August 29, 2011

Insects and Their Instincts

I’ve discussed the physical complexity of creatures but have not yet discussed the mental complexity of creatures, which in some ways seems more amazing than the physical dimension. Now, it is interesting to me that Darwinian evolutionists mostly avoid trying to explain the development of complex behaviors. Evolution mostly focuses on how the physical aspects of animals changed through time. However, perhaps one of the biggest quandaries with naturalistic evolution is that the physical attributes would be useless without corresponding mental abilities. So, mental circuitry had to be developed simultaneously with physical designs. No animal would survive, for instance, if it had no desire to eat. No bat would be able to “see” unless it instinctively used its echolocation and could interpret it. Birds would not be able to keep their wings in top shape unless they instinctively knew to preen the feathers. The list could go on indefinitely. Instinct is necessary but can be highly complex.

Insects are of special interest to me personally. Every insect seems to know its purpose in life and be busy going about doing its business with efficiency and skill. Every flying creature knows how to fly. Every bug knows where to find food. Every spider knows how to make its web efficiently. There does not seem to be a single creature that is in the process of figuring out their equipment or mutating the instinctual ability to more adeptly survive. Insects are so perfectly designed to do what they do. Random evolution cannot come close to explaining this complexity of behavior. If insects are slowly, randomly evolving into other insects with new physical features then there should be plenty of insects that act with great inefficiency and that are confused about what to do and how to do it. Random evolution would never produce insects that are all efficient and that have complex instincts.

The first point of consideration is how does DNA determine instinctual behavior? How does a bunch of instructions in a genome specify that an ant will build an anthill, for example? Any robotics engineer will tell you that it cannot be just a couple of simple routines that define how the ants build their anthills. It takes a good number of efficient algorithms. The DNA has to be very precisely constructed to produce the “intelligent” behaviors we see in creatures. It’s not anywhere close to being as simple as an on and off switch. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands or millions of switches precisely sequenced and put to the right settings.

The sheer complexity of instincts in creatures is overwhelming. How random changes in organisms could ever produce such efficiency and complexity is beyond baffling. It’s impossible. For every one random beneficial change, you’d have tens of thousands of random harmful changes. Random changes would tend, then, towards a loss of complexity of behavior. You would end up with very little unnecessary efficiency. Only the complexity that was highly beneficial to survival would be selected. Anything else would quickly be randomly mutated out of existence.

Consider ants some more. There are ants that literally work as farmers and grow fungi and harvest it. Ants seem to have memories. An ant will go out scouting for food and know about how far it has travelled from home based on its number of steps and the position of the sun. Ants can run tandem with each other, slowing down or speeding up based on the speed of the other ant. They can communicate with pheromones. They can store up for seasons of drought. They can literally shepherd aphids and harvest honeydew from them. They will move the aphids to “greener pastures” when necessary. All of these things are relatively complex behaviors that require complex circuitry. Their brains are hardly large enough for much of any inefficiency. I believe it is clear that random mutations cannot explain this kind of instinctual efficiency. Some of the instincts are unnecessary. Ants did not need to learn how to shepherd aphids. They could have survived just fine (like most other ants) without this complex behavior. Darwinism cannot account for this specialized design in ants.

One example that I like is a little inchworm that can drop down from trees using a silk-like line. Producing this silky substance would take many genetic changes, and the instincts needed to use it would also take a separate set of genetic modifications. One set of changes would be useless without the other set of changes. Insect life is filled with examples like this where one set of physical changes would be useless without a companion set of changes in instinct. As said before, we have to wonder why there aren’t organisms with physical designs that are not yet being utilized, since the instinctual changes haven’t occurred yet. The necessary instinctual changes would always be after the physical changes.

This same inchworm can also literally roll its silk line back up when it wants to. It flexes to the left and then to the right repeatedly to collect the line into a ball in its “feet.” By doing this, it is able to slowly make its way back up to the tree branch from which it came. This is a good example of a relatively complex behavior that is not highly necessary for survival. Consider the instincts that this little worm needs just to wind up the line: (1) it has to somehow determine that it doesn’t like the place where it came down, (2) it has to know to flex back and forth repeatedly, (3) it has to continue this behavior until it gets back to the top, and (4) it has to relocate and drop down in another place when it gets back to the top. These four points seem simple but would undoubtedly take thousands and thousands of genetic changes. An undesigned, random evolution cannot account for this complex genetic “program” that defines this instinct, since it would probably take billions of years to randomly stumble upon it. And, even when this instinct would randomly evolve, it would likely be shortly mutated out of existence, since it doesn’t seem to be important for survival. If it were important for survival, then the inchworm would have gone extinct before it could evolve the behavior.

