Assumptions, Part 4

Nick Rogers responded to my post over at the Religious Dispatches article “Atheist Monument: Proof of Unintelligent Design” and, much to my surprise, he gave it his best shot. Too bad he’s not very good.

According to Nick, his best evidence is DNA.

Here’s my response (his post quoted in italics):


That’s your evidence? DNA, so therefore god?

Every single point of your whole post has been thoroughly debunked by Talk Origins and Panda’s Thumb.

But I’ll give it a stab.

“It can be configured an infinite number of ways…it contains the blueprint of all organic life in potencia…but it itself does not “Evolve”. To the best of my knowledge, this is scientific fact.”

Actually, there is scientific consensus that DNA did evolve from RNA and that early life on the planet consisted of an RNA world. Maybe you should spend some time actually learning science.

“I am going to point blank assert”

And this is the point you fail. Blind assertions aren’t enough. I don’t and won’t accept your blind assertion.

“that it is simply beyond the realm of the materialistic universe to account for this seminal material, this “code” (A striking use of language, considering the obvious link between codes and coders IE. god in this case).”

So, because you can’t conceive of DNA developing on it’s own, then god?

That is the classic definition of an Argument from Ignorance fallacy (see Talk Origins FAQ CA100). Feel free to further educate yourself on that fallacy.

And the argument that DNA is a computer code or language is a non-starter (feel free to look up Talk Origins FAQ CB180). You have nothing to support that blind assertion of yours except that’s what you believe. Well, frankly, I don’t accept that. I’d rather see an “I don’t know” than a lie because it makes you feel better.

“My evidence is that is impossible that such a genetic code, not completely unlike what we might use to direct the behavior of “Organisms” inside a virtual computer world, could possibly come to exist in a universe that existed simply by itself with no rational consciousness at to the root of its being.”

Impossible, so therefore god? Another fallacy: Argument from Personal Incredulity. So I’m glad you know what is possible and impossible (see Talk Origins FAQ CB010 and CF003).

Amino acids that are the basis for DNA have been created in the laboratory (see Talk Origins FAQ CB025 and CB035.3)

Just because science doesn’t know yet, doesn’t mean it will never know. And even if it never figures it out, “I don’t know” is a better answer than “goddit.”

“If you respond by saying “You are simply taking a phenomena and asserting a creator God beacuse science cannot currently explain it” I would simply respond by saying that your conception of the phenomena is wrong.”

No, you are wrong. “DNA therefore god” is an unviable assertion. Saying instead “DNA, don’t know how” is more honest and direct. It is OK to say “I don’t know.” On the other hand, it is not OK to assert “goddit” when you don’t have any evidence to support that assertion.

“We have absolutely no precedent in all of recorded scientific observation for inanimate matter, blind, dumb and without consciousness, to spontaneously organize itself into something that is alive.”

We have plenty of precedence. Plants (living material) take sunlight (non-living), water (non-living) and soil minerals (non-living) and use those items to grow the plant. If that isn’t an example of non-living material becoming part of living material, I don’t know what is.

Additionally, an argument that life only comes from life is equally a non-starter (see Talk Origins FAQ CB000).

We also have plenty of examples of complexity in due to random, physical forces. The formation of driftwood on a beach is complex, yet known physical forces (waves) created that complex structure.

And regardless whether we have any precedence or not, your argument of “DNA, therefore god” is just an Argument from Ignorance.

“The incredible disparity between animate and inanimate matter, between unconscious dumb rocks and thinking organisms, no matter how primitive, is so vast that I find that there are only two possible explanations. That it (DNA and associated organic material) was present in the Universe from the git go, which raises a number of specific points which point to a creator God, or DNA and its associated organic material were implanted somewhere in the Universe in an action on the part of some intelligent being.”

Please look up another fallacy called False Dilemma (also known as false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation or the black-or-white fallacy). How do you know there are only two possible explanations? You’re just making it up.

First, according to astronomy (including Big Bang cosmology) and physics, DNA can’t have been present at the beginning of the universe. Which reduces your argument to a single cause — another fallacy: Fallacy of the Single Cause (causal oversimplification).

Second, “DNA, therefore goddit” isn’t an explanation, it’s a cop-out. It’s “I can’t believe something so therefore, the only explanation is the one I’m personally comfortable with.”

“Now, all of this hardly points to the Christian God. It only points to an “intelligence”. So many of my notions about God necessarily come from other things which I would be happy to discuss with you once we clear the basic problem out of the way.”

None of this points to any god, much less your Xian god. It only points to an intelligence if one accepts your blind assertion (which I don’t). The only honest conclusion instead is “I don’t know.” (see Talk Origins FAQ CI100, CI100.1, and CI101)

Wonder what he’ll say next?