Testable Hypothesis for Intelligent Design, Pt 2

3% of our DNA codes for proteins. For many years nobody knew what the other 97% was for.

Since the 1970′s, that other 97% that wasn’t understood has been called “Junk DNA.”

(If I only had a dollar for every guy who has sent me an email that said, “OK Perry, then if DNA is designed how come 97% of my DNA is junk? Huh? Answer me that!!!”)

Today’s hypothesis is very simple:

There is no such thing as “Junk DNA.”

Suppose you took your new car to the mechanic and he said to you, “I found a big cluster of hoses in your engine that are absolutely useless, do you want me to take them out?”

The most reasonable response would be “I’m pretty sure that if Toyota put those hoses in there they must be there for a reason, so no sir you cannot take those hoses out.  I will pick up my car tonight and find another mechanic.”

Presuming that a functional machine is loaded with “junk” is just as damaging to the study of living things as it is to your car. The term “Junk DNA” is a piece of anti-intellectual, anti-scientific slander that has obstructed scientific progress for three decades now.

It demonstrates blatant disrespect for the object of study, which is always dangerous. It’s derisive and insulting. The time has come to discard this term and the theory that goes with it.

The term “Junk DNA” would have made perfect sense for those who had believed the “random mutation” hypothesis of evolution. I certainly understand, it made perfect sense for people who had thought evolution was driven by random copying errors. Then a whole bunch of garbage would surely accumulate somewhere.

Yes, at one time that might have made sense.

But today I am stating the exact opposite. NONE of it is junk.

In the previous installment I hypothesized that the “random mutation” theory is false and is in the process of being overturned even as we speak.

So if evolution is driven by natural genetic engineering…. if DNA is like a Swiss Army Knife with all kinds of extra evolutionary blades tucked away… then the least you could possibly say about ANY section of DNA is that it’s merely switched off.

NOT that it’s “junk”!

If you own a Honda Civic DX, you see dashboard has openings for buttons and gauges that aren’t used. In the more expensive LX model, those spaces are punched out and the dash has more bells and whistles.

DNA is the same way.

I propose to you that the best way – and in fact the ONLY way to discover the wonders of DNA is this:

When you find something you don’t understand, you always want to ask: “There is a reason for this. What is it?”

You NEVER say, “I don’t understand what this is for. Therefore it must be garbage.”

It’s always best to presume it is there for a good REASON. If you don’t ask the question, you may never find out.

The existence of REASON is the only assumption that consistently leads us to maximum scientific discovery.

Anything less is anti-scientific.

I submit to you that allowing anyone who truly believes in “Junk DNA” to teach biology or perform scientific research is like appointing a German Shepherd to guard a brown paper bag full of ham sandwiches.

Don’t be surprised if the brown paper bag is ripped to shreds and there’s nothing left but a few scraps of lettuce on the ground. Because frankly, that’s the effect that the “Junk DNA” hypothesis has had on scientific research for the last 30 years. It’s preposterous.

Prediction: Research will provide growing evidence that ALL elements in DNA have a vital function.

Just as the term “Junk DNA” in the past has been touted as evidence of purposeless, naturalistic processes, the opposite indicates deliberate design.

Prediction: Non-coding DNA will prove to be just as important as Coding DNA. (The term “Junk DNA” is already beginning to fall out of favor. The preferred term now is “Noncoding DNA.”)

Prediction: Coding DNA just specifies the raw materials. The other 97% of DNA describes how and where to assemble them.

Prediction: As time goes on, the amount of DNA that is known to have a purpose (as chronicled in the literature) will slowly approach 100%.  Currently only 3-5% of DNA is understood.

Prediction: By the time we reach the 50% mark, landmark discoveries will have been made which can be directly applied to communication systems (since DNA is a communication system), databases (since DNA is a database) and programming languages (since DNA is a programming language).

Prediction: The very notion of “junk DNA” will be discarded as anti-intellectual, anti-discovery, anti-scientific relic of 20th century materialism.

Because science only moves forward under a presumption of underlying order, the most productive hypothesis about the genetic code will be that it is intelligently and optimally designed to achieve a pre-determined goal.

All the same things can be said about so-called “Vestigial Organs”, a concept similar to “Junk DNA” and built on the same assumptions. 100 years ago, many science books claimed that the human body had nearly 100 useless organs. Leftovers of the evolutionary process.

Would you like to have all 100 of your “Vestigial Organs” removed?

Which ones would you like to have taken out first?

The “vestigial organ” theory has fared very poorly during the last 50 years and the number of “vestigial organs” we humans supposedly have is now approaching zero.

Prediction: Future discoveries will confirm that, like DNA, every organ in your body has some function, even if it’s evolutionary.

We human beings should always stand humbly before the wonders of nature. We should never assume that anything we don’t currently understand is junk.

In Wired Magazine 2/2007, page 113, Steve Olson wrote:

What is the purpose of noncoding DNA?

“A typical human cell contains more than 6 feet of tightly cornrowed DNA. But only about an inch of that carries the codes needed to make proteins, the day laborers of biology. What’s the other 71 inches?

“It’s junk, Nobelist Sydney Brenner said after it was discovered back in the 1970s. The name stuck, but biologists have known for a while that the junk DNA must contain treasures. If noncoding DNA were just along for the ride, it would rapidly incorporate mutations. But long stretches of noncoding DNA have remained basically the same for many millions of years – they must be doing something.

“Now scientists are starting to speculate that proteins, and the regular DNA that creates them, are just the nuts and bolts of the system. ‘They’re like the parts for a 757 jet sitting on the floor of a factory,’ says University of Queensland geneticist John Mattick. The noncoding DNA is likely “the assembly plans and control systems.” Unfortunately, he concludes, because we’ve spent 30 years thinking of it as junk, we’re just now learning how to read it.”

Stay tuned for more in the Testable Hypothesis series – and let us always remain humble in the face of nature.

Perry Marshall

For further reading: BBC News: ‘Junk’ throws up precious secret

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107 Comments

JohnM says:

Hello Perry,

It has always intrigued me how that God seems to give enough light for those who are looking, and at the same time enough shadows for those who want to hide and not see.

It was God who made the very trees which allowed Adam and Eve to hide themselves from Him. Jesus himself always seemed to give the skeptics the cold shoulder when they would ask for some sign. He even prayed thanking the Father that these things are hidden from the wise but revealed unto the babes. Scripture tells us the God resists the proud.

It seems to me that Gods revelation is meant not to be over compelling, but sufficient for the one who actually wants to believe and see. Thus leaving us with the ability to refuse truth. Leaving us truly free to choose. Such as when the Father spoke from heaven, some said it was the voice of God, and others said no, it was just thunder. The Apostles after being baptized in the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues, some understood it, others said they are drunk etc etc.

Now having said all that, evolution seems to be just one more example. The way God has designed it, it obviously allowed some men to look at it and also come up with what would seem to be a “plausible” unintelligent process if they first assume no intelligence is behind it. And yet, if we assume God to begin with, then it also, and I would say moreso, appears to be an engineered process. Brilliantly engineered! As long as we keep in mind it is not PERFECT design, and that information entropy has entered into the picture, thus accounting for what the unbeliever sees as evidence for his presupposition that it is a blind process, but also at the same time evidence for what the believer sees as evidence for the corruption that is now at work in creation.

It seems like an almost perfect balance depending on what one WANTS to believe. I.e., enough light for those looking, enough shadow for those not looking, but wanting to hide. But I would have to say, the darker the world gets, the more loud God is speaking in allowing all this to come to light as it is more and more everyday.

Anyway, so why do you think God has so designed His process of creation in such a way as for it to seem almost plausible without intelligence being behind it? Do you think it is just another example of not being over compelling as to encroach on freewill?

God Bless,

JohnM

Actually John I think it takes a pretty sophisticated set of arguments to convince people that there is NOT an intelligence behind the universe. Such a belief system has really only been possible on a mass scale within the last 200 years, because science has become so large and so taken for granted that most people never really question the philosophical assumptions that it was originally built upon. It has always been intuitive to most people in the world that there was some kind of spiritual entity that brought the earth into existence. In almost all cultures it’s a given. The atheists have in some ways hijacked science but at the beginning the scientific community was NOT a den of atheists, that’s for sure.

I think what this really comes down to is: Are people content with just-so explanations, or are they willing to dig down to core irreducible principles?

JohnM says:

So why do you think He made it only for those that are willing to dig down to core irreducible principles? Why would He have used a process knowing, at least for awhile, it could be seen as a process without intelligence? Know what I mean? If I wanted to leave clues for someone that I existed, and I have all-knowledge, I wouldnt leave clues that I knew could be taken a different way.

This tells me He had a purpose for them getting confused. And that being they WANTED there to be a way to rid themselves of Him. Just as we have the ability to create lies, to hide the truth. God could have made these things impossible to do, but He didn’t. It seems to me that He has made everthing being able to be explained in many ways, as to not coerce our desires. If you want to see Him, hes provided evidence, if you would rather not see Him, He has provided “trees” to hide behind. What do you think?

P.S. I know these are theological questions, have you considered creating a thread for such?

John,

This is a great question.

First of all one of the things that originally drove my research was Romans 1 where it says that the attributes of God are plainly seen in nature. I was in a VERY similar position as you, feeling overwhelmed by the possibility that maybe science itself can explain everything. Who knows, maybe it can even explain itself.

I was teetering on the edge of atheism and I was forced to confess to myself that I WOULD follow the evidence wherever it led me, even if it meant totally discarding my faith and becoming an atheist.

I would be brave enough to face the consequences of that and I would rebuild my entire worldview, if necessary. And yes, the shit would hit the fan with my family and everyone else. But I was willing to do it, if that’s where the truth was.

So I opened myself up to the question.

In so doing I also acknowledged how murky all these questions seemed to be. How incredibly dogmatic all those atheists were. How incredibly naive the young earth creationists were.

I KNEW – an intuition developed from getting an EE degree – that there HAD to be some rigorous way of breaking down the evolution question in particular. There was just too much hand-waving and anecdotal evidence being held out as proof.

I raised my standard: This has to be as black-and-white as EE and the other exact sciences. (BTW EE is the most exact of all the engineering disciplines. The mathematical model you build for, say, a circuit in EE is likely to be 99% or even 100% accurate, whereas in ME or ChemE 90% is often considered good.)

The usual slop non-explanations that biologists accept (i.e. “surely given enough time it would have happened by chance”) were not going to be acceptable to me. I specifically went looking for something that built on something I already understood.

And back to Romans 1, I thought – if this is really true, then I should be able to find something in science that’s totally irrefutable.

So I went looking and I found information theory. Made perfect sense because I had written an Ethernet book. The eureka moment was realizing that DNA fit comfortably within the OSI 7 layer model for networking. “OK, GOT IT. This is just 1′s and 0′s. This makes perfect sense.”

OK, so back to your question: Why is this murky? And in what way is it murky?

First of all, to most people it is COMMON SENSE that God exists. In the actual petri dish of real life, for people to become atheists they pretty much have to be “de-programmed” from being religious.

In communist countries, religion had to be purged from people at gunpoint. Religious meetings had to be made illegal and churches had to be burned down.

