliability of certain inductive propositions. Quite simply, even if such attributes are irrelevant to the creation of a code, we still can infer that any designer must have them based on your induction. Once again, if you disagree, then please explain.

            You said:

            This is not a reasonable assumption because you cannot rule one out. We all know that it is categorically impossible to prove God does NOT exist because you can’t prove a universal negative.

            This is not necessarily true. For example, I do not have to know everything to prove that round squares do not exist, since they entail a logical contradiction. Likewise, if I can show that God entails logical contradictions, then I can disprove that particular god. However, as I have offered no such argument, you are correct that I have not refuted the existence of God.

            You said:

            I’ll put that one back in your court. If DNA can be the uncaused cause, then I will need you to explain how that can be so.

            I believe you are missing the point of this objection. If you claim that God can be uncaused without explanation (in other words, is axiomatic), then why can’t DNA be as well? If God doesn’t need an explanation, then why does DNA? You see now that by exempting God from explanation, you beg the question. (If I correctly recall, Hubert Yockey believes that the naturalistic origin of life is axiomatic as well.)

            I now will post my eight points I was going to send you in the email. Some of them are repeats of what I have already said, so I will only post the unmentioned ones.

            1. This is an argument from ignorance. Just because we have not found an explanation for the origin of DNA yet does not mean we will not find one sometime in the future.

            2. On Infidels, a poster named Butters stated your syllogism with substitutions:

            1.)All conscious minds are dependent biological functions. There is no consciousness known to science that is not dependent on biological processes.
            2.) All biological processes that develop consciousness are dependent on DNA.
            3.) Therefore DNA cannot have been created by a conscious being.
            If you Can provide an empirical example of a consciousness that is not dependent on biological processes, you’ve toppled my proof. All you need is one.

            Your reply was essentially a mere straw man, misrepresenting what Butters actually said. I can make my own syllogism as such:

            1.) The DNA contained in any life form is the result of a naturally occurring process.
            2.) There are no non-natural processes known to science that can create the DNA in any life form.
            3.) Therefore DNA was created by a naturally occurring process.

            3. You state that all codes that we know the origin of come from a conscious mind. However, we do not know the origin of DNA or RNA.

            4. Since you believe that God created DNA, you probably assume that he did it billions of years ago on the early Earth. However, using your own inductive logic, we can safely say that all phenomena observed are naturalistic, meaning that all phenomena are naturalistic. So, there is no way God could have supernaturally created DNA!

            5.An interesting objection was the accusation that you used circular reasoning in assuming that DNA and RNA came from an intelligent agent. You responded to this, and you later used the same logic against a poster arguing that you were begging the question by excluding nucleic acids as naturally occurring codes. Who is actually using circular reasoning?

            6. Poster “oneofshibumi” has offered a detailed response that makes the dichotomy between symbolic and genetic codes. See this – http://www.freeratio.org//showpost.php?p=5962336&postcount=1274

            Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

            Sincerely,

            Midas Vuik

            • Midas,

              I agree that sunlight and starlight can convey useful information to an observer.

              I agree that sunlight and starlight radiation may have unusual or even unique characteristics which can be identified and analyzed.

              What I disagree with is that sunlight or starlight in any context absent of human observers constitute a complete communication system.

              In my article http://evo2.org/information-theory-made-simple/ I drew simple diagrams and defined a communication system as

              1. an input that is given to an
              2. encoder, which according to the rules of
              3. a code, which can be described by a table (i.e. A = 1000001, B = 1000010, etc.) generates
              4. a sequence of digital symbols which are received by
              5. a decoder which decodes the symbols according to a table (i.e. 1000001 = A, 1000010 = B, etc.) produces
              6. a decoded output message.

              In the case of ASCII the input is the words I’m typing and the encoding / decoding system constructs a 2D image on your screen that enables you to read my words.

              In the case of a living organism the input is the string of base pairs in a DNA strand and the output is another living organism.

              What I would like you to do is sketch out the generic Shannon Communication diagram of input / encoder / encoding table / code / decoding table / decoder / output.

              Then for sunlight or starlight, label the constituent parts, including the encoding and decoding table. Show that with no human being or man-made device included in your drawing, that a message has been literally encoded and decoded in a way that is isomorphic with Shannon’s communication system.

              Show that digital communication has taken place In the exact same way that DNA and ASCII are being communicated. Show that your sunlight / starlight model is isomorphic with Shannon’s communication system. Show that the output of this system is a repeatable construction of something just as other codes construct something (a screen image, a living organism).

              I would encourage you to draw it out or scan it, put it on the web somewhere and submit a link to the scan. If you edit your entry the blog editor will allow you to insert the image right into your post.

              You said:

              “Even if such attributes are irrelevant to the creation of a code, we still can infer that any designer must have them based on your induction. Once again, if you disagree, then please explain.”

              Inference can only suggest that which is already familiar. So yes, assumptions that the designer is human-like are a reasonable starting point. Then we have to ask if these other assumptions make sense.

              -Does it make sense that the entity who created DNA is an actual human?

              No.

              -Does it make sense that the entity who created DNA is intelligent?

              Yes.

              -Does it make sense that the entity who created DNA is purposeful and conscious?

              It would seem so. Why? Because ostensibly in the human realm, the more sophisticated a communication protocol is, the more purpose and consciousness is required. The DNA of even the simplest known micro-organism is incredibly sophisticated.

              -Does it make sense that the entity who created DNA is omniscient and perfect?

              I am not sure that based on what I have published on my website as of today’s date, that I am yet in a position to thoroughly defend that statement. I have a lot of further thoughts about this which are unpublished at this time. If you stay tuned and keep coming back, there will be more hearty discussions on this topic.

              So if going from “yes there was an intelligent designer” to Christianity is a huge leap for you, I completely understand that and I don’t necessarily expect you to go that far. This is a work in progress.

              On the other hand I don’t think you can abandon that notion either because there are many other things to consider.

              I don’t think this discussion can possibly be separated from the big bang and the origin of the universe and the question of where did the laws of physics come from? How did the universe come to be so fine tuned? The articles about Cosmology are here for a reason. I would encourage you to listen to Hugh Ross’s talk http://evo2.org/audio/newevidence.htm

              In order to be able to argue that the intelligent designer is magnificent and perhaps even perfect, the cosmology data must certainly be considered.

              In my opinion, whatever force caused the big bang is immense and impressive indeed. We humans are puny and insignificant in the face of it.

              In regards to DNA, what I can hypothesize for now is that the more we discover about it, the more impressive it’s going to be. I would estimate that right now we understand no more than 5% of it. Maybe more like 1%.

              For the sake of our conversation today, I am willing to stick with my statement that the source of DNA is uncaused, immaterial, conscious and intelligent. All of these things are logically inferred from what we know about DNA and that’s good enough for right now.

              You keep saying, “Why can’t DNA be uncaused?”

              I don’t see how that’s any different in saying that the theory of biogenesis is absolute and living things have always existed. And I don’t see how you can maintain that position in light of the fact that the big bang happened 13.8 billion years ago at which time itself and space itself both begin.

              Yes, Hubert Yockey takes life as axiomatic and logically speaking that’s as far as you can go and still stay in the realm of science. He’s right.

              If you take life as axiomatic then the boundary of science is that axiom, and you can investigate no further. Actually the axiom itself lies outside the perimeter of science.

              Yockey essentially says, “It’s axiomatic, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing more so see here so let’s all of us go home and mind our own business.”

              And yes, he rightfully observes that there is currently no theory of the origin of life that can properly be labeled as scientific. There is only speculation.

              I have a dozen origin of life books, and Yockey’s book is the most HONEST treatment of the origin of life that I have ever read. That’s why I like his book so much. Most of these guys dance around the problems and do shell games. Yockey just tells the truth about what is known and not known.

              I go much further than Yockey with my conclusions. I try very, very hard to make distinctions between what is known, what is knowable, what is proven and what is inferred, and what my assumptions are. I think one can go much further than Yockey goes and still stay within the realm of reason and logic and induction. I believe that human reasoning can go much further than scientific experiments alone can take us.

              And frankly, the ladies and gentlemen who are here are not going to just accept Yockey’s axiom and go home. We all intuitively suspect that there is a much bigger mystery here and we all know the implications of it.

