Algorithmic Information Theory and Intelligent Design

The algorithmic approach clarifies the issues separating the Intelligent Design (ID) advocates and the majority of scientists. My position is that a creator, who established the universe in a way that allows a myriad of ordered structures to emerge, makes more sense than one who intervenes during the history of the universe to give rise to specific ordered structures as suggested by the ID community.   The claim of the ID community is a side track to this fundamental question which is; "How come the universe is structured in such a way that order arises naturally?"  While the article in Zygon (2014) refutes the ID approach, the argument below focuses on more fundamental questions and more recent arguments. 

Algorithmic information theory clarifies the Intelligent Design arguments The ID community argue that highly ordered, surprise structures in nature exhibit “Complex Specified Information” (CSI) (Dembski 2002b), or more recently the terms “Functional information”, “specified information” or “specified complexity” are used (Meyer 2021).  The ID community claims that these structures are a surprise in nature because evolutionary natural selection lacks the ability to generate new order, as selection only acts after the order has arisen.

However, as shown below “variation”, which in algorithmic terms is variation in the DNA algorithm, provides a pool of generating algorithms from which selection processes can mine new functional information. There is no need for a fourth law of thermodynamics as claimed by Dembski (2002b) as sufficient information exists to generate such structures. But first, a clarification of terms is needed, as the ID arguments often muddle two different meanings of information. 

  • The first meaning is the agreed technical definition of information referring to the number of bits in the instructions that generate a structure.  For example, a highly ordered structure such as a tree is generated from the instructions in the DNA plus the bits in the resource inputs these instructions access in order to grow the tree.  Meyer 2021, 270 Figure 9.8, identifies the information in DNA in a manner that is consistent with technical definition.
  • But the ID community also use a more intuitive understanding of information as the special information, the functional information needed to characterise these highly ordered surprise structures, such as cells or complex biological structures having particular functions.  From the intuitive perspective, this “functional information” is a property of the surprise structure. Intuitively to many, this might make sense, as we feel that these ordered structures must somehow have more information.  than other structures.
But these two different meanings of information are incompatible, leading to a spurious argument that ordered, surprise structures require access to specific functional information. MORE