Defining Terms: Specified Complexity

October 24, 2011

In my post about the Teleological Argument I used the term specified complexity.   I wanted to define it and give several examples of what is specified complexity and how can be used to show that design implies a designer.  It is one of the two main arguments for Intelligent Design (ID) the other being Irreducible Complexity, which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Specified Complexity  – Specified complexity is a property which can be observed in living things.  Specified complexity is present in a configuration when it can be described by a pattern that displays a large amount of independently specified information and is also complex.

A simple way of explaining it would be through a Shakespearean sonnet. William Dembski who is a Christian apologist put’s it this way; “A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet is both complex and specified.”  While it might be possible for a bunch of monkeys typing on a computer keyboard to type out a bunch of random letters, you would never assume that they would type out a bunch of words that formed a sentence, a sentence that made sense that also fit into a rhythmic pattern, and composed a larger poem that was understandable to read from start to finish.  The obvious choice is that it was designed that way.

Scientific atheists say that specified complexity is just an illusion of the eye, that it is really “just what occurs” within the transmittal of information in evolution.   They try to down play the idea of specified complexity by claiming that the complexity was already there in the previous DNA and just a copy of what has evolved over billions of years.   Richard Dawkins even tried a computer generated experiment with a type of evolutionary algorithm to try to show that a random program could churn out the following target sequence, a putative instance of specified complexity using 28 letters and spaces.

Beginning Sequence: WDL*MNLT*DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO*P
Target Sequence: METHINKS*IT*IS*LIKE*A*WEASEL

(1) WDL*MNLT*DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO*P

(2) WDLTMNLT*DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO*P

(10) MDLDMNLS*ITJISWHRZREZ*MECS*P

(20) MELDINLS*IT*ISWPRKE*Z*WECSEL .

(30) METHINGS*IT*ISWLIKE*B*WECSEL

(40) METHINKS*IT*IS*LIKE*I*WEASEL

(43) METHINKS*IT*IS*LIKE*A*WEASEL

Starting with the beginning sequence above Dawkins claimed success only after 43 times through the program.  A few of intermediate sequences can be seen above as well.  So you can follow the transformation of the sequence from start to finish.  Well, sounds like Dawkins silenced the (ID) creationists with his experiment right?  Wrong, what Dawkins actually did was show the indisputable fact that intelligence has a role in specified complexity.  Here is what we mean, who or what told the computer to try to reach the Target sequence above, where to put spaces between words, how to rearrange words in a sentence?  Dawkins did.  The computer simulation would not have been possible had not Dawkins give the basic algorithm for the computer to use to create the target sequence.   If you ask a scientific atheist where that evolutionary algorithm comes from, don’t expect an answer.

Now consider DNA that makes up our genetic code.  DNA is so much more complex than a Shakespearean sonnet or a 28 length sequence of letters.  Mapping the entire human genome would be the equivalent of 3-4 volumes of encyclopedias.  There are over 3.1 billion bits of information in the human genome.   The question is where did all this information come from?  It far more complex than any computer program that we have created.  Lastly, who programmed all this code into the human genome?  Darwinian evolution has no answers, but it looks more and more that intelligence was involved in the process.

As always questions, comments, and discussions welcome.


Why I believe Evolution is False

April 1, 2010

I will keep this short and spare you on some of the details.  If you would like the details I will be glad to send them to you or discuss them further.

Using the word FLAWED,  I would like to expound on 6 talking points that place a lot of doubt in Darwin’s theory of Evolution.  The idea came from Chris Sherrod, a friend and fellow student minister years ago.  Chris Sherrod also has written a chapter in the new book from Sean McDowell, called Apologetics for a New Generation.   I love using the acronym  and teaching it to students because of the ease of it to memorize. 

FOSSIL FALLACY – Darwin himself said that in order for the theory of evolution to hold weight that in order we must find proof in the fossils by what he called transitional fossils.  These are fossils that show us the process of evolution at work by finding fossils that are in transition from one form to the other.  Like half bird and lizard or also the half ape-man.  Well how many of these kinds of fossils have we found, Zero!!  Not one transitional fossil has been found yet and this throws great doubt on Darwin’s Theory.  Evolutionist have had to scramble around to try to find other theory’s to support their lack of evidence like “gap theory” which also brings more questions into the argument because it doesn’t fit the facts.

LAWS VIOLATED – In order for evolution to be true, it must break a few key laws of science.  The most important Law broken is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which states simply that over a period of time all complex systems go from a state of order to disorder.  That over time they breakdown and become less complicated.  Evolution states that everything we know came from a random “Big Bang” in the Universe and we slowly evolved into complex organisms over billions and billions of years.  Imagine taking all the parts of a wrist watch and placing them in a bag and shaking them up and they come together to form a nice new Rolex time piece.

