I came here because I've been questioning my personal religious beliefs. I have already thrown out the specific religion I belong to as being false. I am starting to find evidence that the whole family of religions it belongs to is based on a lie as well.
I understand that religion has no place in a scientific discussion. I just wanted to explain the reason why I came here. And the fact that I'm not married to any particular belief system, and am looking at everything with newly skeptical eyes.
When I was religious, I believed in Intelligent Design. My faith made it an attractive proposition. More than that, though, I could not see the logic behind evolution. Order arising from chaos without an intelligent mind to guide it? Where is that seen in our world? How often, over what duration and on what scale? Is it really the likeliest explanation?
I considered the informational content of the genome to be the ultimate evidence. At the macroscopic level, natural selection produces new biological innovation. But at the genetic level, it's just accumulated copying errors, like scratches on a CD. One can't write a new program from scratch by recording static. Right?
That's what I thought. But I wanted to be sure. A lot of very intelligent people believe that it's just a fallacy. After finding out the myths behind my cherished belief systems -- discoveries made this last month, which have shaken me to my core -- I needed to know whether or not this was true. So I decided to read the discussions again. That's how I found this thread.
I have to say a lot of it's over my head. Because of that, it probably won't surprise anyone that
I'm still convinced of intelligent design. I read RAZD's first few posts. He did two things that convinced me of it:
First, he conflated the physical expression of the genome -- observable biological features -- with the informational content thereof. I'm not convinced this is the correct way of looking at it. Signal loss and copying errors produce biological innovation, but they're still just random errors. Randomness, by definition, involves the increase of entropy in a system, however fit the bearer of that informational system is to survive in its world.
As near as I can tell, evolution is wearing down the genome, which means that there may have been a "Big Bang"-style influx of information. I've tried to listen to "reason," but I'm not sure what makes this idea so controversial, or how it's any more unscientific than the Big Bang itself -- the Big Bang being the foundation of modern cosmology. Although I guess that being a programmer means I have a different perspective than most on the relationship between data and storage media.
The second thing was his attitude. I don't want to call names or go any farther than that. I just want to say that if it appears that somebody's ego is invested in defending a particular position, that's going to speak a lot louder to me than any words that they use. It really is.
So I think that I've made up my mind about this, but if there's something I'm missing then please let me know. Sorry to distract / interrupt, and to probably rehash old arguments. I'm really not trying to troll. I'm just trying to gain peace and closure by presenting my ideas to others for critique.
Yes; I know that's how evolution works. I'm not arguing with that at all (I'm not even really trying to argue!). I agree 100%, and I think you for your kind response.
I think you're missing what seems to me obvious, though (either that or I'm very deluded): The DNA molecule is not just an organic compound, but an informational storage medium. Because the genome can be transcribed onto other media (other molecules; modern computers) with minimal loss in signal.
I don't deny that this loss in signal is how profound biological innovation comes about, or that out of the numerous creatures to whom it proves harmful some of them are "blessed" with the ability to survive and reproduce in their environments. I just see the biological and informational processes separately.
The organism adapts to its environment;
The genome degrades and wears away.
I've discussed this before with others, and only ever received the same response: Dismissing the informational content of the genome, and concentrating solely on biological innovation as the measure of evolution. RAZD's (second?) post even suggested that biological innovation equals new informational content, when -- as I understand it -- it's really just line noise that happens to produce a beneficial result for the organism which carries it. Unlike the many other mutations that have no effect, or even a detrimental one.
I may be unique in seeing the genome as equivalent to a computer program. If this premise could be falsified (in a way that respects how information and matter differ) I'd like to hear it. Again, thank you for your response, as I'm very glad for the help.