The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex: Part 2 … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity”


For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18

My earlier post on the subject focused on the immensity of the universe and the amazing complexity and functionality at the micro-biological level. In this essay I would like to focus on a concept I’ve labeled as “Massively Complex Synchronicity.”

My purpose in this essay is to summarize evidence of design across the spectrum from the micro to the macro level and thus encourage you, the reader, to  investigate further. After all, if there is design, then there must be a designer, and if there is a designer, then what is his claim on your life? Much like the researchers looking for the “God particle”, my hope is to show you something similar to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.” My motivation is to cause you to seek the God of the Bible, and His Son Jesus Christ.

(See my Bio below at the end of this essay:)

By synchronicity I mean the relationship between two or more things resulting in something mutually beneficial, or in some cases a new thing arising  from the synchronicity.

In the debate between Darwinian Evolution and Creation and Intelligent Design, the concept of “irreducible complexity” comes into play where it is claimed that some things are sufficiently complex such that if any component is removed from the system, then the whole thing ceases to exist in it’s accepted form. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. The mousetrap is often cited as a simple analogy where if any of it’s component parts is removed it ceases to be a mouse trap. Biological systems cited as having irreducible complexity characteristics include the light-sensing mechanism in eyes, the human blood-clotting system, and the bacterial flagellum.

Critics of the irreducible complexity stance counter with various experiments/studies which they claim falsify the concept of irreducible complexity.

Although the debate is very interesting, my intent in this essay is not to contribute to this debate, but rather to elevate the discussion to a higher level, and illuminate the massive complexity we observe in all systems whether they be cosmological, biological or micro-biological in nature. My premise is that in this complexity there exists a majestic synchronicity that is necessary for life to exit at all.

The ID proponents will continue to point out new discoveries that point to an intelligent designer, and the Darwinists will continue to counter point by point, often with pointed rebuttals of the particulars involved, but most often with  a shotgun approach claiming Darwinian evolution as settled science  … end of discussion! 

So lets move beyond the point by point example/counter-example and look at an admittedly very partial picture of the Massively Complex Synchronicity present all around us; a synchronicity which is necessary for our very existence as an individual person on this very individual planet in this very large universe.

Our human body is the first stop on our trip through the synchronicity of the universe, and we begin at the cellular level with a quote from Dr. Michael Behe in his book Darwin’s Black Box.:

The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. . . . Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts.

