Tasteful satire can be a great way to refute faulty reasoning. Satire exposes human folly by pretending to advocate a bad position in a way that exposes its absurdity. It is an application of Proverbs 26:4-5. We don’t “answer the fool according to his folly” in actuality or we would be like him. But we do “answer the fool according to his folly” as a hypothetical for the purpose of revealing his absurdity. In logic, this method of refutation is called a reductio ad absurdum. We push the bad argument to its inevitable, obviously absurd conclusion, often by applying the same reasoning to a similar but more obvious situation. Evolutionists use very poor reasoning when they attempt to argue for particles-to-people evolution. The article below exposes this by showing how that same reasoning leads to the conclusion that articles have no authors! If that conclusion is unreasonable, then so is particles-to-people evolution, because the reasoning is the same. After reading the article take a look at some of the comments by evolutionists, and my responses to them.


 


 

On the Origin of Articles

You might think that someone wrote this article. But of course, you would be mistaken. Articles are not written by people. They are the result of chance. Every intelligent person knows it. There might be some people who want you to think that articles are written by people. But this view is totally unscientific. After all, we cannot see the person who allegedly wrote the article. We cannot detect him or her in any way. The claim that this article has an author cannot be empirically verified, and therefore it must be rejected. All we have is the article itself, and we must find a scientific explanation for its origin.

Since no intelligent source can be empirically detected within this article, empirical science must look to the chance processes of nature for its formation. In other words, we must not allow ourselves to think that this article came about from a mind; for this would be unscientific. Since it is not the result of a mind, it follows logically that this article is the result of chance. The article has not been designed – it is not the result of some unseen conscious forethought.

Naysayers might suggest that this article bears evidence of design. They might point out that it has a logical flow, that its sentences are coherent, and that it contains creative information. True enough. But this is only evidence of apparent design at best. We must certainly grant that many articles appear designed, as if they had been planned by a mind and written with creative forethought. But to assume that the design came from some unseen, undetectable author would be unscientific.

What then is the true origin of articles? We know that articles can be copied. Articles on paper can be duplicated using a Xerox machine, and electronic articles can be copied from one computer to another. We also know that errors can occur in this duplication process. A simple glitch in the computer can result in a letter being changed, or a sentence or paragraph being duplicated or removed. Most of these random changes would make the article less readable than the original. But such variations would not be copied. (Who would bother to Xerox a bad article?) And so eventually they would be lost.

We must assume that occasionally, very rarely, a mistake in the copy would actually improve the quality of the article – making it more readable and more interesting. In such cases, the improved article would be much more likely to be copied than the original. In this fashion, articles gradually improve, often growing in length, complexity, and interest. It stands to reason, therefore, that all articles started out as a simple word, or perhaps even a single letter, which was gradually changed as it was duplicated due to errors in the duplication process and selection of the more readable variations.

It is also sensible to conclude that all articles have diverged from a common original article which itself consisted of nothing more than a single word. This is obvious by virtue of the fact that all articles have certain things in common. For example, all articles use words. And in all cases these words are organized into sentences. Many of the words used in many articles are exactly the same! For example, the word “the” appears very commonly in almost all articles. Are we to believe that this is just a coincidence? Clearly not. It is evidence that these articles share a common source. They have each diverged from a common article in the distant past.

Naysayers argue that articles are written by people. But would people use the very same words in different articles? The common words, common grammar, and common sentence structure clearly point to a common origin for articles. It is reasonable to conclude that articles which share more common words and sentences are more closely related than those that have fewer common words and sentences. Clearly this extends to larger works of literature – books for example. Books are the most advanced form of literary diversification, and so they must also be the most recent.

Critics of our position (“authorists”) might object that we have never seen one article transform into a completely different article. In other words, all observed changes have been only minor transformations. But is this really surprising? After all, it would take a very long time for an article to have accumulated enough changes to be classified as a completely different article. And people simply don’t live long enough for this to happen within our lifetime. But the fact that all articles share common words is positive evidence that it has happened, even though the process is too slow to see it in its entirety today. We do see minor transformations today. And it is reasonable to conclude that these minor changes will add up to major changes over long periods of time.

Some readers might be bothered by the fact that we do not have a complete record of how the simpler articles diversified into the wide variety of complex articles in our present world. But this does not in any way disqualify our basic thesis that articles do share a common original source. After all, considering the trillions of variations that must have existed and been destroyed in the vast time necessary for this process, we would expect that the record of links in the chain would be fragmentary at best. And we do know of some links. For example, there are several minor variations of the book “the Hobbit.” These are known to exist, and it is obvious they stem from a common original. So it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that all works of literature share a common source.

Given the slowness of the diversification of articles, it is reasonable to conclude that articles are far older than “authorists” assume. The process of an article becoming longer and more interesting likely takes millions of years – perhaps even hundreds of millions of years. It may even happen in spurts, rapid diversification followed by long periods of relative stasis. This may account for the fact that we find so few intermediate forms in ancient libraries.

One objection to our position is the idea that some sentences in some articles contain a degree of “irreducible complexity.” This is to say that even a minor change of any kind would make the sentence unclear or unreadable. However, this notion fails to consider that multiple simultaneous changes – though rare – can occur in the process of time. The fact that we cannot conceptualize an intermediate sentence does not actually prove that no such intermediate is possible. The process by which articles diversify from a common source is still being studied, and so we do not have the answers to every detail yet. But this does not mean that such answers will not be forthcoming in the process of time. The formation and diversification of articles from a common source is a scientific fact and well supported by the evidence even though some of the details are not yet understood.

To assume that articles have an author is a faith position. It is a belief in something that cannot be perceived with the senses. As such, it is unscientific and should be rejected. If some people feel that they must believe in an author, that’s okay, but please remember that your view is religious and not scientific. Please don’t force it on others or teach it in school.

Just think about it. This very article which you are now reading is the result of countless copying errors which gradually increased its length and complexity over time. How amazing that such a process of nature has resulted in so many wonderful works of literature! Such literature is not the result of some mysterious, unseen, undetectable “author.” It is simply the inevitable result of the mindless duplication process working over unimaginable periods of time.
 


 

After posting the above article on my blog, a number of evolutionists attempted to refute it. Strangely, they were defending the creationist position on articles! So I thought I would have a little fun with them and defend the evolutionary view of articles. Notice that they cannot defend their belief in authors without abandoning their belief in biological evolution (which they are unwilling to do). Here are some of their comments, along with my satirical responses.

