Institute for Creation (Credulous) Research (Retards), PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voi
Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021
Voice: (619) 448-0900 FAX: (619) 448-3469
|||||| |||| |||| |||||||||| ||| |||||||| ||||||||||
|||| ||||| ||||| |||| ||||| ||||| ||||| |||| ||||
|||| |||||| |||||| |||| ||||| ||||||| |||| |||| ||||
|||| |||||||||||||| |||| ||||| |||| |||| |||| ||||
|||| |||| |||| |||| |||||||||| |||| |||| |||| ||||
|||| |||| || |||| |||| ||||||||||||| |||| |||| ||||
|||| |||| |||| |||| |||| |||| ||||| |||| ||||
|||||| ||||| ||||| ||||| |||||| |||||| ||||||| ||||
No. 236 "Vital Articles on Science/Creation" February 1993
The Origin of Conceptual Thought in Living Systems
by A. E. Wilder-Smith*
Copyright (c) 1993 by I.C.R.
All Rights Reserved
* Dr. Wilder-Smith has three earned doctorates and over 45 books to
his credit. He is a leading creationist scientist now living in
It is almost universally taught in the high schools and universities
of Europe and North America that a truly scientific view of
the origin of life must be concerned solely with its origin from the
properties of inorganic matter over huge time spans unaided by any
extra-material factor or factors. If factors beyond the properties of
inorganic matter are invoked in any theory of the origin of life, then
that whole theory is today rejected out of hand as unscientific.
Since no one (scientist or not) really knows how life originated
from inorganic matter, however, such prejudging of the whole issue of
origins must of necessity be highly unscientific itself, for it
pronounces dogmatically on subjects still outside the knowledge of
Trained scientists in both the West and the East are well aware of
the fact that both right and left-handed forms of certain molecules
(dextro and levooptical isomers) possess an identical state of order,
and so cannot possibly be separated by any unaided chemical means.
Left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars are both necessary
or living systems, but ordinary chemical reactions cannot supply them.
Only the information in molecules that can recognize patterns can sort
out the left from the right forms.
For the synthesis of optically pure-handed forms, information
leading to pattern recognition must be available, and is found on the
DNA molecule or its products. The reason for the necessity of specific
handed forms for all biosynthesis becomes clear when it is realized that
the DNA molecule stores its information, not merely in sequence along
the molecule, but in three dimensions rather than in just two. It only
recently has been shown that, if the information on the DNA molecule
were stored in just two dimensional linear sequences such as would be
necessary if the mixture of forms were used in biology, the molecule
would have to be thousands of miles long to accommodate all the
information which life needs. However, with the addition of the third
dimension to the chemistry of life, the same amount of information can
be stored within tiny cells in three dimensions rather than in two.
Since virtually all forms of life show specific orientation--either
left or right--and all forms of life have their equivalent of the DNA
molecule as a reservoir of information, conceptual information must have
played its role in origins so as to supply the third dimension required
for the super-miniaturization of information storage and retrieval, in
addition to standard organic chemistry, time, and energy. Life's origin
must then have occurred under the influence of conceptual information
somewhere down the line, thus enabling the separation of right from
left-handed molecules of identical state of order. If this conceptual
information could not arise directly from the material properties of
matter, then surely it is a perfectly justified scientific question to
ask just where this conceptual information might have originated.
Conceptual information of the type necessary to "finance" life's
codes, languages, and concepts must be carefully distinguished from
Claude Shannon's type of information, which consists of mere surprise
effects without any necessity of conceptual content. That is,
"information," according to Shannon, does not need to contain any code,
language, or purpose such as is understood in the normally accepted
sense of the term "information." "Information" in the Shannon sense of
the term certainly can arise from concept-free inorganic matter, but it
is non-conceptual in nature and has never been shown to be in a position
to resolve any molecular forms. It is, therefore, "unscientific" to
invoke non-conceptual mere surprise effects as a factor active in the
origin of life, which is certainly a matter of concepts and not mere
surprise effects. For the DNA molecule builds the concepts of the
biological machinery of life, which are superbly conceptual, and,
indeed, purposeful. Certainly conceptless mere surprise effects, such
as the Shannon-type information, would be useless as a source of the
purposeful language conventions and meaning of the DNA molecule, which
are vital for the construction of concept-laden organs such as kidneys
or livers, not to mention four-chambered hearts.
Confusion Over the Definitions of "Information"
Confusion in assessing the importance of "information" in origins
theories is due to the fact that the term "information" has been reduced
by Shannon to non-conceptual surprise effects, without most non-experts
in this area of knowledge having noticed the fundamental change in
meaning. One is, therefore, speaking of two fundamentally different
subjects, when using the tenn "information," often without knowing this
fact. It is just this type of confusion which plays its hidden role in
the basis of Manfred Eigen's important work on the origin of life. Eigen
postulates in effect that life's conceptual information and its
information storage and retrieval machinery arose spontaneously from
inorganic mauer and that the non-conceptual information arising
spontaneously from matter stands in for fully conceptual information in
the origin of life. Eigen insists repeatedly that information "arises,"
thus demonstrating that he really means conceptless information in line
with Shannon, but not the concept-filled purposeful information such as
is generally understood under the term "information." Thus, a whole
expensive research program is built on confusion in word-use. As far as
I am aware, he nowhere clarifies this grave confusion. It must be kept
firmly in mind that inorganic matter contains none of the code and
language concepts on the basis of which the DNA molecule functions.
