“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

1,969 Responses

  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

    Show me just ONE example of a language that didn’t come from a mind.” DNA.

  2. Sieb Kramer says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Really enjoyed thinking about what you said! Now don’t get me wrong, I respect any kind of believe that one might have, and as an atheist I know I also just believe in atheism without being able to fully prove it. But I’m gonna try to explain my atheist kind of view on your point.

    First of all: I think non-living things are also able to give messages. Stars for example. If you see a star in the sky, you know it’s out there, because it shines a light. Technically that’s a message, because it gives you information about the position of the star. The problem with messages from non-living things is that they cannot be read by other non-living things, because they don’t have brains. So there’s no communication. It’s one way information sharing.
    Therefore, there can’t be communication. What’s also a problem about non-living-thing-messages, is that the thing cant control the message, because it doesn’t know that it’s sending a message. So there is no way it’s message sending skills could improve, and therefore it’s been the same since the beginning of time.

    Now, a living thing can in fact get a message from a non living thing. We are the living thing and the star is the living thing. So what is it that makes it possible for a living thing to send and understand complicated messages?
    I’m gonna tell you the problem with that question. We humans tend to look at ourselves first, and let us present the communication skills of the whole living world. But we’re simply not. We are the result of millions of years of evolution. We’ve got possibly the most advanced minds and communication skills of all organisms. Not all animals can handle complicated messages. Some don’t even have eyes and ears ans all other stuff. They’re pretty bad communicators. There are some that don’t even have brains, like amoeba. If a species doesn’t has a brain, it can’t understand messages. So there’s no communication. No information sharing. And that’s only the animals. Plants, fungi, bacteria, all of them don’t have brains, and therefore, most of them can’t communicate.

    So in my opinion, your statement is very true but incomplete. Of course non-living things can send messages, they just can’t control and understand them. So they’re just useless messages. The difference between living things and non-living things isn’t that they can’t send messages, it’s just that non-living can’t do anything with those messages. It ain’t messages that makes life special, it’s communication: being able to successfully send and receive useful messages So is that what’s the difference? Being able to communicate? Is that what it means to be alive? No it’s not. Because not all living things are able to do that. The first animals weren’t able to communicate. They were just brainless clumbs of cells floating around in the ocean. So that means life was already around before communication were even a thing. So that means that communication originated from a time later in the history of life. As a matter of fact, most species around today can’t even communicate. Because it comes so natural to us humans, and we only interact with species who can also communicate, we’ll easily make the mistake to think that all life can communicate. But it doesn’t. But bacteria, plants, fungi and even most animals can’t communicate, aka send messages, as you said in your speech.

    So if God made life, he must have added the ability to communicate later on. It can’t have been around since the beginning. Or he didn’t create life, he just added communication to living things that already existed.

    I know what I did here is a little mean, because I just took down your statement without telling you where I think communication came from. So I owe you that

    So where does this communication come from? Well, in my atheist point of view, I believe in evolution. I know you might not, but I’m gonna need it to explain my next point. So just pretend it’s true.
    Imagine a time long ago, when there were some animals around, but none of them had evolved a brain yet. In this period, life lived only in the sea, and the animal kingdom was still very small. It consisted mainly of one-celled animals, and some small multi-celled ones. Those animals weren’t able to think, but they were able to move. They were mainy floating in the sea, but they managed to get at a point that they could move to places that were safe to them. I don’t know how exactly this came to be, but I can give you an example of how it could have happened. (I warn you, it’s gonna be pretty long so you might just as well skip the next alinea and just assume some animal species somehow managed to move away.)

    These animals were still very primitive, and therefore vulnerable. A lot of them died of natural events like toxic gas bubbles and extreme temperatures. Let’s say there was an area in the sea where some toxic gasses were released every now and then. There was a bunch of primitive animals living here, and of course they repoduced so they all lived here together. But sadly, every time this gas gets released, most of them die. Then it takes meaby a few hundred years before another load of gas gets released, and in the meantime, the population is able to rebuild itself. So every time, only the ones who survived are able to reproduce, and create a new generation. After a couple of hundred generations, a pattern starts to reveal itself. Every time the gashole releases gas, the ones who were the furthest away were able to survive more often. So after thousands of years, only animals who get  the furthest away from the gashole are left. After millions of years, the species will be  filtred so well on getting away from danger, that it starts to get better and better in getting away. And there you’ve got it: the first example of movement. These animals don’t know what they’re doing, but something in the DNA now stores a gene that makes it possible for these animals to get away. Not that they thought about it, it just happend. It became a reflex. Everytime there was a sign the gas might explode, they moved away.

    So now the animals could move. They learned a lot of stuff this way, and they got a whole lot of different kinds of reflexes over time, because it raised the survival chances. At some point, the animals got special cells to store this information. Over time, a small organ came to be that consisted of cells that contained information about those reflexes. This was the very first beginning of a brain. It wasn’t all that complex at the time. Just cells storing information in their cores about reflexes. But it made it much more easy for those animals to survive. It was a major advantage. And as always if the history of life: the ones with the most reflexes survived the most. Over millions of generations, the brains were filtered out so well, that they became way  more complex. Eventually, the brains were able to store so much information, it was only a matter of time before the animals were able to react on their environment. They developed organs to sense. Like organs to sense light, that eventually became the first eyes. This was super useful for small animals to get away from danger, like ancient predators such as anomalocaris. And sense of taste, because only the animals that ate stuff that wasn’t poisoning them were able to survive, and  the ability to have an idea of what you’re eating is really important. So senses came to be. Animals were able to pick up light with their ‘eyes’ , and send that information to their brains. And there it is: information. The first information wasn’t communication. It was an organ sending signals to the storing place of signals: the brain.

    So brains were around now. And with species batteling each other for the best food and mates, the survival of the fittest became more and more important. Evolution went faster than ever, so brains also developed faster then ever. At this time, predators were already a thing.

    Later on species started to form groups and communicate with each other, that would eventually lead to social orders and at the very end, words and sentences. Verbal language. That’s how I think it came to be. Through evolution.

    What people mostly don’t realize about evolution, is that it’s a very slow proces. We can’t even imagine a thousand years, so million years just seams impossible. We live such a short time we can’t even imagine a long time. And that’s the key in understanding evolution: time. A long, long time. So just like with God: our brains aren’t able to fully understand it. All we can do is believe it. I don’t believe in God as most people do it, but I certainly believe it. I don’t think he’s a person. He’s way too complex for that. I think God’s something much bigger. I think god is something like evolution. It’s a just a therm we use to describe what is the thriving force behind life. What makes it what it is. I’m gonna ask you to read genesis 1 again, but instead of God, think of evolution.

    At the first day, the earth and heavens were created. That’s true in both the bible and science. It was the first thing.

    The second day. Creation of the skies, aka the atmosphere. Here’s were evolution kicks in. Small bacteria creating gasses make our atmosphere. This is the result of evolution according to most atheists. So that matches up.

    Day three. Creation of dry land. Both in science and Christianity accurate in the timeline.

    Day four. Creation of the stars and heavenly bodies. That isn’t exactly true according to science, but the moon was created later on by an other planet called Theia that crushed into the earth and also created the moon, so somehow this could match up. Plus the Bible has been translated way too much so we don’t know how much of it is still accurate, and we don’t know if all science is accurate, so there might be something wrong here.

    Anyways day five. God created life in the sea. Evolution created life in the sea. You see what I mean?

    Day six. God created life on land. Evolution did too. In both theories, life in the sea comes first, then on land.

