Evolutionary Beginnings

The first problem I see is with the beginning stages of Evolution.  Evolution says that all life must have evolved from a single-celled organism.  Before we even get to this single-celled organism, however, there is a previous problem with how this organism could have come from non-living material, but since I have already covered most of that problem in a previous post (Evolution and the Origin of Life), I will not deal with that here.  The problem I want to address here is the origin of the Genetic code.  Our Genes are the blueprints for life.  One of the things I find difficult to understand is how such a complex system of storing and expressing such a vast amount of information can be generated from non-life.  If there is no intelligent source, how can you have any sort of intelligible information?

By its very definition, Information is the communication of or reception of knowledge or intelligence.  If there is no intelligent being, there can be no intelligence or knowledge to be communicated or imparted as information into DNA.  This is because for the information to actually be knowledge or intelligence, there must be an intelligent being who gives meaning to such information  If I draw a series of scribbled lines, forming various shapes and/or figures on a piece of paper, there is no information being expressed or communicated there unless each figure, line, or shape represents something, and the agent who experiences these shapes, figures, and lines must be able to understand what information these things are meant to convey.  Information can have no meaning apart from the meaning given it by an intelligent being.  If there is no intelligent being,  there can be no information to be transferred.

To continue this line of thought, even if there is a set or series of shapes that represent something (such as an alphabet), if the agent who is experiencing this information cannot understand what these symbols mean, there can no information passed along to that agent.  What this means is, even if there is knowledge or intelligence to be passed along, the agent experiencing it must be able to make sense of that knowledge or intelligence, otherwise there can be no information passed along. Basically, there must be an intelligent being, who has knowledge that is to be passed along, a way to convey or make sense of that intelligence or knowledge , and an agent that can make sense of and utilize that information being conveyed.

In order for evolution by natural selection to work, not only do you have to believe that it is possible to generate organic material from non-organic material,  but you must believe that this  organic material is living (since organic material does not necessarily have to be “alive”), able to sustain its own life, and that it can generate more organic life able to do these things as well. Even if it is possible to create living material (such as strands of amino acids) from non-living material, there must be a vast array of information that would need to be stored in even a single cell that would allow that cell to be active, gathering and utilizing energy, eliminating waste material, and generating or spawning new life.   This is far too much to expect  a bolt of lightening striking a “primordial soup” to generate.
If you ask me, to believe that a single living cell was spawned from non-living material without an intelligent agent behind it is absolutely absurd.  There is enough information in one human DNA molecule  to fill a million-page encyclopaedia.  To believe a naturalistic theory for the origin of this type and amount of information is absurd, and I simply do not see how an intelligent person can not find this problematic for naturalistic theories of evolution.  Before natural selection can even begin, there must be genes that can be mutated, and this assumes there is information to be stored in DNA that can inform organic material, and this information requires an intelligent being.  Even if evolution by natural selection is true, it would require an intelligent creator to begin the process, and therefore the theory of Evolution by natural selection is not an argument in favor of the Atheist (or more specifically, the scientific naturalist) worldview.

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6 responses to “Evolutionary Beginnings”

  1. John Anngeister says :

    I agree.

    Your position on origins is unassailable in my opinion, as long as followers of Christ do not try to utilize such clarity to argue against Natural Selection.

    The important lesson from Genesis is that God is creator. From that great truth we can get a huge life of sanctification and prayer. Instead of featuring a phony ‘Biblical Science’ based on the whole of Genesis 1-3, Christians should be challenging the one thing that is most phony in ‘biological’ science – its ultimate resort to non-biological processes. There are no truly scientific solutions to this question of origins because it is not subject to scientific methods of investigation.

    The main thrust of Intelligent Design should be against textbooks alleging to be biologically scientific which present as ‘fact’ the physical theory of origins as a straight transition from inorganic matter to organic life forms. Beyond that we should leave Genesis out of science and go with the great facts which are discoverable on the basis of how that remarkable DNA miracle-molecule manifests the purpose of God.

    That is, I think we should focus more on simple loyalty to the old creedal statement that the Holy Spirit is “the lord and giver of life.” So much is true,

    Thanks for the post – and your blog – I’m glad it scrolled up on my tag search (under ‘theism’) – an occasion for reflection this afternoon.

    • redeemed42antihero says :

      Thank you John, for your kind and thought-provoking comment.

