In my last post I noted that Darwinists can be proud fundamentalists too. And then a commenter who goes by “Evolve” kindly provided an example in the combox to this post. Evolve writes:
[All] of life’s processes can be reduced to chemistry. DNA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature. It is not a software program. . . . To deny the weight of our observations and evidence, and invoke imaginary designers requires quite a leap of faith.
But who is the real leaper here?
One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.
Hubert Yockey, “A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977).
My dictionary defines “fideism” as the “reliance on faith rather than reason in pursuit of religious truth.” Evolve’s religion is Darwinism, and not just any Darwinism, but a stridently fundamentalist variety. Information cannot be reduced to chemistry. To suggest otherwise, as Yockey makes clear, takes a tremendous leap of faith. Evolve is happy to make that leap, because his religion demands it. It might come as a surprise to Evolve, but he is a fideist. He has elevated his religious faith over reason.
Irony alert: Evolve’s little jab at ID proponents regarding leaps of faith is truly ironic, coming as it does from an irrational religious fundamentalist whose fideism would make a medieval churchman blush.
More quotations on information:
Generation after generation, through countless cell divisions, the genetic heritage of living things is scrupulously preserved in DNA . . . All of life depends on the accurate transmission of information.” Miroslav Radman and Robert Wagner, “The High Fidelity of DNA Duplication
Scientific American 259 (August 1988): 42, 40-46.
[The information in a DNA cell] if written out would fill a thousand 600-page books.
Rick Gore, “The Awesome Worlds Within a Cell,” National Geographic (September 1976): 360, 354-95
Information theory can be applied to any situation involving messages. It follows therefore that the language of life, the genetic code written along the lengths of DNA molecules, in groups of three coding for the various twenty-two amino acids of proteins, can also be expressed in terms of a given amount of information.
Edmund Jack Ambrose, The Nature and Origin of the Biological World (New York: Halsted Press, 1982), 125.
After Watson and Crick, we know that genes themselves, within their minute internal structure, are long strings of pure digital information. What is more, they are truly digital, in the full and strong sense of computers and compact disks, not in the weak sense of the nervous system. The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers, nor an eight-level code as in some telephone systems, but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computerlike. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular – biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.
Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (London: Phoenix, 1996), 19-20.
It is perhaps clear to the reader that the genetic system is, in principle, isomorphic with communication systems designed by communications engineers. As a matter of fact, genetical systems have historical priority since organisms have been using the principles of information theory and coding theory for at least 3.8 x 109 years!
Hubert Yockey, Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 7.
When I was in my twenties, I read James D. Watson’s ‘Molecular Biology of the Gene’ and decided my high school experience [regarding biology] had misled me. The understanding of life is a great subject. Biological information is the most important information we can discover, because over the next several decades it will revolutionize medicine. Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.
William H. (“Bill”) Gates, III, The Road Ahead, rev’d ed. (New York: Penguin, 1996), 228.