From “God Of The Gaps” to “Let’s Get This Thing Solved!”

Since giving my talk “If You Can Read This I Can Prove God Exists” in 2005, my thinking has evolved tremendously.

dunmore_coumeenole

This continues to be one of the most argued-about talks on Origin Of Life on the web.

It sparked a 7-year debate on Infidels. At the time, Infidels.org was the largest atheist website in the world. This went on to become the longest-running, most-viewed thread on the site.

No one overturned my argument. Eventually Infidels did their best to make the whole episode disappear.

“If you can read this” has been pounded hard by thousands of skeptics. Every scientific detail and technical fact still stands intact today, more than 10 years later.

However I must be clear: I did not prove God exists. What I proved is

that there is a vast gap in our knowledge. A gap for which the only known solution is some form of intelligence.

A gap that an awful lot of people (especially atheists) prefer to sweep under the rug.

To the extent that science can prove anything (which is inference not proof), the genetic code proves there is a design principle in biology. Perhaps it’s woven into the very fabric of the universe itself.

But I have grown leery of “God of Gaps” arguments, because they have a long history of eventually failing.

Now what is seldom mentioned is that every time one of these gaps gets filled, the universe shows itself to be even more amazing and elegant than we thought it was before. More orderly. More precise. More capable of taking care of itself. More ingenious. More subtle. 

Have you noticed? Every answer science provides us only raises three more questions. The questions never end. And the demand for an ultimate explanation never goes away either. The quantity of “luck” skeptics must invoke to explain it all rises with each passing year.

In the years since I gave that famous talk, I have realized that science cannot deal in ultimate explanations. Science can only peel the onion one more layer.

Which is precisely what we pay scientists to do. No scientist ever gets to say “God did it, that settles it, let’s take a 3-martini lunch.”

To scientists, God-of-gaps arguments give them and their profession the finger.

Many religious people have a hard time understanding this. It doesn’t compute. Often they chalk it up to arrogance or hubris on the part of scientists. But the way most creationists approach the subject grates on scientists. It’s disrespectful to their paychecks and careers.

Theology should never give a scientist an excuse for being lazy.

Frankly, creationists AND atheist fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins, with his “Life is a happy chemical accident” pronouncements, BOTH give scientists an excuse to be lazy.

Which is to say Origin Of Life is a valid field of inquiry. It’s not been very successful thus far, mind you, but it is a necessary science.

To solve this, I have established a multi-million dollar technology prize. I organized a company, Natural Code LLC, a Private Equity Investment group. We seek a solution to Origin Of Information.

As Peter Diamandis proved with his X-Prize for space flight, technology prizes are ideal for Big Problems that government grants have been unsuccessful in solving. Also problems like space flight, which government does solve, but at too much cost.

In creating this prize, I have given up my “god of gaps” argument in exchange for an opportunity to uncover more secrets of this amazing universe we live in.

“God did it, that settles it, let’s take a 3-martini lunch” is not science.

“Life emerged from a warm pond and lucky lightning strike” is also not science.

All we can do is speak the naked truth about what we know. And what we don’t know.

I’ve concluded that the only approach to Origin Of Life which is science, is a large prize. And plenty of of recognition for the person who can solve “Chemicals to Code.”

If somebody solves this, they haven’t eliminated God. What they have done is prove the thesis of my book Evolution 2.0: “Darwinists underestimate nature. Creationists underestimate God.”

May the best man or woman win. And may these silly wars between science and religion stop blinding us to mysteries that beg to be solved.

Details on the Evolution 2.0 Technology Prize, funded by Natural Code LLC

Explore existing submissions we’ve gotten for the Evolution 2.0 Prize.

Read “If You Can Read This, I Can Prove God Exists” (2005)

Photo by Perry Marshall: Dunmore Head overlooking the Blasket Islands in Coumeenole, Western Ireland.

23 Responses

  1. Robert DuChaine says:

    “What I proved is that there is a vast gap in our knowledge. A gap for which the only known solution is some form of intelligence.”
    You have not proved anything; you have observed something: a gap. You have not proved a “known” solution. You have proposed something (one of probably an infinite number of possible solutions) without supporting evidence.

