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Johnny Surrey
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Hi there,

 

I am an atheist and have a creationist colleague with whom I like to debate various aspects of religious belief. On the science side, I have put it to him that there is no irrefutable scientific proof for gods. He has come back with this:

 

 "Now lets try again Johnny, warning may contain undisputable science!!! BEWARE


There are 10 laws in Nature about information;

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.

5 - There can be no information without a code.

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender. 

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems."

 

I take 'may contain science' as 'may not' and i'm thinking he's misunderstanding the meaning of 'information' and 'code' and that this cannot be correct. I am no scientist so i'm asking if anyone can point me to a link where I can understand where this is coming from and perhaps a link to some evidence that this is not the case which I can quote from and help me construct a counter argument.

 

Many thanks

 

JS

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

Isaac Asimov


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Where did this come from?

 

 

                 sorry for the double post.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

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Where did this come from?

 

 

                    Funny thing about creationists when they realize their rational doesn't hold up to scrutiny,  they reinvent their rational.

 

                   I never heard of those 10 laws before and I have debated a creationist on TV. (Contemporary Issues Ep45). It sounds more like guidlines for Journalisim students.  It has nothing to do with biology.    Read the ten laws again and think in terms of journalists gathering facts or secret agents spying.

 

 

                   btw  welcome to the forums, I'm in Canada  near Toronto.

 

 

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

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Johnny Surrey wrote:Hi

Johnny Surrey wrote:

Hi there,

 

I am an atheist and have a creationist colleague with whom I like to debate various aspects of religious belief. On the science side, I have put it to him that there is no irrefutable scientific proof for gods. He has come back with this:

 

 "Now lets try again Johnny, warning may contain undisputable science!!! BEWARE


There are 10 laws in Nature about information;

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.

5 - There can be no information without a code.

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender. 

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems."

 

I take 'may contain science' as 'may not' and i'm thinking he's misunderstanding the meaning of 'information' and 'code' and that this cannot be correct. I am no scientist so i'm asking if anyone can point me to a link where I can understand where this is coming from and perhaps a link to some evidence that this is not the case which I can quote from and help me construct a counter argument.

 

Many thanks

 

JS

Even if this "wowed" me which it does not, try asking this person if they would buy this list if it were a Muslim using it to argue for Allah, or if they would buy this list if it were a Jew arguing for Yahweh.

The other thing they are doing is which is bullshit is treating the word "information" differently than what science does.

"Information" in science is the OBSERVATION of the world around us and collecting data. Dark matter and the center of black holes cannot be materially "observed", but they DO exist because they affect the material we do detect around them. Just like when you stare down your bathtub drain, you know the drain exists, even though you cannot see down the pipe, you know because the water swirls around it as it goes down. Just like gravity has no material but this idiot arguing this would not jump off a tall building.

This is simply another bullshit tactic of retrofitting science to fit a square peg into a round hole. It is as stupid as "You cant see air, but you know it exists'. We know it exists because we breath, and we know it exists because we can see wind blow branches of trees around. But we also know what our atmosphere is made of of all the gasses that make it up on the atomic level.

WE cannot see a quark but we can see the affects of them on the atoms they are part of when we split them.

This is just a delsuional moron harping on an old dead argument, and believe me, this is nothing new to any of us, even if the skunk has a new tux. The tactic is the same, try to make science prop up your magical friend. But why would this default to their pet deity as apposed to another person's pet deity?

How about humans make up gods and will do anything to justify their myth?

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Many thanks guys,

 

JS


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Johnny Surrey wrote:1 -

Johnny Surrey wrote:

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.

What does he mean by non-material? Maybe energy? but energy is just matter in a different form - that's what E=mc^2 proves.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.

Ah, so information is non-material. ok. So No.1 is unnecessary.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.

yup, that's true, whether that's braincells or transistors. Fine with this.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.

