Darwin: Brilliantly Half-Right; Tragically Half-Wrong
“OK, So What’s Not Quite Right with the Standard Evolutionary Theory?”
The Simplest Explanation You’ll Ever Hear On Why Darwin Was Brilliantly Half Right – and Tragically Half Wrong – in his Theory of Evolution
By Perry S. Marshall
A year and a half ago I was traveling with a devout Christian friend who had grave doubts and questions about his faith. At the root of his inquiry were the claims of modern skepticism – that no one can actually prove that God’s hand moves in the real world, and that natural processes sufficiently explain everything. It should come as no surprise that Darwinism too played a significant role in this conversation, and we spent several days intensely discussing it.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “I’m an engineer and I’ve spent 20 years of my life building and designing things. And idea that any kind of random, unguided process can produce the fantastically elegant designs we see in nature is just absurd.”
Him: “Wait, let’s think about this for a minute. Let’s say you’ve got 500 million falcons living and dying over a span of 500 million years – that’s billions of falcons. Don’t you think that in that huge span of time, over that huge population, they would inevitably and accidentally develop helpful features that simply weren’t there before? For example a new eye muscle that helps them focus and see their prey better? Why couldn’t that happen? Wouldn’t it almost have to happen?
Great question. One that I thought was well worth finding an answer to. I spent the next year hunting for answers.
Despite being a devout Christian myself, my reading of Genesis didn’t create an inherent theological problem with the idea of some kind of evolution taking place. Frankly I hadn’t looked that deeply into the question up to that point, but I didn’t necessarily think that Darwinism was fundamentally incompatible with Genesis chapter 1 either. I was open to the evidence, wherever it might lead.
So when I got home I started hunting for an answer – very hard. Scouring the Internet, buying all kinds of books, delving into this issue in a very big way. I wanted to know.
And as an engineer with a background in a variety of disciplines (acoustics, control systems, signal processing and computer networking protocols to name a few) I certainly had the skills to do some investigation.
I Find “True Believers” in Both Creationism and Darwinism
The first thing I discovered that this is an intensely polarized issue, and most of the conversation out there is very self-assured ‘true believers’ on both sides, screaming at each other. Internet searches turned up nauseating buckets of self-assured rhetoric and pseudo-scientific bluffery.
Evolutionists would say things like “No theory in the history of science has been as successful as Darwin’s theory of evolution” which one quickly discovers is an utterly absurd statement. (I think evolutionists say this because, in fact, no theory in the history of science has been more hotly contested than Darwin’s theory of evolution.)
But then equally devout creationists would pontificate about how the entire field of modern science had established itself as the sworn enemy of Christ and his Church, how all fossils and radiometric dating methods are fraudulent, in blatant opposition to God’s Holy Word.
Sorry, but I’ve worked in the sciences long enough to know, that’s a bunch of bull, too.
Now I’m not just an engineer, I’m also a technical marketing specialist and an advertising copywriter. Nobody can detect BS faster than a guy who writes ads for a living. And because of my sales background, I also saw a business in this – a business where evolutionist authors sell books to atheistic True Unbelievers, and the creationist authors sell books to the creationist True Believers. And, by the way, the #1 emotional lever that is used to sell those books is fear-mongering, paranoia, and deliberate ignorance and prejudice about those evil opponents on the other side of the fence.
And it’s truly a two-way street. There is generally a profound refusal to acknowledge that the other side might be right about some things, buttressed by prejudice and insecurity. But I know from all my other spheres of life that when there’s an intense debate like this, both sides usually have valid things to say.
I also know, as a marketing professional, that the vast majority of people prefer simplistic interpretations of everything. Fact is, it’s hard to sell a book that calmly and rationally considers both sides of an issue and even produces a synthesis of the two views. It’s far easier to sell fear, politics, stereotypes and easy answers than to sell sanity and complex truths.
Thus you have the mechanisms that give rise to the culture war we see today between Darwinists and Creationists.
“OK, So What Is The Real Question, Anyway?”