A conversation with George:

George: You can detect the writer of an article in the style of writing, choice of words and grammar. In this manner you can tell which autor [sic] has written specific articles.

Dr. Lisle: I totally agree. But couldn’t the same be said of the writer of the information in DNA?

George: If you take two articles you can tell that they were created either by the same writer or by two different writers.

Dr. Lisle: Again, I agree. Likewise, the similarities in the DNA of all living organisms makes sense in light of the fact that their DNA has the same author. But that’s not how evolutionists interpret this, is it?

George: …we can tell that you have written this article…

Dr. Lisle: How? Did you observe me writing it? Have you observed me writing other ones in the past? Or are you assuming the article has an author because it has creative information in it?

 

A conversation with Alex:

Alex: you haven’t provided the reasonable, logical method to an end that Darwinian Natural Selection provides, nor is there any clear evidence of a random mechanism at play.

Dr. Lisle: Actually, both were mentioned in the article. The random mechanism is computer errors – which do happen. The selection method is the fact that better articles are more likely to be copied than worse articles.

Alex: So, on that grounds, I accept that the article most likely must have a writer, or that there may be some other mechanism is at work.

Dr. Lisle: You mean, just because you don’t understand the mechanism by which the article evolved, you are willing to take (on faith!) the existence of some unseen, unproven, “author”?

Alex: Your fallacy, sir, is the fallacy of the intelligent designer…

Dr. Lisle: You are the one arguing that the article has an intelligent designer.

Alex: …in assuming that evolution is some kind of dice game. It’s not; a rather better metaphor is a dice game where dice that roll 1-4 die out.

Dr. Lisle: So, it’s not a dice game, but rather a dice game? Hmm. There is a selection mechanism, if that’s what you mean.

Alex: Were there some method that added words to an article…

Dr. Lisle: There is! Computer errors can do this. I once saw an entire paragraph mistakenly duplicated.

Alex: …then had a selection process to cull the least intelligible ones,…”

Dr. Lisle: There is! Poorly written articles are far less likely to be copied and passed on.

Alex …then it would be much easier to believe that this article was generated via said process.

If you’re not happy with the described process, then find some other naturalistic, chance explanation. But please don’t invoke some unseen, unproved “author.”

Alex: “If we had a clear paper trail leading back to the original article, then it would be much easier to believe that it was created by said process.”

Dr. Lisle: Given the millions of years it took the article to evolve, it’s not surprising that most of the paper trail has been lost. Just because we don’t have all the transitional forms for this particular article doesn’t mean that there never were any. Perhaps some will be found in the process of time. After all, we do know of some transitional forms for other articles and books. There are a number of ancient variations of the works ascribed to Plato, showing that they have indeed descended from a common ancestor.

Although we do not have intermediate forms between any of the major works of literature (such as between “The Odyssey” and Webster’s dictionary), we find plenty of variations within a particular group of literature, such as “the Iliad.” And besides, all works of literature use words, and sentences. Clearly they have a common ancestor, even if we don’t have a complete paper trail.

 

A conversation with Joel:

Joel: Explanations by deterministic continuity are always preferred to those by miraculous discontinuity.

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! That’s why we cannot allow the existence of some undetectable “author” that is outside the article. The article must be explained by the deterministic laws of nature acting within the article over vast amounts of time.

Joel: Our species has learned more in the last couple years about origins that any lifetime of caveman causality.

Dr. Lisle: Yes – and we now know that articles are not written by people. What superstitious nonsense it is to believe in authors! The origin and evolution of articles can now be explained scientifically – without appealing to some outside unproven “author.”

Joel: This article lacks direct proof for most readers as to who is its author (although proof is possible through ISP records, author alibi, etc.), yet there is sufficient evidence that it was written by an intelligence with access to this account.

Dr. Lisle: Wait just a minute – you seem to be switching your position. What is your “sufficient evidence” of this alleged intelligence? You refer to ISP records and such, but these are just written records – not scientific evidence. You’re not honestly going to tell me that you believe in “authors” just because some old written record says so, are you? You must present scientific evidence for your case sir!

Joel: We can further find it evident that it is a human intelligence, because the subject matter and reasoning hold no continuity (motive, values, opportunity) with reasoning by machine intelligence.

Dr. Lisle: Now you’re telling me that not only can you tell that there is some super-article “author”, but that you can tell something about the nature of this unseen “author” just because of the properties of what he/she/it allegedly created? You still haven’t established scientifically that there is any author at all. And if there were an author, why didn’t he make it more obvious in the article? In fact, if there is an author, let him show himself right now! Let him appear inside the article, and then I will believe. But until that happens, I must conclude that the weight of science is on the side of articles being a chance process of nature.

Joel: So what if it bears no proof, one way or another, of an author to the exclusion of all other possibility?

Dr. Lisle: The burden of proof is upon you sir to demonstrate that there is an author. If you cannot scientifically prove this, then we must believe in the evolutionary origin scenario of articles.

Joel: It will never convince me to abandon recent learning …

Dr. Lisle: Yes, and “recent learning” clearly establishes that articles are the result of chance. I’m certainly not going to believe in those old bronze-age opinions that articles have authors!

Joel: …in favor of a Book of Hearsay, quoting bronze age authors …

Dr. Lisle: How do you know there were authors? Can you see them? Can you detect them scientifically? Again, you have no evidence for your position. It’s just a silly belief.

Joel: who tell me a plant-filled Earth on Day Three orbits NOTHING, …

Dr. Lisle: Yes, it is absolutely impossible to have light without the sun, and plants without the sun. This is why I adamantly deny the existence of indoor lights, and indoor plants. Greenhouses don’t exist either – what superstitious nonsense that would be!

Joel: because all but 0.000000000000001% of the universe, in the form of our dust speck Earth, had yet to be created until Day Four, because the Sun, Moon, and galaxies of Stars were just an afterthought.

Dr. Lisle: Yes – it’s far more reasonable to think that all these things exploded into existence from nothing.

Joel: I’m too responsible to propagate such discontinuous hearsay.

Dr. Lisle: I appreciate your honesty. But I wish you would be more consistent and realize that it simply is not scientific for articles to have authors, for much of the same reasons you claim above.

 

A Conversation with David:

David: Interestingly, in todays [sic] world you can not only trace the original article but follow the server logs and IP addresses to the computer / device the keystrokes emanated from. Additionally there will be a log of keystrokes on the machine the article was written on. So actually, you see there is a major flaw in your logic.

