I am in debate with a Christian who's biggest claim of evidence for creation is that DNA is a coded language that requires an intelligent designer.


He mentioned a book by Anthony Flew called "There is a God"....and this is where he got this theory.  I'm googling my ass off to study this so I can see if it's true or false.  I'm assuming there is a scientific explanation but am still looking. 


Can anyone help?

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I thought victor stenger crushed this argument in his book 'God, the failed hypothesis'


It's in other places as well.  From what I remember - Flew (or the original proponent of the 'theory) is arguing that because it's information in the form of a 'code' - Then there must be a 'coder'.  


I think the first obvious flaw is you can't just call something a 'code' for the sake of using the word. 


But it IS information.  There is a difference between information and 'code'.  The word code is just a way to come to the non logical assumption that 'codes' need 'coders'.  


It's the same lame argument from ignorance.  It revolves around "We have never found such a phenomenon among nature to create it's own coded information ... but we have an enormous amount of evidence that minds (Humans) can create coded information ... therefore DNA must have been created by a mind ... therefore MY LITTLE SECT OF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE AND THE ABRAHAMIC GOD EXISTS."  


It's absolutely absurd.  


(I am pretty sure Stenger shows some other ways nature can code information naturally as well ... I would continue searching that route as well.)  


Ask this guy if this 'theory' is in any reputable scientific journals - and has it been peer reviewed by scientists at reputable institutions.  


Also - Where is the Nobel Prize for this discovery?  

In a way, the response is simple.  Chemicals arranged in one sequence can convey information to other chemicals.  If arranged in another way, no useful information will be conveyed.  The one that conveys information will be replicated many times--because that is part of what it conveys.  The others will never be and will cease to exist.  The ones that convey a message of replication will eventually start to convey other information that makes replication more likely, etc. 


In another way, the response is simple.  When someone reveals that he is a creationist, smile, nod, and walk away.

Things have properties.

If properties exist, then God exists because nothing can be created without a creator.

If God exists,  The Abrahamic God exists because I was born to believe in this God. 

Therefore everything that is discovered by scientists further reveals Gods nature. 


I'd say this is even more reasonable :)

This is more of a question of the existence of low entropy in the universe and goes beyond the DNA molecule.

The most obvious vehicle is cosmic expansion which in fact increases the overall entropy of the universe but locally allows the existence of low entropy structures. The salient issue now becomes where does complexity naturally arise.  We can go to Titan and see complex molecules arise naturally. Thus there is a threshold where molecules essential for life can occur spontaneously on their own. The problem is seeing the secondary, tertiary etc. levels of complexity occurring naturally on their own accord. However based on  recent evidence that pushes life on earth back to 400,000 years after it's formation now makes this process truly remarkable. Scientist now have this window to catch nature in the act, if it indeed occur naturally. This ambitious time table  has prompted many scientist to search for life coming from elsewhere via meteors. Also there is speculation on silicon based life, life that can exist in interstella nebula and high energy life that can exist in a star itself.


Some great replies here already. But is it safe to assume that he's an anti-evolution creationist? If so you may want to mention how DNA actually speaks toward our evolving. You could mention the closeness of our genes to other apes and the fusing of two of our genes that accounts for the numerical difference between us and our ape cousins.

Yes, actually, this guy I'm debating with has an article he wrote on a rather popular Christian site where he talks makes Atheists sound like evil assholes for denying children the lessons of Creationism in schools along side science and his article also went on about the Evolutionist "targeting" [sic] of children as though it is an evil agenda perpetrated by scoundrels.  LOL...the article is called Militant Atheism.  Here is the address.




I will post this in a new thread for people to check it out too. 

Natural complexity does not require a God. That is the most childishly idiotic argument that someone can possibly use. It's still a variation of the Irreducible Complexity argument and it is lame among the retarded. It is also stupid. One can say that anything complex is a language and therefore must have come from a diety. But my the same token if it is so obviously a part of Christianity why is it not in their perfect book?


(I know it is a historical conundrum but screw them, who cares?) Don't let the person off the hook. Ask them to show you where it says in the Bible that DNA is the language or work of God? Since Christians LOVE to tout the bible as the all knowing and all true proof of God and their religion, insist that the ONLY way that you will listen to another word of this is IF they can find it in the bible. Which of course they cannot and will not be able to do. If they argue anything else, tell them that is a human opinion or idea and NOT the word of God or proof since it is not in their only validity measure, the holy book.


That should shut up your debater for good. And just remember to endlessly drone on no matter what they say, "Show me in the bible!"


Why on Earth would you waste time debating such idiocy with so stupid an idea, from a book written by an even bigger moron? Are you that hard up for entertainment? Christians are painfully simple in almost all cases. I find anything religiously discussed with them at best a waste of time, but at worst an actual irritation that takes me out of more positive and logical thoughts and sort of sullies my otherwise clean mood and disposition. Good luck.

Hey Jason, I think I've seen you on this guy's site. If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure I just thoroughly annihilated this guy.