              Philosophically we must recognize that all human knowledge does not end at the limits of science. Kurt Godel showed us that there are more things that are true than you can ever prove.

              Science is a subset of philosophy and if one believes in God at all, then one may very well also believe that philosophy is a subset of theology. That’s what I believe.

              In any case all of us agree that the origin of life has philosophical and possibly theological implications. The questions we are discussion here today fall in the category of what has historically been called “Natural Theology.”

              Now to your other points:

              1. This is an argument from ignorance. Just because we have not found an explanation for the origin of DNA yet does not mean we will not find one sometime in the future.

              All inductive arguments are arguments from ignorance. All possible conclusions that one can arrive at using an inductive argument exist because of some level of ignorance on our part.

              (I can just as well say, “Just because God has never appeared to you now doesn’t mean He won’t appear to you in the future.” Some will completely dismiss that, of course, but there are people in the history of the earth who do say God has appeared to them. Not all of those people are terrorists who fly airplanes into buildings. Perhaps a few of them are telling the truth. But I digress.)

              Midas, can you also see that all the arguments about the pre-biotic soup and naturally occurring self-replicating machines are also arguments from ignorance? That all origin of life theories are arguments from ignorance?

              In other words “ignorance” is not a legitimate objection. Because: it’s not complete ignorance. There are a lot of other things we know about codes. Information Technology is one of the best-developed areas of science and engineering. The computer screen you are looking at is possible because of IT, and the IT world has something to say about evolution and the origin of life.

              I am making an argument from INFERENCE to the best possible explanation.

              I am inferring that the only source of codes that we know of is intelligent beings.

              I am further observing that none of the other processes that are often theorized in origin of life discussions have ever been known to create codes. Not even really simple codes.

              So an intelligent designer is, by inference, the best available explanation.

              Others are welcome to reject my explanation. But the only truthful way they can do it is to acknowledge that the ID explanation does fit the known data better than the other explanations. That the skeptics are holding out for a better explanation.

              They cannot claim that their explanation is more scientific than mine, because it is not. In many cases it’s just speculation. Also, an alarming number of people who embrace materialistic theories are really just arguing from LUCK.

              Arguments from luck or chance are not only unscientific, they are ANTI-scientific. Why? Because they do not presume underlying order.

              One of these days I’m going to write a blog post called “What I would say to Perry Marshall if I were an atheist.” And the gist of it would be: “OK, technically Perry is right. But still I think there is a naturalistic explanation that will be found. And since that is the only category of explanation that I as a scientist can realistically explore in the lab, I am going to just DO MY JOB and continue to explore it.”

              I think that is a reasonable and honest response. Much more persuasive than the derision and shell games I get on the Infidels discussion board.

              So to the person who says that, my reply is:

              “Very well sir, I wish you the best in your search. I, on the other hand, am going to hypothesize that a DESIGNER is axiomatic. I am going to interpret DNA as being designed and I am going to choose to invest my limited resources in interpreting the design as a design, rather than searching for ways to avoid design. The best way to study a Toyota Camry is to assume it’s designed. So for the exact same reason, I hypothesize that I will make more progress in biology by applying my design paradigm than you will make by applying your materialistic paradigm.”

              This by the way is consistent with earlier stages of science. 500 years ago, what got science off the ground was the belief that the universe operates according to fixed, discoverable laws. The atheists did not come up with that. It was originally a theological position. It comes from Wisdom of Solomon 11:20: “Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure” which was written 3000 years ago. It’s axiomatic and not formally provable. It’s only demonstrable using inference. It’s been rewarded and it works.

              Early scientists hypothesized it, moved forward with that hypothesis, and discovered the laws of physics.

              Even now you cannot PROVE that the inductive scientific process will continue to generate results. We can only infer it from past experience.

              I am going to take a step forward and say that the origin of life and the laws of the genetic code are axiomatic; they are not derivable from the laws of physics; that searches for a naturalistic explanation will continue to be fruitless; and if you accept intentional design then you will consistently make more progress in biology than if you do not.

              You said:

              2. On Infidels, a poster named Butters stated your syllogism with substitutions:

              1.)All conscious minds are dependent biological functions. There is no consciousness known to science that is not dependent on biological processes.
              2.) All biological processes that develop consciousness are dependent on DNA.
              3.) Therefore DNA cannot have been created by a conscious being.
              If you Can provide an empirical example of a consciousness that is not dependent on biological processes, you’ve toppled my proof. All you need is one.

              This is equivalent to the theory of biogenesis, which says that life always comes from life.

              So his points #1 and #2 are factually true.

              But if there is a first life form, and if there is a first DNA, then his points #1 and #2 don’t get us to an answer. As a matter of fact they prevent us from ever finding one.

              I CAN USE HIS POINTS #1 AND #2 TO REFUTE ALL OF THE MATERIALISTIC ORIGIN OF LIFE THEORIES TOO.

              Notice that he has completely dodged the question of where the information in DNA came from. He has moved the discussion backwards.

              His point #3 is true only if the theory of biogenesis is absolute.

              But we know that the theory of biogenesis is NOT absolute, because there had to be a beginning of life.

              Butters gets us nowhere.

              Now to your syllogism:

              1.) The DNA contained in any life form is the result of a naturally occurring process.
              2.) There are no non-natural processes known to science that can create the DNA in any life form.
              3.) Therefore DNA was created by a naturally occurring process.

              In order to make your #1 completely true, we have to re-state it:

              1. The DNA contained in every life form we know of is part of a biological process.

              Note that “naturally occurring” is something you do not know absolutely because you don’t know the origin of the first life form.

              Then your #2:

              2.) There are no non-natural processes known to science that can create the DNA in any life form.

              In other words, we’ve never seen humans or anyone else create DNA. Which is true.

              So if we take 1 and 2 together, then what we know is that humans can’t create DNA and it’s only seen in living things. DNA only comes from living things. Which brings us back to where we started.

              And your #3 simply is not true at all. We do not know that DNA was created by a naturally occurring process. We do not know where it came from. The origin of DNA is the whole topic of this website. It’s THE open question.

              Onward:

              3. You state that all codes that we know the origin of come from a conscious mind. However, we do not know the origin of DNA or RNA.

              I’ve made it abundantly clear everywhere on my website and in my talks that DNA is the one code we do NOT know the origin of. And since all the other codes we know of come from a conscious mind, we can reasonably infer that DNA came from a conscious mind.

              4. Since you believe that God created DNA, you probably assume that he did it billions of years ago on the early Earth. However, using your own inductive logic, we can safely say that all phenomena observed are naturalistic, meaning that all phenomena are naturalistic. So, there is no way God could have supernaturally created DNA!

              This does not follow, because we do not know that all phenomena observed are naturalistic. Don’t confuse “mother nature” with “naturalism.” Two different things.

              We do not know that pure matter and energy and laws of physics can give rise to living things. We only know that living things are here, they are different than non-living things, and we don’t know the origin of them.

              5.An interesting objection was the accusation that you used circular reasoning in assuming that DNA and RNA came from an intelligent agent. You responded to this, and you later used the same logic against a poster arguing that you were begging the question by excluding nucleic acids as naturally occurring codes. Who is actually using circular reasoning?

              My reasoning is this:

              -We know that RNA comes from DNA. We do not know that DNA comes from RNA.

              -We do not know the origin of the information in DNA. We would like to find out. Can such information be naturally occurring? Does it spontaneously form from some materialistic process? Or does it appear to come from a designer? My whole approach begins with this as an open question.

              Then I construct the following syllogism:

              1) The pattern of base pairs in DNA is a code
              2) All codes we know the origin of are designed; there are no known exceptions.
              3) Therefore we have 100% inference that the code in DNA is designed.

              My reasoning is NOT circular. Actually it starts out agnostic.

              It’s the naturalistic side that’s doing the circular reasoning. The circular reasoning is embedded in your syllogism above. You said:

              1.) The DNA contained in any life form is the result of a naturally occurring process.

              You assumed from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring, and you didn’t even notice that you did so. Almost everyone I’m debating assumes from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring. They come to the table with an assumption that they already know the answer.

