There’s nothing random about evolution.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” The misuse of language in order to deceive is one of the central themes in George Orwell’s famous novel Animal Farm. The pigs in the novel outrageously distort the word equal in order to prevent the other animals from perceiving the great inequality present on the farm. Much like the pigs in Animal Farm, atheists such as Richard Dawkins do not shy from such distortions of language to promote their agenda. Indeed, a little digging reveals some of the most prominent arguments in support of atheism to be notably, well….Orwellian.
Doubtlessly the most prominent argument in favor of atheism in the last 150 years has been Darwinian evolution. Since the process of evolution is random (advanced by the random mutation of genes and natural selection of offspring) and purposeless—-so the argument goes—-there is no need to invoke an intelligent creator such as God to explain the origin of life.
Indeed, the real conflict is not between Christianity and evolution. Rather, the real conflict (as the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga points out in his book Where the Conflict Really Lies) is between Christianity and atheistic philosophical add-ons to evolutionary theory. Despite atheist rhetoric to the contrary, Christians do not deny evolution since the term evolution only means change over time…when stripped of philosophical add-ons such as the insistence that this change over time is driven by random and purposeless (rather than intelligent and goal driven) processes. Most Christians objecting to evolution are really objecting to evolution with the atheistic philosophical add-ons of randomness and purposelessness.
It is just that an enormous amount of distortion (and outright denial) is necessary to apply the terms random and purposeless to evolution…especially in light of the science which has emerged since the time of Charles Darwin.
Atheists such as Dawkins forget that randomness can never be verified
First of all, as Perry Marshall points out in his book Evolution 2.0, it is possible to prove that a pattern is non-random, but there is no mathematical procedure for proving that a pattern is random. Atheists can only assume that genes mutate randomly…because their worldview demands it. But the random mutation hypothesis can never be verified, and therefore it stands in opposition to the scientific method itself.
Marshall cites the renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin from his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:
“Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”
Evolution is directed, not random…but Dawkins leaves this out.
But the fundamentally unscientific nature of the random mutation evolutionary hypothesis is only its first problem. Marshall continues by calling attention to the research which has proven that evolution is clearly NOT random. Scientists such as the famous evolutionary biologist and geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky conducted six decades of research in which fruit flies were exposed to radiation in order to induce the mutation of genes, with the intent of accelerating evolution. But after 60 years of research, and despite the fact that a new generation of fruit flies occurs every 11 days, no new species emerged, or even a new enzyme. Rather, the only results are what amount to frankenflies, including mutant fruit flies with legs growing out of their heads where their antennae belong.
So, if it is not random, how does change over time (the definition of evolution stripped of its atheistic philosophical add-ons) really happen?
“Remember the fruit fly experiments? [Nobel Prize-winning biologist Barbara] McClintock’s experiments were similar. She too used organisms damaged by radiation. She discovered that radiation broke chromosomes and triggered editing systems in real time. Cells would reconstruct the damaged chromosome with another section of radiation-broken genetic material.”
“…Barbara McClintock had discovered that plants possess the ability to recognize that data has been corrupted. Then they repair it with newly activated genome elements, and in the process of repairing the data, the plants can develop new features!”
Random mutation and natural selection is not what drives evolution (as Darwinism insists). Rather, directed processes drive evolution. The directed process mentioned above is known as transposition, and amounts to a cut/copy/paste of genetic information within a cell. The discovery of transposition won Barbara McClintock the Nobel Prize in biology, and her face on a U.S. postage stamp.
And despite the fact that no legitimate biologist denies transposition, Marshall notes, it is noticeably absent from popular presentations of evolution, such as in books by atheistic evolution promoters Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. Scientists with an atheistic agenda do not wish to call attention to directed evolutionary processes such as transposition.
Physicist Amit Goswami echoes Marshall’s point about the directed (as opposed to random and mindless) nature of evolution in his book Creative Evolution: A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Atheistic scientists argue in favor of upward causation, in which elementary particles make atoms, which make molecules, which make living cells, which make the brain, which produces consciousness. According to the upward causation model, then, everything begins with elementary particles, and winds up with consciousness (in human brains), as the result of mindless and random processes working over millions of years. But, as Goswami points out, downward causation (in which a consciousness comes first) is the actual state of affairs:
“The new evidence suggests that certain bacteria, when threatened with mass starvation, accelerate their own mutation rate to evolve to a new species that can survive on the available food (Cairns, Overbaugh, and Miller 1988). This behavior is called directed mutation. Critics of directed mutation point out that under starvation perhaps the mutation rate of all the genes is enhanced, not just the one needed for survival. But even so, the question remains: What enhances the mutation rates? The correct explanation is to see this phenomenon as direct evidence in favor of downward causation (Goswami and Todd 1997) and the causal efficacy of organisms, as also propounded by organismic biologists.”
