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What if it could be shown through empirical science that the universe consists of more than just mass and energy?
The battle of the ages began when Satan deceived himself into thinking he could overthrow the sovereign rule of God. Since then, Satan has opposed God and has become known as the adversary or great deceiver. Two opposing kingdoms are in conflict. The kingdom of Satan attacked the kingdom of God with the goal of destroying it. Both God and Satan have a purpose for history; but since God is God, and Satan is His created creature, God’s purpose is the ultimate one.
With the birth of the Church, Satan had a new enemy to contend with. The Church’s preaching of the gospel poses a serious threat to his kingdom. Every time the gospel is preached to nonbelievers, Satan is in danger of them believing it and leaving his kingdom. Thus, in order to prevent losing members in his kingdom, Satan must attack the Church and its message. Throughout the history of the Church, Satan has used various tactics from physical persecution to deceiving the Church into believing wrong ideas and compromising God’s Word. Satan has launched these attacks from both outside and inside the Church. People have burned the Bible, banned it, changed it, or considered it irrelevant, especially in this modern scientific age. One of Satan’s major strategies against the church has been and is the philosophy of materialism.
Materialism is the assumption that all that exists is mass and energy (matter); there are no supernatural forces, nothing exists that is nonmaterial, and no God. Materialism is the foundational presupposition for atheism, humanism, and evolutionism.
The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.1
We atheists . . . try to find some basis of rational thinking on which we can base our actions and our beliefs, and we have it. . . . We accept the technical philosophy of materialism. It is a valid philosophy which cannot be discredited. Essentially, materialism’s philosophy holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena. . . . There are no supernatural forces, no supernatural entities such as gods, or heavens, or hells, or life after death (emphasis added).2
The challenge by materialists is that the Church cannot defend against the philosophy of materialism. The materialists do not believe the Church can demonstrate the existence of God. Further, they know that if materialism is true, then evolution must also be true. But what if the assumption of materialism is false? What if it could be shown through empirical science that the universe consists of more than just mass and energy?
For Darwinian (molecules-to-man) evolution to actually work, new genetic information is required each step of the way. In order for a fish to grow legs, new information must be encoded into the DNA. For a reptile to grow feathers, new information must be encoded into the DNA. For an apelike creature to evolve into a human, new information must be encoded into the DNA. This new information must add to or replace old information with new instructions to grow legs, or feathers, or human characteristics. But what is information and where does it come from?
Follow me in this illustration: Imagine for a moment that it is your mother’s birthday and you want to wish her a happy birthday, but you are stuck in an area without power. You know your friend a couple of miles away has power and knows Morse code. So you build a fire and begin using smoke signals to spell out Morse code for your friend to call your brother to have him send an e-mail on your behalf to your mother for her birthday.
Information went from you to the smoke signals directly to your friend’s eyes and from your friend’s mouth through sound waves to the phone receiver then through electronic signals in the phone to your brother and back into sound waves for your brother to hear it. Then the information went through his fingers and was transferred into code on the computer and again through electronic means to your mother who received the information on her computer screen as an understandable concept—Happy Birthday. Nothing material actually transferred from you to your mother, but information did, which shows that everything isn’t material.
This is the good news! Why is this good news? Because the foundation for materialism (atheism, humanism, evolution) is that the universe consists of only two entities3: mass and energy. Therefore, if a third entity can be shown to exist, then materialism and all philosophies based on it must also be false. Information is this third fundamental entity.
There are several definitions of information currently in use; however, each of these definitions are generally too broad. For example, one definition of information includes symbols with or without meaning, and another includes everything in its definition of information. Imagine sending random symbols as smoke signals to your friend—would Happy Birthday ever get sent to your mother on her birthday? Imagine sending a bunch of smoke signal dots in the air to your friend—would Happy Birthday ever get sent to your mother?
In July 2006, a team of scientists representing various scientific disciplines met to evaluate a definition of information proposed by information scientist Dr. Werner Gitt,4 which is precise and corresponds very well to human languages and machine languages. The team proposed that this definition be called Universal Definition of Information (UDI) and agreed that there are four essential attributes that define it:
Code (syntax): Information within all communications systems contains a code. A code contains a set of symbols and rules for using letters, words, phrases, or symbols to represent something else. One reason for coding is to enable communication. Examples of codes would be the English alphabet, words, and syntax; hieroglyphics; or codes used in computers (for example, C, Fortran, or Cobol).