              But they do NOT know the answer. All their arguments are based on a circularity that all explanations MUST be, by definition, naturalistic. They do this without thinking. They ban intelligence at the outset with no real justification. Then they accuse me of making a circular argument.

              My argument is linear. Theirs is circular.

              6. Poster “oneofshibumi” has offered a detailed response that makes the dichotomy between symbolic and genetic codes. See this – http://www.freeratio.org//showpost.php?p=5962336&postcount=1274

              oneofshibumi makes several errors. First he says:

              “Biology, and the subfields of genetics, biochemistry and biotechnology do not believe that a “higher power” created the “code,” but rather, through evolution these chemicals came to form the building blocks of life.”

              Not a truthful statement. The origin of these chemicals are one of the most hotly debate topics in biology and this guy doesn’t get to just declare his own position the winner by default.

              (There’s that atheistic circular reasoning again.)

              Then he says:

              “Another point of disagreement relates to a genetic code not having a pattern.”

              He is blatantly misquoting me. I never said that. I said right in the very first point of my syllogism (!) that the pattern of base pairs in DNA is a code. I said that all codes contain patterns but not all patterns contain codes.

              It is extremely frustrating to debate people who do not even read what I say. I have never met a group of people who talks more and listens less than the guys on Infidels.

              oneofshibumi makes no contribution whatsoever to this conversation. I refer him to Yockey’s statement:

              “Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies.” (Hubert P. Yockey, Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 2005)

              I refer you to my articles at http://evo2.org/dnanotcode.htm and http://evo2.org/information-theory-made-simple/ for detailed explanation for why DNA is isomorphic with Shannon’s communication system.

              Thank you, Midas, for your civil discussion, glad to have you here.

              Perry Marshall

              • Midas Vuik says:

                Perry Marshall,

                First, thank you for responding to my post.

                Now, you said:

                “Then for sunlight or starlight, label the constituent parts, including the encoding and decoding table. Show that with no human being or man-made device included in your drawing, that a message has been literally encoded and decoded in a way that is isomorphic with Shannon’s communication system.”

                Other than light-sensitive chemical reactions (???), I don’t think there is any way I can make such a decoder. It simply is not possible. The decoder would necessarily have to be conscious. But then who would be the decoder in the case of DNA? As a side objection, I realized that in all codes, the symbols are arbitrarily chosen (I don’t know much about information theory, so correct me if I am wrong). Yet this is not that case with DNA. Nothing is arbitrarily chosen. All of it operates on chemistry. Additionally, what would be the symbols in DNA? A, T, C, and G are human representations of adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, respectively. What are the symbols in DNA?

                You said:

                “Inference can only suggest that which is already familiar. So yes, assumptions that the designer is human-like are a reasonable starting point. Then we have to ask if these other assumptions make sense.”

                This is interesting. In that sense, testing these assumptions can help us remove any errors we might have made in induction then, right?

                “So if going from “yes there was an intelligent designer” to Christianity is a huge leap for you, I completely understand that and I don’t necessarily expect you to go that far. This is a work in progress.”

                Assuming that Christianity is false then, the conclusion that the designer is omniscient would indeed be superfluous (since we have no evidence or reason to believe otherwise). However, an omniscient designer would be logical to assume IF Christianity is true.

                You said:

                “You keep saying, “Why can’t DNA be uncaused?”

                I don’t see how that’s any different in saying that the theory of biogenesis is absolute and living things have always existed. And I don’t see how you can maintain that position in light of the fact that the big bang happened 13.8 billion years ago at which time itself and space itself both begin.”

                Forgive me for my ambiguous terminology. Indeed, if DNA is uncaused, then the theory of biogenesis must be true necessarily. However, I really intended for DNA to be “uncreated.” Thus, for naturalistic origins of DNA, we have four options: random chance, chemical necessity, pre-biotic selection, and the theory of biogenesis. Here the theory of biogenesis is obviously false since DNA had to have a beginning. Yet this is the only option we can conclusively rule out; the others remain viable possibilities.

                You said:

                “Midas, can you also see that all the arguments about the pre-biotic soup and naturally occurring self-replicating machines are also arguments from ignorance? That all origin of life theories are arguments from ignorance?”

                Maybe not ignorant in the sense I am trying to convey. But, yes, most of them are highly speculative at best.

                You said:

                “I am making an argument from INFERENCE to the best possible explanation.

                I am inferring that the only source of codes that we know of is intelligent beings.”

                I now agree. To your credit, you are at least laying forth a positive argument for intelligent design. To say you are ignorant is completely wrong. Sorry about that.

                You said:

                “This is equivalent to the theory of biogenesis, which says that life always comes from life.

                So his points #1 and #2 are factually true.

                But if there is a first life form, and if there is a first DNA, then his points #1 and #2 don’t get us to an answer. As a matter of fact they prevent us from ever finding one.

                I CAN USE HIS POINTS #1 AND #2 TO REFUTE ALL OF THE MATERIALISTIC ORIGIN OF LIFE THEORIES TOO.

                Notice that he has completely dodged the question of where the information in DNA came from. He has moved the discussion backwards.

                His point #3 is true only if the theory of biogenesis is absolute.

                But we know that the theory of biogenesis is NOT absolute, because there had to be a beginning of life.”

                I don’t think that was what Butters was trying to say. In fact, he simply seemed to be ruling out that consciousness was needed to produce life. He does not have to resort to biogenesis. See the three viable, naturalistic options above.

                You said:

                “In order to make your #1 completely true, we have to re-state it:

                1. The DNA contained in every life form we know of is part of a biological process.”

                Okay, that is acceptable…

                You said:

                “So if we take 1 and 2 together, then what we know is that humans can’t create DNA and it’s only seen in living things. DNA only comes from living things. Which brings us back to where we started.”

                No, what the second premise said was that non-natural (supernatural) processes cannot create DNA. This encompasses far more than just humans; it effectively rules out an intelligent designer.

                You said:

                “And your #3 simply is not true at all. We do not know that DNA was created by a naturally occurring process. We do not know where it came from. The origin of DNA is the whole topic of this website. It’s THE open question.”

                Yet if my argument is sound, DNA MOST LIKELY is the result of a naturalistic process. I will restate my syllogism in a revised form:

                1.) The DNA contained in every known life form is the result of a natural process.
                2.) There are no non-natural processes that can create the DNA contained in every life form.
                3.) Therefore, DNA was not created by a non-natural process.

                It should be clearer now.

                You said:

                “I’ve made it abundantly clear everywhere on my website and in my talks that DNA is the one code we do NOT know the origin of. And since all the other codes we know of come from a conscious mind, we can reasonably infer that DNA came from a conscious mind.”

                This problem arose from the way you stated your syllogism, not your actual argument. To move from “all codes we know the origin of come from a mind” to “therefore, DNA came from a mind” implies that DNA is a code that we know “the origin of.” I understand what you are trying to say, but the syllogism’s wording makes it difficult to understand. You may want to recast the argument as such:

                1.) The sequence of base pairs in DNA is a code.
                2.) All codes as we know them come from a conscious mind.
                3.) Therefore, DNA came from a conscious mind.

                You said:

                “This does not follow, because we do not know that all phenomena observed are naturalistic. Don’t confuse “mother nature” with “naturalism.” Two different things.

                We do not know that pure matter and energy and laws of physics can give rise to living things. We only know that living things are here, they are different than non-living things, and we don’t know the origin of them.”

                The point of this objection was to turn induction on itself. If all observed phenomena are naturalistic (they are; we do not see any supernatural phenomena occurring today), then it is logical to infer that all phenomena are naturalistic. This is like a scientific law; no one has offered a supernatural phenomenon in modern times that is conclusively valid.

                You said:

                “My reasoning is NOT circular. Actually it starts out agnostic.”

                Agreed.

                You said:

                “You assumed from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring, and you didn’t even notice that you did so. Almost everyone I’m debating assumes from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring. They come to the table with an assumption that they already know the answer.”

                DNA in all known life forms is indeed the result of a natural process. The error was that I omitted “known.”

                You said:

                “Not a truthful statement. The origin of these chemicals are one of the most hotly debate topics in biology and this guy doesn’t get to just declare his own position the winner by default.”