This doesn't really make sense. I googled it and got something called, "The first law of information" That seems to mostly reside on Creationist websites. What is information? It's a way to describe something. What has that got to do with statistical processes? No idea.

Quote:

5 - There can be no information without a code.

What does he mean by a code? I guess a means of storage - so a computer would store info in binary, a brain would store it in , well however neurons store info. Let's therefore assume he's referring to a 'code as a way of storing info on material.

 

Quote:

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.

so... 'ways of storing information result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient'? What have sender and recipient got to do with storing information? I'm beginning to smell bullshit.

Quote:
 

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.

Give that we are already floating on bullshit in the 6-7 link, let's just try and work out what this guy is trying to get at here... so creation and understanding of symbols requires intelligence... well sure, if the symbols are created by something intelligent, and convey a message, then they must have been created by something intelligent, and something intelligent would make sense of them. A rock isn't going to develop algebra, we can agree with this.

Quote:

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender. 

Ahh, sweet, fragrant bullshit. I'm assuming he means 'an intelligent, purposeful sender'. This is absolute nonsense. I can separate the constituent colours of a candlelight, with a spectrometer, and from those colours I can work out what elements are in the candle. The candle is sending information about its make-up, but the candle isn't sentient. A pulsar is a star that spins rapidly and sends out a pulse of information (like a lighthouse) which enables us to be able to work out interesting things like gravitational radiation. In fact, when the first pulsars were discovered, the timing of the pulses was thought to be a signal from an extra-solar intelligence.. but no, it's just a star, and stars are not sentient. so this statement is pure manure.

Quote:

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.

Bold statement given my examples above.. talk to him about Pulsars, then ask him to prove this statement. more manure.

Quote:

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems.

Again, what's non-material? all the examples he's given are material... 

 

So in conclusion, this is weak nonsense, mixing in a few truths but construing waaaaay more than the sum of its parts. 

 

..and I'm still not sure what the point of all the parts of his list is.. how does this prove a god?! Sounds like he's trying to confuse you with stuff that doesn't actually make any valid conclusion.

 

I don't think you'll have much trouble demolishing this dude's beliefs if this is all he can come up with. However, whether he'll be able to understand your demolition is another matter.

 

Good luck.


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Johnny Surrey wrote:1 -

Johnny Surrey wrote:

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.

There is no such thing as non material.  E=mc2.  Energy and matter are the same thing.  What is non-material?  He needs to define that, this isn't science it is pseudo bs.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.

Information is a subjective interpretation of symbols that requires an observer.  It is not a property of anything.  I'm guessing your friend is trying to allude to the whole universe as a information, digital physics mumbo jumob.  That is a fallacy of equivocation on the term "information".  This term has many meanings, and just as "non-material" unless he defines it, it's just baby talk.... gaga googoo, I said stuff. 

Johnny Surrey wrote:

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything... EVERYTHING requires a material medium, this is silly and redundant. 

Johnny Surrey wrote:

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.

? this is just stupid.  Statistics show that 30% of males prefer wine over beer.  That's information.  I think he's referring to statistical mechanics... attempting to allude to quantum mechanics... I have no idea what he wants to say here, but taken at face value, that statement is just wrong.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

5 - There can be no information without a code.

More ambiguity, what is a code?  A random arrangement of particles is information.  Code is likely meant as pattern.  Your friend needs to be clearer on his terms.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.

What? no... that's just incorrect.  Your friend is equivocating the term information and code to shit and back.  He needs to define those terms.  A code can be transmitted without any prior communication between sender and recipient.  It doesn't need a subjective sender and recipient.  Water can create a "code" with a wave pattern on the shore.  An observer can read the "information" of this "code" without having "agreed" with the water to begin with.  I have no clue what he's getting at here.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.

wtf? I don't even know how to respond to this because it's from the left field.  Symbols are subjective... ok whatever, I'll give him this... They do NOT require intelligence.  A leaf is a symbol irrelative of intelligence.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender. 

