Answers to Various Objections

From R.J. Riggins:

“…watches DIDN’T just appear in the world as they presently are! As a matter of very obvious fact, they evolved. The first timepieces were very primitive, clumsy, and inaccurate. They improved over the years. If we can refer to really old time-keeping devices as “fossils”, then we can show a fossil sequence of the evolution of watches from some dim time in the past up to our present electronic wonders. Nowadays they evolve visibly from one year to the next. The watchmakers went through a whole, evolving series of clocks and watches before someone carelessly dropped one in that desert.”

Mr. Riggins here is trying to refute the requirement of a designer behind a watch (or biological machine) by suggesting that “evolution” can do it without any help from an intelligent source, i.e. God. Of course the fact that watches improved over time into their present form does not explain the necessity of a human being behind each evolutionary improvement of the watch. Nor does it solve the problem of the existence of the first watch which regardless of its supposed primitive form was still quite complicated and required a designer.

“OK, I know, the point is the first animal. How could it get started? All presently living animals are started off with bits of already-living matter created by their parents. Nonliving chemicals don’t spontaneously assemble, don’t create orderly, complex molecules out of simple elements…Don’t they? If the creationist gets to this point, he has revealed his basic ignorance of simple chemistry. Elements and simple molecules combine spontaneously all the time to form more complex molecules. When was the last time you found any loose hydrogen on the Earth, or fluorine? All of it has spontaneously combined with other elements to form more complex molecules. If you turn some loose, it won’t stay uncombined for long. Carbon atoms, especially, have a tendency to form spontaneously into all kinds of complex molecules, which in turn often combine to form very complicated polymers and mega-molecules. Some of those combinations are even self-replicating, if the raw materials are available. We don’t commonly see molecules assembling themselves into living systems, but then it only had to happen once—from then on the natural tendency of life has been to keep itself going, spread out, and evolve.”

Here Mr. Riggins explains how molecules spontaneously form into more complex molecules. He is correct, but that fact, as we showed in the example of snowflakes and DNA, does not solve the information problem. Nor does it solve the problem of regulation and complex interaction of biological machinery. This is what I call the “snowflake argument” and we find it in many forms. The flaw in reasoning though is always the same. A machine may be composed of naturally formed elements but these interesting shapes and patterns and combinations of molecules cannot form themselves into a complicated interactive machine that is analogous to a living organism. Nor are these complex molecules analogous to information.

His assertion that some compounds are “self replicating” also is misleading because they are replicating themselves. This proves that a gear designed by a human being can be stamped out in a factory automatically by machine. A living cell is not just a container full of parts that float around looking for a function or another chemical to randomly interact with. Even if one does not assume a designer behind the chemical reactions that are self replicating we are still not any closer to solving the problem of assembling the machinery of life into the intelligent order that they are in.

“…the point of the tired, old watch-in-the-desert analogy was supposed to be that evolution does not and could not occur. But watches have evolved; they aren’t created miraculously, ex nihilo; and their inability to self-assemble has nothing to do with the obvious ability of chemical compounds and living things to assemble themselves out of available materials. So how is it again that finding a man-made watch is supposed to prove that animals were created in their present forms?”

Finally Mr. Riggins sums up his argument without apparently seeing his mistake in analogy. No, watches do not require miraculous intervention but they do require a creator. The human creator of course (in the analogy) is in the place of God. He succeeds, as other skeptics before him, in proving again the absolute necessity of a creator. As far as trying to prove through the watchmaker analogy that animals were created in their present forms he makes a good point. The analogy does not prove the method of creation, only the absolute necessity of a creator. The final form of the creation however came into being (either gradually or instantly), by necessity, as the result of intelligent intervention at some point.

