Intelligent Intervention

Many are familiar with Richard Dawkins and his famous "Biomorphs." These are computer generated creatures that supposedly are the result of the natural process of evolution as simulated by Dawkins. The point, of course, was to prove that God does not exist. This is somewhat of a life quest for him. He has even been nicknamed by some, "the evangelical atheist."

Here is a quote from Richard Dawkins In his book; The Blind Watchmaker as he viewed his computer screen while the program he designed was running:

"Nothing in my biologistís intuition, nothing in my 20 years experience of programming computers, and nothing in my wildest dreams, prepared me for what actually emerged on the screen. I canít remember exactly when in the sequence it first began to dawn on me that an evolved resemblance to something like an insect was possible. With a wild surmise, I began to breed generation after generation, from whichever child looked most like an insect. My incredulity grew in parallel with the evolving resemblance... Admittedly they have eight legs like a spider, instead of six like an insect, but even so! I still cannot conceal from you my feeling of exultation as I first watched these exquisite creatures emerging before my eyes."

My, what a revelation! Letís share with him in the wonder of this computer simulation turning mindless matter into real animals.

The first flaw in the experiment was made by Dawkins himself, when, because of his own foreknowledge, he inserted symmetry into the program. He knew that bugs, animals and airplanes were symmetric so in his mind it was necessary to insert this feature into the program. Of course, that is one of the principal problems with evolution, i.e. how do things turn out symmetric with two properly spaced ears, eyes, legs, hands, etc. He solved that problem himself by merely creating symmetry out of thin air. He inserted that information into his program himself just as God could have done if he was the one creating life and not Richard Dawkins.

If you hold a card to any of his biomorphs along the artificially created line of symmetry that he created you will find that his so called animals, rocket ships, etc. are nothing more than interesting patterns. In his later programs he, the creator, added more lines of symmetry and thereby was able to "create" various things that looked like snowflakes. Of course we already know how snowflakes and naturally forming crystals come about in nature so we should not be surprised that Richard Dawkins was able to simulate those laws of nature. Take away the artificially created symmetry and we are left with an interesting simulation of exactly what he programmed into the machine. He, the creator, also programmed into the experiment the ability to branch off from a single line. This is necessary because he, the creator, knew that trees branch off that way. Should it really come as any surprise then that some of his biomorphs looked like trees?

They would of course look nothing like trees even with the branching mechanism if he did not program in the symmetry function. His trees would look more like fallen branches but I donít think that would be as impressive to the unwary reader. He also programmed in segmentation because he, the creator, knew that segmentation was a part of nature. How the blind watchmaker knew that is unknown, but the seeing watchmaker, Richard Dawkins, did know, so he programmed that into the natural selection experiment himself.

Now, letís ignore all of the above and pretend that everything was done the way it should have been and these creatures magically appeared on the computer screen. What has he proved? Is this even remotely similar to the intricate and complicated mechanism contained in a living organism? Richard Dawkins created a program that draws abstract pictures much as a cloud will form itself into a familiar looking object from time to time. He proved absolutely nothing in regard to natural selection and how it operates in nature. He didnít create a working eye, or a working cell or a working ribosome or a working virus. He ends up, even with all of his personal manipulation, with an abstract picture. Even after the program is running it is necessary for a human creator to personally intervene and select with the help of his own foreknowledge those pictures that look the most like a familiar structure or bug or any other item that is already complete. From those selections the program is allowed to run again until the human creator is again required to intervene and select the next best picture and so on.

Dawkins made the same error that has become quite common in the field of evolution and abiogenesis (the supposed natural or materialistic beginning of life) and it is perfectly understandable. The error in this instance is seen in the phrase, "I began to breed..." Where is that "I" in real life? It cannot logically be assumed to be nature itself in view of Dawkinsí personal intervention into the experiment. Also I might add here that it does not matter at what point he intervened. The point is that HE intervened. An Intelligent mental source intervened and tainted his experiment that set out to prove that intelligent input is unnecessary in a natural process that concludes with life. Now, regardless of anything else, we must all admit here that in this experiment intelligent life intervened. Agreed? Anyone who cannot see this does not need to go on until he does. I am talking about the above experiment and nothing else. Did intelligent life intervene? Yes___ No___

So then it was Dawkins himself who decided which creature or beginning life form was to be "naturally" selected. Where is this intelligent input in real life?