Dr. Lisle: You don’t have those things. So what is your evidence that the article has an author? Do you actually have any evidence at all? By the way, server logs are a record of history, much like the Bible. Surely you are not counting a record of history as scientific evidence are you? As to keystrokes, most computers don’t maintain a log of keystrokes. And earlier Xeroxed paper copies of the article would have no such record anyway. So, again, what is your actual evidence that the article has an author? Until you provide some, we must presume that it came about through natural processes. Your position is simply an unscientific “faith” position. Keep it in church please.

David: The article would be in fact traceable to its author because of evidence. That pesky little thing that is so lacking with the creationist viewpoint.

Dr. Lisle: You haven’t provided any evidence. It seems totally lacking in your viewpoint. You haven’t provided any keystroke logs, or server logs – not that those would count as scientific evidence anyway. In fact, you haven’t provided any actual evidence of an author whatsoever! Evidence is totally missing from your viewpoint. I’ll state it again: please provide some actual evidence!

David: As John Adams so eloquently put it:

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! You may wish the article to have an author, but that doesn’t make it so. The evidence is against your position sir.

David: So while I will award Jason a couple of good chuckle points for a interesting twist of logic, ultimately the article only proves the strength of the scientific method.

Dr. Lisle: Now, not only do you claim that article has an author, but you claim to know who it is! Tell me, do you have any actual scientific evidence for your position at all? You have provided none whatsoever! The scientific method has shown that (1) mistakes in copying sometimes occur and (2) mistakes that make an article worse are less likely to be copied than those that make it better.

So, scientifically, it is reasonable to conclude that articles have been gradually evolved from a common original word or letter. Why else would they all use words, and sentences – even the very same words at times? It’s not scientific to invoke some super-articular “author” just because you can’t explain how articles come about. That’s the problem with authorists. They want to just say “authordidit” instead of looking for scientific explanations!

David: The creationist method ™ rejects results that don’t favor the pre-determined premise. This is not science nor logical thinking.

Dr. Lisle: Apparently, you are rejecting results that don’t favor your pre-determined premise (that articles must have authors). Are you a creationist?

David: I grade the article a C-. I give it a B+ for originality and of course a failing grade for content. I did smile several times during the reading of the article.

Dr. Lisle: That’s actually quite good for something that was produced by the chance processes of nature. Just think, the article has no mind or thought behind it whatsoever, and yet it has you smiling and giving it high marks for originality! How wonderful are the random processes of nature!

David: Well here’s the basic issue Jason. I know all this evidence exists. I don’t need to see it…

Dr. Lisle: So you just “know” there is evidence, and therefore you don’t need to see any? That doesn’t sound very scientific. How do you know there is evidence if you cannot detect any? It seems you have blind faith sir. Imagine a scientist claiming he discovered some new particle, but when asked for the evidence he merely replied, “Oh I don’t have any. But I just know it’s there!”

Unless you can produce some sort of scientific evidence, we must reject your claim. The burden of proof lies on you to produce evidence for this magical “author.”

David: because the level of evidence needed for the fact you produced this article is very low.

Dr. Lisle: Now you are trying to “lower the bar” of the amount of evidence needed to support your position. But since you have absolutely no evidence for your position, this isn’t at all helpful.

David: Articles are written all the time.

Dr. Lisle: There is a huge assumption! How do you know this? If articles have authors, then why do they all have certain features in common – like words and letters? It is obvious that articles have been replicated and diversified from a common source; that’s why they all have certain features in common. If articles have authors, then why do these authors go to so much trouble to make it look as if the articles share a common source?

David: It would be equivalent to my claiming I have two dogs. While you have absolutely zero proof of this, the claim requires little to be generally acceptable. Many people have two dogs so the claim is quite ordinary.

Dr. Lisle: Still you would have to offer some sort of evidence if I am going to believe you. You have absolutely no evidence that the article has an author.

David: Were I to claim I have pink pixies living in my sock drawer, the burden of evidence for this extraordinary claim is much higher.

Dr. Lisle: You have exactly as much evidence for this as you do for an author. (none).

David: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! And so the extraordinary claim that the article was written by some undetected, invisible, magic “author” that can’t even be found in the article must require extraordinary evidence. But you have already admitted that you can’t produce any. So I’m going to stick to the scientific explanation for articles.

David: Supernatural claims (literally magic claims) require even higher evidence.

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! And likewise, if you are going to argue that there are forces which exist outside articles that produce them, you must have the very highest evidence. But you have none. We know that copying mistakes can happen – we’ve observed this. And we know that better articles are more likely to be copied than worse ones – we’ve observed this. But to invoke some super-articular author which we cannot even detect within articles, you would have to have some spectacular evidence. You have none.

David: This is the problem with all religions. There is no evidence.

Dr. Lisle: Well yours certainly doesn’t have any evidence. You basically admitted that in your opening paragraph. You claim that you just “know” that it’s there. That sounds like most religions in today’s world.

David: Certainly nothing that is testable or independently verifiable.

Dr. Lisle: You have offered nothing testable or independently verifiable for your claim that the article has an author. You view simply is not scientific.

David: Even gods would leave evidence, especially gods of burning bushes, manna from heaven and a host of other human interventions.

Dr. Lisle: Likewise, an author would leave evidence if he/she/it wrote an article. And there is absolutely none! So why do you continue to be a believer? I could never have that kind of belief without evidence.

David: Perhaps the craziest story of all (even by Scientology standards) is the Noah story. 3,000,000 species of animals, 300,000 species of beetles (all that need to be sexed) along with almost a years worth of food.

Dr. Lisle: Yeah, since the Bible specifically says “species” and uses our modern taxonomic system (not kinds or families), and since we all believe in fixity of species, it would be way too many animals to fit on a boat that the Bible says is only 20 feet long, and 10 feet wide. And those beetles would have to be on board too, since they are air-breathing land vertebrates. They would certainly sink the ark since beetles weigh ten thousand pounds each.

David: That’s literally crazier than the story of Athena leaping fully formed from the head of Zeus.

Dr. Lisle: It’s almost as crazy as the belief that articles have authors.

David: But putting that aside for the moment, how do you explain the distances to stars? You being a astrophysicist (allegedly) Did god just start the light from the stars to us a bit early or? And quite frankly why do we need to have stars? Including the sun? Why do we need to kill things to subsist? Why have the elimination process like all other animals? Aren’t we special?

