Hardware of Life
Hardware of Life -- Evidence for God’s Existence
The Hardware of Life is seen through a variety of scientific tools. However, what is “Science” today? Louis Pasteur once said “Religions, philosophies, atheism, materialism, or its opposite--none of these is relevant to the matter...I might even add that, scientifically speaking, I am indifferent to them all. The question is purely one of fact”. In other words, science should be “the un-biased search for truth” without philosophical preconceptions. That definition was always the ancient understanding of the term. Since the so-called “Enlightenment” that swept through Europe in the 1700’s, and especially since the proposal of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in 1859, however, intellectual activists have been trying to add the qualifying concept of “within naturalistic explanations” to the definition. What that means, in effect, is the addition of a bias to the search for truth.
The philosophical name of this form of atheism is “Materialism,” and it claims that not only is there no God, but that there is nothing even like God in the universe. Curiously, it has taken root within the Biological sciences, but to a much lesser extent within Astronomy, Philosophy, and Physics. Many Americans would probably be surprised to know that polls show that the percentage of PhD’ed scientists who identify themselves as Christians and who go to church is roughly the same as the percentage in the population at large. Unfortunately, the small minority who identify themselves as atheists is much louder and more aggressive though, so they exert a disproportionate influence on the media, academic standards committees and the like.
Luckily for all who respect unbiased inquiry, many Philosophers who are experts in logic by definition (logic being a subset of Philosophy) have objected vociferously, especially in the past 40 years, to this effort, and have recognized that the scientific method is at stake. It seems that the key element that catalyzed this mindset is Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Biologists became so enamored with it over the years that they invested heavily in deepening and entrenching their paradigms based on that assumption, and are not willing to consider that major problems have developed within it. Pride in Biology, and a reluctance to admit being wrong might be a factor. One has to wonder if there are spiritual and carnal reasons that admitting the mere possibility of the existence of the metaphysical is so daunting to some. Since Darwinian Evolution seems to be the lynchpin of this type of thinking, let’s take a hard look at it.
Hardware of Life – The Odds of Abiogenesis
The concept of the Hardware of Life arising from non-life by random chance is called “abiogenesis.” This concept is the “creation story” of Darwinian Evolution. But what are the odds of the building blocks of life coming together by random chance in a way to provide even the possibility of life? Harold Morowitz, an agnostic Yale University physicist, created mathematical models by imagining broths of living bacteria that were superheated until all the complex chemicals were broken down into basic building blocks. After cooling the mixtures, Morowitz1 used physics calculations to conclude that the odds of a single bacterium reassembling by chance is one in 10100,000,000,000.
Wow! How can we grasp such a large statistic? Well, it's more likely that one would win the state lottery every week for a million years by purchasing just one ticket each week!
In response to the probabilities calculated by Morowitz, Robert Shapiro, author of Origins - A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, wrote:
“The improbability involved in generating even one bacterium is so large that it reduces all considerations of time and space to nothingness. Given such odds, the time until the black holes evaporate and the space to the ends of the universe would make no difference at all. If we were to wait, we would truly be waiting for a miracle.”2
Hardware of Life – The Odds of DNA
Sir Frederick Hoyle compared the probability of the Hardware of Life arising by chance to lining up 1050 (ten with fifty zeros after it) blind people, giving each one a scrambled Rubik's Cube, and finding that they all solve the cube at the same moment!
Regarding the origin of life, Francis Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize in biology for his work with the DNA molecule, stated in 1982:
“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”3
Ever since the discovery of the DNA structure in 1953, the Darwinian Theory of Evolution has faced increasing challenges yearly as more and more evidence for the complexity of the cell has been discovered. In 1996, Dr. Michael Behe (professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University) released a book entitled Darwins' Black Box, which detailed an argument against Darwinian Evolution known as the "irreducible complexity" of biological structures and systems. In the 11 years since the publication of the book, it has been attacked from every angle by atheistic scientists, yet its central thesis has only gained strength, as the debate has exposed the weakness of Darwinian counter-arguments, and the naturalistic (atheistic) philosophical biases that lurk behind them.
Have you ever wondered if Charles Darwin himself would still believe in Darwinian Evolution (or macro-evolution) if he knew all of the evidence that has accumulated for and against it up to this time? Well, there is an interesting quote in which Darwin stated his own minimum standard for assessing whether or not his theory would withstand the tests of time:
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."5
Hardware of Life – The Odds of the Cell
In Darwin's day, it was assumed that the Hardware of Life represented by the organic cell was very simple. In the last half of the 20th century, however, it has come to light that inside each living cell are vastly complex molecular machines made up of various protein parts. Organs, which are made up of these complex cells, have also been shown to be much more complex than previously believed.
