“The Mathematical Impossibility Of Evolution” Debunked

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Adding genetic information Mathematical Impossibility

Added genetic information

Mathematical Impossibility?

I was recently presented with this link in a debating group. I started to go through it and comment point by point but instead put the debate on hold and told my opponent I would get back to her with a freshly written article looking at all the points put forward and debunk each individually.

I am sure most readers will be familiar with The Creation Institute(ICR) promotes itself as having a 3 pronged mission, research, education and publication. I delved into groups like this in my first article for www.answers-in-reason.comLogic, reason and pseudo-science. ICR are starting with a conclusion there is a god and evolution doesn’t happen and they formulate “hypothesis” and articles in that way. this is the opposite of scientific. Really creation science is not science at all. Here is the link for the article they vomited out and in that article there is a link to a .PDF which is what I am working off. The Mathematical Impossibility Of Evolution. Lets dilly dally no more and have a look at what makes evolution “impossible“…..

 The Mathematical Impossibility of Evolution According to the most-widely accepted theory of evolution today, the sole mechanism for producing evolution is that of random mutation combined with natural selection.

Not quite, here the good people at ICR try to over simplify the mechanisms of evolution and leave out several to suit their needs. Here we can see other mechanisms listed. Withholding the truth is the same as lying!!  Mechanisms: the processes of evolution  

Since random changes in ordered systems almost always will decrease the amount of order in those systems, nearly all mutations are harmful to the organisms which experience them.

Again here ICR are not telling the truth as we can be considered as living in a closed system due to the energy given to us by our sun. Applying the 2nd law of thermodynamics to evolution doesn’t work as they would portray it. Relying on people being wowed by a scientific term.

“This idea has been put forward by many people to try to prove that evolution is impossible. However, it is based on a flawed understanding of the second law of thermodynamics, and in fact, the theory of evolution does not contradict any known laws of physics.” Source is an article by Cornell University astrophysics dept which can be read in full here.

Nevertheless, the evolutionist insists that each complex organism in the world today has arisen by a long string of gradually accumulated good mutations preserved by natural selection.

Above comment is now moot.

No one has ever actually observed a genuine mutation occurring in the natural environment which was beneficial(that is, adding useful genetic information to an existing genetic code), and therefore, retained by the selection process.

Above statement is not true, nothing surprising there really. True to form. Also ICR do not attempt to define genetic information and rely on ambiguity to convince their readers.

Most people lose the ability to digest milk by their teens. A few thousand years ago, however, after the domestication of cattle, several groups of people in Europe and Africa independently acquired mutations that allow them to continue digesting milk into adulthood. Genetic studies show there has been very strong selection for these mutations, so they were clearly very beneficial.

Most biologists would see this as a gain in information: a change in environment (the availability of cow’s milk as food) is reflected by a genetic mutation that lets people exploit that change (gaining the ability to digest milk as an adult). Creationists, however, dismiss this as a malfunction, as the loss of the ability to switch off the production of the milk-digesting enzyme after childhood.

For some reason, however, the idea has a certain persuasive quality about it and seems eminently reasonable to many people—until it is examined quantitatively, that is! For example, consider a very simple putative organism composed of only 200 integrated and functioning parts, and the problem of deriving that organism by this type of process. The system presumably must have started with only one part and then gradually built itself up over many generations into its 200-part organization. The developing organism, at each successive stage, must itself be integrated and functioning in its environment in order to survive until the next stage. Source: New Scientist.

Each successive stage, of course, becomes statistically less likely than the preceding one

The point of the article presented by ICR was to show evolution as being impossible, not less likely. The floundering begins!!

A four-component integrated system can more easily “mutate” (that is, somehow suddenly change) into a three-component system (or even a four-component nonfunctioning system) than into a five-component integrated system. 

Perhaps so but doesn’t mean it doesn’t or cant happen. They are supposed to be showing it is impossible – Remember? It seems ICR have forgotten this.

If, at any step in the chain, the system mutates “downward,” then it is either destroyed altogether or else moves backward, in an evolutionary sense.

And natural selection takes care of the system if it is not able to survive in environment, not all changes are beneficial. This is one reason we have extinctions

Therefore, the successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires, at least, 200 successive, successful such “mutations,” each of which is highly unlikely. 

But not impossible…. There is now a running theme in their article!!

Even evolutionists recognize that true mutations are very rare, 

Citation please ICR and a definition of “True mutation” would be great also!!

and beneficial mutations are extremely rare

But do happen none the less.

—not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial,

But still occur.  FFS ICR……..

Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½)200, or one chance out of 10^60. 

Probability shows what is likely or unlikely but is not necessarily a true reflection of what actually occurs. Probability does not bind outcomes like a law(which we now see breaks in in the quantum realm).

“The number 10^60, if written out, would be “one” followed by sixty “zeros.”

Stick 10 more zeros on ICR, actually add 15 more, it still doesn’t make it impossible as you claim. Your incredulity at zeros is not a logical argument by the way guys and gals.

What possible conclusion, therefore, can we derive from such considerations as this except that evolution by mutation and natural selection is mathematically and logically indefensible!

We can conclude also that there still is a chance and this is probability and not an actual study of its frequency.

Discussion. There have been many other ways in which creationist writers have used probability arguments to refute evolutionism, especially the idea of random changes preserved, if beneficial, by natural selection. James Coppedge devoted almost an entire book, Evolution: Possible or Impossible (Zondervan, 1973, 276 pp.), to this type of approach. I have also used other probability-type arguments to the same end (see, e.g., Science and Creation, Master Books Science and Creation, Master Books, pp. 161–201). The first such book, so far as I know, to use mathematics and probability in refuting evolution was written by a pastor, W. A. Williams, way back in 1928. Entitled, Evolution Disproved, it made a great impression on me when I first read it about 1943, at a time when I myself was still struggling with evolution. In fact, evolutionists themselves have attacked traditional Darwinism on the same basis (see the Wistar Institute Symposium, Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, 1967, 140 pp.).

While these scientists did not reject evolution itself, they did insist that the Darwinian randomness postulate would never work. Furthermore, since the law of increasing entropy, or the second law of thermodynamics, is essentially a statement of probabilities, many writers have also used that law itself to show that evolution on any significant scale is essentially impossible. Evolutionists have usually ignored the arguments or else used vacuous arguments against them (“Anything can happen given enough time”; “The earth is an open system, so the second law doesn’t apply”;

It is a closed system so the 2nd law doesn’t apply:

A closed system is a system where only energy is transferred or exchanged with its surroundings. Matter is not part of this exchange. Anopen system includes the transfer and exchange of both matter and energy with the system’s surroundings. All of the systems on Earth are classified as open systems. However, the Earth system as a whole is considered a closed system because there is a limit to how much matter is exchanged. Source

“Order can arise out of chaos through dissipative structures”; etc.).

Snowflake and sedimentary rocks layered by the sea heavy to light <======= In the real world of scientific observation, as opposed to metaphysical speculation, however, no more complex system can ever “evolve” out of a less complex system

Actually:

The second law states any isolated system will increase its total entropy over time. An isolated system is defined as one without any outside energy input. Because the universe is an isolated system, the total disorder of the universe is always increasing.

With biological evolution however, the system being considered is not the universe, but the Earth. And the Earth is not an isolated system. This means that an increase in order can occur on Earth as long as there is an energy input — most notably the light of the sun. Therefore, energy input from the sun could give rise to the increase in order on Earth including complex molecules and organisms. At the same time, the sun becomes increasingly disordered as it emits energy to the Earth. Even though order may be increasing on Earth, the total order of the solar system and universe is still decreasing, and the second law is not violated.

Misapplication of The Second Law

To claim that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics is also grounded in a misunderstanding of where the law applies. Nobody has ever figured out how to apply the second law to living creatures. There is no meaning to the entropy of a frog. The kinds of systems that can be analyzed with the second law are much simpler.

A living organism is not so much a unified whole as it is a collection of subsystems. In the development of life, for example, a major leap occurred when cells mutated in such a way that they clumped together so that multicellular life was possible. A simple mutation allowing one cell to stick to other cells enabled a larger and more complex life form. However, such a transformation does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics any more than superglue violates the law when it sticks your fingers to the kitchen counter.

There are many examples of order arising from disorder in nature. Research conducted by Ilya Prigogine1 and others on systems far from equilibrium has shown that order can spontaneously arise in systems that are driven in the right way.

so the probability of the naturalistic origin of even the simplest imaginary form of life is zero.The existence of complexity of any kind is evidence of God and creation.

Nope, a sure sign of design is simplicity ICR

So as a quick summary ICR showed evolution through mutation is improbable but failed to show it is impossible. They use ambiguous terms and leave out information and at times either lied or were just perhaps just ignorant of the science they were addressing.

“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26). Blah blah blah

Woo woooo train is now departing, all aboard!!

I’ll kill you and your dreams tonight, begin new life. Put your arms around me let your bloodline feed my youth – Slayer, Bloodline 2001!!

St Patrick’s Day 2016 approaches so Happy Paddy’s Day to my fellow Irish men and women. Raise a glass to the godless!!

Colin meme

Addendum of notes supplied by my colleague at www.answers-in-reason.com Colin Jones:

  • “mutations leading to less order”
    There is a related fallacy that often occurs here. We are existing at a time and usually a place where a great deal of adaptation has already occurred. (At least to the casual observer. It takes a biologist to find where this isn’t the case). This is like a jigsaw where all the pieces fit snugly. Any variation to a piece will take it away from an optimal fit.
    The analogy of course is a species in a niche.
    Go back a few billion years and you get poor fitting pieces. Any variation has a much greater chance of being a better fit than before.So we see changes to species these days and they are more likely to be “bad” mutations- “defects”.
  • “not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial”
    And here we see ICR engage in the fallacy I mentioned above!This is completely dependent on how well adapted a species is to its environment.
  • To consider for a conclusion is to take the fight back to them: any probability argument needs to be compared with the alternative.
    Theists always forget to consider the probability of God existing in the first place.

What are the odds, eh Colin? Many thanks for your fantastic input to the article

P.S.

Another addendum thanks to Đặn Thỡmpsốn from the Richard Dawkins Group, Đặn Added:

You talk about a puzzle with all the puzzle pieces fitting together, but that’s not the greatest analogy, unless you point out that the puzzle shape is bending and flexing, which require the pieces to change if they want to continue fitting, or they will fall out. In a stable environment, say the deep ocean for instance, there is much less evolution than a more chaotic environment – most land masses with changing seasons or weather patterns, for instance.

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57 Responses to “The Mathematical Impossibility Of Evolution” Debunked

  1. AYF says:

    I would have found the article far less compelling without your illogical commentary.

  2. Justin Radtke says:

    Dude just do the math. Evolution is not possible. Stop trying to defend this. God created life not your science. Enjoy spending your life moving around an argument instead of learning about God who loves you.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      Answers in genesis did the math lol. And showed it unlikely but not impossible. However the mountains of evidence supporting the theory speaks for itself.

      Oh and evolution does not deal with the formation of life. Are you not too sure what you are talking about?

  3. Alan The Atheist says:

    That’s what I thought

  4. EdgyKid says:

    How does this mutation (lactose tolerance) increases genetic pool? I think you’ve missed their point.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      Can you quote the actual passage please? Not sure what you mean exactly but would be happy to discuss in greater detail.

  5. EdgyKid says:

    “Most biologists would see this as a gain in information: a change in environment (the availability of cow’s milk as food) is reflected by a genetic mutation that lets people exploit that change (gaining the ability to digest milk as an adult).”

