Interesting Interaction on Social Media

Recently on a social media outlet, I posted the following quote:

If I see smoke, I can infer that there’s fire. I don’t have to say, ‘Let’s just stay agnostic.’ If it’s also true that only minds produce information, when we find information (e.g.DNA) we can infer with relative confidence that a mind played a role. 

– Stephen C. Meyer

Someone replied the following:

DNA is not information.

I replied:

The ordering of the chemical bases in DNA (abbreviated A, T, C, G) stores the biological information used to create proteins for specific uses. Not sure why you would think this is not information…

He replied:

Because it’s not something produced by one mind and intended to be understood by another, which is the kind of information which you imply here.

I replied:

The first part of your response (“it’s not something produced by one mind”) begs the question. Regarding the second part, think about an API created for a program to call. Input comes from a person, but a program sends it to another program over the internet. Is that information?

He replied:

It’s not really begging the question Biologists sometimes use words like ‘code’, ‘language’ and ‘information’ when talking about DNA, but those words are not being used in a way that infers intelligent origin, or anything from a mind. If you think mind is involved, show proof.

I replied:

Proof is a very subjective term. What would you consider to be proof?

He replied:

Surely the burden of proof is on the one making the claim, isn’t it? You started off the thread with a quote that is no more than playing with words. Arguments for ‘intelligent design’ tend to just be arguments from ignorance, in my experience. Surprise me 😉

I replied:

Sorry, but you could just as easily dismiss the response by saying it’s not convincing to me. So I don’t think it is productive to continue the conversation. If you were local I would enjoy discussing over coffee, but I think you’re not local 😊 Have a great day!

He replied:

All the best to you too.

Overall, I consider the encounter a success, though I truly wish I could’ve met with him over coffee to discuss it more. I’m glad that this online encounter did not devolve into name calling and insults!

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