    Day seven. Gods rests. This could easily be a metaphor for the fact that we humans are only seeing such a short period of time that it looks like evolution stopped. It went to rest. But it’s still there, it just goes so slow that we don’t notice it.

    So am I an atheist? Yes I am. But do I believe in God. Yes. In a way I do. I just don’t believe he is like a really special human, as most people see him. I think it’s bigger. Its always there, everywhere around us. It’s inside us. Its always been there, and it always will. It can’t die. It creates life, but it can also destroy it. We humans are probably the only species who cought a glimpse of it’s greatness. Wether you call it God, Allah, Buddha, or -like me- evolution. It is. And it will be.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Jerry Gonzales says:

    “…I know I also just believe in atheism without being able to fully prove it.” Atheism is not a belief; it’s a lack of belief in a god. There’s no need to “prove” there is no god for that very reason. The same goes for the idea from believers in a god that “You can’t disprove there is a God.” There is no need to disprove something that has never been proven.

    • If you hope for atheism to have any intellectual respectability, atheism is, most certainly, some set of beliefs about where the universe came from, where life came from, where moral imperatives come from, how and why an exquisitely fine tuned universe can exist.

      Atheism is a set of propositions that must necessarily make some kind of rational account of the world and do so without a transcendent source.

      Sure, if you’re anti-intellectual, anti-knowledge, and anti-inquiry, then go ahead and say it’s “merely non-belief.”

      But you won’t get far with that here. It’s evasive and self-deception to claim that atheism is “non belief.”

      • Jerry Gonzales says:

        Sorry, you’re wrong. Not believing in a god, I don’t have a certain set of atheist beliefs that rule my life. Being pro-intellectual, pro-knowledge, and pro-inquiry is exactly why I know it is not a set of beliefs. For other mythical beings, do you have a certain set of beliefs for each of them? And I don’t mean the beliefs that guide you as a believer in god, that mat instruct you not to believe.

        • Jerry,

          Why is the universe controlled by orderly mathematical intelligible laws?
          Why is there anything at all instead of nothing?
          Why is the universe and its constants so incredibly fine tuned? (The force of the big bang for example had to be fine tuned to 120 decimal places or else stars would not have formed.)
          Where did life come from?
          How do you establish objective grounds for morality?

          Pick one and go.

  4. Jerry Gonzales says:

    I don’t care about any of these things, and I don’t need answers to them. While discussing life, a coworker once asked me, “Don’t you want to know why you’re here?” My answer was a “No” while thinking, “Who cares?”

    • I see. OK!

      Then YES, for you (who seemingly have no curiosity or interest in explaining anything rationally) then indeed atheism is simply “Non belief.”

      I have met very few people like you.

      But I still have to wonder what you were doing reading this article.

  5. Shayela Esquivel says:

    I support you. You are very courageous and brave to take a stand and be bold,honest and open about what you know. Thank you.

  6. Justin Perry says:

    I didn’t go through the comments so I am unsure if anyone has said this. I may be wrong and correct me if I am. you say “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.”

    First I would say accident implies intent it was not by an accident but by a process an algorithm of life so to speak that we are here. Next you ask Where the information came from I would suggest dropping the word “information” as it is misleading and using a word such as what it is Enzymes, DNA, RNA ect. and the answer that I would give you as a layman is I don’t know, I have degrees of knowledge and ideas at possibilities of how these things can arise but the Honest, intellectual truth is I am not 100% sure and you know what sometimes I don’t know is the answer. Not knowing as demonstrated by many religions is not equivalent nor does it imply a God/Gods did it. Next you attempt to say DNA is a type of language again it is best if we don’t muddle what things are. It is not a language no doubtfully you have heard an analogy of the two but that is precisely what it is an analogy we as humans have attributed to it. so the real riddle is without muddling up the definitions of what things are create a concrete argument as to how you know DNA is a language as your entire Salad of an argument depends on this.

  7. Subhendu Das says:

    “…every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God.” – There are two definitions of God (1) Christianity Definition – God is the creator of the entire universe (2) Bible Definition – “God is spirit”. Existence or production of information does not prove existence of none of the above kind of Gods.

    Here is a proof of that – Pat Norris came to see a visiting yogi from India during early 1970s in USA. When she entered the office of the yogi, he told the woman to ask seven questions and one by one she did. Then the yogi picked up a paper from his desk, turned it upside down, and gave that to her. In that paper all her questions were already written along with their answers.

    This example shows (1) what this woman will say was already written in somewhere which the yogi could read (2) Any high level yogi will be able to predict any event that will happen anywhere in the universe. (3) Every change in any physical object, including DNA, can be predicted. (4) Bible says – “There is nothing new under the sun.” Thus everything is already done. We cannot produce anything new. (5) Even an ordinary person can come to you, may ask you a question, in response you may predict your own future correctly. (6) Every soul knows all truths, only it cannot tell. (7) memory is not in our brain, or in our mind; it is in the universe. For more details please take a look at the yogic power chapter and also the destiny chapter in the free book at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

  8. Theo Benschop says:

    Sjalom everybody! If you can read this sentence, there must be between your ears a machine that is doing a job.

    This job,

    as Mr. David Seldon has clearly explained, is interpreting what the meaning in a certain miraculous situation could be of if you can read this miraculous sentence.

    It appears that this miraculous machine is not starting with the first letter in trying to find out what this miraculous thing could be,

    but instead of this the miraculous machine “knows” that there must be a miraculous sentence that the miraculous eyes of the miraculous human being in one or the other miraculous way have presented to this miraculous machine that has a miraculous beginning and an miraculous end, that the miraculous sentence is containing miraculous letters, so that this miraculous machine is in a miraculous way decoding the whole miraculous sentence with miraculous letters in such a miraculous way that probably the miraculous braincells or the miraculous concious or the miraculous soul or something else miraculous between your miraculous ears are after these miraculous jobs between your miraculous ears in a miraculous way able to understand that the meaning of the miraculous sentence must be something like “Sjalom everybody!”

    The difficulty with the above mentioned miraculous letters that I in a miraculous way have been using is that I have forgotten to mention this, and this, and this, and that, and that, and that, and that I used the wrong words for this, and this, and this, and this, so that this maybe will go on until the end of time in a war with everybody who has a different point of view of this miraculous process between his or her miraculous ears.

    So in this stadium one can conclude that Mr. David Seldon took this miraculous risk in the history of mankind.

    So, correct me if I’m wrong, Mr. David Seldon has come to the conclusion that this miraculous process is designed by the miraculous Creator who designed this miraculous Creation with miraculous DNA codes and all kind of difficult miraculous scientific subjects that are in a miraculous way working at the background.

    So everybody understands at this point that what is at the background is happening must be more or less the same as what a computer is at the background is doing while he or she on the digital happy happy happy don’t worry be happy happy happy internet for instance is shopping for a nice holiday or something, and what a human being is doing when he or she walks to the market to buy healthy apples, bananas, vegetables, bread.

    He or she is not thinking what do I have to do for processes in order to buy something on the happy happy happy don’t worry be happy happy happy internet or in order to walk to the market to buy healthy apples, bananas, vegetables, bread for a fair price from my beloved brothers and sisters.

    No, certainly not. Human beings just don’t do this in order to stay peacefully in life.

    So one can conclude that human beings are most of the time very happy happy happy with these basics things: he or she has found out that these designed tools work perfectly as long he or she does’t stop on the road to the webshop or the market in order to think “Which proces will start a finger to click on the nice holiday or will start my right left leg, or right leg”. No, certainly not.

    So this must be since the beginning of mankind until the here and now of the experience of the first simple descendants of the first happy happy happy don’t worry be happy happy happy human beings.

