Continuing an exploration into the controversy in the scientific community over Evolution/Intelligent Design/Creationism, I continually come across interesting articles and information concerning design in nature – in particular, design in living things … and in this article I highlight a few that have caught my attention recently.
One of the above images is man made and the other from nature – click on each for more information.
Now the hardened Evolutionary Biologist – people such as Jerry Coyne (former Evolutionary Biologist, now Professional Atheist) and Richard Dawkins (former Evolutionary Biologist, now Professional Atheist) , as well as the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) insist there is no controversy. They insist that the Darwinian evolutionary view is settled science and that Intelligent Design and/or Creation is nothing more than pseudo-science and religions superstition and bunk (and other more vulgar descriptions I prefer not to repeat here).
I grant that this evolutionary world view is by far the dominant world view held in science and in education, but is it in reality an atheistic and false ideology akin to a religious sect, having little real world foundational basis? Once again, I repeat the foundational definitions of this ideology – Materialism and Naturalism:
Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions.
Naturalism is “the philosophical belief that everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.” Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.
These definitions allow the Darwinist to claim there is no controversy in the scientific community concerning evolution as a settled fact of nature. They have defined the rules to their own liking, climbed into their Darwinist cave and refuse to even look at and consider alternative views and evidence, and have forcefully and effectively banned many qualified scientists from exposing students to alternates such as Intelligent Design.
And what might be the fundamental and underlying reason for the Materialistic/Naturalistic world view? One of the prominent leaders in evolutionary biology, Professor Richard Lewontin, expresses it well (emphasis mine):
‘Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
So … is the bottom line rational for an evolutionary/Darwinist world view science and the discovery of truth … or is it a rejection of the divine … a rejection of the God of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles? In mulling over this question, take a look at the time and energies expended on debunking religion, in particular the Christian and Jewish religions and their scriptures. And take a look at your own motivations for accepting or rejection the idea of Intelligent Design in nature … even within your own body. Is your world view that of Professors Lewontin, Coyne, Dawkins and the NCSE … are you rejecting design for ideological reasons, or because you have carefully and objectively examined the claims of both views and have settled in on one or the other?
And what is the theory of intelligent design? (From the Discovery Institute)
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. For more information see Center Director Stephen Meyer’s article “Not By Chance” from the National Post of Canada or his appearance on PBS’s “Tavis Smiley Show (Windows Media).
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Finally we get to the meat of this article and the interesting articles and information I alluded to at the beginning 0f this article.
There is wide agreement that design is prevalent in nature … even Atheistic Evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins sees much design in nature:
“Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning. The purpose of this book is to resolve the paradox to the satisfaction of the reader, and the purpose of this chapter is further to impress the reader with the power of the illusion of design.” The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence Reveals a Universe Without Design See also a previous counter of my own.
However what many, myself included, intuitively perceive as functional design, the evolutionary scientists ,writers and philosophers see only illusion and appearances of design.
There seems to be a problem with this idea of the “appearance of design” as follows:
The only experience humanity has ever had with unequivocal, unambiguous and unmistakable evidences of design is that which has been designed by mind, in particular the human mind (beaver dams and bird nests come from mind also, but let’s focus on the human mind).
So thus it is reasonable that analogies can be made between what we humans have designed and manufactured over the history of mankind, with those supposed “illusions” of design in nature. And the examples … the analogies … I have chosen for this article are probably the most intricate, the most complex, the most sophisticated, the most obviously “designed” objects I have seen to date. So hang on and lets take a look.
Lets start with a massive and intricate example of what the human mind is capable, and in fact has produced. Click on the images below an you will come to an article in the New York Times showing “The Biggest Ship in the World (Though It Isn’t Exactly a Ship)”
Now that is an impressive example of vision, design, engineering and manufacturing … is it not?
Now lets take a look at something complex and sophisticated in the natural world … the cell, the basic building block of all life. You can do an internet search on “anatomy of a cell”, and see all sorts of images. Most of these images are artistic renderings based on scientific research, but actual photos comparable to the floating liquefied natural gas facility shown in the Times article are beyond the reach of todays imaging technologies because of the extremely small scale of the typical cell. I include a few here to gaze upon.
Now read what Dr. Michael Denton, a Biochemist has to say in his 1985 book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
“To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units….A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.
“We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines….
“We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction….
“What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.” (pp. 328-29).
… So there you have the analogy – two incredibly complex and sophisticated systems each having specified functionalities.
But lets go a little further and look at some design and engineering aspects of each system – lets take a look at what some commercial Life Science companies have been up to. below are a couple of charts from Sigma-Aldrich, a global leader in Life Science.
And from Roche, “A pioneer in healthcare for nearly 120 years.”
What sorts of things do we see when looking at such charts?
- We see complex systems functionality laid out such that a person educated and experienced in biochemistry and related fields can see and understand the workings of the systems.
- We see that some very smart people were able to investigate and understand the internal workings of these systems and thus understand to some degree the design of the systems.
- We see not only the internal workings of the sub-systems in terms of chemistry, but also the Input/Output (I/O) interfaces between major body organs.
What you see in these charts from Roche and Sigma-Aldrich is the result of an engineering process called “reverse-engineering.” Read this article “Reverse-Engineering” from ComputerWorld of Nov 12, 2001:
Whether it’s rebuilding a car engine or diagramming a sentence, people can learn about many things simply by taking them apart and putting them back together again. That, in a nutshell, is the concept behind reverse-engineering—breaking something down in order to understand it, build a copy or improve it.
