Thursday, February 20, 2014

#52 Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO)

In the early days of computers about 1963 a certain phrase arose as a caution against blindly believing whatever results would come out of a computer. [1] Too much faith, like blind belief, in a machine could easily lead to false results and disastrous decisions. That phrase was “garbage in, garbage out” and it meant that everyone should be super vigilant against assuming something was true just because a computer model said it.

It was based on the obvious truth that even the most perfect computer program in the world would produce garbage if given faulty data as input. Computers do not “do the right thing” as much as we would hope. They do only and precisely what they are programmed to do.

There is a corollary as well. Even if you were to put the perfect, infallible data into a computer, if the software program has a bug in it, then again the results will be faulty.

I once owned a calculator that worked just fine almost all of the time. But it must have had a minor short somewhere in its circuitry because when doing one particular calculation, it always got the wrong answer. I discovered it by accident because my spreadsheet was giving me a different answer. It was so hard to believe it at first. That was pretty freaky. My “faith” in that calculator being correct on other things was destroyed and I ended up throwing it away.

My contention is that if you are looking for the “origin of species” (Darwin) or for that matter the origin of anything else, you cannot leave out intelligence as a contributing factor. A purely mechanistic model doesn’t make rational sense from the entirety of our experience of life.

We are all familiar with the process of creation by humans. An artist for example first has an idea in his mind. The idea is invisible and insubstantial, but it has a “reality” to it. No one would deny its existence. Nor would anyone deny that there was no intelligence at the source of the idea. Without the intelligence first, then the idea next, there would never be the artist’s painting. Order and complexity originate from an invisible idea. Randomness and chaos do not become ordered unless acted upon by a force that originated with an invisible intelligence and an idea. In fact, we know that randomness and chaos tend toward greater and greater randomness if left alone (see Second Law of Thermodynamics) [2].

To try to explain order and complexity, not to mention life itself, by purely mechanical or mechanistic causes totally ignoring any invisible intelligence is “Garbage In”. All the observed processes of nature are being violated. “Garbage Out” is to be expected no matter how good your program/explanation is.

Here are some pictures of excavations of ancient ruins. Suppose I decide to believe that it was impossible for human beings to have existed in the place where the ruins were found. I would have to come up with an explanation that excluded intelligence.

Let’s call it the “Theory of the evolution of ancient ruins”. Random storms and winds and earthquakes must be the cause. Maybe we have to add in bacteria and small animals too. These forces have left behind complex rock formations that look designed but certainly could not have been designed because there was no intelligence involved. We can only talk about natural forces and not supernatural ones. Surely we would get deeply caught up in the processes of the storm systems and the flow of water, how winds form patterns on sand dunes, and how earthquakes shear off rock surfaces.

Are you seeing the “Garbage In”?

We combine all the forces together and tell a wonderful story about how it all “must have happened”. We even still recognize the odds are millions and millions to one that it could have happened. But there it is right here in front of our eyes, so we know it happened. Just given enough time and the odds somehow worked out so that it must have happened the way we imagined.

Our story of how it happened took a lot of intelligence to come up with, but there could not have been an intelligent force working to create the ruins. We’re certain of that because we decided it at the beginning. These explanations are the best we can come up with using all our scientific abilities in this age, so they must be correct. We don’t need to resort to some idea of intelligent design or god. Sure there are some gaps, but they will be worked out by future scientists. Besides that, we are all in agreement, minus a few religious fanatics and ignorant peoples.

Garbage out.

Any rational person looking at those pictures of ancient ruins, as simple as the design and order are, immediately concludes that there was an intelligent source. The more complex and complicated are the ruins, then the greater intelligence is assumed for the creators. The complexity of a single cell is orders of magnitude more complicated than these ancient ruins and yet some people insist a cell could come about by random mutation. Garbage out. Intelligence is invisible, but it is still real.

There must be a God.


  1. I really like this proof, Jim. Thank you so much for working so steadily on this 101 Proofs of God book. You're more than half way now ! Keep it up and aim to get this published by a real book publishing company, not just online by LuLu or some other self-publishing company. Hope you're beginning that process now. Alice Boutte

  2. Thank you !
    Inspiring and Most Important article for todays confused generation.