Creating Information Naturally, Part 1: Snowflakes, Chess, and DNA

(Mervin Bitikofer) #61

That’s pretty cool! (that bats and dolphins both benefit from what might be some convergent evolution). God’s creation is full of wonderfully complex things! (Wonderful as long as you aren’t a mosquito in some bat’s echolocation cross-hairs, that is!)

(Ashwin S) #62

Why should I ask that question. The Bible doesn’t say that God creates to impress human beings.
We are a part of creation. Not the reason for it.

(George Brooks) #63


Exactly. And God has created a mountain of evidence that not only demonstrates the Earth is billions of years old, but also that life on Earth is beyond question linked to each other by common ancestral populations.

(Chris Falter) #64

Hi Ashwin,

Glad to have you here. Given that the scientific method as we know it didn’t exist until Francis Bacon, I don’t think that the Apostle Paul is asserting that science can prove God’s existence. What Romans 1:20 is referring to, IMHO, would be more like a “design intuition.” Does that make sense?

(Ashwin S) #65

Actually I thought it was obvious that life on earth was linked by the fact of having a common designer.
As to common ancestral populations… are they populations of unknown imaginary common ancestors?

(Ashwin S) #66

Hi Chris,
My emphasis was that being agnostic/denying a creator was because the person suppressed the truth as Paul said. So if science actively suppresses the truth of a creator by ignoring it’s possibility or viewing it as outside the boundaries of its interest… It’s not in a particularly nice place.
That’s why he says they are without excuse.
Besides many (perhaps most) evolutionists would claim the design intuition is a false intuition and spend a lot of energy in proving this in social circles.

(Chris Falter) #67

When I play the piano, or write forum posts, or write code, or read an economics paper, or watch the weather forecast, I do not think that I prove God’s existence thereby. As a Christian, I find referents to faith in every domain, but I do not think that a meteorologist is suppressing faith if she talks about cold fronts rather than God. Meteorology is not designed to detect God; it is designed to detect approaching storms.

Likewise with biology and its theories, I suggest.

(George Brooks) #68


Is there a reason you refuse to acknowledge the “intelligent design” implicit in the “God Guided Evolution” stance that many of us here endorse?

Unlike your stance, we can actually explain the logical source of shared design features:

  1. God used Evolution to create the life forms he needed. This automatically explains how some traits are shared over millions of years.

  2. And God using evolution ALSO explains how traits that couldn’t be shared (because there is no relevant common ancestral population) could still APPEAR to be shared… by means of evolutionary convergence (especially when genetics proves there is no genetic connection).

(Ashwin S) #69

I reject the term “God guided evolution”. It’s a contradiction. Evolution is not a process guided by any intelligence by definition.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #70

Yes but only in the same sense that DNA transcription is not a process that is guided by any intelligence by definition. Or radiometric decay is not a process that is guided by any intelligence by definition. Or meteorology describes a process that is not guided by any intelligence by definition. Or galaxy rotation curves, stellar nucleosynthesis, cell membrane binding energies and preferred shapes, crystal formation, Higgs field interactions, etc.

(George Brooks) #71


“Evolution” is defined by most practitioners as “any change in the gene pool of a given population”.

So you are wrong about the use of the term “on its face”. You are trying to insist on a definition that gives you the presumed rhetorical benefit of being able to knock down the straw man.

But I think this is rather silly. No matter what word is used, the concept is still there … waiting for you to recognize it!

If you give me terms or a phrase for describing the position that:

“God uses ‘Common Descent’, ‘Speciation’ and Mutations in order to produce the life forms He needs”,

I will be happy to use a (mutually agreeable) phrase of your construction in my future discussions with you.

But the only way we can move to that concession, you have to understand what the above bold phrase actually entails.

What are you thoughts on the proposal, @Ashwin_s?

