DNA, Intelligence and Evolution

There is an urgent need for a revolution in biological thinking; especially bio-evolutionary thought which is central to the philosophy of modern scientific biology. A revolution which must recognize that intelligence is natural both to our biotic and abiotic physical environment and that intelligent humans are legitimate spawns of an intelligent abiotic physical world-matrix.

Biological thinkers are the most naive of scientific thinkers and philosophers. In spite of recent advances in information technology, biological scientists are yet to appreciate that the age-old notion of intelligence as something “supernatural” or “spiritual” has been dispelled, once and for all, in science and technology of artificial intelligence programming and systems design. At the present status of knowledge and insight, the notion of intelligence in nature is no more a subject for metaphysical studies but one which can be studied “objectively” in the laboratory(or wherever the scientist chooses). The traditional knee-jerk response to any reference to intelligence in the problem of origin of life is a woefully outmoded one which, it would appear, biologists are the most committed of physical scientists. One suspects that the need to hold grounds against religious “creationists” and not yield an inch to them in the age-old conflict of religion and science is the reason why the obvious insights afforded by computer and software engineering is not being fully exploited to the advantage of the biological sciences, especially the field of molecular genetics.

The concept of intelligent design in evolution of species has been brought within the boundaries of what science can fruitfully investigate. Pre-scientific cultures needed God or nature spirits to explain intelligent design, but modern science can begin investigating the concept in the possibility that the structure of DNA might have some form of intelligence code programmed into it. How the program was written, or by whom, is the subject for another level of investigation, but the fear of the consequences of yielding ground to ignorantly gloating creationist philistines is not enough reason to turn a blind eye to the glaring evidence that we live in a world ruled over by intelligence. It is interesting that physicists have been in the forefront of revolutionary thinking, which begins to investigate wholly in the terms of the language of science, how we can begin re-conceptualizing our world in the terms of knowledge and insight we have acquired from our foray into information and computer science technology.

Computer scientists beginning with Alan Turing have demystified the concept of intelligence. The order of physical systems can be symbolically reproduced and symbols manipulated by operations of logic to suggest alternative orders. That is what DNA has been doing in the eons of biological evolution; that is the essence of creative intelligent activity. The logic of re-conceptualization of DNA function in terms of syntax-driven intelligence processes is unassailable. It is only a matter of time before we begin unraveling the secrets of that inscrutable-faced intelligent robotic molecule, DNA. The earlier we live behind the prejudices accumulated from a history of conflict between religion and science, the better for us all.

A well known evolutionist recently demonstrated the power of prejudice in the matter of recognition of the special status of intelligence in nature by his contribution to a debate over the possibility of intelligent life in outer space. He tried to ridicule those who believe that if intelligent life could arise on the earth then it must have arisen in several other parts of the universe by drawing a spoofing analogy in the argument that if elephant trunks have evolved on earth then it must also have evolved elsewhere in the universe. His argument arises from the misconception that intelligence is just another thing in nature like elephant trunks. He couldn’t have been more mistaken. His analogy was like trying to compare the fundamental element hydrogen to chocolates in the grand cosmic order of things!

So innately fundamental and ubiquitous is intelligence in the biotic and abiotic environment that we tend to take its manifestations for granted like fish might be justified in taking water for granted and failing to be impressed by its manifestations. The difference between symbol creating and information communicating functions of the human mind in human culture, and the DNA powered culture of biology is only superficial. We are dealing with two manifestations of the same principle in nature. The naivete of biological scientists who entertain the notion that the complex behavioral skills of biological systems are mere products of chance and accident is remarkable. Ant brains do calculus; cells do arithmetic, implement logic operations, information storage and retrieval. Birds navigate by observing the stellar constellations. Bees manage the engineering complexities of solar navigation. One could go on endlessly. We are like fish in water. We are so used to seeing the evidence of intelligent design around us, that we have grown blind in “scientific objectivity” to its implications to any theory of “origin of species” we may dare dream up.