When talking about ‘information’ and its relevance to biological design, Intelligent Design theorists have a particular definition in mind. Indeed they see information as “the attribute inherent in and communicated by alternative sequences or arrangements of something that produce specific effects” (p.86). When the twentieth century American mathematician Claude Shannon laid down his own theory for quantifying information he drew attention to a mathematical relationship that on its surface appeared intuitive. Information as Shannon noted was inversely proportional to uncertainty. That is, the more information we had about our world the less uncertainty there was over the outcome of future events. Shannon also proposed that the more improbable an event the more information such an event would impart once it actually took place (say, throwing a six on a role of dice).
In the fourth chapter of Signature In The Cell, Stephen Meyer displays an enviable clarity in his exposition of biology’s post-‘Shannon information’ era. In so doing he masterfully dispels any concern that the intelligent design inference does not carry with it a sound scientific foundation.
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