Dr. Lisle: I’m sorry to see you haven’t done your homework on these issues. Search for the “ASC model” for information on starlight. The other issues are also easily answered by a simple internet search, or just about any creation based literature from ICR or AiG.

David: I think its [sic] very poor design by any “designer”. I could come up with 200-300 improvements to our design that would be a huge improvement.

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! I could write a far better article than the one posted. This proves that it has no author! You have just refuted your own position. Clearly if I would do something different or better than Joe, this proves that Joe does not exist. The logic is clear.

David: Take the eye as an example. It is so poorly designed that in addition a blindspot, and seeing everything upside down we can only see a very small spectra of light. Why did the big guy screw this up so badly?

Dr. Lisle: You refer to the inverted retina I presume. Astronomers have copied this design and produced what is referred to as a “back-illuminated CCD.” It is more expensive because it’s harder to produce than a standard CCD, but it works far better. But since I now see that this better design is (according to you) a bad design, I must now concede that back-illuminated CCDs are not designed or made by anyone at all. They are clearly the result of chance. Why would CCDs be back-illuminated? I don’t understand why this could be, therefore there is no reason. The logic is clear.

David: This god you profess to follow has a litany of bad results in design and function.

Dr. Lisle: Yeah, it couldn’t possibly be the case that you haven’t yet learned the reason for its design. And besides, it’s not like the universe has been subjected to a curse or anything. It’s not as though God introduced death and suffering as a punishment for some sort of… oh I don’t know… let’s call it “sin.” Obviously the universe is now just exactly as it was originally created… ah, formed. Clearly if something is badly designed, it is not designed at all. The logic is clear.

David: A beginning engineer could most certainly do a better job in 15 minutes. I guess I must be confused and await your contortions, I’m sorry, I mean guidance.

Dr. Lisle: I have no doubt that you could do these things far better. But just to confirm it, would you please send me a couple of the eyeballs that you have constructed? Make them blue (I’ve always wanted blue eyes). I have a floater in my left eye, and so I’d like to swap it out. If you can, make them zoom-in like the six-million dollar man – I’ve always wanted that ability. It should only take you about 15 minutes. Right?

David: At any rate, is it my understanding you think the CCDs have evolved?

Dr. Lisle: According to you, they must have evolved – at least the back-illuminated ones. You taught me that things like the retina which send signals forward toward the light source are badly designed. And badly designed means no creator right? Back illuminated CCDs send the signal forward, just like the retina. According to your reasoning, this is a bad design, and implies that there is no designer. Did I misunderstand your argument?

David: Or did E2V just have a “designer” that caused all the pixels to migrate to the front of the CCD surface to the back?

Dr. Lisle: By your reasoning, it must not have a designer. Who would be so ignorant as to send the signals forward toward the light source, since that would block some of the signal. Back-illuminated CCDs are much like the inverted retina in this respect, except the receiving cells in the retina are transparent so that they do not block incoming light. And so, as you argue, they must not have a creator, right?

I’m looking forward to my new eyes. You’ve finished them by now, right?

[David never did send me any eyes.]

 

My conversation with Neil was particularly enjoyable:

Neil: I have to say that in a literal sense (kidding, sarcasm aside etc.) the article is a bit less than honest.

Dr. Lisle: That’s a very important consideration from a Christian perspective; the Bible commands people to be honest (e.g. Exodus 20:16) and holds us accountable for our actions (Revelation 20:12). Of course, if people are just the result of chance chemistry, then things like honesty don’t really have any objective meaning.

Neil: Just a few thoughts:

> **Human language and the written word is generated by HUMANS.

Dr. Lisle: No one denies that people have the ability to create words and sentences. But how do you know that the particular article in question was generated that way? What is your scientific evidence? Besides, there are no humans within the article. And you must find a process within the article to explain its origin, rather than appealing to some “super-articular” author.

Neil: **The “thing” (OK I’ll play along and won’t call it an “article”) contains the following on its header:

> “Posted on May 17, 2012 11:27 am by Dr. Lisle”

Dr. Lisle: Do you believe everything you read? The Bible contains the claim that it is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16); do you accept that? In any case, posting is not writing. I don’t deny posting it. When the article (having evolved over millions of years) finally reached my computer, I couldn’t help but post it on my blog.

Neil: **EMPIRICAL SCIENCE DOES NOT INCLUDE LITERARY CRITICISM, AND VICE VERSA – LITERARY CRITICISM IS NOT AN EMPIRICAL SCIENCE

Dr. Lisle: Exactly! So please show me some scientific evidence that the article has an author, and then I will believe.

Neil: (emphasis on this one)

> **The entire argument of supposedly self-generating text is a strawman.

Dr. Lisle: How so? It seems remarkably similar to the process by which life has supposedly evolved and diversified.

Neil: LANGUAGE, LETTER CHARACTERS & ARTICLES ARE NOT BIOLOGICAL LIFEFORMS OR CHEMICAL STRUCTURES.

Dr. Lisle: True, but irrelevant. They both contain information which can be replicated and altered over time. In both cases there is a process by which certain combinations are favored over others.

Neil: **Common sense dictates the opening claim:

“You might think that someone wrote this article. But of course, you would be mistaken. Articles are not written by people. They are the result of chance.”

> …..Is obviously dubious and dishonest.

Dr. Lisle: Common sense also dictates that the universe could not have simply exploded into existence from nothing, and that humans are not simply a distant cousin to a turnip. And yet evolutionists accept such things. If common sense argues against the chance formation of a simple 1329 word article, how much more does it argue against the chance formation of the entire universe, and the entire genome of all life on earth, which are far more complex?

Neil: I could probably find numerous other glaring flaws…….

Dr. Lisle: Probably. Considering the way the article evolved over time, it’s bound to have some flaws. In fact, it’s rather surprising it came out so coherent and logical, considering its chance origin.

Neil: I’m not aware of any such beliefs as being related to “turnips” etc having a credible scientific basis.

Dr. Lisle: In all sincerity, you are correct that such beliefs (evolution) do not have any scientific basis. Nevertheless, evolutionists teach that all life is descended from a common ancestor. According to evolutionists, turnips and people are distant relatives, having both descended from the same single-celled ancestor over billions of years.

