COMPLEXITY OF THE GENOME

Although evolutionary theory says all creatures descended from a common ancestor, when one looks at animals today (or in the fossil record), they appear to be unique creations with the ability to change to fit their environments. 

A creature’s ability to live and change is programmed at the deepest levels of the genome in ways we do not fully understand. It is inconceivable that it could have evolved by random chance.

What we can now see with an electron microscope is that the human genome works as a four-dimensional ‘computer’: our three billion letter sequence of DNA is able to turn sections of itself on and off; it is coiled into 3D fractal spheres where sections folded near each other combine to create new levels of information; it changes shape over time to expose different areas of DNA needed to create tens of thousands of different proteins.

This level of complexity is not just limited to the genome, but can be seen in the interdependent relationships between living creatures throughout every ecosystem. Such highly-engineered structures and relationships can only exist if they are created simultaneously in a short space of time — which is exactly how Genesis says God created in six normal days.

DIVINE DESIGN

A clinical look at life’s complexity, design, and ultimate causation

The universe, our planet, and life itself have the appearance of being designed. Even many atheists acknowledge this. But they are quick to dismiss it as an illusion—the product of time, chance, and the laws of nature. They say the science is settled: Everything just evolved; there was no intelligent input, and no design.

However, the scientific consensus is terribly wrong, as distinguished surgeon, David Galloway, shows in this new book about intelligent design. Drawing on extensive clinical experience with the human body, Galloway examines its complex, integrated systems, demonstrating that intelligent design is the only reasonable explanation. Galloway goes on to show how the idea that life and consciousness arose spontaneously is deeply unscientific and contrary to the evidence. He also helpfully explores the question, How can ‘science’ get things so terribly wrong?

Filled with fascinating examples (both from history, and Galloway’s own long medical experience), illustrated in full colour, and with a short ‘take home message’ at the end of every chapter, Design Dissected is an engaging read. It is written from an Intelligent Design perspective (i.e. it doesn’t directly discuss God or the Bible), and comes highly recommended by some of the biggest names in the Intelligent Design movement.

OVERVIEW (excerpt from the Introduction)
The structure of the book is built around three sections. Firstly, in Enigmata, I have outlined the means by which the great questions of science have been tackled. We will see how scientific truth has sometimes even been ridiculed before finding acceptance. We’ll discover how scientific conclusions can be contaminated by presuppositions of various kinds and consider reductionism as an enterprise to uncovering causation. To put it another way, we need to address the question of whether we can support the idea that natural processes are entirely sufficient to produce what we find in the living world, or not. I also offer a warning about the dangers of scientism – that is, the assumption that science is equipped to answer every ultimate question.
The second section, Layers of Perplexity, aims to reveal why the conventional understanding of the origin of life and of biological complexity fails to carry the intellectual weight it is required to bear. I have used examples from human systems and even considered the discipline of origin of life chemistry. Each of these demonstrates that a naturalistic understanding offers a completely inadequate explanation for the intricate and nuanced systems that underpin our existence.
The final section, Thinking about Thinking, opens the mystery of the origin of consciousness and asks the questions of ultimate reality that, for many, seem to be just too difficult and are therefore consigned to the ‘consider it later’ pile!
RECOMMENDATIONS
“[Galloway] argues that explaining the origin of such systematic organization [in the human body] as a result of purely unguided natural processes stretches the limits of credulity. Instead, he makes a compelling case that this integrated and informational complexity provides powerful evidence of real, not just apparent, design. A fresh and original discussion of the evidence of intelligent design in the living system. Highly recommended.” — Dr. Stephen C. Meyer
“By far the strongest evidence that a system was deliberately designed is the very structure of the system itself. … David Galloway regales the reader with tale after tale of the wonders of the human body—and of the disasters that result when a part fails. By the end of the book, his conclusion that the body was purposely designed becomes self-evident.” — Dr. Michael J. Behe
“I strongly recommend this most impressive and thought-provoking book.” — Prof. Frank G. Dunn
 AUTHOR – David Galloway is a Scottish surgeon who trained in Glasgow, London, and New York City. He conducted original research in the causes and cellular mechanisms of some common cancers and developed a specialist practice in their surgical treatment. He was a Consultant Surgeon in Glasgow and a Former President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He is also a Fellow of numerous medical and surgical Colleges and has held academic appointments in Glasgow, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong.

Available from Creation Ministries International – http://www.creation.com

DEBATING INTELLIGENT DESIGN

There’s no better tribute to the power of ideas than a changed mind. Erik Strandness is a physician in Spokane, WA, practicing neonatal medicine. He watched a new exchange between biochemist Michael Behe and computational biologist Joshua Swamidass on the excellent and always thoughtful series Unbelievable? with Justin Brierley. He writes to differ with Swamidass and to describe his own change of ideas, from theistic evolution to intelligent design.