Another Key law broken by evolution is the law of Biogenesis, which states that you can not create life from non-life.  Scientist have been trying this for decades and cannot break this law and create life in the laboratory but cannot.  You will never be able to get life from a granite molecule or life from other non-living matter.

The last law or principal is Cause and Effect.  Cause and Effect simply states that every effect has a cause.  similarly, every cause also is an effect of something else and also has a cause.   The cause is either a “what” or a “who”.  For example; what caused the vase to fall of the shelf?  The earthquake caused the vase to fall.  What caused the earthquake?  Was it the blasting of dynamite at the quarry next door or was it a real earthquake?  You can go on and on with layers of cause and effects.  What caused the earthquake?  Plate Tectonic movement, caused by the heat of the earths core, which is caused by the suns warming rays, etc…..  With respect to evolution, what caused the big bang that started the universe?  Even if you break matter down to its smallest form, to the sub-molecule level and start talking string theory and other new ideas, where did that come from?  Evolution has to answer 3 big bangs in reality not just 1.  The origin of matter, the origin of life, and the origin of conscience thought and a moral compass.

ABSENCE OF OBSERVATION – No one has ever saw evolution happen and there is no way to test it.  Let me point out the difference between Macro-evolution and Micro-evolution.  Macro evolution is the kind that Darwin wrote about.  It is the idea that we slowly evolved over billions of billions of years from a simple cell, primordial goo into fish and from fish to reptiles, from reptiles to birds and eventually other creations to primates to humans.  Micro-evolution also know as adaption is the faster process where in an organism, animal or plant change to adapt or survive from predators or climate.  We have seen and witnessed this process of micro-evolution, but this is not the same as Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Further more these adaptions have not gone from one species to another ie… snake to bird or fish to reptile.  Some examples of this, like the peppered-moth can be found in the section below under Erroneous examples.

WITHOUT A MECHANISM – Evolution has no purpose or reason.  Life cannot create itself and why would it desire to create itself for there is no reason behind all of the small details of the universe.  If there was life from the beginning, why would it need to evolve in the first place?  Why not just stay as the simple primordial ooze that it was.  We know that in nature there are mutations and with the process of Natural selection which we can see in nature, these mutations are harmful at best and most mutations  are eliminated by the process of natural selection and nature.

ERRONEOUS EXAMPLES – There have been many finding through out our history of so-called proof of evolution which have turned out to be false or cases where evolutionist thought or believed to be true without knowledge or fact.  Below are a few examples of many.

Peppered moth – got its name during the industrial revolution in England.  The moths were seen to change from a pure white color to a darker color and have spots that helped camouflage themselves from predators due to the rise of factories and smoke that came from them.  This is an example of microevolution and not macro-evolution.  Notice that the moth was still, a moth.  It didn’t change into a large bird or other species.  The process of Natural selection deems that the ones with spots were able to survive from predators better that the pure solid and lightly colored moths.  As the darker and spotted moths mated their kind and color began to increase as the others decreased.

The changes in the bone structure and skulls of people.  Much is made of height and other features, but in fact they are still human features not ape-men features.  Some finds have recently been under fire by scientist who believe that the few skeletal remains  found of curved or arched back bones were those of people who had a disease such as rickets.   We see people in our time today that have similar issues.

There are other examples such as the Archaeopteryx, Vestial Organs, Past ideas that fetuses had gills in utero, the list could go on but for the sake of time I will not.  Each had been thought of as further proof of evolution , but were found to be incorrect.

DESIGN & DNA – Can you imagine in all the evidence we have in the universe that it all was a random chance rather than a design set forth by a creator.  You can look at DNA and see the complex design and pattern of  life’s code.  DNA is some complex that it would make a computer program from Apple or Microsoft look like first grade math.  The DNA code in one single cell can hold as much information as the equivalent of 500 volumes of an encyclopedia.   The earth is finely turned to support life and if one detail of the earth was different in rotation, temperature, gravity, and etc…. Life would not be able to exist.  Try imagining a computer programing itself or a complicated invention like a watch or computer coming together all by itself.  Seems so crazy right, but if you don’t believe that God exist and created everything, then you have to believe that it all just is a random purposeless accident of chance.

I think it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God.  I really believe that the debate will go on for the next hundred and thousands of years without a single assurance that God created everything through a 6 day Biblical creation and the theory of evolution.  We may never know “for sure” to either side.   That’s when faith comes into play in the role of not having all the answers.  I hope that these points will cause you to think about what you do believe and why you believe it.  I will also follow-up this blog with another entry on why I do believe that there is a God in the near future.  As always I welcome your comments, questions, and opposing views.