Neil: I understand your intent on providing comic relief, …

Dr. Lisle: Though I trust the article was entertaining, that really isn’t the primarily reason for the post. Evolutionists use the same types of arguments used in the article to argue for biological evolution. If it is unreasonable to think that something as complex as a work of literature could evolve gradually over the ages by mistakes guided by a selection process, then how much more unreasonable is it to think that people who are far more complex could evolve by such a process?

Neil: but making claims comparing levels of complexity between chemical/ biological/cosmological processes with… a human-generated creative writing endeavor is, once again…basically misguided and dishonest (IMHO)

Dr. Lisle: Why? There is nothing mystical or magical about biology that makes it somehow exempt from the principles of science. Biological organisms obey the same laws of physics and chemistry that computers, and pens and paper, and all forms of literature do. The same laws of logic and laws of physics apply to all these things.

The article has only 1329 words, and yet you say it must have a human author. A human has about 3 billion base-pairs in his DNA – the instructions to make his or her basic form. Would you argue that these instructions have no author?

Neil: An “Apples vs oranges” comparison.

Dr. Lisle: More like apples vs. apples. It is argued that something that appears to be designed by a mind is actually the result of random changes guided by a selection criterion.

Neil: YES – it’s VERY unreasonable to think a work of literature just “wrote itself” over millennia…but self-reproducing biological organisms in the natural environment, guided by long-term selection and an array of other factors?? – not so unreasonable.

Dr. Lisle: WHY? The articles are also being reproduced (by computer and by copying machines), and are guided by long-term selection. It is precisely the same mechanism that supposedly drives the evolution of biological forms. And biological forms contain much greater levels of information in their DNA than can be found in a typical article. It seems that you are being very inconsistent.

Neil: Question #1 How “complex” is a work of literature? Sorry, I’m stumped.

Dr. Lisle: Specified Complexity is measured by information content. So you must ask, “How many items of information did the article have?” It has 1329 words, but not all of them are essential, so the information content would be a bit less than that. Contrast this with DNA, which for human beings has about 3 billion base pairs. Again it’s a bit less because not all of them are essential. Suffice it to say, DNA has far higher information content than the article.

Neil: “Creative writing endeavors” realistically tho, WOULD be exempt from applying laws of physics/ biology etc… ;<)

Dr. Lisle: No. Articles and computers and Xerox machines obey exactly the same laws of physics as everything else. The only real difference in the “biological world” is that the machines are more complex and the smallest ones are microscopic. It’s only a matter of degree, not a difference in essential nature.

Neil: Sure I would! – They’re not works of literature.

Dr. Lisle: That’s the fallacy of special pleading. For example:

“A Honda Accord cannot fly like a jet. It does not have wings and does not possess the right type of engine. You agree with that. So, you don’t honestly think Toyotas can fly do you?”

“Sure I would! – They’re not a Honda.”

By the way, DNA contains information in a language convention, just like any work of literature. It’s not written in English, but it does have a language consisting of 4 letters which are arranged into 3-letter words, which are arranged into “sentences” which instruct the cell on what proteins to produce.

The information in DNA is supposed to have come about by the same type of process by which articles have evolved over millions of years – random changes during replication, and a selection mechanism to cull the negative changes. Reasonable?

Neil: awrighty one last time…..

The article is composed of written human language that can only be intentionally generated by humans.

Dr. Lisle: Computers can generate sentences made of “human language.” Humans are not needed. Dawkins Weasel conclusively demonstrates this. Are you arguing that language itself must ultimately come from intelligence?

Neil We indeed may not be able to attain details of the authors [sic] personal identity, but yes, written text, following literary convention is evidence that it emanated from a human author.

Dr. Lisle: Why? Are you going to argue that creative information must come from a mind? How do you know that the article did not come about exactly as it stated – through chance mistakes guided by a selection process? You keep saying that it must have an author, but you have yet to make an actual argument, or present any real evidence.

Neil: Detailed scientific method and testing is NOT REQUIRED TO DETERMINE THIS -as is being incorrectly suggested or “mandated”… (LOL!….c’mon seriously…)

Dr. Lisle: Really? You’re saying that we should just ignore the scientific method now? Are you arguing that we don’t need science or evidence, and that we should just believe in some unseen unproven author as a matter of blind faith?

Neil: The article is not a life form or biological process in itself…

Dr. Lisle: And Hondas are not Toyotas. What’s your point? Both the instructions in DNA and the letters of an article can be altered during the process of replication. The resulting product is more likely to be replicated if the change was favorable, and less likely if it was unfavorable. In this manner, articles can evolve from very simple ones to something very complex and different. If you disagree, give me an actual argument with some scientific evidence.

Neil: Let’s be honest, shall we??… The following are flagrant confabulations or outright lies generated by the author…

Dr. Lisle: What author? There you go again with all that “author” nonsense. What is your evidence sir? All I’m asking is for one little piece of scientific evidence for your belief. You are certainly committed to your faith; I’ll give you that.

Neil: [quoting the article]: “Articles are not written by people. They are the result of chance. Every intelligent person knows it.”…[etc.]

The attempt is apparently being made to convey some “larger” message w/ this, but the obvious tongue-in-cheek aspects PLUS the seriously flawed example and methods used are totally unconvincing….

Dr. Lisle: I’ll explain clearly: these are the kinds of arguments that are used by evolutionists to convince people that “particles to people” evolution is true – every one of these appears in evolutionary literature. Do you still find them “unconvincing?”

Bottom line: are these kinds of arguments valid?

Neil: Yes, HUMANS ARE NEEDED to design and program computers – computers are man-made artifacts.

Dr. Lisle: That’s an assumption too. But I don’t want to get off topic. Let’s stick with the origin of articles, and then we can talk about the origin of computers some other time.

Neil: **Leading question** – YES, written/spoken language must ultimately come from (HUMAN) intelligence. If this is a lead-in to some sort of “God’s Word” design argument (?) it’s off-topic.

Dr. Lisle: If language must come from intelligence, it would lend a lot of credibility to your position. So, can you make an argument for this please? What is the reason/evidence/justification for your claim that language always comes from intelligence? Some animals have a limited form of language/communication (bees, whales, chimps, etc.), so I presume the intelligence need not be human, unless you believe these creatures are humans. Correct?

Do you really mean only written/spoken language? Or must all language come from intelligence? What about sign-language? The article you read was neither written nor spoken, it was in an electronic format. Since it is in a non-written/spoken format, can computer language come about by chance, or must it come from a mind too? And most importantly, how do you know this?

