A SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR INTELLIGENT INPUTby Charlie Wagner
Iíll try to summarize my data in such a way that it demonstrates the scientific processes that I used. As you probably know, empirical data can be either observational or experimental. Observations usually come first, and hypotheses are developed. When a sufficient number of observations are collected, a pattern emerges and a theory is formulated. Additional experiments are then performed in an attempt to falsify the theory. Of course, any theory is subject to new data which may or may not overturn it. I have proposed Nelson's Law and, so far as I can tell, it has not been falsified by any observational or experimental data and must be assumed to be highly likely to be true.
1. Initial observations: Over the years I have had occasion to examine large numbers of structures, processes and systems that exist on the earth. Included among these entities I offer the following examples: A washing machine, a pear tree, a computer, a waterfall, a dog, a mountain, the Grand Canyon, my daughter Leslie, an airplane, a tornado and an ice crystal. Note that these are just a few representative examples, there are thousands of other such examples.
I then attempted to divide these examples (and all of the others collected) into two groups, those that are complex machines and those that are not. It became clear that it would be necessary to define complex machine, which I have done.
A complex machine was defined as one in which multiple structures have multiple functions and multiple processes have multiple functions and the structures and processes are integrated in such a way that they support each other and they also support multiple functions. In addition, these structures, functions and processes are integrated into a system in such a way so that they all work together to support the overall function of the system.
The mousetrap is an example of such a complex, organized machine. Each part of the mousetrap, the platform, the holding bar, the spring, the hammer and the catch each have specific functions. And each of these functions are organized in such a way that they support the functions of the other parts as well as the overall function of the mousetrap, which is to catch mice. The function of the platform is to hold the parts, but itís there ultimately to facilitate the process of mouse catching. The function of the spring is to exert a force on the hammer, but itís ultimate goal is to enable the process of mouse catching. All of the parts have functions that not only support the other functions, but ultimately support the overall function of the device.
The examined entities could then be easily divided into 2 groups:
1. Complex machines: washing machine, pear tree, computer, dog, my daughter Leslie and an airplane. Each was carefully examined to insure that it met the required criteria.
2. Not complex machines: a waterfall, a mountain, the Grand Canyon, a tornado and an ice crystal.
Again, each was carefully examined to insure that they were not complex machines, as per the definition.
I then tried to further subdivide these entities into three groups:
1. Those that are the product of intelligent design: washing machine, computer, an airplane.
2. Those that are not the product of intelligent design and can be explained by random processes or known laws of physics: a waterfall, a mountain, the Grand Canyon, a tornado and an ice crystal.
3. Those that cannot be determined as above: pear tree, dog and my daughter Leslie.
Initial hypothesis: It appears that all observed complex, highly organized machines whose origins can be determined with certainty are the product of intelligent design. In every single observed case this is true. It also appears that all items that are not complex machines can easily be explained by known, natural or random processes. Therefore, it is hypothesized that all complex machines, including those whose origins are unknown are the product of intelligent design. This hypothesis can be falsified by demonstrating the existence of a complex machine that was not the product of intelligent design.
1. Since the hypothesis can be falsified by demonstrating a complex, highly organized machine that came into existence without intelligent input, a search was launched for such an entity. Thousands of machines of all types were examined and in every case where the origin could be established it was determined that intelligent input was required. No exception was found.
2. Attempts were made to encourage such machines to create themselves. Computer components were stored together in boxes but no assembled computers emerged. A bicycle that I bought for my granddaughter was stored in my shed, but no assembled bicycle emerged. Junkyards were observed before and after tornadoes, but no airplanes emerged from the experience.
Conclusions and discussion:
Every single complex, organized machine, meeting the definition above, whose origin could be determined, was seen to be the result of intelligent input. No complex, organized machines, meeting the definition above, whose origin could be determined was seen to assemble itself without the benefit of intelligent input. The conclusion is that all such machines, including those that have not been specifically examined are likely to be the result of intelligent design.