    I know that this mutations may increase survivability, but I don’t get how do you consider it as adding new information to genetic pool.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      There is a change in protein coding which was not there before. Original coding in human genome sequence didnt allow for consumption of milk, new code did. The new code(information) is added to the genome. This is not relating to gene duplication which can add chromosomes.

      • Bran Watt says:

        The retention of a pre-existing code (the juvenile ability to process milk) is not new code. A race of people losing the code for deactivating milk consumption in adults is not a gain by any stretch of imagination. It is arguably beneficial, but your stupid attempt to turn lost genetic material into gained material is pathetic.

  6. Alan The Atheist says:

    An appeal to common sense is a logical fallacy and not evidence of a god. The writer relies on the reader not knowing this.

  7. Alan The Atheist says:

    Also the mathematician assumes a creator exists to work out the probability. We can not apply this as no God has been shown to exist. This is simply quote mining and improper application of probability. Also applies the logical fallacy of assumption and presupposition.

  8. The crucial question regarding the origin of life is the question of the information content of the molecule. Dean Overman notes:

    “Although the earth has an energy source from the sun, energy alone is not sufficient to support abiogenesis. Dynamite can be a source of energy, but unless the energy from its explosion is directed in an intelligent manner, its energy will be more destructive than constructive. For abiogenesis to occur, energy flow must be joined to a mechanism which will direct it to generate sufficient information content into inert matter. Information content is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure. The information content of living systems contains an enormous amount of specified instructions. The complexity existing in this information content is the principal characteristic or the sine qua non of living matter. In reviewing the effects of energy flow one must distinguish between the maintenance of order in a living system and the origination of a living system from inert matter.”

    “Energy flow simply maintaining a system far from equilibrium and protecting it from the effects of the Second Law may sustain the order in a system, but energy flow alone is not sufficient to explain the complexity of life’s origin. For example, Toby, my family’s golden retriever, eats heated frozen, pre-packaged turkey dinners to provide himself with energy which builds and maintains his body. To maintain his life, he needs to have a stomach, liver, and intestines which provide a mechanism to join the energy available from the turkey dinner to the work required to sustain his body. This example of the maintenance of a golden retriever’s body is fairly simple to understand because the energy flow is joined to the required work by the dog’s mechanism of DNA, enzymes, and RNA.”

    “The origin of this mechanism, however, is an entirely different matter. The solution to the puzzle of life’s origin requires an explanation of the development of molecules with intense information content. By what means is the energy flow which keeps a system far from equilibrium capable of generating information content? How did the mechanism which stores, transfers, and directs information arise spontaneously? Natural selection is not a viable explanation for the origin of DNA and enzymes, because natural selection only acts within systems which already have replicating capacity. Again, natural selection does not exist in prebiological molecules.”

    “…scientists frequently confuse the concepts of order and complexity. To construct a plausible theory for the origin of life, scientists need to discover a theory which explains the generation of complexity, not the generation of order. The Second Law of Thermodynamics addresses the orderliness of energy. Order may arise spontaneously in inorganic systems far from equilibrium. In terms of the formation of the first living organism, however, the applicability of the Second Law in a system far from equilibrium is not so significant, because complexity rather than order is the issue. In this sense order is nihil ad rem.”

    As Bernard-Olaf Kuppers, a member of the German Academy of Natural Sciences, states in Information and the Origin of Life, “The problem of the origin of life is clearly basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.” So what is the source of the information content in DNA? When we trace the source of information to its source, the result is always a conscious and intelligent mind. Information scientist Henry Quastler puts it succinctly: “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.”

    Werner Gitt is a former Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig) and former head of the Department of Information Technology. In his book Without Excuse, he discusses the substitutive function of what he terms “Universal Information “(UI):

    “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

    “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

    “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”

    “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”

    “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”

    “-the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substitute for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein.”

    Gitt skillfully explains this crucial point:

    “An abstract symbol set provides for an immense number of combinations of basic symbols to form words. These words may then be arranged in near-limitless ways to form phrases and sentences that, in turn, are used to form larger bodies of text/messages such as paragraphs. Thus, for example, the English letters ‘a, c, and t’ may be used to form the word ‘cat’ (a mammal that purrs and meows).”

    “The very same letters may also be used to form the word ‘act’ (a word that, depending on the context, will have any one of a number of meanings; e.g., consider the phrases ‘caught in the act‘, ‘the second act of the play’, ‘an act of Congress’, ‘performed a heroic act‘ and others). The point to notice is that the letters ‘a,c, and t’ by themselves do not have a one-to-one relationship with the entity that they are combined to represent. These letters acquire function and meaning only after they are combined in agreed-upon sequences and assigned meanings.“

    Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, emphasizes this point:

    “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

    It would be just as absurd to assert that mindless chemical or physical processes could write a newspaper article as it would be to assert that such processes could produce a DNA sequence.

    Rutgers University professor Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper “The Linguistics of DNA: Words, Sentences, Grammar, Phonetics, and Semantics” discusses the amazing similarities between DNA and human language:

    “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

    Ji identifies 13 characteristics of human language. DNA shares 10 of them. Cells edit DNA. They also communicate with each other and literally speak a language he called “cellese,” described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.”

    This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper:

    “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.” This is true of genetic material. Signals between cells do this as well.

    Perhaps the necessity of a conscious and intelligent mind in the origin of life from non-living matter is what inspired the Nobel Prize winning, Harvard University biologist George Wald to write the following in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe:

    “It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      No, we see RNA forming naturally in the right conditions. This is information forming spontaneously in the right environment. No intelligence or director needed. This really refutes his entire information needs a guided source argument. Are there any actual papers to show his assertions or merely opinions in books?

      • Alan,

        Here, you are committing a classic category error because you are confusing different levels of causation. The following two statements commit the same category error by confusing and conflating different levels of causation:

        “Life was not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

        “Automobiles are not caused by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”

        Bo Jinn writes in Illogical Atheism:

        “In no way does it logically follow that something was not designed and built from the mere fact alone that that something could be understood scientifically. The law of gravity and Newton’s Laws of motion are to God and the universe what binary strings and electronics are to Alan Turing and the computer processor. Function and agency account for two entirely different explanations as to how and why something exists. Aristotle explained this over two thousand years ago… Aristotle stated that everything in the universe could be understood in terms of:

        A formal cause, a material cause, an efficient cause and a final cause.

        Science accounts for only two of those causes; the formal and the material. If we were to apply Aristotle’s theory to the Harrier jump jet in the allegory above:

        -The Harrier’s material causes are the components from which it was constructed.

        -Its formal causes are the laws of mechanics, aerodynamics and internal combustion.

        -Its efficient causes are Ralph Hooper, Sir Sydney Camm and Sir Stanley Hooker [the designers of the jet].

        -Its final cause is to be flown in dogfights.

        Only the first of those categories of causes were open to the scientists in the story. Only the first two of those categories are open to science in the study of the universe.”

        Science, in short, does not even address efficient and final causes in regards to such issues as the origin of the universe or the origin of life.

        Therefore, a statement such as,

        “Living things were not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes of evolution,” is every bit as much of a category error as the statement,

        “Aircraft are not caused by humans, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”

        God and human agency are proposed efficient causes. Evolution and manufacturing processes are proposed formal causes. Atheist reasoning commits a category error when it confuses different levels of causation. Further, atheist reasoning suffers an explanatory failure when it disregards the need for explaining all levels of causation.

        • Alan The Atheist says:

          //“Life was not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

          “Automobiles are not caused by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.//

          False comparison fallacy again. A car is not a self replicating reproducing biological organisms. And you assume a cause is needed for the universe to form. A single spontaneous event is all that is required. You are naturally wired to attach agency, this stopped you being eaten on the plains when you heard a rustle in the grass. But there need not be an intelligent agent needed for a universe to form or for life to begin.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      Also my article is regarding evolution, your copy and paste deals with abiogenesis. Are you confusing the 2?

      • No, it is you who are confused. You are using evolution to support atheism, but evolution only deals with the diversification of life (once it had already originated). I am responding to your attempt to use evolutionary theory as a support for atheism. Please tell us specifically how a mechanism for the diversification of already existing life and genetic information can be used as philosophical support for atheism.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      Consider the following examples:”

      “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

      This is a false comparison fallacy. We can create models which show through natural selection how the formation of the information in genetic strands can form on their own and in a useful manner. The ones that dont are dealt with by natural selection. It appears your author is arguing from ignorance or is simply not telling the truth.

      • Alan,

        There is no comparison fallacy. Once again, the Darwinian mechanism relies on the random mutation of genes, and the natural selection or reproductive offspring. It is utterly absurd to suggest that life originated from natural selection because non-living things have neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select.

        Did you forget?

        Atheism declares that a non-intelligent cause for the origin of life can eventually be determined via the scientific method. But no such non-intelligent cause will ever be found because the scientific method is structured to find regular and repeating patterns in nature such as the laws of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, etc.

        But a DNA sequence is an irregular, non-repeating pattern. Nancy Pearcey writes in her book Total Truth:

        “…in principle, laws of nature do not give rise to information. Why not? Because laws describe events that are regular, repeatable, and predictable. If you drop a pencil, it will fall. If you put paper into a flame, it will burn. If you mix salt in water, it will dissolve. That’s why the scientific method insists that experiments must be repeatable: Whenever you reproduce the same conditions, you should get the same results, or something is wrong with your experiment. The goal of science is to reduce those regular patterns to mathematical formulas. By contrast, the sequence of letters in a message is irregular and non repeating, which means it cannot be the result of any law-like process.”

        “To illustrate the point, let’s invoke our imaginary Scrabble game… but this time when you organize the letters, you decide to follow a certain formula or rule (an analogy to laws of nature). For example, the formula might require that every time you have a D, it is followed by an E. And every time you have an E, it’s followed by a S, then an I, then a G, and an N. The result would be that every time you started with D, you would get DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN, over and over again. Obviously, if the letters in a real alphabet followed rules like that, you would be limited to spelling only a few words—and you could not convey very much information. The reason a real alphabet works so well is precisely that the letters do not follow rules or formulas or laws. If you know that a word begins with a T, you cannot predict what the next letter will be. With some minor exceptions (in English, q is always fol-lowed by u ), the letters can be combined and recombined in a vast number of different arrangements to form words and sentences.”

        A similar point is made by the former Manhattan Project physicist, and leading information scientist, Hubert Yockey, in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

        “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

        “The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” (Yockey 1992).

        • Alan The Atheist says:

          //It is utterly absurd to suggest that life originated from natural selection because non-living things have neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select.// I did not say life originated from natural selection.

          //Atheism declares that a non-intelligent cause for the origin of life can eventually be determined via the scientific method. But no such non-intelligent cause will ever be found because the scientific method is structured to find regular and repeating patterns in nature such as the laws of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, etc.//
          Atheism is merely the non-acceptance of God propositions. However science shows RNA forms through repetition in rock pool environment with heat and time. That is the mechanism and no intelligent source required. You fail to understand this. This refutes a need for an intelligent being controlling things.

          //The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws.” (Yockey 1992)//

          No, over millions of years it is possible. That’s a long long time.

          Also we have modelled how it is possible so your newspaper or scrabble comparisons are moot.

          Incredulity of the amount of information is not evidence it can’t happen. And we see it happen with RNA forming without an intelligence driving it’s formation

        • Davidian says:

          // g. It is utterly absurd to suggest that life originated from natural selection because non-living things have neither genes to mutate, nor reproductive offspring to naturally select. //

          Why do evolution deniers always have to switch to origin of life?

          STOP CONFLATING THE TWO!

          Evolution happens. The Theory Explains how it happens.

          The origin of life is an unknown. Right now the popular hypothesis that is showing a lot of promise is abiogenisis.

          Evolution happens after there is life.
          Evolution definitely happens though.