I'll just say, NO, this is stupid.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.

incorrect.  Any molecule is a pattern of information that requires no intelligence.

Johnny Surrey wrote:

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems."

 

there is no such thing as non-material.  This is the biggest disjointed argument I've read in a while.  He needs to define his terms.  As soon as he does that, the whole thing falls apart.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Thanks

Many thanks for your synopsis guys. Coming from a creationist, I suspected it to be bullshit but I've never seen these set of 'laws' before and wanted a second opinion in case it actually meant something that i'd not heard of

 

JS

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

Isaac Asimov


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Hi Johnny

 

 

Others have covered all this pretty well but I've run into this sort of argument before. It tries to define knowledge or information as 'immaterial' in order to prove the immaterial/spirit world exists in real time somewhere in the human brain prior to hitting neuronal RAM and can be asserted to be powered or driven by some immaterial mind with force existing on the dark side of the Hubble Constant. Any attempt to define the term 'immaterial' cannot be objective and inevitably winds up as a list of words connected only by their mutual incomprehensibility - immaterial, disembodied, spiritual, incorporeal, insubstantial. That last describing your chum's argument rather well, I should think. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 very interested to hear

 very interested to hear about how you got on with your discussion on this with your creationist colleague...  Do fill us in on his response! 


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

 

Others have covered all this pretty well but I've run into this sort of argument before. It tries to define knowledge or information as 'immaterial' in order to prove the immaterial/spirit world exists in real time somewhere in the human brain prior to hitting neuronal RAM and can be asserted to be powered or driven by some immaterial mind with force existing on the dark side of the Hubble Constant. Any attempt to define the term 'immaterial' cannot be objective and inevitably winds up as a list of words connected only by their mutual incomprehensibility - immaterial, disembodied, spiritual, incorporeal, insubstantial. That last describing your chum's argument rather well, I should think. 

 

 

Smiling

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GodsUseForAMosquito

GodsUseForAMosquito wrote:

 very interested to hear about how you got on with your discussion on this with your creationist colleague...  Do fill us in on his response! 

 

I will do that

 

JS

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

Isaac Asimov


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My response and the reply

Hi there,

 

I responded to the '10 Laws of nature' put to me, thus: 

Ok, I've had time to consider this now:


Now lets try again Johnny, warning may contain undisputable science!!! BEWARE


There are 10 laws in Nature about information;

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.

5 - There can be no information without a code.

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender. 

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems.”


I note you use the word 'may'. Let's concentrate on this. I'm no scientist but this is an intelligent design argument for DNA. I have never come across this before and it begs a lot of questions for clarification. Can you let me know:


1) Who formulated these laws, any references ?

2) Do they have a formal title, the only references I can find to anything like this are on Creationist websites, which immediately arouses suspicion of their veracity.

3) Have they been peer reviewed  and universally accepted throughout the scientific community ?


Also:


"1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material."


Can you define and give examples of what you mean by 'non-material' ?


"2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter."


Surely information is a subjective interpretation of symbols that requires an observer and is not the property of anything ?


"3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission."


I do not dispute this but surely everything requires a material medium ?


"4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes."


It has been statistically demonstrated that people with higher intelligence are less likely to believe that gods exist, this is information from a statistical process.


"5 - There can be no information without a code."


By 'code' do you mean a way of storing info on material ? Do you mean a pattern, a blueprint ? A random arrangement of particles is information.


"6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient."


 Where does 'intentional choice and agreement between the sender and recipient' come into this ? Water can create a 'code' with a wave pattern on the shore. An observer can read the 'information' of this code without having 'agreed' with the water to begin with. Someone shouts and creates a 'code' made of sound. Someone else can hear this 'information' without there having been 'choice and agreement between sender and recipient'. What have a sender and recipient got to do with storing information ?


"7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence."


Ok but the meaning for and from is subjective. A symbol itself does not require intelligence, a leaf is a symbol, irrelative of intelligence.


"8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender."


