What Mount Rushmore and DNA Have in Common

Creation Evolution Journal
Title: 
What Mount Rushmore and DNA Have in Common
Author(s): 
Norman L. Geisler
Volume: 
6
Number: 
1
Quarter: 
Winter
Page(s): 
39–40
Year: 
1986

This and the following articles are the continuation of a debate on the question of design in nature—a debate that began in issue XIII and has been continued in subsequent issues.

Certainly we would be delighted to discover that our evolutionist friends admit that the faces on Mount Rushmore had an intelligent primary cause because of the complex information they convey. But we would be surprised to hear them claim that the same kind of complex information found in DNA is as different as "apples and oranges." For Yockey showed that the kind of complex information in a human language and in DNA is "mathematically identical" (1981).

Indeed, a recent scientific critique of spontaneous generation scenarios of first life by Charles Thaxton, et al. (1984), demonstrates that the messages in DNA and human language both have the same specified complexity which is not found in crystals or other nonliving things. A crystal has only a simple, repeated message, such as:

"Faces   Faces   Faces   Faces."

But DNA has specified complexity in its message, such as:

"These are the faces of four famous American presidents."

Now it is our regular, uniform experience that specified complexity results from an intelligent cause. And regularity is the essential requirement of scientific understanding. Thus, positing an intelligent cause of the complex information in DNA qualifies as scientific.

- page 40 -

Nor does it help for evolutionists to appeal to RNA to explain how first life arose. For RNA also carries highly complex information which, like DNA, calls for an intelligent cause. Further, since there admittedly was no human intelligence before life arose, then it would be necessary for this intelligence to be superhuman. And if one adds to this evidence that the whole natural universe had a beginning (Jastrow, 1980), then there is no reason why this cause could not be a supernatural one. Certainly, to claim that positing a supernatural cause is "self contradictory" only reveals one's philosophical bias in favor of naturalism. It is not a requirement of a scientific approach to origins. Indeed, many scientists, including most of the founders of modern science—Kepler, Kelvin, Newton, et al.—considered the primary cause of origins to be a supernatural one.

Finally, would we believe it consistent with the scientific principle of uniformity if our evolutionist friends insisted that one must first establish at least one connection with a superhuman (or supernatural) cause before it would be proper to posit such a cause for the first living thing? Would they also insist that a connection must be established with at least one natural cause of a macroevolutionary change before they can legitimately believe there was one? Do not even many evolutionists believe that we could posit the existence of superintelligent beings in outer space upon the receipt of the very first short message from them (Sagan, 1979)? What then except a bias in favor of only naturalistic explanations would lead evolutionists to insist that an intelligent cause, like the ones known regularly to produce specified complexity in RNA and DNA, could not be a supernatural one?

Certainly the least that fair-minded observers will conclude is that uniform experience in the present informs us that the cause which is capable of producing the kind of specified complexity which is found in human language and in the DNA of living things could be an intelligent one. Thus, whatever unknown natural causes may yet be found capable of producing specified complexity in the first living cell will not diminish the regular, uniform, scientific observation that this can be done by intelligent intervention (manipulation). For future findings about unusual erosion processes will not diminish the credibility, based upon uniform experience, of positing an intelligent cause of Mount Rushmore. Thus we may conclude that there is positive evidence in the regular (uniform) connection between intelligent causes and complex information (specified complexity) to include creationist views in the realm of scientific speculations about origins.

References

Jastrow, Robert. 1980. God and the Astronomers (New York: Warner Books).

Sagan, Carl. 1979. Broca's Brain (New York: Random House), p. 275.

Yockey, Hubert P. 1981. "Self Organization Origin of Life Scenarios and Information Theory." Journal of Theoretical Biology, 91.

About the Author(s): 
Dr. Norman Geisler teaches in the Department of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has written numerous books on theological subjects and testified in support of the Arkansas creationism law in 1981.
© 1986 by Norman L. Geisler
This version might differ slightly from the print publication.