The ability of chemical compounds to “assemble themselves” he incorrectly states proves the irrelevance of the watchmaker analogy but he again misses the point. The ability of chemicals to assemble themselves into more complex chemicals or shapes or patterns does not even solve the basic problem of a gear on a rotating shaft meshing with another gear in a perfect ratio necessary for just the beginning stages of watch assembly. Likewise, the ability of chemicals to interact spontaneously with others to form what we might call objects is analogous to a transmission case full of gears, tubes, clutches, nuts and bolts and various other parts that have been dropped into the case by the mechanic. Chemicals do not have the ability to “assemble themselves” into a fully functioning machine and the odds of that happening are about the same as those that would require a watch case full of a random assortment of gears and shafts etc. to assemble themselves into a fully functioning watch.

His assertion that “it only had to happen once” is also misleading. This argument is often used by atheists to try and show that given enough time anything is possible. Of course even in an infinity a watch case full of gears will never assemble themselves into a logical order necessary for keeping time. Likewise, no amount of time or varied circumstance will assemble any amount or combination of chemicals, energy or whatever into the information based machinery in even one cell.

The watchmaker analogy is still just as relevant as when it was first used to appeal to the common logic of man so that he could have is eyes opened to the absurd notion of some, that design exists without a designer.

Leaving Mr. Riggins now, let’s go over some random objections that I gathered from learned atheists.

“The mistake creationists make is that they are trying to show the impossibility of making a living cell without design. The cell was not the beginning of life. Life began in a more primitive form and then evolved into its present cellular one.”

This is the same old argument that Mr. Riggins used. Piece by piece assembly over time and changing circumstances only clouds the problem which is only solved by intelligent design. A piece of theorized primitive bacteria is still a biological machine. If for example a river naturally flowed into the ocean and then the water condensed in the ocean and recycled itself into rain which supplied the river, will that pattern evolve into a pipe being formed that leads to a pump that irrigates a field above the river? Even the most primitive form of life postulated requires more complexity than I have illustrated here, to even get started.

The only solution left to the atheist is a groundless statement that “evolution did it.” So in other words this statement can be translated into “My God, which is named evolution, did it.” I am not trying to be cruel. I am just pointing out the obvious. Theists are often ridiculed by atheists for asserting that God did something or another but they must then accept the same ridicule. If “evolution” can do whatever he wants without question or reasonable explanation is he not then a god with supernatural powers? Using the generic catch-all word “evolution” to justify any unreasonable conclusion is nothing less than blind faith in a fictional being that can work miracles.

“We have proven through experimentation that intelligent design is not necessary in the formation or evolution of life. Life is a natural process from beginning to end.”

My first question is, how do you know? Well, my opponent might say, “we have observed the natural process and it is repeated in nature constantly.” I can observe the natural or automatic process that goes on in my computer as well but that observation does not disprove intelligent intervention, does it? My typing into the machine can all be explained by mindless electronic impulses. Getting down to the inner workings of a computer we find nothing but 0’s and 1’s. We can find these things even in an internet chat room where several intelligent beings are chatting away. A computer requires intelligent intervention regardless of the natural evolution of the programmed input. Looking into the inner workings of life that now operates naturally does not even touch the subject of intelligent design or intervention. It cannot be logically concluded that observing “nature” is a valid reason for assuming that no intelligent intervention was necessary for the initiation or continuation of the natural process, and the observation certainly is not a basis for overthrowing established laws - especially when we consider that unlike a man-made machine or information system the biological one requires a supernatural and, by definition, an invisible intervention.

This is where we lose the scientist and that is just as well because he is not the mediator of all truth and reality anyway. How do you measure intelligent design? How much of it fits into a test tube? How much does it weigh? Of course these are absurd questions because intelligence is invisible. But it can be seen by its effects. Observing a natural or automatic process is like observing the operation of an automatic transmission. We can figure it all out and narrow it down to successive logical steps but the intelligent design must be inferred. Only a fool would say that because he has observed it operating automatically he has concluded that no intelligent input was necessary for its design.