                It is true that biologist rarely appeal to God when explaining the origin of information. You may wish to see this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code#Theories_on_the_origin_of_the_genetic_code

                You can also check out this Youtube video detailing the evolution of the genetic code – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtmbcfb_rdc

                What do you think of all the research that has been conducted in molecular biology to find the origin of the genetic code.

                You said:

                “If you take life as axiomatic then the boundary of science is that axiom, and you can investigate no further. Actually the axiom itself lies outside the perimeter of science.”

                I’m actually starting to become more open to this. Could you please direct me to some relevant literature about this topic? I would really appreciate it. Thank you for reading and thoroughly responding to what I have to say. Throughout this discussion, I have seriously questioned naturalism. However, I will not jump to conclusions until I have done some deep research on the topic. That’s why I am asking you for some book titles. Once again, I truly look forward to reading your response.

                Sincerely,

                Midas Vuik

                • But then who would be the decoder in the case of DNA? As a side objection, I realized that in all codes, the symbols are arbitrarily chosen (I don’t know much about information theory, so correct me if I am wrong). Yet this is not that case with DNA. Nothing is arbitrarily chosen. All of it operates on chemistry. Additionally, what would be the symbols in DNA? A, T, C, and G are human representations of adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, respectively. What are the symbols in DNA?

                  In DNA the decoder is the Ribosomes. See
                  which is from Yockey’s book and see the larger context at http://evo2.org/dnanotcode.htm

                  The sequence of base pairs is the code. A, T, C and G are human representations of adenine etc. But the adenine itself, the thymine itself etc are themselves symbols in DNA in the exact same way that pits in a CD are symbols that are decoded by a CD player.

                  This is interesting. In that sense, testing these assumptions can help us remove any errors we might have made in induction then, right?

                  Yes. We can apply logic and existing knowledge to evaluate the 5 options: DNA was created by humans; by aliens; by random chance; by unknown laws of physics; by a Designer.

                  Thus, for naturalistic origins of DNA, we have four options: random chance, chemical necessity, pre-biotic selection

                  Random chance can be ruled out because any statistical analysis you attempt to apply results in absurdly small probabilities, i.e. numbers like 1 chance in 10^100,000 or worse. Plus it MUST be ruled out because it’s unscientific. Doesn’t appeal to discoverable laws or processes. Teaches us absolutely nothing.

                  Chemical necessity does not explain the origin of the code represented by the base pairs in DNA because A/C/G/T have no specific affinity for one or another. The chemicals themselves are completely neutral to the arrangement. Which is a requirement for them to be used for a code in the first place.

                  I’m not sure what you mean by “pre-biotic selection.” If you mean some kind of natural selection, you have to have replication to have natural selection and you can’t have replication without a code.

                  So none of those three explanations wash.

                  We always end up with the need for a code and the known fact that the codes we know of are all designed.

                  I don’t think that was what Butters was trying to say. In fact, he simply seemed to be ruling out that consciousness was needed to produce life. He does not have to resort to biogenesis. See the three viable, naturalistic options above.

                  None of his explanations are known to be viable. They’re all purely hypothetical, no evidence to support them. None explains the origin of the information in DNA.

                  I had said: “So if we take 1 and 2 together, then what we know is that humans can’t create DNA and it’s only seen in living things. DNA only comes from living things. Which brings us back to where we started.”

                  You said: No, what the second premise said was that non-natural (supernatural) processes cannot create DNA. This encompasses far more than just humans; it effectively rules out an intelligent designer.

                  I don’t see how it logically follows from the above statement that a supernatural process cannot create DNA. The scientist does not know what a supernatural process can or cannot do; he cannot claim to know this without having theological knowledge in the first place.

                  What we know about living things is that they make copies of DNA. This says nothing about the ORIGIN of DNA and it says nothing about the ORIGIN of the code itself.

                  What we do know about codes is that we have observed the origin of thousands of codes. All of them were designed by a deliberate mental process. There are plenty of engineering and software textbooks that discuss this exact process and the choices involved.

                  There are fields like cryptography which deal with the creation and cracking of codes. All of the concepts we see in these fields directly apply to everything we see in DNA and the human genome project is in a very real sense a cryptography project.

                  1.) The DNA contained in every known life form is the result of a natural process.
                  2.) There are no non-natural processes that can create the DNA contained in every life form.
                  3.) Therefore, DNA was not created by a non-natural process.

                  This is circular. You do not know #1. You know that DNA is copied by an EXISTING process. We do not know the origin of this process or that it is “natural”. No one has ever seen a natural process produce living things from non-living things. So you cannot take for granted that DNA is naturally occurring.

                  #2 is not quite true. It would become true if we said, “There are no known processes, natural or non-natural, that have been observed to create DNA.”

                  But that is merely a useless statement. It only takes us back to the fact that we don’t know the origin of DNA.

                  Therefore we’re back to what we started with, and I am willing to accept your re-statement of my syllogism which is:

                  1.) The sequence of base pairs in DNA is a code.
                  2.) All codes as we know them come from a conscious mind.
                  3.) Therefore, DNA came from a conscious mind.

                  You said

                  The point of this objection was to turn induction on itself. If all observed phenomena are naturalistic (they are; we do not see any supernatural phenomena occurring today), then it is logical to infer that all phenomena are naturalistic. This is like a scientific law; no one has offered a supernatural phenomenon in modern times that is conclusively valid.

                  I personally disagree with the statement that we do not see any supernatural phenomena occurring today. My own experience: http://www.perrymarshall.com/travelogue/india/june-12/
                  This is obviously a controversial topic but per the books referenced on this page there is actually a considerable body of evidence and testimony that there are supernatural phenomena in the world.

                  I fully understand that most scientists do not accept this, and frankly I don’t care. The majority of biologists also seem to think that the first cell accidentally emerged from slime – which is an absolutely unsubstantiated statement in every respect. Everyone has their forms of mysticism.

                  The majority of “authorities” in the world have always been wrong about something and you will always do well to be suspicious of them unless you can verify for yourself that what they say is true.

                  You asked “What do you think of all the research that has been conducted in molecular biology to find the origin of the genetic code?”

                  I think that there is no such thing as a theory of biogenesis that is presently classifiable as scientific. They’re all materialistic fairy tales and I am not trying to be dramatic in saying this. The biggest hole in all of these theories is their inability to explain the genetic code itself.

                  I had said: “If you take life as axiomatic then the boundary of science is that axiom, and you can investigate no further. Actually the axiom itself lies outside the perimeter of science.”

                  You said: I’m actually starting to become more open to this. Could you please direct me to some relevant literature about this topic? I would really appreciate it. Thank you for reading and thoroughly responding to what I have to say. Throughout this discussion, I have seriously questioned naturalism. However, I will not jump to conclusions until I have done some deep research on the topic. That’s why I am asking you for some book titles. Once again, I truly look forward to reading your response.

                  An Axiom is defined as
                  “A self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof as the basis for argument; a postulate.”

                  If you take a high school geometry book it has all kinds of theorems and proofs and everything and they all work back to Euclid’s 5 postulates. His 5 postulates are, so far as we know after 2500 years of geometry, unprovable. But we also “know” they are true. I really do think they are true. They are Axioms.

                  100 years ago mathematicians (especially the “Positivists”) were extremely optimistic that they were rapidly closing in on a mathematical theory of everything. That all the loops would be closed, everything would be proven and mathematics would be 100% consistent.

                  In 1931 Kurt Godel stunned the world with his incompleteness theorem – something which I think was every bit as significant as anything Einstein or Neils Bohr ever came up with. In this theorem he proved EVERY system relies on things that you know to be true – or at least have to assume to be true – but which you cannot prove. He proved that there are more things that are true than you can prove. This was devastating to the positivists. It’s actually a very interesting and perplexing theorem and it applies to ALL systems of logic.

                  You cannot prove everything in a system without extending the boundaries of the system, which will then require something else that is still outside the system.

                  EVERY system is incomplete. No system can explain itself.

                  So, back to your question about science.

                  Science is a system of logic and reason.

                  Science, being a system, cannot explain itself. Science relies on things outside of science that you must assume to be true but cannot prove.

                  Example: “The universe operates according to fixed discoverable laws.”