Mind comes first, matter comes from mind
So what (or rather who) is responsible for this downward causation? Goswami responds that the only answer can be God, in part because an immaterial conscious mind is required to explain the famous “observer effect” in physics. The “observer effect” refers to the conclusion of modern physics that, prior to observation by a conscious observer, particles exist only in an immaterial form known as a possibility wave (or probability wave). It is only after an observation is made by a conscious observer that these possibilities “collapse into actuality,” thereby taking on material form. Readers who find this bizarre or difficult to understand are in good company. Even the world’s most elite physicists are amazed and puzzled by the observer effect. However, it has been repeatedly scientifically verified. [Please click here to watch a video explaining the observer effect.] Goswami writes:
“If the idea of downward causation were an isolated idea invented to solve the special problems of fast-tempo evolution and purposiveness of life, if it were needed nowhere else in science, then it could not be called a scientific idea, end of story. But the intriguing situation is this: The idea of a God as an agent of downward causation has emerged in quantum physics (Goswami 1989, 1991, 1993, 2000, 2002; Stapp 1993; Blood 1993, 2001) as the only legitimate explanation of the famous observer effect. (Readers skeptical about this statement should see these original references, especially Goswami 2002.)”
Downward causation (in which a conscious agent comes first) is no doubt a bizarre (even mind-bending) concept for persons raised in a culture which has deeply entrenched assumptions supporting the upward causation model. But, far from being a fringe concept, downward causation is a virtually undeniable conclusion of modern physics, as Goswami notes.
Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University agrees with Goswami that downward causation by God is the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from modern physics:
“Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]
Indeed, the founder of quantum physics himself, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Max Planck, was referring to downward causation, in which a conscious mind (read: God) comes first, and produces matter, when he wrote:
“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
Planck also wrote:
“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
Similar to Planck, the Nobel Prize-winning, Harvard University biologist George Wald discusses how his science led him to embrace the downward causation model, in his address to the Quantum Biology Symposium titled Life and Mind in the Universe:
“It has occurred to me lately—I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities—that both questions [the origin of mind and the origin of life from nonliving matter] might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality—the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science-, art-, and technology-making animals.”
(Please also read my post titled How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading to learn why DNA is a language in a literal (not metaphorical) sense. Only a mind can produce a language).
Random evolution is mathematically impossible
As if to kick a dead horse, I must call attention to a final nail in the coffin for the random mutation evolutionary hypothesis: It is flat-out mathematically impossible…in addition to being wrong and unscientific. The vast majority of mutations are harmful, and an organism cannot evolve from random mutations with such a state of affairs. Cambridge University physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, despite being atheist, admits in his book Mathematics of Evolution:
“The reason why most mutations must be bad is of course that random changes made to any complex structure lead to many more downward steps in the operating efficiency of the structure than to upward steps. How the occasional lucky improvement is to lead to positive evolution is a puzzle that has disturbed many mathematicians.”
Most people intuitively know that unintelligent and random processes do the exact opposite of organize and create, and therefore do not need the assurance of elite physicists and mathematicians. This includes atheistic biologists such as Richard Dawkins, who writes in his book The Blind Watchmaker:
“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
It is just that intense ideology requires atheist scientists such as Dawkins to ignore their intuition. Regarding this point, and Dawkins’ above comment, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek comment in their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist:
Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA and another ardent Darwinist, agrees with Dawkins about the appearance of design. In fact, the appearance of design is so clear he warns that “biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” Crick’s little memo to biologists led Phillip Johnson, author and a leader in the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, to observe, “Darwinian biologists must keep repeating that reminder to themselves because otherwise they might become conscious of the reality that is staring them in the face and trying to get their attention.”
Let the pigs on the farms known as academia and the media continue to fool themselves, but don’t let them fool you into believing that words such as random, undirected, and purposeless can be applied to life or evolution.