Mass/Energy and Information 3

            The present is the key to understanding the past.

               The great geologist Charles Lyell in the 1820’s provided the general methodology for doing research in what are now called the historical sciences.  This involves making reasonably accurate inferences about the past by studying what occurs in the natural world today. 

            Times past are not accessible to direct observation except from photographs, audio recordings, motion pictures, and by peering into deep outer space through a telescope of past events that occurred millions or billions of years ago in the distant universe.

            The present-day understanding of molecular biochemistry is due in large part to the unraveling of DNA through the ten-year long Human Genome Project.

            Complimentary advancements in computers and computer programs over this same period now enable biochemists to study in living cells what are called developmental gene regulatory networks (DGRNs). 

            These DGRNs, along with other epigenetic factors (factors other than DNA) instruct the molecular machines inside cells to assemble different cell-types and then tells them specifically where to go in the developing embryos of tens of millions of living species. 

This then produces such diverse organisms as elephants, lions, hawks, the common housefly, and human beings.

            The material properties of the typewriter keys, the ink ribbon, and the sheets of paper that translate the abstract creative storytelling from the mind of the book writer into the physical medium of paper and ink, is an easily understood reality today. 

This is closely analogous to the translating of the abstract creative information from the genetic code in DNA into the material flesh-and-bones of living organisms.

            Scientists correctly study the material mechanics of the processes taking place inside living cells. 

            Using Charles Lyell’s methodology for the historical sciences, we can now make reasonably accurate inferences going back in time regarding the increasing complexity of life-forms on earth following the gradually linear addition of differing new cell-types. 

            These new and different cell-types support increasingly more complex architectural body-plans[1].

            But in the same way that the physics and chemistry of how ink bonds to paper will not explain the inspired artistic creation of the fictional murder mystery story itself, a complete understanding of the nanotechnology occurring within living cells will not explain the creation of the material parts of flesh-and-bones coordinating together into the functional coherence of an architectural body-plan.

            Understanding the material mechanics of the molecular nanotechnology in the cell will not explain the adult instinctual lifestyle habits of a charging African bull elephant chasing lions away from a watering hole.

            Developmental gene regulatory networks and epigenetic factors now tell us how different cell-types are constructed on-schedule and in the proper sequence from the DNA code, and then sent-off to their specific xyz-coordinate locations in their unique body-plans, during embryonic development. 

            But there is also another source of information that matches flesh and bones with extremely fine-tuned lifestyle habits. 

This other information specifies for successful function within differing past geological eras, within the interrelated biodiversity of predator/prey relationships, and within the unimaginable complexity of diverse ecosystems. 

This might be compared to the sophisticated blend of physical reactions and mental acuities to be able to safely navigate driving an automobile on the freeways of Southern California.

            Like Charles Lyell’s program of studying the present to understand the past in geology, we now today have a large part of the understanding of the molecular biochemical processes in living organisms that can be extrapolated back in time to help unravel the mystery of how we arrived at the vast diversity of life today.

            During a particular season every year in Africa functional baby elephants are born.  This is just one amongst enumerable examples of the present-day life-forms we can scientifically study, working backwards through the embryonic development phase to chromosomes, DNA, and physical traits.

            In other words, science today has an enormous sample-size of finished products in the form of ten-million living species types to study. 

            This allows molecular biochemists to work in reverse through the complex architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of mature functioning organisms, to be able to track the progressive trajectory of the initial genetic information contained in the paired chromosomes of the male and female parents from developing embryo to mature adulthood.

            In plain language, we know that the material mechanisms in operation inside living cells can take abstract creative information and translate it into actual organisms that can grow, survive, and reproduce, because we see these varied and diverse life-forms all around us in live-action.

            The challenge since Darwin in the scientific field of biology is to figure-out how this all works.

            But the worldview of scientific materialism that attempts to reduce the charge of a full-grown African bull elephant to its flesh and bones material parts is as illogically nonsensical as saying that the book And Then There Were None can write itself.

            The reality of the universe is too rich to be the product of purely materialistic causations.

            Science cannot exclude agency and still attempt to reach full explanation. 

            Mass/energy is not a sensible substitution for agency in the creation of information.  The creative origin of information cannot be reduced by narrow ideology to material mass/energy causations alone.

            One of the themes of this book is that no matter where the current research in the field of molecular biochemistry finally lands in terms of a more complete understanding of the material mechanismsin living cells, the complexity of these molecular systems has already left the mindless and undirected program of naturalistic materialism miles behind.

            Intelligent agency is required at the front-end to furnish the complex and specified information needed inside living cells to produce over time the vast diversity of material life we see in the natural world. 

            This information is also required to produce the abstract and intangible end-point functions that differentiate between the instinctual lifestyle habits of an elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, wildebeest, water buffalo, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and giraffe…to name some of the large mammals in Africa.

            This is similar to the distinct and discrete information expressed through differing literary genres.

            Returning to Agatha Christie producing purely abstract information at the front-end of the story-writing process, this creative information then morphs through the required transitional phase of the material mediums of ink, paper, and the finished print form into a physical book. 

            But then this same information expresses itself to the book reader as again the creative storyline of the murder mystery that Agatha Christie purposely intended, as the intelligent designing agent.

            One contention made by Christian theists today is that the God of the Bible introduced all of the material mass/energy and the non-material laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics in the first split-seconds of the creation of the universe at the Big Bang. 

            The creativity behind the incredible functionality of the force of gravity, the speed of light, and the expansion rate of the universe…to my thinking is also therefore capable of inputting all of the genetic information, the assembly instructions, and the timetable schedules of unfolding complexity released inside living cells, to produce the remarkable material mechanisms now being studied by molecular biochemists.

            I need to say here at the outset of this book that I am not a theistic evolutionist, and I am not a deist.  I am an old-earth, day/age creationist. 

            Having worked in building construction as a career, I am skeptical of complex things falling into place on their own. 

            This would then especially apply to living organisms that must be up-and-running with operational function in-place within the narrow demands of ecological and biodiverse niches, entering into life in the “fast-lane” at the leading-edge of their well-defined essences just to be able to grow to adulthood, survive, and to reproduce.

            To my thinking, the informational package within living cells beginning 3.8-billion years ago has the preprogrammed agenda to pump-out increasing complexity starting with the single-cell bacteria, by adding new and different blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters over time, to support new and innovative architectural body-plans.

            But the addition of new and different blocks of cell-types in grouped clusters to produce incremental steps of mature function, cannot occur through Darwinian macroevolution, but requires a designing agent possessing targeted foresight.


[1] On the Origin of Phyla—Interviews with Dr. James Valentine, by Access Research Network, published on Oct. 22, 2014, on You Tube.

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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