          It doesn’t matter how the life got there to discuss evolution, just that it is the natural process life took.

          Seeing as you seem so desperate to divert the topic from evolution to the non-life to life barrier, here watch this TEDTalk: https://www.ted.com/talks/martin_hanczyc_the_line_between_life_and_not_life

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      Here is George Wald’s entire talk.

      In my life as a scientist I have come upon two major problems which, though rooted in science, though they would occur in this form only to a scientist, project beyond science, and are I think ultimately insoluble as science. That is hardly to be wondered at, since one involves consciousness, the other cosmology. The consciousness problem was hardly avoidable by one who has spent most of his life studying mechanisms of vision. We have learned a lot, we hope to learn much more; but none of it touches or even points, however tentatively, in the direction of what it means to see. Our observations in human eyes and nervous systems and in those of frogs are basically much alike. I know that I see; but does a frog see? It reacts to light; so do cameras, garage doors, any number of photoelectric devices. But does it see? Is it aware that it is reacting? There is nothing I can do as a scientist to answer that question—no way that I can identify either the presence or absence of consciousness. I believe that to be a permanent condition that involves all sensation and perception. Consciousness seems to me to be wholly impervious to science. It does not lie as an indigestible element within science, but just the opposite: Science is the highly digestible element within consciousness, which includes science as a limited but beautifully definable territory within the much wider reality of whose existence we are conscious. The second problem involves the special properties of our Universe. Life seems increasingly to be part of the order of nature. We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a Universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably—given enough time—wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our Universe otherwise—some of them basic, others seeming trivial, almost accidental—that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a Universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life? It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always, as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical Universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals. In them the universe begins to know itself. Also such creatures develop societies and cultures—institutions that present all the essential conditions for evolution by natural selection [variation, inheritance (mainly Lamarckian), competition for survival] so introducing an evolution of consciousness parallel with though independent of anatomical and physiological evolution.

      He clearly says this but your author has chosen to omit it
      “We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a Universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably—given enough time—”

      He is also just expressing an opinion and not delivering a scientific paper with actual findings.

      • Alan,

        You have chosen to conveniently ignore the actual findings of information science which I cite that demonstrate how information (such as the utterly immense information content in DNA) can only be the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. A copy and paste:

        When we trace the source of information to its source, the result is always a conscious and intelligent mind. Information scientist Henry Quastler puts it succinctly:

        “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.”

        The information contained in genetic code, like all information or messages, is not made of matter. Materialism does not explain the meaning in the code. The meaning is not a property of the arrangement of the symbols or alphabet of the code. The message or meaning in the genetic code is non-material and cannot be reduced to a physical or chemical property. Hubert Yockey, an erudite physicist who studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer at Berkeley and then worked with him on the Manhattan Project, uses the analogy among letters of the Roman alphabet and their meaning in the English, French and German languages to demonstrate the non-material nature of the messages and information in the genetic code. Yockey is the lead author of the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life titled “Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life”. Alan, please pay close attention to Yockey’s two below paragraphs, as they explain why the information content in DNA must be the result of a conscious and intelligent mind, because meaning is something which can only be ascribed by a conscious and intelligent agent:
        ———————–

        … the meaning, if any, of words, that is, a sequence of letters, is arbitrary. It is determined by the natural language and is not a property of the letters or their arrangement. For example, the English word “hell” means bright in German, “fern” means far, “gift” means poison, “bald” means soon, “boot” means boat, “singe” means sing. In French “pain” means bread, “ballot” means a bundle, “coin” means a corner or a wedge, “chair” means flesh, “cent” means hundred, “son” means his, “tire” means a pull, “ton” means your.

        This confusion of meaning goes as far as sentences. For example, “0 singe fort!” has no meaning as a sentence in English, although each is an English word, yet in German it means “0 sing on!” and in French it means “0 strong monkey”. Like all messages, the life message is non-material but has an information content measurable in bits and bytes and plays the role, ascribed by vitalists, of an unmeasurable, metaphysical vital force without being ad hoc, romantic, spooky, contrary to the laws of physics or supernatural. Of course, like all messages, the genetic message, although non-material, must be recorded in matter or energy.
        ———————–

        Rutgers University professor Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper “The Linguistics of DNA: Words, Sentences, Grammar, Phonetics, and Semantics” discusses the amazing similarities between DNA and human language:

        “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

        Ji identifies 13 characteristics of human language. DNA shares 10 of them. Cells edit DNA. They also communicate with each other and literally speak a language he called “cellese,” described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.”

        This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper:

        “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.” This is true of genetic material. Signals between cells do this as well.

        Alan, please pay attention to the above and do not attempt to ignore it. Unintelligent natural mechanisms cannot produce such things as contextual meaning and symbolic representation. Such things are BY NECESSITY the product of a conscious and intelligent mind (read: God).

        • Alan The Atheist says:

          //The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity// except we see RNA forming naturally over time in the right conditions without conscious activity which refutes this claim. You need to stop ignoring that fact. We observe that code doesn’t need intelligence to form it.

      • Alan,

        Your atheist reasoning makes some very grave oversights. First of all, bare probability and large amounts of time, alone, cannot accomplish anything, ever. Period.

        Does this seem like too strong a statement? It is not. Probability and time can never accomplish anything without 1) a causal mechanism and 2) an underlying structure, or order.

        As an illustration, consider the lottery: Even though the chance of a specific individual winning the lottery is incredibly small, many people have won lotteries in the past, and many more will win in the future.

        What is necessary, then, for this bare probability of a lottery win to result in an actual lottery win? Much more than just time and chance. For one, in order to win the lottery, the causal mechanism of going to the store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is required. Without this causal mechanism, the probability of winning the lottery is exactly zero. As one lottery advertisement says, “You can’t win unless you play.”

        Secondly, the structure of a lottery commission and a distribution network for lottery tickets (etc.) is necessary (not to mention the monetary system of the Dollar, Euro, etc.). In other words, for one to win the lottery, there must first be a lottery, and there must first be such a thing as money to win.

        Without this structure, the probability of an individual winning the lottery is also exactly zero. In fancier language, the potential for a lottery win is embedded within the structure that exists in the lottery and the monetary system. The causal mechanism of purchasing lottery tickets allows this embedded structure to manifest itself in the form of a lottery win. Without this underlying structure, time and chance can produce nothing.

        The fatal flaw with the atheistic argument that probability and time are an alternative explanation to God is that it assumes (and does not adequately explain) the existence of the structure and the causal mechanism…with the complex order contained therein.

        University of Delaware physicist Stephen Barr discusses the topic of underlying order, or structure, in Modern Physics and Ancient Faith:

        “The overlooked point is this: when examined carefully, scientific accounts of natural processes are never really about order emerging from mere chaos, or form emerging from mere formlessness. On the contrary, they are always about the unfolding of an order that was already implicit in the nature of things, although often in a secret or hidden way. When we see situations that appear haphazard, or things that appear amorphous, automatically or spontaneously ‘arranging themselves’ into orderly patterns, what we find in every case is that what appeared to be amorphous or haphazard actually already had a great deal of order built into it.”

        “In fact, we shall learn something more: in every case where science explains order, it does so, in the final analysis, by appealing to a greater, more impressive, and more comprehensive underlying orderliness. And that is why, ultimately, scientific explanations do not allow us to escape from the Design Argument: for when the scientist has done his job there is not less order to explain but more.”

        Regarding the question of the origin of life, what are the source of the structure (or order) and causal mechanism that allow the bare probability of life to eventually produce actual life? The theist answer to this question is simple: The structure is mind (God’s mind) and the causal mechanism is personal agency (God’s personal agency).

        In everyday experience we often see this structure and causal mechanism pair manifested. Indeed, in the lottery example, it was the minds of the lottery officials that produced the structure and the personal agency of the person who went to the store to buy lottery tickets that allowed the bare probability of a lottery win to be manifested in the form of an actual lottery win.

        But what does atheism propose as the source of the structure and the causal mechanism that allows the bare probability of life to result in actual life? Figuratively speaking, what is the source of the lottery that produces life, and who or what is making regular trips to the store to buy the tickets, according to atheism?

        Regarding this point, Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, wrote the following in Principia, which is perhaps the most important scientific work of all time:

        “Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”

        Max Planck the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who founded quantum physics wrote:

        “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

        And, if you were hoping Planck wouldn’t use the “G” word (which is dreaded by atheists), I’m sorry to disappoint you. Planck also wrote:

        “Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”

        Please read the following essay which elaborates on how modern physics demonstrates the existence of God. Please also watch the embedded video by physicist Johannan Ratz:

        http://godevidence.com/2012/02/god-is-real/

        • Alan The Atheist says:

          No, all is needed is time and repetition. We see this with RNA forming naturally. This refutes your entire argument. Time and right conditions. I get that you don’t accept this but it is an observed occurrence.

          No intelligent mechanism needed.

          As for quoting Planck’s opinion it is an appeal to authority but you will find he never presented this in a scientific paper. So it is pointless appealing to his opinion. Present a paper he put forward for peer review that empirically supports this and we are in business but you won’t be able to.

          Newton cited the hand of God when explaining planetary movement. He was wrong and Einstein showed this.

          • Alan,

            Your response to my last post consists of little more than assertion in order to compensate for lack of a logically coherent argument.

            Stripped of the atheistic philosophical add-ons of randomness and mindlessness, “evolution” only means “change over time.” You see RNA forming “naturally,” but what scientific evidence do you present that this natural formation is random and unintelligent?

            The randomness and mindlessness of evolution are atheistic philosophical add-ons which can never be scientifically verified. Non-randomness can be scientifically verified, but there is no scientific procedure to verify randomness. Renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin writes in his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:

            “Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”

            You suggest that Planck is merely expressing an “opinion” which is not peer reviewed. But what peer reviewed evidence do you provide to back up your claim that evolution is random and mindless? A peer reviewed chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes? A peer reviewed biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri dish?

            However, the scientific evidence that the change over time of evolution is non-random is very compelling:

            Scientists such as the famous evolutionary biologist and geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky conducted six decades of research in which fruit flies were exposed to radiation in order to induce the mutation of genes, with the intent of accelerating evolution. But after 60 years of research, and despite the fact that a new generation of fruit flies occurs every 11 days, no new species emerged, or even a new enzyme. Rather, the only results are what amount to frankenflies, including mutant fruit flies with legs growing out of their heads where their antennae belong.

            So, if it is not random, how does change over time (the definition of evolution stripped of its atheistic philosophical add-ons) really happen?

            Perry Marshall answers in Evolution 2.0:

            “Remember the fruit fly experiments? [Nobel Prize-winning biologist Barbara] McClintock’s experiments were similar. She too used organisms damaged by radiation. She discovered that radiation broke chromosomes and triggered editing systems in real time. Cells would reconstruct the damaged chromosome with another section of radiation-broken genetic material.”

            “…Barbara McClintock had discovered that plants possess the ability to recognize that data has been corrupted. Then they repair it with newly activated genome elements, and in the process of repairing the data, the plants can develop new features!”

            Random mutation and natural selection is not what drives evolution (as Darwinism insists). Rather, directed processes drive evolution. The directed process mentioned above is known as transposition, and amounts to a cut/copy/paste of genetic information within a cell. The discovery of transposition won Barbara McClintock the Nobel Prize in biology, and her face on a U.S. postage stamp.

            And despite the fact that no legitimate biologist denies transposition, Marshall notes, it is noticeably absent from popular presentations of evolution, such as in books by atheistic evolution promoters Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. Scientists with an atheistic agenda do not wish to call attention to directed evolutionary processes such as transposition.