    At this point Mr. David Seldon is making his conclusion I can prove God exists.

    So the processes between the miraculous ears will in the background do the designed miraculous jobs.

    And there it happens that one is able to conclude “I don’t believe that the in clear language speaking Mr. David Seldon at this point has proved anything. This already for the simple reason that one just should’t ask wether something is existing as everybody is able to see with his or her own designed miraculous eyes if something is existing or not existing. Everybody has been given enough miraculous braincells to figure out that nobody has witnessed the Big Bang, so that nobody is able to say “I just did a test, and guess what? I have proved that God is existing!”

    Did you really? I have always thought that this is a belief, but now you have proved it, that’s totally different, so now we are getting the science of the Roman Catholic, Moslim, Orhodox, Protestant God Universities instead of the churches and the mosque?

    So one can conclude at this point also the people of the Jewish religion don’t use the word God. Correct me if am wrong they are not allowed speak out a word about this subject. In this subject they write JAHWEH without the a en e, so JHWH or g_d.

    This is the same as in the Taoïsm, where the people say, correct me if I’m wrong, Tao is the road, the road is Tao.

    So if one is saying the mystery is solved, it has been proved that God is existing, the mystery is still existing.

    After the historic separation of church of state, this not absolutely, but in historic workable sense,

    respectivily the historic separation of the powers of the government of a sovereign nation in the Trias Politica,

    so the historic source code of the Checks and Balances system of Montesquieu upon all modern democracies that start with respect for minorities are built on,

    is it from a historic point of view clear that the religious people who believe in God can’t claim our God and our daalder, and pound and our dollar are the best of the whole world.

    Instead of this it would be a good thing that the science of the Roman Catholic, Moslim, Orhodox, Protestant God Universities make peacefully without one drop of senseless blood shedding war an update in their source code,

    so before the people of the Roman Catholic, Moslim, Orhodox, Protestant God Universities sign in the UN SABBATH SHALOM SABBATH SJALOM DONA NOBIS PACEM PEACE PALACE in the Hague in the former Western colonial laissez-faire passer business as usual the beautiful peaceful Royal Kingdom the Netherlands until the end a peace treaty that will last until the end of times.

  9. Redon Gega says:

    Im just dissecting one passage from the text up there:

    “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.”

    From what im getting here you are using the term “Message” and “information” interchangeably and what you mean by both is “meaning” or “meaningful information” (maybe im wrong)

    An atom of hydrogen has an exact mass and that is information that exists whether it has meaning or not it does work as “information” and it is “meaningful information” in regards to the force of gravity. Its electromagnetic information (charge) is not meaningful to gravity but it is to the electromagnetic force.

    When you say messages (or meaning im assuming) is not matter and is not energy then you are basically claiming that meaning doesnt exist. Because meaning requires two fundamental things, a matter based framework (the set of neurons in your brain) and energy (the electrochemical differences in that set of neurons that constitute the pattern for that particular meaning in your brain).

    What this argument to me seems to be leading to is the objective existence of meaning in the universe only because it exists in the mind of god, which i believe is similar to Berkeleys “to be is to be perceived”. Your claim that language cannot exist without a mind is identical but narrower than Berkeleys view (note also the parallel between his “subjective idealism” and your “messages are immaterial” again yours to a limited scope).

    I think you are making a lot of assumptions that are not justified in that paragraph that i quoted and in other places in the article, some regarding using different terms interchangeably.
    I think you have to clearly define what you mean by Messages, Information and Meaning. In case i got it wrong by conflating all three then i wait for an explanation but even so the statement that “meaning stays the same” i dont agree with. In 2000 years through evolution of language or the emergence of another language that by sheer luck uses english symbols and words but interprets them differently would constitute a scenario where the Message (defining it for my self as the symbols of the english language used in your text) would be the same and the Meaning (Interpretation of the reader) would be vastly different.

    Another assumption is your idea that language is tied to its creators/interpreters and if there is DNA and its a language of god then god exists just like English exists because there are English speakers. What if the speakers of the language disappear, is that a language in your definition, or is it now a language devoid of meaning, or are we just locked out of meaning.

    There’s a fundamental difference between information and interpretation in such a way as to extract meaning from it.

  10. Jack Ellis says:

    Here is some interesting research that would seem to suggest many of your assumptions about how life arises, and that complexity does not just arise from nothing, are potentially incorrect. Of course there is a long way to go, but it shows how things like DNA and RNA could arise without a ‘designer’.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190117110824.htm

  11. Russell Fleenor says:

    Observation: It’s a strange thing this human ego, it propels many to go to great lengths to reason that they a created being have no creator. It’s the ultimate expression of non-existence. In this life you are the proof of a creator God.

  12. Jack Ellis says:

    Russel, do you know what proof means? The fact we are here is in no way proof of god, there are many more reasonable and probable explanations – none of which are yet proven by the way. The argument this entire site makes is deeply flawed, essentially insisting because (in our tiny corner of the cosmos) we’ve only so far seen messages/information created by minds that DNA must be created by a mind. We don’t know everything about earth and next to nothing about what is out ‘there’ in the universe. The claim this site makes is therefore like looking through a pin hole and seeing a red car, and claiming ALL cars are without doubt red… only religion makes such claims, because it requires people to stop using logic and close their minds to evidence in large parts of their lives. Science can’t (yet) claim god certainly doesn’t exist, it can only build a body of evidence about our universe that increasingly suggests not only that he almost certainly doesn’t exist but that his existence would create more questions than it answers. If you insist complex life can only be created by more complex beings, logic dictates they too must have a creator (and so on, to infinity) or you argue god didn’t need a creator – in which case neither did the first life…

  13. Jack Ellis says:

    This whole site makes me chuckle. DNA can be thought of as a code – kind of. You say “All codes we know the origin of are designed“. Doesn’t mean DNA is designed, we’ve more evidence it wasn’t designed than we have it was – there is zero evidence of any creator of the universe, life etc.
    You then say “Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind” but that contradicts what you said above – only the messages we know of come from a mind, we don’t know all the messages in the universe yet and again, if we agree DNA is a message despite only agreeing on ‘code’, we clearly don’t know for sure messages only come from a mind, because we’ve not even come close to proving DNA did, in fact science has come closer to being able to say it most likely didn’t come from a mind.
    So, no, we cannot say 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.” because DNA is a ‘code’ and you can’t show it came from a mind, in fact evidence is increasingly suggesting it didn’t.
    Your whole ‘essay’ contradicts itself, your argument defeats itself and your star witness (DNA) pretty much screws up the entire trial by giving evidence for the other side!
    Abiogenesis (scant evidence) is better supported than creationism (no evidence) and evolution (one of the best evidenced scientific theories) is better supported than intelligent design (no evidence).

    • You don’t have to believe God did it. What conclusion you come to is up to you.

      What we do need to acknowledge is: so far no one has solved the design problem in biology. Not David Hume, not Charles Darwin, not Richard Dawkins, not anybody else.

      We also need to acknowledge that ALL the other codes are designed. If you choose not to make a logical inference that is up to you.

      I have $5 million for the first person who solves this. http://www.naturalcode.org. Maybe you can solve it.

