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Where does information come from?


But what is information? Microsoft's dictionary defines information as (a) knowledge, or (b) gathered facts. Doesn't the definition prompt these two questions:

How could knowledge evolve by itself?

How could accidental evolution gather facts?

Let's ponder those as we continue with the article.


Information is not physical matter

My first point is this: There is a difference between physical matter and information. One is visible, things we can see and touch, but the other we cannot see or touch. To illustrate, I am typing this on a computer that is physical. My words are printed on a physical piece of paper. What the words are telling you, though, is not physical.


The computer, the ink and piece of paper are the medium by which my thoughts or information are shown, but the ink and paper are not the thoughts. The actual thoughts - the information part - originated in my mind and no scientist has ever seen the thoughts of any human being. Nor have any of us ever seen our own thoughts. Does anyone, however, doubt that their thoughts - although non-matter and unseen - are nevertheless not real?


Reference (2) explains the difference by saying this, "Matter is not of itself informative. To say that a human cell was built by its chemicals is like saying a book was written by its paper and ink, or that a typewriter was constructed by the iron in its frame."


Source (1) quoted evolutionist author George C. Williams who explained the difference this way, "Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two or more incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter..... Just the fact that fifteen years ago I started to use a computer may have 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 separate differences of information and matter."


Unseen thoughts can move physical objects!

Source (3) adds this surprising point, "English neurologist and Nobel Prize winner Sir John Eccles was asked to address a conference of parapsychologists... who were discussing psychokinesis ... the ability to move physical objects with the mind. If you want to see real psychokinesis, he told his audience, then consider the feats of mind-over-matter performed in the brain. It is quite astonishing that with every thought, the mind manages to move the atoms of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and the other particles in the brain's cells. It would appear that nothing is further apart than an insubstantial thought and the solid gray matter of the brain.. The whole trick is somehow done without any apparent link."


So there you have it. A description of thought, which cannot be seen or handled, something "non-physical", yet somehow thoughts move matter matter, things that are physical. Your thoughts are able to move your arm, leg, eyes, etc. Does that seem as remarkable to you as it does to our references and to this writer?


As an aside, we have to wonder, since thoughts, which are non-matter, are able to make physical objects move and function, doesn't it seem there is a realm other than the strictly physical one? If so, isn't that along the lines that creationists propose? (For more, see footnote #17.)


With that said, let's get back to the subject. As I write this, my thoughts (unseen, non-physical) are directing my fingers (physical, matter) to type. Thus through the physical mediums of keyboard, computer, ink and paper, my non-physical thoughts can be seen.


Information is essential for all life

How important is information? In reference (1) it is answered this way, "First, life consists not just of matter (chemicals) but of matter and information information. Second, information is not reducible to matter, but is a different kind of "stuff" altogether."


Those few words are profound and might require re-reading. What is the difference between living matter and dead matter? As we will see from the article, the difference is three things, things that are not matter, not physical:



and intelligence.





and intelligence.





and intelligence.



Death is the cessation or absence of information

When the information that has kept the creature alive by organizing its random atoms and molecules, ceases, death occurs. The creature's atoms immediately stop functioning together and start to revert to their natural state of dis-organization, which we recognize as death. What then keeps living creatures alive? Intelligently organized atoms and molecules driven by information.


Discover magazine prints quotes throughout each issue. Although the magazine supports evolution, this particular quote helps to make my point. It was from physicist Heinz Pagels who was quoted in the March, 2003 issue:

"The visible world is the invisible organization of energy."


You might ponder that for a minute. Reference (3) adds this, "...that intelligence is more important than the actual matter of the body, since without it, that matter would be



and chaotic.

Intelligence makes the difference between a house designed by an architect and a pile of bricks."


Widely acclaimed evolutionist (6) states it well:, "Living things are collections of molecules, like everything else. What is special is that these molecules are put together in much more complicated patterns than the molecules of non-living things, and this putting together is done by following



sets of instructions

of how to develop, which the organisms carry around inside themselves.


