Passage from Uncommon Descent
Such a pattern and the principle of restraining speculation regarding traces from the remote past of origins on observed adequate cause, therefore raises the question as to whether the technological entities we see being caused all around us and the world of cell based life from its root in cells and their origin up, have a similar root-cause process, intelligently directed configuration, aka design. In effect, is the presence of FSCO/I (beyond 500 – 1,000 bits) or the like a reliable sign of design as most credible causal explanation?
That is the context in which Steve Laufmann recently argued:
Evolutionary biology was very much like other sciences up until the 1950s, when the information-bearing capabilities of DNA and RNA were discovered inside living cells.
These discoveries fundamentally changed biology. And as the information payload is increasingly unraveled, we’re seeing ever more complex and interdependent assembly instructions, activation circuits, programming sequences, and message payloads. This information is decoded and operated on by molecular machines of similar complexity, and the whole (information + machines) is self-generating, self-sustaining, and self-replicating . . . .
Further, based on the observed functionality in living organisms, there are many undiscovered types of information that must be present in a living cell, but which haven’t been decoded or understood yet.
Kinesin offers a fascinating example of undiscovered information in action. What programs and machinery are required to assemble the structure and function of kinesin? What information is needed for kinesin to achieve its “runtime” functions? How does kinesin know where to go to pick up a load, what load to pick up, what path to take, and where to drop its load? How does it know what to do next? All this functionality takes information, which must be encoded somewhere.
Indeed, the level of complexity is monotonically increasing, with no end in sight.
With no possibility that new discoveries will ever decrease the observed complexity, it may not be long before we see a seismic shift in the research paradigm — from the study of biological systems that happen to contain information, to the study of information systems that happen to be encoded in biology . . . [“Evolution’s Grand Challenge,” ENV, July 10 2015.]
Later in the article, he challenges:
The origin of life is perhaps the most obvious example of information’s formidable hurdle to evolutionary explanations. First life requires all of the following:
- Sufficient complex programs and sequencing to support first life’s complete lifecycle (i.e., the directions have to be complete and correct).
- Sufficient machinery to interpret the programs and to operate life (i.e., the directions must have proper effect).
- Sufficient programs and machinery to replicate both the programs and the machinery (i.e., the directions must be passed to the next generation).
And all this must be present at the same time, in the same place, in at least one instant in history, at which point the whole must somehow be animated to create life. And all this must occur, by definition, before an organism can reproduce. Without reproduction, there is no possibility to accumulate function, from simple to complex, as required by evolution. Hence, the programs must have contained all the complexity required for first life at inception.
By definition, then, the minimal programs and machinery required for first life must have predated any creative capabilities (real or imagined) of Darwinian processes.
Further, since the information necessary for first life must have been assembled prior to the animation of first life, the minimal information payload must have predated first life. And it must therefore have derived from a source beyond biology as we know it . . .
Noting that we can identify two major categories of observed causal forces (blind chance and/or necessity on one hand and design on the other) he then remarks:
For materialists, the first class of causal force is insufficient and the second is unacceptable. Materialist biologists are thus pressed to find a third class of causal force — one that works without purpose (required to adhere to materialist philosophy), yet produces purposeful outcomes (required to adhere to the observed world). As yet no reasonable candidate forces have been proposed.
So materialists face growing dissonance between their philosophical commitment and biology’s complex programming. As the quality and quantity of the discovered interdependent programs and processing machinery increases, the plausibility of material causation gets weaker. So the materialist position is weak, and going in the wrong direction (from their perspective).
On the other hand, for anyone not fully committed to materialist philosophy the options are much more interesting. For those willing to consider the second class of causal force, things begin to fall into place and the dissonance dissipates.
Materialistic evolution is an ideological commitment, a religion (as opposed to a cult) that is increasingly at odds with the evidence. As it increasingly fails to match observed reality, it’s going to be increasingly illogical, incoherent and irrational.
(Twenty years ago, I would have never believed that atheists would ditch reason itself rather than recognize a Higher Intelligence – not even necessarily the God of the Bible, but any intelligent personality/force/power/mind/spirit above themselves that designed the universe. But the commitment to the ideology supersedes the commitment to the evidence…)
Best get off the sinking ship sooner than later.