“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

1,874 Responses

  1. David Altman says:

    The first living things on Earth, single-celled micro-organisms or microbes lacking a cell nucleus or cell membrane known as prokaryotes, first appeared on Earth almost four billion years ago.

    After a hundred thousand years or more of evolution and natural selection, these early forms became more and more complex, eventually developing a rudimentary nucleus, which contained the ‘pattern’ for the creature to pass on. Examples of simple creatures like this would be a protozoa, paramecium, or amoeba.

    Life didn’t need a “code” to get started; it simply needed the right conditions. You want more specifics? Read any scientific textbook available on abiogenesis, evolution and natural selection. They’re full of proven, verifiable facts – i.e., that life as we know it has evolved over the past four billion years.

    • “Life didn’t need a “code” to get started; it simply needed the right conditions. You want more specifics? Read any scientific textbook available on abiogenesis, evolution and natural selection. They’re full of proven, verifiable facts – i.e., that life as we know it has evolved over the past four billion years.”

      I beg to differ.

      There is NO part of abiogenesis that is proven, verifiable fact.

      Absolutely none.

      And I have a $5 million prize if you can prove ONLY the origin of information problem – never mind the rest. http://www.naturalcode.org.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Science is pretty careful about declaring things total truths, and minds can be changed by testable evidence.

        Evolution by natural selection is a pretty cast iron bet. We see it happening today and in fossil records.

        We can see early life forms in the fossil record too. We can also see shared features between complex and simple life, shared DNA between us and other life – we even share DNA with bananas. We have some good theories as to how life got started and how good a probability there was of that happening. We won’t be all correct, but I’d bet we are close, and evidence and experiments suggests we are.

        Then we have a collection of loosely related texts from two different religions, which clearly both borrow from earlier ones – texts whose very foundation ‘theory’ you actually disagree with!

        God is a very recent and highly improbable and problematic explanation. Also an unnecessary one.

    • I suggest the book “Matter to Life” by Paul Davies, Sarah Walker and George Ellis for an up to date treatment of the subject.

    • David,

      I am ALL IN FAVOR of successful abiogenesis experiments.

      And in fact if we can ever succeed in that, such a discovery does not in my opinion take anything away from God or from a spiritual view of the world.

      I have a $5 million prize (which was announced at Arizona State University at Paul Davies’ invitation) with judges from Harvard, Oxford and MIT. Top scientists endorse my work because they recognize that I am pro-science. And I am pro-abiogenesis if we can ever get it to work. See my contest at http://www.herox.com/evolution2.0.

      But one thing I am vehemently against is people MAKING UP STORIES about where life came from.

      Most of what you said is fiction. Most abiogenesis books are thin, legitimate but unsubstantial real-life experiments stitched together with a whole bunch of mythology, hope and speculation.

      The truth is: we have no idea where life came from. We have some valuable clues, and people like Steve Benner are doing great work.

      But it is a hideously difficult problem. Outrageously so.

      Furthermore, “evolution and natural selection” don’t just “happen.” Evolution in the experimental sense is always an exquisitely ordered process (as McClintock, Margulis et al showed). You can’t take evolution for granted. We only understand about 5% of how evolution actually works and nobody knows how to write software that self-evolves the way organisms do. Which means mostly it’s still a mystery.

      And every time someone comes here and starts making up stories, I’m going to kick them in the ass. Because it shows HUGE disrespect for the magnitude and difficulty of the scientific questions.

      And most people who come here and make up these stories are atheists pushing their anti-intellectual, anti-scientific agenda.

      If you really believe what you just wrote, then you have been conned by people who have no right to be lying to you. This is your invitation to peel back the curtain and see what the science actually says.

      Your assertion that we basically have this figured out is, truth be told, anti-scientific.

      And I will not allow it. Not on my website.

      • Jose says:

        Perry, your opinions remind me of the classical old earth/new earth debate. The new earth community are hanging on for life because of their ignorance of accepting that the scientific disciplines present overwhelming evidence of the big bang, so it must mean evolution. Perry, you or anybody on this planet, can ever explain the Avalon or Cambrian explosions. They have nothing to do with any theory of evolution. You’re insistence on any evolutionary process for the origin of life is, in my opinion, a lack of faith in Jesus Christ as the One responsible for this universe we live in, including life. It doesn’t take a college, or theological degree to comprehend that. Move on, Perry.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        The whole abiogenesis, evolution and natural selection ‘stories’ vs. The various religions ‘stories’ is certainly interesting and an argument that will rage on for some time yet. In my mind (and I in no way claim it a truth) abiogenesis, evolution and natural selection edges it simply because an awful lot more of the theories can be tested, we can catch glimpses of the processes in action by looking at fossil records and see them in action today etc – but it’s a story with pages missing and not fully written. I know we can see snatches of life’s history, it’s current state and project much of its trajectory – it’s beginning, or the beginning of the universe that spawned it, need not be mystical.
        Genesis, and other creation stories, are too far off on so many details, orders of events etc for me – and the body of scientific evidence (and we can’t deny science works) is slim at best. The creationist view, ahead for thousands of years, is currently losing the race – will it ever win? Will the two come together? Who knows?!
        Have you read Dan Browns new book? Interesting read, and he presents your information / DNA question at the end – for me the book ended where the debate here starts.
        For me it’s not information that’s a wonder, after all it is everywhere, for example in the ‘instructions’ to make water which we interpret as H2O… what amazes me is that our brains and tools have evolved enough (or were created for arguments sake) to identify, understand and use that information the way we do. That’s a wonder.

        • Jose says:

          Stuart, I think the most important thing to pull from this debate is the misconception of a Creationist. There seems to be a misconception that a Creationist is a Christian that holds a literal interpretation of God’s Word. For example, Creationists believe the sun, moon and stars were created on the fourth day in which all days are twenty-four days because of an imaginary rule of an attached number, and, finally, there was no death before Adam’s sin. This interpretation is disturbing. My position is that this is an English language issue. And, anybody with any common sense, which the book of Proverbs speaks of, would know the astronomical record tells us our universe had a beginning, and it happened way beyond 6,000 years ago. For the sake of the original response, my position also is that evolution has nothing to do with God’s Creation.

          • Jose,

            A noah’s ark event, if it happened the way creationists traditionally conceive of, requires MASSIVE amounts of evolution. Otherwise how do you get millions of species from a few hundred or a few thousand?

            You really should read my book Evolution 2.0. There is much new to discover about this topic, Jose.

            • Jose says:

              Perry, I agree. I’m assuming by traditional Creationist you mean a literal interpretation. I attempted to make the point that the “traditional” Creationist interpretation does not represent all Creationists. The days of Creation were long periods of time. Not 24- hour days. As far as the flood, my position is it was a flood that destroyed the human inhabited world at that time. No reason to destroy emperor penguins. As you may have noticed God gave Noah the same command He gave to Adam and Eve, which was to fill the earth. That obviously did not happen.

    • Todd Gnarly says:

      David Altman: Yes, it did need a code. And that code was supplied by the first self-replicating organism, probably an RNA molecule, from which all life forms are descended. Evolution BEGINS with the first self-replicating organism, but it cannot explain how that organism was formed in the first place (see: abiogenesis). Currently scientists have no viable theory of abiogenesis, although they are working on it. “The right conditions” is an intuitive answer arrived at by assumption after rejecting intelligent design as “unscientific”.

