Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Darwinian Evolution & the Ink Panther (by Rob Johnson)

Some of you may be wondering (or not - I don't know) what the qualifications are to guest post on Hey Look a Chicken. Well, they're pretty loosy goosey actually. They are people I have found through twitter and/or other blogs and I like their writing. That's pretty much it. The first question I get is typically, "Is there any topic in particular you would like me to write about?". My answer? Anything you would typically post to your blog. I found Rob Johnson through twitter. If you follow him (and you totally should), then you know he's very funny and often ridiculous. (Not at all like me.) Here's a sampling of some recent tweets:

Post Lost spoilers & I will come to ur house, stop up ur toilets, let ur dog out onto the street, & erase ur DVR settings. I mean it.

@fotomaven No. I don't drink either. In my mug you will find horrible tasting water. In its defense, however, it's gin.

When Tweetdeck gives me a Mention without the little 'chirp' sound I feel cheated.

Okay, so maybe he's like me a little...

Anyhoo, when I asked Rob to send me a guest post, I was expecting ridiculous/funny. This is not that at all. It's like all smart and stuff. And I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I have. (Even if my brain hurts a little.)

My Take on Darwinian Evolution in About 500 Words

I want to thank the lovely and talented Kathy Richards for the opportunity to make a guest blog post here. I enjoy reading this blog and the positive spin it takes regarding God. It has inspired me to revisit a subject many non-believers use as a crutch when they think of the world as we know it: evolution.

Darwinian evolution was an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. However, evolution via random and gradual mutations can't explain some very complex biological systems. Contrary to Darwinian evolution, it appears (and is widely accepted by scientists), that biology itself shows signs of a "designer." This deduction is arrived at via design deduce of the physical structure of a system.

Aspects of biology strongly appear to be designed. Even Richard Dawkins says, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." (The Blind Watchmaker 1996, p.1) Dawkins doesn't believe biological structures were a product of intelligent design, but he admits they "overwhelmingly impress with the appearance of design."

There are structural obstacles to Darwinian evolution, coupled with physical reasons to think that Darwinian evolution can not do what its proponents claim for it. The structural reasons are “irreducible complexity."

Irreducible complexity contradicts the premise that evolution could operate slowly and gradually one mutation at a time. An irreducibly complex structure cannot evolve that way, for this simple reason: you have some system and it has a number of parts and they act on each other and they are all necessary for the function to exist. You take away one or more of the parts and the function is no longer present.

Think of it this way, and by example, the mousetrap has various parts: a spring, a wire hammer, a catch, a board that holds it all together. Take away any part and you have a meaningless and purposeless collection of parts. There is no way that it could slowly evolve into that complexity.

Another example is a bacterial flagellum. The flagellum is a whip like propeller that a bacterium spins to move. Any part of the flagellum apparatus, without all the rest, is purposeless. Like a mousetrap without one of its necessary parts, this one would be broken as well.

Critics and militant atheist's responses to irreducible complexity are wishful thinking. They argue that someday they will be able to explain them by random events and such will contradict the designer postulate. Nevertheless, they continue to make grand Darwinian claims as if this evidence already had been discovered. Such claims are urban legends.

Evolution can explain many things, but not everything.

I believe in multi-verses; worlds without number and without end, each of different degrees of glory and far more glorious than that in which we reside.

How utterly horrible would it be, to believe that Life begins, and has its ending, in this temporal sphere. I believe in an Intelligent Designer. One who has my best interest at heart, if only I have Faith. And yes, my faith has evolved. But that is a discussion for another time.


To read more from Rob Johnson, visit him at Rob from the Internet and follow him on the twitter at @InkPanther.


jasonS said...

Great thoughtful post- my brain isn't hurting too much. :)

Helen said...

I understand what you are saying about intelligent design, and I am glad you have the guts to say it.

I have thought these things, but can't seem to write about it without turning it into an angry rant. And that doesn't do any good in this case, does it? You have said it very gently, yet firmly. Bravo.

Billy Coffey said...

I suppose I'm sort of in the middle on this. I think there are a lot of holes in the theory of evolution. I also think creationism is, for now anyway, more a matter of faith than actual proof. So my tiny brain and I will just keep saying that God can darn well do what He wants however He wants to do it.

L.T. Elliot said...

Both profound and intelligent. I suppose, for myself, that science and all study of it ends up lending more credibility to the existence of a Creator than disproving it. And even if it didn't, I find that He blooms in my heart and that's proof enough.

flippertie said...

The trouble with using irreducible complexity as and argument for Intelligent design, (and hence for the existence of God) is that it's a logical fallacy. Just because we can't (yet) explain the way something could have evolved is not proof there is *no* way for it to have happened.

Each example that Michael Behe put forward in his book (Darwin's Black Box)as 'Irreducibly Complex' has been shown to have existing simpler forerunners - so they are not proof of his argument.

Just google "bacterial flagellum irreducible complexity" and look at some of the links. By the time you get to stuff like "the basal body of the flagella has been found to be similar to the Type III secretion system (TTSS), a needle-like structure that pathogenic germs such as Salmonella and Yersinia pestis use to inject toxins into living eucaryote cells" you know it's too complex to cover in a single blog post.

It's a very contentious subject - but the people who have spent the most time studying it overwhelmingly agree that Irreducible Complexity is not a valid argument for ID, or evidence for the existence of God.

Note that I am *not* saying they prove that ID is wrong or God does not exist. It's just that ID is a too weak a foundation to build your faith on.

katdish said...


Whether or not God exsists, I think, cannot be absolutely proven or absolutely disproven. Stripped away of all emotional attachments and scientific arguments for or against, for me it boils down to a choice. I choose to believe. I choose faith.

Thanks for your comment.

kelly@Tabithas-Team said...

I am studying this subject in homeschooling with my son, and I am amazed at the overwhelming evidence of a designer. When we do not censor science to leave out the explanations we do not want to hear, or manipulate science to produce the results that we want, truth really does shine through. I really encourage people to read up on this. Irreducible Complexity is just a grain of sand in the argument for design. You can leave that out completely and still see the evidence of our designer throughout creation.

Gina said...

Great post. Ultimately, despite the so-called "evidences," it takes faith either way you go. And according to William James's essay (A Will To Believe) the way we go depends on what is most comfortable for us to believe. Once you can admit this is true for you, you can say like katdish, "I choose faith in God" without that tendency toward dogmaticism and anger.