Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Foundering Rocks

The Devil Is in the Details

One of the great mythical mantras of our age is the evolution of life.  It really has been a matter of repetition making certain.  Repeat the mantra endless times, confirm that everyone else is chanting the same mantra, and hey presto, it must be true.  However, the appeals to numbers and to authority have always been fallacious--and remain so to this day.

One thing has changed, however.  Scientific analysis and research have discovered far, far more about life than was once known.  Michael Behe, a molecular biologist who has rejected Darwinism as a viable theoretical explanation for life  summarises recent discoveries and their implications for Darwinism.

Since the mid-1950's biochemistry has painstakingly elucidated the workings of life at the molecular level.  Darwin was ignorant of the reason for variation with a species (one of the requirements of his theory), but biochemistry has identified the molecular basis for it.  Nineteenth-century science  could not even guess at the mechanism of vision, immunity, or movement, but modern biochemistry has identified the molecules that allow those and other functions.

It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple.  That expectation has been smashed.  Vision, motion and other biological functions have proven to be no less sophisticated than television cameras and automobiles.  Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science's attempt to explain their origins.  There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems, much less any progress.  Many scientists have gamely asserted that explanations are already in hand, or will be sooner or later, but no support for such assertions can be found in the professional science literature.  More importantly, there are compelling reasons--based on the structure of the systems themselves--to think that a Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive.  [Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, 10th edition (New York: Free Press, {1996}, 2006), p.x.  Disclosure of interest: Behe is not writing as a Christian.]

One of the great obstacles to the credibility of Darwinism or evolutionism is the incredible complexity of bio-molecules which make up even the "simplest" forms of biological life.  Evolutionism relies upon a premise that development of life is from the more simple forms to the more complex (higher) forms.  The intuitive attraction of the premise lies in its parallel to human experience.  The wheel is a development from the simple roller to a more complex hub and spoke construction.  The ball bearing is a far more complex development of the basic wheel and the even more simple roller.  Technological developments have tended to proceed according to the evolutionist premise: they have moved from the simple to the complex, giving a superficial credence to Darwin's theories. 

But if enormous complexity exists even in the most simple life forms at the molecular level, the evolutionist premise based on such analogies becomes tendentious, if not blatantly spurious.  Darwinism is left grasping for a new premise to explain, then experimentally demonstrate, the reasons and causes for such complexity amongst the most basic of bio-molecular structures.  How did such complexity come to be?

Darwin was aware of one of the logical fatalities of his theorising:
If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly  have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.  (Darwin, Origin of the Species, cited by Behe, op cit., p. 39.)
The bio-molecular cell is exceedingly complex.  There are no demonstrated more simple bio-molecular forbears.  These are the two rocks upon which Darwinism (together with neo-Darwinism, neo-neo Darwinism, and other revisions and iterations) is foundering: life at the most minute and smallest molecular cellular structures is exceedingly complex, on the one hand, and there is no experimental explanation or demonstration of how this complexity developed by "numerous, successive, and slight modifications", on the other.  It has been demonstrated that anything less than the current complexity of bio-molecules and living cells would not be a living cell at all.

A thousand assertions and re-assertions do not make the rocks of foundering go away.  The development from simple life forms to more complex life forms appears to be nothing more than a "just so" story.  Good to tell our children; good to comfort our consciences; but with no scientific foundation. 

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