MathGrrl’s friends have been discussing her recent post( here), on measuring complex specified information, which garnered 324 comments and counting.*
Not being a mathie, I couldn’t follow most of the discussion here, but certain turns in the discussion reminded me of something I’d heard before:
If design is a part of nature, then the design is embedded in life as information. But many people are not used to thinking in terms of an immaterial quantity like information. As G.C. Williams writes: “Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes. You can’t measure so much gold in so many bytes. It doesn’t have redundancy, or fidelity, or any of the other descriptors we apply to information. This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”- quoted in By Design or by Chance?. P. 234.
The reason the materialist doesn’t see how information can’t just “appear” is that materialism, which undergirds everything else he believes, never took information into account. So he can treat it as magic, as something that “just happens.”
Meanwhile, perhaps junior ID theorists cannot formulate a single definition of complex specified information at present. But it really wouldn’t matter if they could. The materialist would just blink and say, “I’m sorry. This is so confusing.”
I’ve been through this with enough different issues to know that that would be the outcome, for sure.
So, for ID theorists, the goal is not convincing such people or reaching an impasse with them, but formulating definitions that actually lead to new discoveries or clearer understanding of current ones.
A similar thing happened in Isaac Newton’s day, when Newton’s equations for gravity were rejected because they involved action at a distance. And that wasn’t allowed. His “laws” were accepted anyway by working scientists and engineers because they enabled accurate calculations. There is no other way it could have happened.
* And counting: Our practice is to close comments after thirty days, so there’s still time to make a contribution.
Next week, I hope to present an interview with Jonathan Wells on junk DNA.