So here we have these formerly religious, now atheist people. In free countries they’re incredibly conspicuous, because now that they have been “liberated”, they obsessively walk around and denigrate religion and religious people and they can’t seem to stop talking about it. It’s not like they shed some uncomfortable piece of clothing and went on merrily with their lives…. it’s like they obsess about the non-existence of God constantly. As though now they have a gaping hole they’re trying to fill with something. Go look at the Infidels website, that theme is all over the place. And really, they’re profoundly and deeply disappointed. The most popular atheist video, to my knowledge, is one called “The god who wasn’t there.”

There you go. That’s their story. It’s a sad, despondent, disappointing story.

Second, there is much to be learned from the way Jesus presents Himself in the Gospels. In some ways his divinity is stunningly obvious – he’s feeding 5000 people and raising Lazarus from the dead. Yet he is coy and he speaks in parables and his disciples ask him why. He answers: “So that in seeing they will not see, and in listening they will not understand. For to you it has been granted to understand these mysteries but to them it is not.” VERY interesting answer.

Isaiah talks about the God who hides. God says, ‘if you want to worship idols (which is exactly what materialism is – it’s worship of the idea that life comes from non-life through a mystical process called evolution, which is then made non-mystical via verbal sleight of hand) go ahead. But when you seek me I will NOT be found.’

Which I think is actually merciful. The context of Romans 1 is that the wrath of God is revealed because all are without excuse. The more people understand, the more guilty they are and the more judgment they are under. These questions are inextricably tied to morality and destiny. If they don’t understand then they are under less judgment.

As I debate with people on this topic – and I have had many dozens of VERY heated, intense, private email exchanges – as the atheist is slowly backed into the corner he assumes a defensiveness that has the texture of a guilty person. It is his conscience speaking. There is nowhere to go. He begins to panic.

I remember, especially, “WDOG” – the actual guy who drug me onto the Infidels forum four years a go. He fought valiantly. He dug up all the scientific papers he could, he tried to re-interpret Claude Shannon in every imaginable way, he grasped for alternative answers like a drowning man.

It felt as though I was literally choking the man to death.

It’s because I was. I was proving that his belief system was irrational. But he didn’t want to give it up.

Suddenly he vanished from the discussion, never to return again.

The same thing just happened with a guy named Jon, whose posts are all over this site. Finally at some point he said, “It’s time for me to leave you to your work.”

The same thing happened with the leaders of the local Chicago Darwin’s Bulldogs meetup group. One of the guys was a physics professor who owns a software company, I believe. The other was a physics teacher. We went back and forth for about 5 or 10 emails. They were digging themselves deeper and deeper.

Suddenly they stopped and one of them said, “Perry, I’m going to have to bid you adieu.”

And if I’m observing correctly, the thrust of his public presentations and community activism suddenly shifted from science focus to political focus. Still an atheist, but now very unsure about the scientific aspect of his beliefs. Once when I met him again in person, he was clearly nervous and uptight.

You are right. God has made a world where people can hide from Him. And He will hide from them too.

I will keep posting on different topics and eventually we’ll get to the theological stuff.

Perry

Jon says:

Yep it’s me! I was just curious to see if you had any new and funny blogs and read this new one. I just scrolled down in the reply and saw a little line about me so of course, I HAD to respond.

I knew that as soon as I took off, you would claim victory! The reason I why I left is because there was no point. Now, I am all about having a fun and interesting discussion, especially about religion and science.

But there is a certain amount of “arrogance” when it comes to faith. You can’t tell people they are wrong, especially when it’s about faith. It reminds me of trying to tell someone who swears that Professional Wrestling is real. That no matter how much evidence you provide, they still believe it’s real.

Well, we do live in a free country, where people can believe in whatever they want. I believe that and respect that and you have every right to believe in what you want, so do I. One of our rights is the right to disagree.

You said…”The eureka moment was realizing that DNA fit comfortably within the OSI 7 layer model for networking.”

So that was the moment you saw that Evolution and DNA was designed because they “fit” the OSI model, which of course has NOTHING to do with Genetics, Biology, or Chemistry.

I would never question your Engineering Skill and Intelligence as you have a degree in that field, but trying to link the 7 layers of the OSI model to Evolution requires a dangerous amount of faith.

So if something “feels” right, then it’s right?

Jon, you amuse me.

That was not a leap of faith, the link between the OSI model and biology.

There is a powerful link which is:

DNA is 1′s and 0′s, and computer networking is 1′s and 0′s. They’re both digital codes.

Chemicals are the physical layer.

Codons are the 2nd layer and triplets are the 3rd layer.

Genes are a few levels up and Chromosomes are higher than that.

My hypothesis, which is testable, is that the highest layer – the application layer – contains the Mutation Algorithm. More about this in future installments.

The 7 layer OSI layer has EVERYTHING to do with genetics and biology. Because DNA is a code. There is no faith whatsoever in making this connection. It’s definitional.

Jon, search Google for

dna “7 layer model”

and you’ll find 24,900 references. Start paging through and you can see for yourself what I mean. This is well documented.

The salient point is that information is top-down in DNA just like it is in computers. That’s the whole thrust of the OSI model. It’s not that there are SEVEN layers, but that there are layers and encoding is ALWAYS top down and decoding is ALWAYS bottom up. You have to unpack the layers before you can edit the source code. Which is why random mutation can never improve DNA. Just like it never improves computer programs. Same reason.

If something “feels” right it is not necessarily right. Atheism feels right to you but you’re finding that it’s indefensible. You can label it as “pointless” but I’ve answered the questions you’ve asked me and you have dodged the questions I’ve asked you.

You might first ask a person who believes professional wrestling is real, if they are opening to following the evidence wherever it leads… or ask them if they’re just emotionally committed to the belief that it’s real because it “feels” right.

Jon, I asked you several times now and you had not replied so far: are you committed to the atheist worldview or are you willing to follow the evidence where it leads? Or are you emotionally committed to atheism?

Perry

PS CORRECTION: DNA also stands for “digital network architecture.” Let’s restrict this to biology – search

dna “7 layer model” genes

or

dna “7 layer model” biology

Dozens of links referencing DNA sequencing etc. for example http://apiii.upmc.edu/live/2001/Kohane/APIII_ppt.pdf

Jon says:

Well, I did a quick search and the only thing that came up was links to your website. (shameless plug! HA!) A few other Creationist ones but that was it.

The reason is because Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA does not store information the way the OSI model represents.

You said…“Which is why random mutation can never improve DNA. Just like it never improves computer programs. Same reason.”

It’s not the same reason because they don’t work in the same way. The random mutations are a part of nature, it’s up to the organism to adapt to them. Many mutations are deadly, but some are not. Those mutations or traits that prove beneficial, survive and are passed on. This is how genetics works, the passed on traits beneficial. Computer Codes and the Genetic Code are not the same, only in name.

Atheism is defensable, it’s the opposite of the indefensible position of Religion. Because when it comes to matters of Religion, faith always seems to trump reason and that is the problem. I have answered every question you have asked, I just think you didn’t like the answer. Atheism isn’t about believing, it’s about knowing. We ( I can say we here) are not settled with just believing in something or being told to believe in something, we want to know. Science is the tool that gives us that knowledge.

I am commited to the “Jon” worldview and that is enough for me. I wish people could embrace each other instead of an invisible deity, if they could the world would be a much better place. If we all had faith in ourselves and each other, there is nothing our species couldn’t achieve. Right now, we are close to extinction.

It’s funny though that you use the phrase “are you willing to follow the evidence on wherever it leads.” This sounds a lot like something Carl Sagan said who was a man of Science and someone who didn’t believe in God.

He said on his PBS series COSMOS…

”We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths, of exquisite interrelationships, of the awesome machinery of nature. “

Jon,

http://syntheticbiology.org/Abstraction_hierarchy/Network_layer_model.html
http://switch.sjsu.edu/mambo/switch_21/towards_new_bodies_and_new_biologies.html
http://ccastellanos.com/research/body_bio_protocol.pdf
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16668580/alexander-galloway-and-eugene-thacker-protocol-control-networks-2004

The similarities between digital computer information and genomic information are referred to extensively in biological literature. As Yockey said: “Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies.” (Hubert P. Yockey, Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Don’t miss my point: That DNA is a multi-layered code. One layer says what proteins to manufacture; another layer says where to put them.

The layered nature is precisely why random mutation does not produce better species. You can’t improve a spelling mistake in a WORD document by mutating the string of 1′s and 0′s in the raw file; the file has to be opened and the text layer has to be edited. DNA has the same characteristic.

You have asserted over and over and over and over that random mutation occasionally improves DNA but I’m still waiting for one supporting piece of proof of that statement.

You have answered my cosmic origin questions by asserting that entropy doesn’t apply.

You have answered my questions by saying that eventually, given enough time and chance, DNA inevitably would have happened. Yet you have provided no backing for this statement. It is, in fact, nothing more than appeal to luck. It is not science. It is a statement that leads nowhere.

As Sagan said, it is important to distinguish speculation from fact.

I asked you:

Are you willing to follow the evidence where it leads?

You answered: “I am committed to the “Jon” worldview and that is enough for me.”

I take that to be a no?

Perry

Jon says:

The evidence in evolution points to mutation as a driving force in genes. I am following the evidence set forth by the thousands of genetic scientists who have speculated, researched and studied this. All the evidence points towards that because as I have always maintained, those early life forms were LESS not MORE evolved than we are. But your theory states the opposite which of course is not true. Your beliefs are mixing in with your research. All the evidence in the world points to life starting out as basic and evolving into more complex organisms. According to your theory, it’s the other way around and I hate to it, you are wrong there. There is no evidence for this, other than your faith.

I’ve already said this haven’t it? We’re caught in an infinite loop!

Jon says:

One more question…how is your hypothesis testable?

Not sure what you mean, Jon. Seems to me that 10, 20, 30 years from now every one of these statements can be measured against the additional knowledge that’s been gained since 2009.

cwforscht says:

I think I missed the point the point of this thread. When I read these words “How incredibly dogmatic all those atheists were.” I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I guess that could be true if atheism is a religion. There would probably be a better word than “dogmatic”. But I am just nit picking. Sometimes I feel just a little sorry for the people who enter this discussion based on Christian perceptions of what god is. If anything God has shown it has an excellent sense of humor.

We cannot understand our nature or origin completely for two reasons. One is we are too close the question – collectively we have our noses pushed right up on a 24 inch tree trunk, this cuts us off from seeing the forest. Two, is that we really don’t have anything too compare ourselves with.

If we were more advanced, which I hope someday we are, say like a Star Trek level of science. We might collect enough data from many of the nearby worlds too make a far more educated guess as too the origins of life.

Imagine collecting RNA and DNA from living specimens from many worlds. If it was all the same the implications would be astounding. If we found living creatures with no RNA or DNA it would also be astounding.

Imagine meeting advanced intelligent life on other worlds. They could learn about us and we about them, then we could come to a clearer and more accurate understanding of who we are as a species. Maybe they would have perceptions of God we are not capable of.

However right now, this is all science fiction. We aren’t yet that advanced. We are here struggling too understand. We are still a primitive, war like race.