Observing life in its operation does not touch the subject of intelligent intervention and it is foolish to conclude that simply by watching a natural process at work or manipulating it, that intelligent intervention is unnecessary. Of course when we are speaking of life and not a man-made machine we are speaking about supernatural intelligent intervention, or the intervention of God. The fact is that even if evolution were true there is no way to prove where and when intelligent intervention takes place in each instance. Watching the product of an intelligent being does not in any way prove that intelligence was not involved. Taking my computer far from the source of intelligence that was involved in its programming and plugging it into the wall and observing it operating automatically does not prove that intelligence is not necessary.

“God is an irrelevant factor in our research.”

Oh is that right? So we spend all day examining a light bulb and the socket and the nature of electricity but we are not allowed to actually screw the light bulb into the lamp socket and turn the light on! How can God be irrelevant? What a monumental waste of time it must be to ignore him while we plod along in our experiments trying to prove he doesn’t exist. Should not such a powerful being be considered in all of our lives and activities? Some will say that God limits research because scientists will say that “God did it” and leave the research to go to church or something like that. The founders of almost all the fields of science were theists so that excuse really does not hold water.

Recognizing God in scientific research is not limiting and he certainly cannot be irrelevant anymore than gravity is irrelevant. Reality should not be excluded when coming to scientific conclusions. I won’t even explore the possibility that God may be playing with some of our atheist friends but the thought is intriguing. Maybe it would be best to get on his good side.

“You are just asserting the same old “God in the gaps” thing. It is true that there are some gaps in our theory but we have already filled many of them with concrete examples of evolution.”

In other words, “Give us more time and our watch case full of random gears will eventually start telling time.” They are waiting for a miracle to happen that will overthrow established maxims. This is not a “gap”, it is an insurmountable obstacle that can only be overcome by a miracle. If someone really believes that a concrete brick floats on water then it is up to him to prove it. He cannot expect credibility until he does so. If atheists really believe that the god that they call evolution can work miracles then their theory is not enough. This is not like someone proposing that steel can be made to float if it is hollowed out to make it lighter than the amount of water that it displaces. That theory could be proved even before the final proof was displayed. The theory that man and nature evolved without intelligent intervention cannot be proved with or without demonstration. It fails all tests of logic and evidence and can only be taken seriously if it is demonstrated. The necessity of a major scientific upheaval in a theory is not a “gap”.

On the other hand there are no gaps in the reality of intelligent design. This has been proved countless times by millions of people and in every conceivable situation by atheists and theists alike. The reality of intelligent design being a necessity for any complicated, information based machine is simply established fact which has no gaps whatsoever. If the atheists asserts that six thousand or so years of evidence, experimentation and proof are irrelevant, then lets see his proof. Observing nature and playing with that which is the obvious result of intelligent design is not even the beginning of credible evidence.

“Your theory cannot be falsified.”

Well, can reality be falsified? Will God allow himself to be put under your microscope? According to modern scientific dogma something cannot be considered scientific if it cannot be proved or disproved by experimentation. If that is the case, then modern science is not an adequate tool for finding truth and reality. So the atheist goes about in his delusion thinking that God does not exist even though he tacitly agrees that his tools cannot prove it one way or the other. His assertion is therefore based upon belief, not fact. Of course my “theory” can be falsified and proved by experimentation. The fact is it has never been disproved and in fact has rather been proved repeatedly. So my “theory” is not a theory to begin with.

The burden of proof is on the one seeking to overthrow that which is already established fact. If anyone wants to falsify intelligent design then simply run your computer on a completely random program and produce an intelligent paragraph that makes sense to another randomly ordered computer that has not had the intelligent input of value judgments. Or you can throw a pile of nuts, bolts, gears or whatever you like into a pile and wait for a machine to come forth. Or you can throw some sterile chemicals into a sterile flask and wait for a bug to pop up. The problem we have is not falsification, it is manipulation of words.