Inorganic matter certainly contains no purposeful concepts such as those
necessary for, say, the synthesis of counter-current flow systems in
kidneys or three-dimensional structures such as allow the hemoglobin
molecule to supply the body with oxygen.
Origin of Conceptual Information
This leaves us finally with the grand question of the origin of the
concepts of life's information. The fact that Shannon's
conceptless-type information can arise spontaneously from inorganic
sources does nothing to explain the origin of the purposeful concepts of
biology and of the type of information residing on the DNA molecule.
Confusion on just these points has allowed Darwinism to be plausible to
materialists world-wide even today. Darwinism thus is supposed to be
"scientific" because it appeals to nothing else but the "Here and Now."
It admirably suits materialistically minded modem man. This point alone
would explain the hold Darwin still has on modem world thought, in spite
of the total lack of scientific evidence for its views on origins and
macroevolution, both in chemistry, in geology, and in the fossil record.
This then leaves us with one last vital question on the origin of
life: How does one produce the purposeful type of information required
to con struct any machine-biological or mechanical? We know of only one
answer to this question to date. That answer says that the conceptual
type of (begriffliche) information necessary for the production of the
handedness of life arises to date exclusively in organs which function
according to the principles extant in the brain of higher biological
organisms, and which generate conceptual thought.
Sir John Eccles has shown that the human brain works in a three-
dimensional columnar system which gives rise to the continuity of
individual consciousness, which characterizes at least the human brain
and probably to some extent, at least, the consciousness of the apes and
maybe certain whale-like mammals. It may be necessary to extend this
list to certain parrots, which seem to show very high states of
consciousness and intelligence. Obviously, until the exhaustive nature
of consciousness is more fully understood than today, it will not be
possible to construct any electronic machine which possesses similar
properties to those of consciousness and which produces conceptual
thought in the development of language and codes such as those stored on
the DNA molecule.
The grand question in origins, then, is whether codes and languages
as such ever arise by chance, and selection over long periods of time in
inorganic matter. To invoke natural selection as the source of such
conceptual information or thought constitutes a huge begging of the
whole question. For natural selection to occur in any plane, life and
its concepts must already pre-exist. Thus, to explain the origin of
life together with its concepts and selection of molecular forms by any
methods which presuppose the prior existence of life, is a huge begging
of the whole question. Life as we know it could not have started as a
mixture of forms, which then, by natural selection, performed the
separation of forms. The development of other concepts on the DNA
molecule would require the origin of the concepts we are trying to
Thus, we come to the conclusion that there is no getting around
this "chicken or egg"-type of problem. We are forced to come back to
basics and assume that there must have been in the beginning--at the act
of creation--an organ of the kind that makes the human brain tick (but
infinitely more powerful, of course) to generate the concepts of biology
on a much larger scale than the human brain can ever develop.
Now that it is known that the DNA molecule stores its information
not linearly but in three dimensions, we understand that life could not,
on theoretical grounds, ever have originated from inorganic matter
alone. Equal amounts of different forms of DNA could never have
functioned as an information storage and retrieval system. Therefore,
matter alone, with only chemistry to aid it, could never have produced
any form of life as we know it.
For these reasons, the Biblical report on the origin of life is
right on the mark when it states that man, with his brain and ability to
speak and to develop conceptual thought, was created in the image of God
the Creator. The ability of the human brain to invent and conceive
concepts such as those of language is directly coupled to the ability of
people like Sol Spiegelman and Arthur Komberg to apply conceptual
thought to the synthesis of a relatively simple form of life. They
merely copied the concepts which the Creator had already delivered to
them in the natural virus! But man has the ability to develop conceptual
thought just like the Creator Himself, but on an infinitely reduced
This, then, provides us with the solution to the problem of the
origin of conceptual thought, such as is necessary for the origin of
This "Impact" was converted to ASCII, for BBS use,
from the original formatted desktop article.
Comments regarding typographical errors
in the above material are appreciated.
Don Barber, ICR Systems Administrator
Fax: (619) 448-0900
All ICR staff members adhere to a Statement of Faith
in the form of two documents:
"Tenets of Scientific Creationism,"
and "Tenets of Biblical Creationism."
As a missionary organization, ICR is funded by God's people. The
majority of its income is provided by individual donors who desire to
proclaim God's truth about origins. Gifts can be designated for
research, the graduate school, seminars, or any special part of the ICR
ministry. All others will be used where most needed. We pledge to use
them wisely and with integrity.
If you would like to receive our free monthly newsletter "Acts & Facts,"
or our free quarterly devotional Bible-study booklet "Days of Praise,"
just request them by contacting ICR at (619) 448-0900.
We believe God has raised up ICR to spearhead Biblical Christianity's
defense against the godless dogma of evolutionary humanism. Only by
showing the scientific bankruptcy of evolution, while exalting Christ
and the Bible, will Christians be successful in "the pulling down of
strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians
Member, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
--- *** ---
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank