The central claims of Message Theory –
Life was reasonably designed to meet three simultaneous goals:
- To look like the product of one designer (or unified design team acting together as one), and unlike the product of multiple designers acting independently.
- To resist all other explanations of origin.
This is a plausible set of design goals. Life’s designer is also a message sender, and the message is: Life came from one designer; not from anything else. These goals put constraints on what the designer should do, and should not do – constraints on the patterns we should see, and should not see. From this, the theory makes testable predictions.
Evolutionists misrepresent Message Theory by attacking one design goal in isolation, as though it were the only goal. (For example, Gert Korthof.) So I remind readers, the three goals are taken together in combination. The system of life is designed to meet all three goals, not just one goal.
Goal 1 – design for survival – was the traditional focus of creationists. The classical creation books take this line of reasoning. Message Theory adds to it.
Goal 2 – design to look like the product of one designer – is a plausible goal for a message sender. Remarkably, this message was even conveyed to low-tech civilizations. For example, the ancient Greeks had a pantheon of many gods, but they allowed that only one of them created life. They saw the unity of life displayed: within the embryos of diverse lifeforms; within life’s coherent patterns of theme and variation; and within the ability of diverse lifeforms to function together as a system of life. Although numerous ancient civilizations developed in isolation around the world, I am aware of none that attributed known lifeforms to the actions of multiple designers acting independently. Our modern biochemical-genetic laboratories now make this point indubitable, and falsify the notion that life came from various interstellar astronauts (or high-tech civilizations) acting independently. All life had but one designer.
Goal 3 – design to resist all other explanations – is astonishing and where much of the curiosity of Message Theory resides. This goal claims life was designed to resist all (macro)evolutionary explanations – Darwin’s, Lamarck’s, Gould’s, Syvanen’s, the “It came from Space” theories of Crick, Orgel, and Hoyle – and even your evolutionary theory, whatever it may be, should be resisted. Life was designed to resist all (macro)evolutionary theories, not just Darwin’s – this is the key.
The ingenious Darwinian mind is renowned for “explaining” everything and its opposite. Message Theory now turns Darwinians on their heads, by asking them to identify the things they could not explain. (Is there anything Darwinians could not “explain”? …) This set turned out to be smaller than anyone ever imagined. Then subtract those things that would look like the result of multiple designers acting independently. Then subtract those things that would not be reasonable designs for survival (such as a “bookshelf bear” or an “air conditioner elephant”). After this process of elimination, few things are left on the table – and one of them is our system of life. I claim life displays an ingenious solution to this design problem.
Occasionally, tradeoffs must be made between these design goals, and on such occasions people will sometimes disagree on precise details of the optimal solution. However, the tradeoffs are reasonable and rationally solved in life. I claim life displays at the very least, a nearly optimal solution – perhaps the optimal solution.
Message Theory is not about the ages of the Earth or Universe, nor about global torrent – it is neutral on those issues. Rather, Message Theory is about life’s major patterns. I challenge you to describe major patterns of a life system that would meet these three design goals clearly better than does our system of life. If you could do that – if you could show that life clearly fails to follow these design goals, then Message Theory would be falsified. This is a general way to test Message Theory – by identifying a clear disparity between how life should be designed, and what is observed. I will also identify various specific tests in later parts of this essay.
Before you get started, I must forewarn you. There are many illusions about evolutionary theory and the data – and these must be dispelled before you can see clearly. Indeed, most of my discussions are spent dismantling evolutionary illusions. I show that (macro)evolutionary theory, as practiced today, is amorphous, structureless, and untestable. Evolutionary theory adapts to data like fog adapts to landscape. Evolutionary theory is a vast smorgasbord of “explanations,” and life was designed to resist the smorgasbord. Ironically, most of your challenges against Message Theory are favorably reversed by a deeper understanding of evolutionary theory.
Evolutionists often mock their opponents, saying, “Why did God design life to look like it evolved?” (Yes, they use the G-word.) I answer them earnestly: They do not understand evolutionary theory, as they have little idea what would look ‘unlike’ evolution. They have not considered it much.
Message Theory turns evolutionary thinking inside-out and upside-down, and will challenge people to think in ways they never have before. I look forward to the conversation.
– Walter ReMine
The Biotic Message – the book