Joshua Swamidass is a biologist and Christian who is strongly critical of ID. He engages with Behe on the Kitzmiller-Dover case and the ID proponent’s most recent book ‘Darwin Devolves’ which critiques evolutionary theory.

The timing and circumstances of Erik Strandness intellectual evolution aren’t totally clear from the article. It preceded the Behe/Swamidass discussion. But his account is a valuable read nevertheless. As Dr. Strandness points out, Professor Swamidass doesn’t call himself a theistic evolutionist, but “he seems to share its favorable stance towards evolution and its opposition to intelligent design.”

God in a Box

Strandness reflects on his Lutheran upbringing. He “always had a place for God in my life, but that was exactly my problem: I had a place for God in my life….Part of the reason I compartmentalized my faith was because I was a science guy and science told me I was just an evolved chemical.” The compartmentalization, characteristic of theistic evolution, was unsatisfying to him. “While Swamidass’ goal is admirably to harmonize Christianity and science, I feel like all he has really done is say it’s OK to live with the tension.”

The theme of disappointment with a theistic evolutionary approach runs throughout his essay:

Interestingly, many theistic evolutionists don’t find God under the microscope but do in the courtroom. It appears they are more convinced of God’s existence by the moral argument than the scientific argument. 

I’m glad that they find assurance for their faith in this minimalist approach, but it leaves a huge chasm between an awe-inspiring Big Bang and the appearance of morality and consciousness in human beings. A gap which they fill with a rather bland series of naturally selected mutations. 

They give God credit for the big-ticket items, but don’t want to bother Him with the mundane task of speciation. Sadly, they reduce the book of nature to a Rorschach ink blot that offers us a vague psychological rendering of God’s subconscious rather than fine biological literature that reveals the sharpness of His mind. 

Common Ground with Intelligent Design

On the other hand, Strandness, as a physician, finds common ground with Professor Behe and his arguments for the irreducible complexity of certain biological structures. Swamidass in the discussion on Brierley’s show says he believes “God was involved in the rise of humans but I don’t actually see any biochemical evidence of God’s design there.” Dr. Strandness does see that evidence, however.

I have to respectfully disagree with him because I treat my patients based on an irreducibly complex physiological template that I didn’t create, but which I dismiss at my own peril. I’m able to successfully practice medicine because my patients are fearfully and wonderfully made, not because they were naturally selected to survive.

Interestingly, a whole field of science called biomimetics has emerged that takes the superior design of irreducibly complex biological machines and tries to replicate them at the macro level. It appears that rather than dismissing design, science is beginning to imitate it as the sincerest form of divine flattery. 

Swamidass made the case that biological machines are not machines in the traditional sense. However, I think he would get some push back from the biomimeticists who know that nature has given them a template for a better mousetrap, which, if successfully replicated, will inspire the world to beat a path to their door. 

Strandness concludes:

Richard Dawkins famously said that Charles Darwin made it possible for him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, but I found that [intelligent design] made it possible for me to be an intellectually fulfilled Christian.

For me, it was sad to observe that both Behe and Swamidass were comfortable with man evolving from some apelike creature, and yet both claim to be Christians. It is obvious from this belief that both do not believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word nor do they spend much time reading God’s Word. It is difficult to comprehend how Swamidass believes that man is made in God’s image and at the same time could have evolved from an ape.

LIFE: OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN

Stuart Burgess is a Design Engineer. In this short video he presents the case for our planet being the result of intelligent design. Evolution is a failed theory to explain the complex systems that make up this universe. There is no mechanism to go from GOO to YOU. Natural selection can only choose from what is already created. It does not create any new structures. Mutations are loss of information not adding new information. Moreover, DNA that controls all the functions of cells is complex information and complex information has only one source intelligence.

ONE OF THE BEST ARGUMENTS FOR CREATION AGAINST EVOLUTION

SEX AND ALL IT ENTAILS IS ONE OF THE MOST TELLING ARGUMENTS FOR CREATION.

I’m referring to everything from that first moment of attraction between a man and a woman, to the complementary anatomical structures and organs that work so well together, to the millions of interactions that happen on the physical/hormonal/emotional levels, to the love and pleasure of two people becoming one flesh, to cells smaller than the head of a pin contributing 1.5 billion letters of DNA each in order to form a new 3 billion-letter blueprint, to the nonstop application of that genome as it rapidly develops into over 20 trillion cells and 200 types of tissue and hundreds of organs and meters of blood vessels all interacting together, to the final moment a fully-functioning, crying, squirming baby emerges from its mother 6,480 hours later. Surely, you would agree that’s mind-boggling.

Of course, it’s only a tiny fraction of what actually goes on with sexual reproduction. Just pick up an anatomy or biology textbook, or a book on pregnancy, and you quickly realise there are a crazy number of interconnections that are infinitely interdependent.

Sex is the perfect example of inconceivable irreducible complexity and design.