Now take a look at some of the Molecular Machines that Scientists Have Argued Show Irreducible Complexity. For brevity’s sake I have listed only the names of the machines, but have left a few descriptions to whet your appetite (Note: Not all of the items listed exist in human cells, nor do they exist in all cells). My thanks to Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute for this list.
1. Bacterial Flagellum: The flagellum is a rotary motor in bacteria that drives a propeller to spin, much like an outboard motor, powered by ion flow to drive rotary motion. Capable of spinning up to 100,000 rpm,13 one paper in Trends in Microbiology called the flagellum “an exquisitely engineered chemi-osmotic nanomachine; nature’s most powerful rotary motor, harnessing a transmembrane ion-motive force to drive a filamentous propeller.”14 Due to its motor-like structure and internal parts, one molecular biologist wrote in the journal Cell, “[m]ore so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human.”15 Genetic knockout experiments have shown that the E. coli flagellum is irreducibly complex with respect to its approximately 35 genes.16 Despite the fact that this is one of the best studied molecular machines, a 2006 review article in Nature Reviews Microbiology admitted that “the flagellar research community has scarcely begun to consider how these systems have evolved.”17
2. Eukaryotic Cilium: 4. Blood clotting cascade: 5. Ribosome:
6. Antibodies and the Adaptive Immune System: Antibodies are “the ‘fingers’ of the blind immune system—they allow it to distinguish a foreign invader from the body itself.”30 But the processes that generate antibodies require a suite of molecular machines.31 Lymphocyte cells in the blood produce antibodies by mixing and match portions of special genes to produce over 100,000,000 varieties of antibodies.32 This “adaptive immune system” allows the body to tag and destroy most invaders. Michael Behe argues that this system is irreducibly complex because many components must be present for it to function: “A large repertoire of antibodies won’t do much good if there is no system to kill invaders. A system to kill invaders won’t do much good if there’s no way to identify them. At each step we are stopped not only by local system problems, but also by requirements of the integrated system.”33
II. Additional Molecular Machines
7. Spliceosome:
8. F0F1 ATP Synthase:
9. Bacteriorhdopsin: Bacteriorhodopsin “is a compact molecular machine” uses that sunlight energy to pump protons across a membrane.39 Embedded in the cell membrane, it consists of seven helical structures that span the membrane. It also contains retinal, a molecule which changes shape after absorbing light. Photons captured by retinal are forced through the seven helices to the outside of the membrane.40 When protons flow back through the membrane, ATP is formed.
10. Myosin:
11. Kinesin Motor:
12. Tim/Tom Systems:
13. Calcium Pump: The calcium pump is an “amazing machine with several moving parts“ that transfers calcium ions across the cell membrane. It is a machine that uses a 4-step cycle during the pump process.47
14. Cytochrome C Oxidase:
15. Proteosome: The proteosome is a large molecular machine whose parts must be must be carefully assembled in a particular order. For example, the 26S proteosome has 33 distinct subunits which enable it to perform its function to degrade and destroy proteins that have been misfolded in the cell or otherwise tagged for destruction.50 One paper suggested that a particular eukaryotic proteasome “is the core complex of an energy-dependent protein degradation machinery that equals the protein synthesis machinery in its complexity.”51
16. Cohesin:
17. Condensin:
18. ClpX:
19. Immunological Synapse: .56
20. Glideosome:
21. Kex2:
22. Hsp70:
23. Hsp60:
24. Protein Kinase C: Protein Kinase C is a molecular machine that is activated by certain calcium and diacylglycerol signals in the cell. It thus acts as an interpreter of electrical signals, as one paper in Cell wrote: “This decoding mechanism may explain how cPKC isoforms can selectively control different cellular processes by relying on selective patterns of calcium and diacylglycerol signals.”62
25. SecYEG PreProtein Translocation Channel: 26. Hemoglobin:
27. T4 DNA Packaging Motor:
28. Smc5/Smc6:
29. Cytplasmic Dynein: Cytplasmic dynein is a machine involved with cargo transport and movement cell that functions like a motor with a “power stroke.”70 In particular, it transports nuclei in fungi and neurons in mammalian brains.71
30. Mitotic Spindle Machine:
31. DNA Polymerase:
32. RNA Polymerase: Like its DNA polymerase counterpart, the function of the RNA polymerase is to create a messenger RNA strand from a DNA template strand. Called “a huge factory with many moving parts,”78 it is a “directional machine and, indeed, as a molecular motor” where it functions “as a dynamic, fluctuating, molecular motor capable of producing force and torque.”79
33. Kinetochore:
34. MRX Complex:
35. Apoptosome / Caspase:
36. Type III Secretory System:
37. Type II Secretion Apparatus:
38. Helicase/Topoisomerase Machine: The helicase and topoisomerase machines work together to properly unwrap or unzip DNA prior to transcription of DNA into mRNA or DNA replication.90 Topoisomerase performs this function by cutting one DNA strand and then holding on to the other while the cut strand unwinds.91
39. RNA degradasome:
40. Photosynthetic system: The processes that plants use to convert light into chemical energy a type of molecular machines.95 For example, photosystem 1 contains over three dozen proteins and many chlorophyll and other molecules which convert light energy into useful energy in the cell. “Antenna” molecules help increase the amount of light absorbed.96 Many complex molecules are necessary for this pathway to function properly.

I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well.  Psalm 139:14



So you see we have massive complexity at the molecular level, and science being what it is, we can be reasonably assured that the above list is nowhere near complete. Sure, other scientists can chip away at some individual items on the list and “debunk” claims of irreducible complexity, but how can you escape the overall imprint of complexity and the underlying argument for design?