This is wrong. One can separate the colours of a candlelight with a spectrometer and, from those, work out the elements in the candle. The candle is sending information about it's make up but it's not sentient. A pulsar is a star that spins rapidly and sends out pulses of light from which give information to the observer but it is not sentient .The red shift in the light from a star with a large planet orbiting around it contains a lot of information that scientists use to calculate the size of the planet, its orbit, etc. but it's not sentient.


"9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source."


This is wrong. See examples above in response to point number 8. I'd also add that any molecule is a pattern of information that requires no intelligence.


"10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems."


Again, define what you mean by 'non-material'.


If this is an argument for intelligent design, it doesn't seem to work.

 

 

And here is the reply that I have just received:

 

 

1) Who formulated these laws, any references ?

2) Do they have a formal title, the only references I can find to anything like this are on Creationist websites, which immediately arouses suspicion of their veracity.

3) Have they been peer reviewed and universally accepted throughout the scientific community ?”


 

Laws of the universe; they are observable, testable, and repeatable laws that govern the universe. You know what a law is in science, who formulated these laws? Well you’re an atheist so we’ll just have to use ‘science of the gaps’ or say that the laws simply exist and that’s that. However admitting the latter means that genetic information derives only from intelligence not from matter. Hopefully this time you will actually reply to this point…


 

There are 10 laws in Nature about information;

1 - Anything material, such as physical/chemical processes, cannot create something non-material.


 

Can you define and give examples of what you mean by 'non-material' ?”


 

I can define certainly and give some examples, “Johnny; how are you?”. The sound waves are material but the information being transmitted is non material. It does not consist of matter. Non material basically means something that doesn’t consist of matter.


 

2 - Information is a non-material fundamental entity and not a property of matter.


 

Surely information is a subjective interpretation of symbols that requires an observer and is not the property of anything ?”


 

No, information can be anything from something you don’t understand to something you do. Stick some mandarin Chinese and DNA code in front of me and it makes no sense to me but its still clearly information.


 

3 - Information requires a material medium for storage and transmission.


 

I do not dispute this but surely everything requires a material medium ?”


 

Not everything might require a material medium, however for the sake of discussion I’ll just go along with the statement that everything requites a material medium.


 

4 - Information cannot originate in statistical processes.


 

It has been statistically demonstrated that people with higher intelligence are less likely to believe that gods exist, this is information from a statistical process.”


 

That is an interpretation of information; the information doesn’t speak for itself. Anyway your statement is wholly untrue.


 

5 - There can be no information without a code.


 

By 'code' do you mean a way of storing info on material ? Do you mean a pattern, a blueprint ? A random arrangement of particles is information.”


 

By code I mean a blueprint of information, something that requires a sender and a receiver.


 

6 - All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.


 

Where does 'intentional choice and agreement between the sender and recipient' come into this ? Water can create a 'code' with a wave pattern on the shore. An observer can read the 'information' of this code without having 'agreed' with the water to begin with. Someone shouts and creates a 'code' made of sound. Someone else can hear this 'information' without there having been 'choice and agreement between sender and recipient'. What have a sender and recipient got to do with storing information ?”


 

Aghhh the old wave on the shore; that’s a pattern yes but it means nothing to either the sand of the wave does it? Its not information its just a pattern. Information is not information if there is not both and understanding sender and recipient. I’d like to make that clear.


 

7 - The determination of meaning for and from a set of symbols is a mental process that requites intelligence.


 

Ok but the meaning for and from is subjective. A symbol itself does not require intelligence, a leaf is a symbol, irrelative of intelligence.”


 

I might be able to agree with your statement on this.


 

8 - There can be no new information without intelligence, purposeful sender.


 

This is wrong. One can separate the colours of a candlelight with a spectrometer and, from those, work out the elements in the candle. The candle is sending information about it's make up but it's not sentient. A pulsar is a star that spins rapidly and sends out pulses of light from which give information to the observer but it is not sentient .The red shift in the light from a star with a large planet orbiting around it contains a lot of information that scientists use to calculate the size of the planet, its orbit, etc. but it's not sentient.”