Furthermore, how did Dawkins know which was the better choice as he selected from some images and chose to reject others (e.g. "whichever child looked most like an insect")? Did he know what he was looking for? Where is this knowledge in real life? Who or what knows what is in the future in the natural world? Dawkins knew what was best and tainted the experiment with that knowledge which is unknown in the natural world of the evolutionist. According to the theory, creatures adapt to the environment. The word "goal" or "foresight" is anathema to the theory of evolution; nature supposedly has no knowledge of the future. Dawkins does have knowledge of the future because he already sees the product of supposed evolution. Remember, we are reconstructing the past not the future. Did Dawkins have knowledge of the future before he intervened? Yes, of course he did, just as we have knowledge of the future of our children after they are grown and we look back in time as Dawkins did. "Hindsight is 20-20." So the question is where is this foreknowledge in the real world?

Dawkins directed this experiment from beginning to end. Where is this overall direction in the real world?

Richard Dawkins did prove two things however with his fatally flawed experiment and they are the propensity of the human mind toward delusion and the absolute necessity of a creator.

The Power of Illusion

A magician through the clever use of words and motions often succeeds quite well in deceiving an unsuspecting audience. He makes every effort to lead people one step at a time into a lie that appears to be the truth. If we are not careful we can find ourselves guilty of the same thing. An honest mistake should not be called a lie, especially when we are dealing with the subject of the necessity of intelligent input. The reason that we should give people the benefit of the doubt is because of our own intelligent input in our explanations and experiments. In this chapter we are going to review another claim of the famous atheist, Richard Dawkins. I frankly enjoy his writing style and his interjection of humor into the discussion. Nevertheless, for the sake of those who have been deceived by some things that he apparently did not see, we will explore some of his claims including his main points. All of the following quotes are from the paper back edition of his book, The Blind Watchmaker (1996 edition).

Dawkins is attempting to prove that through natural selection a simple sentence can come about from a random jumble of letters. First letís use the exact random sequence that he used, i.e. "WDLMNT DTJBKWIRZ REZLM QCOP." He first goes on to dispel the false notion that these letters can somehow come together by chance to form the "target" sentence which is, "Methinks it is like a weasel." He places the odds of such an occurrence at about 1 in 10,000 Million, million, million, million, million, million. In other words it is highly unlikely. Some people think that given enough time and enough aimless monkeys typing on enough typewriters that a complete book can eventually come about. As you can see, this is impossible when we consider the odds of even producing one simple sentence. A paragraph in fact multiplies the odds to an inconceivable amount. Most people would consider just two sentences to be an impossible goal without the aid of intelligent direction. So far we are in perfect agreement with Dawkins and I am glad that he cleared this up. Perhaps he put this argument to rest once and for all.

Then Dawkins goes on to explain how with the help of natural selection it is possible for this random jumble of letters to form into the "target" phrase of "Methinks it is like a weasel." The assumption, of course, in natural selection is that the evolving system builds on minor improvements one step at a time until a complicated organism comes into being and that organism eventually evolves into a human being. He explains how with the aid of his computer program the jumble of letters eventually "evolves" into the target phrase with minor changes and improvements made one step at a time. After his program has run for a while he comes up with this improvement for instance: "MELDINLS IT ISWLKE B WECSEL." As you can see that is a definite improvement. Finally the phrase is perfectly evolved into the target sentence. Now can anyone see one flaw here before I go on?

The flaw of course is the "target phrase." Who decided what that target was anyway? Whose intelligent intervention decided that was a worthy goal? Natural selection as Dawkinsí clearly and correctly explains elsewhere does not have knowledge of the future and it cannot direct itself with a mind. There is no hidden intelligence involved in natural selection (according to theory). It is a "blind watchmaker" as he calls it. It does not know what a "target phrase" is. It simply does not work that way as any evolutionary scientist will tell you. If his experiment with the random letters was put back into the computer (assuming it was programmed correctly and not tainted with human input as well) without the aid of the target phrase what would happen? Well, it would not know what an "improvement" was. It would not generate the phrase except by pure chance. If you continually checked the results after each cycle YOU could pick out the phrase because YOU know what you are looking for. You yourself are the intelligent input.

Now letís say that the phrase popped up on the screen after millions and millions of failed attempts and you stopped the computer with the perfect sentence intact. YOU would have to stop it because it would go right past it if you didnít. It doesnít know the future, remember? So now we have this sentence. What now? What do we do with it? Can we make it into a paragraph or a book? Sure. WE can do a lot of things with it. But natural selection or the theory of evolution wouldnít have the slightest idea of how to "improve" it step by step. It builds upon the past and present not the future. There is no goal in the mind of the "blind watchmaker."

