Nature vs. Intelligence

Steven C. Meyer is one of the brightest lights in the known universe when it comes to articulating the concept he calls intelligent design.  I say he calls it that, because when he uses that term, he  means something very specific.  It may not mean what you think it does.

I believe in evolution.  I believe it explains a lot of what many scientists say it does.  But I do not believe that the evidence is there for a few of the important elements of Darwin’s grand theory.  The first is natural selection.

The following article, from the Boston Globe (read the source here) is a pretty good case in point.

IN THE battle over how to teach evolution in public schools, Thomas Jefferson’s demand for a “separation between church and state’’ has been cited countless times. Many argue that the controversial alternative to Darwinian evolution, intelligent design, is an exclusively religious idea and therefore cannot be discussed under the Constitution. By invoking Jefferson’s principle of separation, many critics of intelligent design assume that this visionary Founding Father would agree with them.

But would he? For too long, an aspect of Jefferson’s visionary thought has been ignored, hidden away as too uncomfortable for public discussion – his support for intelligent design.

In 1823, when materialist evolutionary ideas had long been circulating, Jefferson wrote to John Adams and insisted that the scientific evidence of design in nature was clear: “I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition.’’ It was on empirical grounds, not religious ones, that he took this view.

Contemplating everything from the heavenly bodies down to the creaturely bodies of men and animals, he argued: “It is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is, in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause, a fabricator of all things from matter and motion.’’

The “ultimate cause’’ and “fabricator of all things’’ that Jefferson invoked was also responsible for the “design’’ of life’s endlessly diverse forms as well as the manifestly special endowments of human beings. Moreover, because the evidence of “Nature’s God’’ was publicly accessible to all and did not depend upon a special appeal to religious authority, Jefferson believed that it provided a basis in reason for the protection of individual liberty. Thus, the Declaration of Independence asserted that humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’’

Of course, many people assume that Jefferson’s views, having been written before Darwin’s “Origin of Species,’’ are now scientifically obsolete. But Jefferson has been vindicated by modern scientific discoveries that Darwin could not have anticipated. For example, in 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions – the information – for building the crucial protein molecules and machines the cell needs to survive. Francis Crick later developed this idea with his famous “sequence hypothesis,’’ according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. As Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.’’

This discovery has made acute a longstanding scientific mystery that Darwin never addressed or solved: the mystery of how the very first life on earth arose. To date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information in DNA needed to build the first living cell on earth. Yet modern scientists who argue for intelligent design do not do so merely because natural processes have failed to explain the origin of the information in cells. Instead, they argue for design because systems possessing these features invariably arise from intelligent causes.

DNA functions like a software program. We know that software comes from programmers. Information – whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in a radio signal – always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of digital code in DNA provides a strong scientific reason for concluding that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source.

Design is an inference from biological data, not a deduction from religious authority. Jefferson said just that, and based his political thinking on it. The evidence for what he presciently called “Nature’s God’’ is stronger than ever. Our nation’s existence, with its guarantee to protect each person’s “inalienable rights,’’ may be counted among the fruits of Jefferson’s belief in intelligent design.

Stephen C. Meyer is director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His new book is “Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design.’’

Information…always arises from an intelligent source.   I repeat that here just in case you missed it.  There are no exceptions.  Information by its definition requires an inform-er and an inform-ee.  An intelligent designer does the arranging of a message and the means of transmission, and someone or or something thing receives it, processes it, and exhibits some resulting behavior.  Why is that so hard to get?

Yogi Berra said that you can observe a lot just by looking.  If we look, we see information present in DNA.  By logic, we should be looking for the intelligent source of that information, not twisting ourselves up in knots trying to explain how it came to be by random fluctuations.

Can I get a witness?


6 thoughts on “Nature vs. Intelligence

  1. Evolution makes a lot more scientific sense than Adam and Eve and the talking snake. Come on. If you’re arguing that public schools teach your version of “creation” then I think it’s just as important that they also teach other religions beliefs on how everything got started. Because in the end that’s all you have is a religious belief on what YOU believe happened. And should that be crammed down every kid’s throat? I think not.

    1. A common tactic for deflecting a good argument when there’s not much to come back with, is to argue with a different premise. Set up a straw man, then knock it down. Good job, Maranda. You did it well.

      The sad thing is that you are one of the very victims of the covert and systematic campaign to brainwash children into believing a lie. The lie here is that evolution explains how everything came to be by “naturalistic” means. And you’re in hook, line and sinker.

      Please, please listen to me. You are the victim! They want you to think they have it all figured out. Don’t let them get away with it. Question everything! Read some of the expert opinions that run counter to what they are cramming down your throat, and ask them what their response is. Start with the central point made by Jay Richards – that information always has an intelligent source. Challenge them to explain to you how that’s wrong. Make them do it scientifically. Think for yourself!

      I would like to see public schools present well rendered alternative theories, and to quit teaching Darwin’s vision of evolution as if it had no serious flaws. It does have flaws. One of them is the problem of information. Another is the metaphysical claim that “natural selection” is the mechanism by which species evolve – a claim that is neither proven or scientific.

  2. I am certainly not a victim- I hold the views I have today because I DO question everything and refuse to live in the little box of fundamentalist christianity that you obviously make your home in.

    I think it’s amusing that you want schools to stop teaching evolution because of its “flaws” and instead teach creationism which, myself and a lot of people a lot smarter than me, could also very easily argue is 100 times more flawed as a “theory.” Well rendered alternative views? Like Adam and Eve in a garden with a bad tree and a talking snake?

    You think that should be taught instead of evolution? Seriously?

    Someone as seemingly smart as you thinks that way, and you say I’m the victim? I think you need to look in the mirror my friend.

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