P.S. I should point out that you are using the definition for DARWINIANISM when you insist on “randomness” and the absence of an intelligent designer. The Mission Statements of BioLogos makes it clear that the organization (and most of its supporters) do not adhere to a Darwinian form of Evolution!

(Ashwin S) #72

Hi Pevaquark,

All the above processes are minute parts of a grand system. And it should be a question whether the overall system requires an intelligence as cause or not.

Evolution is often presented/understood as a system that covers all parts of biology providing explanations to pretty much every biological phenomenon there is (including DNA transcription)… if you look at living systems and associated phenomenon, ultimately every cause and effect chain ends in an evolutionary explanation. If every cause and effect is explainable by a process not guided by any intelligence, it’s a claim far different from that of meteorology.

Edit: I just want to add that the “randomness” in the examples from physics cited by you are not really thought to be random. In this case, random is just a word for “unknown reasons”. I don’t think many physicists think anything is truly random.
Of course that’s another topic altogether.

(Ashwin S) #73

Can you point to the “theory of evolution” adhered to by Biologos … just point to any school textbook, or scientific desertation.And I mean theory, not a vague idea/statements which is not a scientifically recognised theory.

Pls understand. I get it that you have a meaning for evolution that is different from that held by most scientists.
However, the current accepted theory of evolution is what is called Neo-Darwinism. This creates a communication problem. When you say evolution, you mean common descent guided by God through natural means.
However that’s not what the vast majority of the world understand evolution to be. The reason for that are school books, scientific explanations of evolution etc.

So when i speak about evolution, I will speak in Darwinian terms. As of now, no other kind of evolution exists/is taught.

(George Brooks) #74


Wow… you are stubborn.

“God-Guided-Evolution” proponents have already accepted the need for an intelligence… and they even state, in public, that the intelligence is Yahweh. And this is something that many I.D. proponents are unwilling to do.

Ashwin, Can we move along to something that is actually in dispute?

Typo: In the second to last sentence, I intended the word “unwilling”, rather than “willing”. I have made the correction.

(Ashwin S) #75

I would prefer to go by the standard definition of evolution as opposed to that of biologos. Because the biologos one is in contradiction to the standard one…

Call me stubborn…

But sure, we can move on other topics… or just agree to disagree on this one. No problem with that.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #76

Not really sure what you are saying. How big of something do you need me to list for me to demonstrate that scientific publications, in any field on any topic ever do not include “guided by intelligence” as part of their explanation of some natural phenomena?

Well it is a broad explanatory network that makes sense of hundreds of thousands of observations all at the same time. But so what? The Big Bang theory is also a powerful idea that accounts for how our universe got to be the way that it is. Let me read on.

Now if I were you, I might ask myself… why is that the case? Why is it that it can easily be understood in an evolutionary/common descent framework? Unfortunately I see far too many then jump to ‘well it’s a massive conspiracy against x, y or z’ rather than the best scientific conclusion ‘because it’s true’ (not ‘True’ with a capital ‘T’ mind you).

No it’s not. Did you know that Hurricane models are built to describe a very complex process with a lot of different factors (some of which we do not yet know or cannot collect data on) but nobody actually includes a times ‘G’ for God’s involvement in messing with the weather? Perhaps this blog post, which I do hope you will take time to read, will highlight some of the challenges or nuances to this discussion!

Let’s just leave this one be for now. As a physicist, I thoroughly disagree with you though especially when we leave the ‘classical world’ and hop in to the quantum world.

(George Brooks) #77


So… give me YOUR definition for the position I support?

God uses natural law and miracles to make it rain. Sometimes one, or the other; sometimes both.


God uses evolutionary law, and miracles, to make Earth’s living things. Sometimes one, or the other; sometimes both.

So… if you refuse to give me your definition for the above sentence description (in bold), then I will have to use the definition that I know describes my position.

What say you?