These questions we ask are a very good thing. If humanity didn’t fuss and fight and scream and yell we would not stand a chance of progressing.

The atheist and the theist share one thing in common. Both try too say they are certain. My beliefs are most like a Buddhist for what that’s worth. I would never try too rob a man of his faith, even if I don’t understand it, or if I thought his perceptions were insane.

Perry – you make one of the best arguments for intelligent design I have read. Having studied science and religions for about 40 years – I am impressed.

However, I am also negatively impressed with your behavior. In these pages you often come across as full of hubris. You often seem impatient and you are often rude while making assertions. At times you cut people down – while being defensive. These characteristics do not help make your case.

I think these behaviors represent a weakness in how you feel about your own beliefs. I don’t know why YOU become defensive when someone questions your beliefs. Perhaps a twinge of insecurity? I don’t know you so I can’t answer that question.

My guess is that this post will not be allowed too stay on this page. I will be watching and if it’s deleted – I will spread the word about defensive Perry.
But, I hope you allow it too stand. It would be fascinating too read a response. I can think of dozens of put downs, twists and turns including saying nothing at all.

I’ve saved a copy of this for future reference and I will save your response if you post one. I have left you the easiest of all responses – too be completely dismissive in some way – some of which may actually make sense. I guess I’m trying too get a few more clues as too your nature.

Will the real and true Perry – please stand up!

If you would like to point out specific places where I have been defensive or insulting I will be happy to respond.

John,

The article’s pretty cheeky – pretty “positivist” if I might use that term – and you may notice that there’s no mention of where the genetic code itself came from. You can skip that part and the uneducated won’t notice it’s missing.

But I’ve thought about this a lot. It goes back to my “option #4 – unknown law of physics”. What if there is an unknown law of physics that, when discovered, will show where information and even consciousness came from?

Then there will still be the question of where the law itself came from. And such a law, if and when discovered, will of course be a very impressive and awe-inspiring law.

Which will still leave us with a huge, unanswered question.

Another option could be: Information is the result of extreme fine tuning of the laws of physics or the expansion rate of the Big Bang. Maybe the Big Bang expansion was fine tuned to a billion zeros of precision, not 200,000.

Doesn’t that still leave us with a huge, unanswered question?

You never escape the question of where the order and laws themselves came from. (By the way #1 atheist intellectual of the 20th century, Antony Flew, who is now a theist, does a superb job of talking about this in his book “There is a God” and the book is a must-read.) Why there is something instead of nothing at all.

Or in the words of Stephen Hawking, from “A Brief History of Time” page 190:

“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him?”

My theory is that there are TWO singularities: The big bang and the origin of life.

But maybe I’m wrong. No matter. If there is only one, then that just means the first singularity was even more impressive than we previously thought.

Which by the way is a pretty typical pattern in science. It’s ALWAYS full of cool surprises.

Perry

kenkoskinen says:

People do not realize the Big Bang’s cosmic or initial singularity is speculative. Using it to prove your god exists is like using one speculation to prove another. Using the term “singularity” to refer to the origin of life confuses the issue since people think it has something to do with the cosmic or intial singularity and it does not. Life is here and it is not a theoretical speculation. We also know the universe was here before life appeared. However the question of how life arose is currently a speculative topic.

I am finding the code idea of DNA to be more convincing as I read and think about. However your conclusion that the biblical god or any anthropomorphic god created the universe and then later life is inconclusive. The universe in our neck of the woods could have resulted from an infinite system that includes a quasi-code. This could have interacted with the other laws of physics and over time and special conditions somewhere DNA with code capablities and life emerged. It could all still be bottom up and not top down.

I’m being speculative but so are you … but you do not want to admit it. Instead you call your speculations “proof.” Your whole platorm would be better presented as reasons why you believe rather than bold proofs.

This is not mathematical proof, it is scientific inference. I have proven design in biology to the extent that the word “proof” can be applied to inductive scientific reasoning. Code in DNA proves design in the exact same sense that the laws of thermodynamics or gravity have been proven: A 100% consistent pattern with no exceptions.

Scientists have reasons why they believe in thermodynamics and you and I have equally compelling reasons to believe in design in biology. The inference is explicitly anthropomorphic because of everything we know about codes and software programming. “It could all still be bottom up and not top down” is pure speculation, not even a testable hypothesis. The only testable hypothesis for a bottom-up view of the world would be an experiment that satisfies the criteria at http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/solve.

kenkoskinen says:

I get that you are making an inference and so am I and others. I also get there is design in the universe but there isn’t any way you can conclude it is the work of your god. Are you seriously saying that nothing we see was ever made or came together in a bottom up manner? Helium emerges from the fusion of hydrogen etc. I could go on and on. Just because humans have devised/designed codes, it does not follow that some anthropomorphic being designed DNA, cellular codes etc. You claim my speculation is not testable, neither is yours. You fail to see where the test really lies in your argument. How do you set up an experiment to prove your god did anything? I mean you can invite him to the experiment so we can watch him do his thing but … I bet he will not show up. However we can watch humans creating codes.

The problem isn’t that you say code in DNA proves design. It is your conclusion that is speculative … your god is the designer/creator/coder. One can say the laws, constants and arbitrary conditions are also designs and make the same leap of faith. In other words you do not understand where the leap of faith enters into your picture. I hope this helps. Perry you have not proven your biblical god exists but you are finding reasons for your faith.

Ken, when did I ever say that nothing we see was made bottom up?

I never said this. You can get all kinds of fascinating patterns in nature like snowflakes from a purely bottom-up process. Please stop misquoting me.

Information, on the other hand, is always and without a single exception a top-down process, not a bottom up process.

Information and communication are intrinsic to life and evolution. Therefore neither would be possible without a top-down process.

My scientific logic – the DNA syllogism and my article about Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem – only gets you to deism or perhaps theism. It gets you to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Via Negativa.

It doesn’t get you all the way to the Christian understanding of a personal God. It does harmonize with the most basic theological definitions of God. And it eliminates any notion that modern science supports the atheistic view. It doesn’t. Information theory gives us every reason to explicitly reject atheism.

I can arrive at a theistic or deistic conclusion based on modern science and the only leap of faith that I have made is normal inductive inference. It is absolutely no different than the leap of faith that leads us to conclude that there is a universal force called gravity. The structure of the logic is identical.

I have proven according to scientific principles that atheism is illogical. Atheism is the leap of faith. Not deism or theism. Belief in God is not only logical but it is just as necessary as gravity and thermodynamics. Why? Because codes are less mysterious than gravity and all codes we know the origin of are designed.

kenkoskinen says:

Perry, I might have misunderstood that you accept most things to be bottom up. So that leaves us with top down only, on the universe’s creation and of cellular life. I hope I got your position right this time; but if not you can steer me towards clearer waters.

You have not proven the theistic conclusion due to codes. It is in no way the same as the proof for gravity. We can and have tested for gravity in so many places that we can induce the consistent result is due to gravity. What you are saying about codes is much different. Even though DNA is a code it does not induce to the creator. It is an adduction; since it can be only be proven that humans create codes. DNA is here and it has a code and these were here prior to human beings; therefore humans could not have created it. You must then reason by analogy or similarity and adduce there must have been a human like guy/gay who created the DNA code. It is not an induction.

Your leap of faith is that guy/gal is god. Also your arrival point goes to an unknown and undetectable being i.e. god who never appears to create codes while we observe. God is also not depicted as a force but a supernatural personality. And to appeal to the supernatural is to go outside the gates of science and into mythology or religious faith.

Some might even claim your god is ET or some superior visitor from another universe which is a pretty depiction of god. I admit I do not like those speculations but there are other possibilities. Designs could be result of the random multiverse. They could have also be the product of the initial conditions at the genesis of our universe. These last two are part of the scientific speculation while your position is also a speculation but of the religious kind. Godel also does not aid your case in anyway but I will present more on this later. You have not proven your case. We still do not know the origin of the universe and that of cellular life.

Even though cellular life arose it needed a biofriendly place to evolve. Our earth/solar system was that place and it was the result of chance. Our planets life supportive qualities were absolutely necessary for our evolution. There is no provable design in this vital link and I think you are in denial about that.

You say, “to appeal to the supernatural is to go outside the gates of science and into mythology or religious faith.”

I am appealing to the metaphysical which is necessary in order to posit a logical universe. See
http://www.perrymarshall.com/articles/religion/godels-incompleteness-theorem/

Your assertion of a multiverse is untestable and decidedly un-parsimonious. You got pictures of those other universes?

Your assertion of a random / chance anything is not scientific because it is impossible to prove randomness. In fact it’s anti-scientific because as soon as you say “random” you have forfeited all possibility of formulating a systematic formula or explanation. This is a vital point, Ken. There is no way to mathematically or empirically prove randomness. Your assertions about this are pure faith claims, with nothing to support them. As soon as you say “Random” you have fallen off the scientific wagon.

Yet you mock me for being unscientific. And lecture me about “mythology.” Do you really know what science is and isn’t? Are you even aware of where the line that separates the testable from the speculative really is? Very little of what you said even meets the criteria for a “scientific hypothesis.”

At every turn, you make inferences which are also not scientific, then you criticize me for stepping outside of science. Let me remind you, sir, that science first came from theologians. Wisdom of Solomon 11:21, written at least 2500 years ago, says, “Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure.” The first such statement ever made in the ancient world. Almost every architect of modern science was deeply religious.

Science rests on faith that the universe is governed by fixed, discoverable laws. That it operates without the need for constant intervention by the creator and that the creation has a degree of freedom to follow its own course. Science got started in ancient China; in ancient Egypt and Greece and Rome; and in Islam. But it never went anywhere. In those cultures, it sputtered and coughed and died. Only in Christian Europe was there a basis for believing that a search for discoverable laws would be richly rewarded.

Don’t criticize my science, Ken. Christianity and Judaism are largely responsible for giving you science in the first place.

The most parsimonious explanation for the origin of the universe is that it was intentionally created by an immaterial infinite intelligent being. Everything we actually know infers this.

If you have a different explanation then step up and offer it and be prepared to defend it. But don’t tell me it’s random because that’s not science.

kenkoskinen says:

Perry, The multiverse theory is not mine and it is currently getting considerable play time in scientific circles and even on science TV. There are tests on the cosmic microwave background that are designed to indirectly test whether the universe is infinite in extent and in line with the multiverse concept. Have you got any photographs of god?

I do not know the level of randomness you are appealing to but look around you. Creatures are playing their luck as it were, everyday just for the procurement of food, shelter and to reproduce. It is not only about better traits as the luck of the moment also plays its hand. Also I’m sure you know of quantum mechanics where probability totally replaced causality i.e. at least within its own sphere. Even the computers we use are due to QM; so I find your statements really puzzling!

Also your view of science seems to be a narrow appeal to hypothesis testing. I suggest, download my essay “The Three S-s of Science and the Physics of Humpty Dumpty” at http://antspub.com I assure you my comments are not outside the bigger picture of science. Speculative science is an important part of the process. Without it science would not have gotten off the ground and we would not be where we are today. Even the religious minded early scientists speculated. It wasn’t all just a revelation, even for them … go figure.

