The Blind Watch-Watchers
or Smell the Cheese
An Intelligent and Delicious Argument for Intelligent Design in Evolution
(From upcoming, 19 Questions For Atheists, by Edip Yuksel)
Reminder: If you are busy, you may skip the entertaining warm-up section and start reading from subtitle, The Genesis. If you have very little time or a cranky-old man then, it might be better if you start from the subtitle, Methinks it is Like a Blind Watch-watcher.
Let’s do it backwards. I will start with quoting a sample of reactions I received from people, mostly my close friends, to the draft version of this article. I do not hope they would influence you like those “two-thumbs-up” movie reviews, but I hope that they will confuse you regarding the merits of this article before engaging you in a philosophical and scientific argument. The mixed reaction I received so far taught me this: a great deal of my readers will close their eyes and touch the tail, the trunk or the ear of this elephantine article and they will perceive it as they feel. I wrote this article for the lucky few who will not get distracted by its musings or the side arguments; they will see both the watch and the watch-maker as clearly as they see these letters. Here is a sample from those feedbacks:
“Very nice and heavily scientific and philosophical as well. You are using simple logic to explain a complex topic and this is a great art.” (Ali Bahzadnia, MD., my endocrinologist friend, USA).
“I loved the cheese!” (Mark Sykes, PhD, J.D., my rocket-scientist lawyer friend, Tucson, Mars and Beyond).
“Interesting and thought-provoking.” (Megan C. PhD, Biochemist, USA, not my friend)
“Your arguments are against the existence of man and all living, reproducing organisms. Unless we are only God’s nightmare without corporal existence, your arguments are foolish. You may want to return to restudy the very simple tenets of evolution. You have a better mind than this paper suggests. Arguing against evolution is not the problem. Your “straw man” argument is… Try again with a little more scholarship… (David Jones, PhD., my psychologist/educator atheist friend, USA).
“I read the article tonight and enjoyed the article very much… The overall feel of the article for me was that it was a different look at the anthropic principle; and in many ways a restatement of it…” (Oben Candemir, MD., my ophthalmologist friend, Australia).
“Very … ” (Kristen Lorenz, OD., my physicist friend, USA, who is still reading it).
“Irrelevant B.S.! Bachelor of Science in philosophy is not the right muscle to dissect or rummage the messy details of fossils, genes, enzymes, and hormones. When lawyers enter a scientific debate, it is time to write its obituary. Irrelevant B.S.! Jurisdiction denied!” (XYZ PhD, my critic from ABC; or my “The Demon-Haunted” skeptic personality).
“This is not a scientific paper. Because many assertions are flat wrong. Evolution IS falsifiable, for example Static fossil records would falsify it or finding a way that would prevent mutation from accumulating. Marvels of Marble is an extremely bad example. Property of two marbles together is not much different than one, survival of the fittest does not play any part, throwing the marbles down terminates in a finite event of a short period of time. I kind of agree with XYZ.” (Fereydoun Taslimi, entrepreneur and philanthropist, a monotheist friend, indeed a good friend, USA)
“I thank and congratulate Edip for taking on.” (Mustafa Akyol, a columnist friend expert on evolution versus creation debate, Turkey).
When my older son turned teenager, like others in his age group, his voice and face started mutating. I complimented his evolution from childhood to puberty by jokingly depicting it as devolution. “Yahya, when will you be going to get the kiss that will turn you back into a prince?” He knew well that I was not expecting him to get a kiss from a sweetheart until he graduated from college. Though he did not get that kiss (as far as I know), within a couple of years he started turning into a prince, again.
Please do not spoil your reading of this delicious article by telling yourself, “This guy does not know even the meaning of the words mutation and evolution in the context of the evolution versus creation.” I do not wish to sound arrogant, but I do know this and even more. Though I studied philosophy and received my doctorate degree in law, I took a graduate course entitled “Philosophy of Evolution” just for the fun of it. I am also one of the first people who tried to get some legal inspiration from biology. In the mid 1990’s, I wrote articles with bizarre titles, such as, “Biology and Law” or “Biology of Human Rights.” (Since they did not possess the characteristics of a “serious” article, such as numerous references, boring language, and lengthy exposition, they were not material for a scholarly journal. Thus, I published them at my personal website: www.yuksel.org). Furthermore, I have read numerous boring and exciting books and articles on this subject matter.