            Physicist Amit Goswami echoes Marshall’s point about the directed (as opposed to random and mindless) nature of evolution in his book Creative Evolution: A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Atheistic scientists argue in favor of upward causation, in which elementary particles make atoms, which make molecules, which make living cells, which make the brain, which produces consciousness. According to the upward causation model, then, everything begins with elementary particles, and winds up with consciousness (in human brains), as a result of mindless and random processes working over millions of years. But, as Goswami points out, downward causation (in which a consciousness comes first) is the actual state of affairs:

            “The new evidence suggests that certain bacteria, when threatened with mass starvation, accelerate their own mutation rate to evolve to a new species that can survive on the available food (Cairns, Overbaugh, and Miller 1988). This behavior is called directed mutation. Critics of directed mutation point out that under starvation perhaps the mutation rate of all the genes is enhanced, not just the one needed for survival. But even so, the question remains: What enhances the mutation rates? The correct explanation is to see this phenomenon as direct evidence in favor of downward causation (Goswami and Todd 1997) and the causal efficacy of organisms, as also propounded by organismic biologists.”

            So what (or rather who) is responsible for this downward causation? Goswami responds that the only answer can be God, in part because an immaterial conscious mind is required to explain the famous “observer effect” in physics. The “observer effect” refers to the conclusion of modern physics that, prior to observation by a conscious observer, particles exist only in an immaterial form known as a possibility wave (or probability wave). It is only after an observation is made by a conscious observer that these possibilities “collapse into actuality,” thereby taking on material form. Readers who find this bizarre or difficult to understand are in good company. Even the world’s most elite physicists are amazed and puzzled by the observer effect. However, it has been repeatedly scientifically verified. [Please click here to watch a video explaining the observer effect.] Goswami writes:

            “If the idea of downward causation were an isolated idea invented to solve the special problems of fast-tempo evolution and purposiveness of life, if it were needed nowhere else in science, then it could not be called a scientific idea, end of story. But the intriguing situation is this: The idea of a God as an agent of downward causation has emerged in quantum physics (Goswami 1989, 1991, 1993, 2000, 2002; Stapp 1993; Blood 1993, 2001) as the only legitimate explanation of the famous observer effect. (Readers skeptical about this statement should see these original references, especially Goswami 2002.)”

            Downward causation (in which a conscious agent comes first) is no doubt a bizarre (even mind-bending) concept for persons raised in a culture which has deeply entrenched assumptions supporting the upward causation model. But, far from being a fringe concept, downward causation is a virtually undeniable conclusion of modern physics, as Goswami notes.

            Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University agrees with Goswami that downward causation by God is the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from modern physics:

            “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

            Again, please view the following essay and the embedded essay from physicist Johannan Ratz to understand why modern physics clearly points to the existence of God:

            http://godevidence.com/2012/02/god-is-real/

          • Alan The Atheist says:

            //Your response to my last post consists of little more than assertion in order to compensate for lack of a logically coherent argument.//

            Early earth conditions recreated and RNA forms naturally. Not assertion. This now trumps your argument from ignorance that information can not form without intelligence. https://www.wired.com/2009/05/ribonucleotides/ It is not an assertion it is observed. Your assertion it is impossible is incorrect.

            14:30 onwards UK leading RNA expert in UK explains how RNA forms in rock pools. Not just an assertion. Explains the natural mechanism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1_TZqAO76A&t=1s

          • Alan,

            Again, whether or not RNA forms “naturally” is irrelevant. Please recall my previous comment about how the two following statements commit the same category error because they confuse and conflate different levels of causation:

            “Life is not created by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

            “Automobiles are not created by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”

            You suggest that “early conditions” created life. But, here, you are confusing the medium (RNA) with the message (the information content contained in RNA and DNA).

            A song is comprised of information which can be stored on various mediums such as an iPod, a compact disk, a computer hard drive, or a musician’s head. But these are only storage mediums. They are not the information itself.

            Similarly RNA and DNA are storage mediums for genetic information, but they are not the information itself.

            Physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:

            “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

            Elsewhere, Davies writes:

            “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.” [italics added]

            The same point regarding the inadequate information content of the laws of physics is made by the former Manhattan Project physicist, and leading information scientist, Hubert Yockey, in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life:

            “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

            Again, natural laws such as the laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics are comprised of simple, regular and repeating patterns: If you drop a pencil, it falls. If you pour salt in hot water, it dissolves.

            This is why the scientific method demands that experiments be repeatable.

            But the information coded in DNA and RNA is neither simple, nor regular and repeating. This is why you cannot cite natural laws for the absolutely immense information content present in DNA and RNA.

            And when we trace information to its source, the source is always a conscious and intelligent mind. Information scientist Henry Quastler puts it succinctly: “The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.”

            Atheism relies on mindless chemical and physical processes to explain life. But the insurmountable problem for atheism is that such mindless processes can never account for the fact that DNA is a language which utilizes the arrangement of symbols…just like a human language. Much as the chemistry of the ink and paper that constitute a newspaper cannot explain the arrangement of the letters in the words of a newspaper, the chemistry of a DNA molecule cannot explain the arrangement of letters in a DNA molecule. Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, emphasizes this point:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have meaning–a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content.”

            As Polanyi alludes to above, it would be just as absurd to assert that mindless chemical or physical processes could write a newspaper article as it would be to assert that such processes could produce the information coded in RNA or DNA.

            Further, even if “early Earth conditions” were responsible for RNA, we are left with a big question: How did reality come to be structured such that there are fundamental laws of nature and a hierarchy of intelligence in the natural world? Even if natural selection is cited as the mechanism for this state of affairs, our question remains unanswered since the mechanism can only work within a structure. How did this structure originate? Why is reality structured so that random mutation and natural selection, for example, can occur? Regarding this question, Alister McGrath, who was awarded a doctorate from Oxford University for his research in molecular biophysics, writes in Surprised by Meaning:

            “…This point is consistently overlooked in many accounts of evolution, which seem to treat physics and chemistry as essentially irrelevant background information to a discussion of evolution. Yet before life can begin, let alone evolve, this biological process requires the availability of a stable planet, irradiated by an energy source capable of chemical conversion and storage, and the existence of a diverse array of core chemical elements with certain fundamental properties. Biology has become so used to the existence and aggregation of highly organized attributes that they are seen primarily as core assumptions of evolutionary theory, rather than something that requires explanation in its own right. There is an implicit assumption that life would adapt to whatever hand of physical and chemical cards were dealt it. Yet this is untested and intrinsically questionable. The emergence of life cannot be studied in isolation from the environment that creates the conditions and provides the resources that make this possible.”

  9. Alan The Atheist says:

    //Again, whether or not RNA forms “naturally” is irrelevant. // No because RNA is self replicating and a biological organism which a car is not, similarily a newspaper is not nor is any other object you have presented as a false comparison. it is the only relevant object as it is entirely different from the objects you present.

    //You suggest that “early conditions” created life. But, here, you are confusing the medium (RNA) with the message (the information content contained in RNA and DNA).// No I am not, I am demonsrtating that information can and does form naturally, thereby refuting yoiur claim that it can only come from intelligence.

    //A song is comprised of information which can be stored on various mediums such as an iPod, a compact disk, a computer hard drive, or a musician’s head. But these are only storage mediums. They are not the information itself.// It is not self forming or self replicating so it is yet again a false comparison fallacy and need not be considered.

    //Similarly RNA and DNA are storage mediums for genetic information, but they are not the information itself.// The point is the information in RNA forms naturally and needs no intelligent source. I hope you finally understand this now. It is all about the information forming naturally and without the need of intelligence. Should I possibly say this again in case it has not sunk in. We see information forming naturally in self replicating biological object. It is not a car that was designed, it is not a play that was written or a newspaper article, nor even a song or a computer program. It is the building blocks for life which is information forming naturally. This shows it is not impossible for information to form naturally without an intelligence behind it. This is an observed occurrence.

    //Physicist Paul Davies makes clear the distinction between the medium (the physical aspect of the organism) and the message (the informational aspect of the organism), with regard to the origin of life, in The Fifth Miracle:// Quote mining from a book that was not presented as a scientific paper. This is an appeal to authority but he has not presented in a manner associated with a man of science. Can you present any papers he presented in a distinguished journal that was reviewed by hiw peers. This is merely opinion.

    //“Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.” // We dont try to reproduce planets or stars, this doesnt mean we dont know how they form naturally.

    As for Yockey, Yockey tries to argue that only 10^5 arrangements of a protein 100 amino acids long, out of a total possible 1.26 x 10^130 arrangements, are of concern to biology, if we assume a 4-bit code. Though he does not state this explicitly, this means the odds against life starting, if it had to start with just such a protein, would be 1 in 10^125. Though this is not his argument, creationists have tried to spin it that way. But this is invalid for two reasons: Yockey assumes exactly and only 20 kinds of amino acids are relevant, but life might be possible with any combination of any number of the hundreds of kinds that can exist in nature. The mere fact that life on our planet got settled on a certain twenty does not entail that this is the only way it can be done [1a]. Yockey also assumes that exactly and only 100-amino-acid chains are relevant, but life could have been begun by any number of possible chains of many different lengths, and Yockey does not sum all the relevant combinations of all the possible naturally-occurring chain lengths which may be self-replicating–he only solves this for the 100-amino-acid chain. The mathematical error this produces is discussed in the Biology & Philosophy article cited at top.

    Yockey also generates another misquoted number. Assuming a particular maximum number of suitable planets and amino-acids, the known age of the universe, and a recombination rate of twice per day (on average), he tells us that 1.61 x 10^60 different 100-amino-acid chains will be produced. This in no way refers to the odds against life, since Yockey does not try to calculate or predict how many of those combinations would be viable self-replicators (certainly it would not be only one), and all the same problems apply here as before. Nevertheless, this number is cited as if it were a statistic by Bradley and Thaxton in The Creation Hypothesis (discussed below)–indeed, they even get it wrong, claiming the number to be 1 x 10^65 (they also get the citation wrong, listing the date of Yockey’s 1977 paper as 1981, and printing his actual 1981 article not as vol. 91, but as 191).

    Of course, even Yockey’s other assumptions are questionable. He argues for a 4-bit code. Yet he himself admits that replicating proteins are known that function on a 3-bit code (p. 19), and he admits that, after all is said and done, a replicating protein chain as large as 100,000 amino-acids long could be hit upon in the known age and expanse of the universe, if we assume a 2-bit proto-gene (p. 22). He argues against such a replicating system, however, but unconvincingly. His argument is that such a small code would require longer chains to accomplish the same results, but that is moot. All we need to get life going is anything that replicates, no matter how inefficiently or inaccurately, or how simply, since all the failures will be washed away, no matter how many more there are, while the successes will remain and continue to reproduce. Then natural selection can get to work. And it is easy to imagine how a 2-bit replicator could merge with another through a symbiotic relationship, giving rise to a 4-bit code like our present DNA system. Yockey does not even consider this scenario.

    Yockey later wrote a book, in which he repeated the same faulty arguments, entitled Information Theory and Molecular Biology (1992). Besides the curious fact that he calls the Big Bang a “hydrogen bomb explosion” which, unless he is being metaphorical, throws his knowledge of science into doubt, he makes bold claims such as “the belief that…any…protein could appear by chance is based on faith” (257), yet this does not seem to be true (for the tetrahymena discovery refutes such a claim, as do recent discoveries of replicating peptide chains), and even if true, the contrary statement, “the belief that any protein could not appear by chance is based on faith,” would still be just as true. He also claims that “perhaps 300 to 400 amino acids” are required for the simplest replicator, although he admits that it may be as few as 56, something few creationists are willing to mention.

