This is part of a series of posts where I subscribe and respond to a widely advertised theistic educational course.

Throughout this week, during which I’ve been receiving emails from a theist educational course, I’ve been somewhat disappointed by the fact that a course that made such bold claims and purported to be so unique simply contained rehashes of well explored arguments.

Unfortunately, today is no different.  We’ve had God of the Gaps, we’ve had the Fine Tuned Universe and now we’ve got the “Information” argument. Unfortunately, this theistic education course simply appears to be a rehashing of existing, well debated themes.  Disappointing at best.  So what’s the crux of today’s argument?

…Messages are immaterial.  Information is itself a unique kind of entity.  It can be stored and transmitted and copied in many forms, but the meaning still stays the same… OK, so what does this have to do with God? …It is believed by some that life on planet earth arose accidentally from the “primordial soup,” the early ocean which produced enzymes and eventually RNA, DNA, and primitive cells…. …But there is still a problem with this theory: It fails to answer the question, ‘Where did the information come from?’…

Basically, the author is making the distinction between “matter” and “information”, and while, on the face of it, they seem to accept the Big Bang theory and evolution, they don’t believe it answers this arbitrary question.  But wait, there’s more.

I’ve addressed more than 100,000 people, including hostile, skeptical audiences who insist that life arose without the assistance of God. But to a person, none of them have ever been able to explain where the information came from.  This riddle is “So simple any child can understand; so complex, no atheist can solve.”

So it’s going to be quite a task to debunk this “riddle”, perhaps it’s beyond me.  On the other hand, one might suggest that many of the “100,000” “hostile, skeptical” audience members were too busy stifling laughter to give a proper response.  Either that, or his addresses were made prior to 1947, which is when Shannon’s “Information Theory” was published (it’s important to note that Shannon’s work is an enabler in this case).

The fact is, regardless of the particular slant you take on this argument, Dembski’s or Werner Gitt’s to name but two, the arguments are so malformed they are easy to dismiss. Without diving into Information Theory in too much depth, the problems with arguments from creationists are two fold.  Firstly, they either fail to define, or badly define, what they consider to be informaiton.  Dembski is guilty of this in particular, where he defines Information to be different from Information as defined by Shannon, yet still attempts to apply the same laws and rules.  The other problem for creationists is that even if they can somehow prove that information requires intelligence to exist, they cannot prove that the intelligence is a creator God as defined in their various holy books. Disproving the scientific opinion does not prove, or even validate, their own.

There’s a very interesting discussion of Shannon’s Information Theory and the various theistic arguments against it on the Talk Origins site.