Neil: This question seems to suggest you have some difficulty fully comprehending the points I made. ;<)

Dr. Lisle: I may have. But, it seems to me you haven’t really made an argument for your position; instead you just keep stating your position over and over. But that’s not an argument. I want to know how you know that the article has an author. To simply state that articles are a “creative writing endeavor” or that “language can only be intentionally generated by humans” is to beg the question. So I want to know by what reasoning you reach your conclusion. Is it just a blind assumption?

> “Are you going to argue that creative information must come from a mind?”

Neil: Yes. Human, specifically. (Avoiding creative “Mind of God” proposals as off-topic)

Dr. Lisle: If creative information really must come from a mind, then you have an airtight argument, since I will concede that the article has creative information in it. So I will simply ask you to prove that creative information always comes from a mind. If you can demonstrate this, you will have persuaded me of your position.

Second, would it really have to be a human mind? Chimps can be taught to use sign-language. If (hypothetically) extra-terrestrial beings sent us a message from a distant planet, would that prove that they are human?

Neil: “Scientific methodology” and tangible(?) “evidence” is NOT required in a case like this. (ok, now run in circles and answer w/ “why?”) ;<)

Dr. Lisle: Let me turn it around on you. Suppose you asked me how I know that articles come about by chance – what is my scientific evidence, and I replied, “Oh I don’t need any evidence. It’s not required in a case like this.” Would you accept my answer? Should people have good evidence for what they believe?

Neil: This is not scientific research work – it’s a discussion on various idea-premises, the original one that I (and several others it seems) find flawed… ;<)

Dr. Lisle: Actually, science always involves a discussion on various idea-premises. The difference is: I have offered evidence for my position, and (aside from the information argument, which is still pending) you haven’t provided any actual evidence for your position.

> I’ll explain clearly: these are the kinds of arguments that are used by evolutionists to convince people that “particles to people” evolution is true – every one of these appears in evolutionary literature. Do you still find them “unconvincing?”

Neil: No.

Dr. Lisle: If you don’t find these arguments unconvincing, (which is to say you do find them convincing) then why are you still not convinced?

Neil: Articles claiming human generated artifacts/ideas etc “just happen out-of nothing” DO NOT appear in any scientific literature.

Dr. Lisle: Neither do articles claiming that articles are written by people. These don’t appear in any scientific literature either.

> Bottom line: are these kinds of arguments valid?

Neil: Depends on how they are applied.

Dr. Lisle: No, in logic the validity of an argument is independent of its application. (e.g. Modus Ponens is always valid). The arguments above are either valid or they are not. So which is it?

Neil: In the case of “text articles just appear out [of] nothing thru pure chance” scenario….NO, not valid at all.

Dr. Lisle: Okay. You say that the arguments used in the article are not a valid way to argue. According to you, these kinds of arguments do not prove that something as complex as an article could really develop by chance changes guided by a selection process. Correct? And yet, these are precisely the arguments that are used to allegedly prove evolution. I suspect you now understand the purpose of the article.

> “That’s an assumption too.”

Neil: OOPS – Sounds like you’re playing the old “nothing is real – reality is just a figment of our imagination” card now…. :<0

Dr. Lisle: I don’t know how you came up with that idea. I’m just asking you to start reasoning logically – providing evidence for your claims, instead of just stating assumptions as if they were facts. Is that so hard? You seem to want to believe that everything even remotely complex has some sort of “creator”, whether it’s articles, computers, language, or whatever.

Neil: You’re over-generalising. “Language” & “communications” are also broader usage terms as well – I’m specifically referring to the original text article/blog entry as it appeared. Yes, it obviously indicates the presence of a human author. ;<)

Dr. Lisle: I’m trying to understand your belief. Do you believe that all language has a human intelligence behind it? Does the language of bees and whales have a human origin in your view?

> Since it is in a non-written/spoken format, can computer language come about by chance, or must it come from a mind too? And most importantly, how do you know this?

Neil: You’re equivocating here…the article was intentionally WRITTEN / composed via electronic medium, which is a human invention.

Dr. Lisle: “Human invention” – again you keep wanting to invoke the existence of some magical creator where none is needed. You’re begging the question in assuming that the article was written at all. That is what you are supposed to be trying to prove. You have also evaded the question: must all language come from a mind, or simply that which is spoken and/or written?

Neil: Your [sic] also presenting a false dilemma, more or less: “Does computer content just crawl up out of the primordial ooze, or does it require a Great Author” etc etc…

Dr. Lisle: You are confusing bifurcation with the law of the excluded middle. According to the law of the excluded middle, either creative information requires a mind, or it is not the case that creative information requires a mind. So, in your view, which is it?

Neil: Can you cite ANY OTHER instances of articles “writing themselves” or of this mysterious process being empirically observed? (btw -yes evolutionary processes of a reasonable time frame have been observed within the context of BIOLOGICAL studies)

Dr. Lisle: Well you just answered your own question, didn’t you? We’ve observed copying mistakes in articles. And we’ve observed that copying mistakes that make articles worse tend to not be copied any further. Only the mistakes that improve an article are preserved and passed on. Isn’t it perfectly reasonable to assume that articles can change from one to another in this way? You’ve just claimed that this exact process happens in the biological world. So it’s obviously possible. Why do you continue to believe in some unseen, unproven, magical author when there is a perfectly reasonable natural mechanism by which articles form and diversify?

> I may have. But, it seems to me you haven’t really made an argument for your position; instead you just keep stating your position over and over.

Neil: Erm…this is likely in response to your semi-Socratic “arguing in circles” creationist trick… ;<)

Dr. Lisle: I’m just asking you to actually provide support for your claim. Is this really too much to ask?

Neil: I have difficulty “demonstrating” over the internet (same w/ providing “evidence”) but anyways…you’ll no doubt love this…:<)

Dr. Lisle: I understand that you may not be able to physically show me a physical piece of evidence over the internet. But I would settle for a photo, or even a rational argument. But so far, the closest you’ve come is the suggestion that information must come from a mind, but I’m not sure you really believe that. Do you?

You’ve quoted this AiG statement on information:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/itbwi/three-kinds-of-transmitted-information

“3. Creative information: This is the highest level of transmitted information: something new is produced. It does not involve copied or reproduced information. This kind of information always requires a personal mind exercising its own free will, as original source. This generally entails a nonmaterial intellectual process, which, thus, cannot be entrusted to a machine. Creative information can always be linked to a person who has cognitive capabilities, and it represents something new.”

