Monday, September 05, 2005

Too much information

The biggest breakthrough I've had so far came when I pondered a relatively simple question: what is information?

One of the professors interviewed in Lee Strobel's The Case for the Creator made the point that we intuitively understand that information always comes from intelligence. No reasonable person would try to argue otherwise. If you suggested that the Rosetta stone was formed by erosion or that a billboard just naturally formed alongside the highway, people would not only laugh at you but probably question your sanity.

The more I thought about it the more solidly I was convinced that I believe that information always comes from intelligence, with no exceptions.

Around the same time I started reading up on DNA -- I managed to get out of taking biology in both high school and college so I didn't know much about it. The more I read, the more striking it became: this is information. And it makes sense. How else can a being replicate itself but with information?

When I put those two ideas together is the first time I truly believed in some sort of God. To get my son from a couple of cells at the moment of conception to the toddler who just grabbed my mouse and threw it in the trash must require information (and a lot of it).

My father always explained to me that people created belief in God because they couldn't figure out any better explanations for why things happened. They didn't know why the stars existed or how mountains formed, so they attributed it to some sort of supernatural being for lack of anything better to think. When I started exploring religion I assumed that if I came to believe in God it would be along similar lines of thought, a sort of, "well, I can't think of anything better so I guess I'll just go with the 'ol God theory."

But this changes things. I don't believe that life was created by intelligence because I'm grasping at straws. I believe that intelligence is behind DNA for the same reason I believe that intelligence (using the term loosely) is behind that Bud Lite billboard I pass on my way to the store every day: it's information.

As I've said in other posts, I think I'm most of the way there intellectually. Surprisingly, that part of it just fell into place almost immediately once I started exploring the subject. But I have yet to make much progress emotionally, and that promises to be the hardest part.

4 Comments:

At September 06, 2005 4:11 PM, Anonymous Steve G. said...

Hi Jennifer,
Unrelated to the post, but wasn't sure how else to address the question I believe you posed to Frank on RA's site. Here is a decent discussion from one of my favorite Catholic bloggers (Mark Shea)....
http://www.markshea.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_markshea_archive.html#112598020284396528
....which is continued here...
http://www.markshea.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_markshea_archive.html#112598020284396528
...Just didn't want to get into this one with the folks over there, but thought you might be interested in his thoughts.

 
At September 06, 2005 4:17 PM, Anonymous Steve G. said...

sorry bout the funky links. I thought they would convert automatically. Here ya go...

post 1
post 2

 
At September 07, 2005 10:09 AM, Anonymous Steve G. said...

You are probably going to get sick of me, but I figured I'd keep passing resources as I find them. Here is the blog site of Jeff Miller. His profile reads...

A former atheist who after spending forty years in the wilderness finds himself with both astonishment and joy a member of the Catholic Church. This blog presents my hopefully humorous and sometimes serious take on things religious, political, and whatever else crosses my mind.

...I thought it might interest you as it seems to have some overlap with your situation. Here's a snippet from his conversion story...

I wish that my conversion had been as sudden as Saul’s blinding light, but my new thoughts only percolated slowly in my mind and brought me to a general theism. I believed there was a God, and I had no idea what I should do about that information. I knew that I should be going to a church. It would be difficult to find someone as ignorant about Christianity as I was. I knew there were different churches and I had no idea what might be the difference between a Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon church.

 
At September 07, 2005 10:46 AM, Anonymous Sara said...

I really enjoyed reading about your research. Did you read a specific book on DNA or just various sources? I'd be interested in reading them if you are able to post them here. I've always found the subject fascinating (sp?) as I agree with your conclusion.

 

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