Meaning (semantics): Meaning enables communication by representing real objects or concepts with specific symbols, words, or phrases. For example, the word chair is not the physical chair but represents it. Likewise, the name “Bob” is not the physical person but represents the real person. When words are associated with real objects or concepts, it gives the word meaning.
For example, aichr and Bbo do not have meaning because they do not represent any real object or concept. However, if in the future one of these character strings were to represent a real object or concept, it would have meaning. Prior to the computer Internet age, the word blog had no meaning; today it is associated with a web page that serves as a personal log (derived from web log) of thoughts or activities. It can also mean a discussion community about personal issues. Another new word with meaning is simplistic. New words are continually being designated with meaning.
Expected Action (pragmatics): Expected action conveys an implicit or explicit request or command to perform a given task. For example, in the statement, “Go to the grocery store and buy some chocolate chips,” the expected action is that someone will go to the store. This does not mean the action will actually happen, but it is expected to happen.
These four essential attributes specify the definition domain for information. A definition of information (Universal Definition of Information) was formulated by using these four attributes:
An encoded, symbolically represented message conveying expected action and intended purpose.
|Symbolically represented message||Meaning|
Anything not containing all four attributes is not considered information by this Universal Definition of Information (UDI).
Examples of entities that do contain Information [UDI]:
Examples of entities that do not contain Information [UDI] (one or more of the attributes are missing):
The lowest level of operational science begins with ideas originated and formulated by man. These include models, hypotheses, theories, assumptions, speculations, etc. This is the lowest level of scientific certainty because man’s understanding of reality is incomplete, faulty, and constantly changing. A very large gap exists between this level of science and the highest level. This highest level contains scientific laws.
Scientific laws are precise statements formulated from discoveries made through observations and experiments that have been repeatedly verified and never contradicted. There are scientific laws about matter (Newton’s law of gravity, laws of thermodynamics, laws of electricity, and laws of magnetism). There is Pasteur’s law about life (law of biogenesis). Each of these laws is universal with no known exceptions. Scientific evidence that supports or refutes a scientific concept determines its level of certainty.
The information team evaluated scientific laws about information formulated by Dr. Werner Gitt that determine the nature and origin of information [UDI].
A purely material entity, such as physicochemical processes, cannot create a nonmaterial entity. (Something material cannot create something nonmaterial.)
Physical entities include mass and energy (matter). Examples of something that is not material (nonmaterial entity) include thought, spirit, and volition (will).
Information is a nonmaterial fundamental entity and not a property of matter.
The information recorded on a CD is nonmaterial. If you weigh a modern blank CD, fill it with information, and weigh it again, the two weights will be the same. Likewise, erasing the information on the CD has no effect on the weight.
The same information can be transmitted on a CD, a book, a whiteboard, or using smoke signals. This means the information is independent of the material source. A material object is required to store information, but the information is not part of the material object. Much like people in an airplane are being stored and transferred in the plane, they are not part of the physical plane.
The first law of thermodynamics makes it clear that mass and energy (matter) can neither be created nor destroyed. All mass and energy in the universe is being conserved (the total sum is constant). However, someone can write a new complicated formula on a whiteboard and then erase the formula. This is a case of creating and destroying information.
Since the first law of thermodynamics states that mass and energy (matter) cannot be created or destroyed, and information (UDI) can be created and destroyed, information (UDI) must be nonmaterial.
The genetic information system is the software of life and, like the symbols in a computer, is purely symbolic and independent of its environment. Of course, the genetic message, when expressed as a sequence of symbols, is nonmaterial but must be recorded in matter and energy.5
Indeed, Einstein pointed to the nature and origin of symbolic information as one of the profound questions about the world as we know it. He could identify no means by which matter could bestow meaning to symbols. The clear implication is that symbolic information, or language, represents a category of reality distinct from matter and energy.6
Information cannot originate in statistical processes. (Chance plus time cannot create information no matter how many chances or how much time is available.)
There is no known law of nature, no known process, and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.7
Information can only originate from an intelligent sender
All codes result from an intentional choice and agreement between sender and recipient.
