The origin of information … so much for science burying God.

This blog appears to have not been published back in 2009 when it was written for some reason — it’s a continuation of the review of Lennox’s book “God’s Undertaker”

 

In the past, the design arguments have been critiqued as valid because they essentially set up analogies and the strength of the argument depended on the similarity of what was compared (e.g., Paley’s watch compared to nature). The design argument for DNA is stronger than earlier arguments because it possesses the identical feature (information content) to intelligently designed human texts and computer languages. It’s not just an argument from analogy but an “inference to the best explanation”. It’s interesting that so much effort is being exerted to seek for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Lennox asks, “How does one scientifically recognize a message emanating from an intelligent source …? …  If we are prepared to look for scientific evidence of intelligent activity beyond our planet, why are we so hesitant about applying exactly the same thinking to what is on our planet? … What… should we deduce from the overwhelming amount of information… contained in even the simplest living system? … Could it not be the real evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence?”

 

In this final chapter of his book, Lennox pounces on the relatively modern concept that “information and intelligence are fundamental to the existence of life… involved from the very beginning”. But this is not a new idea. “In the beginning was the Logos (Word) … all things were made by him” wrote the apostle John. The term ‘Word’ itself connotes “notions of command, meaning, code, communication – thus information; as well as creative power… The Word … is more fundamental than mass-energy. Mass-energy belongs to the category of the created. The Word does not.”

 

Lennox goes on to point out how striking it is that this concept at the heart of the biblical message has been “so cavalierly dismissed”, but we find in science nowadays showing it to be of paramount importance. How key this is to the Creator God of the Bible. In Genesis 1 it says “God said, let there be…”, not just that God created. Hebrews 11:3 states “By faith we understand that the universe was formed by God’s word, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” The carriers of information may well be visible (e.g., paper, email, and DNA), but information itself is not visible. “How could purely material causes account satisfactorily for the immaterial?”

 

Is this just another “futile god of the gaps argument”? Lennox doesn’t think so. This is a ‘good’ gap. He calls it a gap of principle. For example, physics and chemistry can explain what is used to write or paint something. But they cannot fully explain what and why something is written. We postulate they must have an author. Chance and necessity cannot generate the complex information that occurs in biology. Lennox adds, “There is more than a whiff of suspicion that reluctance on the part of some scientists to make a design inference from the existence of information-rich biomolecules has less to do with science than it has to do with the implications of the design-inference as to the possible identity of the designer. It is, therefore, a worldview issue, and not simply a scientific one.”

 

What an amazing picture this is. The Logos, the Word Himself, made everything and gave life. Not only that, but He came and dwelt among us (even though we would not receive Him), only to give us life through His death. And we still want to reject Him?

 

There is one more point to be made from this book. Lennox addresses Dawkins complaint that the design inference is too complicated and “who made God”. But this will take one more blog.

 

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