But wait a minute. Did you catch it? A prominent evolutionist acknowledges living things are random molecules put together by:


and instructions.

But where would they come from? This writer asks: Can programs and instructions be explained by accidental evolution?


In case his readers didn't get it, the author added more, "What lies at the heart of every living thing is not a fire, not warm breath, not a "spark of life, it is






"If you want to understand life,... think about information technology."


Wow! A noted evolutionist sees words, information - which are invisible and non-physical - keeping living things alive.


Where did information come from?

So we have to ponder the question: Where did information come from?


Everywhere we look we see our physical world driven by "information" which is intelligence or knowledge. Yet information itself is like thoughts, it is not physical; it cannot be seen or handled.


Take the common example of birds that construct nests from the lowliest of materials. Where did that information come from? If there was in fact a first evolved 100% bird, how did this first bird go about learning to build the first nest? Under evolution, a lot of trial and error had to be involved. And yet there would be only a few days to experiment and learn.


Let's assume the first bird perfected nest building within its short lifetime. We are then confronted with another question in logic. How was this knowledge passed on to its offspring? We know it is not by "show and tell", so how did the first baby bird, and how do all subsequent birds, get that nest building information? We have to ask the same question for all of nature, spiders that engineer webs, beavers that engineer dams, and on and on.


How did I miss out?

My grandfather built his own farm house and barn around 1900. He did it all without electric tools, just his own ability using simple hand tools. His planning and carpenter skills are evident. My point is this: none of that skill was passed down to me. My dad re-built the engine in my first car. I cannot do anything mechanical like that.


But an evolutionist source (5) evolution explains that evolution works by


and inheritance.

"... the fact that the mix of variation in every generation of every living plant and animal is tested against the conditions in which those organisms live. They also blur the crucial condition that advantageous characteristics must be inheritable and inherited for natural selection to occur."


So we are told that under the evolution scenario I should have inherited advantageous skills and characteristics. In fact doesn't our author tell us such is a crucial condition for evolution? Doesn't evolution in general tell us that all of nature, in bird nests, spider webs, beaver dams, and on and on, those skills are routinely inherited from generation to generation?


But if such inherited skills doesn't work for humans, could it be that the inherited information present in every bird generation, and the millions of other specie generations, were not evolved as we are told happened, but were put there by some kind of intelligence, a programmer? (For more see footnote #18)


It is also interesting that our evolution author sees testing taking place. If so, wouldn't that require decisions; and don't decisions require some sort of intelligence? But wait a minute, does evolution have any decision-making intelligence?


Tiny cells have awesome amounts of information

Let's move on to cells and the information they contain. Our widely acclaimed evolution author(6) reported about cells, "Each one can be thought of as a chemical factory which, in the course of delivering its primary product of usable energy, processes more than 700 different chemical substances, in long, interweaving assembly lines strung out along the surface of its intricately folded internal membranes."


Source (3) informs that, "Of the liver cell's many functions, over five hundred at latest count..."


Manufacturing 700 chemicals or performing 500 functions happens in one cell, and is repeated continuously in the trillions and trillions of similar cells in the universe. Does it seem to you that a tremendous amount of knowledge, of information is involved?


Prominent evolutionist (6) had a surprising fact about the information in each cell, "Each nucleus...contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not all the cells put together.... The total number of cells in the body is about 10 trillion."


A database with more information than 30 encyclopedia volumes? Does that database sound like an awesome amount of information to you? It sure does to me. But don't we have to ask, Does a database evolve by itself?


But wait a minute. It's more than just information written in 30 volumes, isn't it? It's more than, say, a monkey typing letters on a keyboard for a million years and winding up with random sentences strung together. What our authors have told about is information that has meaning, that has purpose.


Reference (5) might sum it up this point as it informs, "A Boeing 747 airliner, a 30 story office block, and a fruit fly are all complex structures pieced together from simpler components according to pre-existing plans....

Of these three examples the fruit fly is by far the most complex."