The Falcon question, as my friend framed it, pretty much hits the nail right on the head. Darwinism says this:
Random Mutation + Natural Selection + Time = Design
That is the “math” of evolution. Whether we’re considering the evolution of falcons or any other organism, the changes over time have to come from changes in the DNA. The entire plan for a falcon is contained in its DNA, a molecule with a 4-letter alphabet. A strand of DNA can have anywhere from 500 thousand letters (in the case of the smallest known parasite) to 3 billion letters (man and large animals).
Darwinism says that Random Mutation (copying errors in the DNA alphabet) produce modified falcons, and that natural selection (survival of the fittest as inferior falcons die out and superior falcons dominate) weeds out the losers. What remains is new innovations in falcon design.
That’s what Darwinism says. It’s elegantly simple. Almost intuitively obvious.
Can it be verified?
No, and yes.
One of the difficulties with Darwinism is that it evidently takes millions of years and many billions of falcons to produce significant change over time. This makes it very hard to empirically prove Darwinism in the short lifetime of a human being. Practically speaking, Darwinism doesn’t even provide us with very many testable hypotheses. Thus the vast majority of the evidence for evolution is anecdotal.
Anecdotal evidence is unreliable evidence based on personal experience that has not been empirically tested, and which is often used in an argument as if it had been scientifically or statistically proven. The person using anecdotal evidence may or may not be aware of the fact that, by doing so, they are generalizing. (–From Wikipedia) An example of anecdotal evidence would be “My grandma smoked and drank whiskey every day and she lived to be 95, so cigarettes and whiskey are good for you.” Not all anecdotal evidence is misleading, of course, but it’s not proof.
But with Darwin, the principle itself should be easy enough to demonstrate. I know as an engineer with a strong math background that in principle it should be easy enough to statistically answer the question:
Is the formula
Random Mutation + Natural Selection + Time = Design
Mathematically true, or false?
Hey, if we’re going to get answers to these questions, we have to ask questions that actually have a possibility of being answered in the first place. Most arguments for and against evolution are argued at an intuitive level, with only anecdotal evidence. The way most questions are asked in the origins debate, they are unanswerable. The question as I posed it is much, much simpler and can certainly be verified.
Is Natural Selection Valid?
I shouldn’t have to spend much time defending the idea that Natural Selection is a perfectly valid concept that we see proven all the time. We all know and observe every day that winners win and losers lose. We know that babies with severe birth defects often do not survive, much less thrive. We know that Natural Selection weeds out losers. Natural Selection works.
The real question is, does Random Mutation produce winners? Does it create plans for new muscles in the eye of the falcon? Does it add information to the code of DNA? That’s the question I set out to answer.
Like I said, DNA is a blueprint for life. It’s a code and a language. It has an alphabet (A = Adenine, G = Guanine, T = Thymine, C = Cytosine) and that alphabet spells out the instructions for everything. So the question is:
Can Random Mutation add information to DNA?
I decided the best way to answer this question is to make it more general: Can random mutation add information to any code or language? Can it make it more meaningful, such that Natural Selection will weed out the garbage and leave us with better and better information?
My reasoning was this: Even if Darwinism couldn’t be empirically proven in the lab (since we don’t have millions of years available to conduct an experiment), we should still be able to investigate some other part of the world where languages and codes are used.
We should be able to experimentally determine if Random Mutations add information. This could come from any number of fields – linguistics, digital signal processing, computer networking, computer aided design, language translation.
Information Theory Sheds Light on this: 1948
The questions I’m asking here are answered in a field known as “Information theory” which really began with a paper written by Bell Labs scientist Claude Shannon in 1948. His paper was called “The Mathematical Theory of Communication” and it’s one of the most important papers ever published in the history of Electrical Engineering and electronic communication. Shannon’s paper literally gave birth to the digital age we now live in – not because Shannon invented digital communication, but because he defined what it was capable of.
Claude Shannon’s paper tells you how much hi-fidelity music you can put on a CD (74 minutes), or how much data you can squeeze through a 56K computer modem (not much). It tells you how much information you can successfully transmit, given a certain amount of noise and a certain speed of sending your data. It discusses error correction schemes and even defines something called “Information entropy” which is the degradation that happens when you add noise to a signal.