Life is replete—completely filled to the brim—with examples like this of complex and efficient designs. Naturalistic evolutionists openly admit that Darwinian evolution does not normally produce greater and greater complexity. They know that randomness cannot do that! But, if uncreated evolution does not normally produce increased complexity, then whence came all the complexity in life? Efficiency in designs and instinct is the rule not the exception. If naturalistic evolution predicts complexity will be the exception not the rule, but life has complexity as the rule, then it is a poor, poor theory that is not consistent with reality. In other words, it is a failed theory since it cannot accurately account for reality.

(Other beautiful examples of complex behaviors: (a) honeybees that can visit flowers using the shortest route to conserve energy, (b) flying fish that maximize their time flying in the air by using the right angle of exit from the water, (c) birds that can fly so adeptly as to precisely copy the motions of moths they are chasing, (d) spiders that create designs on their webs to attract insects, and (e) whales that can travel in extremely straight lines for hundreds of miles. Now tell yourself a hundred times that these things "just happened" and maybe you'll believe it...)

August 22, 2011

Falsifying the Theory of Created Evolution

So, I said I'd address whether this theory of designed evolution is falsifiable or not. The simple answer is that it is falsifiable. It makes certain predictions as I've mentioned in a previous post. If none or few of those predictions were valid, then this theory of designed evolution would be essentially falsified.

The best way to falsify a major element of this theory is to show that macroevolution is fully operational today, such that fruit flies can still evolve into dragonflies or something similar. So far, tests on flies have shown no ability for them to evolve beyond minor adaptations.

One way to falsify that evolution was designed would be to show that purely random processes, like mutations, could account for the complexity in life and the past quick progress of evolution. If randomness can easily account for efficiency in organisms, then there would be no basis for believing that evolution was a designed process and it would be more logical to presume it was purely the result of nature. So far, evolutionists are stumped as to how complexity seems to be so commonplace in nature. If complexity were rare then evolution would seem to be nothing more than an accident, but complexity is too common. They also are aware that evolution has proceeded at a rapid speed, which is also hard to understand.

Probably the best way to totally annihilate the idea of created evolution is to show a relatively likely step-by-step process whereby inorganic life could result in DNA-based, cellular life given the known conditions of the early earth. Even though a few steps for such a process have been hypothesized, there is currently no known pathway from beginning to end that could explain how modern cell types formed from natural chemical processes. The few steps that have been proposed are hypothetical and could easily be nothing more than the result of creative imaginations trying to find answers to the origins of life. One step that is proposed is that RNA replicators formed, but the currently known RNA replicators are long chains of RNA (over 100 nucleotides) that would have been extremely unlike to have formed by accident even over millions of years. Thus, currently, the created evolution theory stands as viable.

Another easy way to demonstrate that evolution was not created (at least by a wise Designer) would be to show that most cells are inefficiently designed. It would be unthinkable that an infinitely wise God would create a bunch of inefficient cells, since these are the building blocks of life, and there is no evidence that cells were ever more complex or efficient. However, as it turns out, scientists are finding that cells are like efficient, complex, ingenious factories. Once again, the idea of created evolution is reasonable. All evolutionists need to do is prove that most cells could have been built more efficiently by showing an alternative design. But, we hardly have begun to understand the full complexity of cells, so that would be an unrealistic dream.

All in all, the evidence for design is quite overwhelming if a person remains open to the idea. There is no good evidence to show that life was just a random accident.

August 19, 2011

Why Scientists Mostly Deny God

Do you ever wonder why the majority of scientists deny God? There are two primary reasons.

The Presumed Infallibility of Science

Scientists are trained to think that all things can be answered by investigation and the scientific process. They trust their senses and the power of observation and the triumph of the intellect. They want clear evidence, certainty and proof. They want to discover the universe's laws and be able to form equations for every aspect of it. Though this isn't generally a bad thing, it presents a problem when we turn our thinking to the unfathomable and the infinite realm.