These sophisticated molecular machines, of course, reside in the various organs making up the human body, and there are many such machines in each organ, and these organs are themselves machines and marvels of specialty and functionality. 

But as marvelous as these organs are, they do not exist alone, but in synchronicity with others that make up a human body. And these organs do indeed represent irreducible complexity. A heart that fails kills many a person, as does a failed kidney, liver, pancreas, stomach, brain, spleen or lung, although some of these organs are redundantly created in pairs and a body can function with only one of the pairs.

Redundancy of body parts and organs is another example of being “wonderfully made.” Redundancy in our eyes, ears and the inner ears give us a keen sense of place in our three dimensional world that add greatly to our human experience in a “wonderfully made” universe, though not necessary. 

So now we have a very complex human body made up of millions of machines at the molecular level, and dozens at the organ level.  Each machine has a specific purpose and thus a specified design to carry out that purpose.

But this body does not live in isolation, but rather in massive synchronicity with other such assemblages. At the very basic level, the body must be able to replicate itself in order that the species is able to live beyond one generation; this of course is the mating up of one very specific “male” cell with a correspondingly specific “female” cell resulting the creation of a new and unique body called a child. And notice that this union is accompanied along with a phenomenon known as “pleasure”; a phenomenon which Darwinists are hard pressed to explain or categorize into the materialist viewpoint in which their theory of necessity resides. So we have here a sort of “Irreducible Complexity”, not within the same cell or even among organs, but a complexity requiring an equal contribution from two independent and completely functional persons; a mother and a father.  

From here on out I am going to put the camera of life into a time lapse mode and take glimpses of the massively complex synchronicity required to sustain the three lives I’ve just pictured.

 The three lives; mother, father and child (a family) must have some sort of life support system available to take in the continual stream of new energy required to replenish the energy expended just simply to stay alive. This is called food and takes on the basic form as described above; a complex assemblage of cells, machines and organs making up the vast selection of fruits, vegetables, fish and animals that make up our daily diet. Again, the strange, but not quite material phenomenon of pleasure comes into play as we enjoy the many flavors and textures of the daily diet; mush or gruel would seem to suffice here, but yet we have much more.

All of these life forms required for human existence of course require an exquisitely balanced eco system or it is all for naught;

  •  An atmosphere with just the right sort of mixture of gasses required for the plants and animals to breath and live.
  • A weather system sufficient to distribute water across a very large planet, and to maintain a livable habitat.
  • A series of oceans containing an abundance of  living creatures usable for food;  a mechanism for moderating the climate around the world; a system for distributing warming currents to all area of the earth; ….
  • A system of fresh water rivers and lakes containing all manner of food stuffs; a system for replenishing the oceans of the world; a delightful place to spend a morning, afternoon, day or longer (there’s that pesky emotional thing again that won’t be explained away by any kind of “Unified Theory of Everything . Sorry Steven Hawking!”)
  • A system of magnetic bands which protect the fragile earth life from the ravages of solar radiation.
  • . . .

So that pretty much sums up (but not completely of course) the massively complex synchronicity required for the creation and sustainment of life on earth, and we can now zoom out to the solar system and universe that supports all of this and the laws and physical constants that undergirds the whole thing;

Underlying what we observe in nature are an array of “constants” which describe natural phenomena and behaviors such as gravity, vacuums, speed of light and many others. I include lists of such constants here not for you to read and study in detail, but to show you the scope and number of such constants. Most likely you are not, nor am I, experts in these fields of science associated with these constants, but I encourage you to peek at a few of them just to get a feel, and perhaps ask yourself questions such as; “what would be the impact if one or more of these constants changed or went missing?” Others have researched such questions, and I refer you here to Design in Nature: The Anthropic Principle by Donald B. DeYoung, Ph.D.

