Thursday, August 23, 2007

Intelligent Design

I just finished watching Unlocking the Mystery of Life. Fascinating. I'm not a regular to the origins debates, so I can't speak as one particularly knowledgeable in the field, but I found the video excellent in both production and logic. The scientists in the video, many of whom began their careers as committed Darwinians, argue for "irreducible complexity"--the idea that certain things are so complex that they can't be explained through merely natural causes.

The video looks closely at the mini "machines" that make up cellular life, specifically the flagellum, a tiny rotor engine made upon of forty moving parts which enables cellular movement. The function of the flagellum is contingent upon the simultaneous convergence of the forty different moving parts. Without every one of these parts present and functioning, the machine cannot work. Where natural selection stumbles is that it can't explain how all forty parts of the machine would simultaneously converge together in the necessary "construction" sequence to produce a functioning machine. If the parts evolved slowly and individually through mutation, as evolution suggests, natural selection would actually be more likely to eliminate those cells which began to develop only one of the forty parts independent of the others. In response, evolutionists have suggested that these mini-machines borrowed their parts from other existing machines. But only ten of the 40 parts can be accounted for in other mini-machines. Even more damning, one is still left with the questions of where the other mini-machines (and their parts) came from.

Which leads to the next section of the video: an exploration of the information contained within DNA. The information contained within a single strand of DNA is far more complex than any other known code in the universe. Tiny cellular machines read this code and then use it as a blueprint for assembling the various components of cells. Cell life could not exist without it. The big question on the table is this: Where did the information contained in DNA come from? I won't try to recount it all here, but the significant takeaway for me is the fact that natural selection cannot explain the presence of this information, since natural selection depends upon reproduction, and reproduction depends upon DNA. In other words, natural selection can't kick in until a cell is reproducing (by which natural selection "selects" one cell over another), and a cell can't reproduce until it has the proper instruction encoded within its DNA. In short, the the information contained within DNA cannot be the product of natural selection.

Where the code came from may not be provable, but where it didn't come from is another matter. Darwinian evolution and its theory of natural selection cannot explain the presence of the code.

1 comment:

papabear said...

The video is available at Google.