If I bring up science in the discussion, why does that make me a bad guy? For some reason you have become defensive and you even think I have mocked you. Not so … I’ve merely challenged your ideas and pointed out why they do not go where you claim. In any case you are a religious guy and I’ve got to believe you are okay with it. Creationism even your evolution variety has borrowed much from science and it is far from being the most parsimonious explanation for the origin of the universe and everything we know does not infer it. However, your mission is to convince others of this but you have a long way to go. Your arguments are inconclusive.

As per a different explanation: I am working on a model that I intend to publish hopefully within the 6 months or so. After it is published I will be happy to defend.

JohnM says:

Perry,

Thanks for those replies, really helped. I guess while we are at it, I need to testify lol. I to was recently close to loosing my faith. At least maybe intellectually. The world is just getting so dark. I feel we are in the great apostasy possibly. The new fundamentalist atheist movement is stronger and more vocal than ever!! Oh poor world!! I sometimes wonder if it is the strong delusion in the last days, so that they would believe the lie, not having the love of the truth but having pleasure in unrighteousness.

Anyway, I prayed God would let me come in contact with someone who held similar views and ideas. Someone I could relate to intellectually. Someone I could actually get into indepth discussions about Gods existence etc. I never felt like God had to make patty cakes out of dirt to make man, (young earthers.) And I just cant buy the chance happy, time of the gaps, creation story of neo Darwinism. I fell somewhere in the middle. Believing what science is discovering in evolution was simply possibly Gods process of creation. And I ended up here…where you seem to be very gifted in articulating this very view. Praise the Lord God Almighty! :) Thank you for your obedience to the truth Perry. I believe God has raised you up for such a time as this (the information age). You have the right spirit. And patience. I can only imagine how many times you hear the same old same old same old questions over and over! And yet you remain patient. I have debated for years using general Christian apologetics, and the hate, vitriol and rage is unbelievable as you well know, yet I have always considered myself to be able to stay in the spirit, for the most part! lol We as Christians must understand the enemy has blinded the eyes of them that believe not. Paul tells us to be patient and gentle. I believe the unregenerate, as you mentioned, begin to assume a guilty posture under conviction eventually and we must not bruise or blow out a smoking flax. Ok im preaching.

I have always had this idea that YEC(young earth creationist) are really shallow scientifically speaking, which I cant blame them, they believe Gods word as they see it, and are determined to not deviate. Which I can respect. Many times what God says isn’t what we observe etc. I often wonder if I have not compromised His word to make it fit with science myself. One can never actually be sure of the conclusions he feels he has come to. What makes sense to me, may not be the truth, because too many things make sense to to many different people. We all live by faith ultimately.

Young earth creationist, as you said just seem to be very simple minded. But I know God chooses the simple, in mans wisdom, but of whom are wise in truth and righteousness. Rich in faith, though not very “learned” in mans wisdom. For so it seems to have pleased God. Well, He actually says..”so that He may confound the wise.” It’s almost as if God wants to make foolish the proud, and in fact He says that is the case. “Where is the disputer of this age? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? etc, etc.

Ok now back to topic. “Origin of life singularity.” Thats interesting. Because that was gonna be my next question. If we agree DNA is designed by God. How did he physically bring it about? Would you say He physically arranged the base pairs in the “Mother Code-DNA?” Or used some natural process? Where actually do you see His intervention and how? And do you think it possible He simply could have used chance(is that even possible for a God? lol) to bring the first life together? I mean what if it was the warm little pond scenario? But by design through the universe containing that possibility, how ever so slight?

JohnM,

As for your “how did God bring about DNA question” I have not given that a great deal of thought. Not yet anyway.

I think one could hypothesize many different things and to some degree test them. If it really is a singularity then there is a point beyond which you cannot inquire. With the big bang, once you get inside the first 10^-43 second, you cross into the realm of the unknowable. And prior to t=0 time and space do not exist at all. There is a hard limit to what human inquiry can explore.

Scientists tend to dislike singularities for obvious reasons. Theologians have always said that some things will fall in the realm of mystery. My hypothesis is that the origin of life is, in fact, a true singularity event.

Perry

JohnM says:

I read this:

“Cells weren’t always as complex as they are now, even simple prions can bend the right amino acids into a similair prion, which can find other proteins to replicate itself, without DNA. Ok, I must admit that it’s not really alive but it’s the runner up, a replicating agent without a DNA code.”

My biology is elementary. But from what I gather, the fact is, life comes from life. And DNA code always comes before life.

The claim “cells weren’t always as complex,” is speculation correct? We have no examples of less complex cells than what we observe today correct?

Now how do prions / viruses etc., fit into all this? Are they derived from DNA also?

JohnM,

The statement “cells weren’t always as complex as they are now…” is pure speculation.

The simplest known cell is Nanoarchaeum which is a parasite. It can’t survive without more developed cells. It has 480,000 base pairs which is about 100Kbytes of data.

Viruses are parasitic DNA machines. They’re classified as non-living. I believe the same is true of prions. They need a larger host just like a computer virus needs a computer. I don’t know all that much about their origin, I’m sure there are many fascinating theories. There are undoubtedly MANY clues to be found there. But the bottom line is, Viruses themselves don’t explain the origin of life either.

Perry

Jon says:

Do you think life was there at the start? That when the Earth was a molten ball of rock, that life was running around. No.

All life started out as inorganic ingredients.

Are pizzas formed fully formed? No, they are made of ingredients. Just like life. At the start, all you had on the Earth was inorganic stuff and over the Eons, that “stuff” slowly formed the building blocks of life like Amino Acids and Proteins.

I know I said this before, but see the Miller-Urey experiment. A recent look at this experiement found they produced 22 different kinds of Amino Acids, not 5.

Of course, no evidence of the early Earth exists due to a constantly shifting and moving planet. That evidence has long been lost but that experiment and others show that it is very possible and very easy to go from inorganic to organic.

Now just mulitply that experiment by a few million times over a few billion years and there is no telling what would crawl out of that flask used in their experiment!

You said it yourself:

“There’s no telling…”

That’s why nobody has an answer. Just a faith-based speculation. “Surely given the vast universe and billions of years, this would have eventually happened.”

You have given a thoroughly non-scientific non-answer to a worthwhile scientific and rational question.

Don’t call that science, Jon. it’s mysticism.

Perry

Jon says:

Faith is used in the absense, not the presence, of truth. Since Science is the search for truth (the truth so far, because as I have always maintained, we can’t know everything) everything that we have learned and studied points to a world where the inorganic became organic.

All the ingredients for life are inorganic, it’s that right mix that gives us life. But since we are most made of Carbon, and Carbon is abundent in the Cosmos, it reasons to think that most life is made of Carbon, or some mix of it. The process is probably the same on all the worlds where life takes hold. The only thing different is their evolution.

There is no faith used because I am sure we can agree that the universe is probably filled with life. It’s all about the numbers, the total number of planets where some form of life exists in the Milky Way galaxy alone is probably in the billions.

Mysticism is from our past, before we learned the Science and could explain things in a more natural and rational way. Any Scientist would clearly say when it comes to something they don’t know or isn’t in their field, “They don’t know.” There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t know.

Jon,

All of the following statements are faith statements:

“everything that we have learned and studied points to a world where the inorganic became organic.”

“The process is probably the same on all the worlds where life takes hold. The only thing different is their evolution.”

“I am sure we can agree that the universe is probably filled with life”

All of the above statements are either pure speculation or even mysticism.

Any Scientist would clearly say when it comes to something they don’t know or isn’t in their field, “They don’t know.” There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t know.

Perry Marshall

Jerry Pugh says:

It is briefly amusing to observe the rhetorical nonsense of this absurd banter. Perry to Jon, back and forth, with unsubstantiated non-scientific bull do-do that explains nothing and illuminates nothing. (The pedantic sophistry of which I spoke earlier) BOTH of you are missing the point, .i.e.- “Faith is used in the absence of truth”!? I hate to burst your bubble, but Faith is used in the absence of KNOWLEDGE. Faith and truth are apples and oranges. Whether you believe in God.. or not, is equally irrelevant, yet you continue to attempt to explain your “position” as some untestable yet relevant fact. Was Heisenberg an atheist by his uncertainty principle .. or because of it .. or not at all? If a Higgs boson is verified.. does that mean that God just went poof? The absudity of such babble is awesome.
Does a peptide chain of amino acids require a deity, or is it just a happenstance chemical arrangement of carbon and hydrogen? Do amino acids have DNA? Is DNA a random “mutation” of the 20 amino acids that make them up? The question is .. why do you ask questions? Is sentience God given or further random occurrences. Whether God is or isn’t, .. has no bearing on the scientific investigation of mysteries.
The gift of sentience, whether God given or random chance, is the ability to ask questions and seek answers. You CAN believe in God and be scientific. If you do not believe in God.. fine! That is your choice. Death will answer all of those immediately tiny questions, no?
Speculation is necessary in the fertility of knowledge. The denial of, or intentional ignorance of, any unknown quantity or quality is mere chauvinistic speculation and hubristic arrogance. Can you explain why “life” has to be carbon based? Do you presume to know that there is, or is not, life elsewhere in the Universe. Better leave God out of this one.. he’s already pissed off. If he isn’t then I am.

Jon says:

I can tell where you beliefs lie. “Death will answer the questions” That was good and you think God is pissed off? If God was real, do you think he would have emotions just like we do? What do we irrational beings do when our emotions? Start wars and murder each other. So what if an all powerful being had those same childlike emotions? Now THAT is a scary thought!

The most logical reason why life has to be carbon based is that it’s the most abundant element in the Universe (other than Hydrogen of course) Granted biologists are very limited in their study because we only know of one way life is made, here on Earth. We know that Carbon is a very flexable atom, it’s fuses easily with other atoms to make more complex ones. Could there be other elements used for life in the Cosmos, sure. Again, we only know of one way life is made.

JohnM says:

Jon,

>>All life started out as inorganic ingredients.

Jon, stop for just one second and clear your mind and ask “how do I KNOW this is what actually happened?” How do you KNOW life was more simple than the simplest one we observe? How do you actually KNOW that? Or are you willing to admit that is an assumption with no empirical evidence?

You and other naturalist, “AT THE OUTSET” assume life “DID IN FACT” somehow come together and from that point you seek, look for and cherry pick ANY and EVERYTHING you can find and interpret it to support that assumption. That is anti-science. Science is what Perry is doing, starting with what we KNOW (life comes from life through codes), and what we OBSERVE (every single known code ALWAYS comes from a mind, or code itself) and then let the evidence speak for itself from there wherever it may lead.

>>At the start, all you had on the Earth was inorganic stuff and over the Eons, that “stuff” slowly formed the building blocks of life like Amino Acids and Proteins.

Again, saying that is what happened doesn’t make it so. That assumption (belief), without any empirical evidence, has been so drilled into your mind, and thoroughly accepted by you, that you can’t even look at it any longer to even question it. Question it! Be skeptical of your own beliefs, like we are.

Regards,
JohnM

Jon says:

Do you see fossils of fully formed humans or any modern day creature that are millions and millions of years old? No. The fossil record tells us life evolved from the simple to the complex. You can see it for yourself. We know from that record that life begin pretty basic and over the millions of years, life became more complex. According to Perry, it is the other way around. His theory does not explain how is it that we are more complex today than those early organisms.