                  I believe this is true and so do you. But this is not a scientific statement. It’s a philosophical statement. And you cannot prove it, you can only confirm it by inference and induction.

                  This statement has theological origins. Theologians 3000 years ago (Solomon, actually) said that the universe was created by God and as such obeys fixed discoverable laws and this belief eventually gave birth to modern science. (Wisdom of Solomon 11:21) That’s where this idea came from.

                  You cannot practice science without a philosophical foundation. This foundation is usually taken for granted but until the foundation was in place science couldn’t be discovered.

                  Science got started in ancient China, in Greece, in Rome and in Islam but was stillborn in all those cultures.

                  Why? Because there was no theology in those cultures which proposed that the universe was governed by fixed laws.

                  Judeo-Christianity did have such a theology and that’s why science succeeded in Christian Europe after failing elsewhere. (This is one of the reasons that I am a Christian and not a Muslim or Hindu or Deist.)

                  But anyway let’s look at my syllogism:

                  1. The pattern in DNA is a code.
                  2. All codes we know the origin of are designed.
                  3. Therefore we have 100% inference that DNA is designed and 0% inference that it is not.

                  All three of those statements are completely scientific, as far as they actually go. There is nothing unscientific about #1, #2 or #3 at all. Simple observation and inference.

                  But we do leave the boundary of science and the scientific method as soon as we speculate about the 5 possible conclusions:

                  1) DNA was designed by humans. It’s sort of logical but it’s not historical and it’s not scientifically testable and everyone knows it’s absurd.
                  2) DNA was designed by aliens. Well…. you could definitely say that’s scientific, and if you believe the Area 51 crowd has scientific evidence then so much the better. But it only pushes the problem back in time.
                  3) DNA emerged randomly. Not a scientific statement in any way shape or form. Not testable, doesn’t appeal to discoverable laws.
                  4) DNA is the result of an unknown process or law of physics. That’s hopeful and it’s quite respectable but it’s not scientific because it doesn’t give us anything we can test or evaluate.
                  5) DNA was designed by God. This is clearly outside of science but in no way is it incompatible with science.

                  Don’t forget, Godel showed that no system can explain itself. DNA is a system and the origin of DNA is outside of DNA itself. (Which also shoots holes in the “DNA is natural” argument. Because it doesn’t answer the question, where did “nature” come from?)

                  There is an explanation for DNA that lies outside of DNA itself.

                  If you keep working this outward with Godel’s theorem in mind, I believe you inevitably reach the conclusion that DNA is created by a boundless, uncaused conscious mind which is not a system.

                  Which, interestingly, is nearly the exact same conclusion that Aquinas and Aristotle arrived at a LOOOONG time ago.

                  Thanks for your patience in me getting back to you. I often run behind.

                  Perry

              • Midas Vuik says:

                Perry Marshall,

                Sorry for the double posting. I just wanted to share an interesting story.

                I was emailing a friend of mine who also happens to be an atheist (or a metaphysical naturalist, to be more precise). I told him about our discussion about DNA, and I decided to play as the devil’s advocate, arguing for the THEISTIC conclusion. He asked me to share the some of the conversation with you.

                He started by denying that DNA is a code:

                “A code consists of a set of symbols that can be chosen arbitrarily.

                For example, a microprocessor has an instruction set, where each instruction has some binary code. We can make another microprocessor with exactly the same instruction set, but with a different encoding, e.g. replacing each 0 bit with a 1 bit and each 1 bit with a 0 bit.

                We can’t do this with DNA. We can’t make organisms that are the same except for different meanings to the four bases.”

                When I stated that most biology textbooks claim DNA is a literal code, independent of the medium (with the information remaining the same), he said:

                “Sure, I can write a string such as ACC and say, it’s a codon. However, it isn’t, it’s a representation of a codon, and that representation is independent of its medium, e.g. it is not affected by being on a computer monitor or in print. But that’s not DNA.

                You can write the bases of a genome down a roll of paper, but replacing the DNA of an organism with that roll of paper isn’t going to do much good.”

                Indeed, it is hard to same where he is coming at. I think he was attacking the claim that DNA has symbols.

                I then argued that genetic information in DNA can be decoded and stored in computers, and one day, we may be able to store computer information in DNA. To this, he said:

                “Yes, yes, but that is still working with a representation, not with DNA. And perhaps we might be able to transcribe DNA information stored in a computer — but that is information about DNA. DNA is itself not information, a codon is a catalyst that promotes a certain chemical process, it is not an abstract representation of that process, and therefore not information.”

                I later said that the function of DNA is utterly dependent on information; he responded:

                “No, the information is derived from the function. We’ve observed, which codons ‘code’ for which amino acids, we didn’t decide, which codons should ‘code’ for which amino acids.”

                I would like to hear some of your responses to his claims, if possible, please. I actually would like to read them primarily for myself because I am now starting to doubt naturalism’s ability to explain EVERYTHING about the universe. But I cannot change my worldview just yet. I need some evidence and answers first, which you have helped to provide. If anything, I’ve become inspired to understand more about information theory and how it relates to the origin of life. I now am actually considering taking such a path when I enter college in a few years. Once again, thank you for your patience and valuable information in this issue. I eagerly await your response.

                Sincerely,

                Midas Vuik

                • Midas,

                  Thanks again for your patience, my work schedule has been erratic.

                  There is a confusion here which comes from the variety of forms with which humans deal with information (written, spoken, and the endless ways in which we transmit both written and spoken messages) vs. the fact that in any SPECIFIC instance of encoding / decoding, the mechanisms are rigidly fixed.

                  Your friend could also make IDENTICAL arguments that he made about DNA, about a CD player. A CD player only reads CD’s. He could say “we can’t do this with CD’s. I can’t change 0 to 1 and 1 to 0 and still have proper reproduction.”

                  He would also be right about that, but that’s not the point.

                  The point is, I can replace the sequence of symbols (the CD) and I get different music. One CD is X&Y by Coldplay. Another CD is the latest U2 album. The fact that I can’t change the decoding rules of the CD player does not in the slightest change the fact that it’s a decoding system. Rather the opposite is true. It IS a decoding system because it decodes according to a fixed set of rules.

                  When a virus hijacks a cell it’s using the same genetic coding rules but it’s inserting a new sequence of symbols and now it produces viruses instead of cells (I hope I didn’t screw that up, my knowledge of viruses is kind of limited.)

                  DNA absolutely has symbols, you can look the symbol table up in any biology book. GGG makes Glycine. GGA makes Glycine too. GGG and GGA are redundant versions of the same thing. GGG is not literally Glycine and GGA is not literally Glycine. GGG is literally three Guanines and GGA is literally two Guanines and Adenine. The letters of DNA are literally symbols and when you change the symbols you change the outcome. That’s exactly what genetic engineering is – changing the code so you change the phenotype of the organism.

                  It is no different if I talk about a hard drive. You could say “those aren’t really 1’s and 0’s, they’re magnetic domains that are polarized North or South.” Or on an Ethernet cable you could say “Those aren’t really 1’s and 0’s those are just voltage states.” In both cases you could say it’s all mechanical, it’s just cause and effect, it’s just chemistry. You could say a hard drive is just a magnet but that would fail to explain the panic you feel when your HD crashes and you’re afraid you lost all your data. You could say the Internet is just a bunch of wires and silicon but that utterly fails to explain what Google or Yahoo is.

                  You could follow “General Semantics” and say that there is no such thing as language, there is only quarks. But to make such a statement is to reduce all of the above things to the ridiculous. People who say this only manage to make a set of completely useless and deeply misleading statements.

                  Software is software, it is not hardware. And it has ontological status. Romeo and Juliet is Romeo and Juliet whether it exists as ink and paper, or on your hard drive, or as sounds passing through the air in a theater, or as pulses of light on a fiber optic cable. Romeo and Juliet is not ink, it’s not paper, it’s not a magnet, it’s not sound vibration, and it’s not light. It’s Romeo and Juliet. You can easily devise a logical test to test whether something is Romeo and Juliet – or not. All you need is the right kind of decoder.

                  Information is a separate entity on par with matter and energy. The materialist position has no explanation for its origin.

