So I went to the site that talks about the Atheist Riddle, there is a link to it right here on TA. Anyways, I must admit it is a pretty sound argument regardless of how poorly it is presented. I havent been able to find any kind of coherent argument against it or refuting it. Can anyone help? Any ideas about this? It basically states that DNA is a code, a way of storing information, and codes do not exist in nature and have always been engineered. Therefore we are engineered, they implant God as the engineer but that is simply a matter of opinion....Hmmm.
"An essential property of language is that any word can refer to any object. That is not true in genetics."
This is what comes to my mind: The word "cat" is meaningless. We could refer to the animal cat, but the word "cat" has no value to it, as we could refer to the feline animal with any words we created. A cat could be called "dog."
With genetics, this distinction is not made. In the genetic world, you can't call a cat "dog," unless it is actually dog.
The funny part about all of this talk of semantics, is that I am reminded of a funny part of Christian culture. It seems that what God says really does go. "Let there be light." Etc. So, I think it would be all too common for a christian to look at these links and see the connection.
I don't think this argument is one that would begin to sway a christian. Any ideas?
The fallacy is in stating that codes do not exist in nature. You can look at anything as a code. The existence of every particle and every property it possesses could technically be explained as coordinates. Saying "Minds make code, code is in nature, a mind must have made that code". Would essentially be the same as saying something as ridiculous as "I make poop, poop is everywhere, I must have pooped more than I thought".
I won't get into details (others pretty much have it covered already), but if you are interested in really digging in to the "birth" of DNA and all that fun stuff, check out "The Fifth Miracle", by Paul Davies. It lays out how DNA works, and the current working theories of how it evolved in quite a bit of detail.
Long story short, "the atheist riddle" doesn't even TRY to connect their premise (that "information" doesn't appear naturally) to any sort of reason why they might think that. Unless they've updated it recently, they don't even explain what their definition of "information" is...leaving it extremely vague and pointless as an argument...especially since they don't really make one beyond "yeah, god totally did it...cause....he must have".
The argument is basically taking advantage of the fact that people will see patterns in things where they may not actually exist.
Also, just because we call it a "code" and the DNA "encodes" information, that's just us as humans making sense of the way nature works by applying a concept we have of "encoded" information to it. The argument that codes do not exist in nature because we made them up is circular because we only call it a code so that we can make sense of it by relating the process to something that we already understand.
You really have to wonder if people who doubt whether evolution occurs really understand just how long a billion years really is. We can watch it happen all around us on a daily basis in microogranisms, its no wonder large changes occur over such an unimaginably long period of time. The only problem I have with evolution is the idea that it took several billion years for eukaryotes to evolve from prokaryotes and its only been 5 million years since humans and chimpanzees diverged. It seems once the ball gets rolling, it really gets rolling.