    • We know of millions of examples of intelligence producing codes. If you can provide any examples of code originating from any specific known source besides intelligence then your argument will stand.

      • Sam Martin says:

        Life isn’t a code. The genetic code is [i]metaphorically[/i] viewed as a code for the sake of human understanding (and the metaphor holds up rather well). But a metaphorical code is not a code. Genetic code is not a (non-genetic) code. The metaphor was created by an intelligence: [i]us[/i]. The thing that it represents, what it actually [i]is[/i], may or may not have its origins in an intelligence, we don’t know, though I know what I believe.

        And regardless of whether God (or any other intelligence) created genetics, if God created the universe and the naturalistic and probabilistic forces that generated it, it still ultimately came from an intelligence. Just like the names from a random name generator ultimately came from a human scripter.

        • Sam Martin says:

          Life isn’t a code. The genetic code is metaphorically viewed as a code for the sake of human understanding (and the metaphor holds up rather well). But a metaphorical code is not a code. Genetic code is not a (non-genetic) code. The metaphor was created by an intelligence: us. The thing that it represents, what it actually is, may or may not have its origins in an intelligence, we don’t know, though I know what I believe.
          And regardless of whether God (or any other intelligence) created genetics, if God created the universe and the naturalistic and probabilistic forces that generated it, it still ultimately came from an intelligence. Just like the names from a random name generator ultimately came from a human scripter.

          (Please remove my previous reply, where I forgot that these comments do not use BBcode. Thank you.)

          • As I said to another guy in a different thread 20 minutes ago: You are wrong and need to consult a basic biology book. //cosmicfingerprints.com/dna-atheists/dna-code/ At the bottom of this post you’ll find quotes from about a dozen books I consulted at the Oak Park IL public library, confirming that the pattern in DNA is literally and not figuratively a code.

            I have covered the above point to the Nth degree on this website. The page I linked to is a very good start.

            If you want to have an ontological argument about whether the information in DNA has some kind of abstract platonic external existence or not, I don’t care. If you say it only “looks like a code” and isn’t “really” a code, then I’ve got a $3 million prize for a completely chemical process that creates a pattern that looks like a digital code. As long as it matches the characteristics in the checklist, you’re good. If you can do that you’ll still win the money regardless of your philosophical position on the existence of abstract entities.

            I do understand that you do believe in God but you also think that God used random processes to create codes.

            Well theologically that is fine, and 12 years ago I was prepared to discover that this might indeed be the case.

            But it’s not. It violates the laws of physics and it’s fiction.

            But I’m a communications engineer and I can absolutely assure you, that unless there is some amazing law of physics that has never been discovered, random processes do not and cannot create codes. Randomness can only destroy codes.

            Natural Selection is not capable of extracting codes from randomness. The Evolution 2.0 Prize is a search for just such a law of physics. And I do NOT rule out the possibility this could be solved. But nobody has solved it yet.

            And by the way, because I know as a mathematical and experimental fact (communications engineer, control systems engineer, audio engineer, equivalent to a minor in mathematics, wrote a 300 page book with an information-centric view of evolution) that randomness can only destroy codes, it makes me mad that YOU have been lied to.

            Lied to by people who ought to know better, who make up stories about replicators and warm ponds and lucky lightning strikes and call their stories science when there is nothing scientific about them at all.

            You have been misinformed and ripped off. It’s not your fault. But you should be angry, too.

        • As I said to another guy in a different thread 20 minutes ago: You are wrong and need to consult a basic biology book. //cosmicfingerprints.com/dna-atheists/dna-code/ At the bottom of this post you’ll find quotes from about a dozen books I consulted at the Oak Park IL public library, confirming that the pattern in DNA is literally and not figuratively a code.

          I have covered the above point to the Nth degree on this website. The page I linked to is a very good start.

          If you want to have an ontological argument about whether the information in DNA has some kind of abstract platonic external existence or not, I don’t care. If you say it only “looks like a code” and isn’t “really” a code, then I’ve got a $3 million prize for a completely chemical process that creates a pattern that looks like a digital code. As long as it matches the characteristics in the checklist, you’re good. If you can do that you’ll still win the money regardless of your philosophical position on the existence of abstract entities.

          I do understand that you do believe in God but you also think that God used random processes to create codes.