 

Remember I am talking about DNA here, talking about laws of nature.


 

9 - Any given chain of information can be traced back to an intelligent source.


 

This is wrong. See examples above in response to point number 8. I'd also add that any molecule is a pattern of information that requires no intelligence.”


 

How is a molecule a pattern of information you would have to elaborate?


 

10- Information comprises the non-material foundation for all: technological systems, works of art, biological systems.


 

Again, define what you mean by 'non-material'.”


 

Done this already above.


 

I can see your making little progress with trying to explain how the coded information held within the DNA molecule could come about if atheism is true. You could just see where science leads, but thanks to the laws of nature we can be sure that DNA is not non designed.


 

1) DNA is information

2) DNA is held within matter

3) Information does not derive from nature

4) A sender and recipient are needed for DNA to work.


 

You would need to reply to my still standing statement that DNA could not arise from nature; so far you have failed. Which is understandable as no atheist who understands DNA properly has said anything on the topic of genetic information.

 

 

 

 

Any thoughts on this ? As I have stated, I am no scientist but this appears to be evasive, ambiguous contradictory pseudo-scientific phsychobabble, partly, at least, based on incorrect assumptions.

JS

 

 

 

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

Isaac Asimov


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I'll take a stab

It looks like he is basing his arguments on a book by Werner Gitt.  See for a discussion of Gitt's theories, http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/gitt.html

I'm going to skip to the end.  It would be possible to nitpick this to death, but let's cut to the chase.

 

Quote:

1) DNA is information

 

Depends on your definition of information.  DNA is actually the original from which copies are made.  And the copies are not of the entire DNA molecule - except in cell replication - but only a subset that is required to make a particular protein or protein-like molecule.  

Let's stick with the original definition of information from Claude Shannon http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/shannon.html

"An information source is a system that outputs from a fixed set of M symbols {a1 .. aM} in a sequence at some rate"

Doesn't seem very helpful, does it?  But already statement 1) is incorrect because strictly speaking, DNA does not output information.  It is like the data stored on disk - which will sit there forever without providing information to anyone unless someone queries the data.  At which time, it isn't the data stored on the disk that outputs itself, it is the database engine / application that outputs the data.  tRNA (transfer RNA) would be closer to what is defined as an information source.

 

Quote:

2) DNA is held within matter

 

Well, living and proto-living matter (viruses and prions, e.g.).  So?

 

Quote:

3) Information does not derive from nature

 

Where the hell else would it come from?  Data is interpreted to become information.  The pattern waves make on a shore line can tell a hydrologist or expert observer how high, how fast, and other information about the water.  If you are restricting yourself to computer data (information theory was first concerned with computers) - it is natural as well.  Voltage is natural, electricity is natural, people who type data in are natural.  How many widgets we have on the shelf and how many are ordered is natural - it sure isn't unnatural or supernatural. 

Maybe this from the website on Shannon will clarify - 

"When scientists measure cosmic background radiation to study it, it is information. Interference in a communication system from cosmic background radiation is noise. Terrain elevation data can be considered random. If you record it to make a topographic map, it is information. If you want to measure the diameter of a planet, it is noise. This concept, that one person's information is another person's noise and vice-versa, is commonly misunderstood in lay discussions about Information Theory. To reiterate, it is the interest of the observer that turns a stochastic process into an information source."

(If you read through the page, the author discusses "stochastic" process - briefly, it is a process with known outcomes but each iteration is random.  Like flipping a coin - you know it will be heads or tails, but you don't know which way it will land this time.)

 

Quote:

4) A sender and recipient are needed for DNA to work.