Humans are finite beings experiencing three dimensions and confined to a dimension of time. Just like we cannot truly imagine more than three dimensions, we cannot truly imagine something being infinite. When it comes to the philosophical topic of existence, scientists still want evidence. If there is a Creator, they think to themselves, we want to hear His voice and see His figure. They would like to observe Him using instruments, if possible. If God isn't definable using equations and laws, then He can't exist. There's just one big problem: logically, an infinite Being would not necessarily be observable or definable by finite creatures using their crude mathematical formulas. An infinite God wouldn't logically be small enough to fit into a definable, finite box. His existence would be unimaginable and could be transcendent above our universe and our limited observations. Yet, the normal scientist is too proud to admit his inability to wrap his finite mind around an infinite God.

The scientist is trained to look for a natural explanation for the origin of the universe and human existence. If he doesn't find good answers, he tirelessly presses on believing that answers will eventually turn up. Herein lies a problem. If some things are not answerable by finite beings using their finite observations, then those things will never be answered by science, but the scientist will persistently look for answers ad infinitum assuming blindly that an answer can be found. In such a case the scientist will vainly be looking for answers forever, finding only phantom mirages that eventually disappear upon closer scrutiny. He will be caught in an infinite loop of desperation. This is the state of the majority of God denying scientists; they try to explain existence apart from God and clutch the naturalistic explanations until they find them to be flawed.

God can never be believed until humility is found. The person who is trusting their own intellect has made Reason to be their god and savior. They are unwilling to admit that their god Reason can be fundamentally flawed because it is finite. If a mystery is presented, like, "Where did the universe come from?" they will simply say that is a problem that they are working on that will someday be solved by science. Mysteries are always just waiting to be solved by their savior Reason. Reason always triumphs in the end. What they fail to understand is that Reason doesn't have answers for the Infinite. If the universe has existed forever, then Reason fails to understand that. How could something not have a beginning? If God has always existed, then Reason fails as well. How could anything be uncreated?

The more honest or humble scientist will admit that science can't answer the imponderable question of existence of something as opposed to nothing. Infinite existence is not something that finite beings like us can appreciate, since we are finite and view everything through the lens of our own small existence. Yet, the typical agnostic scientist will raise the objection that God is no more reasonable than an uncreated universe that has always existed. But is that really true? For all the world, the universe seems clearly to have had a clear beginning! We call it the Big Bang. How did the universe exist forever? That idea is speculation and not hard science. So far, there is no good evidence that the universe has always existed, and the simplest answer is that the universe had a definitive beginning. If the universe appears to have had a beginning and yet has always existed, then we are crossing into the realm of the imponderable once again.

The universe is actually quite complex. Do we know that God would be more complex in His essence? Personhood is hard to define and to compare with a tangible universe. A Spirit like God is pure personality and does not require laws and equations. Raw personality is in some sense simple. We know by experience that imagination can be complex. Yet, we do not understand how imagination produces complexity. It is a mystery. The whole universe may be nothing more than an expression of God's infinite imagination. Cars are expressions of humans' imagination and ingenuity. In that sense, we cannot explain the existence of cars using mere physics and the laws of nature—i.e., why would cars specifically of necessity come into existence? Imagination does not seem to be predictable at any level or definable by science. If science cannot even explain why simple cars needed to exist or what will exist in a hundred years, then why would we think that science would be able to explain why the universe exists? Why would we think that an infinite Mind could not create a complex universe using His imagination such that no amount of observation and reason would be able to understand how it came into existence? Personhood is, and always has been, beyond the full understanding of science. Science doesn't have all the answers.

The only answer to existence is that there was something or someone who existed outside of time that is eternally unchanging and a constant. The Bible 'understood' this long ago. God is said to be Someone who "inhabits eternity" (Isaiah 57:15), who had no beginning (1 Chr. 16:36; Ps. 93:2), who is the self-existent "I Am Who I Am" (Ex. 3:14), who views time relatively (2 Peter 3:8), and who never changes (Mal. 3:6). He is the eternal Being who is unbound by time. This is scientifically and philosophically profound.