          Well theologically that is fine, and 12 years ago I was prepared to discover that this might indeed be the case.

          But it’s not. It violates the laws of physics and it’s fiction.

          But I’m a communications engineer and I can absolutely assure you, that unless there is some amazing law of physics that has never been discovered, random processes do not and cannot create codes. Randomness can only destroy codes.

          Natural Selection is not capable of extracting codes from randomness. The Evolution 2.0 Prize is a search for just such a law of physics. And I do NOT rule out the possibility this could be solved. But nobody has solved it yet.

          And by the way, because I know as a mathematical and experimental fact (communications engineer, control systems engineer, audio engineer, equivalent to a minor in mathematics, wrote a 300 page book with an information-centric view of evolution) that randomness can only destroy codes, it makes me mad that YOU have been lied to.

          Lied to by people who ought to know better, who make up stories about replicators and warm ponds and lucky lightning strikes and call their stories science when there is nothing scientific about them at all.

          You have been misinformed and ripped off. It’s not your fault. But you should be angry, too.

        • Intelligent Person says:

          Kook-a-doodle-do

      • Fred says:

        RNA and DNA code emerges from inert organic compounds exposed to electricity. This is a klnown source which is not intelligent.

        • Use your full first and last name in every post.

          Please show where any of these experiments produced code because my investors want to give you some money: http://www.naturalcode.org.

        • Intelligent Person says:

          Either you didn’t read, or you didn’t understand Mr. Marshall’s article. DNA is a language. Random happenstance (“organic components exposed to electricity”) would produce degraded matter, not highly ordered matter. Your flimsy explanation in irrational.

      • Joe H says:

        I’m guessing you are referring to the genetic code of DNA here. It’s well known to be produced randomly from sex. A random egg and a random sperm cell unite and combine into new code. All random and unintelligent. If you are referring to any form of code, say H2O or C20H25N3O or some other more complex element, these too are formed randomly.

        • Full last name please.

          Mendelian combination of genes is not random, it is precisely aligned PERMUTATIONS (please do not confuse sheer randomness with permuations, they are two completely different things) which obey very precise rules. And the molecule H2O is not a code in any way shape or form. The written symbol H2O is but that’s entirely different.

    • Weil says:

      ya, the form of intelligence that you mention it, that is our human call it god! Actually there are life form with ultimate intelligence outside the universe. There create the universe and all the life forms but human call it god in long long time ago.

    • Vic Weymouth says:

      The onus is on those who believe in a magic catalogue of remarkable coincidences to be explained.The platypus + all insects for instance.

  2. Guto Luz says:

    “Knowledge is a priceless gift. But the illusion of knowledge can be more dangerous than ignorance.” – Pico Iyer

  3. rajndra patten says:

    Eminent surgeon use to say that life is not in our hand , it is in the hand of God , but ‘ suicide’ is in our hand . Inmost advanced economy we need to agree that the welfare of the population depends upon A’ the business sector , B’ the civility of the population , lastly the Government . Bare in mind that politics and Government had contributed a lot in order to upgrade the scale of Group A and B . Its good that science could answer to all question , it should be good if science could differentiate good and bad , certainly not chemical answer .

  4. Pat Mc Ginley says:

    Some indisputable facts. Most people of European or Asian ancestry have between 0-4% Neanderthal DNA, due to some early humans migrating from Africa – the birthplace of human evolution – having mated with Neanderthals. How can you reconcile this with the Bible account of ‘creationism which has 0% evidence?