      I agree that natural selection is scientific, though I do not think that evolution by natural selection (that is to say, all species evolved from a single-celled organism) is a scientific theory, nor has it been scientifically demonstrated to be correct, and is thus simply a theory that is believed to be true, rather than known to be true.

      I also agree, Genesis 1-3 is not meant to be scientific literature. if I am not mistaken, Genesis 1 is written as a poem, and is meant to convey the truth that God created us, through poetic language that mirrors other creation stories of that time.

      Your comment has inspired me to post some thoughts I had about Genesis which I wrote about a year ago before I had a Blog.

      On whether the origin of life is an area of scientific inquiry, I am not sure what I think of your statement. I believe that we can scientifically investigate the origin of life to a degree, but science alone will come up short, especially if it is simply looking for a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life. This is because one, they cannot provide scientific evidence for the origin of life (though they can attempt,l though as we have seen so far fail, to produce life from non-life), and two, you may be right, it may not be an area that science can give a definitive answer on by itself.

      I think that in the same way that we as Christians must guard against the temptation to compartmentalize our faith apart from the other areas of our life, and should instead integrate our relationship with Jesus and our faith in God into every aspect of our lives, we must also guard against the temptation to compartmentalize our areas of inquiry and methods of acquiring knowledge. This is to say, we must allow our philosophy to influence our science, and allow our theology to inform both etc., and we must make our thinking and understanding of the world an integrated whole, rather than compartmentalized our methods of acquiring knowledge from one another. Yes they are different methods of acquiring knowledge, used for understanding different areas of information, but they should all be integrated into our worldview, our understanding of the world as a whole.

      I agree about taking bad (non) science out of the textbooks. There is far too much taught as fact that falls short of the criteria required to scientifically call information a fact.

      Glad to have you as a follower, and I hope I can continue to carefully craft constructive, (even if controversial) conversation-starting, thought-provoking post in the (near) future!

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

      • John Anngeister says :

        I should say a little more to qualify my recommendation of post-DNA evolution by natural selection – I don’t think there’s any valid science that explains the difference ‘at the top’ – the difference between animals and man. That is clearly a qualitative difference of consciousness and science only has equipment to measure quantitative difference. So I see a theological necessity to argue for supervenience by the Holy Spirit both at ‘the bottom’ (single-cell life) and at ‘the top’ (mankind) – after animal mind and body has developed as far as it can physically, God changes the game by putting his image in the first man and women.

        I say this because I think it puts us closer together in our thinking. For me, natural selection (for all its value) cannot explain man as the image of God. I side with Genesis on that point too – man is not just one ‘natural’ step away from animals but one great ‘supernatural’ step away. So I see divine intervention both at the beginning and end of evolution (I like the concept of divine ‘supervention’ better than intervention, because I like the way it dovetails into concepts of supervenient grace).

        So maybe you can see why I might not think outright physical creation of a perfect ‘Adam and Eve’ is necessary to explain man’s origin or his problems. But I can still rejoice in God’s crucial role in creating life on earth as we know it.

  2. willbell123 says :

    There is very interesting explanations for the origins of the genetic code, as there is for abiogenesis, I recommend doing a little research, if you aren’t into the heavy materials you can find some good youtube videos about it, such as cdk007’s channel.

    • John Anngeister says :

      Willbell123: I am not the owner of this blog, but I did go to yours and have a look around, and I think it’s a little funny that you come here recommending ‘a little research’ as if ‘interesting explanations’ can substitute for the object of scientific research – they do not and cannot take the place of actual experimentation.

      And ‘visualizations’ on Youtube are highly suspect for the very fact that they can make substitutions for uncooperative facts and realities that make experimentation so difficult, but which a naive cheerleader of science is prone to accept as something he has seen with his own eyes.

      Immanuel Kant (who the naive again believe was anti-religious) solved this question of the antinomial nature of arguements about origins in his first Critique. Of course he was not so silly as to believe he had grounds for assuming that matter itself was ‘alive’ or that mind is inherent in matter. Be careful about your presuppositions – so many unscientific minds today make the mistake of treating their presuppositions as if they were ‘conclusions.’

  3. Trenton Phillips says :

    I am enjoying reading your blogs. Please keep them going. I think you put up a correct view of the Christian faith and the Bible that many fail to do.

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