Shannon’s book is not for the layman, but certain parts of it are understandable by anyone and it deals with things that most people are at least somewhat familiar with. He defines various “layers” of information – which in layman’s terms would be things like alphabet, spelling, grammar and meaning – and how the upper layers are built on top of the lower layers, and how we can use this knowledge to detect and correct errors.
And in my research into the origins question, I quickly discovered that everything Claude Shannon discusses in his paper applies to DNA. (I have not encountered any geneticist or bio-informatics researcher who disagrees with this.)
DNA is a molecule, a data storage medium and digital communication protocol all rolled into one. It has a certain amount of memory. Your own DNA, in every cell of your body, contains about the same amount of information as a compact disc.
But here’s where things get interesting: In Claude Shannon’s world, Random Mutation in DNA is exactly the same as “Noise” in an electrical communication system.
This really struck a chord with me because I already knew a great deal about digital communication systems. I spent six years of my life selling exotic networking equipment to factory engineers, I’ve published dozens and dozens of magazine articles about communication networks, and In 2002 I published the book Industrial Ethernet. Now in its 2nd edition, this book explains the operation of Ethernet networks, TCP/IP protocol (the language that runs the Internet), and various networking languages that are used in modern equipment installations.
The world of electronic communication is a world of languages and codes. Every different kind of file on your computer – a Microsoft WORD document, an Excel spreadsheet, a web page in HTML, a JPG or GIF image – the difference between all these things is the language they’re written in. Microsoft WORD isn’t just a brand, it’s a language that’s been defined by Microsoft, for writing and storing documents. Same with everything else on the list – it’s a language that’s been defined by someone for a specific purpose.
So another way of asking the question is this:
“Is there any instance in the field of computers, electrical engineering, radio, TV or any other aspect of communication where noise is added to a signal to increase its quality? Can adding noise increase the information in a signal?”
I searched and I searched and I searched.
And the answer to that question, oddly, is a qualified no.
There is no instance in the field of computers, electrical engineering, radio, TV or any other aspect of modern communication where noise is added to a signal to increase its quality. There is no example where noise increases the information in a signal.
But remember, I said the answer is a qualified no. The answer is still yes, sometimes.
Let me explain.
Let’s take the sentence
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
I could randomly mutate this sentence, and if I got really lucky, the sentence could become
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
(I added a period.)
The period did add information to the sentence; it corrected a grammatical mistake.
Now this sentence is 45 characters long. With the possibility of 26 lower case letters, 26 upper case letters, spaces and periods (excluding numbers and any other characters), there are 54 possible characters.
So how many combinations of letters are possible in this sentence? A probability textbook tells us that there are 4554 possible combinations. If you punch that into your scientific calculator, you get 1.9 x 1089 possibilities. (In other words, a very big number with ninety (!) zeros. Bigger than any number anyone ever uses in everyday life.)
Which is to say that there is one chance in 1.9 x 1089 – one chance in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion or so – that a single random mutation could correct the grammar of this short sentence.
So yes, random mutation (noise) can add some information to a signal. Parts per trillion trillion trillion…
That is the qualification.
Obviously it is a very small qualification – so small as to be thoroughly trivial.
I thought this was way too simple.
I said to myself, “Geez, is the answer to the whole evolution question that cut-and-dried? Falcons can’t evolve because DNA mutations can only destroy information, not increase it? That seems too easy, too obvious.”
I spent several months hunting for answers all over the place, scouring more books and the Internet, looking for discussion on this topic. Surely there must be more to this question.
Claude Shannon does address it in his book. Not DNA specifically, but noise in general. Shannon says noise causes entropy. In physics, entropy is the process of useful energy becoming useless. Entropy is what happens when a candle burns down to nothing and you can’t light it anymore.
One of Shannon’s contributions to science was showing that the math equations for information entropy are exactly the same as for heat entropy. And in both cases, entropy is an irreversible process. In other words, once you add noise to a signal, it is permanently corrupted and cannot be recovered, much less improved.
Noise always degrades a signal. Always.
Anybody who’s spent much time recording music knows what I mean. Cassette tapes are going out of vogue, but back in the day we used to record our CD’s onto cassettes so we could listen on our Walkman or in our car. Cassettes always add noise (tape hiss) to the music.
