AE #657 - Codes & Information, possible counterargument

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AE #657 - Codes & Information, possible counterargument

Postby ExTech » Tue May 18, 2010 7:24 pm

Jason in Denver got me thinking about ways to get design-adherents (the honest ones, not the zealots) to at least think outside their boxes.

Like many of these claimants, Jason cited "all scientists" for their belief that "DNA is a code." He then falsely equates "[genetic] code & information" with "[intelligent, purposeful] code & information."

And as usual, the typical counterarguments were raised, pointing out the circularity, the equivocation fallacy, etc. No effect.

It's clear that the believers who come across or even come up with this argument stop thinking about it way too soon. So enamored are they that they refuse to see any faults or look for any weaknesses.

That's probably why Jason kept repeating himself and apparently missing, completely, your counterarguments. He couldn't see them, because in his mind the argument was airtight (because it was pleasing, not because it was logical).

So I got to wondering: would an argument from authority carry some weight?

Clearly, one of the more pleasing elements about this claim is the fact that virtually all scientists use the terms "genetic code" and "genetic information." And it is indeed largely true.

So what if we counter with: "so why aren't all scientists theistic?

"The vast VAST majority of them are atheists, WAY more than the population at large.

"So if these people, who ALL use those terms, aren't believers, don't you think YOU must be missing something?

"Do you HONESTLY think you've thought of something that 95% of the scientists have somehow missed?

"How is that possible when we have all these canned counterarguments ready before you even complete your first sentence?"

I've never used it so I can't say, but I thought it might "open a door" that standard arguments seem never to open. It "affixes" itself onto an element of their own argument, an element that appeals to them and therefore might be likely to make them actually think twice. Maybe.

P.S. - my thinking on this is along the lines of my still-untried counter to Paley's Watch: I suggested interrupting them at the start and ask, "Why a desert/forest/field? Isn't it because you're assuming that the desert/forest/field is NATURAL and NON-DESIGNED? Versus the watch which you assume IS designed? Gee, I hope you're not going to claim that these two things, which you've placed in CONTRAST with one another, are somehow the SAME."
Last edited by ExTech on Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby eimerian » Tue May 18, 2010 10:46 pm

I can see where you are coming from. I had a similar case once with a guy who boldly claimed that "quantum physics proves that consciousness determines reality" and I asked "Well why isnt every physicist a mind body dualist then?" :wink:

This might work as a door-opener as you suggested but at the end of the day its not a good reply because these "DNA is a code/language" type arguments would be wrong even if every scientist on this planet was a born again young earth creationist.

I guess the best approach is to point out that this is an equivocation fallacy because two meanings of the word "code" (metaphor and actual) are used.

For example:

All jackasses have long ears.
Carl is a jackass.
Therefore, Carl has long ears.

which is the same as

All codes are intentionally designed.
DNA is a code.
Therefore, DNA is intentionally designed.
Jesus saves.
Do not remove memory card, controller, or reset/switch off the console.
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Postby ExTech » Wed May 19, 2010 12:39 am

True that. I was just wondering if there might be a way to kick open the door to critical thought a little earlier. That particular caller seemed open to it (vs. say "Cesar," the guy who calls in and recites stuff).
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