I hate to say it but Perry is not doing any sort of Science and you are betraying your own education if you think otherwise. You are allowing your beliefs to interfere with your view of the information. Science is unbiased; it’s a simple tool we use to understand the world. The Science points to life starting our simple and evolved to complex. If what you and others are saying, we should have evolved into slime and gook by now but of course, that is not what we see. The beautiful diversity of life is proof that all life evolved from a single instance and started out as the basic.

There is no evidence for what you are saying, I’m sorry to say.

“A code comes from a mind” That is not evidence of God, that is evidence of faith. So you know how the mind of God works? If such a being existed, his mind would be beyond any human’s.

Jon says:

I thought it would give you some perspective if you hear a little bit of my story and where I am coming from. I was raised Christian, Methodist to be precise, and lived a mile away from the church my family attended. Even though I had fun there in the youth activities we did, like taking trips and games, I never saw or felt God. In all those countless Sundays, I never had that religious experience nor did I believe or really understand the bible.

I had many question that over time, I felt that religion could not answer. I wasn’t sure what some of those questions were but I felt something just didn’t make sense. I had grown so frustrated that I came to the conclusion that either God didn’t care about me, or he wasn’t even there to begin with. So over time, I stopped going to church but my parents were cool, they never forced me to go.

So I stopped believing but I wasn’t sure what I believed. I didn’t question anything or really want to know anything. Then one day, a couple of guys flew a few planes into some buildings and killed a lot of people and that woke up me. I began to have the courage to ask those questions I kept buried, those questions that faith and religion could never really answer.

Then one day I saw a picture of the Earth entitled “Pale Blue Dot”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_blue_dot

And an excerpt from the book of the same name written by Carl Sagan, who I remember as a kid. I bought the book and had my “eureka” moment. Here was a brilliant Scientist and Astronomer and he is asking the same questions I was. It was here when I saw that it was of all things, Science, that could best explain some of my deepest held questions and beliefs.

I bought Sagan’s “Cosmos” on DVD and started reading other books about Science, Logic and Reason and then Atheism and Humanism. (Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris) I never felt more alive, when I finally saw and understood our true place in the Cosmos, especially in Astronomy.

When you view the Universe through the eyes of Science, you see we are connected to all things in so many ways. We are related to all life and the Earth and we are cousins to the stars. That feeling of oneness to me is at the heart of spirituality, something religion and faith never gave me.

It was also these new discoveries that finally gave me peace about our mortality. Our fear of death is a big motivator as a species but as I found out, death is beautiful. I believe death gives life meaning. It means we are mortal, as all things in life. So that means we should cherish every moment, for it will never come again.

I truly believe that if the entire planet embraced that idea, that this is the only life we get, the world would better a place. That we have no right to take someone else’s life for that is the most sacred possession we own. Then there is nothing our world, our people could not do. We could conquer hunger, war, poverty, racism, hatred and disease. We could truly become one planet.

But…we’re still animals and our instincts and intelligence are not yet in concert with one another.

Jon,

Thanks for sharing your story. It sheds much light.

The impression I form from reading your story is that atheism was emotionally satisfying to you in a way that Christianity was not. As you said: “I never felt more alive, when I finally saw and understood our true place in the Cosmos, especially in Astronomy.”

I am more comfortable in public with rational logical debate about science and known facts than I am with debating various subjective feelings. The words I type into this website will be logged somewhere on the Internet, probably for the rest of my life. Facts are safer.

That said, I do not disrespect such subjective feelings. Feelings are real and they are to be listened to. So I’ll say the following not as a debate point but simply as sharing my experience.

My feelings, since we are talking about feelings and emotions, are exactly opposite yours.

I feel alive when I worship and pray. In contrast, Atheism feels like black death to me.

Also, I have literally never met a more angry mob of prejudiced, bigoted, disrespectful and mannerless people than the ones I have met on the Infidels discussion board.

Infidels = six thousand pages if piss and vitriol and circular logic.

That’s my statement after holding my ground steadily for 4 years.

The modus operandi of atheists is generally to insult, tear down, deride and denounce. Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris – they can dish it out but they can’t take it. They cannot logically defend what they believe. When you have no defense, the best strategy is to just go on the offense. Obviously it works as a PR strategy.

But ostensibly there is also a large collection of unanswered scientific questions that they’d prefer to sweep under the rug.

I’ve asked you quite a few times “Are you willing to follow the evidence where it leads” and the response (mostly non-response, actually) I’ve gotten has sounded like you’re not so sure you want to do that.

I would submit to you that Christianity never connected with you because perhaps you were never really a Christian.

I personally believe that where people go in debates like this has much more to do with their inner heart attitude towards God than any reason or logic.

There was a time when I suspected and even feared that the atheists had the upper hand in the reason and logic department.

I do not believe that anymore. I know better now. The atheist position cannot defend itself. If we’re dealing in the realm of facts and science, the emperor has no clothes.

Eventually I discovered that when someone talks incessantly about something (i.e. “reason” and “logic”) it’s usually because it’s lacking. It’s kind of like a therapist who told me:any time a guy says to a girl, “I would NEVER want to hurt you” she should run away cuz he’s an abuser. To use a gambling term, it’s a “tell.”

Atheist books may be inspiring but my friend they have no corner on reason or logic. Their talk of reason and logic is a cover-up for the lack of it.

Life – precision nanomachines – emerged by random accident. (How is that reasonable or logical?)

There’s an infinite series of universes and we happen to live in the one where everything was perfectly fine tuned. (How is that reasonable or logical, let alone parsimonious?)

Entropy only applies to part of the universe and the universe has always existed for infinite time past. (How is that scientific?)

Godel’s theorems only apply to math and logic, not universes. (Oh, so math and logic don’t apply to the universe? How is that reasonable or logical?)

The universe came into existence for no reason and for no purpose. (How can “no reason” be said to be reason?)

The beginning of the universe had no cause. (How can something with a beginning not have a cause? How is that logical?)

There I am, retreating to my comfortable fortress of facts again.

I guess what I have to say at this point is, one who has faith in the things that atheists believe – without proof or scientific evidence – cannot accuse me of living my life according to blind faith. The things I have faith in are logical, reasonable, inductive, rooted in experience.

The things that atheists have faith in (life from non life, universe being here for no reason at all) are not.

Atheists can retort that they don’t have faith but I return to questions like the origin of life, for which they have no evidence, no experiment.

Jon I submit to you that if you seek God you will find him. Not just in logic but in your heart and emotions.

Perry

Jon says:

It’s funny because I see the same thing here; your feelings are being expressed here. What you have said leads me to believe that you don’t know what Atheism really is or have read the books of Hitchens and Dawkins and Harris. Logic and Reason and Science are tools we use.

Logically if something has always existed then it was never created. Correct? If something is “infinitely old” then you can say it never had a birthday. So for this argument, let’s use the Universe.

The argument is that something can’t come from nothing right? That there has to be something “outside” to start the process, a prime mover if you will. Well, if that is your line if reasoning, then that means God needs a creation and a creator. And that being needs a creator forever. Because you just said “something can’t come from nothing”

God can’t be immune to that logic because that goes against the logic. It is here when people insert faith as to explain God, since if there was a being like that he would exist outside our very existence and is unprovable and unknowable. Which is why faith seems to trump reason and that is the entire problem to the argument. Reason can be proven, faith cannot.

The only LOGICAL outcome of that is the Universe was simply never created in the first place. There is no need for a designer as the Cosmos has always existed and by that rational, causeless.

Granted there are some mean spirited Atheists out there but I have met MANY more believers that are mean spirited. “If you don’t believe you God you are going to burn and suffer in hell forever.” That is pretty mean I think.

Or tell me how is it that many believers think the end of the world is a good thing? With Christians it means Jesus is coming back and if you are not saved, then you are going to hell forever. How is this not mean spirited? I think Atheism sounds mean to you and others is that we are taught that there are two things you don’t talk about, politics and religion. Well, I don’t like politics but religion is and should be discussed.

I know I keep saying this but I am following the evidence, the scientific evidence. Of course we are all emotional beings and those emotions do play a part in what all of us do. (Like when I see that Pale Blue Dot picture or when you read a passage out of the Bible)

But I am also using logic, reason and of course Science as my guide for my beliefs and views. I am going with what we know, not what we don’t know. You are following your faith and that by nature can’t be argued. You can then apply any piece of data and call it “evidence” for God. A better statement is evidence for your personal faith.

It’s funny though that you said you feel alive when you pray. There have been studies to show that religious belief is a product of Evolution. That humans may very well be “programmed” to believe in some higher power. I’m not in any way suggesting that there is a celestial Bill Gates out there, but that because at one time in our species history, belief had a very high survival value.

This was at a time when our species didn’t know any better as it’s much easier to say “God did it” But then Science came along and we figured out how the world works without the need for a deity. Religion has been trying to keep up every since.

I hope that one day our species will evolve beyond that need to believe. If we all believed in ourselves, we wouldn’t need that belief in a god. When we learn that it’s up to us to solve our own problems, there truly will be “heaven on earth”. But I also fear that our species won’t make it past 100 years, because of those same ancient beliefs that so many of us cling on to still.

Jon,

You have never studied the big bang.

I am not sure how we can continue a discussion in which you continue to exist the universe is infinitely old and 13.7 billion years old at the same time.

Regarding Christians warning you of hell:

If you are in a building that is burning down and you are having a great time having a party and you are oblivious, is the person who tells you to escape mean spirited? Or are they being kind?

Read up on the Big Bang – and entropy – and then let’s talk about “reason” and “logic.”

Perry

Jerry L Pugh says:

As a philosophical discussion… God and DNA, (or random genetic mutation) is automatically moot, as are most “philosophical” discussions … more correctly, random contextual mutations, so to speak. To believe that God is or is not present, in ANYTHING, is untestable therefore scientifically moot. Faith is the ability to believe in something that is unknowable. Mixing real science with religion is unnecessary and, at one time, dangerous ( just ask Galileo, or Copernicus, etc). Nor do they need be mutually exclusive. To call something “junk” (i.e.-junk DNA) is ludicrous … just because it is not understood. As Einstein said. “It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom”. Philosophy can be considered either reasonable intellectual discourse or pure sophistry and/or pedantic psycho-babble. Discussions, such as these, describe the aforementioned range of foolishness or curiosity. Which do you ascribe to?

Jonathan Couey says:

I would suggest you list the sources of your ideas. Most of them are not new, first off. Junk DNA as a concept was cast aside already 10 years ago in the mainstream of modern biology. Please don’t take credit for this as an idea that is yours.

Secondly, you say in your presentations that you have read many sources, but you never point to them. That’s strange. Maybe it would be helpful if you listed some of them so that others could read them.

I would recommend you read the book ‘Darwins’ Dangerous Idea’ by Dennet. At least then, you’ll be reading biology written by a biologist, instead of biology by someone who’s had Bio101 at university.

Your use of Google Ads and random mutations is also very misleading. The DNA code is not composed of 1000′s of words, but only 20. These words are the same length, and are often redundant to prevent random mutations from causing large changes. When you really look at the genetic ‘code’ you would have us believe is intelligently designed, it is much more a pattern than a code, and you yourself show countless examples of patterns which occur naturally.