"30 volumes of information" "pre-existing plans"...."more complex than"......I can't make things up as good as those.

What would convince scientists of other life in the universe?

Let's move on to another aspect as we consider the topic of information. One writer(12?) makes the point that our government is spending millions of dollars searching the universe for a sign of intelligent life. What would convince them they had found it? "A manifestly artificial signal - even if it were as boring as lists of prime numbers, or the digits of "pi" - would imply that "intelligence" wasn't unique to the Earth and had evolved elsewhere."


How is this for inconsistency?

Do you sense a major inconsistency? On the one hand a very little bit of intelligent signals would immediately convince scientists of other intelligent life. Yet on the other hand, evolutionist scientists can see and acknowledge:

30 volumes of DNA information in every tiny cell,

volumes of DNA information in every tiny cell,

or a chemical factory processing 700 chemicals,

or a liver cell performing 500 functions,

but those massive amounts of "signals" do not constitute an intelligent source! Instead, they all evolved by themselves from nothing. Does that inconsistency sound like logical thinking to you?


Where did information come from?

Previous "Creation Corner" columns have pointed out the classic evolution scenario that all species and life itself started with a massive lightning bolt striking a blob of chemicals floating in a seething ocean. The question was then asked, is there information present in lightning, chemicals, or ocean water? A straight answer seems to be "No". Let's look at what some evolutionists say were other beginnings of life (yes, they have more than one!). Let's see if any of their beginnings might have had information in them.


Evolution author (5) writes, "When Earth was formed it was a lifeless planet among other lifeless planets circling our sun. It was not until about one billion years later that there were life forms of sufficient complexity to leave their microfossil traces in rocks of the time. But the real origins of life-the origins of self-replicating chemical entities -must have predated these earliest fossils by a considerable period."


Evolution authors Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (7) write, ""Imagine a period hundreds of millions of years long in which the Earth is awash in the building blocks of life.... There are pools and lakes undergoing wild fluctuations in conditions - now warm, bright, and bathed in ultraviolet light, now frozen and dark. Out of this varied and changeable landscape, and this rich organic brew, life arises."


Evolution author (8) writes, "Draw back more and the first multicellular organisms appear, which made the transition from solitary cell to collective. And finally microbes - the archea and bacteria - now loom"


Evolution authors(9) explain our beginnings this way, "The thrust of that same evolution, from the Big Bang to the emergence of intelligent life, has been a constant movement from the simple to the increasingly complex: the first particles, the atoms, the molecules, the stars, the cells, the organisms of living beings, until we arrive at the curious creatures we call human....All stages follow one another... We descend from monkeys and bacteria, but also from the stars and galaxies."


More evolution authors (10) explain our beginnings, "The oldest rocks on the planet, found in Greenland and southern Africa, suggest that some 4 billion years ago... Life too already had a foothold, in the form of heat-loving bacteria clustered around bubbling mud pools."


This one(11) is a little different, "We said that the initial building blocks in the primal soup were produced when pulses of energy from the sun or the Earth's interior made possible the chemistry of joining atoms together into molecules."


How about one more? The evolution supporting book(13) tells us, ""Over the course of perhaps three billion years, the oxygen produced by algae and the oxygen spewed out of volcanoes changed the atmosphere, creating an oxygen blanket that allowed higher life forms to evolve from germs."


So according to various evolution authors, humans and millions of other species, as well as life itself, had its beginning in - take your choice:


chemical entities,

organic brew,

entities sufficiently simple,


atoms, or



chemical entities,

organic brew,

entities sufficiently simple,


atoms, or



chemical entities,

organic brew,

entities sufficiently simple,


atoms, or


I again ask, is information present in any of them? Aren't they just the tiniest and simplest bits of mere chemicals?


Does information come from matter?

To answer that question, we will re-visit DNA. Source (3) gave a good answer, "You may find it easy to think of DNA, with its billions of genetic bits, as an intelligent molecule; certainly it must be smarter than a simple molecule like sugar. How smart can sugar be? But DNA is really just strings of sugar, amines, and other simple components. If these are not smart to begin with, then DNA couldn't become smart just by putting more of them together."