 

Protein synthesis and cell division are triggered by transcription factors which activate what are called promoters (a subsection of DNA).  I guess you could stretch it and call that a "sender".  What are the recipients?  Ribosomes where the tRNA provides a pattern for the proteins that are put together?  The cells in your body that require the proteins to function properly?  Not one instant of the process requires an interested observer - even the lowliest bacteria manages to put proteins together and live their bacterial lives.

 

Quote:

You would need to reply to my still standing statement that DNA could not arise from nature; so far you have failed. Which is understandable as no atheist who understands DNA properly has said anything on the topic of genetic information.

 

I assume he is going here - http://www.evolutionofdna.com/Evolution-Of-DNA.html

This is a very detailed description of how DNA could have evolved - from nature.  Don't expect this guy to read it or even look at it.  You might enjoy it.  (Yes, enjoy - try it, you might like it.)

Also, genetic information.  According to CJ's theory, there isn't any.  There is no interested observer between DNA, gene (a section of DNA that codes for a polypeptide (a short piece of protein)), body cells, metabolism or growth.  An organism is split off/conceived/hatched/born and the entire process takes off automatically.  And most genes do not code for a specific trait.  Single gene traits are rare, most traits are a combination of genes.  So a small change in one section of DNA may or may not have an impact on phenotype.  It all depends on the interdependency of the trait and the environment the organism is raised in.  It was never "nature or nurture" but rather "nature AND nurture"  that determine how our physical bodies develop.

 

Johnny Surrey wrote:

Any thoughts on this ? As I have stated, I am no scientist but this appears to be evasive, ambiguous contradictory pseudo-scientific phsychobabble, partly, at least, based on incorrect assumptions.

JS

 

At least.  The answers to his questions are not simple.  And I am interested in the subject but not a professional.  I'm admittedly an amateur.  Use some of his tactics - memorize something you feel refutes his entire idea - the websites I quoted might be very helpful.  The entire argument is based on not understanding the original theory but taking that misunderstanding and blowing it up to a circular, unsupported mishmash.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Johnny Surrey
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cj wrote:It looks like he is

cj wrote:

It looks like he is basing his arguments on a book by Werner Gitt.  See for a discussion of Gitt's theories, http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/gitt.html

I'm going to skip to the end.  It would be possible to nitpick this to death, but let's cut to the chase.

 

Quote:

1) DNA is information

 

Depends on your definition of information.  DNA is actually the original from which copies are made.  And the copies are not of the entire DNA molecule - except in cell replication - but only a subset that is required to make a particular protein or protein-like molecule.  

Let's stick with the original definition of information from Claude Shannon http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/shannon.html

"An information source is a system that outputs from a fixed set of M symbols {a1 .. aM} in a sequence at some rate"

Doesn't seem very helpful, does it?  But already statement 1) is incorrect because strictly speaking, DNA does not output information.  It is like the data stored on disk - which will sit there forever without providing information to anyone unless someone queries the data.  At which time, it isn't the data stored on the disk that outputs itself, it is the database engine / application that outputs the data.  tRNA (transfer RNA) would be closer to what is defined as an information source.

 

Quote:

2) DNA is held within matter

 

Well, living and proto-living matter (viruses and prions, e.g.).  So?

 

Quote:

3) Information does not derive from nature

 

Where the hell else would it come from?  Data is interpreted to become information.  The pattern waves make on a shore line can tell a hydrologist or expert observer how high, how fast, and other information about the water.  If you are restricting yourself to computer data (information theory was first concerned with computers) - it is natural as well.  Voltage is natural, electricity is natural, people who type data in are natural.  How many widgets we have on the shelf and how many are ordered is natural - it sure isn't unnatural or supernatural. 

Maybe this from the website on Shannon will clarify - 

"When scientists measure cosmic background radiation to study it, it is information. Interference in a communication system from cosmic background radiation is noise. Terrain elevation data can be considered random. If you record it to make a topographic map, it is information. If you want to measure the diameter of a planet, it is noise. This concept, that one person's information is another person's noise and vice-versa, is commonly misunderstood in lay discussions about Information Theory. To reiterate, it is the interest of the observer that turns a stochastic process into an information source."