      • Jack Ellis says:

        All the other codes we’ve so far found on 1 single planet among many billions are certainly designed, other than DNA – not proven designed. It’s in no way a ‘logical inference’ to say DNA and every other code is designed. We don’t have the evidence to say that. So, because it’s Easter…
        That’s like finding a dozen eggs in various places, cracking 11 which you saw birds lay and finding birds inside. Then cracking the other one, which you didn’t see get laid and actually looks different to the other eggs, and finding something inside that is so different and much more complex than the birds. The fact you found a bunch of eggs easily suggests they are common, so you’ve only examined a fraction of what you can be sure is out there. You know where 11 came from, but not the 12th, and it’s different inside and out. The fact the 12th egg is SO different from the others and that you don’t know where it’s from suggests it’s actually not the same, so logic actually tells you ‘I’ve only sampled a tiny fraction and already found one that’s very very different in looks and source, all eggs are most likely NOT birds’.
        If we had no ‘religion’ on earth, you wouldn’t be going for a creator first explanation. You’d accept the theory if evolution, because it’s logical and you can see it happening today. You’d look at current evidence showing how abiogenesis might have happened and see it starts to offer explanations – I posted something a while back on folded proteins, a step toward dna type molecules, arising without design or evolution. You would not say ‘forget all that, it’s giving me a headache, I’m going to invent a creator to explain it all’. We (minus Bible Belt residents and Islamic extremists etc) are far too sophisticated now to throw logic, reason, knowledge, evidence away and opt for something so nonsensical – even if you’d written it down on goat skin and promised us all we’d go to a magical land we can’t see if we are good.

      • Jack Ellis says:

        I’m not sure we acknowledge there is a design problem in biology – design requires a designer, so you are actually saying we haven’t acknowledged the god problem in biology, people like Dawkins argue there isn’t design or a god/designer. You are approaching the question as an engineer, not a scientist.

        • I have a $5 million prize if you can solve it, with eminent scientists from Harvard, Oxford and MIT on my judging panel. http://www.naturalcode.org.

          • Jack Ellis says:

            I’m not equipped to solve it. I am equipped with common sense and logic and this tells me your argument is deeply flawed and has steered me well away from religious belief – although not study, I’ve read the bible and discussed religion many times. The bible is a pill to be swallowed whole, it’s gods word after all. I’d rather not, the bits that are not poison (e.g. rules on disability, sexuality, slavery) are for the most part just nonsense. Besides, I like bacon, squid and prawns – if I followed gods rules, I’d have to give them up.

            • Your way of interpreting the Bible, sir, is unlike any Christian I’ve ever met.

              • Jack Ellis says:

                I’m an atheist. And it’s not my way of interpreting the bible – all those things I mention are in the bible as facts, not possibilities, and god clearly says don’t do them/they are bad, not make your own interpretation. Many Christians don’t actually read the bible, they get drip fed passages by priests, who also provide their own interpretation. You just ignore the bits that are too difficult/distasteful. Where does God say it’s ok to ignore most of his instructions? I actually think that’s a good thing, you’d all be like Islamic extremists if you lived life by the Old Testament.

                • I’ve had this conversation about 100 times with atheists.

                  Whenever I have this conversation it’s like I’m waterboarding the guy with something he considers profoundly distasteful and repugnant.

                  I know the drill. And I’m not going to waste my time arguing with someone who has zero interest whatsoever in understanding what the Christian story is really all about. You won’t even reason with me scientifically – as Jesus said “If I tell you about earthly things and you don’t understand, why should I tell you about heavenly things?

                  Christians are not merely ignoring stuff they find distasteful. I am understanding the OT in the context of where it came from. That is what theology is for. The Old Testament is unquestionably inferior to the New. Why? Because man is evolving, as his understanding of God. https://evo2.org/why-christians-have-failed-to-reckon-with-good-and-evil/

                  I suggest you ask yourself the question: why there are no Christians or Jews who live their life by the Old Testament?

                  • Jack Ellis says:

                    Man hasn’t evolved in any really meaningful ways in the past few 1000 years. Our societies have. Religion of course has, like other human constructs, evolved to suit our needs. Humans don’t ‘understand god’ at all. You lot disagree about or discard most of the bible, which wasn’t written to be interpreted – e.g. interpret these words for me, Gods own “But anything in the seas or the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you“. Or “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you“ or “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them“. Seems pretty clear to me, what God demands of you. Who are you to argue with him, the bible is ALL you’ve got to go on! Or am I ‘taking it out of context’?
                    I’ve seen you try to bash the square creation peg into a round hole too, doesn’t work, God is very clear what happened and if he’s all knowing he’d say it as it is rather than babble in about firmaments and holes for rain, after all you say he WAS advanced enough to code DNA? But he doesn’t understand plants need the sun and what order complex life emerged in?
                    Anyway, I’ll stop bashing the Bible now, just demonstrating your whole case is built on Stone Age fantasy.

  14. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jack Ellis,

    May I jump in here, since Perry seems to have taken a break from his conversation with you?

    Your point, “DNA – not proven designed,” is well taken. Did you say this in reference to “III. Proof that DNA was designed by God” (found at http://evo2.org/intelligent-evolution-quick-guide/ )? Here it is for convenience of reference:
    1) DNA is not just a molecule – it is a coding system with a language & alphabet, and contains a message
    2) All languages, codes and messages come from a mind
    3) Therefore DNA was designed by a Mind.
    In the OP, Perry says, “Messages, languages, and coded information ONLY come from a mind,” but how can he possibly know that this (or the second premise above) is true? Has he or anyone else actually identified the source of every language, code, and message? I have heard of encyclopedic knowledge, but now we are talking about something approaching omniscience with regard to the items listed.

    I think a replacement premise, which could be true, is that one does not know of any clear exception to the statement in the original second premise. That is, maybe someone just does not know of any language, code, or message that does not come from a mind. Perry retreats to this weaker position later in his OP by saying, “All codes we know the origin of are designed.” With this correction, to make the syllogism realistic, we have converted it into an irrational argument from ignorance. In any case, the conclusion may or may not be true. Near the bottom of the same page, Conclusion X (based on “All known examples” as though unknown examples do not matter) appears to be yet another illustration of an argument from ignorance.

    Doubters may be thinking of a syllogism like this:
    1) Donito is a cat.
    2) All cats are mammals.
    3) Therefore, Donito is a mammal.
    Is this not just another example of the same problem? Has anyone actually checked every cat and verified that it is a mammal? Well, no, so is this syllogism just as valid or else just as unrealistic as the other? No again. The second premise in the first syllogism is a matter of origin or source—a matter involving a possibly mysterious history—but here, it is a matter of definition or static classification, so there is no need to check every cat or to have knowledge of each cat in existence. Let’s not be fooled by the syllogism similarity.

    This is not the whole story, however, because a conclusion can be true, even though the logic used to reach it is flawed. Roses are red, violets are blue; therefore, one plus one equals two. From ignorance, we can logically conclude nothing, one way or the other, so your claim (“DNA – not proven designed”) should be extended to include, DNA – not proven not designed.

    You went on to discuss an alternative line of reasoning and said, “The fact the 12th egg is SO different from the others and that you don’t know where it’s from suggests it’s actually not the same, so logic actually tells you ‘I’ve only sampled a tiny fraction and already found one that’s very very different in looks and source, all eggs are most likely NOT birds’.”

    Actually, logic tells you nothing at all. It is not an animate agent. Logic is not even used in this example to provide a proof or to reach a definite conclusion. You used “weasel words”—suggests and most likely—to avoid a commitment, but you still reached a speculative conclusion, one that depends on incomplete knowledge of relevant facts. You might be right. You might be wrong. Frankly, I would not bet much on the true source of the twelfth egg in your scenario. It may well have come from a bird too, just one that is also “very very different in looks and source.”

