Creationist Wisdom #152: Information = Spirit

WE just had an astounding insight about creationism, dear reader, and we want to tell you about it. The understanding burst upon us while reading a letter-to-the-editor titled Plenty of evidence to support God’s existence, just consider our reality, which appears in the Gilroy Dispatch, published in Gilroy, California. According to Wikipedia:

Gilroy is well known for its garlic crop and for the Gilroy Garlic Festival which occurs annually, featuring various garlicky foods including garlic ice cream. Gilroy also produces mushrooms in considerable quantity. Gilroy’s nickname is “Garlic Capital of the World” …

If you click over to the paper, this letter is the second one at that link, so you’ll have to scroll down to find it. We’ll copy most of today’s letter, but we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. We’ll also add some bold for emphasis, plus our usual Curmudgeonly commentary between paragraphs. Here we go:

Marc Perkel writes in a Sept. 7th letter, that there is no evidence for God’s existence.

He probably refers to this: No evidence for God’s existence, so why are the religious people upset?, but it’s not necessary that you read it in order to appreciate today’s letter, to which we now return:

Not so!! Evidence of intelligent design is everywhere. At the university, I majored in geology and physics. The rule was that matter and energy were the sole elements of the earth. One could not create matter, nor could one create energy. However, one could change energy into matter, or change matter into energy. A good example is to burn a log in a fire (that’s matter) and create energy – the radiant heat from the fire.

So far, the letter-writer hasn’t provided us with any evidence of intelligent design. Let’s read on:

To create matter from energy is more complicated. All energy comes from the sun. All green leaves on plants have the ability of photosynthesis. There is in the leaf a molecule called chlorophyll that has the ability, using energy from the sun, to combine nitrogen from the soil with water and carbon dioxide from the air to create a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of all vegetation.

Everybody knows about photosynthesis. We came here for evidence of intelligent design! Let’s continue:

How does the molecule chlorophyll know just how much nitrogen to blend with the carbon dioxide to make the carbohydrate? The guide to that ability of the molecule to correctly combine the elements is know [sic] as “information.”

Huh? Whaaa? Here’s more:

Science now recognizes that there is not only matter and energy, but also information necessary on this earth for life. Information is not created through evolution. It is a force guiding the chemical reactions of photosynthesis – the basis of all our food.

Aaaah! Now we see it. The universe is matter, energy and … information! That’s when it hit us, dear reader. “Information” is the new word for the theological concept of “spirit.” Like spirit, information is invisible, omnipresent, essential, mysterious, etc. Make the linguistic swap and suddenly you’re talking like the most brilliant intelligent design advocate. This is great!

Moving along in the letter:

Science recognizes the force for development and the order but dare not call that force the God of Israel.

Yes. It’s the dogma that dare not speak its name. Another excerpt:

There is, in addition to photosynthesis, many other examples of “information” in nature. The monarch butterfly flies thousands of miles in an accurate course to its birthplace – a flight never flown before. How is it guided? It has the information in its brain, but who put it there? I quote from the Bible from Romans, chapter 1, verse 20: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”

Information, information, information … Gotta keep repeating that. Okay. Got it! And now we come to the end:

Lastly, I would quote King Solomon from the book of Ecclesiastes: “Only a fool says in his heart that there is no God.”

[Writer’s name and city can be seen in the original.]

There you are, dear reader. You’re finally equipped to go forth with a full understanding of the intelligent design movement: Information is the new word for spirit. We learned it from the “Garlic Capital of the World,” and you learned it from your humble Curmudgeon.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #152: Information = Spirit

  1. Maybe the author should stick to garlic farming. Information is created by mutation of DNA; evolution by natural selection is the change over time in that information. Other genetic processes such as gene duplication can also create information. OK, the author will probably counter that someone had to create the first DNA sequences. We know that nucleic acid sequences (i.e. DNA and RNA) can be created randomly in the test tube and then selection (in the test tube) can lead to the origin of functional sequences (i.e. sequences capable of self-replication). Furthermore, carbon dioxide and nitrogen are not blended to create carbohydrate. There is no nitrogen in carbohydrates. Nitrogen is found in proteins and DNA and RNA.

  2. Marc writes: “However, one could change energy into matter, or change matter into energy. A good example is to burn a log in a fire (that’s matter) and create energy – the radiant heat from the fire.”

    The writer demonstrates a 17th century understanding of combustion here, so I guess it is not surprising he is easily duped into believing this information woo. The matter is not changed into energy when you burn a log – only nuclear fission or fusion can accomplish that. Burning just rearranges the atoms and the energy released is the difference in bond energies before and after.

    Information is just a concept we invented to analyze the arrangements and patterns found in molecular assemblies (or any assembly, such as words and numbers). Saying that information is a force that guides the formation of the assembly of biomolecules it is kind of like saying that “pi” permeates the universe and is a force that guides the formation of circles.

  3. Carson says:

    … “pi” permeates the universe and is a force that guides the formation of circles.