(Ashwin S) #78

Let me try and explain my view more clearly.
Let’s take Newton’s theories on dynamics. I would not expect any mention of God in such a theory. Not needed at all. But when we go to a more foundational understanding… like say a theory of everything- I would expect it to deal with things like consciousness, information and ultimately a first cause (whether material or immaterial). And we see this actually happening in physics.
We see people like Stephen hawkins positing matter as the first cause and building explanatory frameworks around this philosophical understanding. others suggest information/consciousness as fundamental to the universe (and thus adopt a philosophy that views something immaterial such as information as foundational). For example, we have people theorising the universe is a simulation (implying a simulator) and still other theories implying a fundamental role to consciousness/information
(example Max Plank, Eugene Wigner).

So, yes, science can postulate or at least imply that an intelligence/consciousness can guide reality.

How life came to be and how it reached the diversity we see are fundamental questions similar to the question of the nature of reality. So I would expect it to deals with things like information and at least the seemingly designed nature of life.
So it will have to face the question of intelligence squarely, posing hypothesis for and against an intelligent cause (direct or indirect for life). And frankly, I think evolution does face this question and takes the materialistic philosophical side. Though people at Biologist would disagree. I would love to see a view that is not guided by materialist philosophy.

I don’t view it as a conspiracy, but a result of philosophical compulsions. I say this because, over the years, many things thought to be true have been proven false… and both facts have an evolutionary explanation… it’s a case of heads I win, tails you loose.
It’s not that everything CAN be explained by evolution. It’s that everything HAS TO BE explained by evolution. Hence everything usually is…

Interestingly enough I was thinking about quantum physics as a possible exception when I typed that. But it also more or less underlines my point. We can look at quantum phenomenon in two ways… one as influenced by consciousness… And the other by purely material causes (the many world’s idea).
I am perfectly fine with consciousness being a source of true randomness… leads to interesting ideas about freewill.

I will go through your blog about hurricanes.

(Ashwin S) #79

Creationism is the closest definition to what you described.
It’s quite close to what many YECs believe.
And it’s also similar to what Micheal Behe describes in his book “the edge of Evolution”… though God and miracles is not mentioned… if you are willing to see “Intelligent Designer” as equal to God, and miracle as the same as design… Then it could be called ID.

but creationism is the best bet. Perhaps…
Old earth creationist?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #80

Hmm? I don’t really know quite what to say here, but let’s agree to set early universe cosmology aside. Also, technically Stephen ‘Hawking’ but models of cosmogony (i.e. the origins of the universe) are certainly not philosophical, but highly mathematical and potentially verifiable someday:
Random paper on early universe cosmology (not philosophical at all)

Not really. We can build models of gene transfer, ERVs, and many things from biological systems as of now, test them, and reject any falsified models. The nature of reality is much more complicated and based on consciousness, of which nobody quite understands and we cannot build scientific models to test the very notion of reality. Very different topics.

That’s part of what science does. But we have figured out a lot of stuff! And those things that have been most rigorously tested and examined are worth holding on to, i.e. the theory of evolution.

Oh? I mean the theory of evolution has a lot of parts to it, including many different genetic processes, it’s very complex!

No. No. No. No. No. This is not how science is done. IF ANYONE has a better explanation, a better model AND this model actually makes predictions and is testable- if it outperform the theory of evolution-- NOBEL Prize time! That person goes down in history as one of the greatest scientists ever!!! Really I mean this. If someone comes up with an actual scientific explanation that fits the data better, IT WILL become the new paradigm in town. I hope that if anything, you can at least perhaps broaden your perspective on this point.

I don’t look at quantum phenomena in either way. But not matter.

It’s not my blog but I appreciate it.

I think all in all your perspective is very similar to many here. Perhaps the only distinction is what represented a more foundational understanding then. I would argue that a scientific theory is not even close to the same playing field as what is thought of as God’s action in the world from a classic Christian perspective and thus can/should never be in conflict with the classic Christian notion of the hand of God or God’s handiwork in creation.