Friday, February 4, 2011

Big Molecules Prove the Existence of God

When Christians talk about the amount of information in a cell always keep this in mind. Even they don't know what they are saying.

I went to see Frank Turek Wednesday night at the University of Michigan. He gave his talk "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist." I'd seen this same talk a couple of years back. DagoodS joined me and here are his thoughts on that night.

All right, let me just pause right here to say I just re-read DagoodS's post myself. Holy crap, it precisely described the night I just experienced. I can only cover 3 points, Dawkins Dawkins Dawkins, same jokes, same pauses. Even the Q&A was inane and he handled it well. The only difference is that the questioners were almost all atheists. That was very hilarious reading.

But here's the point I want to focus on. I was the first person able to ask a question and I noted that despite the fact that Frank did have a couple of slides that read "This is not a God of the gaps argument" it was my position that this is precisely what every argument he made for the existence of God amounted to. As to the Big Bang having a Big Banger, I pointed out how prior to the Planck time we're just flying blind, and while my answer is simply "I'm flying blind" your answer is "I'm flying blind, therefore God." (You'd think I arrived having just read DagoodS's post, but that's not true.) I also talked about how it's difficult to explain why we have a sense of morality from a natural perspective. I say I may not know how it came about, so I'm ignorant. Your answer is I don't know how it came about, therefore God.

And here was another argument Frank made that I thought was God of the gaps. He says that the amount of information in a DNA molecule is like an entire encyclopedia volume. What are the chances of a bomb going off in a printing press and creating an encyclopedia? That's how reasonable it is to say that DNA came about naturally.

Once again, this is a total misunderstanding of what information is.

Here's the deal. The amount of information an object contains is equivalent to the number of bits of computer code required to describe the object.

So if you have a really big molecule, like a phosphate molecule, it will contain a lot of information. The bigger and more random the molecule is, the more information it will have.

So I explained this to Frank. I said that his claim amounted to the following. We have a really big molecule here. This must mean that God exists. How is this not God of the gaps? You don't know how a large molecule could come about? Well, chemistry may be complicated but does this mean we should run to God? This makes no sense.

Frank's reply was that the DNA molecule is specific and ordered, like an encyclopedia. I explained that "information" as understood by computer scientists and as he was using it related to the encylopedia's, actually increases if the object is more random. A book with random letters contains more information than a book with English words if they contain the same number of letters.

So with that Frank switched gears and asked me to explain how the first life came about and how evolution can't explain it. And away we went on that topic. It was enjoyable. Then while the remainder of people lined up to ask questions a guy named "Pastor Dave" gave me a tract and encouraged me to repent of my sins. He emphasized that Satan had deceived me with doubts and that I just needed to have faith. He also told me how Jesus had turned his life around and given him happiness. I encouraged him to remain a Christian since I wouldn't want to see him return to his former unhappy and criminal lifestyle.

Then Frank and I talked for a bit and once again it was very pleasant. Before I had asked my question in front of everyone (a packed, large auditorium) he called me out because he recognized me from when I had been there two years before. He knew my name, where I'd lived before, how we had lunch in Illinois in 1999 along with a group of students. Very impressive. Definitely a sharp guy and a lot of fun.


Paul said...

A while back I watched, on youtube I think, a video of a debate between Dr. Turek and Christopher Hitchens. I thought Dr. Tureks performance was decent in the intro and at the end. In between my recollection is that Christopher took him off his game.

What kind of stood out for me was the impression I got that Dr. Turek is (or wants to be) a light version of Dr. William Lane Craig. Maybe it is because, in my experience, in the apologist essentially use the same arguments.

On a side note - I don't remember the name of the site and I am not too inclined to look it up again but - a while back I visited a website run by Dr. Turek. That was some frightening stuff (in the absurdity sense).

On this
I also talked about how it's difficult to explain why we have a sense of morality from a natural perspective. I say I may not know how it came about, so I'm ignorant. Your answer is I don't know how it came about, therefore God.

Maybe it can be more eloquently stated but I don't see that it is that hard to explain. The answer would be something along the lines of it is *probably* an evolutionary trait that enhanced survivability of the species. A follow up question could be - why should we trust our sense of morality. To which the answer is - we shouldn't. Not on its own anyway.


Paul said...

Jon -

thought you might like following link. It is an explanation of good/morality from the blogger's perspective.