      • David Altman says:

        It needed some form of RNA molecule, yes; what I’m rejecting is the notion that DNA is a “code” in the same way that English is a code, or C++ is a code – and therefore needed a Programmer to create that code.

        Unfortunately, we’re still no closer to unwrapping the mysteries of abiogenesis.

  2. Stuart Norey says:

    Jose. You are taking the bible, really the only thing supporting ANY sort of Christian creationist view of the world and which in itself is not evidence anyway and relies on faith, and saying it’s ‘wrong’ in so many areas. You are then stating your view as to what the bible really should have said, and asking the world to have faith in this vs. the weight of either thousands of years of religious thinking (itself entirely faith based) or scientific thinking (theory backed up by some evidence)?
    Whether the answers to life’s great questions are God, physics/chemistry/biology OR a bit of all of them, they can only be properly answered by taking a logical and evidenced based approach?
    By all means we can consider the theory of ‘God’. Alongside this we should also consider all the Egyptian, Greek, Roman etc gods and creation stories – after all, some lasted far longer and there are countless claims of these gods appearing to people etc, exactly as there are with the Jewish/Christian god, Jesus etc. We should consider what science has to offer too.
    To truly arrive at answers, you’d have to put your faith to one side (I am not saying lose it, just don’t let it cloud your thinking) and start over again. Be open to any theory. Apply logic to it, look for evidence, consider it.
    You’ll probably still not get a final answer, but you’ll discard many theories along the way?

    • Jose says:

      Stuart, my position is the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. So, I’m speaking of the Biblical God. Not any other religious God. So, to avoid confusion, Jesus is God, and He gave us His Scriptures and the scientific disciplines. For the purposes of this discussion, I was referring mainly to the astronomical record, which is sometimes referred to as the record of nature. My position is God created the universe, which includes time, space and matter, and His laws that govern the universe are otherwise known as the laws of physics. They do not change. He’s eternal. He did not create within time and space. He created time and space. His days of Creation were long periods of time. Not 24-hour days. So, yes, I’m creationist.

    • Jose says:

      So, Stuart, where do you suppose I’m wrong?

  3. Stuart Norey says:

    Jose. What you are stating are beliefs, not facts. You could be entirely, partly or not at all wrong. I’d personally say you are swimming against the current in terms of science theory and are also stretching/twisting, and in places ignoring, what the bible says. There are a lot of people who believe in the Old Testament god who’d disagree when you say jesus was God, or was even in any way ‘related’ or ‘supernatural’. I’m pretty convinced he was ‘real’, but that he was a normal flesh and blood human.
    Whether there was a creator or not, I’d suggest there is no sign of him now. And no need (other than our own) for him, everything we know of in the universe seems to work without divine intervention – the laws of physics, as you say, manage it all. I’d think no one would argue that, for example, God needs to intervene to make photosynthesis or conception occur – we can observe these events?
    How it all got going, before the ‘laws of physics’ kicked in as the Big Bang happened and time and space were seemingly created/came into being, who knows?

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Stuart, I’m assuming you’re not a Christian or, as some say, a believer. The most basic principle for the Christian faith is the belief in the God of the Bible, which contains sixty-six books, says Jesus is God, He was already here, and He created everything, which means our universe, everything in it and us. It also says He died by crucifixion for the sins of humanity, which is referred to as the blood atonement. Anything other than that would destroy the Christian faith. So, my point of view begins with the first two verses, in the first Old Testament book of Genesis. There are two common, Scriptural interpretations in the Christian faith, which you may be aware of: a new earth view and an old earth view. I hold to an old earth view, and it seems that the issue among the scientific disciplines is not whether an entity, god or being created our universe. The questions seem to be what of this anthropic principle, and did a personal being create the universe. So, my debate is how did the Biblical God create our universe, everything in it, life, and us. It seems that the entire point of this original thread is did God throw some evolutionary principles and processes in the mix to give us life, call it 2.0 or something else. The question still remains evolution, or not, no matter what you call it. My position is the Biblical God did not create by evolutionary processes.

  4. Ariel Shaughnessy says:

    Hi, I have to tell you how fascinated it is to watch you speak on this subject . I’m a Christian . After wandering away from church (but never losing my love/faith for Jesus Christ )!God called me back after the death of my Grandmother 5 years ago. Things happened to me that I can’t explain or would want to explain because people (back then) thought I was cracking up. Things I can’t explain but it was GodS way of calling me back to him. God works in mysterious ways. Bottom line …God exists, Jesus exists , but sometimes trying to explain to those who do not believe get rolled eyes, or attacks. Or made fun of. It was always hard to preach or subtly bring up up Christ or share stories of my experiences of back in 2012. Since finding you online yesterday , I can’t help but wonder one thing. Your work and research and overall gift you have from God to share what your learned , and spent years researching, do you bring people to Christ? I haven’t looked at all of your blogs yet, wasn’t sure . But knowing this and the work your present can get through to people , that’s a gift . But it’s like the old saying …bringing a horse to water. Which you are doing, but there is a whole other part to knowing God exists and knowing you have to accep Christ as your savior. People need to know there is our Heavenly Father and salvation in Jesus Christ (John 3:16) please let me know if you teach this to those who you can win over with your work. This is one of my favorite sayings and maybe how you get people who find you online because one day they feel God reaching out the them subtly…
    Revelation 3:20 King James Version (KJV)

    20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me

  5. Ariel Shaughnessy says:

    Sorry for typos…hard to write in that small box on the iPhone.

  6. Jose Lopez says:

    Sam, your Oxford definition said nothing about mathematics. Tell me your thoughts on how our universe came into existence.

    • Samuel Martin says:

      Jose, I’m not sure what you mean (and I think you replied to the wrong post, but I’ll look again when I’m at my computer). Why should the definition say anything about math specifically?

  7. Sam Martin says:

    I have a pair of vital questions: Have you seen RationalWiki’s entry on information theory, and have you responded to it?

    • I address most and perhaps all of these issues either directly or indirectly in evolution 2.0, including some of the criticisms of Gitt. This article is written by amateurs and is wrong on many points. No I have not addressed it directly. What I have done is organized a $5 million prize with the help of people such as George Church at Harvard and MIT.

      I am not going to bother responding to RationalWiki as I think it is trivial. Instead I welcome the people who wrote it to debate me in public. My site already has plentiful articles articulating my precise views on information theory, as I began debating this on Infidels in 2005 and took on the whole bandwagon on what used to be the largest atheist website and forum on the Internet. Summaries at //evo2.org/dna-atheists/

      I welcome anyone anywhere to challenge me on the strength of my assertions in Evolution 2.0 and / or http://www.herox.com/evolution2.0. Caution them to read my specifications and book very, very carefully, because as an author of an Ethernet book published by the world’s largest professional society of process engineers, which is now in its 3rd edition, I have most certainly done my homework.

      They have not done theirs. The person who wrote this article has only a superficial understanding of information theory. They do not appear to have ever built communication equipment like I have and they do not understand the real issues at stake.

      I also suggest that anyone who wants to opine on this topic read Yockey’s 2005 book, as well as “Matter to Life” by Davies, Walker and Ellis.

  8. AIGuy says:

    “No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind.”

    This is likely true, but no more true than this:

    “No one has ever produced a single example of a mind that did not come from a living being.”

    Clearly if we accept BOTH of these empirical inductions as facts, we cannot explain the origin of biological information. Either something about the universe enables complex form and function – including the sort of code we see in cells – to arise without a conscious mind designing it, or a some sort of conscious mind somehow exists or existed without the benefit of a complex biological nervous system. Believe what you will, but don’t pretend that simple arguments like the one above somehow settles the matter.

