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Originally published in Creation 18(4):24–25, September 1996
‘Where’, questions the creationist, ‘would the information come from to effect such a transformation?
There is a problem which arises from the evolutionary belief that certain biological structures have ‘evolved’ from others, such as feathers from scales. ‘Where’, questions the creationist, ‘would the information come from to effect such a transformation? The seriousness of this problem can be illustrated in the use of computers.
The two main features of computers are referred to as hardware and software. Computer hardware is the screws, wires, cabinets, circuit boards, screens, magnetic disks, and other physical, ‘touchable’ parts. Software is the collection of programs which cause a computer to perform a desired operation or series of operations.
Software is recorded on to magnetic disks or tapes by an arrangement of magnetic patterns, much like a musical cassette tape. Some pattern exists on the disk whether there is software recorded on the magnetic surface or not. The thing that makes these patterns ‘software’ is that their arrangement is meaningful to the computer.
What makes the difference between the blank disk and the disk with software on it? What makes the difference between the blank cassette tape and the tape with music on it? The two items are physically and chemically the same. The difference is information. In order to ‘write’ software to a disk, we must provide information on how to arrange those patterns.
In nature we see the same basic elements. There is hardware in the flesh-and-blood bodies of animals, and in the leaves and branches of trees. Software is the information which arranges the basic building blocks of life that form a living creature.
This is where the information problem for biological evolution comes in. Certain structures, we are asked to believe, ‘evolved’ into other structures. For example, scales allegedly evolved into feathers, gills into lungs, fins into legs, and so on. So let’s look at scales and feathers (any two structures could be substituted). There are three elements here:
- The information built into the genetic code for scales.
- The information built into the genetic code for feathers.
- The information which processes genetic information through reproduction, growth and repair.
Here is the problem:
The information in 1 and 2 is different. The information in 1 is not a subset of 2, or vice versa—1 and 2 are different. However, the information in 3, the processing, does not include the information required to make the transformation from 1 to 2. Process 3 is a proven, faithful reproducer of the data from 1 or the data from 2.
In the computer industry we know all about random mutations, except we call them ‘corruptions’, because they are never good. Plenty of checks are built in to weed them out. If, for the sake of argument, we let these corruptions happen, a programmed computer order for ‘Mickey Mouse watches’ may become something like ‘Mjckfz Movsl W’tdx!‘. However, the order would never become something like ‘cordless electric drills’. The programs will never change the data. Computers can automatically generate data, but only meaningless garbage. Meaningful information comes only by addition of information from an intelligent source.
In the same way, the genetic program in living things does not change the genetic data. Experience has taught us that it is very faithful to reproduce the original pattern exactly. Random mutations only confuse and corrupt the genetic data. They never create new forms. The information for feathers and scales is different, just as Mickey Mouse watches and cordless electric drills are different. Mickey Mouse watches haven’t evolved into ‘higher’ forms.
Natural selection also does not change the genetic data. It merely causes different emphases, or rearrangements, of the same data.
In summary then, the information problem gets to the very heart of the evolution issue. You can argue all you like about the similarity of species, transitional forms, or natural selection. There is still one basic element missing—the mechanism for change—which requires the addition of new information from an intelligent source. There must be a Creator to provide the information in the first place. If there had been any substantial change, as evolutionists would have us believe, the information required would have to come from the Creator whom they deny exists. (‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).)
Computer programs do not create themselves—we have to create them. Likewise, the genetic program in living creatures is unable to spontaneously create itself. It too must be programmed by ‘someone’. Why is it that we see all around us the things we have created, and yet so many of us deny that we ourselves have a Creator? As the Apostle Paul said:
‘For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse’ (Romans 1:20).
Let us not close our eyes to the invisible things, but rather give glory and honour to Him to whom it is due—to the one who was the originator of the programs for life.
Chris Tingle, B.Sc., works for a large computer equipment manufacturing firm in the United Kingdom. He is a keen creationist, and has recently moved with his family from Australia to the UK to work with a growing church.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.