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10th September, 2007

Seeing God articles
Faith & Reason articles
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The no-design delusion

High priests of atheism, Richard Dawkins and Richard Milner, assert that, “there is a complete lack of evidence of any kind for intelligent design” (The Illusion of Design, Natural History, November 2005). Such hubris proves nothing other than that these men possess an awesome degree of faith. Let's face it; you have to be either slightly balmy or zealously obsessed by belief in no-design to be willing to proclaim so loudly that the staggering intricacies of the human brain and the complexities of its biochemistry, or the perfect biological match between male and female sexuality and anatomy, cannot possibly have come about by the application of intelligent planning. To suggest — as such anti-creation zealots constantly do — that belief in the accumulation of random genetic variations over millions of years is supported by all the evidence while belief in intelligent planning is based on no evidence whatever surely wins the blue ribbon for atheism's dumbest proposition.

First, where is the evidence that natural selection can create new creatures? Amazing claims are made; another article in the same issue of Natural History magazine that featured the Dawkins/Milner article asserts,

More than 250 people around the world are observing and documenting evolution, not only in finches and guppies, but also in aphids, flies, grayling, monkeyflowers, salmon, and sticklebacks. Some workers are even documenting pairs of species — symbiotic insects and plants — that have recently found each other, and observing the pairs as they drift off into their own world together like lovers in a novel by D.H. Lawrence (Jonathan Weiner, Evolution in Action).

Oh, now we are meant to be impressed; people are actually watching evolution at work. Nonsense. They merely recognize — just as Darwin did — that populations of plants and animals have the capacity to respond to ever-present environmental fluctuations. And Darwin was right; when environmental stresses burden a population, invisible forces cause the next generations to have characteristics that facilitate their survival. That's not evolution at work, that's intelligent planning doing what it has done since creation. The infinitely wise creator was smart enough to build genetic “adaptability” (creationists have no reason to be afraid of that word) into His creatures to enable them to survive within certain parameters of environmental fluctuation. However, next season you could see last season's model back on the streets again. Dawkins's notion that such changes accumulate into an ever-richer genome has no basis in fact. Sea lettuce may adap to to small

fluctuations in water temperature, salinity, predation rate and the like, but it will not turn into bull kelp if sea levels drop. It will perish. Sticklebacks are still sticklebacks and finches finches even after they have adapted to changing conditions. Darwin's observations on phenotypic variations and their responses to the environment glorify the God who built survival attributes into His creatures; his observations provide no evidence whatsoever of the creation of new kinds of creatures. If only his disciples could see that.

Second, to suggest that no evidence can be found for the notion of intelligent thought being applied to the design of living things is utterly preposterous. Such an assertion is precisely equivalent to saying that no evidence can be found to show that cars were designed. Working design is evidence of intelligence. Woe unto those who call folly wisdom and wisdom folly, who seek to turn wine into water.

Third, Dawkins and Milner fail to recognize a serious flaw in their anti-design argumentation. They argue their case against design by appeal to analogy:

The world is divided into things that look as though somebody designed them (wings and wagon-wheels, hearts and televisions), and things that just happened through the unintended workings of physics (mountains and rivers, sand dunes, and solar systems). Mount Rushmore belonged firmly in the second category until the sculptor Gutzon Borglum carved it into the first.

So, we are meant to meekly accept that seaweed, orchids, and rabbits “just happened” through unintended workings of natural selection. Let us also call on an analogy. I have a thermostat in my office that automatically smoothes out changes in air temperature. I don't have to stand there to ensure it does the job properly. It works perfectly, constantly working on the atmosphere in my office to produce an atmospheric steady state. Who will suggest that the thermostat was not designed by an intelligent mind? That's exactly what Dawkins and Milner are suggesting with respect to the wondrous physics of geological processes. Are we really meant to believe that the wonders of chemical and physical erosion and of tectonic activity — working with precision and predictability to produce mountains and valleys — just brought themselves into existence? Even if it could be shown (which it cannot), that natural selection has the power to create complex organisms, where did the laws come from? And the genetic material on which the laws supposedly work their magic? Oh that such blindness should be.


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