Imagine a blind man called Henry who, during his appendectomy, has an electronic device secretly planted deep in his ear by an mischievous surgeon called Richard. This device has the capacity to transmit sound to Henry whenever Richard wishes from nearly any location.
A few days later, Richard, hiding behind a postbox, transmits a short message while Henry is slowly tapping his cane along the sidewalk.
This is the first time that Henry has heard a voice other than his own in his head. He knows that others who have heard voices have ended up institutionalized.
Nonetheless, he is curious, and reaches down to the sidewalk.
“Left.” comes the voice again.
Henry obeys and reaches left to discover a $100 bill that Richard has left there. Henry is quite stupefied by this new source of knowledge, and goes home to ponder the enigma. He wracks his brain for an explanation, but finally drifts off to sleep.
The next afternoon while walking to the barber, he hears the voice again.
Is DNA code? This question has been answered affirmatively by some in an attempt to argue that DNA requires an intelligent author. Therefore the more fundamental question is “Did DNA arise from a natural process or from an intelligent designer?”
This is a legitimate question, but not a unique one. Throughout history, millions of similar questions have been asked, all having the basic form of “Does X have a natural or a supernatural cause?” Plug pandemics, lighting or psychotic behavior into X as examples.
For most of these millions of questions of causation throughout history, there have been 2 basic approaches.
The most compelling argument in favor of any ideology or theory is its predictive power.
If an ideology makes a prediction and fails, this counts against its validity.
If an ideology makes no predictions that can be tested, its validity remains marginal as is must depend on other less conclusive methods of science.
If an ideology makes a successful prediction, this adds to the validity of the ideology.
As obvious as this is, there are those who attempt dismiss predictive power by actually claiming that predictive power is arbitrary and subjective. I recently exchanged over 14,000 e-mailed words with one individual in defense of the superiority of ideologies having predictive power, only to finally discover that he had not even the slightest notion about what predictive power is. He stated the following.
“Superior predictive power” is … like saying ok, we’re going to play a game, and the object of the game is to bounce the ball off the wall. We’ll play to 15, and when I bounce the ball off the wall, I score a point. Period. You don’t get a point when you bounce the ball off the wall. According to the rules, I always win, because I made up the rules.