Living Organisms Living organisms are all found in the third category. They are biochemical machines that are complex and highly organized. Although their origin cannot be determined with certainty. It must be assumed that since all such known machines are the product of intelligent input, they too must have this as a requirement. Of course, this does not preclude the existence of a yet to be understood First Principle that might explain their origin. The nature of the mechanism and/or the intelligence involved remains undiscovered. All known mechanisms are incapable of generating this kind of organization, which requires insight to implement.
Based on these observations and experiments, Nelsonís Law is proposed.
*(Organization is not the same as order. One must be careful not to confuse organization with order. Thereís a lot of talk about ordered systems in the non-living world, snowflakes, tornadoes, etc. but this is not the issue. Order is simply a condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group. Like putting files in alphabetical order or using a sieve to separate items by size. Organization is a much different structure in which something is made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions of the system. Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by numerous examples.)
Every experience in our lives supports Nelsonís law. The bicycle I bought will never assemble itself without human input. I have used Heathkit radio equipment for many years. Never once did a kit come to my house and assemble itself without my intervention. My house doesnít paint itself, my flowers donít plant themselves and my broken window doesnít repair itself. Every increase in organization requires outside input. I have cars, televisions, dishwashers etc. in my house. Not one of these machines ever assembled itself from itís parts without intervention by a higher intelligence. Since living organisms are highly organized biochemical machines, why should I think differently about them? The organization of inorganic chemicals into living cells and the organization of these cells into tissues, organs and organisms required intelligent guidance. This guidance comes from the set of instructions found in the genome. Where these instructions came from remains a daunting problem in biology.
Intelligent Design and Religious Creationism
The notion of intelligent design has been hijacked by those with a religious agenda to promote. Almost all proponents of ID do in fact have a religious agenda and they must be stopped from disseminating their ideology in public schools. The trick is to separate legitimate scientific investigation of intelligent design from religious creationism. As it stands now, most scientists are afraid to even talk about the subject for fear of being misquoted or having their own words used as religious propaganda. This has had a chilling effect on legitimate science that may take decades to repair. Ideology has no place in any public school science classroom and it must be stopped wherever it occurs. But one must also recognize that there have also been zealots on the evolutionist side who want to teach mechanisms of evolution that have no empirical support. The answer is simple and clear. Religious creationism must be eliminated from school curriculums and darwinian evolution must be taught not as fact, but in it's historical context. There is enough factual science, from anatomy to zoology to fill any school's scientific curriculum with non-controversial, factual science. Any teaching of darwinian evolution or creationism or "the controversy" is nothing more than a waste of time that could be better spent on real science.
The Role of Science
Science is not in the business of proving things. It can only say what is most likely. In this regard, science uses the tool of inductive logic. We cannot prove that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow, but we conclude that it is highly likely, based on past experience. The most common type of inductive argument is the analogy and this is an argument by analogy. It is only as strong as its ability to persuade. My claim is that since no complex, highly organized system has ever bootstrapped itself into existence from nothing, that it is highly likely that living organisms, which fall into the same category, likewise required an intelligent author. In addition, no other known mechanism has been shown to be capable of this feat, which only strengthens the analogy. If you could show that a complex, highly organized machine has emerged without intelligent input, or if you can demonstrate a believable alternate mechanism or first principle by which this might have occurred, then my argument would be defeated.
The Problem of First Cause
One of the oldest problems facing humankind is the problem of "First Cause". Why is there anything, instead of nothing? When and how did it all start? Is it "turtles all the way down"? Evolution has the same problem of infinite regress. All evolved forms were modified from pre-existing forms. But is it just an infinite regression of pre-existing forms? When and how did it all start?
The question of First Cause has been addressed by Philosophers and Scientists since the beginning of time. No solution has been forthcoming, although I will offer one for your contemplation. The First Cause problem stems from the knowledge that everything in the world has a cause. Because of this, you eventually must come to a primary cause, which religions call God. But this begs the question: "who made god?". If everything must have a cause, then God too must have a cause. Religion says: "not so, God has always existed." and leave it at that. But I contend that if there is anything in the universe without a cause, it might as well be the universe itself, rather than God. Since I don't believe in God, there's only one option as far as I can see: the universe and the life in it have always existed. There's simply no reason for thinking that the universe had a beginning. Cosmologists seem to have an even different view. They claim that the universe came into existence without a cause. It's really only poverty of our limited human imagination that everything must have a beginning. For evolutionists, the question "where did life come from" may be no different from the question "where did matter come from?"
