Reason #25 The Scientific Evidence for an Information-Based (Not Matter-Based) Universe
Science and logic
strongly indicate that the laws of nature operate on a foundation of
information and mathematical precision, not randomness.
The atheist believes that
any discussion about the beginning of the universe must begin with a discussion
of matter and space-time, but the Christian believes that it must begin with a
discussion of information. The idea of information is embedded in the earliest
Christian creeds—“In the beginning was the Word” (the Word, not matter), and
words express mind; words express information.
The debate between
atheism and Christianity, therefore, is not a debate over science versus God,
but over a random-based cosmos versus an information-based cosmos. The atheist
is a person of faith (in a randomness that stands behind the story of the
cosmos) just as much as the Christian is a person of faith (in an intelligence
that stands behind the story of the cosmos).
This is why it is so
striking to hear atheists admit to the appearance of design in the universe. Of
course, this appearance of design is most naturally explained by the actuality
of design. And if the scientific data available to us demonstrates a reliable
sort of mathematical design and precision, then the idea of randomness
certainly loses its intellectual appeal.
physicist Eugene Wigner spoke about “the unreasonable effectiveness of
mathematics in the natural sciences.” Over and over again, the laws of physics
are stated as mathematical formulas—E=mc2
F=dp⁄dt (Newton’s second law), etc. Galileo
came to believe that “mathematics is the language with which God has written
the universe.” Indeed, math is often regarded as the primary “language” of
science and the key to crafting tight chains of logic that make possible
everything from rocketry and nuclear fission, to simple banking and telling
time. Our daily routines, and the universe itself, rely on a foundation of
brilliant information, not randomness.
This same brilliant
information is seen in the field of DNA research. The DNA of the human genome is frequently likened
to an instruction book for life, or a codebook for life—a “book” with something
like 3.2 billion “letters” (genetic base pairs) in it! In fact, it is almost
impossible for scientists to refer to DNA without referring to “information.”
viewed through a telescope or a microscope, it is abundantly clear that the
cosmos is operating on the basis of astonishing information, calculations, and
codes, not the randomness that atheism requires. And anytime we require our hourly
wages to be paid accurately, or our phone numbers to be dialed correctly, or
our speedometer readings to keep us safe, we are admitting to our dependence on
a cosmos that operates on the basis of information—the information that stands
behind a mathematically reliable natural world.