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Photographer Lazslo Bencze offers Scrabble letters, viewed by aliens, as analogy to design

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Philip Skell, 1918-2010

Let us imagine a strange alien race that sets out to learn about humanity. By chance they have encountered a single Scrabble tile imprinted with the letter “e”. Because these aliens are extremely thorough materialists, they undertake to study the tile as deeply as possible. Not only do they subject it to chemical analysis but, due to their superior technology, they are able to map out the exact position of every wood fiber and ink particle of the tile. After years of effort they create a three dimensional model of the Scrabble tile larger than a football field with all this nano information precisely reproduced and annotated.

They have learned more about the tile than any human has ever known about any single artifact. Yet they do not understand a thing about its purpose because then have no concept of the information it bears. Precise knowledge of the chemistry and physical layout of the tile does not lead to understanding of its purpose. There is a disconnect, a chasm in understanding which cannot be bridged by approaching the problem from “the bottom up.” The expectation that this approach will eventually lead to understanding is doomed.

Of course biologists on Earth do not take this approach to understanding the cellular world. They do know that functional information is encoded in the cell and it is not constrained by the chemistry of its components. Rather these components (proteins, enzymes, DNA, RNA, etc.) serve a higher level of organization which is disconnected from the purely chemical level.

Yet, they continue to insist, vehemently, arrogantly, and with blatant self-contradiction, that the lower chemical level did in fact create the higher organizational level when their own understanding proves the assertion’s impossibility.

Note: Bencze’s photos of the late Philip Skell are a marvel for capturing character. They’re not all on line, but you can see examples of his work here.

Chemist Skell, a National Academy of Sciences member, didn’t have much use for claims about the importance of Darwinism.

Ave atque vale. Et requiescat in pace. – UD News

I think I have a game of Scrabble somewhere. I think it's a good tool for teaching ID and information theory. Someone [else] should write a book. Scrabblentropy? Mung
News, Did Laszlo or Skell say the above quote? MedsRex

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