  5. JOHN MAYOR says:

    THE SCIENCE BEHIND OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE
    .
    Two scientists have formalized a theorem regarding the existence of God, originally penned by the mathematician, Kurt Gödel! And as a result of their efforts, their formalization will now enable computers to make scientific progress, easier!
    .
    Analyzing a theorem from the late Austrian mathematician with a Macbook, has proven that God exists!– say, the two scientists, Christoph Benzmuller of Berlin’s Free University, and his colleague, Bruno Woltzenlogel Paleo, of the Technical University in Vienna!
    .
    Gödel’s Theorem is based on MODAL LOGIC, a type of formal logic, that– narrowly defined!– involves the use of the expressions, “necessarily”, and “possibly (according, to Stanford University!)”!
    .
    The Theorem, proposes that God– OR A SUPREME BEING!– is that, for which, no greater can be conceived! God exists in the understanding. If God exists in the understanding, we could imagine such to be yet greater than our understanding– beyond which, no greater can be conceived!– by existing, IN REALITY! Thus, God must exist!
    .
    Paleo and Benzmuller say that they have proven that the Theorem is correct!– at least, on a mathermatical level!
    .
    In their initial submission on a research server, “Formalization, Mechanization and Automation of Gödel’s Proof of God’s Existence”, the researchers say, that: “Godel’s ontological proof has been analyzed for the first time with an unprecedented degree of detail, and formality, with the help of higher-order theorem provers.”
    .
    They add: “The following has been done (in the ensuing order): a detailed natural deduction proof; a formalization of the axioms, definitions and theorems in the TPTP THF syntax; automatic verification of the consistency of the axioms and definitions with Nitpick; automatic demonstration of the theorems with the provers, LEO-II and Satallax; a step-by-step formalization using the Coq proof assistant; a formalization using the Isabelle proof assistant, where the theorems (and some additional lemmata) have been automated with Sledgehammer and Metis.”
    .
    In his talks with a representative of the German weekly mag Der Spiegel, Benzmuller states that it’s fascinating how the Theorem could be anaylzed through mathematics! Saying: “It’s totally amazing that from this argument led by Gödel, all this stuff can be proven automatically in a few seconds– or even less!– on a standard notebook computer.”
    .
    To sum, one important further leap forward, would be to prove that God– this Supreme Being!– delivered the person of Jesus Christ to mankind, in order to bring mankind into direct fellowship with Him!… and, His domain! But!… that must await further scientific proofs! Nevertheless!… in the meantime!… by way of the above noted, we have the basis for a fresh new look at Teological and Ontological Science!
    .
    Please!… no emails!

  6. Taher says:

    I can literally solve ALL the NOWADAYS problems from, ufo’s to dna to earth age to all wars arriving to PROVING GOD, in my wall I proved a long time ago that evolution is wrong because they found FLESH dinosaur bone with blood which means we lived with dinosaurs and the age they lie about that and the big bang theory is based on gravity and simply flat earth say gravity don’t exists its simply about density
    EARTH IS FLAT
    please don’t take my words lightly, I’m not alone, go search EARTH IS FLAT you will understand your history plus you will prove that God exist and no one I mean no one can deny that when you dare and try to search for why earth is flat, and when you do find it flat there is no galaxy no evolution I mean literally stupid non sense gravitational theory question will disappear from your face. and God says the dome is my handy work and when you find out the deception about it you will understand the the God existence is been proven a long time ago its just stupid gravity games.

  7. Hello Perry, I hope all is well.
    I read through some of the comments you’ve received recently. Many are quite astute, others are not. 🙂 You have great patience.

    It is a new year. I wish you good fortune.

  8. Kataclismic says:

    “Proof god exists right here but first read this: I have no proof god exists.”

    Yup, that’s what I was thinking too.

  9. Momo Tontang says:

    Hello, Mr. Perry Marshall. Your work is really great and it hugely inspires me. I want to thank you for all the contributions you’ve made for the truth about DNA.
    And also, I have a question for all the atheists out there. See, I’ve been in some discussions concerning the existence of God. I asked them the questions like you did and their answers were:
    1. DNA is not a code except by analogy (as expected from an atheist). They formed by chance.
    2. DNA is just a chemical. Chemicals form all the time.

    The question that I asked from these answers was, “If DNA were just a chemical that formed by chance and Earth is almost a billion years old, then must have been plenty of time for the formation of a different type of DNA. But it has been found that every organism on Earth shares the same type of DNA.
    http://www.saps.org.uk/saps-associates/browse-q-and-a/473-how-much-dna-do-plants-share-with-humans-over-99
    Why is it so?”
    I don’t know if it is because there’s some fault in my question or because they don’t have an answer, but they keep ignoring this question. I have asked it three times during the same discussion but they keep changing the topic to “DNA is not a code dude.”

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Darwin Bad
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Rub 2 rocks together and create a cell with DNA... that's evolution, right?
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