Do you agree with this AiG quote?

> Second, would it really have to be a human mind?

Neil: On our current earth/human culture…YES.

Dr. Lisle: So bees, chimps, and dolphins are human in your view? They do use language. Chimps can even be taught to use a human language (sign language). Does language really require human intelligence, as you suggest, or just intelligence?

> If (hypothetically) extra-terrestrial beings sent us a message from a distant planet, would that prove that they are human?

Neil: No. Only that they could attempt communication.

Dr. Lisle: This contradicts what you wrote previously. Previously you indicated that all language implies a human source. You were very adamant about it. But here you argue for the contrary. Perhaps you are wanting to say that all language comes from an intelligence (a mind), and human language originates in a human mind, though it can be used by non-human minds as well. Is that a fair assessment of your view?

>Suppose you asked me how I know that articles come about by chance – what is my scientific evidence, and I replied, “Oh I don’t need any evidence. It’s not required in a case like this.” Would you accept my answer? Should people have good evidence for what they believe?

Neil: I would’nt [sic] request or require “scientific” evidence from you in your argument that articles just write themselves –

Dr. Lisle: Your view doesn’t seem very scientific. Will you at least admit that? Your position can hardly be called scientific if you don’t want to deal with the scientific evidence. Your position is religious in nature.

Neil: I don’t feel the article & it’s [sic] claim even falls into the realm of science,

Dr. Lisle: Why not? It makes a testable claim that can be observed and repeated under laboratory conditions. It’s exactly the sort of thing that science is designed to test. Moreover, the main parts of the theory have actually been observed (copying errors). So it seems a very reasonable theory, and is well backed by the evidence. So why do you continue to believe in an author? That’s totally unnecessary.

Neil: and I also notice you’ve begun freely slinging the word “evidence” which is another often misused/overused creationist term. ;<).

Dr. Lisle: Creationists certainly do like evidence. I find it interesting that you don’t seem to want to talk about the scientific evidence. I suggest that reveals the unscientific/illogical nature of your belief in authors.

Neil: Sorry, I have no idea of any “evidence” you’ve offered for your “position” – I’m not even sure…you’re referring to the articles just writing themselves position??

Dr. Lisle: Yes. I’ve provided a lot of evidence. Do I really need to repeat it? Sigh… Okay:

1. Articles all have certain words/letters/sentences in common. This shows that they are descended from a common source.

2. Copying mistakes sometimes occur when articles are duplicated. (Do you deny this?)

3. Usually these mistakes make the article worse – less readable, etc. But these copies are less likely to be duplicated. No rational person would argue otherwise.

4. Though rare, a copying mistake could improve an article, (for example, by deleting a paragraph that was unnecessary or redundant). Better articles are more likely to be copied.

5. Therefore, articles will change over the course of time, gradually improving as they acquire beneficial copying mistakes.

6. We know that this happens: that articles and books diversify with time. (e.g. there are different versions of “the Hobbit”). So it is very reasonable to conclude that given enough time, one article can become a completely different kind of article, through such diversification.

7. Since articles can grow longer and diversify through purely natural processes, there is no reason to invoke some unseen author. This is simply Ockham’s Razor.

Neil: (refer back to my previous response as to creationists flogging the word “evidence” excessively….)

Dr. Lisle: So you are disparaging creationists for using so much evidence. I guess you would prefer that they just take things on blind faith, like you do.

> Neither do articles claiming that articles are written by people. These don’t appear in any scientific literature either.

Neil: …Exactly! – and this supports my view that the scope and purpose of your original blog post has nothing to do with any application of scientific method whatsoever….

Dr. Lisle: Wow. So if something doesn’t appear in scientific literature, then it’s not scientific? Every scientific discovery that has ever been made did not appear in the scientific literature at the time it was made (otherwise it would not have been a “discovery”).

Neil: Sure the argument FORMS are valid – they can still be misapplied.

Dr. Lisle: Not if the premises are true. And you can hardly deny my premises: (1) articles have certain words and letters in common (do you deny it?) (2) copying errors sometimes occur in articles (do you deny this?) You have admitted that the forms are logically valid. And the premises are true. So your rejection of their conclusion is illogical.

Dr. Lisle: There are two key intellectual blunders that are marks of irrationality: (1) arbitrariness, and (2) inconsistency. Arbitrariness means “not having a reason.” In logic, we are supposed to have a reason for what we believe. That is the whole point of a debate: to see which position has the best reasons behind it. To not have a reason is to concede defeat.

Inconsistency is when two things don’t go well together. It could be an outright contradiction, or it could be a double-standard (applying two different sets of rules in two different situations without sufficient cause as to why they should be treated differently). Obviously, any position that contradicts itself must be false since two contradictory claims can never both be true. Logical fallacies are another example of inconsistency.

I’ve seen a number of examples of inconsistency and arbitrariness in your responses thus far. I suggest that in your next reply that you are careful to (1) give rational justification (a good reason) for what you claim, and (2) that you argue in a consistent way – not contradicting yourself, or committing logical fallacies.

> Does the language of bees and whales have a human origin in your view?

Neil: Erm…YES…the study, categorization & classifying of bee & whale behavior as communication/language is certainly a human activity

Dr. Lisle: That’s an equivocation fallacy. I wasn’t asking about classification, but the language itself. You’ve claimed that humans are behind all languages, and I’ve provided what I believe is an obvious counter-example. Your answers have been very inconsistent in terms of whether or not a human agent is behind all language. Nick pointed this out, and I agree that clarification is needed.

Neil: ….but NO – I don’t believe bees & whales are “human” – if that’s what your [sic] really asking….

Dr. Lisle: So not all language has a human intelligence behind it. Bees and whales are non-humans that do have a type of language. This is contrary to what you had been arguing previously. But I think we agree now.

>You have also evaded the question: must all language come from a mind, or simply that which is spoken and/or written?

Neil: I’ll narrow it a little: Yes, human language must come from the human mind.

Dr. Lisle: We’ve established from your previous response that language need not come from a human mind – just a mind (bees, whales). And now we’ve established that the format doesn’t matter; it can be written, spoken, or in any format. But whatever the format – it must come from a mind (in your view).

>> Can you cite ANY OTHER instances of articles “writing themselves” or of this mysterious process being empirically observed? (btw -yes evolutionary processes of a reasonable time frame have been observed within the context of BIOLOGICAL studies)

> Well you just answered your own question, didn’t you?

