Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Origin of Information

Charles Darwin’s legacy, according to Stephen Meyer, Discovery Institute’s director of the Center for Science and Culture, is that the appearance of design features in living things is a gradual process and a mere accident of natural selection and random mutation. Selective breeding, deliberately accomplished by man to produce woollier sheep or special breeds of dogs over many generations, can just as well be accomplished by nature alone--no intelligence required.

Meyer’s October 26, 2010 address to the Vibrant Dance of Science and Faith Symposium in Austin, TX, posited that the mechanisms of the neo-Darwinian synthesis (support for evolution based upon genetic information in addition to observational evidence) are not sufficient to explain the overwhelming design features apparent in living things. Darwin did not refute every manifestation of intelligent design. For example, the origin of design features necessary to jump-start life itself was not explained. If Darwin did not refute every appearance of design, asks Meyer, why do people think he has refuted the design hypothesis?

In little more than fifty years the incredible functions of the cell have been laid bare for all to see. In 1958 Francis Crick proposed the “sequence hypothesis.” A four character digital code, amounting to a specific, sequential arrangement of chemical bases (shorthand A, C, G, and U) forms a code for organizing twenty amino acids into specific structures to produce tens of thousands of different proteins and folding them into three-dimensional building blocks of living tissue. Proteins are the cell’s “tool box,” performing functions such as structural support, movement, germ defense, catalyzing chemical reactions, storage, transport, and energy production.

This suite of functions owes its existence to the DNA molecule. Meyer referred to the “DNA enigma.” We may be amazed by the molecule’s design structure, or by what it does. More important is the question, “Where did the information come from?” Information in the DNA molecule conveys meaning. In turn, meaning produces functionality. Does any chemical evolutionary theory explain it? Meyer thinks not.

Blind chance to account for the production of even one functional protein would demand a computer search of such vast scope that if every event since the Big Bang until now were devoted to the search, there is still no possibility it would be found. Secular scientists now recognize the hopelessness of the “chance” scenario. In desperation, evolutionists consider bumping the selection process and the origin of information back to the pre-biological level. Matter’s hypothesized self-organizational properties also prove fascinating to the naturalists.

None of these hypotheses successfully deals with the insurmountable problem of the origin of information. Where does the complex information come from? Renowned physicist Paul Davies describes the living cell as “an information processing and replicating system of astonishing complexity.” Few evolutionists speculate openly on the abductive reasoning principle of “inference to the best explanation” while attempting to answer the question, “Where does the information come from?” Answering this question may force the admission that coded information is always associated with conscious, intelligent activity. The position of our blog is that the intelligent activity originates with the God of the Bible.