    I think the bottom line is that is a stretch to claim to have either absolute proof that DNA came from a mind or absolute proof that it did not come from one. Nevertheless, we can still have an opinion about this. An opinion can be judged to be reasonable or unreasonable in varying degrees. We ought to be asking ourselves, “How reasonable is it to believe that DNA just naturally appeared on earth without any intelligent intervention?” Forget about absolute proof.

    You also said, “You’d look at current evidence showing how abiogenesis might have happened and see it starts to offer explanations – I posted something a while back on folded proteins, a step toward dna type molecules, arising without design or evolution,” This reminded me of a recent lecture by someone who evidently has much more than just strong opinions about this. I hope you can afford the time to listen to all of it. If you are in a hurry, slide over to 27:09 and go at least to 28:20 to hear just the part about self-folding molecules.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/04/chemist-james-tour-is-scathing-hilarious-show-me-the-chemistry-of-abiogensis-its-not-there/?fbclid=IwAR18pDYngZc-d6gJgJqnMCT13Xy7jqRrIeVWZu4aQKMPT8KQuK7UgEbTRKM

    • Jack Ellis says:

      I watched the whole thing. Interesting video, but he clearly goes into this with “god did it” as his answer, not even “God might exist and might have done it”. He’s like the guy from ancient aliens, we’ve few answers so it was aliens. Most of what he says is also irrelevant to his argument – if he even has one.
      We’ve not found an answer in 60 years. So? The universe has been around for billions. The bible says god did it in under 7 days? By magic. Even less likely.
      He describes a single linear process, which fails and would have to go back to the start. Reality isn’t like that. Just on earth you have billions of ‘experiments’ over billions of years, and there are billions of stars, planets etc. So there are countless failures and few successes – life just needs one.
      All these challenges apply to god, who we are expected to believe turned up, created a planet and aced it first time? A big universe making countless errors and getting it right just once (at least) is more plausible?
      He might have to characterise it all and write it down, nature doesn’t make notes or care – he said that!
      His motor example – he had to go back in one experiment, natural world had billions of such experiments going, all different, and as he said wasn’t setting out to make a specific design.
      His whole turkey argument is confused. A turkey isn’t the result of abiogenesis, it’s a result of billions of years of evolution – two different things.
      Nature didn’t have an ‘idea’ and didn’t need information to work from, the information is clearly a product of the process – the one or more that resulted in something interesting…
      Of course the Nobel laureate doesn’t know, and he says so. Should he say “gosh I don’t know, must have been god?” for whom there is even less evidence than the scientists work – where did he come from, what’s he made of, he has a mind, so who made him, where is he, why does he hate women, gays, shellfish and tattoos?
      How can someone intelligent who understand so much science, question others work for flaws and admissions if not knowing everything, then go to church and pray to someone for whom he has zero evidence and not question that?
      Ramifications of calling conjecture fact – isn’t religion the ultimate guilty party?
      He’s talking in this video about the work of scientists over a few years/decades and saying they’ve failed, they admit they’ve a long way to go but they’ve only just got started – already they are showing how things might have happened, and magic isn’t required.
      Never been discordance between scientific facts and the bible?! Is he joking!! Water from wine? Creation story? Virgin births? Resurrection? A soul? Heaven?

  15. Jack Ellis says:

    Tom. Thanks for your response, I’ll watch the video you linked when I can give it attention.
    My issue with this whole site is Perry, like many other religious people, is saying “I can prove God exists”. That’s the headline people of faith/seeking meaning to life read, and many read no further. He cannot and has not proven that God exists. I can’t prove God doesn’t exist, it’s just that there is zero real evidence he does and an awful lot suggesting he does not – biblical texts are not evidence anyway, but most theists would now say “oh, when God said X was fact or you must do Y, he didn’t really mean that”.
    So one ought not to start on any scientific venture with the assumption that there is a God, when it’s astronomically unlikely. And one ought not to have God as the desired answer when considering how the universe came about, the origins of life and the process of evolution. You start with “I don’t know” and an open mind and gather evidence.
    Science has a few theories but no ‘unified’ theory. We understand a lot about how many basic ingredients for life are made (A). We have some ideas and evidence of how that got to be something more ‘organised’ – while it was probably a long process, let’s call it abiogenesis (B). There’s then a long process to maybe single (C) and multi organisms (D) we have little understanding of. After that, we have ongoing evolution (E) and a very good understanding of how that works, with masses of evidence – no sensible person should argue against it.
    We will probably never be able to present an accurate and fully evidenced ‘story’ of how we got from A – E, but we will almost certainly be able to say “here are the processes that most likely got us there and here is the evidence”.
    Or we base everything on a story written when humans understood very little about the world and were closer in their thinking to tree/stream/rock worshipping animists than they are to modern humans. The bible presents things as facts, not symbolic stories. The creation story isn’t even close to being accurate. The earth isn’t flat. Birds, fish etc didn’t just appear, we have pretty good evidence what they evolved from and why, it wasn’t magic. Men have the same number of ribs as women, we aren’t missing the one god took to create woman. Snakes don’t talk, apples don’t impart knowledge, so original sin didn’t happen, so Jesus didn’t die to save us from it. We’ve not found evidence of a heaven people are excluded from if they have tattoos, eat shellfish/pork or are disabled. God – no evidence for, lots against.
    So we need to ditch Stone Age thinking and apply scientific methods to understand the origins of ‘life, the universe and everything’. Focus on the A – E not jump straight to the G.
    Obviously, if God or any real evidence turns up and proves Perry right, I’ll eat humble pie – after asking him to explain why he acted like such a dick in biblical times and what he has against the LGBTQ and disabled communities, shellfish, tattoos, bacon and women in general.
    Just because things with DNA have minds that enable them to evolve languages to transmit information, doesn’t mean by default DNA came from a mind. In fact, the only minds we know of all came from DNA, so a mind can’t have created it.
    It’s far too important a question to just scribble ‘God did it’ against all the tough questions.

  16. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jack Ellis,

    Thanks for allowing me to join your conversation with Perry, for your detailed replies, for admitting that you can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, and for watching the whole lecture by Dr. Tour.

    Earlier this month, you wrote, “…religion … requires people to stop using logic and close their minds to evidence in large parts of their lives,” so I assume you don’t want to fit that description. You want to use logic and keep an open mind to credible evidence, right? I have noticed that all kinds of nonsensical ideas can be believed, if only one ignores, overlooks, or somehow dismisses the problems with them. The beauty of having a discussion like ours is that we can get some help seeing our own ideas from the perspective of someone else, someone eager to spot nonsense that we may have swept under the rug, maybe because we got wrapped up in groupthink long ago.

    Let’s talk about the origin of DNA. You said, “It’s far too important a question to just scribble ‘God did it’ against all the tough questions.” By the same token, no one should just scribble ‘Nature did it’ against all the tough questions either, right? I think we already agree that our goal is not to find absolute proof, so I suggested asking, “How reasonable is it to believe that DNA just naturally appeared on earth without any intelligent intervention?” Did you give me a clear answer to this question?

    On the “Proto-Turkeys” slide (36:43 in the video), you said, “A turkey isn’t the result of abiogenesis, it’s a result of billions of years of evolution – two different things.” Did Dr. Tour claim that a turkey is the result of abiogenesis? I think you missed the key words “akin to” in his slide. It was merely an analogy for illustrative purposes only, and like any analogy, it cannot be perfect. No big deal. But please don’t use its imperfection to miss the point of it. “Origin of Life protocell assembly” is too oversimplified to be relevant. Even if such an OOL experiment ever resulted in an appearance of a viable living cell without human intervention in what was considered to be a copy of a realistic, primitive environment, this would not necessarily reflect what actually happened in the distant past. We have no way to verify that a guess about an unobserved environment is correct or that the real events unfolded just as they did in an experiment.

