You know about the magical phenomon the Discovery Institute refers to as information. We discussed it in Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Ol’ Hambo likes it — see AIG: Information and the Micro-Macro Mambo — but he attributes it to Yahweh, not the Discoveroids’ designer. Yahweh and the designer are the same, of course, but the Discoveroids claim their designer — blessed be he! — is something different, revealed to them by their peculiar science.
Anyway, the Discoveroids are defending their “science” today in Is There Information in Saturn’s Rings? It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this].
Referring to the question in his title he begins:
Or in a rock? Or a snowflake? This is a common contention from ID critics — that natural, physical objects like these contain information, and they require no recourse to an explanation involving intelligent design. So that means the information in DNA can be explained as the product of purely physical processes, too.
We’ve raised the same objection, so it’ll be interesting to see how Klinghoffer handles this. He says:
In fact I heard this point again in reviewing the Meyer-Krauss-Lamoureux debate in Toronto, referred to the other day by Evolution News [link to the Discoveroids’ blog omitted]. In one of the dramatic debate’s more ho-hum moments, atheist Lawrence Krauss tried to fight back against Stephen Meyer by pointing to the information in snowflakes. Was he correct to do?
Watch carefully, dear reader, as Klinghoffer skillfully deals with the issue. He tells us:
On a new ID the Future episode [Whoopie!], engineer Eric Anderson talks with host and science historian Mike Keas about the challenge. They consider the example of the Saturn and its rings. To describe the rings would entail a great deal of information. Right? Anderson makes the great point that design critics habitually conflate two kinds of information. There is information about a physical object – which an astronomer or astronaut could generate with his instruments and observations. And there is information contained within an object, as in DNA, or a newspaper, book, or other carefully composed or coded text.
Did you follow that? There are two kinds of information — that which we observe about an object and that which is miraculously embedded within an object. Wow — this is complicated! He elaborates:
These are different things. The information about Saturn’s rings does not exist until someone, with his intelligence and intelligently designed instruments, comes along and generates it. By contrast, the information residing in DNA was already there before anyone knew a thing about it. Good conversation. You can listen to it here [link omitted].
Someone needs to explain to your Curmudgeon how the information we observe about Saturn’s rings wasn’t already present within those rings before we observed it. Anyway, let’s read on:
As a side point, this makes me think of something else. I just reread the Arthur C. Clarke novel 2001: A Space Odyssey …The alien monolith that is their object, on one of Saturn’s moons, makes a thought-provoking contrast with the planet’s spectacular rings. … As soon it’s found [the monolith], everyone understands at once that it’s not a naturally occurring thing. No one thinks the same of Saturn’s rings … . There is no information there. The point is that, in this imaginative story, we immediately understand the difference between the designed monolith and the undersigned rings.
[*Groan*] Klinghoffer’s post dribbles on a bit, but he doesn’t say much else. So what did we learn? You may see it differently, but it seems to us that the Discoveroids are in a state of total intellectual collapse. If we missed something, let us know.
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