Companies like Dolby and DBX devised ingenious methods of noise reduction – Dolby B, Dolby C and so on – to combat this problem. They were fairly effective, but never perfect. Actually the way noise reduction works is this: The signal is boosted and equalized before it’s put on tape, then it’s equalized the opposite way and cut back to its original volume when you play it back. All it does is lessen the effects of the tape hiss; it doesn’t actually take it away.
And again, once the noise is there, it is absolutely impossible to get it back out.
And I’ve never met any engineer who ever said the signal could be better after you added noise to it. The only exception to this is something called dither which does add noise to the signal before it’s recorded, but that is done to neutralize distortions in the recording equipment. It’s “dither” in digital recording, and “bias” in analog recording. But it does not increase the information; it degrades the signal, albeit in a useful way.
So I’m hunting for a flaw in this theory. Can anyone show that noise increases the useful information in a signal?
Now I am far from the first person to discover or discuss this, and I did find people debating this topic. I found some interesting misconceptions.
For example, Claude Shannon discusses how the addition of noise increases the information in a signal. But you have to be very careful to understand what he means when he says this.
Let’s say you take your favorite CD and record it onto a cassette tape. Now you have added some noise to your favorite music. You can hear the tape hiss when you play it.
Well let’s say you get a CD burner and you play the tape back and copy the taped version back to a new CD. Now you have a CD of a tape of a CD. A copy of a copy, with tape hiss thrown in.
Well the new CD does actually have more information than the old one. It has not only the music, but the tape hiss too. Instead of silence between the songs, you’ve added tape hiss. Of course the CD player doesn’t care what it is, it just plays it. From the CD player’s point of view (CD players being totally dumb objects), yes, there is more information to send to the speakers.
But from a human point of view, there is obviously less useful information. The useful information has been compromised. Fine details you used to be able to hear are covered up by the tape hiss, never to be recovered.
All arguments you may find that cite Claude Shannon in saying that noise increases information are really saying that the tape hiss is an increase in information. Well obviously it’s an increase in useless information – at the expense of the useful information.
So What is Darwinism Really Saying?
If we go back to the falcon question, what Darwinian theory is saying is this:
Noise gets added to the signal in the DNA of billions of falcons.
Most of the time, it produces harmful mutations.
Some of the time, it adds useful information.
Natural selection weeds out the harmful mutations and only the useful ones are left.
The useful mutations make the new falcons more fit to survive.
They proliferate and then more mutations make their progeny better adapted, more competitive, with enhanced features and ability to survive.
And the evolutionary dance continues.
Sounds pretty plausible, right? I certainly thought it did.
But let’s use an analogy of something more familiar: Those cassette tapes.
You have a CD, and you make billions of cassette tape copies of it. Each copy is slightly different, because each one has different microscopic bits of tape hiss.
Most of the time the tape hiss is bad, but sometimes it is good.
People buy the good copies and return the bad ones to the music store, so only the good ones survive.
Billions more copies are made of the good ones, and the process repeats. Every few thousand generations of tapes and tape hiss, a new musical feature is added, so primitive tribal music evolves into modern jazz fusion.
Do you buy that?
We could make a very similar analogy with photocopies. We’ve all seen documents that were a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. They look horrible. After enough generations, they become unreadable. A copy of a copy of a copy of instructions on how to get to my house never evolve into a superior plan for getting to my house.
Information is only destroyed by noise, never enhanced by it. (Devolution, not evolution.)
So if noise is bad for music and photocopies and FM radio, how can it be good for falcon DNA?
DNA, Computers, Human Language Have Error Correction Built-In
You’d be interested to know that virtually all communication systems, including DNA, have error correction mechanisms built in. The English language is about 50% redundant – if half the words and letters are missing, you can still read it and figure out what is being said. Ethernet and TCP/IP have sophisticated error detection / correction mechanisms. If you’re downloading a file and some of the bits get corrupted, your computer detects that and tells the other computer on the Internet to re-send those bits. And DNA has sophisticated error correction mechanisms, too. Errors are always bad, never good. DNA is designed to detect mutations and correct them.
