Description Are life and the universe a mindless accident—the blind outworking of laws governing cosmic, chemical, and biological evolution? That’s the official story many of us were taught somewhere along the way. But what does the science actually say? Drawing on recent discoveries in astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, biology, and paleontology, Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell shows how the latest scientific evidence suggests a very different story.
1. THE BIG BANG AND THE FINE-TUNED UNIVERSE
2. INFORMATION AND THE ORIGIN OF LIFE
3. A FACTORY THAT BUILDS FACTORIES THAT BUILD FACTORIES THAT…
4. IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY AND EVOLUTION
5. BIOLOGY’S BIG BANG: THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION
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Short resume from chapter 4….
Darwin’s Test BESIDES THE issue of genetic similarities and differences, there are other potentially tie-breaking clues worth considering, evidence that might point toward the work of a creative intellect and away from blind evolution. Let’s look at one of these next, see how Darwinists respond, and consider how one might respond in turn. In his Origin of Species Darwin offered a way to test and possibly even falsify his theory of evolution.
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications,” he wrote, “my theory would absolutely break down.”12 With the development of high-powered microscopes and new observational techniques, we now know of many biological structures at the molecular level that can serve as candidates for potentially falsifying Darwin’s theory. In the past few decades, numerous tiny biological structures have been discovered, intricate structures often referred to as molecular machines. Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, has argued that at least some of them could not have evolved in the way Darwin envisioned and therefore do falsify Darwinism. He suggests that a better explanation for their origin is purposive design; that is, a designing intellect fashioned them. Central to Behe’s argument is the idea of irreducible complexity. He defines irreducible complexity as “a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”13 If such molecular machines exist, how could they have evolved one small step at a time, given that they don’t work until all of their many essential parts are in place? Behe argues that they couldn’t have, and that molecular biology has turned up several irreducibly complex molecular machines, marvels of nano-technology that could not have evolved in the mindless, gradual way that Darwin and his successors envisioned. To grasp the concept of irreducibly complexity, it helps to envision a familiar machine, the common mousetrap. It’s relatively simple as far as machines go, but as Behe notes, it still requires “several well-matched interacting parts”14 in order to function properly. If the hammer is removed, then the mouse will not be trapped. If the holding bar isn’t there to hold the hammer back, then the trap will be closed all the time and won’t catch anything. Take one of these essential parts away, reduce it by one key part, and it’s no longer a functioning mousetrap. This is what Behe means by irreducibly complex ….