All life has information which: Specifies the gain and use of materials and or energy from the environment for, self-maintenance (functions such as respiration) and reproduction.
Complexity is a relative term. Technically, by definition something becomes complex as soon as it has more than two parts. But complexity for us is based on two things, the amount of data there is to consider and also our familiarity with what we are considering. The more familiar we are with something, the less complex it will seem.
The level of complexity is dependant on what level we choose to view or the limits of our ability to examine the details. For instance, we can represent the sun as a circle at its simplest level. We can add representative rays of light as we raise the level of complexity. We can then describe its basic motion in the sky, then its exact motion, then its relation to the earth, then its operation. We can get to a level so complex that an entire lifetime is not enough to collect all the data.
150 years ago science's understanding of life was very primitive compared to what we know today; hence it was viewed as being relatively simple. Yet even today science still has difficulty clearly defining it. How do we define life? How do we tell the difference between something that's alive and something that is not? Science has grappled with this problem over and over and still it seems that their answers are not satisfying. The fascinating thing is that although science has such a difficult time trying to nail it down, we all intuitively recognize life. Why is that?
When we think of the word "natural" what do we think of? Something untouched by human intelligence: plants, animals, streams forests, rocks or mountains. We have also been indoctrinated with the idea that life is natural, that it has been untouched by intelligence. Yet life is teaming with intelligent information. And recognizing that is the key to defining life.
Two of the things we need to look at are complexity and organization. Something can be complex and highly organized, but contain no information and therefore does not have to be intelligently designed. Yet something can look completely random and be intelligently designed. The question is, at what point do we start to recognize that complexity and organization cannot be the result of natural processes? We can never say for sure that intelligence wasn't involved, but there should be a point in which we say, intelligence must be involved.
A snowflake is a good example of something that is organized and complex. Where does the complexity and organization in a snowflake come from? It comes from the nature of the water molecules. That is, if the correct conditions exist the chemical bonds of the water molecule will automatically take on the crystalline six sided lattice structure that makes a snowflake. No intelligence required.
On the other hand take a look at a honeycomb. It is also complex, and to look at it we might conclude that it is less complex than a snowflake. Surely we can say that the individual molecules are in more of a random state than the ones in the snowflake. When we ask the same question of the honeycomb that we did of the snowflake, where does the complexity and organization in the honeycomb come from? We get a completely different answer. The organization of the honeycomb is not in the molecules of the honeycomb, but in the DNA of the bee. That is what is known as "specified complexity." The design of the honeycomb is based on information that is completely separate from and unrelated to its molecular structure.
Specified complexity is when the structure of the molecules is defined by, not just shaped by, something outside the molecules. Specified complexity is when there is a blueprint so to speak that tells how the structure should be formed. All life has specified complexity. In fact everything that we know that has specified complexity is either life or was made by life.
One thing that is fairly consistently left out of definitions of life is specified complexity or information. All life is built on information. A basic definition for life then might be as follows:
We are faced with two choices as to where the specified complexity in all life originated. It either evolved through millions of lucky accidents, which even according to proponents of evolution is highly unlikely, or it was created. Creation is the only rational choice, because evolution fails to explain why specified complexity would arise spontaneously again and again and again.
For evolution the spontaneous appearance of specified complexity cannot be ignored because information is the centerpiece of life. You can have all the molecules for life available, but without information, or if the information is lost, life doesn't happen. The three major elements of evolution do not aid in any way in the creation of information.
Natural Selection: only maintains what information is created by variation and mutation. It cannot act on any information that doesn't exist. Observational science has actually shown that natural selection only slows the erosion of information in life, and this function is due only to the way life is designed. So natural selection is not the source of specified complexity in life.
Variation: is based on existing information, that is, specification that already existed. And while it can create many new combinations of this information, it does not create "new" information. Variation is not the source of specified complexity in life.
Mutation: destroys information, reduces specified complexity. Geneticists have known for quite some time that mutations are not beneficial; they are either neutral or harmful. And even neutral mutations build up over time to become harmful. Random changes, mistakes, misplacements in DNA does not improve the information, it destroys it. Mutation therefore cannot be the source of specified complexity in life.
There is only one known source of specified complexity. Intelligence. Life was intelligently designed. There should be no question about it.