Constants in the category ” Universal constants “…

characteristic impedance of vacuum
electric constant
magnetic constant
Newtonian constant of gravitation
Newtonian constant of gravitation over h-bar c
Planck constant
Planck constant in eV s
Planck constant over 2 pi
Planck constant over 2 pi in eV s
Planck constant over 2 pi times c in MeV fm
Planck length
Planck mass
Planck mass energy equivalent in GeV
Planck temperature
Planck time
speed of light in vacuum

Constants in the category ” Electromagnetic constants “…

Bohr magneton
Bohr magneton in eV/T
Bohr magneton in Hz/T
Bohr magneton in inverse meters per tesla
Bohr magneton in K/T
conductance quantum
elementary charge
elementary charge over h
inverse of conductance quantum
Josephson constant
magnetic flux quantum
nuclear magneton
nuclear magneton in eV/T
nuclear magneton in inverse meters per tesla
nuclear magneton in K/T
nuclear magneton in MHz/T
von Klitzing constant

Constants in the category ” Atomic and nuclear constants “…

alpha particle mass
alpha particle mass energy equivalent
alpha particle mass energy equivalent in MeV
alpha particle mass in u
alpha particle molar mass
alpha particle-electron mass ratio
alpha particle-proton mass ratio
Bohr radius
classical electron radius
Compton wavelength
Compton wavelength over 2 pi
deuteron g factor
deuteron magnetic moment
deuteron magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
deuteron magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
deuteron mass
deuteron mass energy equivalent
deuteron mass energy equivalent in MeV
deuteron mass in u
deuteron molar mass
deuteron rms charge radius
deuteron-electron magnetic moment ratio
deuteron-electron mass ratio
deuteron-neutron magnetic moment ratio
deuteron-proton magnetic moment ratio
deuteron-proton mass ratio
electron charge to mass quotient
electron g factor
electron gyromagnetic ratio
electron gyromagnetic ratio over 2 pi
electron magnetic moment
electron magnetic moment anomaly
electron magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
electron magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
electron mass
electron mass energy equivalent
electron mass energy equivalent in MeV
electron mass in u
electron molar mass
electron to alpha particle mass ratio
electron to shielded helion magnetic moment ratio
electron to shielded proton magnetic moment ratio
electron-deuteron magnetic moment ratio
electron-deuteron mass ratio
electron-helion mass ratio
electron-muon magnetic moment ratio
electron-muon mass ratio
electron-neutron magnetic moment ratio
electron-neutron mass ratio
electron-proton magnetic moment ratio
electron-proton mass ratio
electron-tau mass ratio
electron-triton mass ratio
Fermi coupling constant
fine-structure constant
Hartree energy
Hartree energy in eV
helion g factor
helion magnetic moment
helion magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
helion magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
helion mass
helion mass energy equivalent
helion mass energy equivalent in MeV
helion mass in u
helion molar mass
helion-electron mass ratio
helion-proton mass ratio
inverse fine-structure constant
muon Compton wavelength
muon Compton wavelength over 2 pi
muon g factor
muon magnetic moment
muon magnetic moment anomaly
muon magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
muon magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
muon mass
muon mass energy equivalent
muon mass energy equivalent in MeV
muon mass in u
muon molar mass
muon-electron mass ratio
muon-neutron mass ratio
muon-proton magnetic moment ratio
muon-proton mass ratio
muon-tau mass ratio
neutron Compton wavelength
neutron Compton wavelength over 2 pi
neutron g factor
neutron gyromagnetic ratio
neutron gyromagnetic ratio over 2 pi
neutron magnetic moment
neutron magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
neutron magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
neutron mass
neutron mass energy equivalent
neutron mass energy equivalent in MeV
neutron mass in u
neutron molar mass
neutron to shielded proton magnetic moment ratio
neutron-electron magnetic moment ratio
neutron-electron mass ratio
neutron-muon mass ratio
neutron-proton magnetic moment ratio
neutron-proton mass difference
neutron-proton mass difference energy equivalent
neutron-proton mass difference energy equivalent in MeV
neutron-proton mass difference in u
neutron-proton mass ratio
neutron-tau mass ratio
proton charge to mass quotient
proton Compton wavelength
proton Compton wavelength over 2 pi
proton g factor
proton gyromagnetic ratio
proton gyromagnetic ratio over 2 pi
proton magnetic moment
proton magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
proton magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
proton magnetic shielding correction
proton mass
proton mass energy equivalent
proton mass energy equivalent in MeV
proton mass in u
proton molar mass
proton rms charge radius
proton-electron mass ratio
proton-muon mass ratio
proton-neutron magnetic moment ratio
proton-neutron mass ratio
proton-tau mass ratio
quantum of circulation
quantum of circulation times 2
Rydberg constant
Rydberg constant times c in Hz
Rydberg constant times hc in eV
Rydberg constant times hc in J
shielded helion gyromagnetic ratio
shielded helion gyromagnetic ratio over 2 pi
shielded helion magnetic moment
shielded helion magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
shielded helion magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
shielded helion to proton magnetic moment ratio
shielded helion to shielded proton magnetic moment ratio
shielded proton gyromagnetic ratio
shielded proton gyromagnetic ratio over 2 pi
shielded proton magnetic moment
shielded proton magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
shielded proton magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
tau Compton wavelength
tau Compton wavelength over 2 pi
tau mass
tau mass energy equivalent
tau mass energy equivalent in MeV
tau mass in u
tau molar mass
tau-electron mass ratio
tau-muon mass ratio
tau-neutron mass ratio
tau-proton mass ratio
Thomson cross section
triton g factor
triton magnetic moment
triton magnetic moment to Bohr magneton ratio
triton magnetic moment to nuclear magneton ratio
triton mass
triton mass energy equivalent
triton mass energy equivalent in MeV
triton mass in u
triton molar mass
triton-electron mass ratio
triton-proton mass ratio
weak mixing angle

