Day 2 of 14 • This day’s reading
Is Atheism More Scientific?
Science has been at war with religion for centuries—and God can only be inferred from the “gaps” in our scientific knowledge. At least that’s what New Atheists (a group of articulate, enthusiastic, and militant atheists who have commandeered a large audience in recent years) want you to think. But is that the whole story? Consider just one of the scientific puzzles that remain unexplained by natural science, but point strongly to God: the origin of life.
The problem of the origin of life is fundamentally a problem of information.
With the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists first understood that the organization and ¬development of living creatures is orchestrated by genetic information. This is why, in a widely cited speech, Nobel laureate David Baltimore referred to modern biology as “a science of information.”
How much information is found in living things? According to Richard Dawkins, the information in the cell nucleus of a tiny amoeba is greater than an entire set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.*1 Human DNA contains vastly more. Yet DNA does more than just store information. In combination with other cellular systems, it also processes information much like a computer. Hence Bill Gates likens DNA to a computer program, though far more advanced than any software humans have invented.*2
Atheists willingly confess that they have no clue how life first emerged. Dawkins recognizes the staggering improbability of the origin of life, but then concludes with an incredible solution: luck. Yes, luck.*3 Is this really the most reasonable explanation? Can information emerge from an unguided, irrational, material process?
The informational content of DNA was one of the primary reasons former atheist Antony Flew changed his mind about God. He concluded, “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.”*4 If a message with the complexity of the Encyclopaedia Britannica were to arrive from outer space, it would undoubtedly be accepted as proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. The most reasonable explanation for human DNA—which contains immensely more information than the Encyclopaedia Britannica—is a Divine Mind.
1. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: Norton, 1987), 17–18.
2. Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (Boulder, CO: Blue Penguin, 1996), 228.
3. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2nd ed. with Preface (New York: Mariner Books, 2008), 168.
4. Antony Flew and Roy Abraham Varghese, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 132.
Copyright 2007 Fellowship for the Performing Arts