  9. Simon Atton says:

    Forgive my ignorance on this subject,it may be such that my observation is irrelevant but i thought information such as code which is that tangible physical stuff which appears to evoke wonder due to its apparent pattern and order which enables it to cause spontaneous generation of ordered growth because of inherent properties peculiar to such natural phenomena though why it follows that such objects must require a pre existent mind which itself lacks any explanation for it’s existence aside from the postulation that it must be the product of a yet unexplained miracle,namely the existence of an uncaused cause whose fundamental nature is of a supernatural mental kind seems to then require another level of explanation,namely a logical,rational description of how such a metaphysical entity could itself either exist eternally without a cause or bring itself into existence presumably from nothing and i mean literal nothing not the updated versions of nothing espoused by those who know perfectly well it requires a special and rather disingenuous reinterpretation of the concept of nothing to get a universe out of it.All i see proven here is that the human mind can and does impute agency where there is nothing but perception of pattern whatever that may be and call it God when you could equally call it perception of pattern with the hunch that such a phenomenon requires an agent.Maybe the agent is the human brain and this may be the closest to a God we can ever get to.

  10. Stuart Norey says:

    Of course, claiming ‘God did it’ with regards the creation of life simply introduces an even bigger (and unnecessary) question – what caused him and why does he have powers that defy the ‘laws’ of physics, chemistry, biology? God just complicates matters hugely. There are far simpler and more probable answers – science has a perfectly good and well evidenced theory in evolution for how life progressed and became complex since the first transition from physics to chemistry to biology, or however you’d like to put it. It also has some far more probable theories for how that transition got started.

    This post is evolution vs creationism. That is plain wrong as a title for a start!

    Creationism attempts to explain how life got here, in reality it tries to explain how COMPLEX life emerged fully formed. The only thing it can draw on is texts like Genesis, which are not in any way ‘evidence’. These texts are ancient mankind’s un-evidenced ‘theories’. If anyone attempts to use creationism to explain how the universe, basic biology, information or anything other than fully formed complex life got started, they are ignoring (and in fact going against, denying the word of God etc) the only religious texts they have to quote at us. The Bible does not talk about microbes, cells etc as it’s writers did not know they existed, they could not see them. They also did not know how old the universe, earth etc was, or that it had ever been much different than it was in their time, a hot ball of rock later populated by microbes and then dinosaurs etc. So they tried to explain only the time, creatures and scale they saw.

    Evolution really explains how life evolved ONCE it got started. Natural selection makes total sense and can be seen in action today. Evolution is not really ‘random’. It is not guided or designed either. The genetic mutations may be random, but they are ‘selected’ based on the ones in the gene pool that favour survival. After many many generations you get a creature that APPEARS to have been designed for its environment, easy to see why ancient man felt the need to credit a God.

    How biology got started and became simple ‘organisms’ capable of evolving, eventually into what we see living today or in fossil records, is not really evolution.

    Either ‘God did it’ and you need to explain how he did it and how he came to exist – you need to explain how the laws of physics etc were bypassed and you need to explain the creation of a vastly complex supernatural being vs. amino acids and biological molecules, not complex life or DNA.

    There are trillions of stars, planets etc in the universe. Likely billions of worlds with the right conditions for some sort of life, likely billions a bit like earth. We know all the elements needed to make life come from stars, we know comets carry the basic ingredients for life + water throughout the universe. We know comets crash into worlds, earth got bombarded and most other planets probably did too – delivering the ingredients everywhere. There are other ways to get the ingredients and conditions too, e.g. underwater volcanic vents.

    So you might have huge odds, say a billion to one (some scientists think it more likely than that), of basic biology getting started.

    That means it probably happened in many places. In reality it only needed to happen in one – here. We are here because it happened here.

    On earth it probably happened in many locations suitable for it to happen, it probably ‘failed’ in most. But clearly somewhere ‘life’ got a foothold and then evolution took over.

    Or “god’ did it. You also have to answer ‘which god?’ Mother Nature?
    Zeus? Yahweh? Chinese ones? Indian ones?

    So it is not evolution vs. creationism. It is well thought out and tested theory vs conflicting and confused ancient superstitions. Science vs. Faith.

    Just because we dont know of a code not created by intelligence, does not mean by default there is not one and that DNA was made by God. There are perfectly good theories on how life and DNA got going, science questions and tests these all the time and will move ever closer to answers.

    • Stuart,

      There is one thing here that you have very very backwards.

      You are saying “Before someone can invoke God, they have to explain where God came from.”

      Yet at the same time, you excuse your own self from explaining where the universe came from, where information came from, where consciousness came from, etc.

      You have this backwards.

      There are two reasons why this is backwards.

      God by Judeo-Christian theological definition has no beginning, no creator and no source of origin. (And it’s not like you don’t know this.) So you are excluding God by your own capricious choice of exclusion. Which puts you yourself in an infinite regress, but you’re not acknowledging that.

      For that reason alone I have no reason to further engage with you. Because if this question has any answer at all, the ultimate answer by definition has to be an uncaused cause.

      Thus your criteria themselves are irrational and illogical. (Even while you yourself have excused yourself from explaining the origin of matter / space / energy / time etc!)

      I do not accept your hypocrisy.

      In any such discussion, you are going to have to begin with an axiom or a set of axioms, which are defined as things that you have to assume to be true but cannot prove, in order to make your model work.

      Monotheism reduces the ultimate question to the smallest possible number of axioms which is one: God.

      And this does not in any way impede scientific progress because the God proposition still presumes that the universe and the laws of physics and logic are discoverable and discernible. This is why Christian theology gave birth to science 500 to 1000 years ago. God as ultimate answer gives us grounding for assuming that the rest can be, with time and patience, discovered and sorted out.

      You seem to have the idea that God and science are somehow at odds with each other. Well, OK, to creationists and atheists they are. But to me they are not. I think of the two as being orthogonal to each other. God is an ultimate (and necessary) explanation. Science is a proximal explanation and will by definition never explain itself.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        And I don’t think you can argue Christianity started science. The Greeks were making it observations far before that, others probably before. The ‘Arab’ world probably has a better and earlier claim too.
        Christianity has, until very recently, persecuted any sort of scientific thinking – figure out what stats are, or that we orbit the sun? Heretic!
        Sensible people like you have had the concede ground to science, 100 years ag you would be firmly arguing for the genesis creation. Many Americans still do. Now, because we make code but didn’t make DNA, you assume intelligence is required in EVERY case rather than chemistry, biology and natural selection. We’ve only been as far as the moon in person, and not left our solar statutes yet. Who knows what marvels are in the universe, what other examples of natural ‘information’?
        You are, and will continue, retreating to the point that f the Big Bang – you are an intelligent chap and that’s where I’d bet science will finally and unarguably push you in your lifetime.
        Beyond that? Big bearded man? Uncaused cause? Linear universes? Multiverses? A Space dragon farting the known universe?

        • Science got started in ancient China; in ancient Egypt and Greece and Rome; and in Islam. But it never went anywhere. In those cultures, it sputtered and coughed and died.

          Why?

          Because those cultures did not have a theology to support it.

          Science rests on faith that the universe is governed by fixed, discoverable laws. That it operates without the need for constant intervention by the creator and that the creation has a degree of freedom to follow its own course.

          Islam does not teach this; Greek and Roman mythology did not teach this, and neither did the Egyptian or Eastern religions.

          Wisdom of Solomon 11:21, which was written 2,200 years ago, says, “Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure.” This is found in the apocrypha, i.e. the books of the Catholic Bible.

          It is the first known statement in history of a scientific worldview.

          In Islam, the will of Allah is absolute and the world functions according to His inscrutable purposes. In Roman and Greek theology, thunder and lightning occurred because one deity was at war with another. Aristotle’s claim that heavier objects would fall faster was often repeated but almost never tested – even though anyone could easily stand on a chair and put his theory to the test.

          Chinese mysticism similarly provided no grounds for an orderly, mechanistic universe.

          Atheism offers no outside framework for assuming the universe is orderly either; many atheists, both ancient and modern, assume it’s all a big giant accident. Which is an explicitly anti-scientific proposition.

          Only in Christian Europe was there a basis for believing that a search for discoverable laws would be richly rewarded.

          Is it merely a coincidence that a large number of the founding scientists, perhaps even the majority – Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Maxwell, Boyle – were deeply religious and considered the practice of science to be an act of worship?

          • Stuart Norey says:

            Perry, the Greeks worked out the Earth was a sphere. Stonehenge appears to track and record the movement of the stars, as do many other 5000+ year old monuments. Gobekli Tepe is potentially over 10,000 years old and they appear to have been recording the stars. Humans domesticated grain about 9,000 years ago, selectively bred dogs and livestock. The summerians invented writing and maths 6000 or so years ago, millions of clay tablets record weights and measures etc. That is all recorded observation, trying to understand how the world worked, improve on nature, control it. That’s all science.

            • Stuart:

              The origin of the universe requires an uncaused cause.

              TRUE or FALSE?

              • Stuart Norey says:

                Perry. One cannot possibly make a true or false declaration on that, it’s not possible. There are theories, some far stronger than others.
                It (likely the Big Bang) could have been caused by e.g. the collapse and then explosive expansion of some prior universe, but we cannot see beyond what evidence is in our universe? Of course, what caused that one? Or did it somehow just appear? Did there have to be a cause, there was potentially no time or space prior to the Big Bang, so no time or space for it to be caused in – and therefore nothing to cause it?
                Of all the seriously presented theories and people presenting them, all of the religions attempts (from genesis to something vomiting up the universe) are the least credible theories presented by the least credible and most biased people.
                Science sees something and asks who, what, why, where, when etc. Religion sees something and asks ‘how does god fit this as an explanation’ so your preconceptions (beliefs) rule out all other explanations. Most scientists, when proved wrong, will slap themselves in the forehead and change. Most true believers in a god simply won’t see anything else.

                • It is a simple question and it is easily answerable. You’re ducking and dodging. It is simple logic because it is cause and effect. It’s binary: There’s either an uncaused cause or there’s not. Take the fork and deal with what comes next.

                  Stop dodging and answer the question.

                  • Stuart Norey says:

                    How is it easily answerable?! There isn’t enough evidence, and theories either way. Stephen Hawking appears to think maybe an uncaused cause, others differ. No one on the planet is (yet) equipped to answer you.
                    You state ‘if you can read this sentence I can PROVE god exists’. You can’t, you have zero evidence, just a theory. The bible is not evidence. The fact we’ve found no other similar natural carriers of ‘information’ yet on THIS planet (although you could easily argue things like Oxygen carry information on how to make more oxygen – o2) does not mean we won’t here or elsewhere and that by default ‘god did it’.
                    You don’t know the answer to your question in truth, clearly you have an opinion, just as you cannot possibly answer ‘god exists, true or false?’

                    • Stuart,

                      Is the regression of past causes (1) infinite, or (2) finite?

                    • David Altman says:

                      Perry’s comment: “Is the regression of past causes (1) infinite, or (2) finite?”

                      The answer is: “Yes.” If the universe has ALWAYS existed (one prevailing hypothesis), or if the current universe sprang from a previous one, etc. (another prevailing hypothesis), then it COULD be infinite.

                      Or… you can simply postulate a finite universe, which is in line with what we’ve observed. Thus far, there has been no empirical evidence or repeatable test to demonstrate anything other than natural causes for everything we’ve seen.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Stuart, I agree with some of the things you pointed out. Creationism, in my opinion, is simply stating a transcendent being created our universe. My position is that the God of the Bible was that being. Why? It’s because of what the Biblical God inspired Job and Moses to record in the Books of Job and Genesis. They speak of God’s general revelation. The scientific community call it the Anthropic Principle. And, it began when our universe came into existence out of nothing, otherwise known as the Big Bang. Call it what you want, but; the Biblical God created time, space and matter, and His laws of physics have not changed. Yes, the Bible is silent about many scientific terms, such as cells, proteins, and quasars. So, the question that many skeptics should be asking is how did the Biblical God create our universe? What did that look like? This is at the heart of the debate about the Biblical God amongst the scientific community. Some see the design while others continue to hang on to evolution or aliens. My position is that evolution and the alien debate are a waste of time. Some in the scientific community need to let it go.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Jose. The bible is VERY clear in what it said creation was, and it was NOT the Big Bang! The whole thing is very earth centric and very man, fish, bird and mammal etc focused. It might place creation in the last 10,000 years or so, not much before that and certainly not 14 billion years (or whatever it is). You are basically saying ‘ignore the bible, it’s just a confused story’ and that’s exactly what I am saying too. Except you are taking religions traditional enemies findings and attempting to shoe horn them in. I’m saying God certainly isn’t needed (or likely) for anything to happen or have happened, in fact claiming ‘God did it’ introduces no evidenced answer and actually raises so many more questions.

        Let evolution go? It’s a proven theory, we can SEE natural selection in action today.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Perry. I cannot definitely answer finite or infinite, how could I – it could be either! We have no evidence. We can speculate, based on what we already know about our universe and good scientific method, and then test that. It’s difficult (maybe impossible) in this case, as we’d be trying to test something outside of space, time and our universe?!

        • If you take the infinite route, then you have an infinite regression of universes.

          You might want to research the history of infinite regressions in philosophy and then let me know if you’d prefer to rule that out.

  11. Stuart Norey says:

    Christian theological definition? That’s one religion, and it’s a very unlikely uncaused cause – such a complex being. Science would potentially have it that the Big Bang was an uncaused cause, far more likely.

    That there was a Big Bang is pretty well established. The theory is tested and we see what the theory (still evolving) suggests we will. Maybe the Big Bang came from nothing, maybe it was part of an infinite precession of Big bangs creating universes that later contract again, maybe there are ‘multiverses’. All more plausible than a big Jewish magic man in the sky – Judaism is just one of the religions Christianity borrowed from, there are elememts from Summeria (e.g. great flood) and Egypt (seem to be a lot of birth of Jesus – Horus parallels).

    There is no evidence for god. The bible is a theory, and genesis does NOT stand up, it’s all over the place. Faith doesn’t equal ‘right’ and in fact it brings one to evidence.

    • Stuart,

      An uncaused cause at some point is necessary to explain the existence of the universe.

      True or false?

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Perry, it seems probable that space and time came into existence at the Big Bang. So there potentially was no time for there to be a cause, and no space for one to act in? I’m not sure the human mind can grasp that concept very well though! everything we know operates in space and time, although there does seem to be an expansion of the universe – into something or maybe there is nothing in existence outside It? Or maybe we have eternal expansion and contraction.
        God doesn’t have to be the uncaused cause.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Stuart, the first verse in Genesis says God created the universe . More specifically, He spoke it into existence out of nothing, and Jesus Christ went to work. We can see it. So, there’s a problem with your suggestion that maybe it was out of many big bangs. You need to gain some knowledge if your going to try and defend your position.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Genesis does not say universe. It says ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth‘. Even that is an English translation, seem as somewhat incorrect and misinterpreted. It’s actually closer to ‘sky and land’. Be careful about where the bible says universe, it’s not necessarily an accurate translation and probably wasn’t meant by the translator to be what we know as the universe – that was an unknown concept until very recently.

        • Jose Lopez says:

          Stuart, you’re correct in a misinterpretation. The Scriptures were not written in English.
          The interpretation issue is an English language issue. Biblical Hebrew consisted of, at least, three thousand words, not including names. Hebraic words used in the Scriptures had multiple, literal meanings. For example, the word Yom is translated day in English. However, it has four literal meanings, which are used in the Biblical Scriptures. In reference to universe, the words used are shemayim eretz, meaning the heavens and the earth. I believe this is in reference to our universe. Context is critical in a correct, consistent interpretation of God’s Word. It’s also critical that when you begin Genesis 1, the point of view changes from verse 1 to verse 2, which now finds our point of reference from the surface of planet earth. Scripture does not tell us how much time has passed from verse 1 to verse 2. And, the seventh day does not have an evening or a morning. We’re still in the seventh day. So, the days of Creation are long periods of time. Not twenty-four hour days.

          • Stuart Norey says:

            You state ‘heavens and the earth. I believe this is in reference to our universe’ and that ‘context is critical’.

            They believed god was up in a the heavens or a heaven, he regularly descended or cane in visions to tell them to do things like commit genocide, sack cities etc. His Angels came down too. He got jealous really easily, hated anyone outside a specific tribe etc. So their god was pretty much a localised human like being, or could become such, and very Hebrew. His Angels were very human.

            These people wrote the genesis story based on what god supposedly told them. They believed it wholeheartedly. They didn’t know the universe as we do, their context was very different.

            With all due respect, what you believe is not relevant. And it’s certainly not evidence. Genesis is very clear, and we now know very wrong.

            You mention Jesus elsewhere, he’s not an Old Testament figure. Christianity is not even the same religion as we see in the Old Testament, and certainly not the religion of Jesus. Some people linked him to Old Testament ‘predictions’ and potentially even twisted things like birthplace and lineage to fit them – wasn’t the blood of David on Joseph’s side, who supposedly wasn’t his father, so how could he fit that part of thepredictions. There are two separate versions of his birth story. Early Christian sects and scholars, who were repeating – embellishing – making up stories often from decades earlier, could not even agree if he was a man or son of god. That was decided for ‘certain’ when the Roman world converted, it suited to have him as a supernatural figure, the Romans needed control – I’d imagine there was a lot of ‘lobbying from various sects as to his status.

            • Jose Lopez says:

              I’m not sure if there was a question in your comments. John 1:3 says “Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is Himself God. He created everything there is-nothing exists that He didn’t make.” Jesus is God, and that means He had everything to do with the Old Testament. Your argument is a cultural inference in that it has many thinking that because the New Testament is with us, then the Old is not relevant. God’s Scriptures are recorded in sixty-six books. We must take all of them consistently and literally in order to construct a contextual reference. Hebrews 1:3 says “By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. I believe”not visible” is a reference to atoms, electrons, or anything that makes up our universe, that the scientific disciplines have presented to us through research. I referenced earlier that the questions we must ask ourselves when we are speaking of general revelation, are ‘How did God use a word?’ and ‘ How did that look?’. It’s very simple, Stuart. It doesn’t take a college degree or a theological degree to understand how the Biblical Creation has everything to do with science.

  12. David Altman says:

    Perry, I will personally work to give YOU (or to any charity you name) the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,00000) if you can prove, scientifically, that DNA is a code. By prove, I mean publish your findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and have your findings verified by other scientists. One other scientist isn’t enough; you must have a fair sampling of scientists who agree with your published findings.

    It’s not a million, but it’s a good challenge. The question is: Are you up to the challenge? Can your ideas withstand the scrutiny of the scientific method?

    • So if I can show you in numerous peer reviewed scientific journals that an appreciable number of scientists agree that DNA is code, then you’ll give me $1000?

      • David Altman says:

        Provided that you follow the rules, I’m willing.

        Rule #1: The “peer” review cannot be just a bunch of creationists you’ve gotten together to rubber stamp your idea.

        Rule #2: The peers reviewing the paper (again, YOUR published paper, not someone else’s) must all be qualified scientists. That is, they have an ACTUAL degree from an ACTUAL university (not some worthless piece of paper from a so-called college which is no more than a PO Box), AND — on top of that — must be in the correct field – i.e., geneticists. I don’t care what some cosmologist or botanist or geologist has to say on this subject; that is the logical fallacy of appeal to the wrong authority.

        Rule #3: In the review, there should be at least a fair sampling of either non-theists, or else theists from other traditions, i.e., Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Buddhism, etc.

        In the mean time, I’d appreciate it if you posted a link to ONE single paper. I have been unable to find ANY on the web, despite searching several different ways.

        Mind you, I’m asking YOU, personally, to present a scientific argument to back up your assertions here, and then to publish THAT in a peer-reviewed journal, in accordance with the rules I’ve posted.

        If you think, “I can’t do that because I’m not a scientist,” that itself is problematic; ANYONE can look for empirical evidence and perform repeatable, falsifiable tests. The fact that ANYONE (not just ‘scientists’) can perform these tests is what validates the system. Peer review, of course, MUST be through qualified scientists. If you ARE a geneticist, I’d like to know what your credentials are.

        Thank you in advance.

        • There are dozens, or perhaps hundreds of books, textbooks and papers explaining exactly and precisely why DNA is code. There are thousands more which base their logic on the fact that DNA is code. The entire field of bioinformatics is based on this fact. There is no shortage of such literature. If you believe otherwise, it is because you have not studied the history of the subject or the reasons for the original definition of the genetic code.

          You can locate all the references you might care to find near the bottom of this page, which was written about 12 years ago:

          http://evo2.org/dna-atheists/dna-code/

          The best books you should consult are “Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life” by Hubert Yockey and “Matter to Life” by Davies, Walker and Ellis. Davies invited me to present the EV2.0 prize at ASU in August and I had dinner with him and Sara Walker after my presentation.

          So what you are really asking for is a peer reviewed paper by me.

          I expect that sooner or later I’ll publish a paper in a peer reviewed journal. Whether you make good on $1000 is of no consequence. I have $5 million of capital investment on the line, and I spent many tens of thousands of dollars of my own putting this prize in place, including complying with SEC regulations, paying fees to HeroX etc.

          I have three editors of peer reviewed journals (John Torday who edits Biology, Denis Noble who edits Royal Society’s Interface Focus and Kwang Jeon, editor of International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology) and all endorse my work and prize. The leading Geneticist at Harvard (George Church) on my judging panel for the Evolution prize.

          more at
          https://evo2.org/peer-review/
          and
          http://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

          I’ve discussed this question with some of the best origin of life scientists in the world, including three Nobel Prize winners, and my definitions are quite tight. George Church made some useful suggestions in August, at which time I amended the prize specification in a few spots.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      David, you may be interested in Who Was Adam by Fazale Rana.