                  Perry

                  • Midas Vuik says:

                    Perry Marshall,

                    Thank you for responding once again. Having researched this subject more thoroughly, I have a few thoughts on your argument. The error seems to be in switching the definition of information. Allow me to explain.

                    1. Shannon’s theory of information – because Shannon worked with communication systems, he viewed information as the transmission of a message and thus defined it as a decrease in the uncertainty of a message.

                    2. Chaitin-Kolmogorov information (algorithmic information theory) – this is the more common use of information, measured entirely in terms of the number of ‘bits’ of distinct data within a message.

                    Now consider this first message transmitted:

                    (1) “Hello, my name is Midas.”

                    Which is somehow mutated into:

                    (2) “Hello, my name is Midas from France.”

                    According to Shannon’s theory, this would constitute a loss of information, while under Kolmogorov’s this would a gain. So while Shannon’s definition of a loss of information would be true in this case, it does not prove anything since a loss of information under this theory is defined merely as a change. This actually relates very closely to your Random Mutation Generator, in which you claim that an increase in genetic information is almost statistically possible. However you are saying genes (Kolmogorov) must always experience a loss of information (under Shannon’s theory). (As a side question, how is evolution’s supposed inability to increase information related to your argument against abiogenesis?) Now, going back to your initial argument, you say that under Shannon’s model, DNA cannot form naturally, which may be true. However, under Kolmogorov information, no such problem of a sender or receiver exists since information is simply a quantity, not a decrease in uncertainty between a sender and receiver.

                    Sincerely,

                    Midas Vuik

                    • Midas,

                      The purpose of Shannon’s model and Kolmogorov’s models are somewhat different. Shannon’s #1 interest is the bandwidth needed to transmit a message withour error. Kolmogorov’s primary interest is minimizing the storage or transmission footprint of a message. So if you see the entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolmogorov_complexity the fractal on the right is shown and an explanation of how an algorithm can be used to greatly compress the necessary file size.

                      Neither these nor any mathematical model can quantify the MEANING of a message or what it means to intelligently add meaning to a message. In the case of your two messages, there is some minimum amount of space needed to store each one. The 2nd one requires more space than the 1st.

                      Which is to say, the meaning of a message cannot be quantified ie reduced to a single number. The message is irreducible. Knowing that a message takes 32 bits of data does not tell you what the message is. It only tells you how much bandwidth you need to store or transmit it. In the real world, information is NEVER just a quantity.

                      You asked a great question, which few people have had the insight to ask:

                      how is evolution’s supposed inability to increase information related to your argument against abiogenesis?

                      These are two sides of the same coin. The reason random mutation can’t increase information in a communication system is that randomness can’t create information in the first place. Randomness and information are polar opposites. In communication theory, one is the enemy of the other.

                      Perry

  14. Sumeklam Kidd says:

    I read the PDF.

    DNA is a machine, not a language. I teach language: Language is fluid, adaptable, creative, and responsive, and almost never occurs the same way twice when used by people, even with complex grammatical rules. DNA simply peels off copies without any thought whatsoever, and always repeats the same output over and over, unless a mutation occurs.

    The ‘mutation machine’ is nothing approaching what happens in nature. Beneficial mutations occur in nature, not just deleterious ones. Sure, more deleterious mutations occur, and the subject often dies early as a result, but the mutations that allow a species to adapt more easily to the environment remains in the population, and eventually spreads throughout.

    “Information is information, neither energy nor matter.
    Any materialism that fails to take account of this will not survive one day”, could easily be replaced with: “Information is information, which must be held together with energy or matter”. Every notice what happens to a computer when it is thrown to the floor?

    “Matter, Energy and Information: Independent from each other”??? As far as we know, matter and energy are required to maintain will. I have never seen will without both matter and energy present.

    ‘Improvement to Paley’s design argument’ falters once the above points are understood.

    The Atheist’s Riddle SOLVED:
    “Show me a language that does not come from a mind.” (DNA is not a language)
    So simple, any child can understand
    So complex, no atheist can solve (I solved it quite easily, does this mean I’m not an atheist?)

    I was expecting big revelations from this site… so far, I’m not impressed.

    • Sumeklam,

      1. The pattern in DNA is a code
      2. All codes we know the origin of are designed
      3. Therefore DNA is designed.

      Airtight syllogism.

      Part of my thesis is that beneficial mutations are not random, they are internally engineered.

      All information has a material substrate. But the material does not explain the information or its source. This is the core of the problem of “artificial intelligence.”

      Formal re-statement of the atheist’s riddle:

      Show me a code that is not designed.

      Perry

      • Brendon says:

        Perry,

        With regards to your syllogism, I question it’s ‘air tight seal’. You state ‘2. All codes we know the origin of are designed’. If by all codes you mean human produced codes, then the codes in question would be reliant on the existence of DNA, and therefore cannot be used to prove the origin of DNA since their origins are indirectly the same as DNA’s origins (If the god created DNA god indirectly created all codes / If DNA occurred naturally all codes are naturally occurring). Your logic is therefore circular.

        • Brendon,

          The logic is not circular because we have millions of different codes (such as ASCII) and the coding relationship is completely arbitrary. A is 1000001 but it could just as easily be 0111110. You can’t derive either of these from DNA.

          Conscious beings have the ability to create code from scratch and no other process known to man makes codes. Therefore by inference DNA was designed by a conscious being.

          Perry

          • Brendon says:

            Perry,

            The fact that we has humans have generated millions of different codes, arbitrary or not, doesnt change the fact that all of these codes owe their existance to the existance of DNA. If DNA didnt exist, we wouldn’t exist and therefore all human generated codes wouldn’t exist.

            Since all human generated codes only exist because DNA exists then their origins can be traced back to the same origin as that of DNA, therefore you can not possibly use human generated codes to prove the origins of DNA, since their origins are ultimatley the same.

            I know that you have said and probably will say once again that human are intellegent and all the codes we know of are designed … therefore DNA must have been designed. BUT this completley misses the point i am trying to get across. Lets assume for a second that DNA did occur naturally, then intellegence is naturally occuring and just because this naturally occuring intellegence produces codes wouldn’t change the fact that DNA occured naturally.

            Anyway evey one is free to belive what they will, the only reason i take the time to comment is because i can’t accept the logic with wich you draw your conclusion. BUT that is my personal choice.

            Regards

            Brendon

            • Brendon,

              You said:

              Lets assume for a second that DNA did occur naturally, then intellegence is naturally occuring

              I am willing to let you HYPOTHESIZE that but I am not willing to assume that.

              All we can assume is that we don’t know for sure.

              But hypothesizing that DNA is naturally occurring then it should have happened more than once. Or we should see some principle in nature that creates codes.

              We know of no such principle.

              The only thing we know is that when completely new codes are developed they are always a product of conscious deliberate choice by an intelligent being. And that the more sophisticated the code, the more sophisticated the being.

              To ASSUME DNA is natural has no basis in science. It is a personal choice held by some.

              Perry

              • brendon says:

                Perry,

                I apologize for my poor selection in words, hypothesize was a much better choice than assume!

                If you look past the semantics the point I was trying to make is human generated codes are a result of DNA, therefore they have the same origin as DNA. Which, in my mind at least, means that it is impossible to use human generated codes, or even human intelligence for that matter, to prove the origin of DNA. Since if DNA was designed then any result of DNA is by design and if DNA occurred naturally then any result of DNA is naturally occurring . This would include intelligence and human generated codes! If DNA was designed then yes codes don’t occur naturally and can only be created by some form of intelligence. But if DNA occurred naturally then intelligence is a natural occurrence, making the fact that all known codes have been created by intelligence irrelevant to the argument that codes have to come from intelligence since in this scenario intelligence occurs naturally.

                Just to avoid any further misunderstanding I am in no way assuming or hypothesizing DNA was designed or occurred naturally. Rather I am questioning you using products of DNA to prove the origin of DNA.

                To end off, I would just like to state I am in no way trying to offend you, in fact I actually found your blog post to be rather interesting. I think it is healthy to be exposed to as many ideas as possible, even if they conflict with your own, since it forces you to think for yourself and grow instead of sitting and stagnating.

                I thank you for all the time you have taken to read and respond to all the comments.