Now letís forget the flaw and pretend that natural selection somehow improves the random letters through mutation. Add whatever randomly generated letters you wish to the initial group and take what ever ones you want just like a real life mutation would do and see what improvements you get. You are in the same situation as you were in before. Even with a target phrase to shoot for what are you going to do if you ever get there? What is the logical improvement from that simple sentence? You may know but it has no idea. Until you, an intelligent source, program the computer with information that is necessary to determine what an improvement is then the computer simulation of evolution will not work. The generation of familiar phrases that make sense to us does nothing to solve the problem because we are trying to eliminate us, the intelligent source, from the solution. This thing has got to solve its own problems with its own lack of intelligence. Otherwise the experimented is tainted and it proves nothing.

Someone might say here that the mutation is just making a new protein or maybe several. These new proteins turn out to be an improvement so they are "naturally selected" and the new genetic information that created them is passed down and contributes to the fitness or survivability of the offspring carrying that new information. However, that line of reasoning contradicts the nature of DNA as a repository of instructions that produce and maintain a biological machine. A machine does not improve by having random foreign parts floating around in it. That is a destructive element. We cannot escape the necessity of forming new logically sequenced useful information from the accident of mutation. Furthermore, that new information must be prepared for the manipulation of the information contained in it by the process discussed in previous chapters.

Now letís exaggerate natural selection here to prove a point. Letís suppose that due to the benefits of survival it is advantageous for an animal to run faster. The appropriate gene now reads, "Run slow." Now through mutation or the invasion of a virus or another chance event you add or subtract a letter to the instructions. Change the sentence one letter at a time from "run slow" to "run fast" or "donít run so slow." How are you going to do that through a gradual accumulation and/or elimination of randomly generated letters? Letís try it and see what happens even though we are again tainting our experiment. Letís add the letter "f" before the word slow. Well that certainly isnít an improvement so lets eliminate the letter "s". Now we have the phrase "run flow." So we continue on and add the other letters to make the word fast and we eliminate the unnecessary letters until we have spelled out "run fast." What have we proved? Even if we ignore our own intelligent input we have not simulated random mutation the way it really works in nature. After the first mutation there is nothing to improve upon and nothing to improve and build on. The organism will not be improved by the word "fslow." What will the cell do with that confusion; make something better?

Likewise the animalís genetic code is not improved by the addition of the letter "d" to the phrase "run slow." "Drun slow" may seem to be a slight improvement in our eyes but the organism does not see it that way and has no improvement to build upon. Slight additions or subtractions to something that is already working fine are generally not an improvement if these additions are the result of blind chance. The odds are overwhelmingly against improvement. Without improvement natural selection has nothing to select from. We have purposely tainted our experiment and inserted letters that we thought would improve the situation. The real world does not have that advantage of intelligent selection of mutation so the odds of improvement are much less than we have shown here.

Finally, even if someone does not accept my interpretation of how evolution works, the experiment is nevertheless flawed because the first steps in the evolution of life by natural means must of necessity start from random events and in accordance with known laws. Information such as is contained in a cell has no advantage of natural selection in a random environment necessary for the beginning of any origin of life scenario. We cannot escape the necessity of information arising from randomness if we exclude the possibility of life with initial intelligent input. Dawkins himself confirmed that the information could not arise by random means. Even if we assume that his "target" phrase is a legitimate part of evolution, natural selection cannot apply in the initial phases of the experiment.

The supposed advantage is not there in the initial stages at all. "Macromolecules," even if they have the power to combine with more macromolecules, have no reason to select one order of RNA over another. What does a snowflake making a snowball or crystals making rocks have to do with information? On what basis would a non-living molecule be selected because of its coded information content? We are talking here about the laws of thermodynamics controlling the socalled "replication" of still lifeless macromolecules. How do those laws cause one molecule to be selected over another based upon the specific information content of one over the other (especially when we consider that the theorized nascent life must select this information with foreknowledge of the code and yet to be determined translation mechanism)? Mindless molecules are attracted and formed according to the laws of physics with regard to atomic structure. There is no consideration of specified, coded information content at all, is there? And there is no information in them to begin with, is there?

Again we are left with the necessity of value judgments. So the program itself is flawed if it assumes natural selection to be in effect when there is no existing advantage to work from. The entire experiment is directed from beginning to end by the intelligent input of Richard Dawkins. It neither confirms abiogenesis or natural selection and it certainly does not eliminate the need for intelligent intervention. It is useless without the assumption of foreknowledge. Everything was perfectly prepared to prove that nobody needed to prepare anything in order for life to form and evolve from lifeless matter.

The "Methinks that it is like a weasel" experiment proves nothing but the power of illusion. Mr. Dawkins has inadvertently strengthened the case for the necessity of intelligent intervention in the life process. Maybe instead of calling him an evangelical atheist we should refer to him as a creation advocate?

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