Arguments from Analogy and Inductive Reasoning
Inductive reasoning and analogy are the very basis of the scientific method. Almost all of science, including the Law of Gravity and Newton's Laws of Motion (as well as hundreds of other theories and laws) are based on inductive arguments and analogy. For example, the Law of Gravity is a generalization from a large number of observations. You cannot prove that an object that is released will fall to the floor, but since it has happened every time it was done, we say that there is a high probability that it will continue to happen. But this is not a certainty, by any means. This is a Law that is based on an argument by analogy. It takes one from a large body of observational evidence about specific occurrences and turns it into a generalization about how an object will behave in the vicinity of a large mass in future events. You also can't prove that if a force of 10 newtons is exerted on a mass of 10 kilograms that the mass will accelerate at 1 m/s^2. But since that has happened every time it was tried, then you can be fairly certain that it will continue to occur. This is a Law based on analogy. Laws of Physics (and most other laws of nature), are nothing more than human conventions. They are not handed down from God, written on stone tablets. These laws at which scientists arrive are statistical averages of just the sort that would emerge from chance. Since the Laws of Nature are mere descriptions of what happens and how things behave, there is no reason to suspect that they behave this way at the behest of some supreme lawgiver.
Characteristics of Intelligently Designed Systems
There is only one difference between intelligently designed systems and those systems which are the result of random processes. Randomly generated systems do not adapt means to ends, they do not adapt structure and process to function and they do not self-organize. And one must be careful not to confuse organization with order. There's a lot of talk about ordered systems in the non-living world, snowflakes, tornadoes, etc. but this is not the issue. Intelligently designed systems are beyond order, which is simply a condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group. Like putting files in alphabetical order or using a sieve to separate items by size. Organization is a much different structure in which something is made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions, such as exist in living organisms. Ordered systems can result from non-intelligent processes, as has been seen many times and cited by the examples given. But organized systems require intelligent guidance. They need to be put together with intent and their assembly requires insight. They need to be the product of intelligence because it is necessary to determine if they are functioning properly and that can only be achieved by insight. Since living systems display organization, they display means adapted to ends and structures and processes assembled to perform specific functions, it becomes self-evident that they are the product of a higher intelligence.
What is Organization?
A mousetrap has a quality called organization, which is much different from complexity or order. Each part of the mousetrap, the platform, the holding bar, the spring, the hammer and the catch each have specific functions. And each of these functions are organized in such a way that they support the other functions and the overall function of the mousetrap, which is to catch mice. The function of the platform is to hold the parts, but it's there ultimately to facilitate the process of mouse catching. The function of the spring is to exert a force on the hammer, but it's ultimate goal is to enable the process of mouse catching. All of the parts have functions that not only support the other functions, but ultimately support the overall function of the device. This type of organization is not obtainable without insight, and insight always requires intelligence. There is no way that these parts could be assembled in such a manner without insight. A mousetrap is a simple machine, made up of several structures and processes and exists for a purpose. The construction of the mousetrap was initiated with intent, and fashioned for a purpose. Living organisms are similarly machines, with structures and processes that work together to create a function. In fact, all complex, highly organized machines in which means are adapted to ends are the product of intelligent design. The important point is that the adaptation of means to ends, the adaptation of structure and process to function requires insight. A mousetrap is unevolvable without intelligent input, not because you can't take it apart without it losing it's function, it's unevolvable because you can't put it together in the first place using only random, non-directed, accidental occurrences. The selection of the parts, the configuration in which they're aligned, the assembly into one unit all require intelligent decisions at every step of the way. Similarly, living organisms show the same characteristics. It's not that you can't remove parts and lose total function, it's that you can't explain why these particular parts were selected, why they're integrated together in just such a way and how they were assembled from raw materials without invoking an intelligent agent.