                Regards,
                Brendon

                • Yes, human generated codes are a result of DNA. But not a direct result.

                  Think of all the different file formats on your computer. Each of them (jpg / gif / html / doc / xls / etc) represents a different language which was consciously chosen by an intelligent programmer.

                  Any number of aspects of those file formats could have been arbitrarily different, based on whatever whim of the designer, and such a change would not be directly attributable to DNA.

                  Or to use another example we have all kinds of currency in the world (all of which are an agreed upon form of communicating monetary value), but one cannot tie the use of dollars or euros or pounds directly to DNA. One cannot derive the conventions of driving on the left side of the road vs. the right side from DNA. Each is arbitrary and a conscious choice.

                  This is in stark contrast to, for example, bee waggles, which appear to be hard-wired into bees. Bees don’t generate myriads of different varieties of bee waggles on a whim.

                  This tells you a great deal about consciousness and what it is capable of.

                  DNA has dozens of characteristics ONLY seen in man-made communication codes: redundancy, error correction mechanisms, objects, layers, etc.

                  We have no evidence of any kind that such things occur as a result of anything but willful conscious acts by sentient beings.

                  Thus the only available inference we have is that DNA has every appearance of being designed.

                  The atheist will try to cry foul, but alas, all he can do is try to eliminate intelligence from consideration at the outset. Because the inference to intelligence behind DNA is as obvious, literally, as the nose on one’s face.

                  Perry

                  • brendon says:

                    Hi Perry;

                    It doesn’t matter if human generated codes are a direct or indirect result of DNA, because human generated codes are a result of intelligence and intelligence is just another result of DNA therefore intelligence and all codes we know of are results of DNA and have the same origin as DNA. So yet again I am back to my point if DNA was designed all results of DNA direct or indirect are by design. But if DNA occurred naturally all results of DNA direct or indirect are naturally occurring.
                    I will reiterate I am NOT trying to state the origin of DNA. I am just pointing out that you are using the fact that intelligence has generated all codes we know the origins of to infer the origin of DNA, which is just fine you have the right to say what you want, but if DNA did occur naturally then any result of DNA direct or indirect is naturally occurring, which would mean intelligence is naturally occurring, which would make every human generated code proof that code can occur naturally.
                    You can quite clearly see the difference in perspectives I mentioned in my previous post. You said: “Because the inference to intelligence behind DNA is as obvious, literally, as the nose on one’s face.” Where for me it is blatantly obvious that inference to intelligence behind DNA is flawed, since you have used codes intelligently generated by humans as your premise, when human intelligence is a result of DNA, which again take me back to my point mentioned in the first paragraph.
                    Just to avoid any confusion I am not trying to get into a religious debate, I am NOT saying god does or doesn’t exist, what a person believes is completely up to them and I have no right to tell them otherwise. All I am doing is looking at your idea/theory/proof and giving you my thoughts on it. I happen to disagree with some of your logic. I have stated my reasons, what you take from that is entirely up to you.

                    regards,
                    Brendon

                    • Brendon,

                      Your point is well taken. So let me take what you just said and frame it another way:

                      There is a clear link between DNA and consciousness.

                      I have made a separation and you are questioning that separation. Which is a legitimate question to raise.

                      So let me point out that we are still left with an vast chasm between information and non-information, i.e. communication systems vs pure matter/energy/physics/chemistry. Consciousness is on the same side of that chasm as DNA.

                      The chasm between matter and information is effectively infinite, as I carefully explain here:

                      http://evo2.org/infinite-chasm/

                      and the materialistic worldview still has no explanation for the origin or nature of information.

                      Perry

  15. Jared Jammer says:

    Mr. Marshall, your information argument is very similar to that of Stephen Meyer, author of the new book Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. Your “Intelligent Evolution” idea is also very similar to the “front-loaded evolution” of Mike Gene, author of the book The Design Matrix: A Consilience of Clues.

    Any chance of you authoring your own book based on all of the material here at Cosmic Fingerprints?

  16. JohnM says:

    Perry,

    Im in another discussion on a forum board, and before I get too carried away, I would first like to ask your permission to use your material as much as needed? I have gone through this site and your debate several times now and still am, putting information together for myself to refer to. Is this ok with you?

    Anyway heres a post Im dealing with atm,….

    I said: “Code is defined as communication between an encoder such as a “writer” or “speaker” and a decoder such as a “reader” or “listener” using agreed upon symbols.”

    He said: “Each element of which is fully reducible to physical structure and causality. Let’s not quietly slip in some fuzzy “soul” into the mix. Your definition is broad enough to encompass, for example, photosynthesis – the “sun” is the writer, the “leaf” is the reader, the “code” is the wavelengths of light, triggering the chemical reaction (“interpretation”) by the plant.”

    Now I know this isn’t right, but I cant seem to articulate it clearly. I know the sun does not use symbols that represent a plan to be carried out. It just sends light and plants react to it, no preplanned goal etc. Is this somewhat correct?

    I said: “2) All codes that we know the origin of comes from a mind.”

    He said: “Well, obviously not. The “interpretation” of DNA occurs via an entirely physical, mechanical molecular structure. Of course, the moment you concede this, you also conceded that there need not be an elaborate “mind” on the interpretative end of the information in order to process the information.”

    This here is the same as when two computers which are completely unintelligent also communicate shaking hands etc and procressing information correct?

    He said: “Furthermore – consider the “information” contained “symbolically” in light. Analyzing black bands in the spectrum of light from a object (spectroscopy) allows us to determine the chemical composition of the object. The label “code”, “information”, “symbols” are reasonably descriptive of what’s going on, yet no intelligence goes into the construction of the light.”

    This here is us making symbolic representations in our own minds correct?

    I said: “3) Therefore we have 100% inference to design in DNA.”

    He said: “”No, that’s confusing deduction (which deals with logical inference, certainties, boolean values) and induction (which deals with probability, likelihood, generalization). Seeing a hundred white swans does not mean there are no black swans. However the analogy in this case is more like seeing a hundred white swans and a couple of black swan (then concluding there are no black swans).””

    Seeing only black swans so far, doesnt mean there are No black swans, just that I have reason to conclude the next swan I see might be black also correct? I.e, because all codes we know of come from minds, doesnt mean it is impossible there are codes of someother cause, but that if we see a code that we dont know the origin of, then we can rightly infer it to came from a mind, UNITL someone provides us with a counter example correct?

    He says however we have seen two swans, but with codes, we have only seen one kind, the kind that come from minds correct?

    I said: “”If you disagree, all you need is one example of a code that did not come from a mind. Just one.””

    Spectroscopy is my favorite example, but given that no intelligence constructs or interprets DNA molecules, DNA counts as an example in itself.

    How would you answer this?

    In Christ,

    JohnM

    • John,

      Nobody is slipping some soul into the mix. Just recognizing the nature and operation of information.

      Photosynthesis: Remember, information is communication between encoder and decoder using agreed-upon symbols. The sun is sending no symbols and is not decoded by the plant as symbols. It’s just light energy. Any light that produces the necessary components of the light spectrum will do.

      You are right, computers talking to each other is a mechanical process just like DNA decoding. It’s unintelligent but it’s still information and communication.

      Analyzing a spectrograph or reading tree rings or interpreting geology from patterns in rocks always requires a subjective interpretation by an intelligent agent. There is no communication taking place until the observer shows up. In which case they have to first define a code (which of course can be a very inexact process) and then attempt to read it.

      Your friend is, himself, confusing deduction and induction. He says there is a black swan but he has produced no example.

      Everybody wants to claim DNA is their example of a naturally occurring code but they are deriving their premise from their conclusion. The origin of DNA is what they are trying to prove and it can’t be used as its own example.

      Perry

  17. JohnM says:

    Hello Perry,

    What about this objections:

    “Premise 1 is not self-evident. In general, the relationship between a symbol and its referent in a code are arbitrary. Look at ASCII code. The relationship between a codon and an amino acid is not arbitrary; it is governed by the laws of chemistry.”

    I remember you addressing this somewhere I believe, but I can’t seem to find it.