    Also on the video lecture, I think your points about not having to make notes and not having to start over upon failure are well taken. I am impressed with this part of your critique. God gave you an excellent mind. As you explained, in theory, countless “experiments” are supposed to be in progress at any given time, so if any one of them fails, it may either end or continue off in the wrong direction. Who cares, as long as at least one of them succeeds, right? You said yourself, “… life needs just one.” Okay, but how likely is it that this one required success will ever happen anywhere in any universe?

    I think this is one of those hard questions that you don’t feel comfortable answering, so you dodge it. Why not meet it head on and be reasonable? This takes us to the part of Dr. Tour’s argument that you should have found challenging, but you evidently just brushed it off without even thinking about it seriously.

    You should realize that “billions of ‘experiments’ over billions of years” and “billions of stars, planets etc.” cannot be all you need to consider to reach a reasonable conclusion about the origin of DNA. If you forget every other consideration, then just this much may tempt you to assume that there must be plenty of planets like earth where surely enough “experiments” could be run to get that one success, but it would still be nothing more than an assumption and maybe even merely an exercise in wishful thinking. It would be your way of walking by faith, as we all do, but your faith would be in nature instead of God.

    You did a great job of summing up your current position when you said, “We will probably never be able to present an accurate and fully evidenced ‘story’ of how we got from A – E, but we will almost certainly be able to say ‘here are the processes that most likely got us there and here is the evidence.’” This tells me that you understand that accounting for the origin of one DNA molecule is only a part of the challenge for anyone who seeks a reasonable explanation for life on earth without intelligent intervention.

    How does one get “from A – E”? I understand that someone convinced you there is no real problem here or that a realistic solution “most likely” exists, but is there any substantive support for the idea? Is it just irrational hand-waving (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand-waving#In_debate,_generally)? It is extremely easy to say that something probably happened, but in this case especially, you don’t have enough sure information to calculate or even reasonably estimate an actual probability, do you? I think you are just guessing, however well-educated you may like to suppose your guesses are.

    In your first reply to me, you challenged me in a similar manner with a list of biblical claims that you consider highly unlikely, along with a number of issues you personally find problematic. Like you—and maybe unlike Perry—I like to get into details, so I am tempted to try to delve into all of them point by point. Maybe later, but when we get back to them, let’s take them one by one, starting with the one you pick as top priority, maybe one that you feel well prepared to defend with confidence. Neither one of us should be using the old trick of elephant hurling (http://creationwiki.org/Fallacy_of_elephant_hurling).

    You wrote on April 13, “… we’ve more evidence [DNA] wasn’t designed than we have it was – there is zero evidence of any creator of the universe, life etc.” You ended one of your replies to me with, “Never been discordance between scientific facts and the bible?! Is [Dr. Tour] joking!! Water from wine? Creation story? Virgin births? Resurrection? A soul? Heaven?” Misunderstandings need to be clarified to avoid trouble later in our discussion.

    Zero evidence? We need evidence to establish “scientific facts,” all right, but I maintain that our discussion has nothing to do with science in the ordinary sense of the word. Can you find me a definition of science that covers speculation about what happened in the unobserved past? I understand that there is such a thing as forensic science for investigation of a crime scene, but in this special case, we can all grant the no-miracle presupposition. We agree to rule out any possible conclusion that a miracle or supernatural intervention was involved in the crime. You listed six example of what you consider examples of discordance. The first four of them all involve biblical claims about miracles that were performed in ancient history. Science is not concerned with this kind of history, and simply presupposing that a miracle was not performed is no way to establish as “scientific” fact what actually happened in real history.

    So how do we normally settle on reasonable beliefs about what happened? Think about it. Think about the Revolutionary War. Think about the assassination of Julius Caesar. I believe it is normally through revelation or documented testimony of witnesses deemed credible. We do not turn to a scientist and ask him to ignore such testimony, to study currently available, necessarily incomplete physical evidence, and develop a tentative, speculative story about what happened, do we? Can we agree on this much?

    You ended your list of six with two items (a soul and heaven) that have nothing to do with history. It is important to think about them too. Now we are talking about real science. Are you really convinced that scientists have established as fact that no soul, heaven, or a spiritual realm exists? If this remains only a goal that might be reached in the future, you have no business listing it as an established discordance.

    Think back to a time before radiation was discovered (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_ray#History_of_discovery) and suppose hypothetically that the Bible included a claim about a distant source of gamma rays. Would it make sense for a scientist or astronomer to pull out his optical telescope, search for the object of interest, and then declare a discordance in the Bible because no gamma rays were seen? That would be ridiculous, right? There would be “zero evidence” of gamma rays at that point, all right, but no instrument capable of detecting them was used in the search. So what? Negatives are notoriously difficult to prove. Even careful searches are not necessarily exhaustive. I hope you will never be fooled by someone’s unsubstantiated claim that no soul or heaven exists.

    • Jack Ellis says:

      It’s late, so I’ll not write an essay…

      “By the same token, no one should just scribble ‘Nature did it’ against all the tough questions either, right?“. I’m not suggesting we do that, I’m pointing out science is advancing understanding while ‘god did it’ halts it. There is a big difference too – we KNOW nature exists, physics, chemistry, biology and their processes/interactions. We have no evidence God exists whatsoever and the processes God uses defy all known laws of physics, chemistry, biology. So I say it is infinitely more likely we got where we are through natural processes not yet fully identified or understood.

      “How reasonable is it to believe that DNA just naturally appeared on earth without any intelligent intervention?” – I don’t think DNA just appeared. That suggests fully formed. We know life’s building blocks can be found throughout the universe in e.g. comets. We know for a fact the earth was bombarded by them in its early days, something the biblical creation story does not mention. I don’t know how we got from them to very basic cells, maybe with simple ‘protocol DNA’ and onwards. I think we are beginning to identify and test processes by which that might have happened.

      I stand by the turkey comment. Self folding etc I mentioned and the road to early proto cells is nothing like “akin to” a turkey emerging, it’s an irrelevant example picked to ridicule scientific theory, why not pick something far simpler like a yeast cell? (Still a lot more advanced than anything resulting from the first steps towards viable cells).

      “how likely is it that this one required success will ever happen anywhere in any universe?”. Where to start? People have had a go, using very conservative estimates. The Drake equation is constantly being refined and suggests life throughout the universe https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation. But then we have the Fermi Paradox, why hasn’t it made contact yet? It happened at least once in my view, because here we are. No god required. What happens if we find evidence of past or present life on Mars, Europa etc? Bible doesn’t mention that.

      I dont need to have faith in ‘nature’. It’s real. As are the processes by which it works – physics, chemistry, biology. The beauty of everything out there is we don’t know or understand it all and probably never will. But we know it almost certainly operates under a set of universal laws, so it’s potentially all accessible to us. For example we know how light works, its wavelengths, it’s speed of travel, that intense gravitational fields can bend it etc – we use that to look far into space and ‘back’ into time through telescopes and to see things hidden to our eyes.

      Miracles – the assassination of Caesar is not an unlikely event or outlandish claim to make and the Romans were great record keepers. There were witnesses who recorded it. The claim being false has little impact anyway. Walking on water, parting sea or water into wine are highly unlikely, defy laws of physics/chemistry and could easily be misinterpretation of other processes. They were also not written down in the words we know until hundreds of years later. Witnesses were separated by time and unreliable – they had an agenda and these claims reinforced faith. The claims being true or false has a massive impact on a few billion people. One has to therefore be more questioning and more certain.
      Gamma rays would be a fairly insignificant claim for the bible to make. We could understand there might be something in it – after all we don’t see uv light but know something burns us. So scientists would seek ways to test the claim before dismissing it.