Also, your suggestion that an antelope could evolve into a giraffe is completely hogwash. You miss perhaps the key point of evolution: All the life on earth as contemporaries are at the same stage in evolution. There is no going back (you said it yourself). If giraffes and antelope came from the same common ancestor, this is worlds away scientifically from your suggestion that one could become the other. Again, subtle alterations in the implications of the theory allow for you to make these misleading statements and to arrive at incorrect conclusions. Shame on you for not learning the theory before trying to test it.

Read my recommended book. I assure, Dr. Dennet has an answer for you which doesn’t need an intelligence to explain why and where we came from.

Jonathan

Jonathan,

Dennett is not a biologist. He’s a philosopher. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dennett

I did not take credit that crusading against Junk DNA is my idea. I presented it as an ongoing hypothesis; there are still people who believe it to some extent. However most of the items in the Testable Hypothesis are my ideas. (Which doesn’t necessarily mean all of them are new. McClintock’s idea of cellular genetic engineering dates to 1944.)

Two books I highly recommend: Claude Shannon’s Mathematical Theory of Communication and Yockey’s Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life. Many of my blog posts have links to books and papers. Follow them as you wish.

Within the language analogy, the 20 characters in DNA are not words, they are letters. Codons are bits and Genes are words.

I do own Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and nowhere does it present any evidence of abiogenesis.

Mr. Dennett or any biologist you choose is welcome to visit my site and debate me; I would welcome that.

Perry

Jonathan Couey says:

Thanks for your reply, Perry.

You are debating a biologist now.

The 20 characters in the DNA pattern are codons. They code for the amino acids which make up the proteins coded for in the the sequence. The vast amount of genetic material is largely used during developmental processes, as well as turned on and off in response to specific environmental cues, challenge, or time points. Most of this, we don’t yet understand. All of your predictions regarding what the exons versus introns might encode are being tested now. They are not controversial predictions, nor are they ideas that trained molecular biologists have not also arrived at. No one thinks junk DNA is a real concept. As I stated in my previous reply (but perhaps not clearly enough), these ideas are not yours, not controversial, and do nothing to support the idea of a designer.

Darwin’s Dangerous idea makes a strong philosophical argument (several) why you don’t need a designer to have DNA turn up. And these arguments include addressing why a self-replicating organic molecule could be produced without a designer.

My main question for you now is where you stand on evolution itself. Do you think it takes place at all (i.e. microorganisms, insects, etc.), or are you arguing that it does not take place on any scale. I think this is also the main point of evolutionary theory. If you acknowledge that it takes place on time scales visible and observable to biologist now, it’s quite hard to argue that it hasn’t been taking place for the entire earth’s history. If you don’t acknowledge that microorganisms (whose life span/cycle time allow us to observe thousands of generations) are constantly evolving, we can no longer debate these ideas.

The diversity of life on earth includes countless examples of specialized proteins which show a distinct phylogeny which follows exactly the supposed path of relation as proposed by evolutionary theory, as does of course the DNA code. All these literally thousands if not millions of bits of evidence for evolution were completely unknown in Darwin’s time. It’s pretty amazing confirmation of his observations and subsequence hypothesis. Granted, as with all scientific ideas, this is only observation.

I guess then your only real diversion from Darwin’s theory is that DNA could not have just randomly shown up on the planet and generated life? But ever after the appearance of DNA, evolution led up to the current diversity on the planet? I guess I am just missing the point where you ideas are so controversial or insightful? If it is only in this small point where you diverge from evolution, you are arguing a nearly untestable hypothesis. Quite a safe place to stand.

I’d like to point out at this point that you failed to address my point regarding the antelope-giraffe analogy, as well as the Google random mutation critique.

Sincerely,
Jay

Jay,

Sorry for my mis-statement, let me re-state: Base pairs are bits. Codons are letters. Genes are words. Chromosomes are chapters.

Comparing to human language represented by computers: Base pairs – four letter alphabet ACGT; Bits, binary alphabet 1/0.

Codons, 20 letter alphabet; English, 26 letter alphabet.

Genes; Words.

Chromosomes; Chapters.

My Google ad analogy says:

“If random mutation and natural selection can improve a biological organism, which has a minimum of 910,000 bits of information [i.e. nanoarchaeum with half a million base pairs], they should be able to improve a Google ad, which has a maximum of 910 bits of information.”

As I just stated re: bits vs. base pairs, the correspondence between English represented by a computer and genetic code represented by DNA is very close.

My proposal: Use the random mutation generator to modify your Google ads, run the ads on Google and see if the natural selection process of Google and people clicking on ads can show a positive measurable improvement in Click Thru Rate. I don’t think anyone would disagree that a search engine is a pretty Darwinian environment. Google and its customers do an admirable job of performing natural selection. That’s why Google is the best search engine in the world.

Nobody has ever gotten good results with this and I have experimented with both random mutations and Google ads enough to know that it will never, ever work.

If Google ads are even loosely analogous to biological instructions in the genome, then this is a very effective illustration of how and why the random mutation theory of evolution fails. Google ads are certainly a lot less complex than even the simplest cell. They only contain 1/1000th as much information.

A philosophical supposition for why DNA cold arise without a designer is no substitute for proof. Nothing Dennett says answers the questions that Information Theory raises. I know, I have his book. If you disagree then quote the relevant passage to me.

My illustration of “antelope vs giraffe” is not a technical discussion or statement that an antelope DID evolve into a giraffe. I actually understand that many people think giraffes evolved from something more like a camel. The specific pathway is not the point. The point is: Conceptually, do environmental pressures, random mutation and natural selection explain how a creature got a longer neck?

My answer is a resounding NO. Because random mutation only destroys information. It’s entropy. It’s noise. Noise only destroys signals, it does not improve them. Every communication engineer knows that.

Biologists seem to not know that. They’re trying to buy us all kinds of free lunch but information theory gives you no free lunch.

As to my views on evolution, please read

http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/darwin-half-right/

and

http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/infinite-chasm/

My thesis: I have no disagreement with the theory of evolution, only the normally accepted mechanism. Random mutations are not only destructive, the Genome guards militantly against them with fabulously elegant error-checking and correction mechanisms which are not unlike what your DVD player does to fill in the missing information when the disc has a scratch.

Evolutionary mutations come from cellular genetic engineering in which the genome re-arranges genes and chromosomes according to an algorithm, such as thoroughly researched by McClintock and Shapiro. The theory of random mutation could not be further from the truth.

There is no scientific paper anywhere in the literature that I have found in 5 years, that demonstrates that the mutations that drive evolution are random. This is asserted everywhere but NEVER proven. I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise.

As a communications engineer I know why this is so. And all the wishful thinking in the world will not change it. A weak TV signal does not EVER make your TV program better and mis-copied DNA does not EVER make the genome better. Information and its evolution are top-down processes, not bottom-up. Evolution is not a random process, it is an engineered process. Read Shapiro’s paper.

Perry Marshall

Jonathan Couey says:

Thanks for your Reply, Perry.

Well, now we are getting somewhere. I can appreciate your arguments a bit more now that we have some common ground. Often, the point of these discussions is to discount evolution entirely, which is (as we apparently agree) of course running against all the evidence biology has provided through simple observation. GREAT place to start.

That being said, I am very excited to continue our discussion.

I don’t think there are any evolutionary biologists (I am working in neurophysiology…so I guess I am cell biologist specializing in neuronal networks) who would argue that random mutations are almost always bad. I am sure they wouldn’t. There is too much evidence. So you don’t need to worry about convincing me of this.

I think what is interesting are all the mechanisms built into reproduction that are there to general variation. And to have evolution take place, you need only variation and time really. Again, I don’t think we are disagreeing on this point either. But your ‘chapters’ (chromosomes) are rearranging all the time, every time a gamete is formed. Crossing over is a well-described generator of variation, where your chapters are cut, rearranged, and superimposed on one another with very little ill effects. Yet this process has provided countless variations in ion-channel function, receptor sensitivity, and reducancy which provides organisms with both flexiblity and resilience. Sometimes these underlye disease states, sometimes they underlye enhancement or gain of function. I guess you would argue that this is randomness designed into the system, rather than randomness which created greater fitness through selection? Sexual reproduction seems to have lead to much greater diversity than asexual reproduction, and again, diversity is a necessary prerequisite to evolution. If it’s all design, why have diversity?

Noise is not always destructive. I can give you many examples of how the brain uses noise to amplify useful or relevant signals above the noise inherent in the system. It’s well known that several neurotransmitters (like acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine) can increase noise levels thereby masking irrelevant weaker signals making relevant signals easier to select and key on. This may have little to do with your ideas regarding the genome, but nevertheless, noise can be useful in information processing. And many of these theories on brain function come from your field, as well as directly from computer science folks.

Now the question becomes really succinct: Who is the designer? Does there need to be a designer other than selection? If selection is not affecting the development of species, what does it do (if anything)?

There are so many poorly ‘designed’ organs and metabolic processes in biology it’s hard to count them all. Yet sometimes they are valuable. A great example is sickle cell anemia in relation to malaria. Is the distribution of this ‘weakness’ among African populations intelligently designed for them…but poorly designed for populations where there is no malaria. Or, is it an example of how natural pressures can benefit or punish genetic variation? Are these intelligently designed, or are they more likely products of a rather random selection process? It is the lack of variation in the cheetah genome that will likely spell it’s ultimate demise. Is this poor design…or a mistake? I would suggest these are examples of precisely how evolution works.

Always with science, the explanation which requires the least ‘smoke and mirrors’ is the best one. Why evoke a god or creator (or alien intelligence) if there is another plausible explanation. For example, why couldn’t order arise from a wet rock which has had a rhythmic energy source for millions of years?

A few basic questions:

1. Is the design (top down) process on-going, or is it now left to evolutionary selection processes alone?

2. At what level would you acknowledge random mutations as being a driving force in the evolution of biological organisms? (Microorganisms develop resistance to antibiotics via what seem to be random mutations. Are you arguing that this is just biology overlooking a more directed process not yet understood?)

3. Would you allow me to use your own arguments to suggest that at least all mammals are likely more conscious of reality and time than we would like to believe they are? I.e. If what you state is true, you must at least agree that there is very little difference between the human species and chimps, but even further between humans and dogs, cats, rats, and sheep….in terms of real experience. Modern biology would tell you that humans are just another animal, hardly different from any other mammal. Sometimes ID folks want to still separate humans from the rest of the living population of the Earth.

4. Where do you think the engineering takes place? Does it take place during development, during the entire lifespan of an organism, or did the design process stop with the invention of an organic code capable of carrying information through generations of life (at which point selection took over the role of guiding ‘design’)?

You have to be very careful when discounting biology as making a whole bunch of false assumptions. We have done no such thing. Believe me when I say that biology is driven by people interested in the truth. If your ideas are sound, biology will eventually embrace them, run with them, and progress beyond them. 99% of what is known in biology does not hinge on whether the DNA code was intelligently designed, or the result of a lucky occurance some long time ago in Earth’s past. The vast majority of biological understand is based on careful observation, hypothesis, and experimental testing of those hypotheses. And many many of the predictions which follow logically from the basic theory of evolution are confirmed by biology.