Constants in the category ” Physico-chemical constants “…

atomic mass constant
atomic mass constant energy equivalent
atomic mass constant energy equivalent in MeV
Avogadro constant
Boltzmann constant
Boltzmann constant in eV/K
Boltzmann constant in Hz/K
Boltzmann constant in inverse meters per kelvin
Faraday constant
first radiation constant
first radiation constant for spectral radiance
Loschmidt constant (273.15 K, 100 kPa)
Loschmidt constant (273.15 K, 101.325 kPa)
molar gas constant
molar Planck constant
molar Planck constant times c
molar volume of ideal gas (273.15 K, 100 kPa)
molar volume of ideal gas (273.15 K, 101.325 kPa)
Sackur-Tetrode constant (1 K, 100 kPa)
Sackur-Tetrode constant (1 K, 101.325 kPa)
second radiation constant
Stefan-Boltzmann constant
Wien frequency displacement law constant
Wien wavelength displacement law constant

I hope I have created a clear enough picture that has kindled some interest and curiosity in a topic of continuing and universal interest and importance, though not a topic at your average dinner party.

And finally, consider this: scientists can be a strange breed. On the one hand we have those who claim we know only 4% of all there is in the universe and are ignorant of Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Dark Force comprising the remaining 96%. On the other hand are those such as Sagan, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, who assert with 100% certainty that there is no god and no creation. I suggest that while we treat science and scientists with the respect due them, we should be wary and not buy into their every preaching with little or no skepticism. 

 

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”    Psalm 14:1



My Bio:

I am not a cosmologist, a paleontologist, an astronomer, a physicist, or a micro-biologist or a college professor.

What I have been by trade and profession for close to 40 years is a software developer  …  a computer programmer. I’ve been directly involved in writing software for some very complex systems; a computer controlled  automated warehouse system inputting and outputting orders and transferring products via conveyors and stacker cranes. For close to 30 years I was involved in the programming of a system that tracks, records and displays the maneuvers and activities of up to 100 high performance fighter aircraft.

So I have developed a keen sense of and appreciation for complexity, a sense gained from many years of getting my hands dirty on a daily basis and experiencing the frustrations of debugging less that perfect systems while trying to perfect them. I have also developed an appreciation for the fact that complex systems require intelligence; the architects, designers and builders of systems  … they do not appear from nowhere contrary to what Darwinists would have me to believe.

I have also studied the debate over the years and have read much on Darwinism, Creation Science and Intelligent Design having come from a Darwinian background myself. 

