The origin of information Part 1

So the chapter doesn’t begin well for Lennox. He quotes Stephen Meyer who is another proponent of ID, and whose wikipedia entry is more about the controversy that Meyer generates than the worthiness of any science he’s performed. It’d be nice if Lennox could find a quote from someone who supported him who was outside the ID movement. Someone more mainstream.

So he follows this up with a quote from Hubert P. Yockey who does support the sequence hypothesis (that genetic code works essentially like a book) previously mentioned. Unfortunately a look at Yockey’s webpage says straight up that he’s not a Creationist and that he doesn’t support ID. I haven’t read Yockey’s book that Lennox is quoting from, and I don’t know why Yockey’s webpage (edited by his daughter and that post written by her) would go to the trouble of distancing her father from ID and reaffirming his belief in evolution, but the connection is impossible to ignore.

Next quoted is Dembski who is, unsurprisingly, another ID proponent. And again, another wikipedia entry devoted to controversy rather than any contributions to science. There’s a disturbing number of ID proponents quoted by Lennox and I’m a little worried by it. Shortly after I started God’s Undertaker I formed the opinion that it was more a reaction against the New Atheists than a serious attempt to provide evidence for god through science. You see this book was recommended to me as a good book for finding support for theism in science. If you’ve been reading this blog then you’ll know it isn’t a good book for that at all. But I’d never really noticed before how much Lennox has bought into ID. He totally believes it.

It was always worrying how Lennox kept falling back on god of the gaps arguments. He hasn’t presented a single naturalistic theory in a positive way to counter his objections. It’s as if there is no other answer besides ID to these problems. i wonder if the people who recommended his book so heartily on Amazon, and the person who recommended it to me, realize that Lennox, at least back here in the 2000s, was all in for ID?

7 thoughts on “The origin of information Part 1

  1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    Ouch, I don’t think I’ve read many things I’ve disagreed with more in recent months than that last throwaway line of Cynthia Yockey’s: “Looking for the origin of life in physics and chemistry is like looking for the origin of literature in the chemistry of ink.” 😦

    Reply
    1. Marco

      If it’s any consolation, even if it’s true, we should find some extremely interesting stuff looking for the origin of life in physics and chemistry.

      Reply
  2. Marco

    Next quoted is Dembski who is, unsurprisingly, another ID proponent.

    Way to attack the player rather than the board (this is a chess reference, and not a well known one. Instead of focusing on the argument and the logic (the board) you are focusing on the scientists and their beliefs (the players).) You have not mentioned whether Lennoxes argument makes sense with your own logic, and are discounting people’s scientific arguments because they are also advocates of ID, and discounting quotes from non-advocates of ID because they themselves have not been convinced by the logic. Me and Chris have differences in opinion regarding whether information content in DNA makes any difference to evolution theory.

    Instead of saying most biologists think that ID is cuckoo so I do too, you could weigh in to whether information theory can tell us anything or not.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      You have not mentioned whether Lennoxes argument makes sense with your own logic, and are discounting people’s scientific arguments because they are also advocates of ID, and discounting quotes from non-advocates of ID because they themselves have not been convinced by the logic.

      Not in this post, but this is a blog, a continuing discussion of my views. If you’ve been reading this blog then you know that I’ve argued against Lennox from the start. ID, too. I don’t have time to return to first position every time I make a post.

      Just so we’re clear – most biologists think that ID is cuckoo so I do too.

      But it’s not just that. Did you read about the trial I mention? Watch the video? Acquaint yourself with the arguments? The scientists Lennox quotes attempted to shoehorn religion into the science classroom all across America with their self-proclaimed ‘wedge strategy’. I’m really curious about the timing of Lennox’s book, the failure of the Dover trial, and the lack of scientific evidence Lennox provides for anything except ID.

      Is this book a reaction against the new atheists? A reaction against the failure of ID to get into the science classroom? Or both?
      Did Lennox come to ID himself? Or was there contact between him and the ID scientists to produce such an apologetic for ID after Dover?

      Reply
  3. Marco

    Is this book a reaction against the new atheists? A reaction against the failure of ID to get into the science classroom? Or both?
    Did Lennox come to ID himself? Or was there contact between him and the ID scientists to produce such an apologetic for ID after Dover?

    You sound like a conspiracy theorist. I read the whole chapter without caring about *who* the people were that he was quoting. I was quite interested in the idea of “conservation of information” as a concept separately from its use as something in need of an explanation.

    I guess I believe that information, like matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed, and only changes form. I don’t think this helps us in the pursuit of where life comes from, or where information comes from. I think biologists tend to brush this off as a fantasy, as if information is something ethereal that can be generated ad infinitum through essentially random or combinatorial processes. What is information? Is a real question in terms of DNA and biology that demands research and study.

    But it’s not just that. Did you read about the trial I mention? Watch the video? Acquaint yourself with the arguments? The scientists Lennox quotes attempted to shoehorn religion into the science classroom all across America with their self-proclaimed ‘wedge strategy’. I’m really curious about the timing of Lennox’s book, the failure of the Dover trial, and the lack of scientific evidence Lennox provides for anything except ID

    What happens in America amuses me more than it concerns me. I don’t think that science would have suffered so much as the US would have been more of an object of ridicule and or shame amongst secularists.

    I think this book is all about the battle of ideas that have polarised around new atheism and ID in the US since 911.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      What happens in America amuses me more than it concerns me. I don’t think that science would have suffered so much as the US would have been more of an object of ridicule and or shame amongst secularists.

      I think this book is all about the battle of ideas that have polarised around new atheism and ID in the US since 911.

      The rise of an outspoken new atheism may well be a product of 911, which would make Lennox’s attempted rebuttal of it a product of that. But Lennox also undoubtably makes that defense of theism through ID and little else. What is also of interest is his opinion about the Dover trial which he airs more than once in this book. Lennox, a Briton, is very concerned about the outcome of a trial in America, a trial which can have no effect on law in his home country, but which may certainly effect the reception of ID.

      BTW, I was intending to sound like a conspiracy theorist. Were I to have more time I’d do a little research into this topic. I’d also be interest to know if Lennox is still in bed with ID.

      Reply
    2. Marco

      Getting back to the subject of the origin of information – Lennoxes arguments in this chapter are very heavily associated with ID, and also the other minority views such as Hoyle, Wickramasinghe etc. I get the distinct impression that this view on information gets discounted primarily because of this association rather than on its scientific merits. I think this association is unfortunate, because all the logical arguments for supernatural intelligent design, are valid for natural alien intelligent design.

      Reply

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