I want to just address the Google ad analogy, because I still think you are making a false analogy. First of all, you need to have reproduction over generations. Only ads which are clicked can reproduce. With only 910 bits of data, you have to assume that reproduction (in a biological sense) is very nearly flawless. A random mutation would almost always generate an ad that would NOT be clicked on (assuming the selection process is harsh, like biological selection), and therefore NOT reproduced on subsequent visits to Google. Species, then, like the google ad, should change very little over time. Another weakness in your use of this as an analogy for evolution is that random mutations in the genetic code often result in NO CHANGE in the resulting protein. So with your Google ad analogy, you need to build in that a non-word is either repaired or doesn’t get clicked. This would further slow the change of the ad over time. Logically then, because almost no mutations result in greater reproductive selection of an ad, the change (via the random mechanism) is exceptionally slow. But…when there is a change which results in a word substitution, again, most of the time, this results in nonsense, and NONSELECTION. Thus, you would never get to the stage where the ad is 15 words of nonsense because even one word of nonsense results in no reproduction. Again, the analogy you have chosen really isn’t appropriate in my humble opinion. Evolution can be painted as a designed process because the selection process is indeed very unforgiving. In fact, most biologists would argue that even ‘good’ mutations are often lost in the randomness of the reproductive process.

Even your assult on Dawkin’s program which mutates sentences is flawed. Natural selection is a directed process based on reproductive success. The best animals are NOT selected. The animals which reproduce are. These might not always be the ‘best’ designed, but they are all viable. Over time and large numbers, this can result in what appear to be improvements in design, but these are false measures. Ultimately, it’s who produces offspring. Evolution acts on viable reproductive organisms. Your analogies using random mutations of sentences have essentially no link to this process at all, because you have no selection at all.

Interestingly, this debate always seems to ultimately center around whether we could be closerly related to all organisms (as is evident by the hundreds of molecules which seem to not have changed over millions of years…like hemoglobin), or that it was all designed and thus very similar. You can’t have your cake an eat it as well. If we stick with this example, if yeast and humans have forms of a nearly identical molecule like hemoglobin, is it easier to understand this as a biochemical solution to a problem which has never been improved upon, or as the result of the simultaneous appearance of this molecule in thousands of lifeforms designed and placed on the planet? Alterations in this molecule result in death nearly all the time. Thus, it has hardly changed. This is the evolutionary perspective. The ID perspective appears to have a problem accepting that things this, and instead try to explain it with design and intelligence. Biological selection is harsh and unforgiving. Again, for me, it’s easier to see understand this as evidence of common ancestory (through the preservation of solutions that work) rather than indisputable evidence that there is design behind the commonality.

jay

Jay,

I am arguing that the mechanism of variation is NOT random. See James A. Shapiro, “A 21st Century View of Evolution”: http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro.2005.Gene.pdf

Noise is used in engineering – noise shaping and dither for example. But noise NEVER generates new information in the way that the Darwinists claim. Ever. In 5 years of debating this topic I have never seen a paper that demonstrated that random mutations produce new and useful features.

Who is the designer? that is a theological question. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/faq

“Poorly designed organs and processes” – I argue that man is not even in a position to make such a judgment because man has arguably never made any significant improvements to these designs. I also think that the judgment that any particular design is “bad” is very subjective. Until we have made significant improvements we have no business making these statements. My ID hypothesis is that as we attempt to make improvements over the next 50 years we will find that our “improvements” have substantial negative side effects and in the context of the whole organism each component is highly optimized.

Yes, Sickle Cell anemia is a defect and arguably an advantage. It may very well be the result of a random mutation. But I don’t know anyone who wants to have Sickle Cell anemia.

In terms of real experience there is a huge difference between humans and chimps. Just look at the difference in quality and quantity of communication. And the tools we build.

Google ads: Jay, if your premise is correct we can get Google ads to evolve through random mutation. I’ve heard all the explanations about selective pressure etc ad nauseum. I can finish your sentences for you.

So use something like Google ads to demonstrate that natural selection is ever able to pull anything useful out of randomly mutated copies of anything.

I DO have selection in my Random Mutation generator. I have a select button. You are welcome to design whatever kind of selection you want and use it however you want. I am challenging you: PROVE that random mutation produces anything useful for us at all.

I have no problem with evolution. I just have a problem with the assertion that it’s driven by randomness.

Before you reply please read this and be prepared to discuss it: See James A. Shapiro, “A 21st Century View of Evolution”: http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.edu/Shapiro.2005.Gene.pdf

LEONARDO A RIVA says:

Junk DNA in eukaryotic genome consisting of repeated sequences, the copy numbers of wich range from several to millions per dyploid genome and has been
implicated in chromosomal structure and gene regulation, it is not a selfish DNA
you are rigth-lined “only 3-5% of DNA is understood…we are starting into DNA
nature.
best regards

Joe Grenon says:

I am a little confused that while you request a certain amount of humility from others, you continually leap to the conclusion, in typical anthropomorphical style that because we may not know or understand the cause directing a particular effect, ( what you call reason) the only possible inference is “intelligent” design.

Many of the words and concepts you use to support your specious conclusions derive from language created by humans to illustrate and communicate fundamentally human concepts. Such as intelligence and design.

We know that animals ourselves included, have various levels of cognitive and communicative ability. Incidentally we also know that a fierce german shepherd can indeed be taught to guard a very large bag full of ham sandwiches without devouring them.

What we don’t know of course still fills endless volumes. For instance, we do not know that whales, having either evolved, or if it pleases you having been designed to return to the sea after having had enough of life on land, have not become far superior and exceptionally more advanced than ourselves.

We know that they have gigantic brains, and why would all that brain be there if there was no reason for it? I predict that one day, we may discover that whales are able to communicate not merely by voice, but by some heretofore undiscovered mechanism for telepathic interchange. Having advanced so far beyond out materialistic way of thinking, they returned to the oceans where they can fly freely through their surroundings, were food is plentiful, where other than man , there are no worthy enemies, where there is no need for artifice, and where, one can imagine, they can live in a state of sublime intellectual orgasm equal to or better than what humans might consider heavenly.

I don’t think you ever did answer my question about why it is any more improbable to assign intelligent design to aliens than to god?

Nor has anybody I have ever come across ever explained who or what might have created or designed god, or perhaps he evolved.

Why is Rodenberry’s Que any less valid a model for the universe’s controlling intelligence or any less valid than the one described in religious folklore and fiction?

For that matter, consider the Tralfalmadorian concept of time as an eternally placed dimension, where points on the time axis are as permanent and identifiable as points on the other three dimensional axes we are so accustomed to. Meaning that rather than a railroad track which must be followed tie by tie through 3 dimensional space, every point on a four dimensional graph just is, simply unique and different form any other point.

I could not agree more whole vigorously that correct answers will derive from well articulated questions. However, in order to formulate truly astute questions, we must be able to recognize the prejudices in our words and concepts, free ourselves from those, and objectively approach the hard evidence before us.

Little is more universally know to us than the cycles of the sun and the seasons. We have great certainty that without the sun, there is zero chance of life as we know it or understand it. Could there be life without sun that is unknown to us? Why not?

Could the sun itself have inner awareness and an intellect of which we know nothing? Why not?

Can you prove the sun has no intelligence?

Perhaps the sun then is reasonably the intelligent designer that gave us the wonders that surround us all. And what if the sun is just one of a great community of sun deities, each with its own intellidesign planetary systems orbiting about it, not from gravitational pull, but simply by mystical attraction.

Can you prove this not to be true?

Is it possible for you yourself to be humble enough to allow it as a possibility?

To my mind, it is every bit as reasonable to believe this of the sun as it is to believe it of some glorified puppet master in the sky playing super cop, judge and jury all in one .

The sun after all, gives me warmth and comfort, or burns me when displeased. I suffer cold and dread in its absence. When displeased, it hides itself from me, causing my crops to fail, and disease and bacteria to spread.

Rather we think of the sun as a cause of many effects on earth and other places. We are also able to think of the sun itself as a multitude of effects of a multitude of other causes.

As humans we run into difficulties of scale and the concepts of infinity and eternity. We hypothesize our lives as being unique, finite, and encased in our flesh. It rarely occurs to us, and when it does, we easily dismiss the idea, that perhaps we are merely participant organisms that live as part of a much larger organism. Our little blue planet, a larger organism living as micropart of yet a larger galactic organism and so on. Going the other way is equally plausible. Our bodies being made up of atoms, each of which could well be its own organic system participating in life that is simply beyond our current ability to comprehend.

What you repeatedly describe as intelligent design, always in your semicircular logic, is little more than an attempt to impose very limited human concepts and understanding onto a matrix of apparent and unknown systems that we are not even at the beginning of understanding. I use the word systems with acute consciousness of anthropomorphic ramifications. I. E. systems are typically of human design, and we erroneously and inadvertantly assign the word to collections of particles, cells, planets, organisms etc, in order that we may catalogue, reason, cause and effect into some predictable “scientific” dissertation which we can more comfortably digest.

Sadly some folks never get past the book of genesis.

Please at least attempt to shake free of you predispositions , and as challenging and rewarding as it is, attempt to experience the world around you without resorting to predictable and equally untrue fables about dogs always having to eat the ham sandwiches they guard.

JG

Joe,

I cannot prove the sun is not intelligent. I can only observe that no one has reported receiving any message of intelligent communication from the sun.

We can only practice science based on what we KNOW. If you want to speculate or assume all manner of things that we don’t know, be my guest.

Perry

ahhmmm
this is about the computation of the sentence:
“the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”
to appear by mere chance.

52^43 = 6.139652×10^73

i think it should be
53^43

i added a pluas one as a slot for spaces

52 is just
for upper and lower case letters

if so, and we consider the 52^43 = 6.139652×10^73

the sentence would be like

“TheXquickYbrownZfoxAjumpedBoverCthedlazyedog”

for we have no slot for spaces
please correct me if im wrong.
thank you!

Mark,

Yes, you are right. The “chance” explanation gets that much more difficult to justify.

Perry

Eric Houg says:

Sigh, Shermer’s book. He put paid to this argument almost 20 years ago. I still got it right here…I’ll send it to you for free.

You can mail it to 159 N. Marion St #295
Oak Park, Illinois 60301-1032 USA

Jim Diamond says:

I understood we used about 10% of our DNA. What was originally called junk DNA in 1972 (so you are rather behind the times) is now often called recessive DNA, as it is what we have inherited from a very old family tree over maybe millions of years.

“It demonstrates blatant disrespect for the object of study,
and that is always dangerous. It’s derisive and insulting. The
time has come to discard this term and the theory that goes
with it.”

Are we talking ID here?

“Anything less is anti-scientific.”

This coming from someone who believes in ID which is anti-scientific is the ultimate hypocrisy.

“The other 97% of DNA describes how and where to assemble
them.”

Lies, lies, lies. Though a very tiny part has been shown to do this, the rest causes random mutations of the kind that you lie does not happen.

You continue to make predictions as though you have a clue. As they are based on IDiocy, they are totally worthless.