12 responses to “The Origins of the Universe … Simple or Complex: Part 2 … The Problem of “Massively Complex Synchronicity”

  1. This comment is from Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute http://www.discovery.org/p/188

    Very eloquently stated Don. And very ambitious and very thorough. Your second post accurately states ID theory, although obviously it mixes up a lot of theology in there as well which is not a part of ID. It’s fine if you want to talk about both, but you might want to note that the arguments for design are scientific, not religious in nature.

    Very thorough. Thanks for sharing.

    Sincerely,

    Casey

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  7. Interesting article. It is not possible to prove that these systems were not designed by a Designer, but it is also not possible to prove that they did not evolve. The fact that a given system requires all its components to function today does not mean that the system could not have evolved by natural selection in the past.

    For example, suppose you start with a bacterial flagellum made of one protein that is very simple but inefficient. Then a DNA duplication happens and you get two genes that produce the same protein. The two proteins are used to make the same flagellum. So far, no increase in complexity. But then one of them mutates to a slightly different protein that makes the flagellum more efficient, but only when both proteins are used in the flagellum. So the bacteria with both proteins have an advantage, and evolution leads to all the bacteria having both proteins. Next, additional random mutations happen that make the flagellum operation depend on both proteins. No problem there, because they all have both proteins, so the flagellum still works fine and the bacterium is still healthy. But what it means is that if a mutation knocks out one of those proteins, the flagellum stops working. You have arrived at a state of irreducible complexity by simple natural selection.

    As I said, it doesn’t prove that Intelligent Design didn’t happen, but you still have to prove that it was designed. You can’t just speculate that a given system had to be designed without knowing what actually happened.

    • Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it very much.

      Yes, I suppose you are correct in saying “It is not possible to prove that these systems were not designed by a Designer, but it is also not possible to prove that they did not evolve.”
      The key point of my argument in the article however, is the phenomenon of “Massively Complex Synchronicity.”

      If you look at my bio at the end of the article you will see that I am not a scientist, let alone a micro-biologist; and I suspect neither are you. And the “real” scientists; those in the Intelligent Design camp as well as the Darwinian camp present their cases quite often at the micro-biological level as you described in talking about proteins, bacterial flagellum etc.

      This focusing at the smallest, and thus supposedly the points closest to the origin of complexity is precisely why I opened my mind and viewpoint up to the entire picture of complexity, from the smallest cellular/bacterial level to the many other things required at all levels, including the cosmic, for a successful life form such as you and I.

      Since it is impossible to prove that Evolution created this “Massively Complex Synchronicity,” and likewise it is impossible to scientifically prove that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth …” we must rely on one or both of two things 1) faith and 2) evidence.

      On the issue of evidence, we should rely on the most compelling set of evidence, along with the arguments based on that set of evidence. And, since the claims of ‘design’ like the claims of ‘evolution’ are extraordinary claims, this evidence should be ‘ordinary’ evidence, not ‘extraordinary’ evidence as Carl Sagan would have us believe. The evidence should be sufficiently compelling to convince the ‘ordinary’ of us, as well as the scientific researchers, to conclude where the truth lies. When viewed in this manner the case for design is very compelling; compelling to the point of beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence for evolution on the other hand, is extraordinarily weak, especially as viewed from the point of “Massively Complex Synchronicity.”

      And finally, there is the issue of faith. As I stated earlier, ” …it is impossible to prove that Evolution created this “Massively Complex Synchronicity,” and likewise it is impossible to scientifically prove that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth …” At the end of the evidence question we are ultimately faced with a faith question. Do I have faith there may be a God capable of creating such “Massively Complex Synchronicity?” or do I put my faith in a Darwinian type of scientific process that thus far is just nibbling at the very edges of a very large and extraordinarily complex universe and it’s very complex human actors.

      When we enter this area of faith, please know and understand, that we leave the realm of science and enter into the realm of philosophy and religion. That is not to say that religion has no part in science, nor is it to say that religion has no part in science; each can and should inform the other.