    When it comes time to calculate an improbability (254-257), all Yockey does is calculate the improbability of a single protein forming by chance (cytochrome c), and his result is 2 x 10^-44, which is low but not low enough to ensure impossibility, since anything less than 1 in 10^50 could have happened at least once in all of time and space, as we’ve noted already (Borel). But this calculation is moot, since we need to know the chance of any viable replicating protein arising, not just one specific protein. There is no reason to suppose that every possible biosphere needs cytochrome c. Other biospheres will have protein catalogues completely alien from ours, and just as rare. Hence everything cytochrome c does in our biosphere will be accomplished by a completely different protein in other biospheres, so calculating the improbability of cytochrome c is a useless exercise. His approach is like proving that he is most unlikely to win the lottery and therefore the lottery can never be won, when in fact someone wins the lottery on a regular basis. What we want to know are the odds of some protein (or set of proteins) winning the lottery, not the odds of a specific protein doing so. Thus his number is moot.

    Even so, Yockey then moves this number down to 2.3 x 10^-75 on the grounds that terrestrial chirality (all-left-handed proteins) must happen by chance, although he acknowledges that it may have arisen deterministically, as is very likely, so this final number is even more irrelevant. For sources on natural causes of chirality, see [2], and a good deal more is said about this
    https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/addendaB.html

    //But the information coded in DNA and RNA is neither simple, nor regular and repeating. This is why you cannot cite natural laws for the absolutely immense information content present in DNA and RNA.// Argument from incredulity. Yes it is amazing and huge but that doesnt mean an intelligence must have created it. This is also assumption and presupposition.

    //And when we trace information to its source, the source is always a conscious and intelligent mind. // It is not and the information forming naturally in RNA as observed proves this statement incorrect.

    //Atheism relies on mindless chemical and physical processes to explain life.// Atheism is the lack of acceptance of god propositions. This statement is incorrect and sounds like it is straight from a lying pastors sermon.

    /But the insurmountable problem for atheism is that such mindless processes can never account for the fact that DNA is a language which utilizes the arrangement of symbols…just like a human language.//Incorrect according to actual reviewed science http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519396902398

    //Much as the chemistry of the ink and paper that constitute a newspaper cannot explain the arrangement of the letters in the words of a newspaper, the chemistry of a DNA molecule cannot explain the arrangement of letters in a DNA molecule. Michael Polanyi, a former Chairman of Physical Chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK), who was famous for his important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, emphasizes this point:// No, simply time and natural selection accounts for this. Please do not present an attempt at fallacious argument from impossibility/improbability http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability#Appeal_to_improbability

    //Further, even if “early Earth conditions” were responsible for RNA, we are left with a big question: How did reality come to be structured such that there are fundamental laws of nature and a hierarchy of intelligence in the natural world?// God of the gaps fallacy, we dont know doesnt mean you get to insert God did it.

    //his point is consistently overlooked in many accounts of evolution, which seem to treat physics and chemistry as essentially irrelevant background information to a discussion of evolution.// Not in any way. You have found some christian scientists that will confirm your bias in a few books however you really have not studied the mountains of evolutionary biology papers which most certainly entertain chemistry and would find it difficult not to. Physics accounts for the climates and events which drive evolutionary change. You are being quite niaive if you believe what you wrote. I can only deduce you are not familiar with the work of physicists in explaining the formation of life https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-new-physics-theory-of-life/ or the work of quantum biology to explain evolution. We can even look to cosmology to and universal evolution to explain the emergance biological evolution. See Laurence Krauss, The greatest story ever told, so far.

    Basically what you have here is a culmination of failed quote mining, appeals to authority, misrepresentations by said authorities which you have not actually checked yourself to see how credible they are. You found something to confirm your bias but do not have enough of a grasp of science or logical argument to present any form of argument yourself. You present other peoples bad arguments and dont realise why they are bad arguments.

    My recopmmendation is to study actual science and not the pseudoscience vomited out by people that have a bias. People that can not publish their papers in respected journals because they will be shot down and torn to pieces by honest sciehntists. You will learn so much more from actual science sources.

    • Alan,

      You write, “The point is the information in RNA forms naturally and needs no intelligent source. I hope you finally understand this now. It is all about the information forming naturally and without the need of intelligence. Should I possibly say this again in case it has not sunk in.”

      Here, you provide us with a textbook example of trying to use a forceful assertion to compensate for a deficient argument. You have forcefully asserted that information encoded in symbolic representation can form without intelligence, but you provide no logical argument to back up your claim.

      Further, you keep committing the same category error over and over again because you confuse and conflate different levels of causation. The following two statements commit the same category error by confusing and conflating different levels of causation:

      “Life is not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

      “Automobiles are not caused by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”

      You suggest that the self-replicating nature

      Further still, I fail to see where you have demonstrated that the information content present in RNA and DNA can be accounted for in terms of unintelligent processes. I have to rehash that information is by necessity mental in nature in part because symbolic representation (which is present in RNA and DNA) requires the encoding and decoding of symbols. Symbols have no meaning apart from the arbitrary meanings assigned by a conscious and intelligent agent.

      You try to attack Yockey’s probability calculations, but the heart of the argument has nothing whatsoever to do with probabilities. Your attack on Yockey’s probability calculations is therefore diversionary in nature…an attempt at misdirection or sleight of hand. This is known as a Red Herring Fallacy.

      Alan, you have to respond to the argument that I actually presented, and not some probability argument that I never presented.

      That citation from Yockey, the lead author of the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, again:
      ————————
      … the meaning, if any, of words, that is, a sequence of letters, is arbitrary. It is determined by the natural language and is not a property of the letters or their arrangement. For example, the English word “hell” means bright in German, “fern” means far, “gift” means poison, “bald” means soon, “boot” means boat, “singe” means sing. In French “pain” means bread, “ballot” means a bundle, “coin” means a corner or a wedge, “chair” means flesh, “cent” means hundred, “son” means his, “tire” means a pull, “ton” means your.

      This confusion of meaning goes as far as sentences. For example, “0 singe fort!” has no meaning as a sentence in English, although each is an English word, yet in German it means “0 sing on!” and in French it means “0 strong monkey”. Like all messages, the life message is non-material but has an information content measurable in bits and bytes and plays the role, ascribed by vitalists, of an unmeasurable, metaphysical vital force without being ad hoc, romantic, spooky, contrary to the laws of physics or supernatural. Of course, like all messages, the genetic message, although non-material, must be recorded in matter or energy.
      ———————

      Rutgers University professor Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper “The Linguistics of DNA: Words, Sentences, Grammar, Phonetics, and Semantics” discusses the amazing similarities between DNA and human language:

      “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

      Ji identifies 13 characteristics of human language. DNA shares 10 of them. Cells edit DNA. They also communicate with each other and literally speak a language he called “cellese,” described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.”

      This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper:

      “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.” This is true of genetic material. Signals between cells do this as well.

      Alan, what exactly is quote mining? I have much experience debating atheists, and, as far as I can tell, “quote mining” occurs any time that a theist provides a quote which is inconvenient to the atheist ideology. The citation of experts is a routine part of rational discourse. If you doubt this, just check virtually any scholarly journal.

      The fallacy of Appeal to Authority occurs when a person tries to use the authority of an expert to substitute for a logical argument. It does not occur any time that a person cites an expert. In other words, this fallacy occurs when a person cites an expert’s opinion without a logical argument to back up that opinion. Many atheists, such as yourself, seem to be confused about this.

      I do not attempt to use the authority of experts to substitute for a logical argument. Rather, I cite experts in my logical argument for the mental nature of the symbolic representation present in DNA and RNA. You can either furnish a logically constructed, fact-based rebuttal to my argument, or you can try to side step my argument with diversionary discussions about probability and misapplications of logical fallacies.

      Do you really think that you are fooling any intelligent third-party viewers of this discussion?

      And, once again, probability alone cannot account for anything, ever, period. For one, in order to win the lottery, for example, the causal mechanism of going to the store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is required. Without this causal mechanism, the probability of winning the lottery is exactly zero. As one lottery advertisement says, “You can’t win unless you play.”

      Secondly, the structure of a lottery commission and a distribution network for lottery tickets (etc.) is necessary (not to mention the monetary system of the Dollar, Euro, etc.). In other words, for one to win the lottery, there must first be a lottery, and there must first be such a thing as money to win.

      Without this structure, the probability of an individual winning the lottery is exactly zero. In fancier language, the potential for a lottery win is embedded within the structure that exists in the lottery and the monetary system. The causal mechanism of purchasing lottery tickets allows this embedded structure to manifest itself in the form of a lottery win. Without this underlying structure, time and chance can produce nothing.

      The fatal flaw with the atheistic argument that probability and time are an alternative explanation to God is that it assumes (and does not adequately explain) the existence of the structure and the causal mechanism…with the complex order contained therein.

      University of Delaware physicist Stephen Barr discusses the topic of underlying order, or structure, in Modern Physics and Ancient Faith:

      “The overlooked point is this: when examined carefully, scientific accounts of natural processes are never really about order emerging from mere chaos, or form emerging from mere formlessness. On the contrary, they are always about the unfolding of an order that was already implicit in the nature of things, although often in a secret or hidden way. When we see situations that appear haphazard, or things that appear amorphous, automatically or spontaneously ‘arranging themselves’ into orderly patterns, what we find in every case is that what appeared to be amorphous or haphazard actually already had a great deal of order built into it.”

      “In fact, we shall learn something more: in every case where science explains order, it does so, in the final analysis, by appealing to a greater, more impressive, and more comprehensive underlying orderliness. And that is why, ultimately, scientific explanations do not allow us to escape from the Design Argument: for when the scientist has done his job there is not less order to explain but more.”

      Regarding the question of the origin of life, what are the source of the structure (or order) and causal mechanism that allow the bare probability of life to eventually produce actual life?

      In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry, put it:

      “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

      Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics, for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it:

      “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

      Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

      “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics added)

      What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.”

      But this just-so storytelling (which is such an integral part of the atheist worldview) has no explanatory value whatsoever.

      • Alan The Atheist says:

        You will have to give me a little time to try to find a peer review paper or two showing evolution to be naturally occurring and random , it will be diffI cult what with evokution being the most documented topic in science and being driven by NATRUAL SELECTION. The clue is in the name.

        I can only deduce from you asking go where all the paper are that you have little or no scientific background and glean all your information from this book.

        I will happily provide far too many journals explaining the natural and random process which is evolution and how it is driven by natural selection. Was that your checkmate request just out of curiosity?

      • Alan The Atheist says:

        Ok, lets start here. //Here, you provide us with a textbook example of trying to use a forceful assertion to compensate for a deficient argument. You have forcefully asserted that information encoded in symbolic representation can form without intelligence, but you provide no logical argument to back up your claim.//
        This is not a forceful assertion, you simply refuse to acknowledge the event as it is or do not understand the significance of it. The fact remains we see no intelligent hand in this. If you wish to assert there is then YOU must now show there is one. The experiment shows RNA forming naturally. That was the point of the experiment. Can you show an intelligence used? There are several experiments done. One is the heating of the sea water to replicate the natural process as the video explains of sea coming in and out and the heat of the sun. As you can se no intelligence needed. Just repetition, heat and sea water. Peer reviewed paper here http://donohoe.chem.ox.ac.uk/resources/151111LiteratureChris.pdf

        The other experiment I linked to used a laser to replicate extreme heat. Here is that peer reviewed paper https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7244/full/459171a.html

        Both experiments show a natural process replicated in lab conditions. If you wish to infer an intelligence you must show this to be the case.

        //Further, you keep committing the same category error over and over again because you confuse and conflate different levels of causation. The following two statements commit the same category error by confusing and conflating different levels of causation:

        “Life is not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

        “Automobiles are not caused by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”// I dont confuse or conflate as I understand the difference between an organic organism that has reproductive abilities and the ability to self replicate and a car. They are incomparable. This was explained and shown to be false comparison fallacy. You assert confusion but fail to show this to be the case, where as I lay out exactly why they are incomparable.