      If the Bible didn’t exist, how would a ‘new’ religion look today? Creation story?

      We know Christianity adopted many older festivals and beliefs. The Romans were good at that, it kept the peace.

      For example. Easter is a pagan festival of the spring equinox. That decided the date. They celebrated the sun dying and being reborn. It set (died) in the constellation of the southern cross. Fits well with the Jesus story – who almost certainly wouldn’t have been crucified in a cross, the Romans used an X shape as Constantine painted on his shields supposedly at gods instruction… Horus was born to a virgin 25th December.

      How would we develop a modern bible?

  17. Seth Byman says:

    I’m fairly confident I just proved you’re theory wrong sir, now with that was an hour of just thinking and it would take along while to write it all out so if you’re curious, email me back. Other wise I don’t see a reasoning in typing it all out as of right now.

  18. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jack Ellis,

    Thanks for responding. No need to apologize for brevity. Life goes on, and we all have other priorities.

    You asked about a new religion and how we might develop “a modern bible.” Preferring to keep our old focus until we agree or have agreed to disagree, I hesitate to follow this discussion in a new direction, but maybe we can get those two questions out of the way quickly.

    There are plenty of modern cult movements or new religions, and several of them may include attempts to introduce books considered holy or similar to what I consider to be God’s Word. You could study them for realistic answers, much better than my pure speculation. You put “we” in your closing question, but would either one of us even consider such a thing? Not I. Anyway, I don’t see any relevance to our topic, assuming it is the origin of DNA and how reasonable it is to believe that no intelligence was involved.

    Right, you have not suggested that we “just scribble ‘Nature did it’ against all the tough questions,” but in a figurative sense, this seems to be close to what you are actually doing. I have to say “close” because you may also find relevance in modern speculation about how nature might have done it. If this kind of study interests you or anyone else, fine, but it is still nothing more than pure speculation, and “Nature did it” remains the key statement of faith, no matter what tentative stories modern experts propose to justify it.

    We agree that “modern science is advancing,” and this should not be controversial among either atheists or Bible-believing Christians. You do introduce controversy if you claim that speculation about origins should be considered part of this well-known advance of science.

    When we talk about “advancing understanding” with regard to real science, advances can be dramatically demonstrated as they are reflected in our technology. If someone claims an advance, but it is actually bogus, the goof or fraud becomes obvious as soon as anyone tries to apply it to practical problems, or as further observations are made, or as other scientists try to repeat experiments.

    Contrast this with research related to the origin of life. Anyone can easily claim an advance, but how can anyone else tell whether it is bogus or not? Without a time machine in good working order, can anyone show whether the claim reflects what really happened in real history? The problem in this case is that we are dealing with pure speculation about events and environmental conditions that cannot be scientifically verified or falsified.

    Dr. Tour made a similar point well, but you evidently dismissed it. How could anyone just ignore or dismiss it, if he is “equipped with common sense and logic” (your April 28 comment at 5:58 pm)? Well, it has to be uncomfortable to face challenging points, regardless of how valid they may be, if problems with groupthink or accepted dogma have to be ignored or dismissed. What Dr. Tour said related to my point above runs from 12:02 to 14:10 in his video.

    Does belief that God did what Genesis says he did halt any advance in understanding? Maybe you need to clarify your point, but as it stands, it makes no sense to me. Has this belief really done anything to halt an advance in real science? Genesis and questions related to the origin of life are all about history, not science, so advances in understanding related to science can proceed unimpeded. Now what about advances in our understanding of history? Think about what it would take to achieve an advance in our understanding of the assassination of Julius Caesar, for instance. We would need to discover more or better documentation of credible testimony, right? Would a pre-existing belief that Brutus did it impede such an advance? If nothing new comes to light, we go with what we already have, right? I don’t get your point here, so please help me out.

    You mentioned “a big difference too” and said, “… we KNOW nature exists, physics, chemistry, biology and their processes/interactions. We have no evidence God exists whatsoever and the processes God uses defy all known laws of physics, chemistry, biology.” Let’s be reasonable. Did God do it, or did Nature do it? This is the question before us.

    The existence of nature is not controversial, but can we reasonably eliminate either answer just because we know that nature exists? Please answer no.

    If you still follow my logic, can we reasonably eliminate either answer just because God has not been detected, or because some individuals claim ignorance of any evidence for God’s existence? To answer this question, it may help to think about microbes. If someone believes in devils (and that they cause illness) but is completely ignorant of evidence for microbes, would it be reasonable to eliminate the microbes-did-it idea and to prefer the devils-did-it idea instead? If your answer is yes, please explain the difference.

    I should also comment on your idea that “it is infinitely more likely we got where we are through natural processes not yet fully identified or understood.”

    What difference do you see between “infinitely more likely” and absolutely certain? I thought we agreed to reject the idea that either side has absolute proof. Are you backtracking on this point?

    On the part about natural processes, you seem to imagine that some of them must have been involved in our origin and are already at least partly identified and understood. Did I guess wrong? I think you are mistaking pure speculation for positive identification and settled understanding. All of that speculation is actually quite tentative, subject to revision at any time as more is learned. Is anything in this area really settled? How could a claim ever be settled without a time machine? History (the unobserved past) is not subject to ordinary scientific investigation. It cannot be observed or tested in a repeatable experiment.

    This is a key point. Once you grasp it, you may realize that no natural process by which we might have originated has ever been identified, let alone understood. If anyone presupposes that God did not “do it,” then Nature becomes the only alternative, right? Nevertheless, the details of the story remain a total mystery inviting plenty of educated guesswork. Why eliminate God from the story because of mystery, while embracing Nature instead—in spite of the same kind of mystery?

    The fact that we understand plenty about “laws of physics, chemistry, biology” and so forth as they operate today may well be irrelevant. If we care about finding the truth, we must not merely assume that known, natural processes must explain our origin or the history of life on earth. Unseen, eternal, omnipresent God? Unseen, eternal, omnipresent processes of Nature that could create a universe out of nothing and even life in a dead world? What’s the key difference here?

    Who does believe DNA just appeared fully formed? Let’s reject straw man arguments. We should all understand the concept of building blocks and the atheistic idea that DNA came about through a purely natural process of assembling them. Protons, neutrons, and electrons can be considered building blocks, and they are found all over the place, all right, but this does nothing to answer the really hard questions related to assembly. Let’s not get distracted. Has any path to your goal really been found?

    You wrote, “We know for a fact the earth was bombarded by [comets] in its early days, something the biblical creation story does not mention.” How do we know this “for a fact”? Once again, I think you are confusing facts with pure speculation about what happened in the distant past. My point here is not that the story about comets is false. I wasn’t there either. Let’s just acknowledge the obvious, that no modern expert actually observed a bombardment of comets. Is any story about this anything but a modern, tentative conclusion based on a study of physical clues interpreted under various assumptions that may or may not be correct? It might be right. It might be wrong. If comets had nothing to do with our origins, it makes perfect sense that the Bible does not mention them.

    You went on to speculate about how some building blocks, perhaps delivered by comets, might have been naturally assembled to become “very basic cells” (whatever they are), “maybe with simple ‘protocol DNA’ and onwards.” This kind of hand-waving might be all it takes to convince an atheist, but what about the rest of us? How do you suppose the building blocks assembled to become “protocol DNA”? It’s a total mystery, right?