      Again thanks and best regards,
      don

  8. Hi Don,
    Thanks for a very thoughtful reply. I am not a scientist, as you say, in the sense of currently being in a research position, but I did study evolution at the PhD level for over 2 years. I agree that the question of faith is very important, and I firmly believe in God. I also think that it is our responsibility to determine where the processes of the physical universe end and the actions of God begin. There is no longer reason to believe that God moves the planets in their orbits, because Newton and Einstein showed how the laws of the universe do that. God may have created the universe to do it that way, but after that, we know that the universe does it by itself. That is an example of moving the boundary between natural and divine closer to God, and including more of the universe in the natural instead of the divine. Much of science is devoted to explaining how things work, and moving that boundary.

    Similarly, the study of evolution also moves that boundary. I’m sure you will agree that that bacteria develop immunity to antibiotics because of the process of natural selection. The big question is where is the dividing line between physical and divine processes in the history of life on Earth.

    We cannot assume that because the universe is constructed in an astonishingly complex way that looks like there must be a desighner, that therefore life was also created by a designer. Just as the planets’ orbits are governed by physics, some part of the history of life on Earth must also be governed by physics. Our bodies are physical bodies, and even though it is inhabited by some kind of divine presence we call a soul, it is still subject to to all the physical processes that the Earth provides. We know that physical stature, skin color, etc. are adapted to the environments where different people lived (before all this migration started happening in recent times.) We don’t know if that was the result of natural selection, or a divine intervention, but we do know that natural selection could easily have done it. If evolution could have done it, why claim that God did it?

    There are many things about the development of life on Earth that evolution does not explain, including the origin of the first living organisms. However that does not mean that they cannot explain them if there is enough data. You seem to think that the evidence for evolution is weak. I can assure you that the evidence is incredibly strong. There is a great deal of it, and it is all compatible with evolution, even if it is not yet explained by the current theories of evolution. That doesn’t mean that God didn’t have a hand in it, directing it for His purposes. But divine intervention is something that has never been found in the fossil record. Evey organism was preceded by similar, less complex, living organisms, and evolution can explain that. There are no steps that need divine intervention to explain.

    On the other hand there are many, many things that all scientists of evolution agree would disprove evolution. If you found a human skeleton, or mouse skeleton, or even fish skeleton in the Burgess Shale, for example. Or if you found that the DNA of closely related species was not also extremely similar to each other, even in the most trivial ways that have no effect on the form of the species. The rate of appearance of neutral mutations in DNA is fairly constant, and they accumulate over time, providing a kind of “clock” for the separation between two species, when the two species start accumulating different mutations. That clock is closely correlated with the fossil record, and with geology. Evolutionary scientists customarily use it to time the separation of two species. y, and it would be very easy for God to create a new species that was somehow “off the clock,” with its own unrelated set of neutral mutations, yet none has been found.

    There are many, many things like this that could disprove evolution. And yet not one item like that has been found. There may be many things in the fossil record that are not explained by evolution, but not a single thing that clearly violates evolution. That includes systems that have irreducible complexity.

    I think the issue of faith becomes even more important when we believe that God may not have created the bodies we inhabit as a special creation. After all, if we see our own bodies as proof of the existence of God, we need no faith. I think that faith is even stronger when we can see that evolution could easily have created our bodies. I see things every day that confirm my faith in God, and I see things in my science reading that confirm evolution. I don’t need scientists to confirm my faith in God for me. The universe is astonishingly complex, and if some parts are created directly, and some parts are created indirectly using something like evolution, it is still a source of wonder.

    • And thanks Reed for your thoughtful reply.
      So often we on the ID and/or creation side hear tirades of insults and it is refreshing to read a response such as yours that is carefully crafted with dignity and respect … thank you very much, and I will endeavor to respond in kind should we continue with this. Although we have some disagreements, I hope we can continue such discussions.

      Best regards,
      don

  9. Pingback: Intelligent Design: A far-far superior explanation | A Yearning for Publius

  10. Pingback: Creation vs. Evolution … Revisited | A Yearning for Publius

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