Intelligent Design

The Puzzle of Perfection Revisited

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Today I revisited the work that convinced me that contemporary Darwinism is bankrupt. That work is Michael Denton’s 1986 opus: Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

The chapter I reference I do so for a special purpose. The puzzle of perfection in biology, and the puzzle of the mathematical perfection of the laws of physics to make life possible in our universe, should suggest design to anyone who thinks rationally, in my view.

I’ll quote only one comment from Denton in my brief essay here:

It would be an illusion to think that what we are aware of at present is any more than a fraction of the full extent of biological design. In practically every field of fundamental biological research ever-increasing levels of design and complexity are being revealed at an ever-accelerating rate.

I invite UD commenters to comment on Denton’s other comments in this chapter of his book.

9 Replies to “The Puzzle of Perfection Revisited

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    He said that back in 1986, but it still holds true today. The evidence keeps adding up against Darwinism – or should we say Darwinists are being forced to try and come up with explanations(translated “just so stories”) for more and more things.

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Denton points out the following about Paley and Hume:

    According to Paley, we would never infer in the case of a machine, such as a watch, that its design was due to natural processes such as the wind and rain; rather, we would be obliged to postulate a watchmaker. Living things are similar to machines, exhibiting the same sort of adaptive complexity and we must, therefore, infer by analogy that their design is also the result of intelligent activity.

    One of the principal weaknesses of this argument was raised by David Hume, who pointed out that organisms may be only superficially like machines but natural in essence… Hume’s criticism is generally considered to have fatally weakened the basic analogical assumption upon which the inference to design is based, and it is certainly true that neither in the eighteenth century nor at any time during the past two centuries has there been sufficient evidence for believing that living organisms were like machines in any profound sense.

    But Denton observes:

    It has only been over the past twenty years with the molecular biological revolution and with the advances in cybernetic and computer technology that Hume’s criticism has been finally invalidated and the analogy between organisms and machines has at last become convincing… In every direction the biochemist gazes, as he journeys through this weird molecular labyrinth, he sees devices and appliances reminiscent of our own twentieth-century world of advanced technology. In the atomic fabric of life we have found a reflection of our own technology. We have seen a world as artificial as our own and as familiar as if we had held up a mirror to our own machines.

    In other words, cellular systems are not just like machines, they are machines.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    tjguy:

    The evidence keeps adding up against Darwinism

    On the other side of that is there still isn’t any evidence in support of darwinism/ NDE.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    “One of the principal weaknesses of this argument was raised by David Hume, who pointed out that organisms may be only superficially like machines but natural in essence…”

    “…. but natural in essence”?

    What on EARTH does that mean? What can it possibly signify other than a farcically vacuous tautology? Where is the contradistinction? Paley’s whole point was that nature is a vast ecosytem of running machinery.

    And by the way, Mr Denton, for the vast majority of mankind the truth of Paley’s observation is so obvious, that to describe it as even as an “observation”, would be inapt. It was an ASSERTION. Scientists should be more aware than most that the profoundest truths, the most immeasurably fertile in implications, are extremely simple. The stuff of tee-shirts and bumper-stickers, nay, “EMC2”. It is common sense to most people.

    Also, note this phrase and the passage beneath it, written by Denton:

    “…only SUPERFICIALY like machines,…”, and

    “and it is certainly true that neither in the eighteenth century nor at any time during the past two centuries has there been sufficient evidence for believing that living organisms were like machines IN ANY PROFOUND SENSE.” (See above)

    The problem with a word like “superficially” is that the surface of something might well be perfectly indicative of the whole, as it clearly is in this case.

    I was tempted to say, “has proved in this case”, but the relentless discovery of the ever-more apparent complexity of the natural world, as a result of the increasing sophistication of science is, in reality, entirely redundant in this matter. Rather, it is solely the decades of vaunting pretentiousness, of the positively Luciferian presumption of modern, corporate-governed science that prevents us from falling about laughing at Paley’s statement of this primordial truism.

    As good old Sam Irvin, Senator for North Carolina, asserted during the Watergate hearings, “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck.”

    Instead, the materialists pretty much adopt the response of, I believe, Harold MacMillan, when, after asking a constituent if he would have the man’s vote, and receiving an unequiovocal “No”! he turned to his assistant and said, “Put that down as ‘undecided’.”

  5. 5
    GilDodgen says:

    Paley really was farseeing, as one notes in this quote:

    Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design which existed in the watch exists in the works of nature with the difference, on the side of nature, being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation . . . yet in a multitude of cases, are not less evidently mechanical, not less evidently contrivances, . . . than are the most perfect productions of human ingenuity.

    Paley had no idea what molecular biologists would discover in the latter half of the 20th century, so his comments above are truly prophetic.

  6. 6
    GilDodgen says:

    As a final note in this thread I return to what I describe as the trajectory of the evidence. When a scientific hypothesis is correct, the more we learn, the more the hypothesis should be validated and have explanatory power.

    If, on the other hand, a scientific hypothesis is incorrect, the more we learn, the more excuses must be made to prop up a clearly inadequate explanation.

    I find the latter to be the case concerning Darwinists. Furthermore, I consider their inability to follow the evidence where it leads to be an indication of what might be described as an ersatz religion.

    To paraphrase an ancient author who was far more insightful than I: It is clearly seen that some things are made.

  7. 7

    “trajectory of the evidence”

    That is a good phrase. I’m going to shamelessly appropriate it and use it from now on.

  8. 8
    Bruce Phillips says:

    I’m reminded of a post a while back on Imre Lakatos and his Methodology of Scientific Research Programs. A sure sign of impending trouble, if not outright doom, is when the agenda of a program becomes the defense and perpetuation of the program. See, for example, climate change. Or Darwinism. Or corporate economic entities that pursue market advantage in court rather than in the development laboratory. It’s too bad this simple insight isn’t given more attention!

  9. 9
    GilDodgen says:

    Eric,

    No attribution is required for the trivially obvious.

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