    Modern experts can speculate about this, of course, but how do you distinguish this kind of speculation from wishful thinking or walking by faith? Do you do this by identifying and testing “processes by which that might have happened”? We ought to care about what actually happened. How do you distinguish ideas about what “might have happened” from fantasy or pure fiction?

    If you stand by your original turkey comment, you ought to be able to point me to where Dr. Tour said that a turkey is the result of abiogenesis. If he never said such a thing, your comment is misleading at best. I don’t think he said that “the road to early proto cells” is like or akin to a turkey emerging either. Maybe you were just being a little careless with your wording, but let’s not get confused. You can see his slide again at 36:50.

    “Origin of Life protocell assembly” was supposed to be akin to “suggesting that a live turkey will eventually” emerge from a warmed mixture of turkey parts (or building blocks). He did not agree that there is a natural “road to early proto cells,” but he did present an apt analogy to make the point that current ideas about the possible existence of such a road involve gross or ridiculous oversimplification. Is he wrong about this? Have I mischaracterized anything on his proto-turkeys slide?

    Did he “ridicule scientific theory”? Not at all. He was addressing ideas about protocell assembly that are pure speculation about what might have happened in history, not a scientific theory that could be falsified. Studies of self-folding molecules may be in the realm of science, all right, but they do not resolve the assembly issues that Dr. Tour covered. Oversimplification and unrealistic or unfalsifiable assumptions are problematic.

    I remember reading about something like the Drake equation back in the early 1960’s, but does it get you out of the woods of pure speculation? I don’t think so. You may have been convinced that modern versions of it use “very conservative estimates,” but how in the world could anyone possibly know how conservative they are? I think they could be wildly optimistic, but really, who knows? They are, after all, just estimates, so we have no business treating them the same as facts. Do you have any real hope that they will ever become established facts? An atheist might regard their speculative nature as a permanent advantage, because they can always be safely treated as facts, a trick the unsuspecting public might never figure out. No technology depends on their accuracy.

    You have evidently bought the story, because you wrote, “It [assembly of DNA through purely natural processes?] happened at least once in my view, because here we are. No god required.” Let’s be reasonable. Why is your logic any more reasonable than my hypothetical alternative? I could say, “In my view, divine creation of life by fiat happened in less than one week, because here we are. No highly unlikely assembly of DNA through purely natural processes is required.” If you are not so sure that any God exists, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to keep an open mind and consider all available evidence instead of putting out a rationalization this easy to recognize as nonsense? If I just misunderstood your claim, please clarify it.

    Remember our who-or-what “did it” question. Is it reasonable to reach a conclusion based on how likely a reported event is supposed to be? Consider Julius Caesar and his predecessor Sulla, and suppose we want to know about their possible assassination. Would an estimate of assassination likelihood have anything to do with our conclusion? So for example, if Sulla seemed more likely to be assassinated than Julius, would it be safe to conclude that Sulla was assassinated but Julius was not? I don’t think so. We go with credible testimony instead, right? We are not in a good position now to estimate assassination likelihood back in the day anyway.

    What about preferring your alternative criterion instead—the one about outlandish claims? I don’t think this works much better. Is it outlandish to claim that gamma rays exist, for instance? This criterion involves a personal judgment call that may be based on pure ignorance. I think we want a more objective alternative.

    The Romans were great record keepers, all right, so one may well consider some of them to be credible witnesses of real events in real history. At the same time, we know that even Romans, like Virgil, for example, were capable of writing pure fiction, so we need to be selective in what we accept as credible testimony of real history. The same principle applies generally to all testimony about history.

    You listed three miracles reported in the Bible and pointed out that they “are highly unlikely” and “defy laws of physics/chemistry.” I think miracles are like this by definition, and it is unreasonable to conclude that they can’t be real for either reason. You might as well admit that you accept the no-miracle presupposition without question. This approach is no more cogent than presupposing that atheists are wrong about God. This is no way to make progress here, if we are committed to being reasonable.

    You have been led to believe that those miracles were “not written down in the words we know until hundreds of years later,” right? You believe, “Witnesses were separated by time and unreliable – they had an agenda and these claims reinforced faith.” How do you know any of this? Someone recorded those miracle claims, all right. What do you suppose their agenda was? To wander in a desert for years? To be persecuted and die as a martyr or in exile on a small island? Or what?

  19. Jack Ellis says:

    Tom, I’ll go through your comments and respond soon. But I wanted to address the last one in miracles.

    You know your religion, so you’ll know the bible wasn’t pulled together as a single doctrine until the council of Nicaea roughly 300 years after Christ’s death (unlike many atheists, I do think he actually existed but was ‘just’ a man and had many other men’s stories and deeds attributed to him, and other myths attached to him, some hundreds/thousands of years before his time).
    You’ll be aware of all the sects floating about. You’ll know there was a split over Christ himself – just a holy man or son of god etc.
    The Romans were experts at what we might call cultural integration or appropriation. They readily adopted others gods or rolled them into their own, it kept the peace. But Christians were different, and a problem. Constantine adopting Christianity appears to be more out of necessity than anything else.
    So they picked the son of god over the man. They rolled lots of pagan mythology into the new religion – Easter and Christmas are pagan, some suggest Mithras and Jesus are very similar, they settled on 12 disciples and is it coincidence this is the number of signs in the zodiac, there are even early Christian church floors depicting it this way, with Jesus the Sun.
    miracles are little different. Some attributes to Jesus mirror those attributed to earlier characters, like Elijah.
    So the Romans adopted Christianity through need, made it palatable by rolling earlier religions up with it and probably attributed miracles to Jesus to make him more ‘god like’. It’s not a coherent story as it stands, and it’s certainly not when one adds in the equally valid other gospels and stories that had similar support. None of these can be considered 1st hand accounts, they were stories probably passed on by word of mouth and later written down, we’ve seemingly no writers or text contemporary to Jesus.
    That’s the agenda I mentioned and the reason very little in the bible can be relied on.
    The Old Testament is even more flaky. It seems the Jewish people spent time in Sumer (?) and adopted many of their myths. It’s suggested writing was introduced to them there. Probably why cultures have similar creation myths, flood myths etc.
    So the bible can be considered a very unreliable and politicised source. Outside of that we’ve not got much (if anything) to base anything on. So origins of Life/DNA is pretty much all speculation drawn from more speculation.
    I can’t say for sure there is no God or that you are wrong. It’s just highly unlikely. Science views on origins are theories, not facts. But those theories/speculation are based on things we know about how the universe etc works. That’s why people are turning from religion like never before, we are better educated and more logical (on the whole) and bit by bit have been pulling the myths apart, one at a time. We’ve not found a miracle or process theists attribute to god yet that we were forced to attribute undeniably to god, sure we’ve not got through them all by a long shot yet, but those we have are firmly in the ‘myth busted’ box…

  20. Jack Ellis says:

    I ought to be fair and say Niceae was mainly concerned with sorting out the position of Jesus vs God. The New Testament evolved from roughly 200 – 1500 AD and the old written from at least 1000 BC onwards, borrowing from other religions, sharing and refining stories around the campfire well before that period before writing them down generations later.
    My point is there is nothing you can trust there (and no mention of DNA) and this undermines any speculation you make about Abiogenesis and evolution of man from another form of primate. Many Christians still insist creation took 7 days, the earth is 6000 years old and evolution doesn’t happen. The ideas/beliefs in this post are closer to that than real science, all rests on belief in a god and denial of evidence that undermines that e.g. dating methods.

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