I Start Presenting This Challenge to Darwinists
There are still a whole bunch of questions we haven’t really discussed yet, but this in itself gets down to the bottom of what Darwinian evolution claims to be true. So has any advocate of Darwinian evolution ever proven that random mutation can increase information? I wanted to find out.
So in addition to extensive searching and reading, I started having email exchanges with proponents of Darwinism. I would say “Show me an example where random mutation actually increases information” and they would try. And Boy, would they ever try!
The conversation would go something like this:
They would say, “Richard Dawkins shows how evolution works in his ‘methinks it is like a weasel’ evolutionary computer program.” (Dawkins, in his book The Blind Watchmaker, shows how a random letter generator can evolve a complete sentence, if the computer program rejects erroneous letters and accepts correct ones, and it only takes 30-40 steps to do so.)
I’d say “But the desired result is pre-programmed into the experiment in the first place. All he has demonstrated is that his computer works properly, that’s all.”
So the conversation would turn to all sorts of other “Genetic Programs” which is an entire category of software where random mutations generate variations which are then selected according to certain criteria and improvements are observed. Fascinating stuff.
But that’s not the Darwinian math formula. Remember, the Darwinian formula is
Random mutation + natural selection + time = Design
But genetic programs work on this formula:
Random mutation + deliberate selection + time = Design
Deliberate selection and natural selection are not the same thing. Look, if the falcons could say “Let’s randomly mutate only the small part of our DNA that designs our eyeball muscles and nothing else for a few million years, and let’s just keep the ones that pass a quality control test” then it would work. But that’s not how evolution is claimed to work. Mutations (noise) are not selective about where they occur.
Darwinism: The Math Just Doesn’t Work
In these debates we would go back and forth about this, and sometimes the conversations would get quite emotional as the person I was talking too kept hitting dead ends in their argument.
Sometimes they’d finally sigh and say “Just because we haven’t discovered the answer to this question doesn’t mean we won’t someday.”
My reply would be “Yes, that’s absolutely right, nobody can predict what science may discover tomorrow. But for right now I can’t see how the fundamental premise of Darwinian evolution can even be said to be scientific, because the math simply does not work.”
Most of the time I’d eventually get silence. Much as we tried to make these conversations factual and friendly (they were rarely hostile), eventually the person would just stop replying to my emails. They were stumped.
Dawkins Can’t Answer It, Either
It’s interesting to note that the fanatical atheist Richard Dawkins, perhaps the most famous living proponent of Evolutionary theory, has never answered this question either – in fact he has studiously avoided it. There’s an article http://trueorigins.org/dawkinfo.asp where this question was posed to Dawkins, and even though six years have gone by, he never answers it. The answer he does give is a smoke-and-mirrors example at best.
There is a lot of material on this particular web page and there is a great deal of discussion about it. I did a bunch of backwards searching on Google to find every last reference to this article on the entire Internet, and nobody has successfully answered the question that it raises: “Can you produce an example of a mutation or evolutionary process that led to an increase in information?”
Many do claim to have answered it with genetic programs and the like, but if you examine their experiments carefully, you will see that none of these programs are actually examples of true Darwinian evolution. All of them without exception (including the much ballyhooed Avida softare program) use un-random mutation or un-natural selection in some way. Genetic programs are extremely useful, instructive, well worth studying. But all are examples of intelligent design, not evolution!
If the idea is to improve the meaning of a sentence by adding mutations, it quickly becomes obvious that this is a futile enterprise. Even if something starts to look promising, additional mutations quickly destroy it before it becomes useful. This is the language equivalent to adding “noise” to a signal. Noise is junk. It only destroys information, never adds it.
Self Organization: Patterns vs. Codes
In the Origins of Life discussion, “Self Organizing” properties of nature often come up. Frequently the conjecture is “Nature has self-organizing properties, and surely, somehow, proteins came together and formed RNA, then DNA, and the seeds of life began on the primitive earth.”
Nature most certainly has self-organizing properties. Obviously some molecules have an affinity for each other, and there is an entire field called Chaos Theory, or Complex Systems theory that deals with this.