        //Further still, I fail to see where you have demonstrated that the information content present in RNA and DNA can be accounted for in terms of unintelligent processes. I have to rehash that information is by necessity mental in nature in part because symbolic representation (which is present in RNA and DNA) requires the encoding and decoding of symbols. Symbols have no meaning apart from the arbitrary meanings assigned by a conscious and intelligent agent.// Yes this is your failure to understand the nature of the experiments which show it to be able to form as a natural process without intelligence. I get this but this is your shortfall. The experiments are laid out in the papers and show no intelligent hand needed. I hope you finally realise this now. If you wish to show an intelligence this is on your shoulders now.

        //That citation from Yockey, the lead author of the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, again:// I linked you to an explanation that genetic code is not a language. The rest regarding Yockey was to show how far off the mark the guy always is.

        Just reading Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper. I am guessing you have not actually read it. It actually says it is convenient to use similarities in language to understand the various parts elements of cells but not that it is an actual language which must be intelligently designed. Quite the opposite as he eludes to the natural process of self replication. This is the problem when you quote mine and dont actually understand the topic you are broaching. You even score an own goal by stating he says this, “described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.” A self organising system. No intelligence needed lol. It shows what a cell can do by itself and no hand of an intelligent being is mentioned in his paper. So his paper, if you bothered to read it draws similarities but does not conclude that DNA must be intelligently designed, quite the opposite.

        Quote mining, you are taking little bits and pieces of opinions of experts and presenting it as if it is empirically shown true, this is also where you appeal to their authority when they really need to present papers on this for review as their opinion counts for very little.

        You then cherry picked Sungchul Ji not realising what his paper actually states.

        //I do not attempt to use the authority of experts to substitute for a logical argument.// No you attempt to present their opinion as scientific fact. Present the papers from respected journals where what you claim to be true is true and is checked.

        //Do you really think that you are fooling any intelligent third-party viewers of this discussion?// I am piece by piece dissecting your terrible argument and anyone with a science background could see this. I am also pointing out your logical fallacies and your short fallings with regards to actual science.

        //And, once again, probability alone cannot account for anything, ever, period. For one, in order to win the lottery, for example, the causal mechanism of going to the store to buy lottery tickets on a regular basis is required. Without this causal mechanism, the probability of winning the lottery is exactly zero. As one lottery advertisement says, “You can’t win unless you play.”// Again this is a false comparison fallacy as going to the shop and buying a lottery ticket is not the same as information forming naturally and self replicating with mutations or reproducing with mutations. They are simply incomparable. We have shown the information can form naturally and we know it self replicates and evolution is driven by change over time via mutation driven by natural selection as per the theory of evolution in its modern synthesis.

        I will leave it here for now but will pick up the running again tomorrow morning.

        • Alan,

          You write, “The fact remains we see no intelligent hand in this. If you wish to assert there is then YOU must now show there is one.”

          Once again, you have chosen to ignore my argument and side step it with an assertion. We know that mind is involved in the creation of life because the genetic code utilizes symbolic representation, in a very literal sense. This is no metaphor. How can you rectify the presence of symbolic representation with purely unintelligent causes?

          //You state, “I linked you to an explanation that genetic code is not a language.”//

          Please articulate in your own words why genetic code is not a language. Attempting to avoid my argument by providing a hyperlink will fool no one. You are in denial of science if you suggest that the genetic code is not a language. Even the world’s most outspoken atheist, the Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins, concedes that DNA is a language very similar to a computer language. In his book River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Dawkins writes:

          “…The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.”

          Elsewhere, Dawkins writes:

          “What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth.”

          Like the physicist Paul Davies, Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold emphasizes the informational aspect of living organisms. He describes the simplest living thing (the single celled organism) in The Way of the Cell:

          “…a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours.”

          Once again, a symbol has no meaning outside of the meaning arbitrarily assigned to it by a conscious and intelligent agent. Werner Gitt, a former director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics, and the former head of the department of information technology drives this point home eloquently:

          “An abstract symbol set provides for an immense number of combinations of basic symbols to form words. These words may then be arranged in near-limitless ways to form phrases and sentences that, in turn, are used to form larger bodies of text/messages such as paragraphs. Thus, for example, the English letters ‘a, c, and t’ may be used to form the word ‘cat’ (a mammal that purrs and meows).”

          “The very same letters may also be used to form the word ‘act’ (a word that, depending on the context, will have any one of a number of meanings; e.g., consider the phrases ‘caught in the act‘, ‘the second act of the play’, ‘an act of Congress’, ‘performed a heroic act‘ and others). The point to notice is that the letters ‘a,c, and t’ by themselves do not have a one-to-one relationship with the entity that they are combined to represent. These letters acquire function and meaning only after they are combined in agreed-upon sequences and assigned meanings.“

          Simply put, what a symbol serves to represent must be decided upon by a conscious and intelligent agent. Symbolic representation is NECESSARILY a mental process.

          Alan, you can either choose to either respond to this argument, or try to distract attention from your failure to respond. But no intelligent third-party viewer of this discussion will be fooled by attempts to assert your way out of furnishing a logically constructed rebuttal (i.e. “The fact remains we see no intelligent hand in this.”) You have already committed the logical fallacy of Argument by Repeated Assertion.

          ALAN, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION CAN OCCUR INDEPENDENT OF A CONSCIOUS AND INTELLIGENT AGENT? ANSWER THE QUESTION OR ADMIT THAT YOU CANNOT.

          SPIT IT OUT!!!

          You keep repeating that RNA forms naturally. But, yet again, you have chosen to ignore my point that whether or not RNA forms naturally is completely irrelevant. RNA and DNA are storage media for messages. They are not the message itself. Just as the origin of a compact disk doesn’t explain the existence of the song stored on the compact disk, the origin or RNA doesn’t explain the existence of the information stored in RNA. In a previous comment, I cited the physicist Paul Davies from his book The Fifth Miracle:

          The Fifth Miracle:

          “The laws of physics, which determine what atoms react with what, and how, are algorithmically very simple; they themselves contain relatively little information. Consequently they cannot on their own be responsible for creating informational macromolecules [such as even the most simple organism]. Contrary to the oft-repeated claim, then, life cannot be ‘written into’ the laws of physics…Once this essential point is grasped, the real problem of biogenesis [or life emerging through unintelligent processes] is clear. Since the heady success of molecular biology, most investigators have sought the secret of life in the physics and chemistry of molecules. But they will look in vain for conventional physics and chemistry to explain life, for that is the classic case of confusing the medium with the message.”

          Elsewhere, Davies writes:

          “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

          Alan, as Davies alludes to above, you are confusing the medium (RNA) with the message (the information codified in genetic code).

          //You tried to side step this in a previous comment by writing the following: “Quote mining from a book that was not presented as a scientific paper. This is an appeal to authority but he has not presented in a manner associated with a man of science. Can you present any papers he presented in a distinguished journal that was reviewed by his peers. This is merely opinion.”//

          Please explain what “quote mining” is. As far as I can tell, “quote mining” is providing any quote which is inconvenient to the atheist worldview. Further, it is patently fallacious to suggest that the manner in which Davies’ argument is presented has any bearing on whether it is valid or not. Who do you think you are fooling?

          Alan, please explain how the coding and decoding of information can occur independent of a mind? Yet again (I have to keep emphasizing this), codes (or languages) are mental constructs because they use symbols which must be arbitrarily chosen by a conscious and intelligent agent (as my above citation from Gitt so eloquently articulates).

          Yet again, whether or not RNA emerges “naturally” is completely and utterly irrelevant because RNA is a storage medium, and not the information itself. You keep repeating your arguments for the “natural” origin of RNA, as if this had some sort of relevance.

          Some more citations from information scientists furnished by Gitt regarding the necessarily mental nature of information:

          “…According to a frequently quoted statement by the American mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) information cannot be a physical entity: ‘Information is information, neither matter nor energy. Any materialism which disregards this will not survive one day.’”

          “Werner Strombach, a German information scientist of Dortmund, emphasizes the nonmaterial nature of information by defining it as an ‘enfolding of order at the level of contemplative cognition.’”

          “Hans-Joachim Flechtner, a German cyberneticist, referred to the fact that information is of a mental nature, both because of its contents and because of the encoding process. This aspect is, however, frequently underrated: ‘When a message is composed, it involves the coding of its mental content, but the message itself is not concerned about whether the contents are important or unimportant, valuable, useful, or meaningless. Only the recipient can evaluate the message after decoding it.’”

          “It should now be clear that information, being a fundamental entity, cannot be a property of matter, and its origin cannot be explained in terms of material processes. We therefore formulate the following theorem. Theorem 1: The fundamental quantity of information is a non-material (mental) entity. It is not a property of matter, so that purely material processes are fundamentally precluded as sources of information.”

          But my argument does not rest on the citations of experts. Anybody can clearly see for him or her self why the genetic code cannot be accounted for in unintelligent terms.

          The language of DNA uses substitutive symbols, just like other languages. Werner Gitt elaborates on the substitutive function of genetic code:

          “Universal Information is always an abstract representation of some other existing entity. Universal Information is never the item (object) or the fact (event, idea) itself but rather the coded symbols serve as a substitute for the entities that are being represented. Different languages often use different sets of symbols and usually different symbol sequences to represent the same material object or concept. Consider the following examples:”

          “-the words in a newspaper, consisting of a sequence of letters, substitute for an event that happened at an earlier time and in some other place,”

          “-the words in a novel, consisting of sequences of letters, substitute for characters and their actions,”

          “-the notes of a musical score substitute for music that will be played later on musical instruments,”

          “-the chemical formula for benzene substitutes for the toxic liquid that is kept in a flask in a chemistry laboratory,”

          “-the genetic codons (three-letter words) of the DNA molecule substitute for specific amino acids that are bonded together in a specific sequence to form a protein.”

          Alan, please do not attempt to side step the following question with irrelevant forays into how the storage medium of RNA allegedly emerged “naturally”:

          How can the substitutive function of the symbols present in DNA be accomplished without a conscious and intelligent agent? How can unintelligent material processes accomplish the substitutive function of a language such as the genetic code?

          How can “artificial languages and their decoding systems” (in the above cited words of Oxford University scientist Franklin M. Harold) be accounted for without a conscious and intelligent agent to arbitrarily assign meaning to the symbols in that language?

          //You write, “Just reading Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper. I am guessing you have not actually read it. It actually says it is convenient to use similarities in language to understand the various parts elements of cells but not that it is an actual language which must be intelligently designed.”//

          Ok, here are my citations of Ji’s paper. It opens with:

          “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

          This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal, as even the outspoken atheist biologist Richard Dawkins admits. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper:

          “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.”

          “Contextual meaning,” for example, cannot be accounted for in unintelligent terms because unintelligent material things such as rocks or the chair you are sitting on do not have meaning. Only contents of thought have meaning.

          Ok Alan, please provide the citation from Ji’s paper where he says something to the effect of, “it is convenient to use similarities in language to understand the various parts elements of cells but not that it is an actual language.”

          I am very very curious to see this.

          Lastly (and this is crucial): You have ignored my argument about how natural laws cannot account for irregular and non-repeating sequences such as the information codified in DNA. The following is a regular and repeating sequence which has very little information content:

          abcabcabcabcabc

          And the following is an irregular, non-repeating sequence which has significant information content:

          “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

          Laws of nature such as the laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics are simple, regular and repeating sequences:

          If you drop a pencil, it falls. If you pour salt in water, it dissolves. Simple, regular, repeating.