BEHE'S MOUSETRAP REVISITED
In his book "Darwin's Black Box", Michael Behe discusses what he refers to as "irreducible complexity". He defines IC as "a single system, composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning". He goes on to say that "an irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directlyÖby slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition non-functional". He should have seen it coming. The critics had a field day with this because he handed them on a silver platter the means to defeat his claim. All the detractors had to do was to show that even if a part is removed some function, perhaps a different function, still remains and that there can be a workable but simpler form of the system. One can readily see by the most cursory of examinations that one could easily remove the platform and nail the other parts to the floor. Clearly Behe's mousetrap is not irreducibly complex when measured against the definition that he provided. Behe missed the boat by measuring irreducibly complexity against simpler, non-functional systems. He approached the problem backwards by saying that if any part was removed the system would become non-functional. He should have known better. But Behe was right about one thing. The mousetrap is unevolvable by random, non-directed, accidental processes but not for the reason he provided. The reason for this is that a mousetrap has a quality called organization, which is much different from complexity or order. Each part of the mousetrap, the platform, the holding bar, the spring, the hammer and the catch each have specific functions. And each of these functions are organized in such a way that they support the overall function of the mousetrap, which is to catch mice. The function of the platform is to hold the parts, but it's there ultimately to facilitate the process of mouse catching. The function of the spring is to exert a force on the hammer, but it's ultimate goal is to enable the process of mouse catching. All of the parts have functions that not only support the other functions, but ultimately support the overall function of the device. This type of organization is not obtainable without insight, and insight always requires intelligence. There is no way that these parts could be assembled in such a manner without insight. A mousetrap is a simple machine, made up of several structures and processes and exists for a purpose. The construction of the mousetrap was initiated with intent, and fashioned for a purpose. Living organisms are similarly machines, with structures and processes that work together to create a function. In fact, all complex, highly organized machines in which means are adapted to ends are the product of intelligent design. The important point is that the adaptation of means to ends, the adaptation of structure and process to function requires insight. Behe's mousetrap is unevolvable, not because you can't take it apart without it losing it's function, it's unevolvable because you can't put it together in the first place using only random, non-directed, accidental occurrences. The selection of the parts, the configuration in which they're aligned, the assembly into one unit all require intelligent decisions at every step of the way. Similarly, living organisms show the same characteristics. It's not that you can't remove parts and lose total function, it's that you can't explain why these particular parts were selected, why they're integrated together in just such a way and how they were assembled from raw materials without invoking an intelligent agent.
Hypothetical Evolutionary Pathways
All proposed gradual evolutionary pathways are suspect and many of these are totally bogus. If anyone thinks that a believable pathway exists that demonstrates that unguided evolution can result in highly organized structures and processes, I would like to know about it. Try to avoid using words like "appears", "is generated", "arises", and "evolves" if possible.
Since there is no limit to the ability of the human mind to dream up hypothetical scenarios, then if you use that as a guideline, anything is possible, rendering the conclusions meaningless. Just because something could have happened a certain way, doesn't mean that it actually did. There is a burden to demonstrate not only that it could have happened a certain way, but to provide plausible evidence that it actually did. So far I'm not convinced. Evolutionary biology has not demonstrated to my satisfaction that random mutations and natural selection are capable of producing the highly organized biochemical machines that are living organisms.
Living Systems are Unevolvable by Unguided Processes
Living systems are unevolvable for the same reason. Living systems are made up of structures and processes integrated in such a way that they not only support each other, but they contribute to the overall function of the living system. This type of organization, in which means are adapted to ends and multiple structures and processes perform multiple functions, all of which contribute to the overall functioning of the organism are unattainable by any kind of random process or chance occurrence. It requires insight and insight means intelligence. There's simply no way to get around that basic point.
Dissatisfaction with current Models
My dissatisfaction with current evolutionary models is not widely appreciated, but I'm used to holding a minority opinion and I would have to say that any of the so-called "experts" who claim that these models are anything more than mere speculation are misguided. I am familiar with manyl of the examples that have been proposed. I can say with great assurance that all are highly speculative with no empirical evidence to support them. They are nothing more than just-so stories. Anyone who claims to understand the evolution of the immune system, flagella or blood clotting system is being at the very least disingenuous.
In addition, let me caution you that I am NOT defending irreducible complexity and/or intelligent design creationism so spare me the references to the Discovery Institute and it's members.