There is more about DNA, "Why does it initially divide on the second day after conception and begin to make a nervous system on day eighteen?.... As we saw before, DNA is not made out of anything special. Its strands of strands of genetic material can be subdivided into simpler molecules like sugars and amines, and these into atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and so on.


"When it is not tied into DNA, a hydrogen or carbon atom doesn't have anything like timing built into it! In billions of other combinations, hydrogen and carbon simply exist; yet in DNA, they contribute to a mastery over time."


So our author eloquently makes the point the physical elements of matter that make up evolutionary beginnings, do not have information inherent in them. Where did the information/instructions found in every DNA code come from then? Where did the timing apparatus we are told operates in DNA come from?


A fitting end to this article might be this quote from master programmer Bill Gates(14),

"DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more

advanced than any software we've ever created."


In Summary

We have considered the following:

Matter and information are separate from each other, one is physical and is seen, the other is non-matter and is invisible.

To say a cell built itself by its chemicals is like saying a book wrote itself by its paper and ink.

Thoughts, which are non-matter and invisible, can move atoms and physical objects.

It seems that elements of matter - mere chemicals - cannot have themselves have information in them.

What keeps living creatures alive is intelligence, information, and organization.

Certain skills were not inherited by me, as should have happened if evolution was true.

Each tiny DNA cell contains over 30 volumes of information.

Each cell is a chemical factory processing 700 different chemical substances.

A liver cell performs, at latest count, over 500 functions.

We are told a fruit fly is more complex than a 747 airliner or a 30-story office block.

DNA is just a simple sugar molecule yet contains massive amounts of information.

DNA is just a simple sugar molecule yet contains some sort of timing apparatus.

DNA is software far advanced over anything man has done.

Scientists would accept from outer space a simple pattern, or "signal", as evidence of other intelligent life.

Yet they will not acknowledge an intelligent source for the massive amounts of information "signals" found everywhere in nature.


A Final Question

As our references confirmed, scientists see and report that information, instructions, and knowledge exist throughout all of nature. Did they come from:

evolution, which admittedly is:



accidental chance?

Or are they a result of:



some sort of a creation?

Which one makes more sense to you?


C. Frazier Spencer


References and footnotes:

Note: Italics, boldface, or underlining sometimes added to references for emphasis.

(1) "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds" by Phillip E. Johnson, published 1997 by Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL

(2) "Tornado in a Junk Yard" published 2001 by Refuge Books, Arlington, Mass.

(3) "Quantum Healing" by Deepak Chopra published 1989 by Bantam Books, NY.

(4) "Discover" magazine, Feb, 2002, page 38.

(5) "From so Simple a Beginning: the Encyclopedia of Evolution" by Philip Whitfield, published 1993 by Macmillan Publishing Company, NY

(6) "The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins, published 1996 by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., NY.

(7) "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, published 1992 by Random House, Inc. New York.

(8) "Origins" by Hubert Reeves, Joel De Rosnay, Yves Coppens, and Dominiques Simonnet, published 1998 by Arcade Publishing, NY

(8) "Earth Story" by Simon Lamb and David Sington, TV series and 1998 book published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

(9) "Sacred Depths of Nature" by Usrula Goodenough, published in 1998 by Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY.

(12) "Just Six Numbers" by Martin Rees, published 2000 by Basic Books, a division of the Perseus Books Group.

(13) "The Secret Life of Germs" by Philip M. Tierno, Jr. published 2001 by Pocketbooks division of Simon & Schuster, NY.

(14) ""Where Darwin Meets the Bible" by Larry A, Witham published 2002 by Oxford University Press, Oxford and NY.

(15) "Scientific American", March 2003, page 52.

(16) "Quintessence" by Lawrence Krauss, published 2001 by Basic Books.3

(17) For more on this topic see my article, "Which is more real-the the physical or the spiritual?".

(18) For more on this topic, see my article, "What if we find programming in nature?".