So, I decided to write an essay for the laymen who know that they know very little about the scientific aspect of the debate, yet they feel that they must take sides on this highly controversial issue that has enormous political and theological ramifications. (As for those laymen who do not know that they know very little, even Socrates could not be of any help.) No wonder we see many of those who have no clue about the intricacy of the debate appear to be ready to abort each other on this issue. To them “irreducible complexity” may sound complex, and the sudden appearance of complex life forms in the event called Cambrian Explosion may mean less than Noah’s Flood or last year’s Emmy’s Awards. The argument of one party might be primarily based on the “God of gaps” and of the opposing party on “anything but God.” They may not even know more than one or two names besides Darwin. For instance, Empedocles, Cicero, Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Khaldun, Al-Hazen, Hume, Paley, Mendel, Huxley, Johnson, Dawkins, Gould, Behe, or Dembsky may not spark any ideas in the minds of those who are well versed about fictional characters such as Samson who killed a thousand men with the jaw of an ass and collected foreskins of his enemies as his wedding present. Similarly, those names may not mean much for those who are well versed about fictional characters such as Hamlet who talked with an archaic British accent starting with “Methinks…”
This essay is aimed to reduce the complexity of the debate on the most sensitive point of the controversy. I hope that this will bring the opposing parties in the controversy closer to each other. As the most delicious part of a sandwich is usually its middle, I argue that the truth of this matter is also somewhere in the middle. It is time to start a revolution in the evolution debate and smell the cheese inside the buns.
Let me remind the reader what this article is NOT about. This article is NOT rejecting the theory of evolution; to the contrary it supports the theory of evolution, and its position will not be effected a bit even if we accept that humans are descendants of chimpanzees. I am making this point clear since many pro-evolution zealots tend to demonstrate a knee-jerk reaction to the article without even understanding its argument. My statements regarding some weaknesses of the theory are not used as premises for the conclusion of my arguments, but only to inform the reader about some of the controversial issues between the parties. Even if you smell a bias in my depiction of these issues, even if you think that I am very wrong in those depictions, do not get distracted. Trash those side issues and convict me as “ignorant” or “biased” on them, and get to the main argument, which is:
Evolution of species through mutation and cumulative selection, as subscribed by the modern scientific community, provides sufficient evidences for the existence of immanent intelligent design in nature. The theory of evolution provides evidences about an intelligent designer more than a fingerprint on a canvass could provide clues about the identity of a human painter. Inferring the existence and some attributes of an intelligent designer from nature is as equally scientific as inferring the existence and some attributes of an unknown creature from its footprints left on the sand.
We all started our adventure on this planet as the tiny champions of a vital and brutal competition. Half of all our genetic material was once an individual sperm akin to a tadpole. Hopefully, the events immediately preceding our lives included some laughter and mutually affectionate kisses. After a day-long marathon in a tube not longer than a pen, starting from vagina through the cervix and uterus we finally met our other half and won the award for or condemnation to life. (I am aware that this individual genesis would be told in reverse order if the author of this essay were a woman: “Half of all of our genetic material was once individual eggs waiting…”) After reaching the eggs of the chosen female, as the champion sperms, most of us caused the eggs to close their entrances and condemned the other millions of our brothers to death. Whether we like it or not, we started as a selfish gene by causing the demise of millions of viable yet a bit slower or unlucky sperms like us. We are merely the children of murderers who call themselves victors throughout the history. We also started our lives by mass-murdering potential brothers. We are the children of Cane; we are the survivors of ferocious wars, both in macro and micro worlds.
Yes, after our organic rockets hit our organic planets, we became zygotes and we started the 266 daylong evolution, hopefully sans-mutations, in our mother’s belly. The approximately six billion bits of DNA program coded in the language of four bases or nucleotide, Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thiamine create the three-pound jelly, the human brain, whose complexity is beyond our (or, ironically its own) immediate imagination.
There is evolution everywhere: in genes and organs; in stars and planets. Everything, from the smallest organisms to humans… As once a Greek named Heraclitus said, “Everything changes except change itself.” You may wish to exclude God, math, or universal laws from this universal statement, but you cannot deny this fact. The mutation of the flu viruses is a well-known fact. The germs are mutating and those that survive antibiotics are now causing a great concern for the health industry. This fact alone is sufficient evidence indicating to at least an intra species evolution.
Though the theory of evolution has produced a brilliant explanation for many questions regarding the origin and diversity of life on this planet, it has also failed in producing explanations for numerous questions. Furthermore, the theory arguably lacks some important characteristics of a good scientific theory since it is not falsifiable. Let’s listen to both sides:
– Why did that animal not survive?
– Because it did not fit the environment.
– How do you know that it did not fit?
– Because it did not survive. If they fit, they survive; if they survive they are fit!
– What? If F then S or if S then F?
– No, If F then S and if S then F.
Let’s try another one:
– Can you give me an example of a falsifiable claim regarding evolution?
– Of course! For instance, when populations of bacteria A and B are exposed to low levels of toxic substance X, the fraction of the bacteria resistant to X will increase with time.
– So what?
– The experiment is run and the hypothesis correctly predicts the outcome for bacteria A, but not B. Success or failure for evolution?
– Your hypothesis is not falsifiable as you claim.
– Because it is circular and the word “low” is too subjective.
– It is circular since it is no more than saying “those who do not die because of their strength will survive.” If none survives, you can easily claim that there were no resistant bacteria. Second, the word “low” is not defined before the event in question. If none survives you will call it high, if some survive you will call it low. Furthermore, the predictive power of your statement regarding the bacteria is close to the predictive power of “Dear Nancy, you will give birth to either a boy or a girl.”
– But, what about the Intelligent Design argument? Is it falsifiable?
– No. For any of the ‘not-so-intelligent design’ examples you bring, the proponent might reject by saying, “In the past, people claimed similar things for this or that, and with time, when we got more information about their purpose and function we learned that they were indeed very intelligent designs. For instance, once scientists thought that the sharp hairs, awns, or bristles were useless and they tried to remove them from spikelets. Guess what? After obtaining grains without those pointy hairs, they learned to their dismay that those sharp appendages were protecting the grains from birds. So, we should investigate the reason behind apparent flaws.”
– What about birth defects? Abnormal mutations?
– The proponent of intelligent design might even accept flaws by saying, “Flaws are there to highlight design through contrast. Without the existence of flaws we could not know or appreciate design. The existence of a single example of an intelligent design is sufficient to show the existence of an intelligent designer.”
It is also argued that the theory of evolution does not have predictive power on specific events:
– With the humans giving up from hunting in the jungles and turning to sedentary office workers, would this ecological change ultimately select the spherical nerds?
– Spherical nerds?
– Yes, brains with horizontally grown bodies!
– It depends…
– Will humans finally get wings?
– It depends…
– Will the thumbs of the descendants of my X-boxed son finally end up with fast and furiously big thumps the size of hot dogs?
– It depends…
– Will cats learn how to use remote control?
– It depends…
Some proponents of the theory of evolution argue that the theory of evolution demonstrates all the characteristics of a scientific theory. For instance, proving that dinosaurs and humans co-existed would falsify the theory. Even if the critics of the theory were right regarding their assertion on the falsifiability and predictive power of the theory, the theory of evolution is more scientific than the stories of creation believed by billions of people, since it provides a consistent, parsimonious, progressive and verifiable explanation regarding the diversity and complexity of life forms on this planet. My argument in this paper does not rely on this issue. Regardless of the value of the theory of evolution, I argue that the presence of intelligent design is self-evident.
Methinks it is Like a Blind Watch-watcher
To refute the Creationist’s argument of the impossibility of a monkey typing the work of Shakespeare, Richard Dawkins provides probability calculations of a random work on a computer using 26 alphabet letters and a space bar, totaling 27 characters. To randomly type Hamlet’s 28-character statement, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL, it would take 27 to the power of 28 key strokes, which would be a very small odd, about 1 in 10,000 million million million million million million. Instead of single-step selection of random variation, Dawkins suggests us to program the computer to use cumulative selection. The computer generates some random 28 characters and selects the one that most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS…
“What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, and the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other procedure of single-step selection: about a million million million million million years. This is more than a million million million times as long as the universe has so far existed. … Whereas the time taken for a computer working randomly but with the constraint of cumulative selection to perform the same task is of the same order as humans ordinarily can understand, between 11 seconds and the times it takes to have lunch… If evolutionary progress had had to rely on single-step selection, it would have never got anywhere. If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences. As a matter of fact that is exactly what happened on this planet, and we ourselves are among the most recent, if not the strangest and most wonderful, of those consequences.” (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, Norton, 1987, p.49).