A process that was originally applied only to hardware, reverse-engineering is now applied to software, databases and even human DNA. …
Now read a few snippets of a critique of Evolutionary Biologist Jerry Coyne by Don McLeroy:
… Coyne, in Why Evolution Is True, 2009, argues that it is impossible to provide every detail of evidence concerning biochemical complexity. He also admits evolutionary development of “complex biochemical… pathways is not easy, since they leave no trace in the fossil record.” Okay. How many details does he provide to demonstrate the evolution of life’s complex chemistry?
Amazingly, considering the foundational nature of cell biology to drive all evolutionary adaptations, the only “detail” Coyne provides in his book is speculation about an imaginary gene. He states that “the common ancestor of sea cucumbers and vertebrates had a gene that was later co-opted in vertebrates…” as fibrinogen.
To get a perspective of how little Coyne’s imaginary common ancestor explains, take a quick look at these “Biochemical Pathways” charts produced by Roche Diagnostics. These charts cover 27 square feet; for evolution to be true, every molecule and pathway would have to be explained by unguided natural processes. The lonely evidence Coyne produces is speculation about this single molecule—fibrinogen!
(To see the charts, click here: http://donmcleroy.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/why-evolution-has-problems-1/)
Anyone who has studied high school biology realizes that if this is all the evidence he can provide for the development of the myriad of biochemical pathways like the Krebs’s cycle or protein synthesis or other cell complexities, his evidence is embarrassingly nonexistent. Evidently, it is not only impossible to provide every detail; it is impossible to provide a single detail. And, since all other explanations in his book depend on biochemical complexity, his arguments collapse.
Ironically, even famous evolutionist Richard Dawkins, in his book The Greatest Show on Earth, fails to present evidence for the development of biochemical complexity. The only detail he cites is a double mutation in E. coli that allows it to digest citrate. Like Coyne and Miller, he offers no evidence for how the process developed initially. He describes the cell as “breathtakingly complicated,” and states “the key to understand how such complexity is put together is that it is all done locally, by small entities obeying local rules.” He also states that some of the features of the cell descended from different bacteria, that built up their “chemical wizardries billions of years before.” These statements are not evidence; they are vain imaginations.
The only indisputable fact is: leading evolutionists have no evidence that natural selection created today’s biochemical complexity. Therefore, skepticism is the best response. Evolutionary dogmatism—the insistence that evolution is true—is a serious issue. Science is not threatened by evolutionary skepticism; science is threatened by the quasi-science of the evolutionist.
The claim of Darwinists is that there is no such thing as Intelligent Design – that ID is nothing but religion dressed up in a cheap suite. Really now …
We see in the charts above that some very smart people have looked at life as if it were designed … they then proceeded in a very practical fashion to understand what they were seeing … they used the design/engineering principles of reverse engineering to show the evidence of design in life … they use these reverse-engineered blueprints to develop new medical products … and they provide the knowledge gained by an understanding of life’s designs to other researchers and manufactures in the Life Science and medical fields.
So again I will ask the question … Which is design and which is evolution?
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The Evolution of an Evolutionary Biologist
I propose the following as a theory of how an academic PhD Evolutionary Biologist such as Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins evolved.
A bright young high school student gains a keen interest in science and gets a scholarship to a prestigious university such as Cal-Berkley or Oxford.
That same student comes under the influence of atheist professors and writers such as Bertrand Russell and begins to develop skepticism towards all things religious.
The student develops and hones already excellent writing skills .
The student obtains a degree in the natural sciences and goes on to pursue a Masters degree in Evolutionary Biology.
During this undergraduate and graduate program the student reads and absorbs much from the prominent Evolutionary Scientists of the day, including much anti-religious and anti-design material … writers such as Dawkins, Coyne, Hawking, Sagan, Gould, Eldredge … .
The student, upon receipt of a Masters degree is a full blown atheist.
The student, upon receipt of a Masters degree has accumulated no experience in the real world of engineering, operation or maintenance of complex systems such as an oil refinery or a nuclear aircraft carrier. Thus far the student has experienced only the academic world.
The student goes on to get a PhD in Evolutionary Biology and does post-doctorate work under the tutelage of like minded professors.
The Doctor writes papers and a book which gains wide notoriety. Still, the new Doctor has accumulated no experience in the real world of engineering, operation or maintenance of complex systems such as an oil refinery or a nuclear aircraft carrier. Thus far the Doctor, now professor, has experienced only the academic world.
If my theory is anywhere close to being accurate, how can that chain of events be moderated or broken? My suggestion is as follows:
Prior to entering a PhD program, the prospective doctor spends an extended period of time in an environment that immerses the student in a very complex and obviously designed and engineered system or systems such as:
A four year tour as a crew member of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier – preferably in the engineering department.
A four year tour as an operations and maintenance team member at a large petro-chemical plant – the student should be assigned to a trouble shooting team.
A four year tour as a researcher at a company such as Roche or Sigma-Aldrich fleshing out more of the inner-workings of the “Life” projects there.
A four year tour as a software developer with daily hands on exposure to the maintenance and upgrades of complex hardware/software systems.
Read other articles I have written on these subjects by clicking on the CATEGORIES item on the right side of this blog, and selecting items of interest.
Don Johnson – November 2014