      • David Altman says:

        Jose: Ok, perhaps the “research comes from peer-reviewed publications”… if so, all I’m asking for is a link to the publication or publications from which their work was derived.

        • David,

          You’re stretching my patience thin. Stop asking other people to do homework for you which you can EASILY do for yourself.

          Just buy the books. They’re full of good references. (And they cite them honestly). If your previous $1000 offer was any good then you’ll have no problem purchasing a book or two. It’s OK to buy books by people you disagree with.

          • David Altman says:

            As I stated, I’m not interested in the books at all. I am going to read ALL of the articles you posted.

            However: You gave me links to twenty-two separate articles, only half of which have been written in the last twenty years, and only four of which have been written in the last ten years. Five of these articles were written by your “Poster Boy,” Mr. Yockey, who was NOT a biologist or geneticist; that’s 22% of your list. And while the name Crick may sound impressive (it was, after all, he and Mr. Watson who discovered DNA,” these papers are 50 years out-of-date. Several of them concern mathematics, not biology. Thus far, I’m not impressed.

            However, until I’ve read them ALL, in their entirety (and done some side research to see if anyone has supported their hypotheses or shown them false), I will keep an open mind, AND reserve further judgment.

            The one writer who recently posted, Stuart Norey, made a good point, though; this channel is VERY creationistic, and tends to use sources which are, (or sound like they are) in support of creationism / intelligent design – neither of which, of course, are science. Thank you for your patience, and for your assistance. I’ll be busy for a while doing research.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        All the authors you mention are very very Christian. Creationists. Hardly unbiased. It’s ok having a ‘god’ theory, but faith cannot be allowed to get in the way – good scientists will ditch a theory in the presence of solid evidence against it, creationists theory is too intertwined with their faith (which needs have no logical foundation), in fact rejecting creation rejects god.

        • Jose,

          You will get nowhere citing books written by Christians to most atheists. You have to do what I did which is use (almost) exclusively peer reviewed mainstream science papers and/or academic books and textbooks from credible secular sources. Quoting Fazale Rana or Stephen Meyer to atheists will get you nowhere. For the most part, atheists won’t even bother to read it for themselves at all. They will just dismiss it as creationist poppycock, as Stuart is doing here. It’s called Confirmation Bias.

          For the record, however, both of the authors that Jose recommends are quite scholarly and if you’re intellectually honest I think you’ll read them.

        • Jose Lopez says:

          Stuart, I think you need to be careful in ignoring scholars, such as Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana, of which both have had much of their work peer reviewed by the scientific community because they are both respected scientists in their respective disciplines. I think you must also be careful not to place all Creationists in the “young earth” box. I am a Creationist. However, I believe the sun was created before the earth. Why? Because astronomical scientists can show us, be they Christians, or not. They see the same thing regardless if they believe in Jesus Christ, or not.

  13. Stuart Norey says:

    I’m assuming he means a code as in a code made by intelligence, ie not natural? Of course dna is code made by nature – unless you happen to use god as a reason.

  14. Todd Gnarly says:

    I believe in God, but I think the analogy used here, between Google ads and biological evolution, doesn’t work to discredit blind evolution. The reason is that in the example, a single ad is mutated many times, causing the rapid accumulation of errors. In biology, a population of say, a million rats might have 1,000 with one genetic error each – each rat with a different error. 999 of these rats die, leaving one rat with an adaptive genetic mutation, just by chance. This rat, being superior to his unmutated peers, goes on to eventually have a million descendants. Now you have a million superior rats and the process starts all over gain. Multiply that times three or four billion years and you get the biosphere we see today.

  15. David Altman says:

    One thing I think many people who have visited this site have failed to consider is this: If the author of this page is right, and he can “prove” God exists, then every Christian is doomed – at least, according to the Bible.

    You don’t need faith when you have proof. Faith becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what I think, feel, or believe concerning the shape of the earth (an oblate spheroid), the age of the earth (4.5 billion years), or whether or not biological evolution happened (it did). The facts remain, the evidence and proof are there. I can choose to be willfully ignorant of the facts, I can choose to “disbelieve” them, but that does not alter reality. I can’t have “faith” in these things with proof of them; faith is unnecessary.

    According to the Bible, without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Also, salvation ONLY comes by faith. So, without faith, you can’t have salvation, you can’t please God – and therefore, you can’t go to heaven.

    So it only makes me wonder why so many Christians are out there either looking for proof of God, or else asserting that they have proof of God. With proof of God, you destroy Christianity. Good job.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      David Altman, the faith that I have is that a young virgin named Mary, thru God’s Holy Spirit, became pregnant, and had an Israeli baby named Jesus. He’s God in a human body, like you and I, and He lived and walked on this planet, that He created, for 33 years. His message to every human being from the time that He was on Earth to now, was if we ask Him to save us from our sinful nature, He will give us eternal life, and we will reside, with Him, in a place called Heaven after we physically die. That was His purpose on earth. He then was sentenced to death, and He was crucified beyond anything that any movie director can recreate. He was buried, and He was risen from the dead three days after His death, and He ascended back to Heaven, where He now sits and waits next to God, who now completes the Trinity. When Jesus decides, He will return for every saved Christian. He will then recreate a new earth that can be considered the eighth day. New physics, new everything. On a side note, some of Jesus’s prophets and followers wrote the words of Scripture, thru His Holy Spirit, that we have come to know as the Bible. Jesus instructed us to read, follow, and Believe these Words. That’s my faith as a Christian, and that faith goes beyond anything that I haven’t seen, can see or will see. Hope that helps.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      You mentioned why are Christians looking for proof, or claiming proof. Here’s my take. I’m skeptical. Why? Because I’m a human being. It’s part of my nature, and our nature. You can even say it’s part of our sinful nature. I say that because skepticism can lead to doubt about a living God who created us thru these codes of instructions to create proteins that eventually leads to our body plans. We can doubt that God created this universe billions of years ago. So, any proof of the Biblical God that we find is just that……proof that the the words of Scripture are right. The other part of that is proof of the Biblical God is for people like you that may be skeptical, or doubt. Christians use these proofs as a resource for the person who chooses not believe, or is looking for answers. Jesus sent out His followers just before He ascended back to Heaven with one directive. That was to tell as many human beings as they could about the salvation plan that Jesus spoke of. We know that as the Great Commission. I still do that and will continue until God takes me. As a matter of fact, I’m doing that very thing right now. So, lack of faith does not destroy Christianity. If we ever we’re to prove Jesus’ blood atonement wasn’t meant for human beings, then the Christian faith would die. In my opinion, that’s an impossibility.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        “Christians use these proofs as a resource for the person who chooses not believe”?
        There are not any ‘proofs’ for god, none at all. The bible is not proof. The fact that science might have an incomplete understanding of something is not proof. Even if we have zero understanding, that’s not proof for god – that would be ‘stoneage’ thinking, where god made thunder because we didn’t know what did!
        If there was proof, it wouldn’t be a case of us atheists choosing to have belief/faith or not, we’d know.
        All this stuff you quote above is not proof. Jesus might have existed, he might be a combination of many stories of real people plus a few myths, there’s not really much proof for the ‘jesus’ – but he was very likely a ‘real’ man. There is no proof of a virgin birth, walking on water, feeding the 5000, making the blind see, ascending and descending etc. Because something is in a book and several billion people choose or were brainwashed into believing it, does not make it any more true. What we know about the universe makes all this so improbable we can be pretty certain it did not happen, you should be as sceptical of this as you feel about other aspects of what your religion asks you to accept, it’s actually even more unlikely than the universe having a creator – we know jesus would break the laws of physics/nature today, we don’t know they even existed/what they were prior to ‘the Big Bang’ / God doing his ‘minecraft’ thing.