Here's my argument:

1)      Your arguments are stolen from Gitt, so all the criticisms of his argument apply to yours. They are located here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/information/gitt.html and here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB180.html

2)      We’ve established that you believe in all the elements of evolution, you just substitute god in place of natural laws, which from a theological standpoint is acceptable, but it hardly has any place in science. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA301_1.html This is confirmed by the way you attempt to use Godel to remove god from the universe (and therefore from scientific study.)

3)       Your challenge ‘Show me a code that isn’t designed’: By definition codes are designed, therefore any complex, self-replicating pattern that I showed you that wasn’t designed would not be a code. This challenge is a tautology, like asking me to show you a stallion that is not a horse.

4)      Though I can’t show you a code that isn’t designed in reality, let’s take a ride on the inference express using your own logic (with appropriate satire thrown in).

                                                               i.      The only things we know of that are intelligent have differentiated, connected parts (ex. neurons, possibly computer hardware). (I made this argument a few months ago when I first stumbled on this site, at that time you said it was sound)

                                                             ii.      Differentiated parts can be expressed symbolically (binary code uses 1’s and 0’s, language uses an alphabet, DNA, if we use your logic, uses A,T,C,G)

                                                            iii.      Therefore all intelligence can be expressed as a code.

                                                           iv.      If god is intelligent, god must have differentiated parts, therefore god can be expressed as a code.

                                                             v.      All codes have designers (this is your own logic here)

                                                           vi.      Therefore if god exists and god is intelligent then god is designed.

                                                          vii.      Whatever designed god must be intelligent… Oops!

5)      Your shaky grasp of biology (you like to quote Nobel prize winners, but seem to have little idea what their works mean. Ex. McClintock)has led you to propose apoptosis is ‘teleological selection’ (which is impossible if god exists outside the universe by the way). This isn’t really a scientific argument; it just means that you worship a non-present being who’s sitting outside the universe with a logic-defying sniper rifle. That makes you not only ignorant, but in my book, some kind of death worshipper as well.

If you can answer criticisms 1-4 satisfactorily, without deflecting the argument, then we can continue to talk. If not, keep on botting!!

His response:

1. If you will present the talkorigins arguments here in your own words I will respond to them point by point. I have already addressed every one of these objections in some form or another at www.cosmicfingerprints.com/infidels.


2. No I do not substitute God for natural laws, because natural laws do not create codes, programs or algorithms. An intelligent agent is ostensibly necessary for such things to exist, and directly inferred by what we observe in biology.


I model evolution as a capability originally programmed into cells. Evolution is organized by a protocol that can be understood and replicated if its existence is acknowledged first. It cannot be studied so long as evolution is attributed to "random copying errors."


3. Incorrect. The fact that all codes are designed is a plain observation, not a tautology. In theory a counterexample should be EASY to produce, if there is any principle in science that supports your worldview. If we received codes from outer space tomorrow (like SETI has been watching for for many years) then that would show that codes can come from somewhere besides humans. Furthermore, DNA is proof that codes CAN come from somewhere besides humans - because we can be pretty sure that humans did not design DNA.


So if normal natural laws created codes then you will be able to find other encoding / decoding systems that humans didn't create. Where are they?


4. This is just a loosely connected assembly of statements, culminating in an admission that everything does in fact require a First Cause. And sarcasm will get you nowhere. Let me know when you're ready to provide a serious argument.


5. Apoptosis is teleological, just like you writing comments on my blog is teleological. God's constant intervention is not needed for either to happen.

My rebuttal:

1.       Shan’t! Do you have a phobia about talkorigins or something. Seriously, it takes 5 minutes to read these things, unlike all your forum posts (which still don’t credit Gitt) that are like 300 pages long. You have your own website. Surely you can organize all the points you make into something that’s a little easier to read.

2.       No, this is what you infer from looking at design. In your reasoning you observe design in designed things and then apply it to biology, not the other way around. You’re just replacing chemistry with supernatural causation, which has no place in science.

3.       “If we received codes from outer space tomorrow (like SETI has been watching for for many years) then that would show that codes can come from somewhere besides humans.”

-          Which would be designed, because they are codes.  Guess that alternative isn’t too easy to come up with after all. Go go gadget circular logic.

4.       What?!! Loosely garbled together sentences that collapse into tautology and circular logic aren’t serious arguments? Holy crap, I just won the argument!!!!!

-          What I’m trying to say is that if my logic fails then so does yours. I’m using the same line of inference as you with one extra point #1 that you’ve already admitted was sound.

-          If everything has a first cause, then so does god.

5.       “Apoptosis is teleological, just like you writing comments on my blog is teleological. God's constant intervention is not needed for either to happen.”

-          Which is fine theologically, but it’s not science.


The way I see it, he has nowhere to go but around in a circle from now on.

He may well have a phobia about talkorigins, I know of at least one person who refuses to visit that site or listen to any evidence listed there because they call it an 'evolutionist propaganda site'.
Yeah, the guy is a marketer and his specialty according to his site, if Google ads, so for a while I was under the impression that he didn't want to drive up hits on evolution sites. Your explanation might make more sense though.


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