          This is why the scientific method demands that experiments be repeatable.

          And this is why Hubert Yockey was justified in writing the following in the primary text on the application of information theory to the origin of life:

          “The laws of physics and chemistry are much like the rules of a game such as football. The referees see to it that these laws are obeyed but that does not predict the winner of the Super Bowl. There is not enough information in the rules of the game to make that prediction. That is why we play the game. [Mathematician Gregory] Chaitin (1985, 1987a) has examined the laws of physics by actually programming them. He finds the information content amazingly small.”

          Alan, again, natural processes are the result of natural laws such as the laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. This is why it is fallacious to suggest that the information content present in the genetic code is the result of mindless natural processes. It is also why the Nobel Prize-winning, Harvard University biologist George Wald wrote the following in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe (despite being ideologically inclined towards atheism):

          “It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”

          • Alan The Atheist says:

            //Once again, you have chosen to ignore my argument and side step it with an assertion// No, what is happening is you are unwilling to accept that my assertions is supported by the papers presented. Either you are not smart enough to understand this or you are very dishonest. The articles presented show that the information can and does form naturally. Please stop Gish Galloping. Let’s just stick to this point for now and not move on as this needs to be resolved.

            Do you admit that genetic code is shown to form naturally in the experiments by Sutherland and Szostak? If not explain how the experiments do not show this. We don’t move on from this point and the Gish Gallop stops right now.

          • Davidian says:

            You seem like someone that is potentially quite bright, perhaps instead of continuing with the assertions you come join the AIR debate group: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1074083495968159

            Here we have a variety of users from all faiths and scientific backgrounds but we do demand that assertions are backed up with evidence (or at least a peer reviewed paper)

            We also discuss a number of philosophical and hypothetical elements and use our audience there as a sounding board for our articles.. eg if there is an error in our work we would rather someone correct us

            Now I suggest you move this discussion there as presently there seems to be a lot of asserting without evidence and ignoring the other person, and perhaps we can move to a location where we can all investigate this together.

          • Alan The Atheist says:

            //Please articulate in your own words why genetic code is not a language. Attempting to avoid my argument by providing a hyperlink will fool no one.// providing a hyperlink is a relevant as you copy and pasting from a book, especially if the source is academic and includes citations. If I use my own words you accuse me of making unsupported assertions, when I link to support my claim I am apparently fooling no one.

            Can a word mutate during self replication? Genetic code may share traits with language but the fact it can form naturally as shown experimentally both here

            http://donohoe.chem.ox.ac.uk/resources/151111LiteratureChris.pdf
            and
            https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7244/full/459171a.html

            Means genetic code differs from language significantly.

            Genetic code is not a true code; it is more of a cypher. DNA is a sequence of four different bases (denoted A, C, G, and T) along a backbone. When DNA gets translated to protein, triplets of bases (codons) get converted sequentially to the amino acids that make up the protein, with some codons acting as a “stop” marker. The mapping from codon to amino acid is arbitrary (not completely arbitrary, but close enough for purposes of argument). However, that one mapping step — from 64 possible codons to 20 amino acids and a stop signal — is the only arbitrariness in the genetic code. The protein itself is a physical object whose function is determined by its physical properties.

            Furthermore, DNA gets used for more than making proteins. Much DNA is transcribed directly to functional RNA. Other DNA acts to regulate genetic processes. The physical properties of the DNA and RNA, not any arbitrary meanings, determine how they act.

            An essential property of language is that any word can refer to any object. That is not true in genetics. The genetic code which maps codons to proteins could be changed, but doing so would change the meaning of all sequences that code for proteins, and it could not create arbitrary new meanings for all DNA sequences. Genetics is not true language.

            The word frequencies of all natural languages follow a power law (Zipf’s Law). DNA does not follow this pattern (Tsonis et al. 1997).

            Language, although symbolic, is still material. For a word to have meaning, the link between the word and its meaning has to be recorded somewhere, usually in people’s brains, books, and/or computer memories. Without this material manifestation, language cannot work.

            Tsonis, A. A., J. B. Elsner and P. A. Tsonis, 1997. Is DNA a language? Journal of Theoretical Biology 184: 25-29.

            So let us stick to these points.

            Genetis code shares attributes with language but is not a language as it tanscends language and we can see the code form naturally without intelligence. Your professor Sungchul Ji’s really just uses similarities in language as a metaphor for explaining natural interactions between various parts of a cell.

            So as you can see:

            Genetic code can and does form naturally which is experimentally7 verified by 2 seperate scientists which are experts in their field so your claim it cannot is addressed and refuted.
            http://donohoe.chem.ox.ac.uk/resources/151111LiteratureChris.pdf
            and
            https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7244/full/459171a.html

            Genetic code can be likened to language but is not actually a language by definition of actual linguists. Tsonis, A. A., J. B. Elsner and P. A. Tsonis, 1997. Is DNA a language? Journal of Theoretical Biology 184: 25-29.

            We can address all your other points in later threads or preferably in the group here where we can discuss 1 to 1 with moderators that can be called upon if someone is not acting in the spirit of debate. https://www.facebook.com/groups/answersinreason/

          • Alan,

            I really prefer not to use all caps, because it is frankly impolite. I prefer to be polite when at all possible. But since you have consistently ignored one of my main points, I have to emphasize it with all caps:

            WHETHER OR NOT RNA FORMS NATURALLY IS COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY IRRELEVANT TO THIS DISCUSSION.

            Your reasoning commits the same category error over and over again. The two following statements commit the same category error because they confuse and conflate different levels of causation:

            “Life is not caused by God, but rather, by natural processes.”

            “Automobiles are not caused by people, but rather, by manufacturing processes.”

            It is not sufficient to merely demonstrate that something was formed by natural processes in order to demonstrate that it was formed unintelligently.

            The statement, “Science shows that natural processes form genetic code, and therefore there is no need for an intelligent agent” is a complete non sequitur (does not follow).

            Would demonstrating that manufacturing processes are behind the creation of automobiles be sufficient to demonstrate that no intelligent agency is involved in the creation of automobiles?

            In a previous comment, you responded to this with, “False comparison fallacy again. A car is not a self replicating reproducing biological organism.”

            Of what relevance is it whether or not we are discussing a car or a self-replicating biological organism? A material cause is only one level of causation. Your “false comparison fallacy” fails because providing a material cause is not sufficient to explain all levels of causation, regardless of what we are talking about.

            Natural processes and manufacturing processes are both material causes. But material causes are only one level of causation.

            The first hyperlink you provided is an article about the synthesis of pyrimidine ribonucleotides. But pyrimidine ribonucleotides are a medium for the storage of genetic information, not genetic information itself. You are still confusing and conflating information storage media with information itself.

            The second article you provided a link to is titled “Origins of life: Systems chemistry on early Earth” and asks the question, “But where did RNA come from?” Once again, RNA is a physical storage medium, and is not the information itself. That citation from the physicist Paul Davies again:

            “Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.”

            Yes, as you say, “The protein itself is a physical object whose function is determined by its physical properties.” But this physical object is the medium, and not the message. You keep confusing the medium with the message. Again, the physical processes which produce a plastic compact disk do not explain the existence of the informational content stored on a compact disk.

            The organization in proteins and DNA is not caused by the properties of the constituent amino acids and nucleotides themselves, any more than forces between ink molecules make them join up into letters and words. The message or meaning in the genetic code is non-material and cannot be reduced to a physical or chemical property. Regarding this point, Michael Polanyi (1891–1976), a former chairman of physical chemistry at the University of Manchester (UK) writes:

            “As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule. It is this physical indeterminacy of the sequence that produces the improbability of occurrence of any particular sequence and thereby enables it to have a meaning—a meaning that has a mathematically determinate information content …”.

            Further, your citations of probabilities regarding the chance that genetic code could emerge through random processes are an exercise in futility. This is because randomness both creates and destroys (mostly destroys). For what reason should we assume that useful randomly generated genetic code would not be immediately wiped away or erased by the same random forces which generated it in the first place?

            Your atheist worldview needs to sweep this fact under the rug: Even if random forces could produce a functional genetic code sequence (against incredibly long odds, as you seem to admit), the same random forces would also wipe away this information much more quickly. This is due to the simple fact that the vast majority of symbolic sequences are gibberish.

            The sentence, “I flew to Chicago” becomes meaningless and useless once a single letter is changed: “I flem to Chicago.” The same is true with genetic code.

            A useful sequence of genetic code must be preserved. But if random processes produced this genetic code in the first place, why would these random processes preserve (rather than quickly destroy) this useful genetic code?

            David Berlinski comments on this fatal flaw of atheist reasoning in the context of responding to the famous Oxford University atheist biologist Richard Dawkins’ argument that randomness could produce a genetic code “target phrase.” Dawkins uses the illustration of monkeys typing randomly on a keyboard and eventually typing the “target phrase, “Methinks it is like a weasel.” Berlinski responds to Dawkins:

            “Dawkins—’Methinks it is like a weasel’— is a six-word sentence containing twenty-eight English letters (including the spaces). It occupies an isolated point in a space of 10,000 million, million, million, million, million, million possibilities. This is a very large number; combinatorial inflation is at work. And these are very long odds. And a six-word sentence consisting of twenty-eight English letters is a very short, very simple English sentence.”

            “Such are the fatal facts. The problem confronting the monkeys is, of course, a double one: they must, to be sure, find the right letters, but they cannot lose the right letters once they have found them. A random search in a space of this size is an exercise in irrelevance.”

            “The mechanism of deliberate design, purged by Darwinian theory on the level of the organism, has reappeared in the description of natural selection itself, a vivid example of what Freud meant by the return of the repressed.”

            Dean Overman also comments on this fatal flaw of atheist reasoning, in the context of responding to Dawkins. A useful piece of genetic code must be preserved for it to be useful. But what preserves useful genetic code, thereby preventing it from being wiped away by the same random forces which generated it in the first place? Overman writes:

            “…For the monkey to preserve the correct letters in the sequence requires an assumed intelligence apart from and greater than the intelligence of the monkey. This intelligence must have knowledge of the letters which construct a meaningful sentence. Without such an intelligence, no principle exists for deciding which letters should be preserved. Natural selection does not qualify as such an intelligence, because it is a process, not something like an intelligent mind which knows the alphabet and the structure of a meaningful sentence. Dawkins cannot have it both ways. He cannot logically assert that a process without the characteristics of a mind has the characteristics of a mind and the knowledge required to ‘know’ which letters to preserve. Such an assertion fails because it assumes a self-contradiction. Cadit quaestio.”

            Lastly, I cited another problem with your randomness argument in a previous post: Randomness and time, alone, cannot produce anything, ever. Period.

            I cited the example of the lottery. The chance of any person ever winning the lottery is exactly zero unless there first exists the underlying structure and order of a lottery commission, a monetary system, and a distribution network for lottery tickets, etc..

            You characterized this a “false comparison fallacy,” but you need to pay attention to the crucial distinction between a logical rebuttal to an argument, on one hand, and a mere assertion, on the other hand.

            If I am committing a “false comparison fallacy,” then you need to provide a logical argument to support this claim, not a mere assertion. Put another way, slapping a label on an argument does not constitute furnishing a logical rebuttal to that argument. Rather, it constitutes a withdrawal form rational discourse, and therefore a tacit acknowledgment that your stance cannot withstand logical scrutiny.

