When we recently wrote Creationism and Vitalism, we didn’t imagine that there was anything left to say on the subject. But we misjudged the relentless prolixity of Answers in Genesis (AIG), described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. They just posted this article: What Is Life? The Biblical View (OB20).
Those digits at the end of their title are from some numbering system they use for topics in their creationist books (their latest article seems to be from one of those), and they also refer to other numbers throughout the article. It’s too much trouble to edit them out so we’ll leave them in place, but we don’t know what those numbers refer to, nor do we care. Okay, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Up to this point, we emphasized that information is an essential characteristic of life. The realization that information is an intellectual entity saves us from regarding life as purely mechanistic.
Yes, by asserting — utterly without evidence — that “information” is a characteristic of life, they are “saved” from thinking scientifically about the subject. In this instance, their word “information” is synonymous with Oogity Boogity! AIG’s little essay continues:
But the essentials of life have not yet been fully encompassed, as can immediately be realized from the following: At the moment of death, the totality of DNA information is still present in all the cells, but the operational and communication information has disappeared. It is thus clear that there is another crucial difference between living beings and dead organisms which cannot be found in the material domain.
The information is there, but the thing is nevertheless dead. The mystery deepens. Then they purport to quote Gilbert Ryle, a deceased British philosopher who believed in mind-body duality. They give no source or footnote, just his name. According to AIG, Ryle allegedly wrote:
Though the human body is an engine, it is not quite an ordinary engine, since some of its workings are governed by another engine inside it — this interior governor-engine being one of a very special sort. It is invisible, inaudible, and it has no size or weight. It cannot be taken to bits and the laws it obeys are not those known to ordinary engineers.
Oooooooh! The human body has a mysterious “interior governor-engine.” Isn’t this thrilling? Where else are you gonna learn this stuff? Let’s read on:
He has addressed the soul of man which is part of his non-material being (see also OB8). It cannot be tested physically or chemically, but reveals itself in the nature of man, particularly in his free will (discussed more fully in [G2, p. 190–194]). We have repeatedly emphasized that the origin of the non-material part of man can also be ascribed to the Creator.
It occurs to us that a dead chicken is also dead. Does it too have a soul? That must remain unanswered. We continue, and now it gets really exciting:
The following formulation can now be established along biblical lines:
Here comes their “formulation,” which is so important that we’ll put it in a box for emphasis:
How about that, huh? We told you this was exciting. Here’s the stunning conclusion:
This formula points beyond scientifically researchable possibilities. As a point of departure, the basic evolutionary assumptions E3 and E5 have thus proved to be false.
We confess that we have no idea what they’re talking about, but it sure does look impressive. Somewhere, in some creationist school, kids are studying this material. God help ’em!
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