Though he is a bright and articulate scientist, Dawkins takes too many facts and events for granted without even mentioning them: such as the number of characters, their proportion, the computer programmer and program that selects the right characters, the energy that accomplishes the work, the existence of characters, time and space, the continuity of their existence, etc. In the following page, Dawkins distinguishes his METHINKS example from the live evolutionary process.
“Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long-distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection, although human vanity cherishes the absurd notion that our species is the final goal of evolution. … The ‘watchmaker’ that is cumulative natural selection is blind to the future and has no long-term goal.” (Id, p.50).
Here Dawkins acknowledges that he added his intelligence and teleological intention by determining a target, criterion for selection. Thus, Dawkins takes for granted many facts and events, and gives an analogy of a computer program in which he interjects his intelligence, a target, and a selection criterion to explain something that according to him has none of them.
Dawkins who depicts human life as the work of a blind process has a much bigger problem: His theory and its conclusion do not have the light of reason. Let me explain with some analogies. If you now feel an urge to seek an immediate refuge in Hume, please be reminded that they are given to explain inferences to the best explanation. (I recommend Elliott Sober’s Philosophy of Biology, containing a brief yet sound criticism of Hume’s critique of analogies).
The Assembly Line, the Gullible and the Blind
Assume that we have constructed a completely automated assembly line that manufactures automobiles run on fuel-cells. It receives raw materials such as steel and plastic from one end, and after passing through an assembly line run by computers and robots, it spews out automobiles from the other end.
Now assume that we brought two members of a primitive tribe living in an isolated jungle and placed them in front of the exit door. When a car emerges from the exit door, you enter the car and start driving it. You then stop and watch the reaction of the two tribesmen. You see that the one on the right is awed by the moving beast and is thanking God for showing him a miracle by creating such a complex creature in a few seconds.
Let’s assume that the other tribesman on the left side is more curious and adventurous. He wonders about the whereabouts of the room behind the exit door. After some trials, he finds an opening somewhere and able to peek into the room. He sees some robots spraying paint on a car. He touches the paint and notices that it is liquid. After that observation, he comes back and shares what he saw with the believing man on the right. “The shiny stuff on this beast is not too thick. In fact, it was liquid before it was sprayed thinly over its solid skin.” But, what about the skin, what about the round circle that determines its direction, and what about the power that moves it? The curious man makes numerous trips, entering some other rooms of the assembly line compound, either by forging a key or luckily discovering a peephole… He learns that the raw materials are spilled in molds upon their arrival and the beast is gradually assembled from simple parts. For instance, the doors are attached by robotic hands through hinges. Though he is not able to access some rooms to explain some stages of the assembly line, he gets a good idea how from simple raw building blocks a complex and powerful beast called automobile could emerge. After getting some ideas about the modus operandi of the assembly line, the curious infers what could have happened in the rooms that he could not access. The believing man outside, who is still intoxicated in spiritual awe, is not impressed by the finding of the curious tribesman. He finds problem in the theory of the curious man since he is not able to explain some events in the assembly line. “You see, you cannot ignore the divine mystery and hand in the creation of this beast!”
The believing man declares that an Omniscient and Omnipotent Creator or an Intelligent Designer created the beast in a second or at worst case scenario in six seconds out of steel and plastic. The believing man goes further and declares his friend to be a heretic disbeliever deserving to burn in Hell forever. The curious man, on the other hand, declares that there is no God of gaps, nor an Intelligent Designer or Engineer, since he had seen none in those rooms. Besides, the curious man brags about his knowledge of most of the events in the evolution of the beast and declares that his friend is a delusional lunatic who deserves to be restricted from expressing his opinion on the evolution of the beasts, especially in public places and in front of children.
Why do most believers in God ignore empirical evidences in His creation, while on the other side, most of those who study the empirical evidences ignore intelligent inferences? Parties in the evolution controversy may see each other in these two characters, but perhaps none will identify himself with them. So, let me change my story. Instead of human characters, I will pick some marbles.