We observe daily a continual input of new information (UDI) from an intelligent source (human beings). At present, on earth, the only new information we have detected being created is from human beings. Careful examination of other systems will determine if there are any other intelligent sources of new UDI.
Any given chain of information can be traced backward to an intelligent source.
For two people to effectively communicate, there must be some agreement on the language or code that is used.
When information (UDI) is utilized in a material domain, it always requires a machine.
Definition of a machine: A machine is a material device that uses energy to perform a specific task.
Information is required for the design and construction of machines.
What does this mean? Both information (UDI) and matter are necessary for the development of a machine. It is the information that determines and directs the assembly of the material system into the necessary configuration, thereby creating a machine. This means that tracing backward to the manufacture and design of any machine capable of performing useful work will lead to the discovery or necessity of information and ultimately to its intelligent source.
Does the code in all living systems (DNA) exhibit all four attributes of Universal Definition of Information (UDI)?
Since all living systems contain DNA and DNA information contains all four attributes, it meets the UDI definition of information. Furthermore, the capacity and density of the information encoded in DNA surpasses anything mankind has accomplished.
There is no information system designed by man that can even begin to compare to it [DNA].9
|Code||The decoded portion of DNA contains 4 letters (ATCG) that make up three-letter words (codon). These codons are arranged linearly in a various sequence (syntax).|
|Meaning||Each three-letter word represents 1 of the 20 specific amino acids used in life. The sequence (syntax) of the DNA words designates the specific sequence of the amino acids in protein formation.|
|Expected Action||Cellular proteins are biomachines essential for construction, function, maintenance, and reproduction of the entire organism|
|Intended Purpose||Existence of life|
The information encoded in DNA is billions of times more compact than a modern PC hard drive.
How long would it take using naturalistic processes to type out such a code?
A billion universes each populated by billions of typing monkeys could not type out a single gene of this genome.10
But a purposeful, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator could create complex codes in less than a day.
Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee (Jeremiah 32:17).
The information team agreed upon a precise definition of information (UDI) that is consistent with the information found in human natural languages and in machine languages. Additionally, scientific laws that govern the UDI definition domain were established. It was agreed that the information encoded within the DNA belongs to the UDI domain.
If we apply these laws governing UDI to DNA information, we can make logically sound arguments (conclusions).
Since the DNA code of all life-forms is clearly within the UDI definition domain of information, we conclude there must be a sender (LI 1, 2).
Since the density and complexity of the DNA encoded information is billions of times greater than man’s present technology, we conclude the sender must be supremely intelligent (LI 2, plus corollaries).
Since the sender must have
we conclude the sender must be purposeful and supremely powerful (LM 1, plus corollary).
Since information is a nonmaterial fundamental entity and cannot originate from purely material quantities, we conclude the sender must have a nonmaterial component (Spirit). God is Spirit (FL1, 2; LI 2, plus corollaries)!
Since information is nonmaterial and the third fundamental entity, we conclude that the assumption “the universe is composed solely of mass and energy” is false (FL 1, 2).
The philosophy of materialism is false!
Since all theories of chemical and biological evolution require that information must originate solely from mass and energy alone (no sender), we conclude all theories of chemical and biological evolution are false (Fl 1, 2; LI 1, 2, plus corollaries).
The evolution of life is false!
Therefore, the scientific laws governing the UDI domain have
The importance of information to the creation/evolution debate is founded in the presuppositions of each model. The presupposition of the evolutionary model is materialism, which is the idea that everything in the universe is solely comprised of matter (mass and energy). From this foundational assumption, evolutionists logically conclude that cosmic evolution, chemical evolution, and biological evolution are all true. The presupposition of materialism has been shown scientifically to be false.
The presupposition of the Bible is that there is a God who created the universe, the earth, and all organisms living on earth. This has been shown to be consistent with scientific discoveries that there is a nonmaterial third fundamental entity called information that originates only from an intelligent source. The universe consists of more than just mass and energy, and the information found within the DNA system of all life originated from an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God.
Anyone who disagrees with these laws and conclusions must falsify them by demonstrating the initial origin of information from purely material sources. This challenge has never been scientifically achieved.
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.