This is an old podcast of Dr. Norman Geisler discussing ex-atheist Antony Flew’s book that detailed his leaving atheism. Here is a “Flewism”
“My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.” After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, “A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.” Previously, in his central work, The Presumption of Atheism (1976), Flew argued that the “onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist.” However, at the age of 81, Flew shocked the world when he renounced his atheism because “the argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.” (See my DNA post: RNA/DNA = Information | Or, What “IS” Information)
Flew’s God was: immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, whole [one, or indivisible, perfectly good and necessary exists.
✦ “My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.” After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, “A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.” Previously, in his central work, The Presumption of Atheism (1976), Flew argued that the “onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist.” However, at the age of 81, Flew shocked the world when he renounced his atheism because “the argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.” Prominent in his conclusion were the discoveries of DNA. | Antony Flew |
What naturalism is is described in the last paragraph. It is also described in a more relational way here, “Love.”
Professor Werner Gitt – Director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology – tells us that:
“The highest information density known to us is that of DNA molecules…. The storage capacity of DNA, the information carriers of living things, is 4.5 x 10 (to the 13th power) times more effective than a megachip!… The sum total of knowledge currently stored in the libraries of the world is estimated at 10(to the 18th power) bits. If this information could be stored in DNA molecules, 1% of the volume of a pinhead would be sufficient for this purpose. If, on the other hand, this information were to be stored with aid of megachips, we would need a pile higher than the distance between the earth and the moon.”
The DNA molecule, of which even the simplest – some would say the most “primitive” – forms of life are composed, is thus 45 million million times more efficient at holding and conveying information than a megachip. This is because the DNA molecule is an incredibly complex three-dimensional information storage system, where the megachip is only two-dimensional. But the DNA molecules ability to store and convey such inconceivably large amounts of information so efficiently does not tell us where the itself comes from. What is the source of that?
Information Theory, of which Professor Gitt is one of the world’s leading exponents, is an important branch of scientific investigation which has shown conclusively and consistently that information cannot and does not arise from any state of non-information, just as life cannot proceed from non-life. Moreover, information has now come to be recognized as the Third Fundamental Quantity of the universe, which hitherto was thought to consist of merely two fundamental quantities, those of matter and energy. The DNA molecule is, of course, matter. Its activities are funded by energy. But the information that it carries is something else entirely. In other words, it is not sufficient to have only matter and energy for DNA to work. What is also required, at least to begin with, is a massive input of information for which matter and energy can give no account, and which neither of them can supply. Again, Professor Gitt:
“According to Norbert Wiener, the founder of cybernetics and information theory, information cannot be of a physical nature, even though it is transmitted by physical means: ‘Information in information, neither matter nor energy. No materialism that fails to take account of this can survive the present day.’”
Because of the increasing disillusionment with the role of chance, a shift took place in the late 60’s and the 70’s to the view that life was somehow the inevitable outcome of nature’s laws at work over vast spans of time. Terms such as “directed chance” and “biochemical predestination” have entered the scientific literature to mean that life was somehow the result of the inherent properties of matter.
But more discomforting still to the materialist, is not just the recent discovery of information to be the Third Fundamental Quantity, but rather the startling realization of its source:
“If a basic code is found in any system, it can be concluded that the system originated from a mental concept, and did not arise by chance…. Meanings always represent mental concepts. They are distinct from matter and energy. They originate from an intelligent source. It is by means of language that information may be stored and transmitted on physical carriers. The information itself is invariant…. The reason for this invariance lies in its non-material nature.”
It would seem then that while some materialists have been busy looking in all the wrong places, certain physicists have stumbled upon the Mind of God.
The problem with most of modern science is that the philosophy of reductionism is the ruling paradigm. According to George Williams, a scientist of some stature in the evolutionary community, the crucial object of selection in evolution is inherently non-material:
“Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter…. These two domains can never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’ … The gene is a package of information, not an object. The pattern of base pairs in a DNA molecule specifies the gene. But the DNA molecule is the medium, its not the message…. Just the fact that fifteen years ago I started using a computer may have had something to do with my ideas here. The constant process of transferring information from one physical medium to another and then being able to recover the same information in the original medium brings home the separability of information and matter. In biology, when you’re talking about things like genes and genotypes and gene pools, you’re talking about information, not physical objective reality.”
Perhaps evolutionary biologists have avoided noticing that information and matter are fundamentally different things because that insight is fatal to the whole reductionist project in biology. If the message is truly not reducible to the medium, then trying to explain the creation of the information by a materialistic theory is simply a category mistake. One might as well try to explain the origin of a literary work [say, Hamlet] by invoking the chemical laws that govern the combining of ink and paper, and then proposing speculative hypotheses about how those laws (with boost from chance but without intelligence) might have generated meaningful sentences.