Marvels of Marbles
Now let’s entertain a thought experiment. We have a gigantic box full of millions of glass marbles. Marbles in different colors, different shapes and sizes… You are an eternal, infinitely patient and curious observer. The box is in a huge empty room and every minute it is tilted by a machine and the marbles are spilled over the clean and smooth surface of the empty floor. Let’s assume that you are not interested in the box, machines and the basic laws they follow. You are just interested in the adventure of marbles. Each time, marbles create a particular design randomly and they are filled back to the box to start over the process.
Assume that these events continue for billions of years, trillions of times, without generating anything categorically different. But, in one of the occasions, some of the marbles that were spread over the floor come together and join each other. They then start moving around as a group, slivering through other marbles. Then this gang of marbles start jumping and multiplying. Some even start talking to you. You now may imagine the rest of the story, the marvels of these marbles.
Given an infinite number of trials and years could these happen? If your answer is a “No” then why no? Because they are just made of glasses? What is the difference between glass of marbles and atoms? What is the difference between a cluster of glass marbles and molecules? Well, now you are ready to think on a question and find the answer that somehow eludes some of the brightest scientists. Now, you are ready to see the light of the Intelligent Design in everything, including evolution, including in evolution between species. Do you smell the cheese? Not yet.
The Genius in Hydrogen
Now let’s leave the marbles in their box and focus on the simplest atom, Hydrogen. You know that a hydrogen atom has one proton in its nucleus, one electron in its shell, and it does not contain a neutron. Though the structure of each atom is a very complex and precise design, they are somehow seen by the blind watch-watching evolutionists like children see marbles.
The masses of stars are mostly made of Hydrogen atoms. When two hydrogen atoms fuse together they release some energy and particles, and they “mutate” to a Helium atom, a different “species” in periodic table of elements. We know that Hydrogen and Helium atoms have different characteristics and they behave differently and associate with other atoms differently. When you put two pennies or marbles next to each other or fuse them together they do not act differently; they are still what they are. Their mass and gravitational force may increase, but that is it.
When two Hydrogen atoms fuse together, the information about Helium must have been innate or intrinsic in both of them. Since both Hydrogen atoms are the same, they must contain exactly the same information necessary to create the characteristics of Helium. The information might be triggered by the pressure of fusion. Each Hydrogen atom must contain particular information, since two Hydrogen atoms do not create any characteristics, but the particular characteristics of the atom we call Helium. Thus, Helium must be immanent in Hydrogen. Since Helium and Hydrogen fused together may create Lithium, then the information about Lithium too must be immanent in Hydrogen. In fact, based on the same reasoning, we must expect Hydrogen to contain all the information regarding the characteristics of each element in periodical table. It is the change in the quantity of protons that leads to qualitative change.
When two Hydrogen atoms associate with one Oxygen atom they create water, the essential ingredient of life as we know. However, when two Hydrogen atoms associate with two Oxygen atoms they create Hydrogen Peroxide, a powerful oxidizer that kills living organisms. Thus, the Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms must contain the information for both molecules. The information inherent in them must lead to Water when they are combined as H2O and must lead to Hydrogen Peroxide when they are combined as H2O2. Since we know that the information of Oxygen must be immanent in the Hydrogen, all this information must be contained in every Hydrogen atoms.
I hear the voice of my rocket-scientist friend opposing to my Hydrogen example. So, let’s side track a bit to deal with his voice. (If you are a prototype layman who thinks that rocket-scientists are a different species, then you may skip this section and go to the paragraph starting with “In sum, …”):
“So all of mathematics is immanent in 1 since the combination of 1 and 1 is 2, therefore the properties of 2 must be immanent in one. But also 3.141592654 is obtained by the spatial ordering of different combinations of 1, therefore 3.141592654 must be immanent in 1. I think there is something of a problem here. From 1 alone, one cannot intuit 2 or any other number except by application of rules which (in this example) can be somewhat arbitrary when applied to 1. Are all verbs immanent in the noun? These things are part of a larger context, perhaps indivisible from that context.”
What a wonderful refutation, isn’t it? My friend just explained the diversity of elements in the periodic table and their millions of off-springs in the nature, by reducing Hydrogen to our poor and ignorant number 1 which is oblivious of even numbers, prime numbers, perfect numbers, Fermat numbers, and infinite of other numbers begotten as a result of numerical polygamy among the clones of the number One! Interestingly, my scientist friend picked two of his examples from IMAGINARY world of human mind: math and human language. Though the language of nature is written in mathematics, as Galileo once articulated, it does not reflect the “properties” of numbers. Yes, “one odd number plus one odd” becomes an even number, but “one odd chair plus one odd chair” does not become “even chairs.” In other words, the property of numbers are not reflected in real world. The same is true for our grammar rules. (On this issue, I highly recommend the section in chapter about Pythagoras titled “Where is the Number 2?” in Lovers of Wisdom by Daniel Kolak.).