Examples of Self-Organization in Nature
The following patterns happen naturally without any assistance from a designer:
- Tornados and Hurricanes
- Stalagmites and Stalactites
- Sand Dunes
- And much more
Chaos theory describes the underlying principles and the math behind this; mathematically speaking, all you need is a “nonlinear differential equation” and you get chaos. The entire field of Fractals is the computer-generated version of the same thing. Nature produces these fascinating patterns, and they happen all by themselves.
But there’s one kind of design that does not occur naturally, so far as anyone knows:
What does NOT occur naturally is CODES.
Symbolic codes of any kind – things that contains language, a message, or information, any arrangement symbols that represent something other than itself – do not happen naturally. Blueprints, languages, ciphers, encoding / decoding mechanisms all come from a mind.
Just as there are no exceptions to the law of gravity, or the laws of entropy, there are no exceptions to this.
There is vast difference, in fact an infinite chasm, between a pattern and a code. Patterns occur naturally, codes do not. All codes contain patterns, but not all patterns contain codes. Codes can only come from a mind. There are no known exceptions to this.
Information Comes in Layers
In layman’s terms, all codes contain the following four “layers”:
- Alphabet (an agreed-upon set of characters, sounds or symbols)
- Grammar (words and phrases, and rules about how words and phrases are organized)
- Meaning (all codes mean something)
- Intent (there is some larger purpose and desire behind the meaning)
Again, all languages, codes, protocols, blueprints and the like contain these four layers.
Top Down vs. Bottom Up
This gets to the root of the question, “Could the code inside DNA have occurred by random chance?” Could today’s newspaper be written through a random arrangement of letters on a printing press?
Of course there is a fantastically tiny, remote chance that it could, but here’s the problem: Language is not created from the “alphabet up” – it’s created from “intent down.”
In other words you have a desire, or intent; you have a meaning in your mind that you want to express; you have words and phrases you use to express that meaning; and you have an alphabet or set of sounds to form the words and phrases.
When you speak, you create language from the top down; when you listen, you interpret it from the bottom up. Language is never created from the bottom up. A desire always precedes communication, and agreement between speaker and listener is required for it to take place. There is no exception to this.
So the idea that the language in DNA could have formed from the “bottom up” is not based on any kind of actual experience or knowledge; it’s only wild speculation that something totally contrary to all experience and science “could” happen.
Important Book Develops This in Exhaustive Detail
The most important discovery I found in this search was the book “In the Beginning Was Information” by the German author Werner Gitt. This book has some of the clearest thinking I have ever encountered in a science book, and it rigorously presents the ideas I’m discussing today in great detail. It is literally one of the most important books I’ve ever read.
On the Internet you will find claims that Gitt’s theorems have been refuted, but don’t believe them without investigating more closely. His argument is rock solid and though I’ve searched intently, I have not found anyone who is able to show that Gitt is wrong. Gitt uses a somewhat more technical definition of the language layers I discussed a minute ago, as follows:
These are roughly equivalent to my alphabet / grammar / meaning / intent usage, but Gitt’s terms are the same as what is used in the field of linguistics. An exception is #5, Apobetics, which is a term coined by Gitt. Gitt argues persuasively that his term adds value to the discussion, but he also states that his argument stands perfectly well without it.
The Atheist’s Riddle
I have reduced this entire argument to a single email message with less than 1000 words. Hundreds of people have attempted to refute it but none has done so successfully. Here is the message:
“If you can read this sentence, I can prove to you that God exists”
See this email I just sent you, that you’re reading right now? This email is proof of the existence of God. Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy. But in this email, I’m going to explain why. This email you’re reading contains letters, words and sentences.
It contains a message that means something. As long as you can read English, you can understand what I’m saying. You can do all kinds of things with this email. You can read it on your computer screen. You can print it out on your printer.
You can read it out loud to a friend who’s in the same room as you are. You can call your friend and read it to her over the telephone. You can save it as a Microsoft WORD document. You can forward it to someone via email, or you can post it on a website.
Regardless of how you copy it or where you send it, the information is the same. My email contains a message. It contains information in the form of language. The message is independent of the medium it is sent in.
Messages are not matter, even though they can be carried by matter (like printing this email on a piece of paper). Messages are not energy even though they can be carried by energy (like the sound of my voice.) Messages are immaterial. Information is itself a very unique kind of entity. It can be stored and transmitted and copied in many forms, but the meaning still stays the same.