        • Jose Lopez says:

          Stuart, brainwashing falls into the same category of the myths you’re speaking of. That’s not an argument. And, your “what if” thinking on our physical laws existing before our universe came into existence is faulty. Our universe came into existence in a single, miraculous moment. That included space, time, matter, and our space time laws, knowingly called the laws of physics. That’s a fact. How do we know? We can see it and measure it. Everything is put to a test. We’re not lead by blind Faith, in terms of astronomy. This universe we live in is quite miraculous, whether you believe Jesus created it, or not. That’s a fact. Proof? Some refer to it as the Anthropic Principle. So, when I read “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth” there’s no doubt in my mind that something or someone created this thing. Take that verse, and that person was the Biblical God. Reject it and you still have the same question: who made this universe and how? You don’t need to be a Christian to comprehend this issue. Common sense? That helps.

          • Stuart Norey says:

            Why does someone or something need to have started/created the universe, especially someone with so many human like qualities – based on humankind of roughly the last 10,000 or so years? You are just assuming that based on how (most) things happen in the universe now, which wasn’t there with all it’s laws of physics etc at the time so does not apply, and our limited human knowledge and experience?

            Maybe it has always been there, expanding and contracting?

            Maybe it is recycled from an infinite number of prior universes?

            Or spawned from one of many current universes, like a bubble appearing in a whirlpool?

            Clearly the people writing the bible were trying to make sense of it. They had limited tools to do so. They borrowed an awful lot from other cultures creation stories. They did a pretty poor job of the creation story in reality – timescale, order of events, nature of objects, long term dominant but extinct species on earth not given a mention etc are all over the place despite creationists insisting days were not actual what was meant by days etc etc.

            Humanity has grown up in so many ways, yet we are still clinging to bedtime stories. We’d send any mature adult to see a shrink if they wandered round saying Thor or Odin was real or that the earth was flat (although we seem to let a lot get away with that one still)!

            • Jose Lopez says:

              Stuart, are you saying our universe didn’t have a beginning?

              • Stuart Norey says:

                Jose
                I am saying our one did in its present form. But before that? Did all time and space start then, or just our version? Was there some sort of infinite expansion and contraction – almost like a tiny black hole that contained all the energy from the universe before ours? Or are we bouncing off or rubbing up against other universes? Or did it just come into being, we have trouble with that concept because we live within the physical laws of the universe (which maybe can’t have applied before it was here) and everything we experience is finite – we are conceived, born, live a very short time, die, decompose etc.
                I personally don’t think we will ever find out what was here before, because there wasn’t our time or space for it to be visible from/in. We will develop some strong theories though, maybe some we can partly test?

                • Jose Lopez says:

                  Stuart, astronomical research has already shown us that our universe came into existence out of nothing. They call it the big bang. Call it what you want but space, time,matter including the laws of physics came into existence. How do we know that. We can see it thru our telescopes. That doesn’t require a theistic or a philosophical response.

  16. Stuart Norey says:

    David. While I do agree with all your views in where we came from, I don’t think you’ll ever stamp out religion – because much of humanity seems to ‘need’ mysticism, our brains seem to have become wired that way?
    While I think There is as much evidence for God as there is Santa Claus, I don’t think proof would remove faith and ‘do him in’. You’d not have to have faith in his existence, but you still have to have faith he would answer your specific prayers – Whether they be to get better, make you rich, make crops grow or make the girl next door fancy you?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Perry, that was awesome!

  18. Dope Sleeper says:

    I’m a layman. I have a high school education. What I’ve typed below is not an explanation of anything but more like my attempt to understand how life evolved.

    What I don’t understand is how life evolved to distinguish between bad experiences like pain, fear, depression etc., and good ones. The way I see it, it’s not possible without something existing prior to life, maybe the message you are talking about. Anyway, here is my explanation or maybe it’s a question that someone can explain.

    What is suffering? Suffering is what advanced forms of life experience in response to certain types of brain activity. Why does suffering exist? The ability to suffer evolved (was naturally selected) because it gave life forms that had it a survival advantage over those that didn’t.

    A mutation occurred that created the necessary neural apparatus to suffer. Prior to this mutation, no organism ever experienced suffering.

    What was the selection criteria for this particular mutation that created suffering? After all, not just any random arrangement of cells would produce suffering in the organism that had them. No – just as only a specific structure of cells (an eye) is responsive to light, only a specific structure in the brain would be responsive to pain.

    How did the organism that first possessed the neural apparatus to experience suffering, know that it was suffering? What was the selection criteria for that particular neural structure that we now identify as the one that produces pain? There could be none, unless there was some thing that already knew what suffering was.

    In other words, without a prior ability to experience suffering, there would have been no selection criteria for any mutation capable of producing suffering.

    So like I said, I have no education or background to sensibly discuss this, and I know it’s very possible that I am missing somthing obvious. Anyway, that’s my idea.

  19. John says:

    Perry, I read your thesis and would like to comment on how much I enjoyed it. I think your strength is to take a basically simple message–cell design/replication is intelligently designed–and explain it in simple, no-nonsense, no-frills terms. I am a former Christian turned deist. I could not believe in the god of the Bible because of the Bible’s flaws and because of morality problems with how the Old Testament Yahweh is portrayed but I could not give up my belief that an Intelligence had to have jump-started all this and then put natural laws into place to guide it to where we are today. I liken what you say to the belief by some atheist biologists arguing that chance could explain billions of English letters floating in a giant bowl of soup and then spelling out the complete works of Shakespeare when it is poured onto a table, given enough time. Just curious: have you ever been drawn to deism as a better explanation for the origins of life–an Intelligence that has no note of or concern about the unspeakable levels of suffering that goes on down here regardless of how many prayers are sent up to Him?

    • John,

      I can well relate to the disappointment that leads one to prefer a deist God over a personal one. And I can understand the scientific logic that nonetheless indicates the supreme level of order in the universe.

      But even if I were to try very hard, I’m not sure it would be possible for me to be a deist. Because I have had too many direct personal spiritual experiences. Ignorance is bliss but you can’t un-learn a truth.

      Just two trails you can follow for now, of my personal story:

      http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles

      https://www.perrymarshall.com/34766/the-story-behind-the-story/

      Re: the Bible…

      I think the Old Testament makes a great deal more sense if you look at it from an evolutionary viewpoint. The pivot point is the modern notion of equality, which I describe here:

      http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/faq/#equality

      The notion of equality of human beings simply did not exist anywhere in the human race before Jesus. I flesh this out in the link above.

      I would argue that before Jesus the very possibility of equality didn’t even exist. It was a darwinian world. Period. There was no law or rule that said when you fight your enemies you should not kill them dead and take whatever you want.

      There was no equality between the Jews and the Canaanites. A person from 1000 BC listening to our horror at those wars would be utterly mystified.

      The only reason that you have this notion of “Old Testament Genocide” is from New Testament equality and visions of peace.