IN SUM, millions of organic and inorganic compounds, including the ones that yet to be discovered, with their distinct chemical and physical characteristics, must be the materialization of the information immanent in the tiniest building block of the universe, that is, Hydrogen. Going backwards, the same qualities must be imputed for the most fundamental subatomic particle. No wonder Heraclitus had brilliantly inferred that intrinsic law permeating the universe, and called it “logos.”
The first living cell was determined since the Bing Bang
Furthermore, when a particular combination of a particular set of elements in particular proportions generates the function we call life, the laws or rules of such an event must have existed before the event occurred. In other words, the laws and rules determining how a particular DNA sequence would behave must have preceded the actual occurrence of the event. Why should a particular configuration of particular molecules made of a particular combination of elements lead to a cell or a living organism? Who or what determined such a magical configuration? None, just chance? No, not a chance! No, not by a chance! Chance does not lead to laws. In fact, chance itself is subject to the laws of probability. The laws dominating the universe came into existence with the first moment of Big Bang. If you bet your entire wealth in a casino you will most likely lose it and you will deserve the title of “another mathematically challenged person” and you may even receive a silver medal in the next Darwin’s Award. But you can bet your entire wealth on a scientific prediction based on natural laws and you will most likely win.
It is because of the natural laws of cause and effect that scientists can employ reason and predict events. Mendeleyev knew that elements were not acting haphazardly, so he discovered the periodical table. Thus, it is irrelevant how many millions or billions of years passed before the first organism came into existence among random and chaotic chain of chemical and physical events. Starting from the first seconds of creation of material particles 13.7 billion years ago, the conditions and laws of life must have come into existence too. What scientists do is not inventing, they merely discover. Scientists do not invent laws of physics or chemistry; they learn those laws bit by bit, after tedious experimentation, and based on the information they acquired they put together the pieces of Legos. The characteristics of each newly discovered shape was coded in their nature since the beginning of the universe.
Thus, when a blind watch-watcher refers to the age of the world and its size to explain the marvels of blind cumulative selection, we should not be blindly accepting his argument. The information or laws of life existed billions years even before the emergence of life. So, we should demand an explanation regarding the a priori information of creating the design of living organisms. Ken Harding, in an article entitled, “Evolution for Beginners,” articulates the role of information encoded in genes:
“One of the most common misunderstandings regards “information”. The difference between living and non-living things is that living things have information embedded in them which is used to produce themselves. Rocks contain no instructions on how to be rocks; a fly contains information on how to be a fly.
“Information is not a thing. It, like an idea, is dimensionless. It’s simply a comparison between one thing and another, like a list of differences. Information is not a physical property. Information becomes tangible only when it is encoded in sequences of symbols: zeros and ones, letters and spaces, dots and dashes, musical notes, etc. These sequences must then be decoded in order to be useful. For information to be stored or transmitted, it must be put into some physical form- on paper, computer disk, or in DNA- all processes that take energy.
“Life’s information (the instructions on how it works) is encoded in genes, which are decoded by biological mechanisms. Then these mechanisms manufacture parts that work together to make a living organism. Like a computer that builds itself, the process follows a loop: information needs machinery, which needs information, which needs machinery, which needs information. This relationship can start very simply, and then over many generations build into something so complicated that some people can’t imagine how it ever could have gotten started in the first place. It is important to recognize that the information encoded in DNA is not like a blueprint, which contains a scale model image of the final product, it is like a recipe– a set of instructions to be followed in a certain order. Life’s complexity arises from remarkable simplicity. DNA’s message says, “Take this, add this, then add this… stop here. Take this, then add this…” These actions are carried out by a variety of proteins. The result is all the intricacy and diversity of the biological realm.
The issue, however, gets even more interesting. Not only living organisms, but their products too must be the consequence of “blind” evolution.