I had a wonderful conversation with a very nice fellow at Starbucks (I will simply refer to him at times as John D.). The encounter started because of the book I was reading and an unsolicited question about it. It was only AFTER the conversation that I noted why question about the book was asked. The book was “Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed.” (Watch the author speak about the book HERE.) After the conversation had concluded, I realized what drew John D. into engaging me. During the conversation, as you will see, he intimated that he was a lawyer. Hence, the large title that drew him in is “Undeniable.”
Light conversation took place about the book, mainly because I am just beginning the book and do not know the content well enough yet to discuss it specifically. I did steer the conversation towards DNA just a tad — with Stephen Meyer’s book in mind.
For the reader of this post, keep in mind that while I did not go in-depth into the discussion of DNA that immediately follows, I did reference briefly the aspects of information being separate from the means of transmission [matter]:
Evolutionary biologist George Williams observed: “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter…. The gene is a package of information, not an object. The pattern of base pairs in a DNA molecule specifies the gene. But the DNA molecule is the medium, it’s not the message…. These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism. Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes…. This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
As the information theorist Hubert Yockey observes, the “genetic code is constructed to confront and solve the problems of communication and recording by the same principles found . . . in modern communication and computer codes.” Yockey notes that “the technology of information theory and coding theory has been in place in biology for at least 3.85 billion years,” or from the time that life first originated on earth. What should we make of this fact? How did the information in life first arise?
Codes are not matter and they’re not energy. Codes don’t come from matter, nor do they come from energy. Codes are information, and information is in a category by itself.
A great example is a newspaper. If you read an article on a topic that is information being passed on to you by another intelligence. The modern roadblock for today’s naturalist is the problem of looking at the molecules that make up the ink printed page stores information via the 26 letters of the alphabet as somehow related to the origin of the information being passed on. The problem is that the newspaper is merely the medium, for the information. Like a Compact Disc is for music. The CD is merely the medium to carry the information.
The next question is, how much information can the DNA molecule hold?
a) A pinhead made of DNA: Let us imagine we had enough DNA to fill the volume of a pinhead with a diameter of 2 mm. How many paperbacks (each with 189 pages as in [G19]) could be represented by the information held in that amount of DNA? Answer: about 25 trillion. That would be a pile of these paperback books approximately 920 times the distance from the earth to the moon (384,000 km). In 2011, if we were to equally distribute these paperbacks amongst the approximately 6.93 billion people on Earth, every person would receive about 3,600 copies.
b) Drawing a wire: Now let us stretch the material of the 2 mm diameter pinhead into a wire of the same thickness as the DNA molecule (2 x 10-6 mm). How long would this wire be? Unbelievably, it would stretch 33 times around the equator, which has a circumference of 24,860 miles (40,000 km).
c) One thousandth of a gram of DNA: If we were to take a milligram (1 mg = 10-3 g) of a (double helix) strand of DNA material, it would almost stretch from the earth to the moon!
(Click to enlarge)
Dr. George Church, a pioneering molecular geneticist at Harvard/MIT, informed us in a Sciencexpress article in August of 2012, that the digital-information storage capacity of DNA is “very dense.” How dense? One gram of DNA can store 455 exabytes of information. For those readers like myself whose eyes glaze over as soon as computer nerds start talking about bytes and RAM’s I will put it in simple layman’s terms. One gram of DNA – the weight of two Tylenol – can store the same amount of digitally encoded information as a hundred billion DVD’s. Yes, you read correctly, I said a hundredbillion DVD’s. Every single piece of information that exists on the Earth today; from every single library, from every single data base, from every single computer, could be stored in one beaker of DNA. This is the same DNA/Genetic Information/Self-Replication System that exists in humans and in bacteria (which are the simplest living organisms that exist today and have ever been known to exist). In short, our DNA-based genetic code, the universal system for all life on our planet, is the most efficient and sophisticated digital information storage, retrieval, and translation system known to man.
I will repeat a line from the above graphic description:
“This particularly ingenious storage method reaches the limit of physical possibility.”
Let me give you another example of the same sort of reasoning. Imagine that you have just finished reading a fabulous novel. Wanting to read another book like it, you exclaim to a friend, “Wow! That was quite a book. I wonder where I can get a bottle of that ink?” Of course not! You wouldn’t give the ink and paper credit for writing the book. You’d praise the author, and look for another book by the same writer. By some twist of logic, though, many who read the fabulous DNA script want to give credit to the “ink (DNA base code) and paper (proteins)” for composing the code. In a novel, the ink and paper are merely the means the author uses to express his or her thoughts. In the genetic code, the DNA bases and proteins are merely the means God uses to express His thoughts.
Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.
Information is information, neither matter nor energy. No materialism that fails to take account of this can survive the present day. – Norbert Weiner, MIT Mathematician and Father of Cybernetics
 This is a fuller quote adapted from two sources: Donald E. Johnson, Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability : A Call to Scientific Integrity (Charleston, SC: Booksurge Publishing, 2009), 44; Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York, NY: Harper One, 2009), 17.
 Meyer, ibid.
Perry Marshall, Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design (Dallas, TX: Benbella Books, 2016), 187.
 The graphic to the right of the footnote is from, Werner Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information (Bielefeld, Germany: Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung, 1997), 86.
 Werner Gitt, Without Excuse (Atlanta, GA: Creation Book Publishers, 2011), 288 (graph from p. 286).
BTW, Without Excuse is an updated edition of the book in footnote number four.
Moshe Averick, Atheistic Science is Rapidly Sinking in the Quicksand, algemeiner.
 Gary Parker, 1.3 The Origin of Life: DNA and Protein, AiG.
 Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1995), 188.
 Stan Lennard, So Easy a Caveman Could Do It?, RtB.
B.Sc. Chemical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)
M.Sc. Earth and planetary sciences, M.I.T.
PhD Earth Sciences and Physics, M.I.T.
Side note: Schroeder is one of the scientists that influenced Antony Flew (the “pope” of atheism) to give up his atheism and join the theistic side. Bio info taken from the Net:
Gerald Schroeder is a scientist with over thirty years of experience in research and teaching. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees all at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with his doctorate thesis being under the supervision of physics professor Robley D. Evans. This was followed by five years on the staff of the MIT physics department prior to moving to Israel, where he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute [The Agricultural Experiment Station established in 1921 developed into the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), widely known as the Volcani Institute], while also having a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His Doctorate is in two fields: Earth sciences and physics.
Schroeder’s formal theological training in biblical, talmudic and kabalistic interpretation includes fifteen years of study under the late Rabbi Herman Pollack, Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Noah Weinberg, of blessed memory.
The scientific career that Schroeder chose has given him varied and often unusual experiences. In his work with nuclear disarmament, he has been present at the detonation of six atomic bombs. Work in control of radioactivity has put him hundreds of meters below ground in U.S. and foreign uranium mines. Within this research, he invented and had patented the first real time monitor for airborne alpha beta gamma emitters. The government of the People’s Republic of China, during the decade before it established direct contacts with Israel, was willing to overlook his Jerusalem address and had him as a frequent advisor. He also has consulted for agencies of the governments of Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, USA. Invitations for him to lecture have come from around the world. He has over 60 publications in the world’s leading scientific journals on topics ranging from the radon atmosphere of the moon (in Science) to the metabolism of mother’s milk (in Nutrition Reports International). The results of Schroeder’s work have been reported in Time, Newsweek, Scientific American and in newspapers as far apart as Boston and Adelaide. His formal training in chemistry, physics and the Earth and planetary sciences provides the basis for the broad scientific perspective he brings to his books and lectures.
For the past twenty-five years, Dr. Schroeder has also pursued a study of ancient biblical interpretation. An ability to handle the biblical material in the original languages allows him to tap the subtle depths contained in the original texts. These nuances are often missed when working with translations. The uniqueness and success of Schroeder’s approach integrating biblical and scientific knowledge is demonstrated by the success of his first book, Genesis and the Big Bang (published by Bantam Doubleday), and the wide acclaim for his second book The Science of God (published by The Free Press of Simon & Schuster and Broadway Books of Bantam Doubleday) which was on the Barnes & Noble list of non-fiction best sellers and was Amazon.com’s best selling book in the field of physics/cosmology for all of 1998. This was followed by The Hidden Face of God, discovering the unity that binds all existence (published by The Free Press of Simon & Schuster). His book, God According to God, A scientist proves we’ve been wrong about God all along, was published in May 2009 with HarperOne and has enthusiastic endorsements by leading theologians, both Jewish and Christian, and a Noble Laureate scientist.
His books appear in 10 languages.
Gerald Schroeder lives in Jerusalem with his wife (the author, Barbara Sofer). They’ve had five children with a changing number of grandchildren. He moved to Israel from the USA in 1971. In addition to his current work in radiation control, he teaches at Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies, writes and lectures on the extraordinary confluence of modern science and ancient biblical commentary.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.