Intelligent Design and Evolution: How Did It All Begin?

If you were hiking through the woods and came across this huge mountain with the faces of four people carved into the side of it and not just any face, but four faces of people who we have come to know as former presidents, you could ask three questions: Does a law explain it? Does chance explain it? Does design explain it?  One, it could be the result of natural process or natural law. The rain and lightening and weather over the last several thousand years shaped it. It’s possible, but not likely. Two, it could be the result of some accidental cause. There was an explosion, and this is what we got. Or three, it could be the work of an Intelligent Designer. Somebody who knew how to sculpt, who new our US history, actually got a hammer and chisel and went to work. The same is true for all that you see in our world. It could be the result of natural processes. It could be the result of some cosmic accident. But these are not likely. The best explanation is that it was all made by a Someone who holds it all together. Like the mechanics of a wristwatch, it speaks of intelligent design. Laws can’t explain it. Accidents don’t happen in that kind of beautiful detail. Those four presidents are the result of a Designer. And upon investigation, we will find that all that we see around us was placed here by a Designer. And upon an even closer investigation, we will find that this Designer is the God of the Bible. When intelligence acts, it leaves behind traces of its activity.

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5 Comments

Filed under Evolution, First Cause, Intelligent Design

5 responses to “Intelligent Design and Evolution: How Did It All Begin?

  1. You’ve just paraphrased Paley’s Watchmaker analogy.

    Although convincing in its day, Paley’s argument was superseded by the far more satisfactory and explanatory theory of evolution, which explains the introduction of diversity and complexity by blind (but not random) processes.

    For more information, I recommend an introduction to evolutionary thinking such as “What evolution is” by Ernst Mayr.

  2. The main problem I have with evolution is that species are true to type. There may be minor developments within a species, but species are true to type; they don’t jump from one to the next.

  3. Yes, species breed true. You don’t see two gorillas mating and giving birth to anything other than a gorilla. Two dogs mate and always give birth to a litter of dogs, and so on.

    This is because evolution is imperceptibly slow. However the mechanisms by which change is introduced (mutation and, in animals with two sexes, crossing) are well understood. Populations within a species diverge when they are separated and their genetic material no longer changes in step. Darwin observed the results of this, for instance, in tortoises separated by water on the Galapagos islands, but a similar effect has occurred on either side of the English Channel. The channel land bridge was finally severed perhaps as recently as 200,000 years ago.

    Because response to change is a stochastic process and the two sub-populations represent different samplings of the original species, the separate populations continue to diverge.

    In time the two populations diverge to the point where, if brought together by a breeder, a pair composed of one from each population is unable to produce fertile offspring. In further time they diverge to the point where no offspring at all result. I’ve described above one mechanism among many for speciation known as allopatric speciation.

    This rarely happens at a speed that can easily be observed by humans, but speciation events have been observed for instance in drosophila. Also six instances of speciation in house mice on Madeira within the past 500 years have been the consequence of geographic isolation, genetic drift, and chromosomal fusions.

    So while species don’t jump, over time they do separate into two and go their own ways, and that is all that is required, over extremely long periods of time, to produce pretty diverse fauna.

    We get confirmation that this has happened because of homologies in the phenotype (for instance the vestigial hip bone of the whale which amongst other characteristics tells us it’s descended from other mammals that had legs) and more recently in the genome. Common descent is a reality, speciation is the name we give to the divergence of populations and natural selection is one of the mechanisms that explain the character of the changes.

  4. Curious to know – before we even get to the dynamics of evolution (something you know very well), there had to be a beginning. How would an evolutionist explain the beginning of life, with this exclusionary statement in mind – it is not possible for a living cell to “evolve” from non-living matter.

  5. There are two main theories of abiogenesis: the Iron-sulfur world theory and the RNA world hypothesis.

    The field is rather young, and work on this question is somewhat complicated by the fact that life itself has completely transformed the planet and erased nearly all traces of its origins. We may learn more about typical abiotic conditions as we explore the other planets more closely.

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