Messages can be in English, French or Chinese. Or Morse Code. Or mating calls of birds. Or the Internet. Or radio or television. Or computer programs or architect blueprints or stone carvings.
Every cell in your body contains a message encoded in DNA, representing a complete plan for you. OK, so what does this have to do with God? It’s very simple. Messages, languages, and coded information can ONLY come from a mind.
A mind that agrees on an alphabet and a meaning of words and sentences. A mind that expresses both desire and intent. Whether I use the simplest possible explanation, such as the one I’m giving you here, or if we analyze language with advanced mathematics and engineering communication theory, I can say this with total confidence:
“Messages, languages and coded information never, ever ever come from anything else besides a mind. No one has ever produced a single example of a message that did not come from a mind.” Nature can create fascinating patterns – snowflakes, sand dunes, crystals, stalagmites and stalactites. Tornados and turbulence and cloud formations. But
non-living things cannot create language. They cannot create codes. Rocks cannot think and they cannot talk. And they cannot create information. It is believed by some that life on planet earth arose naturally from the “primordial soup,” the early ocean which produced enzymes and eventually DNA and primitive cells. But there is a problem with this theory:
DNA has a four-letter alphabet, and structures very similar to words, sentences and paragraphs. With very precise instructions. To the person who says that life arose naturally, you need only ask: “Where did the information come from? Show me just one example of a language that didn’t come from a mind.”
As simple as this question is, I’ve presented it to many people who say that life arose without the assistance of God. But to a person, none of them have ever been able to provide an answer. This is a riddle so simple any child can understand, yet so complex, no atheist can solve. (You can get my full presentation on this topic at http://cosmicfingerprints.com/atheists_riddle.htm.)
Matter and energy have to come from somewhere. Everyone can agree on that. But information has to come from somewhere, too! Information is an entity fully on par with matter and energy. And information can only come from a mind. If books and poems and TV shows come from human intelligence, then all living things inevitably came from a superintelligence.
Every word you hear, every sentence you speak, every dog that barks, every song you sing, every email you read, every packet of information that zings across the Internet, is proof of the existence of God. Because information and language always originate in a mind.
In the beginning were words and language. In the Beginning was Information. When we consider the mystery of life – where it came from and how it was possible – do we not at the same time ask the question where it is going, and what its purpose is?
Questions that remain un-answered
In this paper I have not proven that evolution did not happen; and in fact as I said at the beginning, it would not upset me if someone proved that it did. However what is clear is that the Neo-Darwinian theory of how it happened has a huge, gaping hole: Random Mutation does not cause falcons do develop new eye muscles. It can’t. Random Mutation destroys DNA, it does not build it. Random Mutation causes cancer and birth defects, not new species.
Did evolution happen? I don’t know. I’ll only say that it’s worth noting that the fossil record certainly doesn’t support the version of evolution that Darwin proposed; in the fossil record, we see sudden appearance of new species with no intermediate forms. We have what paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould called “Punctuated Equilibrium.” I think it’s interesting to note that the fossil evidence that is referred to as “Punctuated Equilibrium” has no micro-biological explanation to support it, and in fact multiple incidents of “special creation” explain the data as well as any.
What Does Information Theory Tell Us About God?
But in any case, information theory not only proves the existence of God, it also tells us something about God’s nature – that God is conscious, God is personal, and God communicates and speaks.
This is 100% consistent with the observation that the one element common to ALL designs is that they are represented symbolically by ideas and language before they are implemented in reality. Anything that is represented by language before it is built is designed.
God is a designer. God thinks and speaks in order to build.
With that in mind, it’s especially prescient that Genesis One says “And God Said… let there be light,” etc etc. Note that creation itself is a product of words that are spoken. Then the book of John expands on this, connecting the creation of all things with Jesus Christ: “In the Beginning was the WORD. And the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything that was made.”
What we have here is a theological statement that Jesus is both the verbal expression of God and the essence of God at the same time. In Christian theology, God himself is the essence of words, language and expression. The Biblical theology of God squarely matches everything that information science tells us about reality.