Comp. Sci. / Eng. News Origin Of Life

Craig Venter: Life is robotic software. Well then, information isn’t material.

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From “Venter: Life Is Robotic Software” (Creation-Evolution Headlines, July 15, 2012)we learn,

What is life? It’s software that runs biological robots, says a leading geneticist.

Creation-Evolution Headlines responds,

Secular scientists are apparently viewing this as a victory for materialism, but it’s actually the opposite. Information is not material. This is clear from the fact that the same information can be conveyed by a blackboard, an email, skywriting or voice. There’s a growing realization that Information must be added to particles and forces as a fundamental entity needed to describe the universe.

Venter speaks freely these days about DNA software, genetic design, and digital life. His team even programmed text messages into their synthetic cell. To emphasize the informational nature of DNA as software, O’Connell pointed out that human-designed DNA software even has bugs:

But perhaps the most intriguing anecdote Venter shared was his description of how his team ‘watermarked’ their synthesised DNA with coded quotations from James Joyce, Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman, only to learn that they had included a mistake in the Feynman quote. Venter’s rather airy description of how they just went back in and fixed it drove home just how far we’ve come in being able to understand, and even manipulate, our own DNA molecules.

Life isn’t material, CEH says, because

the same information can be conveyed by a blackboard, an email, skywriting or voice. There’s a growing realization that Information must be added to particles and forces as a fundamental entity needed to describe the universe.

CEH also observes,

… noteworthy in Claire O’Connell’s story was that it never mentioned evolution. Darwin is disappearing stage left as Venter, Watson and a new generation of information engineers rise to the footlights, describing life as fundamentally information-rich software. …

Yes, well, we’ve all had to put in new backstage crew rules to keep Stage Left clear and safe for exiting Darwinists, while letting the show go on.

See also: Scientists are beginning to forget Darwin, whether they admit it or not.

4 Replies to “Craig Venter: Life is robotic software. Well then, information isn’t material.

  1. 1
    tragic mishap says:

    We should not be afraid of the software/computer metaphor. Everyone knows that software and computers are designed by intelligent beings. Venter and others are accomplishing exactly the opposite of what they want by pushing this message.

  2. 2
    JDH says:

    And what Venter et al. are missing, is that it isn’t “life” that we see the proof of the designer. It is consciousness. The proof of design does not go – “there is information needed for life”. This will not convince anyone ( ironically, because their infinite mind is able to conceive of an unrealistic, possibility of spontaneous generation of information ). The proof of design goes through the reality of consciousness.

    It starts by accepting two simple undeniable facts.

    1. Quantum mechanics dictates that all matter with finite amount of energy states has finite number of states.
    2. The mind, which thinks of abstract concepts such as ideas, numbers, functions ,untrue and purely imaginary situation and statements, can think of an uncountable number of objects. For example, I can imagine a light blue elephant like creature the size of an ant. Does not mean it is true, but it is just one of the uncountable number of things I can imagine.

    Now in the reality of the mind-body connection it may take energy to actually conceptualize something from the uncountable domain of the mind to the finite region of expressible brain states. That is why the brain consumes energy, But this does not take away from the fact that I possess an infinite domain of possible ideas.

    I can prove this infinite domain of ideas exists, because I can transport a message through it. I write on the blackboard, “Mr. Smith please tell Mr. Jones ( the blind man) to raise his right hand exactly one minute from now.” Now there is no available physical channel to communicate this to Mr. Jones. So his decision to raise his right hand one minute from now can not be a physically necessary event.

    It goes from the blackboard – into the infinite domain of the thought life of Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith takes the visual message and translates it to an new physical manifestation of sound. The sound enters the domain of Mr. Jones where he decodes it, decides how to keep track of one minute ( timer, watch, etc.) and in one minute translates the message into the physical realm of arm movement. This event CANNOT be dictated by physical law, and it is not random. It was the result of a message transmitted from the physical world of the blackboard, through the infinite domain of the thoughts of Mr. Smith and Jones. This proves there is more than the physical realm, because the message got through.

    THEN, once we are forced by purely rational logic to accept the existence of the non-physical world of consciousness, mind and particularly the ability to design – the idea that a designer programmed the software that runs life, is by Occam’s razor the only acceptable answer for life.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Venter (mistakenly) thinks that the DNA, part the hardware, is the software.

  4. 4
    Diogenes says:

    I got it now. Mathematics is not matter, therefore spooks exist.

    The fact that mathematical quantities, like numbers, are useful at describing the universe, does not mean that spooks, which cannot be mathematically described, help us describe the universe.

    You are attempting to transfer the authority that math has earned (it’s useful) to give authority to belief in spooks, which has earned no such authority (not useful.)

    We only use mathematical quantities (which information is, as measured by Shannon’s equations) to describe the universe because they help us to make testable predictions.

    But believing that “spooks manipulate matter” has not made testable predictions so far.

    Math is useful in science precisely because it helps us describe things. But you insist that the spooks, which you hypothesize made the human genome, must never, never be mathematically described; that would be heresy.

    You cannot get from “number 7 is useful and not made of matter” to “This episode of Sesame Street was sponsored by the Number 7.”

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