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Understanding “Information” — A Key to the Intelligent Design Debate

David Klinghoffer
Photo credit: MIKI Yoshihito, via Flickr (cropped).

Vital to Stephen Meyer’s arguments in his books — including the latest, Return of the God Hypothesis — is the concept of information. It’s a word we all use routinely, without perhaps knowing what it means in the context of debates about intelligent design. As Dr. Meyer explains with great clarity in a short video below, information as defined by mathematician Claude Shannon has to be distinguished from specified, functional information, of the type found in computer code, written language, and DNA. It’s information in the latter sense that calls for an inference to design:

One self-deprecating viewer commented, “Don’t use the Shannon argument unless you understand it really well. I tried using it and got my butt handed to me on a spade shovel. Nevertheless, random information, such as Shannon info, doesn’t require a specific, functional sequence. Dr. Meyer’s discussion here helps clarify the point.” The video is a sample lesson from Meyer’s DiscoveryU course, “Stephen Meyer Investigates Scientific Evidence For Intelligent Design.” Complete with reading assignments and quizzes, the course is a great way to polish your skills in explaining ID to others without suffering a spade-shoveling mishap of your own.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.

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Claude Shannoncomputer codeDiscoveryUDNAeducationinformationintelligent designlanguagemathematiciansquizzesreading assignmentsReturn of the God HypothesisShannon informationspade shovelStephen Meyer