Just take the beginning of the universe and our modern world. Do not let anyone distract you by the events occurred in between. How can our modern world together with everything in it be the product of a big chaotic explosion? How can such an explosion create the libraries, computer programs and all cars on our streets, in less than 14 billion years? Now, the blind watch-watchers want us to believe that all the books in the Library of Congress, including all the data in our computers, our inventions and technological marvels, yes all of them are the result of marriage between Mr. Drunk Chaos who is unpredictable and Mrs. Blind Evolution who works according to the principle of cumulative selection. If the laws of the universe are deterministic, then the immense amount of information and design permeating our libraries, factories and stores must also be the necessary product of the Big Bang. Not only the initial conditions of the universe had the potential for all the subsequent things at the very start, following deterministic laws they were bound to create human intelligence and leading to landing on the Moon and the I-pod. Even a small fraction of products designed by human intelligence cannot fit in a trillion year-old universe, let alone one that aged 13.7 billion years-old, via probability calculations. Nor can they be explained by “random (or not random) mutation” and “cumulative selection.”
I hear the voice of my rocket scientist friend, again. I cannot ignore that melodious voice. Let’s all listen to it:
“Rather than close the door on the question, wouldn’t it be fun to try and figure it out by trying to understand how things work? Could a religious person approach the universe with an open mind and, regardless of the processes they work to slowly identify and better understand, consider the effort a joy and giving of glory? Or does God need to be put into a box where the outcomes of all such investigations are predetermined by those who find a more limited deity more palatable?”
I do not feel compelled to respond to these rhetorical questions, since I do not have a problem with accepting mysteries. I myself am a mystery. But, I would like to remind my friend that I have no intention to put God in a box. I saw a box and I said that it must have been created by a box-maker. I never claimed that the box-maker was in the box, nor that he/she/it was limited with only making boxes. In fact, I would expect that the box-maker is capable of making cylinders, spheres and many other shapes and things beyond my poor perception and imagination.
Our blind watch-watchers would like us to accept the emergence of human intelligence and its products as a magical moment, as a miracle. A miracle that terminates the application of deterministic laws and guarantees for all its products the immunity from the probability calculations! Because of that miracle or magic, we are asked not to include the probability of authoring millions of books, articles, computer programs, websites, movies, machines, electronic devices, and everything in the Wal-Mart into our equation. The “anything but God” crowd may even talk in quantum language to de-emphasize the deterministic nature of the universe.
All those “Anything but God” people, in fact, believe in many gods!
Ironically, the blind watch-watchers are proud in declaring their disbelief in God or the irrelevancy of God, while they are fanatic believers in infinite number of gods. They are polytheists. Every atom contains all the information necessary for life! Whatever believers in God attribute to the Creator, the blind watch-watchers attribute to atoms, matter, or energy. Though they are proud of depicting their gods as “random,” “blind” or “stupid,” after some interrogations we learn that is not to be the case. Just replace the word God with the word matter, energy or nature and you will have the tenets of faith of blind watch-watchers.
- · God is the first cause.
- · God is eternal.
- · God is the source of information.
- · God created everything.
- · God created life.
Accepting a God that is not bound by the laws of this universe is much simpler and reasonable than accepting all atoms having all the attributes of a deistic God, and again much coherent than creating our modern world, together with human intelligence and this article, out of their blind and stupid collisions. I prefer believing in the creation of rabbits popping up from a magician’s hat, than a universe coming out of nothing and then blindly creating this planet and the intelligent life on it. So, I assert that if Occam’s Razor is sharp for every argument, then it must first shave off the idea of stupid atoms coming into existence out of nothing and billions years later, several billions of them blindly evolving and transforming into Dawkins’ mind.
Some atheists might resort to a false argument by pointing at their “undetectable Purple Cow in the sky.” Yes, it is a funny example, but far from being persuasive. They craftily wish to equate the argument for an Intelligent Designer to a Purple Cow. This is a cheap rhetoric, since being Purple or a Cow or both has nothing to do with our argument. The presence of design and laws indicates an Intelligent Designer. As an ontological imperative, it is an independent concept, unencumbered by the descriptions suggested by various religions. Equating a reasonable cause-effect inference to inferring a Purple Cow from the sky is a sign of excellent imagination. My eyes are not that good to notice the images of Purple Cows producing manure while somersaulting and wagging their tails, nor the images of Orange Atheist Cowboys dancing in the sky holding tight their horns and mammary glands, but, I can see the intelligence and design in every atom, in every molecule, in every organism of this universe. Besides, they are detectable.
