Friday, March 16, 2007

Designed to Evolve

Evolution was supposed to do away with the concept of design, or at least explain how to get the appearance of design for free without intelligence, but how could evolution itself be anything other than designed?

The relevant question is: “Do replicating information processors (life) have to be programmed with the ability to evolve in order to evolve or is evolution a necessary result of a replicating information processor?” If life has to be programmed with the ability to evolve, then evolution is not an accidental byproduct of life, however, if life has no choice but to evolve – if the law of evolution is a necessary result or effect of the program of life – then evolution is only accidental if life is accidental. Furthermore, if the program of life harnesses, or directs evolutionary processes in any way, then evolution is not completely random. Instead it would be programmed to occur by the laws that result from the initial conditions of the system of life. So, in order to discover if the law of evolution is ultimately accidental, we should look into whether or not its cause -- the program of life -- is accidental. So, where does the system of life come from? This is where the cause of abiogenesis comes into play.

If life is a biological replicating information processor, then abiogenesis is obviously the creation of replicating biomolecules which form a system of information storage and information processing. Evolution itself has nothing to do with this process, as I have explained in "A Summary."

Science attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws, but where do laws come from? Laws are always seen to arise from a program with information at its base. For example, the information and its processor which creates a computer program also creates the laws within that program, just as the genetic information within life creates the laws of life. So, it is scientifically verified that laws arise
from information processors, however there are no examples nor is there any logical or scientific inference behind the idea of laws giving rise to information processors without intelligent programming. "A Summary" and these three posts are my arguments as to why that is the case. Information comes before law and isn’t defined by law, yet is defined by its compatible information processor which has always been seen to be the result of teleological programming.

If the creation of replicating information processors can be the result of random, accidental occurrences, then the laws of evolution that result from life are also accidental, as are the laws of life itself, the laws of protein folding, the laws of genetics, the laws of reason, the laws of science, and if consciousness arises from evolution then the laws of consciousness as well. Furthermore, the scientific fact that the natural laws of our universe were fine tuned to support all of the aforementioned laws before they were ever “accidentally” realized would also be accidental. How many layered and intricately connected, informational accidents are allowed before we wonder if there is any design behind it all?

For example: If I have an operating system installed on my computer and a program written on a CD and the program on the CD is compatible with the OS on my computer, I have four options that relate to the design question. Either the OS was designed to be compatible with future written programs and the program on the CD is one such program, or the OS was designed to be compatible only with that program on the CD, or the program on the CD was designed to be compatible with the OS in question, or its just an accidental coincidence that the CD is compatible with the OS. Furthermore if that program, once it is running, begins to evolve other programs and those programs
evolve yet more programs upon programs as a result of interaction with the OS on the computer, would I be wise to wonder if the program on the CD was designed to compatibly evolve with the OS on the computer? In fact to scientifically test this concept, all one needs to do is design a simulation of the above scenario and see if it is possible to design such a feat.

Now, let’s quickly examine the flip side. If biological replicating information processors were purposefully programmed to exist within the larger, overarching program of the universe, then most likely the laws and structures that evolve from the program of life were also designed by fine tuning the laws of the universe and the law of life to compatibly evolve the subsequent laws and structures.

The first design question as it relates to science is: “Can you scientifically detect design?” Well, if science is testable, repeatable, and generates predictions, then science must deal in terms of laws. Thus science is the discipline which attempts to explain phenomenon in terms of laws of cause and effect.

So what options of cause and effect do we have as options for the creation of biological replicating information processors (life). Well, I have been told that self-replicating non-informational molecules have been discovered. I’ll take this as granted without checking into it for now since it doesn’t deal with the generation or cause of information processors. However it is a verified fact and thus a valid scientific inference that information processors are caused by intelligence. Are
there any other options for the creation of information processors?

An extremely relevant question in regard to this is: “can information processors be accidentally created?” and if this were the case, then what implications would this have upon the fact that the universe would then be fine tuned to support an unforeseeable accident? That would seem completely illogical, since the natural laws of physics are fine tuned to support, yet do not define and therefore do not create information processors, which is also why natural laws of attraction do not created information. Furthermore, the universe IS fine tuned to support life, and I have laid out some reasons why I believe it is unscientific and unreasonable to think that accidental occurrences would ever create information processors.

Therefore, in light of these arguments, the answer is “yes, design can be detected. If you wish to discover if a phenomenon was indeed programmed by intelligence, search for information within the phenomenon, since an information processing system is necessarily an effect of intelligence.”

Of course, at first it seems that the trunk of this reasoning can be easily split in two by one fell swoop of the “multiple universe” axe. However, the multiple universe provides further unnecessary and arbitrary complexity (an infinite multiple universe birthing “field” which guarantees an infinite number of universes and guarantees that each universe will have a different set of natural laws and that everything that can logically happen, no matter how high the improbability will happen in one of these universes). However, this still does not explain the existance of information/processing systems, especially that on which our universe is founded, since information is defined by its already existing compatible and interdependent processor and is not defined by physical laws of attraction.

At least we can see the link between information and its processor and previous intelligence so that we can infer “if information processor then intelligence” and there are major problems, as linked above, with any accidental explanation (aside from the fact that random, accidental, miraculous explanations in the face of all odds are unscientific).

Here ...
(Scroll down to Atom's translation of the Spanish article.)

... and here ...
(Scroll down to where I quote Prof. Hasofer)

... are brief points made re: probabilities of random generation of information processors.

"The formation within geological time of a human body, by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.” -- Godel

The previous statement packs the most punch when considering that the generation of an information processor is the first step toward any subsequent evolution.

Now, back to the main topic of this post...
I would appreciate it if anyone could post comments with links re: biological processes controlling which aspects of life evolve or harnessing evolution in any way. Thanks.


CJYman said...

RE: possible programmed and harnessed goal-specified evolution (read through comments as well)


CJYman said...

RE: Program of life itself directs evolutionary change