WIRED is not exactly a peer-reviewed science magazine.

I haven’t seen you on the BBC Christian Topic. Not surprising really. You would not last long there with your strange ideas, pretending that you are not a creationist.

Jim,

I have presented a scientific hypothesis and you will need to present actual arguments and evidence, not merely a rant. Please come forward with specific statements and evaluations of what has been said.

There is nothing anti-scientific about ID. It is the sine qua non for the study of all natural phenomena. The problem is that the ID proponents, like Bill Dembski, presented it as a subject for debate. That was a strategic error. Everyopne knows when something is offered for debate. All hell breaks loose as opposing factions attack one another with gay abandon.

The truth is not subject to debate, only to discovery. There is not a shred of truth to any aspect of the Darwinian hoax. Natural selection, sexual reproduction, Mendelian genetics, population genetics, none of these have now or ever had anything to do with a creative, ascending organic evolution. They are all anti-evolutionary devices which inhibit rather than promote organic change. They are the processes that have guaranteed extinction in the past and still do today.

All real evidence discloses a planned sequence in which chance played at best a trivial role. Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that evolution is finished and has been for quite some time.

Darwin’s fantasy persists for one reason only. It is the only posture acceptable to the congenital atheist mindset. Surrounded by a universe designed from one end to the other, these poor souls clutch to the flotsam and jetsam of Darwinian mysticism, oblivious to every aspect of that which is obvious to those of us who are convinced there was a purpose in the events that led to our appearance near the end of a planned sequence of reproductive events. Rabid atheists like Paul Zachary Myers, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens contribute nothing of value either to science or society .They are the products of the malevolent God which I have postulated must have coexisted (past tense) with the benevolent God which produced all that is good and virtuous.

The simple truth is that we have no idea how many times life was created or once created was redirected. There is not a shred of evidence for a monophyletic evolution and much evidence against it.

On of my most treasured sources is Leo Berg ,the greatest Russian biologist of his generation. Here is what he had to say about the Darwnian model at the end of Nomogenesis, by far the most devastating critique of Darwinian mysticism -

“Organisms have developed from tens of thousands of primary forms, i.e, polyphyletically… .The struggle for existence and natural selection are not progressive agencies, but being, on the contrary, conservative, maintain the standard….Species arising through mutations are sharply distinguished one from another.”
Nomogenesis, page 406

Everything we know with any degree of certainty is in full accord with what Berg professed in 1922.

I repeat here as I have elsewhere -

There is absolutely nothing in the neo-Darwinain model that ever had anything to do with creative evolution beyond the production of intraspecific varieties and subspecies, none of which are incipient species anyway. They are all dead ends, doomed to extinction.

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for believing it to be true.”
Bertrand Russell

“An hypothesis does not cease to be an hypothesis when a lot of people believe it.”
Boris Ephrussi

jadavison.wordpress.com

Winter says:

Занимательная статья, кстати автору хочу предложить установить от яндекс.денег фишку на сайт “Дай рубль”. Я бы дал, так сказать на поддержание. ;)

Gitt’s book is what originally inspired my work. His material is excellent.

DelbertJames says:

Hey Perry, great stuff. The site which indirectly led me here is this:

http://whomadegod.org/2009/10/accident-or-design-the-moral-and-scientific-dilemmas-of-darwinism/. .

To look at creationism as magic and evolution as science is paradoxical. I sincerely do not believe that the oil has to be separate from the water. There has to be an emulsifying agent. They can coexist as one. The most convincing parlor trick out there is just hidden science, And the amplitude of astonishment at a magic show is directly dependent on the level of ignorance of the observer. We see it done, so we ask “how did he do that?” But when we dont see it, as in the origns of man, we say its impossible. Or we say its magic. But what is magic but concealed science? Hence Impossible and magic is self contradictory. True magic, or results without any kind of science involved is not possible. Science covers a very broad field. There are immutable unchangeable laws governing the universe. The universe is waiting on us to catch up. And to get ahead of ourselves in not only making assumptions, but actually smuggling some of them into the minds of the overeager as fact is self destructive.

Personally, I dont think time exists. I believe that our consciousness is divided yet each segment is complete all along the continuum. We observe a change taking place, and automatically attribute the period between a prior and altered state to elapsed time. Someone once said that the illusion of time is not linear and the past present and future exists as one. If that were true, then I have not gotten any older, neither have I ever moved from the time I entered the realm of progress.Consciously, I am merely becoming aware of advancing stages in life each nanosecond. Every single motion is preset based on a current path. So my past actions is currently happening somehow but i have transcended that awareness. And the future is currently occurring but I have not reached that level of awareness.And since every tiny motion in itself, takes up an entire present, and it is constantly occurring, over and over and over ,till we pass through it, stay a fraction of a moment, align with the current then move again, leaving it occurring over and over and over, then time is a recurrence of recurrences with no forward or backwards.That means Im still crying at 3 months old for a meal. At the same time, im already an elderly man reading the newspaper.To the elderly me, he is in the present. To the 3 month old me, he is in the present. If everybody at every stage is in the present, who is in the past and the future. Nobody I would say. Because there’s no such thing. In another dimension, where the conscious is not limited, we are aware of all stages at once, all segments of our divided yet individually complete consciousness is aware as one entity. Its not that I was doing something and now im doing something else. Its just that I was always doing something else and I never stopped doing what I was. But since Im complete as one, then I cannot be in two or more places at once without stepping outside of infinity. If thats possible.So its not that time doesnt exist there. Its just that it couldnt. There is a constant present. There is only one present. And time is never perceived. I know it makes no sense but its just a theory.

What do you think?

mary lee says:

Hi,

I’m new to this. Grateful to find this site. I have been struggling with questions of God each and every day since I was 11 or so (now 38). Biologist for many years, turned teacher, now mother. I have been following many different threads of discussion on atheism/theism on the internet for some time. Glad to find such an informed discussion. I have nobody to discuss these ideas with, as I am surrounded by atheists (or at least vocal skeptics), and my religious friends are nervous to discuss…even though I try to be very respectful and humble when I ask them about their faith.

I was raised very Catholic and my mother is devout. I ran away from it in my teens for all the tired reasons…but now I am drawn to it with such a power. Currently reading Simone Weil….recently read Hand of God by Bernard Nathanson….jives with my observation that many of the people I knew who had abortions have been devastated by what they did for many reasons…some very much after the fact. I am beginning to realize that my atheism was, in part, due to the fact that I was swimming in a culture that was openly hostile to all forms of religion. It wasn’t just the science community–It was literally everyone who was at college.

My question: Perry, have you ever corresponded or debated with Kenneth Miller, the professor at Brown U. who writes the Miller/Levine text for Biology that is widely used? He is a believer, but also a STAUNCH critic of Intelligent Design. I would be interested in a discussion between the two of you.

Thanks,

Mary

Mary,

I would welcome a conversation with Mr. Miller. If someone could facilitate that, I would appreciate it.

Also I would suggest investigating Fazale Rana’s books; Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell; and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Perry

Mark says:

Nice write up. First time commenting here so excuse if I make any bad remarks or comments. Ok, “Junk” DNA? That is how the ‘expert’ called it when ever something they do not understand. It reminded me a long time ago, my parent used to tell me there’s also another “Junk’ organ in our body, Its called appendix. Not sure if any of you have heard before.

Back then ‘Expert’ tells us appendix is just another “Junk” piece of organ. Its OK just to get rid of it! Much later, Eureka!! Now the same ‘expert’ tells us that appendix has its purposes in the body!

The lesson I wanted to share as well is this. Never believed 100% of what the ‘expert’ tell us. Most of what we read in main media, are just another ‘idiot’ trying to dictate what’s good or not for ever mankind.

These people are Man of their Word, the ONLY problem is…It changes as times go by. Never trust any of the scientist or expert 100%!!

Darryl says:

Thanks Perry
- for re-introducing intelligent investigation to such things as “Junk DNA” – it reminds me of the theory that we only use 10% of our brain – perhaps we only understand how 10% works ! – either way it is surely our lack of humility which unreasonably clings to old thinking, and egoistically denies new knowledge by “cooking the data” – all of which is contrary to true science, true religion and to an ever-advancing civilization. The ‘marriage’ of evolution and creation that you are proposing reminds me of the following quote from the Baha’i Writings, recorded about a hundred years ago.

“Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone! Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 143)

And here we are ! – surrounded by superstitious/corrupted religions and materialistically-manipulated sciences !…….Surely it is nearing the time for an evolutionary leap/”mutation” in our true understanding too !

Well done Perry – keep up the God Work !
Cheers

billy says:

Hey Perry, there’s an increasing amount of atheists who are getting behind the claim that the universe could have actually came from a vacuum at zero point energy. This was posted on the infidels board.

“The uncertainty principle implies that particles can come into existence for short periods of time even when there is not enough energy to create them. In effect, they are created from uncertainties in energy. One could say that they briefly “borrow” the energy required for their creation, and then, a short time later, they pay the “debt” back and disappear again. Since these particles do not have a permanent existence, they are called virtual particles. (Morris, 1990, 24)”

“There is a still more remarkable possibility, which is the creation of matter from a state of zero energy. This possibility arises because energy can be both positive and negative. The energy of motion or the energy of mass is always positive, but the energy of attraction, such as that due to certain types of gravitational or electromagnetic field, is negative. Circumstances can arise in which the positive energy that goes to make up the mass of newly-created particles of matter is exactly offset by the negative energy of gravity of electromagnetism. For example, in the vicinity of an atomic nucleus the electric field is intense. If a nucleus containing 200 protons could be made (possible but difficult), then the system becomes unstable against the spontaneous production of electron-positron pairs, without any energy input at all. The reason is that the negative electric energy can exactly offset the energy of their masses.”

Could this have actually created the universe.

Do you think the particles around you fit the description just given here? “Since these particles do not have a permanent existence, they are called virtual particles.”

Is there any empirical evidence to support this, or is it just pure speculation?

As to the second:

“Circumstances can arise in which….”

What circumstances?

When has this been observed?

billy says:

“Is there any empirical evidence to support this, or is it just pure speculation?”

Quoted from http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/mercury/31_02/nothing.html

“If this admittedly speculative hypothesis is correct, then the answer to the ultimate question is that the universe is the ultimate free lunch!”

So right now, it seems like pure speculation.

The basis of this hypothesis is right now, seeing that virtual particles pop in and out of existence in a supposed vacuum, then the universe itself could have “popped” into existence. Essentially, a universe from nothing. It hinges on the idea that there are multiple universes which at the moment are moving away from us at the speed of light and as a result, we will never see. But thats a gambler’ fallacy.

As seen in this video, http://www.youtube.com//watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo, the string theory is readily dismissed at 0:49:35 and at 0:20:54, you can see that he is saying that the empty space inside a proton accounts for about 90% of the mass of the proton. Hence this goes back to Einstein’s hypothesis for the aether. And to say that the universe came from this empty space is to say that the aether is not part of the physical universe. But it is. It is the template. It too was created as the basic fabric upon which the physical universe was built. And apparently it has mass. When arguing with atheists about this they will contend that there is no such thing as an aether. But “nothing” cannot have measurable mass.

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