We understand why the majority of religious people tend to have problem with science and philosophical inquiry. But, why have many scientists become “anything but God” fanatics? It might be because of the ridiculous claims and arguments of religious zealots who oppose the theory of evolution in the name of God. Atheists have not taken even a small step to answer the fundamental questions related to the issue. What is the cause of the universe or singularity? There is a particular amount of mass in the universe, let’s say, N amount; why is it N amount, not more not less? Who or what determined the exact amount of mass or the exact number of atoms/particles/energy in the universe? (We would not have this question, of course, if the entire universe was homogenous). How is the probability of the existence of a universe with fine tuned constants essential to life? Did our universe have infinite time? Are there infinite universes? Is infinity really pregnant to all possibilities? Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is the universe governed by laws? Why do the biological organisms have propensity to mutate? They might believe that answers for these questions are not in the domain of science. Then, how can they claim that the universe and evolution of living beings, from the structure of atoms to the structure of brain and its products, does not need God?
I should again share with you the voice of my scientist friend:
“Actually there are many scientists pondering these questions (but the last), and many or some may be atheists. Does it matter? If an atheist drives a car, does that mean the believer should not? With regards to the last question, are believers afraid that not needing God in the theories formulated to try to explain observations of life and the universe will prove there is no God? I think that is the fear of many anti-evolutionists. It exposes the weakness of their own faith, that they need compelling external evidence that God must exist.”
Well said. But, I do not think that it applies to me and many other “rational monotheists,” since my acceptance of God is not based on “faith,” a euphemism for “joining the band wagon” or “wishful thinking.” My acceptance or knowledge of God is based on numerous scientific evidences and philosophical inferences, which I am hoping to share with others in a book titled, “19 Questions for Atheists.”
We might be able to duplicate or copy life in the bio-world, but we have not yet been able to imitate the full capabilities of biological assembly line in our technology. We have not yet seen any computer giving birth to other computers. Perhaps, with the progress of our production technology, we may witness it in the future. Assume that a scientist discovered a method for evolving computers or gadgets that could multiply by RANDOM MUTATIONS and CUMULATIVE SELECTION. Wouldn’t this SIMPLE task be INCREDIBLY INGENUINE? What if “nature” had created inorganic materials with such a quality? Would you consider such a “creation” lacking intelligent design? Or would you just say that the “the evolving and multiplying computers by random mutations negate God’s intelligence and involvement in the creation process completely”? What about your intelligence? Aren’t you a product of nature? How come an intelligent person like you was generated by a dumb and stupid process?
Intelligent design is in every moment and point of evolution (71). There is an intelligent power and wisdom that designs incredibly simple assembly lines that can manufacture incredibly complex organisms and creatures, including the intelligent watch-watchers and blind watch-watchers. The signature of the Intelligent Designer in the book of nature is paradoxically as obvious as the number 19 in 74, and as concealed as the number 19 in 74.
Let me give one more chance to the voice of my scientist friend:
“Perhaps the signature is found in our perception of beauty of how things work? Don’t know about the numerological references – I think most audiences might scratch their heads and wonder what was up with that?”
Yes, indeed. Let those audiences keep scratching their heads. Who knows, if they are curious enough they will smell the beef after tasting the cheese and learn what was up and down with my numerological references. After all, “On it is nineteen!”
A delusional cult leader from my country of birth is doing a great disservice to Islam by copying and promoting the works of Evangelical Christians and Discovery Institute. The theory of evolution is supported by many verses of the Quran as I discussed in the endnotes of the Quran: a Reformist Translation. (For instance, see: 15:28-29; 24:45; 32:7-9; 71:14-7)
In fact, the theory was first promoted by Muslim scientists. My colleague Dr. T. O. Shanavas, in his book, Islamic Theory of Evolution: the Missing Link between Darwin and the Origin of Species, provides references from the works of major Muslim scientists such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Muhammad Al-Razi, Ibn Khaldun, Abu Bakr bin Tufayl, Muhammad al-Haytham (Alhazen), Al-Biruni, and provides substantial evidence that Darwin got his inspiration from them through his father Erasmus Darwin. In fact, Darwin’s contemporary opponents accused him being influenced by “Barbarian Muhammadans.”
It is travesty that today Muslims have regressed so much they are now peddling pseudo science against God’s system in creation.