Upright Biped Explains Emergence
|February 22, 2010||Posted by Barry Arrington under Intelligent Design|
In a comment to a prior post Tom quotes a Darwinist article regarding the source of information at the origin of life: “The idea is to give them enough information wherewithal [genetic building blocks] so they can start inventing their own solutions rather than just optimizing existing solutions,”
To which Tom responds:
The key word here is information. The key issue is how does a philosophy (naturalism) explain the existence of information within the confines of its explanatory resources? Since the very definition of naturalism includes the idea that the universe is causally closed (that is all causes ultimately resolve in physical laws – NOT mind) and therefore that the laws of physics ONLY have explanatory power, how then do they account for information?
They cannot. Information requires language. All languages are comprised of symbols and rules for the arrangement of those symbols. It is impossible to have information apart from a language. It is equally impossible for the laws of physics to explain either symbols or the rules that govern the use of those symbols. Therefore, naturalism can never, ever, explain information, and thus life. When darwinism succumbs to the next naturalist explanation of life (evo-devo or whatever) the new explanation will face the same insurmountable challenge. How to explain information in terms of physics and time? The game is over but we seem to still be playing. Why is that? I think it must be rebellion against Reason.
To which Upright Biped replies (tongue in cheek)
Emergence, Tom. Emergence.
Information is an emergent property of matter. Mind is an emergent property of matter. Free will is an emergent property of matter. Irreducible complexity is an emergent property of matter. Specification is an emergent property of matter. Semiosis is an emergent property of matter. Homeostasis is an emergent property of matter. Functionality is an emergent property of matter. Discontinuous coordination is an emergent property of matter. Algorithms are an emergent property of matter.
Now, exactly how this all happens, no one has even a conceptual clue, but that is precisly the beauty of its explanatory power.
Emergence is an emergent property of matter.
It’s just the kind of powerful empiricism that the unsophisticated God-of-the-Gaps crowd is literally too dense to appreciate.
Both Tom and Upright are, of course, correct. The search for a materialist source of information is futile. Undirected natural processes do not have the “right stuff” to generate the complex specified information necessary for life to exist. And the materialists’ increasingly frequent resort to the concept of “emergence” is laughable. Emergence = Materialist miracle. See my “Materialist Poofery” http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/materialist-poofery/ for an extended discussion on the topic.
Bottom line: When materialists resort to “magic” by another name, we need to call them on it.