If you think I’m referring to your camera body, you must think again.
Mention the word digital and most people think of computers and cameras. Being digital is by convention being technical and inorganic. As a matter of fact, biology is digital as well. You are digital!
The computer is operated by a binary code using sequential combinations of 0 (zero) and 1 as the only signs for representing a message. If we relate this to photography we can create a purely black and white image (binary image) by letting the one single digit 0 represent black, and the one single digit 1 represent white. In such an image each pixel would be named by one bit (binary digit) each, 0 or 1. In an ordinary RGB colour JPEG photo, however, each pixel is given a name with 8 bits (8 digits in a row) in each of the channels red, green and blue, with a possible maximum of 256 combinations in each channel. With the channels mixed as in an ordinary colour photo they can in total represent 256 x 256 x 256 colours. That is nearly 6,78 million possible combinations, each defining one specific colour with its hue, saturation and brightness.
Your body is operated by DNA in which we find four base chemicals: adenine (A); guanine (G); cytosine (C) and thymine (T). These chemicals form base pairs (always A+T and C+G) placed between two long strands, like rungs on a ladder, and do as two sets of pairs where A=T and G=C represent a binary system as it were. Technically the chemists could have named these base chemicals by digits instead of by capital letters. Letters and digits are just signs that we choose for representing something different from the signs themselves, and as symbols the signs are arbitrary in relation to the reality they represent. You would for instance still be you, even if you had an other social security number representing you in a database. Just like the computer makes sense of rows of the digits 0 and 1, the cell can make sense of a sequence of the «digits» A, G, C and T placed along the strands of the DNA molecule.
Code = Language
This is very fascinating, yet it gets even more fascinating when we focus on the fact that such digital systems need a code to work. We usually take the genetic code for granted,but we really should not. This blog post is obviously written in English. There is no problem in stating that this is obvious. You either know the language and find it obvious, or you don’t understand the message at all. The letters I use to write this post are shared by a great number of languages. The basic signs are the same but the languages are different. So when we speak of a language we actually speak of a code for interpreting the signs.
This means that just as much as computer applications are coded (i.e. written in a certain language that the computer can interpret), the DNA strand is written in a certain language as well (for the cell to interpret as instructions for what to do). Thus the DNA is written in a specific language!
According to evolutionary theory the message of the DNA is being coded by nature. Well, ‘coded by nature’ is actually a phrase that could easily deceive us. On the one hand it correctly states that coding has to be done by an entity of some kind. But on the other hand the phrase suggests that nature could be such an entity, a suggestion that, when we think of it, counters how we actually experience reality.
Coding demands a Mind
This because coding demands a mind. It demands consciousness. It demands an entity that is both outside and different from both the signs and the message. It has to be so as this entity actually is the acting part in bringing the signs and the message together by means of a code, as I am doing right now as I’m typing sign by sign to express in English code the ideas I have in my mind to make these ideas perceivable for you to interpret. And as a matter of fact it is thus only a mind, or a mind made system, that can make such an interpretation.
A language is merely an agreement on what signs should represent what parts of reality. The reality we know from both science and experience indicates that only intelligence can make such agreements, as this agreement, this code, provides a bridge between the material and the immaterial.
Material becomes Immaterial?
The fact that scientists now have managed to save both text and media files by means of synthetic DNA clearly shows that a message is different and separate from the signs that carry it and the materiality of these signs. The information carried by the DNA is not the DNA. The DNA itself is organic, it is material. Both the DNA code as such (set of rules) and the information DNA carries are immaterial. As both the code and the message are immaterial, the crucial question is how something purely material can generate something purely immaterial.
The fact that the material DNA and the immaterial information it carries are mutually dependent makes the question all the more challenging. How did it all start?
Some call life wetware. I think it’s time we compare our bodies to hardware. We are actually run by some firmware. But how did the code (language) emerge, and who coded (wrote) the information? Like a computer program this cannot have been put into function gradually. It must all have been there complete from the start when set into function.
In the book In the Beginning was Information Dr. Werner Gitt proposes an answer that should be taken into serious consideration.