We need to add that the simplest answer is not always the correct answer. Occam's razor is only a rule of thumb. No one in their right mind really believes that the simplest answer is always correct. Generally, the simpler theories are better and more often correct, but not always. When you take the subjective experiences of people, the brilliant accuracy of the Bible, the complexity of existence, the unlikelihood of life coming into existence by itself, the spiritual nature of humans, the apparent finiteness of the universe, and the appearance of intelligent creation all throughout life on Earth into account, an infinite Creator seems like the simpler theory to where existence came from.

The Sinful Bias of Humans

The Bible says several times that man naturally has no interest in God (cf. Ps. 10:4; Rom. 1:21). More than that, man is said to naturally be at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7). Mankind is somewhat like a wife who has unreasonably divorced her husband just because she wanted more freedom. People are naturally aware of God's existence but they also are naturally disinterested in God. There is a natural bias against God according to the Bible. Herein lies a problem. There is a relationship problem, and no one really wants to acknowledge the true God.

Scientists are especially bad, since they become convinced that they have logical ways to get God off the hook, so to speak. They become too trustful of their own abilities to reason and explain things. Those who are smarter are better at reasoning themselves around inconvenient truth. Being smart is not always helpful. Many scientists have brilliantly—I say brilliantly!—found what look like ways to explain our existence apart from the power and wisdom of God. But they are self-deceived. They have unwittingly let their bias against God rule their thinking and poison their judgment. Their smart minds have fulfilled the desire of their hearts to run away from God, for you see the ultimate way to run from Him is to get your mind to think He doesn't exist. Once the mind has denied Him, the conscience can be easily suppressed and God's voice silenced. When someone doesn't want to believe something, it is common for them to resort to denialism.

Scientists generally reinforce one another's denialism. It is the blind leading the blind. In that, too, they find a sense of security apart from God. If "everyone" believes it, after all, how can it be wrong?

If the Bible is correct then you would expect there to be a lot of deniers of God's existence. The "wise of this world" are said to be especially blind to the truth (1 Cor. 1:26-28). That was written long before science really flourished. The wise of St. Paul's day were the Greeks and other philosophers, not scientists. Today, the wise are the scientists. The Bible accurately predicted that such people who are considered wise in the world would not often accept the truth of God. So, if you feel attacked as stupid for believing in the Bible, recognize that that is more confirmation of the Bible and humbly flee from the desire to have all the answers to existence . . . answers that others only proudly pretend to have.

August 18, 2011

NEWS: Mitochondria More Complex Than Previously Known

It's been awhile since I wrote anything, mainly because I feel like I've covered 'everything' and any new posts will just be a rehashing of what I've already written about. But it's news time. For naturalistic evolutionists, news has come out that is quite devastating to basic Darwinism. Two different news items need to be discussed.

ATP-Synthase Arrays in Mitochondria[1]

One is about new, efficient ATP synthase arrays in the mitochondria of basically all eukaryotic cells from yeast to fungi to humans to potatoes to protists (ancient, tiny organisms). These arrays in the cells' powerhouse are optimized for efficiency. Not only is ATP synthase efficient, but so are these arrays of them. The design is basically the same across all eukaryotic-based life. The arrays are being compared to an efficient factory for producing the energy currency of the cells. Now, to fully appreciate this find, let's remember that eukaryotic cells are thought to have formed somewhere around 2.7 Ba, with strong evidence of them around 1.7 Ba. Complex life, including even plants, didn't form until much, much later sometime around 1 Ba to 500 Ma.

The fact that all eukaryotic life has these efficient arrays indicates that the original, last common ancestor of all eukaryotes had this array. Fungi formed somewhere around 1.4 Ba, which means that this design had to have originated even earlier.

Why would a simple, lowly fungus need this efficiency for survival? (Remember, evolution does not drive greater and greater efficiency. Evolution is about the survival of the fittest organisms, supposedly. Those organisms that cannot survive well die out. All that is 'needed' for an organism is for it to be able to survive well. Designing better efficiency isn't on the agenda of evolution. We need to ask, why is there no diversity of designs across diverse organisms in the case of this ATP synthase array? This is devastating to Darwinism because such efficiency should not have evolved before it was needed! Cynobacteria lived happily for about a billion years before eukaryotic cells without this efficiency. There was no evolutionary pressure to cause this kind of efficient design in eukaryotes.