According to evolutionary theory, all of it ultimately happened by chance. Sex just came to be through a series of random processes, over long periods of time, without any overarching purpose. However, they just focus on the smaller questions such as the usefulness of splitting the genome between a male and a female, or how certain behaviours developed, or single-cell sexual reproduction.

What they don’t tackle is how sexual complexity originated step-by-step over hundreds of millions of years. In fact, when you actually consider the magnitude of the situation, 540 million years—the conventional date for the start of complex life—doesn’t seem like nearly enough time.

After all, it’s not just humans we’re talking about. It’s millions of species of extinct and living animals that have been, and still are, engaging in sexual reproduction. Each process is almost as complex as that between two humans, although each is also extremely different.

Insects, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals—there are hundreds of thousands of variations of sexual reproduction. From mating rituals to copulation to pregnancy to birth, the complexity just multiples as you examine the diversity of life.

Furthermore, it appears from the fossil record that sea-dwelling trilobites (now extinct) were also male and female. Trilobites are found at the lowest levels of the fossil record, occurring during the Cambrian explosion. In other words, male and female creatures just appear as male and female.

So how did the division of sexes come to be? The question of which came first during this long development, the male or the female, is an impossible question: don’t you have to have both to have offspring?

The truth is that sexual dimorphism—different, unique characteristics between males and females—is also a hard thing to explain from an evolutionary origins perspective. Sure, it’s easy to recognise the benefits of separating and recombining genomes, but how did all the trillions of uniquely integrated processes and parts and systems in all the different species first originate? And why do they all work so well?

Talking about sexual reproduction in cells doesn’t really address the problem. It’s like saying you’ve explained football by pointing to a few blades of grass; everyone knows there’s a lot more going on. If it’s impossible for us even to understand all the aspects of sex, it’s clearly impossible for it to have evolved in a slow, step wise fashion.

Instead, when you stop and think about it, Genesis provides a far better explanation. The immediate, fiat creation by God in a short span of time (just a few days) is a far better reason for all the incredibly complex aspects of sex.

But it’s not just that. Genesis also explains the purpose behind sex. And it’s a lot more amazing than most people realise.

A Divinely Human Experience

Ultimately, sex is about the joyful pleasure of personal relationships.

In this case, the sexual marital relationship between a man and a woman mirrors the spiritual marital relationship between Christ and the church. Paul explains it from Genesis, saying: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32)

Genesis explains why there is sexual dimorphism in people. We are made in God’s image to reflect His attributes and show forth the divine/human relationship as male and female: “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)

In other words, the man is to Christ as the woman is to the church. Paul explains: “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” and “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Eph 5:23,25)

Genesis explains why sex is placed within the structure of marriage. The covenant bond between a man and a woman reflects the covenant bond between Christ and His bride. (Rev 21:2)

Genesis also explains why sex is considered a wonderful, spiritual experience by many people. Unlike evolutionary theory—which sees sex as just a higher animal function—the Bible sees sex as an incredible gift from God, uniquely given to man to show forth His image. In fact, there are numerous Christians who have had spiritual experiences that rival or surpass what they have felt having sex.

Genesis explains why sex has an essential moral nature to it that everyone intrinsically understands. It’s why adultery is considered wrong in almost all cultures, Christian or not. It’s also why those who have had adultery committed against them always feel betrayed. The prophet Jeremiah observes that adultery is the same as idolatry (Jer 3:9), and mirrors the emotions of God when man betrays Him on a spiritual level.

In fact, almost all the sexual sins of our society can be traced back to spiritual issues.

Homosexuality emerges in a society as the result of worshipping the creature instead of the Creator (Rom 1:25-27); it mirrors man worshipping himself rather than worshipping Christ. This looks more like ‘the wife is the head of the wife as the church is the head of the church.’ Created similarities replace created differences.

As well, attempts to change gender are ultimately doomed to failure. The essential sexual dimorphism embedded in every part of the creation points to the essential distinctions between God and man. Just as man cannot truly become God, so too, a woman cannot truly become a man, nor a man a woman. In each of us, our maleness or femaleness is unchangeably stamped on over 50 trillion of our cells.

It is not until we understand the nature of sex, with all its power and complexity and importance, that we can begin to understand its significance both to God and to ourselves.

Talking about Sex

I realise many Christians avoid talking about sex and even get uncomfortable when it comes up. Few have heard it discussed openly in their churches or families.

Considering what’s going on in our culture, that probably needs to change. Sex is one of the essential parts of God’s creation, something only He could create in order to show forth His glory. If He dedicated an entire book of the Bible to it (The Song of Songs), it’s something we should strive to understand from a Biblical perspective.

After all, God put a deep fascination within us toward sex because He wants us to get a sense of the complex relationship He has with us. It’s no coincidence that the Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage.

So when evolution comes up next, start talking about sex, it will lead to a very interesting and unexpected conversation.