Neil: I suppose I did by bringing up the pretty much identical “windstorm builds a 747” fable……. ;<)

Dr. Lisle: You answered your own question by pointing to biological evolution. This process, much like the duplication of articles, is said to gradually change the DNA of an organism into a totally different and more complex variety. Why do you keep bringing up a 747? That’s not my argument.

> You’ve just claimed that this exact process happens in the biological world.

Neil: I did’nt [sic] make any such claim that I’m aware of. Your [sic] equating (EQUIVOCATING) the manual copying of “articles” to natural selection and biological processes of evolution – once again it’s “apples and oranges”…

Dr. Lisle: Not at all. First of all, articles need not be copied manually. There are electronic ways and physical ways of copying them that are completely automated. Second, DNA does not replicate all by itself. It requires a host of proteins – they do the replication. So your distinction is purely arbitrary. You’ve committed the fallacy of special pleading when you say “it’s apples and oranges.” See my previous statement about “Hondas and Toyotas.” For some reason, you want to apply a different set of standards to the replication of articles than you do for the replication of DNA. And that is illogical (it’s inconsistent and arbitrary).

> So it’s obviously possible. Why do you continue to believe in some unseen, unproven, magical author when there is a perfectly reasonable natural mechanism by which articles form and diversify?

Neil: No, it’s not “obviously possible” in the case of human-generated articles – and you have NOT provided any comprehensible means by which an “article disclaiming itself” could “just happen” within the arena of an origins-related website.

Dr. Lisle: Here you have committed the fallacy of begging the question – assuming the thing you are trying to prove. When you assume the existence of “human-generated articles” – that’s what you’re supposed to be proving. That articles are generated by humans as opposed to a chance origin is the very claim at issue. And, by the way, I have provided the means by which articles can come about and can transform into highly complex ones – the same mechanism by which DNA is said to evolve. For you to embrace the latter, yet reject the former is inconsistent, and thus irrational.

> But so far, the closest you’ve come is the suggestion that information must come from a mind, but I’m not sure you really believe that. Do you?

Neil: Sure I do.

Dr. Lisle: Okay. You have stated that you do believe the information must come from a mind. I’m going to hold you to that and ask you to be consistent from now on.

>> This kind of information always requires a personal mind exercising its own free will, as original source. This generally entails a nonmaterial intellectual process, which, thus, cannot be entrusted to a machine. Creative information can always be linked to a person who has cognitive capabilities, and it represents something new.”

> Do you agree with this AiG quote?

Neil: Well…. Ah… “AMEN ANNA HALLELUJAH!!!” as they say… ;<). Can’t find any real problems w/ it….

Dr. Lisle: Okay. Again, I’m going to hold you to that, and ask you to be consistent. Creative information always requires a mind.

> Your view doesn’t seem very scientific. Will you at least admit that? Your position can hardly be called scientific if you don’t want to deal with the scientific evidence. Your position is religious in nature.

Neil: Sure! – NEITHER DOES YOURS!!

Dr. Lisle: That’s a tu quoque fallacy.

Neil: However – I’m REALLY complemented that you’ve wasted this much time on an uneducated church-going nobody like me. Thank you Dr Lisle!!

Dr. Lisle: I’ve honesty enjoyed our dialogue. I’ve been happy to correspond with you, and I think many others have been reading this and benefiting from it. It’s not a waste of time at all from my perspective.

> Why not? It makes a testable claim that can be observed and repeated under laboratory conditions.

Neil: The veracity of blog entries can be tested under laboratory conditions? Right.

Dr. Lisle: Laboratories have internet access. Moreover, they have Xerox machines, and computers, and can study first-hand how articles are duplicated. I’m not sure why you think that is unscientific.

Neil: I certainly do, and I’ve called you on your MISUSAGE OF THE TERM – “evidence”…

Dr. Lisle: Ironically, you haven’t provided any evidence of a misuse of the term “evidence.” You are being arbitrary again. The dictionary definition of evidence is “that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.” I have offered that. In fact, you have agreed that the arguments I have offered are logically valid. You have not offered much evidence, despite repeated pleas from me to produce some.

> 3. Usually these mistakes make the article worse – less readable, etc. But these copies are less likely to be duplicated. No rational person would argue otherwise.

Neil: Sorry, but WHO(?) decides whether they are duplicated or not? WHO(?) is doing the proofreading?

Dr. Lisle: The term “who” presupposes that it must be a person (and so you have begged the question). But this need not be the case. Computer programs can spell-check, and grammar-check articles without the need for human intervention. And even if humans sometimes do get involved in the evaluation stage, this wouldn’t prove that they had anything to do with the writing of the article – which is the claim at issue. So your questions here are irrelevant to the central claim.

> Not if the premises are true. And you can hardly deny my premises: (1) articles have certain words and letters in common (do you deny it?)

Neil: No

Dr. Lisle: And you have conceded previously that the argument forms are valid. When an argument has true premises (which you concede), and a valid form (which you also concede), then the conclusion must be true. This is logic 101. Therefore, if you are going to be rational, you must accept the conclusion that articles do not have authors, but have diversified from a common source by replication with modification. Again, all I ask is that you be consistent and non-arbitrary.

Neil, DNA has information in it. In fact, it has a lot of information in it. The instructions necessary to make your basic form are contained in DNA. The arrangement of nucleotide base pairs instructs the cell on which proteins to make. It is a 4-letter biochemical language in which three base pairs code for a single amino acid, or a “start” or “stop” instruction. Now, I’m going to ask you reason consistently, without contradicting yourself or being arbitrary. You’ve previously agreed that information must come from a mind. This indeed is really the only actual evidence you’ve presented for your position that articles must have authors. So here is my question for you:

Does the information in DNA come from a mind? Or is it the result of chance copying errors, guided only by an unthinking selection mechanism?

> So your rejection of their conclusion is illogical.

Neil: Wow. In that case I guess I have no choice but to stick a gun to my head and pull the trigger….or become a Militant Creationist….Correct??

Dr. Lisle: Actually, you have three choices. (1) You can believe that information in articles and in DNA originated from a mind, and is not the result of replication errors. This would be consistent with your statement that information must come from a mind. (2) You can believe that the information in articles and in DNA did not come from a mind, but is the result of replication errors and a selection criterion. This would be consistent with your statement that the arguments in the original article are valid forms, and that their premises are true. (3) You can be irrational.

[Apparently, Neil went with option #3.]