(If you read through the page, the author discusses "stochastic" process - briefly, it is a process with known outcomes but each iteration is random.  Like flipping a coin - you know it will be heads or tails, but you don't know which way it will land this time.)

 

Quote:

4) A sender and recipient are needed for DNA to work.

 

Protein synthesis and cell division are triggered by transcription factors which activate what are called promoters (a subsection of DNA).  I guess you could stretch it and call that a "sender".  What are the recipients?  Ribosomes where the tRNA provides a pattern for the proteins that are put together?  The cells in your body that require the proteins to function properly?  Not one instant of the process requires an interested observer - even the lowliest bacteria manages to put proteins together and live their bacterial lives.

 

Quote:

You would need to reply to my still standing statement that DNA could not arise from nature; so far you have failed. Which is understandable as no atheist who understands DNA properly has said anything on the topic of genetic information.

 

I assume he is going here - http://www.evolutionofdna.com/Evolution-Of-DNA.html

This is a very detailed description of how DNA could have evolved - from nature.  Don't expect this guy to read it or even look at it.  You might enjoy it.  (Yes, enjoy - try it, you might like it.)

Also, genetic information.  According to CJ's theory, there isn't any.  There is no interested observer between DNA, gene (a section of DNA that codes for a polypeptide (a short piece of protein)), body cells, metabolism or growth.  An organism is split off/conceived/hatched/born and the entire process takes off automatically.  And most genes do not code for a specific trait.  Single gene traits are rare, most traits are a combination of genes.  So a small change in one section of DNA may or may not have an impact on phenotype.  It all depends on the interdependency of the trait and the environment the organism is raised in.  It was never "nature or nurture" but rather "nature AND nurture"  that determine how our physical bodies develop.

 

Johnny Surrey wrote:

Any thoughts on this ? As I have stated, I am no scientist but this appears to be evasive, ambiguous contradictory pseudo-scientific phsychobabble, partly, at least, based on incorrect assumptions.

JS

 

At least.  The answers to his questions are not simple.  And I am interested in the subject but not a professional.  I'm admittedly an amateur.  Use some of his tactics - memorize something you feel refutes his entire idea - the websites I quoted might be very helpful.  The entire argument is based on not understanding the original theory but taking that misunderstanding and blowing it up to a circular, unsupported mishmash.

 

 

Many thanks CJ, this is just what I needed,

 

now I know where and from whom this is originating (unsurprisingly, a Young Earth Creationist), I've been able to learn more about these so-called 'Laws' (they are not Laws). Other info here:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Information_theory

And here:

http://www.ccrnp.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/paper/ev/gitt/

I will take your advice on tactics. I'm sure he was relying on myself not understanding these 'Laws' (I'm pretty sure he doesn't), and so give up. However experience teaches us that very little actual science can be used by creationists, as it always points away from creationism, so I was pretty sure this could be no startling proof of intelligent design 

JS

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.

Isaac Asimov


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CJ covered the scientific

CJ covered the scientific aspect quite nicely, as always.  Here's my input.

Quote:

Can you define and give examples of what you mean by 'non-material' ?”
 

I can define certainly and give some examples, “Johnny; how are you?”. The sound waves are material but the information being transmitted is non material. It does not consist of matter. Non material basically means something that doesn’t consist of matter.

Well, everything consists of matter, I'm still waiting for an example.  "Johnny, how are you?" is a sentence that if formulated on your someone's brain in an electro-chemical environment.  It then uses electric impulses to trigger certain muscles in our voice box, which in turn distorts air particles in such a way to create sound.  Sound which is picked up by someone else's ear drum, transmitted electrically to the brain, which in turn processes this in an electro-chemical medium.  I'm not sure what part of this is "non-material", or "non-physical".  I'm not sure if this individual understands basic physics, I would love to find something non-material, I could then use it to calculate a particle's position and velocity at the same time and overthrow quantum mechanics, get my ass a Nobel prize and live the sweet life.  