The blueprints for assembling the protein parts for cells and organs in correct timing and order are encoded into our DNA, which is similar to binary computer code, although it is quaternary (having 4 letters instead of 2). The density of the information encoded into DNA staggers the imagination; there is enough information-storing space in a half-teaspoon of DNA to store all of the assembly instructions for every creature ever made, and room left over to include every book ever written!
In addition to the incredible information-storing capacity in DNA, there are machines and systems in biology which vastly exceed mankind's creative capacity in terms of their complexity. For example, the blood-clotting mechanism requires a sequence of 20 different proteins (each of which has an average chance of 1 in 8.03 x 10 to the 59th power of forming by random chance!) triggering one another like dominoes falling in order, until a fibrin mesh scaffolding is formed for the clot itself. If you subtract any one single protein (regardless of where in the sequence of 20), this scaffolding fails to form, and no blood clot is possible.
Without clotting, any creature with a circulatory system would bleed to death from a tiny wound, similarly to what happens to hemophiliacs. Now think about how this compares to Darwin’s criterion for his own theory. Macro-evolution requires a mutation for every step, each of which needs to confer an advantage in surviving or creating offspring to be retained by natural selection. Even if we grant the creation of proteins by random chance (which is extremely unlikely), at steps 1, 2 ,3, 4, etc. on up to and through step 19, there is no advantage conferred toward the production of a blood clot until step 20 is completed! If you reduce the complexity by any single component (regardless of where in the sequence the single component is), the system doesn’t work, and has no reason to be retained by natural selection. This is Irreducible Complexity.
Hardware of Life – The Bacterial Flagellum
Let’s look at another example of the Hardware of Life. The Bacterial Flagellum is a tail-like protein propeller attached to one end of a bacterium that propels the organism through its environment via rapid rotations (like a miniature outboard motor driving a whip in circular motion). It has components that are remarkably similar to a man-made outboard motor, such as a rotor, a U-joint, a stator, a driveshaft, a propeller, bushings, and O-rings. There are at least 40 different protein parts required for the assembly of a flagellum.
Many of the flagellar proteins control the construction process, switching the building phases on and off with chemical triggers at just the right times, and setting up construction in the proper sequence. It is an engineering marvel. If you deduct 1% of the parts, you don’t have a 99% functional bacterial flagellum; it becomes completely dysfunctional, and you have nothing but a hindrance (probably fatal) to any organism attached to it.
Consider the fact that it is conservatively calculated that the odds of this incredible structure forming by random chance is 1 in 10 to the 1170th power.6 According to probability theorists, anything with a chance lower than 1 in 10 to the 50th power is mathematically impossible, so it doesn’t matter how much time you give it—it simply won’t occur by chance alone.
Now, why would scientists insist that creations like these could have come about by evolution? To re-iterate, it seems that biological science has become dominated by atheistic philosophers. Science is “a search for truth,” but the oligarchy in control in this day and age is trying to change that to “a search for truth by naturalistic (atheistic) means”. To them, the idea of God is unacceptable, so science cannot consider even the possibility that God created this universe and all that is in it.
Take a look at the following quote by prominent Darwinist, Richard Lewontin, and consider whether his viewpoint is logically sound. Unfortunately, this quote seems to be representative of how many Darwinists think, and how they want everyone else to think:
"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."7
“I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption ... For myself, as no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneous liberation from a certain political and economic system, and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.”8
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:20-22)
Hardware of Life – God’s Design
When we examine the Hardware of Life, God has indeed left His signature in nature in its irreducible complexity and fine-tuning. Darwinism has failed repeatedly when tested as an explanation for the existence of life. Hundreds of brilliant scientists have recognized this and have signed a document called the “Dissent from Darwin”10 to express their disagreement with philosophical naturalism dominating science through Darwinism. We simply need to “have eyes to see, and ears to hear”, and stop listening to atheistic philosophers disguised as scientists, who try to insist that the supernatural or metaphysical is off-limits for science. “Reasonable faith” is going in the same direction to which the evidence is pointing. The teachings of the Bible, understood properly, merge perfectly with science.
Compliments of Steve J. Williams. Rendered with permission from the book, The Skeptics’ Guide to Eternal Bliss (2nd ed), Steve J. Williams, Lulu Press, 2009. All rights reserved in the original.
1 Eastman and Missler, The Creator Beyond Time and Space, 76-77.
2 Robert Shapiro, Origins -- A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, 1986, 128.
3 Francis Crick, Life Itself -- Its Origin and Nature, Futura, 1982.
4 Johnson, Philip, Darwin on Trial, p.111.
5 Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species, Ch. 6, Sixth Edition, 1872.
6 Woodward, Thomas, Darwin Strikes Back, p.142.
7 Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.
8 (REPORT, June 1966. “Confession of Professed Atheist,” A. Huxley)
9 Christian de Duve, Nobel laureate and organic chemist, “A Guided Tour of the Living Cell”.
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