    Blessings,

    JohnM

    • John,

      Nowhere in the laws of chemistry is there a law that says GGG makes Glycine. That is in the laws of the genetic code which are decoded by a very specific mechanism which also cannot be derived from the laws of chemistry. There is no law of chemistry that says DNA should have to have a 4 letter alphabet. It could just as well have 8 and there are scientific papers that discuss this. The number of letters in the alphabet is arbitrary and fixed in the case of DNA and no materialist has an explanation for why this is.

      Perry

  18. JohnM says:

    Perry,

    Please forgive me for all the questions, you must get tired answering them over and over in one way or another. I still have many questions and uncertianties that I’m trying to work though. Alot of the obfuscation I run into discussing this with others make me search for more answers so that I myself have a proper understanding of the topic. Your time and effort here is immensely appreciated.

    Here are a few more questions / objections –

    —–Show me how you get from dead matter, the laws of physics and chemistry to coded information, without intelligence.

    **Spontaneous formation of RNA from ribonucleotides.**

    —–RNA derived from living things doesn’t count in this discussion, because it’s derived directly from living things, the original code.

    **The RNA in the experiment being discussed wasn’t derived from living things. Ribonucleotides are the basic building blocks of RNA, not living things themselves.**

    **RNA does in fact represent a code that is derived without an intelligence behind it. And, no putting RNA monomers into a solution is not like writing something down, i.e. it’s not encoding anything. It’s simply putting paper and pencil out**

    **The RNA example shows that coded information, if you can call DNA or RNA that, can in fact arise without an intelligence guiding it (albeit in very particular circumstances). This is true, regardless of whether RNA world or anything else is responsible for the origin of life.**

    —–I’m not deliberately ignoring any possible natural cause for coded information, Im just waiting for one example.

    **I’ve given you one, repeatedly. Spontaneous generation of RNA strands from ribonucleotides.

    This isn’t about the origin of life or anything else, except whether a mind is needed for coded information. If DNA qualifies, so does RNA. RNA can come about without a mind, so then it’s possible (but not certain, of course) that DNA can too**

    **I will give you a helpful hint. Its all really about molecular recognition and complementarity due to hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions.

    Please examine the self-replicating molecules studied by Rebek. You will note that its all just chemistry and physiocochemical interaction. A single molecule , due to its molecular structure, makes copies of itself repeatedly from simpler molecules. Its a very simple molecule indeed and it self-replicates.

    There are no “codes” there is no communication to some other recipient, there is no encoding or decoding. There are ONLY physical and chemical interactions and an energy source. The molecule itself is so simple that its natural origin is entirely plausible. No designer or intelligence required for such systems.**

    **A naturalistic origin of DNA would fall apart if it could be shown that the encoding of proteins is anything other than a purely physical process. It no more needs an encoder to develop a ruleset than we need to ‘know’ how to bleed when cut.

    The result of physical processes, nothing more. The information argument falls down because the analogy fails. Writing on a page requires an intelligence to decode a message. Otherwise, it is simply meaningless ink squiggles on paper. DNA codes for proteins the way it does as a result of physical laws. There is no intelligence required to decode it.

    The terms ‘coding’ and ‘decoding’ are simply an approximation to describe what is happening – it’s allegorical in a way. Like saying ‘that painting speaks to me’ is not meant to imply that an inanimate object is capable of human speech.**

    **Your premise 1 is not self-evident.

    In general, the relationship between a symbol and its referent in a code are arbitrary. Look at ASCII code. The relationship between a codon and an amino acid is not arbitrary; it is governed by the laws of chemistry.**

    **Shannon information theory however differs greatly from the way you’re trying to use the terms, which is more analogous to literary information concepts. Shannon information theory is in fact mathematical, but the way you seem to be using the concepts is not,**

    —–Yes, minds are at work, through coded instructions, on both ends. A computer is the physical medium. DNA is a physical medium that operates through coded instructions, so who then is at the controls, as you pointed out? Does the computer hardware account for it’s own software?

    **DNA is not a code, as I have also pointed out. Also, even if we were to take your analogy of DNA as a code, the phenotype of the organism would like the display on a screen. There’s no receiver, so no message and no information. Even if God were encoding DNA, if there’s no receiver, there’s no message.**

    Sincerely,

    JohnM

    • JohnM,

      You have permission to use my work at will. Just be careful not to misquote me.

      “Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies.” (Hubert P. Yockey, Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 2005). In his book Yockey rigorously and exhaustively explains why DNA is literally and not figuratively a code.

      Not only that, every biology book in every university library defines DNA as a code. The objection that DNA is not a code is a wholesale avoidance of 55 years of scientific fact. The “cracking” of the Genetic Code is what Watson and Crick are most celebrated for.

      The “DNA isn’t a code” argument is so baseless that last year I announced in the Infidels forum that I will no longer stoop to the level of attempting to refute it. Let them go argue with 1,000 biology textbooks, I’m done with that one.

      Ribonucleotides are direct derivatives of DNA. Wikipedia: Ribonucleotide – A ribonucleotide is a nucleotide in which a purine or pyrimidine base is linked to a ribose molecule. The base may be adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), or uracil (U). This obviously can not count as evidence for “naturally occurring code.”

      Notice that they’re trying to offer RNA as an example of a code and telling you that RNA isn’t a code at exactly the same time. Typical materialist doublespeak.

      Von Neumann determined that a self replicating machine requires a code from which the replicated machine is made. Rebek’s molecules don’t contain any codes and they are not self replicating in the Von Neumann sense. They are like crystals.

      The guys who are critiquing your use of Shannon are just swatting at you. They need to read Yockey.

      Perry

  19. JohnM says:

    Perry,

    I said: **But a real book, a real punch card, and a real DNA molecule all contain real codes, represented by symbols composed of real matter that represent real, useful information and uniquely specify external objects, processes and ideas. The coded information itself is an immaterial entity.**

    He said: **Book – matter: pages and print. Information: transmitter and receiver agree on symbolism of the print, the information is actually an agreement between two minds.

    Punch card – matter: celluloid reel. Information: sender and receiver agree that the position of holes in the tape are to trigger a response in a machine, the information is actually an agreement between two minds.

    DNA – matter: chemical. Information:, eh……. nope there is only chemical interaction under certain environmental conditions. Reproduce these conditions and the chemical will do what the chemical will do.**

    How would you approach this? Looks like hes just waving a wand over the entire process thats taking place isnt he?

    Blessings,

    JohnM

    • JohnM,

      Yes, all information we have experience with has a matter or energy substrate. We all know that. But he’s ignoring the fact that the the pattern itself is fungible – it’s copyable and transferable. When a cell makes a copy, what is it making a copy OF? What do we mean when we say copy? How do we identify the existence of a copy?

      We are referring to the reality of the idea and the reality of its representation which is independent of the material the representation is coded in.

      That pattern is a representation of its referent REGARDLESS of what the substrate is. Once it’s decoded the meaning is still the same.

      Perry

  20. JohnM says:

    Hello Perry,

    Appears you are busy of lates. Hope all is well.

    Anyway, how do we deal with publications like this…

    “DNA sequences usually involve local construction rules that affect different scales. As such their “dictionary” may not follow Zipf’s law (a power law) which is followed in every natural language. Indeed, analysis of many DNA sequences suggests that no linguistics connections to DNA exist and that even though it has structure DNA is not a language. Computer simulations and a biological approach to this problem further support these results.”

    (Is DNA a language?Tsonis AA, Elsner JB, Tsonis PA.
    Department of Geosciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 53201-413, USA.)

    In Christ,

    JohnM

    • John,

      First, Zipf’s law has NOTHING to do with the definition of a code. Or, for that matter, the definition of any language. This is a spurious and strange objection.

      Secondly I would hazard a guess that if we closely investigated this issue we would find that it DOES follow Zipf’s law.

      Thirdly just go to Amazon and do a search on

      DNA linguistics

      And note how many linguists and linguistic books talk about the genetic code being comparable to language.

      Finally, DNA is a multi-layered code. Proof:

      1) DNA codes for proteins at the lowest level of the code.

      2) It has instructions for where to put them at a higher level in the code.

      Therefore it has the instructional equivalent of nouns and verbs.

      If you want to investigate this question from a biological perspective, search “somatic” in the context of biology. You’ll find all kinds of literature since the 1960’s.

      Perry

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