Step 6: Choose to Believe In An Intelligence Beyond Nature

Recall that in Step 5, Part 2, we asked the question about where codes come from? What, for example, causes a computer code to come into being with instructions to purposefully do something to some material object? From what do computer codes originate? More importantly, from what might DNA codes originate?

Imagine if instead of writing On the Origin of Species, Darwin had written a book entitled, On the Origin of Codes.

Imagine if you were tasked with explaining why there are codes on earth. What would you say? Where do codes come from?

Forget evolution for a moment. Think about what makes a code a code, rather than an unintelligible mess of random symbols. The letters you are reading right now are symbols arranged into a coded statement. If you can read this post, you just happen to have learned to de-code the message; many around the world can’t. And they can produce coded statements that we cannot de-code.

We are surrounded by coded messages, some of which we understand, and others we don’t. But we never, ever, have the thought that the coded messages we come across arose by random natural forces of nature.

FIGURE 1: Examples of Codes Found on Earth

Where did the letters, marks, or symbols of any of the coded messages above come from? How were the letters, marks, or symbols chosen, selected, arranged, and edited?

Is there anything in nature that could have performed the choosing, selecting, arranging, and editing of the letters of this sentence that you are reading, or the sentences above and below? Consider every natural law and force you can think of: gravity, magnetism, the Laws of Thermodynamics, electric force, force fields?

For the technically minded, we can reduce our options for coding in nature to the four observed fundamental interactions in nature (also known as the fundamental forces). These four forces form the basis of all known interactions in nature: gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces.

Aside from intelligent manipulation, can any of nature’s forces acting alone or interacting in combination produce the writing that you are reading right now?

Now consider the immensely more complex DNA coded instructions inside every human being, the hardware that executes in coded software to instruct how to construct a human being and nothing else.

Absent intelligent direction, there is no natural cause in nature that is known to create any of the coded sequences shown in FIGURE 1 above. The only thing in nature that we experience first-hand creating coded information is humans, and humans use intelligence emanating from their minds. Recall the excellent discussion in Step 5, Part 2 from Stanford University’s CS101 course: It takes a programmer to program coded instructions. And, as the scientists at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)[i] know, any coded information in nature not created by humans must nevertheless been coded as such by an intelligence, and, as their very name also affirms, likely extra-terrestrially.

Consider again your information-packed, precisely coded human DNA hardware that includes all the software instructions to build you uniquely. For argument’s sake let us grant that evolutionary processes constructed our human DNA code step-by-step from a first simple DNA code in a primitive organism. That is, let’s assume evolution operates by randomly re-programming the DNA code for a first living organism. We are still left to inquire about the origin of that first DNA molecule (the hardware) with the first coded instructions (the software) executing specified informations to build that first living organism.

Because there is no known cause to naturally create in nature a physical DNA code, we are left with one reasonable, viable option: a creative intelligence that transcends nature. We can reasonably infer that an intelligence that transcends nature exists in reality as we know it.

Based on the material evidence observed in nature it seems that it would be unreasonable to reject any causal inquiries into an intelligence beyond nature creating coded information found in every member of the human species.

Note that there are naturalistic explanations proposed for that first DNA-encoded instruction set on Earth. For example, no less an organization than NASA has entertained the theory of panspermia, the idea that life on Earth was “seeded” from life elsewhere in the universe. NASA takes this idea seriously in a feature story entitled In Search of Panspermia, a portion of which is reproduced below for your information. Recognizing the same problem facing us—the causal origin of coded instructions in biological structures—they write:

When scientists approach the question of how life began on Earth, or elsewhere, their efforts generally involve attempts to understand how non-biological molecules bonded, became increasingly complex, and eventually reached the point where they could replicate or could use sources of energy to make things happen. Ultimately, of course, life needed both.[ii]

And, while recognizing the extreme difficulty with this line of inquiry, they continue:

So what else, from a scientific as opposed to a religious perspective, might have set into motion the process that made life out of non-life?

One long considered yet generally quickly dismissed answer is getting new attention and a little more respect. It invokes panspermia, the sharing of life via meteorites from one planet to another, or delivery by comet. [iii]

Note that the “scientific” perspective here is a view limited by and beholden to a naturalistic philosophy. But more importantly, explanations involving panspermia do nothing to explain any natural causes for the first meteorite-borne life form.

On the same note, let us consider a related theory called “directed panspermia.” Directed panspermia was put forth in 1973 by Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the very explanation-defying DNA molecule that needs explaining. Crick understood the impossibility of DNA arising naturally on Earth. He was, however, philosophically bound to reject non-natural causes, including an intelligence beyond his view of nature. Crick, therefore, proposed in a scientific paper the theory that living organisms were deliberately transmitted to Earth by spaceships sent from intelligent beings on another planet.[iv] Some people conjecture that directed panspermia may have been “pursued by an advanced civilization facing catastrophic annihilation, or hoping to terraform planets for later colonization.”[v]

Theorizing about the origin of DNA, Crick’s philosophical constraints—like those of all naturalists—forced him to entertain evidence-free conjecture. What is demonstrated here is one’s science being forced into service as subservient to a closed philosophy.

Here we consider whether to deem it reasonable to believe that an intelligence beyond nature created the human species. It seems that it is reasonable to believe that the DNA coded instructions in the human genome—and, indeed, in all living organisms—are the creation of an intelligence beyond nature, including the material universe.

Interestingly, the same observational science leads us to the same critical inquiry addressed by Crick and others like him. Our widely divergent proposed explanations arise due merely to the ethereal divide of philosophy. Remember, one’s philosophical starting point dictates one’s range of explanatory ending points.

Thus, not being bound by the artificial constraints of a closed philosophy, we affirm that it is reasonable to infer from the material evidence in nature the existence of an intelligence beyond nature.

 


[i] https://www.seti.org/.

[ii] NASA on Panspermia (https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/news/in-search-of-panspermia/).

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] See, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0019103573901103.

[v] Panspermia-Theory. Com (https://www.panspermia-theory.com/panspermia-theories/directed-panspermia).