Quote:

Surely information is a subjective interpretation of symbols that requires an observer and is not the property of anything ?”


 

No, information can be anything from something you don’t understand to something you do. Stick some mandarin Chinese and DNA code in front of me and it makes no sense to me but its still clearly information.

Information is not an inherent property.  Green is a property of an object that reflects light in a certain wave length.  Information is an abstract interpretation, it is not something that exists outside an observer.  a leaf will reflect the colour green regardless if someone is there to interpret it.  11235813 means nothing at all unless someone is there to interpret it as a Fibonacci sequence.  

Also, Chinese and DNA would be information in the sense that you understand the chinese hieroglyphs to be that, and the DNA to be DNA, you don't need to have a complete comprehension of something in order for it to be information.  The information is that it is information of some sort, to be understood in detail by further study. 

Something you don't UNDERSTAND as information, is not information, it is seemingly a random pattern.

Quote:

I do not dispute this but surely everything requires a material medium ?”


 

Not everything might require a material medium, however for the sake of discussion I’ll just go along with the statement that everything requites a material medium.

Like what? this would be so much simpler with one single example.  
Quote:

It has been statistically demonstrated that people with higher intelligence are less likely to believe that gods exist, this is information from a statistical process.”


 

That is an interpretation of information; the information doesn’t speak for itself. Anyway your statement is wholly untrue.

lol, all information is interpretative, stuff that has yet to be interpreted is not information wtf? this is funny.

can you give me an example of information that you have not yet interpreted? and point out some married bachelors? 

Quote:

By 'code' do you mean a way of storing info on material ? Do you mean a pattern, a blueprint ? A random arrangement of particles is information.”

By code I mean a blueprint of information, something that requires a sender and a receiver.

Information is not the same thing as code, a theist would like it to be, code is information that has been "encoded" for the purpose of "decoding".  If you define information as code, and then go on to deduce that information must have an "encoder" then you are begging the question and creating a false tautology.  

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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cj wrote:It looks like he is

cj wrote:

It looks like he is basing his arguments on a book by Werner Gitt.  See for a discussion of Gitt's theories, http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/gitt.html

I'm going to skip to the end.  It would be possible to nitpick this to death, but let's cut to the chase.

While CJ is far too classy (I don't mean this sarcastically) to nitpick, I have no such reservations Smiling  Most theistic arguments are based on nitpicking, I simply fight fire with fire.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Ktulu wrote:cj wrote:It

Ktulu wrote:

cj wrote:

It looks like he is basing his arguments on a book by Werner Gitt.  See for a discussion of Gitt's theories, http://talkorigins.org/faqs/information/gitt.html

I'm going to skip to the end.  It would be possible to nitpick this to death, but let's cut to the chase.

While CJ is far too classy (I don't mean this sarcastically) to nitpick, I have no such reservations Smiling  Most theistic arguments are based on nitpicking, I simply fight fire with fire.

 

No, no, not classy.  Bored.  Bored.  Bored.  I have no patience for nitpicking.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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I have a real problem with

I have a real problem with the language used. I have been in programming for decades and this is NOT the language of biology but computers. Computers are entirely mechanical and no way do they relate to how biological units grow and procreate, die, etc. If they did I certainly would understand biology way better than I do. It is a cheap trick. Really code? Please ask him to provide the assembly code for DNA. I am sure scientist would love to get their hands on that. A simple review and reprogramming, qa, and prod install would do it....not. Evolution totally misunderstood.

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Bored ?

cj wrote:

No, no, not classy.  Bored.  Bored.  Bored.  I have no patience for nitpicking.

 

 How can anyone be bored on the board ?
 


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danatemporary wrote:cj

danatemporary wrote:

cj wrote:

No, no, not classy.  Bored.  Bored.  Bored.  I have no patience for nitpicking.

 

 How can anyone be bored on the board ?
 

 

Sigh.........

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.