Even if there were evolutionary pressure, what happened to the less efficient designs? Organisms using the less efficient designs all died out? All of them? I'm not going to buy that idea. Plants are supposedly very inefficient in their photosynthesis, but they certainly haven't died out. They've flourished. Inefficiency -- or what we think is inefficiency -- does not necessarily result in extinction. There is no reason that eukaryotes with less efficient mitochondria should have all died out.

Keep in mind that this design that was found in the mitochondria is very efficient. We aren't talking about a so-so efficiency. Evolutionists have historically already been flabbergasted at the degree of efficiency in nature, because evolution cannot adequately account for high efficiency being relatively common in nature. Inefficiency should be the norm if evolution opporates by chance. Intuition says that it can't be purely randomness that has driven evolutionary changes. Evolution has operated way too efficiently for it not to have been designed. The idea that evolution could have improved its own efficiency over time is beyond absurd. Evolution is not intelligent or alive.

Another point is that mitochondria supposedly came from a symbiotic relationship with prokaryotes within prokaryotes. The story goes that bacteria invaded other cells and eventually, over millions of years, the invaded cells formed an unbreakable bond with the bacteria and changes happened to where the bacteria became mitochondria -- the essential powerhouse of the cells. There's one small problem with this theory: there's no evidence of the intermediate period of increasing interdependence. We don't find eukaryotes with halfway-formed mitochondria. Now we have even more evidence against this story. Mitochondria were complex and efficient from the earliest times, it would seem most plausible now. This shatters the fanciful story of increasing symbiosis and increasing efficiency. We should find cells with varying degrees of so-so efficiency in their mitochondria if this story were true. Instead, it seems much more likely that bacteria devolved from mitochondria. Such a process would more easily leave little evidence, which is what we observe.

It could be argued that these efficient arrays were needed for survival (for some unknown reason) and that is why they evolved so early. The problem is twofold: (1) they should have then died out before the efficiency randomly formed over a long time, and (2) there is no known reason why such high efficiency would be necessary for survival. And yet, because only an efficient design exists, that implies that it became necessary assuming Darwinian evolution is true. However, again, it does not seem apparent why it is needed.

All of this indicates that evolution is not responsible for the complexity in organisms. There was a Designer behind it all.

Study Says that Life May Be Rare in the Universe[2]

A new study done by evolutionists and coming out of Cornell University suggests that complex life may be exceedingly rare in the universe, despite life forming early on Earth. The implications are obvious. If this is true, then it shouts design -- or at least winning a huge cosmic lottery. But, what is acknowledged to some degree is that sentient life on Earth (e.g., you and me) has appeared on the scene none too soon. At the same time, evolution has proceeded so rapidly that it is unthinkable that sentient life could have formed sooner than it has. To sum it up, evolution has been unbelievably rapid, but if it were any slower, Earth would not be a habitable place for sentient life like us.

This raises the question that I love to harp on. How did evolution happen so quickly, like during the Cambrian Explosion, unless it were somehow programmed into the genetic makeup of organisms? It seems that evolutionists all agree that evolution got very lucky several times: (1) the formation of cellular life really early on in Earth's history, (2) the formation of multi-cellular organisms early on, (3) the explosion of diverse animal phyla, and (4) the formation of intelligent beings. All of this seems to have happened very fortuitously. The moon was helpful. The large oceans were helpful. The magnetic field. The eventual oxygen-rich atmosphere. The diversity of life allowed for a food chain. The upright walking nature of humans allowed for larger brains (theoretically). The list goes on and on. There were several near-extinction points, also, in history that would have resulted in the end of complex life if rapid evolution were not possible.

Earth is ideal for complex life. It appears as if all of history was working towards this common goal of our existence. Perhaps that was because of a wise Designer and all-knowing Creator who planned every moment of this long history of the universe. Every quanta of energy created in the early universe, when it was small, was extremely precisely placed to result in Earth forming as it has and to result in every solitary event in history. I'm not talking about a random, chaotic Big Bang from an infinitesimal point. I'm talking about a designed sphere of energy and perhaps particles that was stretched out. Then God formed the first cell(s) that also, similarly, was extremely precisely packed with every scrap of information necessary for life forming as it has and for evolution to proceed efficiently. It was a perfect plan. Doesn't that make more sense than winning a cosmic lottery that was probably not even likely to happen anywhere in the known universe?

[2] [abstract only]