      For those reasons you can’t hold Old Testament God to New Testament morality, because there was no basis for spiritual equality of human beings which is entirely a metaphysical construct, and it comes from Christianity. (Where ALL men, not just royalty, are literally regarded as sons of God; and suddenly evolution means something entirely different than it ever did before. Equality post Jesus might even mean that we attempt to provide free health care for everyone on earth.)

      No one in 1000 BC would have ever imagined such a thing.

      PS please use your full name when posting. I like talking to real people.

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Perry. Christianity and equality have rarely been bedfellows. The church works on hierarchies. The feudal system and kings relied on god having made some people above others. So did slavery. Christianity has consistently persecuted other faiths and even sects within itself. We’ve had crusades, inquisitions, genocide in e.g. the Americas all in the name of god and one type of religion, culture and race being ‘better’ and favoured by god. Religion has, and still does, drive inequality between the sexes (marriage, entry to priesthood etc) and people’s sexual preferences (Aids was a curse from god etc).
        Our distant ancestors, hunter gatherer tribes for example, seem to have had more equality than one seed in the biblical, post Christ and even modern religions! Pre Christ we had female rulers, multicultural cities and empires, the Greeks and many other cultures didn’t even have the hang ups we do now about homosexuality!

  20. Donny Muncie says:

    How is your fundamental argument different from the classical teleological argument?

    • Great question. Paley’s watch argument always had the weakness that the analogy between a watch and a living organism was unclear. However, the definition of code in biology and the definition in computer science (Claude Shannon) are identical.

      Paley tried to force you to a conclusion. I give you five options for where the first code came from:

      1. Humans (time travel)
      2. Aliens
      3. Random accident
      4. Unknown law of physics
      5. God

      Take your pick. By the way, not only is #3 not science, it’s anti-science.

      My $5 million prize is a quest for #4. http://www.herox.com/evolution2.0

      • Stuart Norey says:

        Excuse me, it’s late and I’m tired, but I know what I’m trying to say! Why does number 3 have to be a random accident? Physics, chemistry, biology seems to almost seek order and structure in bonding of chemicals, formation of crystals etc. Unstable things don’t last.
        You could argue the recipie for water or chemical compounds is a code, it’s just not self replicating but it does carry the information you’d need to make more of it – but then neither are words or DNA self replicating?
        You need other apparatus to do that? Isolated DNA is just like a random word – no context, meaning, use etc unless you have something to read it and a factory to make more of it, just like words or chemical compounds?
        Codes or instructions are everywhere surely, all made by ‘nature’, and you can read and copy them with intelligence and the right tools?
        Evolution is not entirely random or accidental, it’s surely driven by lots of things like responding to environment – stick antibiotics on a load of bacteria (environmental change) and you get survivors with traits that enable life in that environment + dead ones with traits that don’t, reproduction fixes those traits in the population. Hardly random or accidental?
        It probably takes a lot of time, environments and resource/material to get from e.g. chemistry to biology to complex life but the universe has those things in abundance and no doubt there were many failures on the way – hard work.
        God seems almost a lazy alternative and an impossible one, like giving up figuring out how a computer chip is made and assuming it’s magic. God seems the easiest but the least likely of your scenarios!

        • If you can prove that Physics, chemistry, biology seems to almost seek order and structure in bonding of chemicals, formation of crystals etc can create codes; and that “Codes or instructions are everywhere surely” — then demonstrate it and win the prize.

          • Stuart Norey says:

            We attach letters to elements and order them to illustrate the way they bond. So we can ‘read’ water (h2o) or carbon dioxide (co2). Those elements and bonds a real, regardless of how we choose to portray them ourselves. A magnet could be a 0 and a 1 for positive and negative, join them together and you have 101010 or whatever. We could have chosen colours and numbers for example, or pictures.
            They are therefore simple codes, or recipes, we can read them. They are not intelligent or of intelligent design. Alone, they cannot self replicate.
            You can even have a recipie to make a star?
            DNA is of course more complex but essentially an recipie too. We attach letters to it so we can represent it in a way we understand, nature doesn’t do that. DNA also does not self replicate or even construct itself, you need other cellular machinery to read and reproduce it.
            If you sent carbon dioxide and water off into space and someone found them, they’d need a way of reading both and replicating both, neither can do that itself, but they would both be codes as both hold information.
            How you get to DNA and the Machinery around it in a cell is of course far more complex, but a code does not have to be complex – it just needs to convey information. On/off is 0/1 and a coded instruction that is at the heart of the modern world (the chip in my phone uses that simple code to enable me to write this message). It’s no less relevant or valuable for being the ultimate in simplicity.
            I don’t want the cash, just stop making DNA and life out to be something other than it is – the universe and everything in it is amazing, it does not need magic too.

            • Stuart Norey says:

              I would also point out:

              If you sent that bit of DNA and Co2 into space and it was found, you’d need to be fairly sophisticated to read the recipe for either of them. But you can read both. DNA is more complex, but it has no self awareness or ability to do anything on its own. You’d need to follow the instructions and have all the machinery and ingredients to know what DNA was an instruction book to build. Same with co2, you might have some carbon and oxygen about, but you’d need to follow the code and have the right machinery/environment to make it.

              Chemical compounds need certain conditions and ingredients to to form from more basic elements, so does complex life.

              Chemical compounds, gases etc and DNA only stick around if they are stable, thats why I said it seems nature strives for stability – of course it does not, it’s just that unstable things dont get to stick around in unstable forms.

              Both are therefore influenced by environment. DNA is remarkably stable, mutations are rare (or rather the machinery is very good at creating copies) unless it is acted upon by an external environmental force – either small mutations find favour in a changed environment or something like radiation causes unwanted mutations? Stable compounds, gases etc are similar, they will be broken down or become more complex with the right external inputs?

              You also need the right ‘reading and writing’ machinery and ingredients to make both.

              – OCO is the code for co2 / carbon dioxide. It is natural. We know how to make it, and how ‘nature’ makes it. We know how to change it into something else, and how nature does that.

              – DNA is made up from 4 different bases (nucleotides), adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C) (just names we assigned to them). An example of a short sequence of a single strand of DNA is ATTGCTCAT (not my words). It is far more complex but exactly the same sort of code, natural. We know how to make and change it – we can both create simple DNA codes and change, e.g. via CRISPR, existing DNA. We know the DNA we see today is the result of evolution, we can map similarities and changes in our own and other species over both long and short periods of time, even trace common ancestors – I dont think you can argue with that. We have theories as to how the first bit of life (as we know it) and DNA came to be, we can and have tested or observed some of this. We are a long way from proving those theories of course, but we can see ways it most likely happened and are pushing the boundaries of our understanding every day, week, month and year through good scientific practice? I personally think one day we will run a process from start to finish that takes us from chemicals, organics to simple life. Of course that wont be exactly how life started billions of years ago, but it will show you don’t actually need a god to do it. I am sure the argument will still rage on though – “yes, but you have not proven our DNA came about this way, just that DNA can and does come about this way”.

              Life, at cellular level, is not self aware in that it knows it is dealing with a code any more than a fire or combustion engine knows it is coding co2. Both are codes because they convey information in a format that can be read consistently, whether you create, read and act upon that consciously or not, that is surely what a code is – i.e. it does not require the presence of intelligence?

            • You can postulate all you want but nobody knows any way to get from chemicals to code without intelligence.

              If someone solves it, it’s the biggest discovery of the century.

              Believe what you will but making up stories doesn’t solve it.

      • Donny Muncie says:

        I assume you are familiar with the work of Jeremy England at MIT?

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