The absurd theory of abiogenesis and evolution of that miracle into man cannot demand that fact take a back seat to its demands. The established facts do the challenging. There is no credible demand from an outlandish hypothesis that asserts without logic that there is no designer behind an obvious design. I cannot assert that spacemen created the universe out of spare tinker toys and challenge those that oppose my ridiculous assertion and expect to be taken seriously. Falsify the fact that design is the result of an intelligent designer. Go ahead and make something by doing nothing. Just sit back and let the blind forces of lifeless nature make something for you that remotely resembles the machinery of life. Then write you own book. I can assure you that your work will overshadow all scientific achievement since the beginning of time. If the reality of God cannot be falsified, why are scientists allowed to dominate in our godless culture when the subject of God is not even in their realm of expertise?

“You may as well be asserting that the tooth fairy or an invisible pink unicorn created life and the universe. Anyone can claim that invisible forces do a lot of things.”

Of course a human being is not an invisible force. His intelligence is however invisible but does anyone really believe that this is like a “tooth fairy” or other fictional creature? I have shown that a living, breathing, tangible human being with the use of his intelligence is necessary to create instructive information and complicated machinery. The “tooth fairy” argument is simply an attempt at diversion from the topic at hand. Gravity and wind are both invisible forces as well as magnetism. This has nothing to do with fictional creatures doing anything. The facts are that invisible forces are at work constantly in nature. The objection is not to invisible forces. The objection is to the assertion of God because that limits the authority and power of mankind.

“If you are correct that complicated information based machinery must be the result of intelligent design with God as the ultimate designer then your logic is flawed. According to your ideas God must have therefore had a designer because he is obviously more complicated than his creation. Where did God come from?”

They say that all roads used to lead to Rome. Likewise, all logic must lead to either God or a mystery. God is likewise mysterious so the end is a mystery either way. Some have postulated that the universe started with a big bang with the available matter compressed into a small ball or “egg” that somehow exploded. Where did the egg come from? Where did whatever you answered come from? Etc.? Asking foolish questions about the beginning of God leads to the same place as similar scientific questions lead. Besides there is no “from” before the supposed Big Bang. Eternity was the norm. So the question is irrelevant.

The fish in a fish bowl will never know everything there is to know. Logic and reason are not flawed because they lead to a mystery. If that were the case then all reason and logic that supports the formation of the universe is flawed. It may very well be flawed anyway but the point is that all of the logic in the world that leads to a mystery is not flawed. Some murders are never solved. Does that therefore prove that a murder was not committed? Crashed planes are sometimes never found. Does that prove that a certain plane did not exist? These types of questions are just a form of cheap debate that is used by the person who has lost the debate.

“You are using circular logic. You begin with a belief in God and weigh the evidence subjectively to confirm your beliefs.”

Yes, I do believe in God but that does not make the evidence I presented biased, anymore than we can assume that everything produced by an atheist is biased. Some people do actually have the ability to simply view the facts and change their opinion in light of new information. The case I presented here does not begin with God. I will spell it out briefly again:

1. DNA contains information and the source of that information is unknown. Life is known to be a biological information based machine.

2. There exists in the world an invisible intelligent source of information, i.e the human mind. This has been empirically proved and confirmed in several thousand years of human history and experimentation. There has never been even one verified example where information or intricate interactive machinery came into being without intelligent input.

Speculation: Perhaps the information within DNA and the associated machinery of life came into being by way of the laws of physics? Or perhaps there is an intelligent source of information within the universe?

Because there is no known instance where information or intricate interactive machinery arose by way of the laws of physics that hypothesis is entirely speculation without any empirical basis whatsoever. On the other hand, it has already been proved that information and machinery comes into being by way of an invisible intelligent mental source that uses the laws of physics as tools to manifest that reality.

Conclusion: Belief in an intelligent mental source within the universe is a rational deduction based upon facts and evidence. Atheism is an unscientific belief system. The atheist’s often retort that “evolution did it” is indeed circular reasoning that begins and ends with an irrational belief in the supernatural powers of the god he has named Evolution.

© 2003 by Raymond F. Hendrix. All rights reserved.