Mechanism versus Agency 1

To use an analogy to American football…I think that the atheistic philosophy of naturalism (that science is the only reliable route to establishing empirical truth) was starting the final fourth quarter of play with a big 17-point lead in the 1960’s and 1970’s…but that Intelligent Design has scored three quick touchdowns (worth 7 points each) in the last two or three decades…and has taken the lead in this fourth quarter football game analogy…by a narrow 4 points…at the time of the writing of this book…the year 2018.

The discovery of the vast quantity, complexity, and functional coherence of information systems…is analogous to the information content that is conveyed in the headlines on the front page of the New York Times newspaper…thought-filled information intelligently arranged on paper in the English language…totally independent of and having no correlation or connection to the basic science…in terms of physics and chemistry…of how ink bonds to paper.

How ink bonds to paper…and how ink is arranged in newspaper headlines to convey information in a particular language…are two entirely separate things.

Absolute knowledge and expertise about the first…ink bonding to paper…does not explain the second…intelligently organized and highly specified information.

This brilliant realization has clarified and separated forever the concepts of mechanism…how ink sticks to paper…and agency…the underlying creative intelligence that arranges the ink on paper to convey meaningful information.

In this easy-to-understand example of the dual aspects of the information content in a New York Times front-page headline…even the addition of a full mechanical engineering comprehension of the operation of the printing press machinery…along with the physics and chemistry understanding of ink bonding to paper…will not take us across the wide gulf that separates this scientific understanding of mechanism from the totally different character quality of the creative intellectual information of agency.

This insightful modern perception of the unique and distinctive qualities of information…has actually eclipsed all unguided, mindless, gradualistic, trial-and-error, random chance explanations for the existence of complex information systems in a host of phenomenon in the natural world…and has been dubbed in this unique time-period in history as the Information Age.

In an amazing turn-around from where we were only 50 years ago…modern science has scrubbed away folklore, old-wives tales, superstition, and witchcraft…one of its primary missions starting in the 1500’s at the beginning of the Scientific Revolution.

But modern science has also scrubbed away all gradualistic explanations for the development of complex systems…there being simply too much information content coherently integrated within the microscopic molecule of DNA…or the incredibly complicated folding of amino acids into proteins…or the mind-boggling molecular machinery involved in the replication process taking place inside living cells…to be the product of gradual, mindless, step-by-step, unguided random progression over time from the simple to the complex.

The Information Age has knocked the legs out from under the atheistic philosophies of naturalism and materialism…even though Darwinists are still fighting back with everything they have in their common descent interpretation of the facts.

Mechanism needs agency to supply the creative information to produce complex systems having guided coherence directed toward a functional outcome.

In housing construction…the mechanism of technical trade-craft know-how of putting together the parts of the building…does not assume or replace the need for the agency of the architectural plans that provides the information for the floor-plan layout of the interior walls, the locations of doors and windows, and the front elevation design of the structure.

Mechanism itself cannot be mistakenly confused as the explanatory agent for the origin of creative intellectual information…as the substitute factor for agency that can be plugged into the equation of the diversity for all living things as the explanation for the production of new informational input…any more plausibly than the machinery and the mechanical processes of the printing press…along with the properties of ink bonding to paper…can explain the creative information content generated in a New York Times headline.

The immediate survivability demands of function in living things require that all of the required parts be coherently integrated…up and fully running…at initial start-up…having nothing less than operable function at a bare minimum.

This is unimaginable and unachievable through the slow progression of numerous incremental steps as theoretically contemplated in the gradualistic development of Darwinian macroevolution…producing hypothetically long and continuously connected chains of innumerable transitional intermediate living creatures and plant life…having functional survivability at the precise snapshot moments in time…to the point of being able to produce each successive edition of new offspring possessing genetic, physical trait characteristics, and lifestyle habit improvements.

This gradualistic component of Darwinian evolution…given the quantity, quality, and complexity of the information content involved…is no longer plausible as the wholesale all-in-one explanation for the vast diversity of the living and non-living world…according to Darwin’s branching tree of life that would encompass all living things.

The more plausible explanation involves microevolution…built-in genetic variability and adaptability that occurs over long periods of time and responds favorably to changing ecological environments…like the example of Darwin’s finches on the 13 Galapagos Islands…displaying microevolutionary radiation (change)…yet still remaining finches.

The various series of development in the paleontological fossil record…such as the horse series…wherein horses remain horses…in my layman’s opinion can be more plausibly explained through intelligently designed, built-in microevolutionary genetic variability and adaptability.

For roughly the past 160 years, Darwin’s bold extrapolation that microevolution blends into macroevolution…is still scientifically unsubstantiated.

If God is clever enough to design horses and finches…He is also clever enough to factor-in genetic variability to enable species to adapt to changing earth environments.

Our modern scientific understanding of the implausibility…more honestly in many cases the impossibility…of massive amounts of complex information systems to self-assemble themselves to reach easily identifiable final outcomes…to achieve functional coherence on their own without the input of information coming through intelligent guidance…having foresight…is no longer a viable working philosophy that holds water within the field of science.

The information content is simply too great in size and far too complex for unguided, mindless, trial-and-error search strategies.

This is a relatively new development…in the rapidly expanding marketplace of knowledge and ideas in the early twenty-first century.

If the reader will bear with me a little longer…I am going somewhere important with all of this. 

Once the atheistic philosophies of naturalistic materialism and scientism fall behind in points in the fourth quarter of the American football game analogy…they will never regain the lead.

The reason for this is because the “game” is scored on discoveries from scientific investigation…producing empirical evidence.

The complexity and functional coherence of the information content found in DNA, proteins, the living cell replication process, and the mechanism by which amino acids fold into proteins…will not change…will not revert back to the simplicity of past partial knowledge…will not reduce in complexity with more research.

More investigative scientific research into every area of the natural world…will increase our recognition and understanding…of the vast quantity and the integrated complexity of information.

To borrow a popular phrase…”the toothpaste is out of the tube…and it will not go back in.”

Continued scientific research will unearth more complex and specified information having coherent and coordinated function…in living and non-living systems…and thereby further make the scientific conclusions based upon empirical data…increasingly stacking-up against unguided, random-chance, trial-and-error, incremental progression as a plausible explanation for the assemblage of complex systems.

In other words…the score will continue to run up in favor of Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the complex systems of information we see in the natural world…because the trend…the trajectory…of the data in this regard will continue to go in this same direction of increasing complexity and integrated coherence.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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