            Regarding the need for chance to have an underlying order upon which to operate, I cited Alister McGrath, who was awarded a doctorate from Oxford University for his research in molecular biophysics, writes in Surprised by Meaning:

            “…This point is consistently overlooked in many accounts of evolution, which seem to treat physics and chemistry as essentially irrelevant background information to a discussion of evolution. Yet before life can begin, let alone evolve, this biological process requires the availability of a stable planet, irradiated by an energy source capable of chemical conversion and storage, and the existence of a diverse array of core chemical elements with certain fundamental properties. Biology has become so used to the existence and aggregation of highly organized attributes that they are seen primarily as core assumptions of evolutionary theory, rather than something that requires explanation in its own right. There is an implicit assumption that life would adapt to whatever hand of physical and chemical cards were dealt it. Yet this is untested and intrinsically questionable. The emergence of life cannot be studied in isolation from the environment that creates the conditions and provides the resources that make this possible.”

            If my recollection is correct, you characterized my above citation as “quote mining from a Christian scientist.” Is THAT your logical rebuttal? If so, you again need to pay attention to the crucial distinction between merely characterizing an argument, on one hand, and actually furnishing a logically constructed rebuttal, on the other hand.

            Further, you still have not answered my question about what “quote mining” is. As far as I can tell, it is using any quote which is inconvenient to the atheist worldview.

            Another devastating blow to your randomness argument relates to the time available for random processes to work. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross writes in The Creator and the Cosmos:

            “When it comes to the origin of life, many biologists (and others) have typically assumed that plenty of time is available for natural processes to perform the necessary assembly. But discoveries about the universe and the solar system have shattered that assumption. What we now see is that life must have originated on Earth quickly.”

            “In early 1992 Christopher Chyba and Carl Sagan published a review paper on the origins of life. Origins is plural for a good reason. Research indicates that life began, was destroyed, and began again many times during that era before it finally took hold.”

            “…From 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago the bombardment [of earth by asteroids, comets, meteors, and dust] gradually decreased to its present comparatively low level. But during those 300 million years at least thirty life-exterminating impacts must have occurred. These findings have enormous significance to our theories about the origin of life. They show that life sprang up on Earth (and re-sprang) in what could be called geologic instants, periods of ten-million years or less (between devastating impacts).”

            “From the perspective of our life span, a ten-million-year window may seem long, but it is impossibly short to those seeking to explain life’s origins without divine input.”

            MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder makes the same point:

            “…and then there is the uncontested reality that life started immediately on just-cooled earth and not after billions of years as had been once posited. Elso Barghoorn, while at Harvard University, discovered this fact that changed the entire emphasis in origin of life studies. Barghoorn discovered that the oldest rocks that can bear fossils already have fully formed fossils of one-celled life. And most amazingly, and yet by necessity, those first forms of life already had the ability to reproduce. Reproduction is not something that can gradually evolve. The first cell to survive had to have all the mechanisms for mitosis the first time around since all the attempts at life that came before (if there were other attempts) died without leaving any heritage simply because there was no succeeding generation prior to reproduction.”

          • Alan The Atheist says:

            It is relevant as it shows the information you say cannot form without intelligence actually does form naturally. This is the case whether you use caps or not.

            Please join our Facebook group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/answersinreason/?ref=bookmarks where we can continue this discussion under moderated debate as you have been warned about Gish Galloping here already. This is the last warning for Gish Galloping you will receive here.

          • Alan,

            I do not see any reason to debate you anywhere else. Do you need someone to help you at that moderated forum? Or can you stand up to me on your own and debate me here?

            Please feel free to consult with people at that forum who want to assist you, and then copy and paste their replies here.

            You have labeled my arguments as “gish-galloping.” But, once again, you confuse slapping a label on my arguments, on one hand, with actually furnishing a logically constructed rebuttal to my arguments, on the other hand. These are entirely different things.

            Further, slapping a label on my arguments instead of logically responding to them is very highly suggestive that you cannot respond to them.

            And you seem to habitually confuse and conflate two different concepts:

            1) Natural

            2) Mindless and/or random

            These are not the same thing. The idea that natural processes are mindless and random is an atheistic philosophical add-on to scientific theory which can never be verified.

            Think about it: How would you scientifically verify that natural processes are random and mindless? With a chemistry experiment involving a bunsen burner and test tubes? With a biology experiment involving a microscope and a petri-dish?

            There is also no mathematical procedure for verifying that a pattern is random. Renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin from his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:

            “Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”

            The randomness of your worldview is a philosophical add-on which can never be verified, and therefore stands in opposition to the scientific method itself.

            However, inferring intelligent agency is considered to be “within the legitimate scope of natural science,” as Oxford University mathematician John Lennox notes in the below excerpt from his book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?

            “How does one scientifically recognize a message emanating from an intelligent source, and distinguish it from the random background noise that emanates from the cosmos? Clearly the only way this can be done is to compare the signals received with the patterns specified in advance that are deemed to be clear and reliable indicators of intelligence — like a long sequence of prime numbers — and then to make a design inference. In SETI [The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, which was originally a NASA program] the recognition of intelligent agency is regarded as lying within the legitimate scope of natural science. The astronomer Carl Sagan thought that a single message from space would be enough to convince us that there were intelligences in the universe other than our own.”

            “Writing on paper (or paint on a Rembrandt canvas) exhibits what philosopher Del Ratzsch calls counterflow — phenomena that nature, unaided by agent activity, could not produce. It is because we know that, even in principle, physics and chemistry cannot give an explanation of the counterflow exhibited by the writing, that we reject a purely naturalistic explanation, and we postulate an author. But it needs to be said that postulating an intelligent agent to explain writing is not falling into an ‘author-of-the-gaps’ syndrome; rather it is our knowledge of the nature of the ‘gap’ that demands we postulate an author.”

            Why is a long sequence of prime numbers considered to be sufficient evidence for inferring intelligent agency, whereas the far far far greater complexity exhibited in the code of DNA is not? Only because atheists within academia are opposed to a certain source of intelligent agency: God.

            A window into this reality exists in an observation of the explanations for the origin of life hypothesized by some of the world’s most elite atheist biologists. Francis Crick, famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix, suggests that life was brought to Earth by aliens in their spaceship in his book Life Itself. Click on the link below to read about how Crick endorsed this hypothesis (known as “directed panspermia” in his book Life Itself).

            http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-04zzz.html

            And the most famous atheist biologist of all, Richard Dawkins from Oxford University, endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life in an interview. Click on the link below to watch an excerpt of this interview, in which Dawkins mentions that he considers this a plausible hypothesis:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoncJBrrdQ8

            Other elite atheist scientists who endorse the “alien” explanation include the Cambridge University astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, the British Chemist Leslie Orgel, and the astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe.

            So, apparently, some of the most elite atheist biologists are not opposed to intelligent agency as an explanation for the origin of life on Earth. Rather, they are opposed to a specific intelligent agent: God.

            My main objection to your website and the arguments you present here is that you seem to constantly confuse science, on one hand, with atheistic philosophical add-ons to scientific theory, on the other hand.

          • Davidian says:

            // How would you scientifically verify that natural processes are random and mindless? //

            Provide some evidence to show this is a concious process
            Show that of millions of mutations, all the faulty ones that ended up on the creature dying were intentional

            Mutation is random, most of evolution is random, natural selection less so but is still not a concious process

            // You have labeled my arguments as “gish-galloping.” But, once again, you confuse slapping a label on my arguments, on one hand, with actually furnishing a logically constructed rebuttal to my arguments, on the other hand. These are entirely different things. //

            This is largely because when he has logically given you answers and relevant links you just ignore them and carry on talking about the same stuff he has already refuted

            // I do not see any reason to debate you anywhere else. Do you need someone to help you at that moderated forum? Or can you stand up to me on your own and debate me here? //

            Because you don’t address the points, you just divert, what Alan is doing is trying to move this discussion to a moderated forum where someone objective could point out when either of you are not answering a point.
            I understand you might be worried about exposing yourself in a place when more folks might point out your erroneous debating style, but equally we would appreciate having someone with a different take on things and who know what each of us might discover?

            // Only because atheists within academia are opposed to a certain source of intelligent agency: God. //

            You will have to prove that atheists are opposed to God – Both Alan and myself are open to the existence of God/Gods but have never found any supporting evidence.

            // And the most famous atheist biologist of all, Richard Dawkins from Oxford University, endorsed the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship explanation for the origin of life in an interview. //

            It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.
            A plausible hypothesis doesn’t mean he accepts it.

            http://answers-in-reason.com/social-sciences/language/terminology/conflated-terms-1-evolution/#Aliens

            // My main objection to your website and the arguments you present here is that you seem to constantly confuse science, on one hand, with atheistic philosophical add-ons to scientific theory, on the other hand. //

            Our main objection to any theological position is the overwhelming lack of any supporting evidence.
            Its claim, claim claim, fallacy fallacy fallacy.

  10. Alan The Atheist says:

    Please join the group and you and I can hash this out 1 on 1 in a moderated discussion.

  11. James Michael Thomas Pica says:

    The assumption of being able to digest milk as an adult says that the code never existed in the first place. Genetics are now showing that the reason for things to “appear” like the ability to digest milk as an adult is because they always existed in the code they just didn’t show themselves. In the same way a person suddenly becomes unable to digest milk is a code coming forth that wasn’t coming forth before. The total lack of understanding how the genome actually works has lead us to believe that these things are mutations in the code when really it is simply the existing code come forward to be seen. Evolution has not been seen to actually occur since we don’t know what to look for to prove it has been seen. The argument of evolution being true is a classic begging the question fallacy when presenting an argument.

  12. Beau says:

    Hello,
    Reading this entire comment section started when I found an interest in theistic and atheistic discourse to further my philosophical understanding of the world. I came to many conclusions throughout and felt the desire, for once, to leave a discussion my own thoughts.

    Firstly, I’d like to say that reading the responses to the author by Nathan Youngren were very compelling, never before have I witnessed such wisdom and conciseness in any comment section. To further the significance of this, I am a rooted skeptic and ponderous at all times, but the arguments he presented have persuaded me of the existence of God. I am quite amazed.

    Secondly, I felt that Alan and Davidian were unfairly suppressive throughout the conversation, the former being especially derisive towards debate – utilizing personal attacks and repetitive claims to erode rebuttal – and overtly personal about an intellectual topic of philosophical value.

    I felt that misinformation, disinformation, and an attempt to monopolize information via a request for moderated oversight on Facebook by Davidian, were all tactics to further a shallow pursuit of persuasion on Alan’s page, here. I would have been much more appreciative of the article itself if Alan didn’t portray his interests in such an arrogant fashion.

    Finally, I noted symbolic value in this discussion abstract of the points both sides presented. This was, in fact, that trying to dominate an argument leaves no room for reason or ration. Alan’s blatant attempts to do so underlines a problem faced with confronting modern group media rhetoric, if agendas weren’t prioritized over information, we would be much less divided irrespective of our differences. Sadly, when an individual, such as Nathan, challenges a pressed narrative, insults are thrown back.

    I think, simply, honesty and civility are what I and other readers expect, excluding our individualized and very different conclusions or key takeaways.

    Regardless, I thank all of you for opening this area of discussion so I could make myself more considerate of the sentiments both sides carry on this topic, and overall more knowledgeable as an individual.

    I hope everyone well.

    • Alan The Atheist says:

      We did offer to engage with Nathan in a structured debate however he showed no interest in engaging with a moderator that would pull him up for Gish galloping and dismissing scientific evidence that negated his arguments.

  13. Mathematics says:

    Because of the comlpexity of our DNA, the amount of generations needed to produce them naturally are multiplying up for me to much larger than is possible for the age of the earth / universe. Do you have information about how to do the math in a way that produces less generations? I am not debating, I am just researching the mathematics around genetics.

  14. James Michael Thomas Pica says:

    https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/03/18/milk-genes-why-only-some-of-us-can-drink-milk/

    This ability has been a part of genetics. It just shows itself more now than in the previous 7000ish years of man.

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