Pretty much everyone is some kind of creationist except my father

by CynthiaYockey on April 17, 2009

(NOTE: It would be very helpful if some of y’all would click the “Donate” button to help me buy about $100 in materials I’d like to use to explain the coding theory you need to know to understand why the origin of life is an axiom of biology just as the origin of matter is an axiom of physics, chemistry and astronomy. Thanks.)

My father is Hubert P. Yockey and I edit his work, so I really am an authority on this topic. In fact, I’ve been thinking that since what I have to say on the origin of life and Darwin’s theory of evolution is unique, I should write a lot more on the topic while my father is still alive to consult and ensure that what I write is correct and leave mocking Obama to others for the nonce.

These thoughts have coincided with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs getting denounced by Glenn Beck this week for calling the Tea Partiers extremists, which I agree is an assertion that has no foundation and is malicious.

I’ve only dropped in on Little Green Footballs on a handful of occasions and Johnson never answered when I asked to be registered as a commenter. I’ve only glanced through his coverage of the advocates of Creationism, and Intelligent Design, which is re-branded Creationism, trying to get their religious dogma written into science textbooks and taught in public schools at the expense of public tax dollars.

By the way, the origin of life and evolution are two completely separate considerations. As my father has pointed out (pp. 119-120, Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life, Cambridge University Press, 2005), Darwin specifically said his theory of evolution had nothing to do with the origin of life:

But I have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the Pentateuchal [The first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, classically thought to have been due to Moses] term of creation, by which I really meant “appeared” by some wholly unknown process. It is mere rubbish, thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter. (Darwin, 1898, HPY emphasis)

My father was among the first group of scientists to see the application of information theory to biology in the 1950’s — in particular, his paper on the application of Shannon’s Channel Capacity Theorem to molecular biology — and he organized the third-ever scientific conference about it in 1956 and edited the book of papers presented there, Symposium on Information Theory in Biology, edited by Hubert P. Yockey, Robert Platzman and Henry Quastler, Pergamon Press, 1958.

Dr. Quastler organized the first two conferences on information theory and biology and the field would be significantly farther along if he hadn’t committed suicide in 1963 the day after coming home and finding his wife dead in their home (from natural causes, as I recall). It also would be farther along if my mother had been sane and supportive of my father’s work instead of the chainsmoking, alcoholic borderline that she was. I am devoted to my father because he is the one who took care of the three of us children and protected us in an era where divorce was not an option because no matter how awful a mother was, she always got custody. My father resumed his work on information theory after my younger brother, Eric, was killed in a car accident on August 22, 1973.

Dad has been in the position of Mercutio in the debate on the origin of life — “a pox on both your houses” — because he has worked to demonstrate which scenarios must be rejected as scientific because they can only be asserted on the basis of faith. He trusted the courts to enforce the separation of church and state and keep creation scenarios based on religious dogmas out of the public schools and university science classes. However, as a scientist, he saw that the scientific scenarios of chance and self-organization also were based on the dogma of the secular religion of communism, dialectical materialism, and did not survive true scientific scrutiny and therefore could only be maintained on faith.

And what my father constantly has said about faith is that it has a place in religion but not in science, citing Socrates that the means of removing illusions is “counting and measuring.” (The full quote is in Dad’s book cited above and here, on page 5 of the reply to the FTE amicus brief he wrote for Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in 2005. FTE is the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, which distorted my father’s work and attempted to appropriate his scientific reputation in the book at the center of the trial, Of Pandas and People. I will post about that tomorrow or Sunday. BTW, if you buy my father’s book, I would really appreciate your purchasing it through my Amazon Associates advertisement located on the right underneath the newsfeed column. I take care of my father and do not have any other job to support myself or pay my own expenses.)

Since science is about counting and measuring, not faith or dogma, this means religious people have no business dressing up their dogmas as science to force others to believe them and to appropriate public money to proselytize for them in public schools. Likewise, while science may be able to disprove certain dogmas, such as the earth being the center of the universe, scientists have no foundation for claiming science disproves the existence of God — I was about to continue by saying that science cannot address the existence of God because that is a matter of faith. Then I remembered that science is going to be able to address various aspects of the existence of God — or, perhaps, more accurately, the experience of God — when there is a larger pool of subjects in the higher states of consciousness called “enlightenment.” I will explain higher states of consciousness tomorrow. But even when sufficient subjects are available, scientists will not be able to address whether or not God exists, but rather, only the physiological correlates associated with a subjective experience of God.

Over the course of his work on the origin of life, my father is the one who has shown that it is unknowable, as Charles Darwin and Nils Bohr predicted. Something that is true, but which cannot be derived from anything else, is a starting point for reasoning called an axiom. The origin of life is an axiom of biologybecause it is unknowable. That is what should be taught about the origin of life. All the other scenarios for the origin of life rely on faith or miracles, which is why my headline says, “Pretty much everyone is some kind of creationist except my father.”

P.S.

Just about everything I know about LGF and Charles Johnson is in this story from the Christian Science Monitor, which I just read.

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  • Maggie

    Cynthia

    I am a Catholic, I believe what is written in the Bible, yet I reject what is known as Creationism, since Creationism relies upon the young earth scenario, which is so utterly ridiculous. I am not a scientist. I am comfortable with faith based explanations.

    I will be reading your comments, with interest 🙂

    • Maggie,

      I do enjoy your visits and kind comments! I have to make some materials to help people visualize my explanation, so when I get those done I’ll have at it.

      Cynthia

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