    Yes! Oh yes!
    /discoveroid mode

  4. “Science recognizes the force for development and the order but dare not call that force the God of Israel.”

    Really? I thought it was the IDers who dared not. Isn’t that why they call it “Intelligent Design” instead of divine creationism?

    It’s the dishonesty that really bothers me. If one’s faith depends on Poof! Man! Woman! Talking snake!…fine. It doesn’t pick my pocket. But, at least be honest about it. Don’t dress it up in sheep’s clothing and try to force others to believe in it. Bah! There really are those of us who are Theists, believe in Creation, and don’t get bogged down in unimportant details when we believe that the Creator left us so much evidence in the world around us and so many wonders to discover. Why do they have to keep making stuff up?

  5. “Gilroy also produces mushrooms in considerable quantity.”

    The jokes write themselves from here.

  6. To modify Biokid’s suggestion along the lines of Sy’s hint; maybe the author should stick to mushroom farming, for he clearly has an abundance of manure to feed them.

    As for Information = Spirit, make mine Shannon Spirit.

  7. Aside from the absurdities of photosynthesis involving combinations of nitrogen with CO2, the “information” woo is sort of the latest permutation of ID. I don’t know why they didn’t just jump to “quantum information,” or “quantum spirit” or some such nonsense, but apparently Stephen Meyer is now the prophet of information in biology. From his website:

    Meyer is developing a more fundamental argument for intelligent design that is based not on a single feature like the bacterial flagellum, but rather on a pervasive feature of all living systems. Alongside matter and energy, Dr. Meyer shows that there is a third fundamental entity in the universe needed for life: information.

    http://www.stephencmeyer.org/

    You know, because journals like Bioinformatics had no idea that information was important to life.

    He really does write in his book as though information is a mysterious entity coming only from minds, and not from any lowly “materialistic processes.” The “magic mind” idea is rampant in ID, one of the clearest indicators of ID’s religiosity, but apparently the magic information idea is the latest means of pushing the magic mind dogma of IDists.

    It’s really quite another world in there. The letter writer is merely following the lead of his favorite woo-meisters, both in rampant ignorance about biology, and in believing that information is something mysterious and unaccounted for in the usual science–and thus something calling for ID to account for it.

  8. Glen Davidson says:

    He [Stephen Meyer] really does write in his book as though information is a mysterious entity coming only from minds, and not from any lowly “materialistic processes.”

    So what’s the Discoveroids’ current opinion of the Designer? Does he flit around like Tinkerbell, sprinkling information everywhere like pixie dust?

  9. So, if we accept that the “information” encoded in DNA is supernatural in origin, and there is a designer responsible, then what do we know about that designer? Let’s see, it took the designer 4.5 billion years to come up with the current ecosystem, and he did it through a process of developing very basic forms of life, letting them form an ecosystem, then “tweaking” for billions of years, regularly updating forms, deleting the ones that no longer work in the new ecosystem, but never poofing into existence a completely new design. Sort of like Windows. So we have a designer that works in such a way as to replicate what would have happened if life simply evolved. Why? Do any of the IDiots ever address that question? If there is a designer, why can’t he/she/it come up with something new and original once in a while?

    Obviously the letter writer never took a biology class, but even so, don’t these people ever think about the implications of their ideas?

  10. He claims to have majored in physics, yet claims a log fire works by the conversion of the log’s matter into energy. I sense someone who either didn’t graduate from high school or went to some Jesus camp degree mill.

  11. cnocspeireag says:

    He claims to have majored in physics, yet …

    Nevertheless, he has identified the triune nature of the universe — matter, energy, and spirit information.

  12. Garlic capital of the world. Garlic ice cream.

    At last, we have a vampire free refuge to hide out in when they take over the world.

    I wonder if zombies like garlic?

  13. Tundra Boy asks: “I wonder if zombies like garlic?”

    I donno, but according to Wikipedia, at their annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, a Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen is crowned.

  14. So what’s the Discoveroids’ current opinion of the Designer? Does he flit around like Tinkerbell, sprinkling information everywhere like pixie dust?

    Ewww, I got some information on me…

  15. From the letter: “How does the molecule chlorophyll know just how much nitrogen to blend with the carbon dioxide to make the carbohydrate?”

    Why, intelligent electrons, of course:
    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/e7e04cbdee3b76f2?hl=en.

  16. Benjamin Franklin

    Garlic ice cream is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for toppings and the fruit of the Maraschino.
    – BenandJeramiah chapter 1, verse 31

  17. I grew up in Gilroy’s neighboring town of Morgan Hill (Mushroom Capital of the World and home to the Mushroom Mardi Gras) . I never did think the people of Gilroy were all that bright. Now I have some confirmation. On another note the Gilroy Dispatch was locally known as the “Dogpatch”.

  18. Benjamin Franklin: “Garlic ice cream is abomination before the Lord.”

    Then the Lord must be cruel. He says “go forth and multiply” then creates midnight cravings for such abominations. 😉