The simple fact is that evolutionary biologists have never been able to establish a nexus between random mutations and changes in gene frequency in populations due to natural selection (both supportable claims) and the emergence of highly organized structures and processes such as are found in living organisms. Natural selection acts only on existing variation. The adaptations have to come into existence *before* natural selection can act on them so it is fair to say that only random processes are available to produce this variation.
Take a specific example, such as the eye. It is made up of many various structures and processes and all of these structures and processes are integrated in such a way so as to enable vision. Each structure and each process has its own specific function, which acts in support of the other functions and contributes to the overall function of the eye, to allow vision. In addition, this structure itself is integrated into the overall structure of the body and contributes to the maintenance of the living state.
It is my contention that the organization of these structures and processes and their assembly into a functional system required insight, and could not have been accomplished by random, accidental fortuitous occurrences. In order for your evolutionary view to prevail, you must somehow demonstrate that evolution has the power vested in it by you and you must demonstrate that random, non-directed processes such as mutation have the power to organize and assemble highly integrated systems in which means are adapted to ends. Until then, it's just a story, although I will admit, a pretty good story. After all, it's lasted for 145 years. But then again, Christianity was a pretty good story too, and it's lasted over 2000 years. I guess truthfulness is not a necessary requirement for longevity in the fairy tale business.
Problems with Evolutionary Theory
The argument by unsupported assertion is the foundation of modern evolutionary theory. The assertion that random, accidental, fortuitous mutations can somehow accumulate in such a way as to result in the appearance of complex structures, processes and systems is totally unsupported by observational or experimental data. It represents a huge leap of faith by evolutionary theorists. With respect to the eye, evolutionary biologists have proposed an arrangement of the various morphological forms of the eye into what appears to be a convincing series of steps leading from the simple eye cup of patella to the lens eye of nucella. While this is aesthetically pleasing and suggestive of gradual evolution of the eye, the fact is that there is no evidence at all that these examples represent phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphological transition from eye cup to lens eye. Similar errors in assuming gradual transitions have been made many times in the past and have proven to be apocryphal. The most well known example is the horse.
You are being fooled into believing that the impossible becomes possible if it is only broken down into a sufficient number of smaller steps, each of which, on it's own merits appears to be attainable. This is no different from a gambler who goes to Las Vegas knowing full well that he can never beat the odds, yet holding out hope that by some magical "system" he can build a fortune. The basic point is that we know from experience that random processes cannot result in organization, no matter how much we want to believe it. Any evolutionary mechanism that relies only on random processes and rejects intelligent input is doomed to failure no matter what clever debating tricks are used to make it seem possible.
Evolutionary theory would attribute to natural selection, the same kind of intelligent insight that an engineer employs when he designs and builds a complex, highly organized functional machine. But this model fails because the creation of the improvement must occur before natural selection acts. Natural selection can only act on existing variation, it has no power within itself to create new variation. The new variation, the improvements, so to speak, must occur as a result of purely random processes, which is known to be impossible.
The Alleged "Mountain of Evidence"
I am familiar with many of the papers published in journals that are often cited by evolutionary biologists as evidence that supports their theory. I'm sorry to report that not one of them provides any evidence, either observational or experimental that demonstrates that random, accidental events can ever accumulate in such a way as to result in the appearance of complex, highly organized and integrated structures, processes and systems. Some papers talk about information, which is irrelevant to the question. Evolution is not an increase in information, it's an increase in organization. Other papers talk about complexity. Again, complexity is a red herring that has nothing to do with evolution. Highly complex systems can be generated by random processes, but that's not evolution. Some papers point to computer simulations to support evolutionary theory. Digital simulations and genetic algorithms have absolutely nothing to do with the kind of evolution that is said to occur in natural settings and is likewise useless. What needs to be done is to connect mutation and selection to the emergence of highly organized systems in which numerous structures and processes perform functions that support other structures and processes as well as contribute to the overall function of the organism. Remember that living organisms are biochemical machines with characteristics similar to other machines. A computer, for example has a power supply whose function is to produce various voltages, disk drives for storage, a processor to do calculations, a monitor to produce images, etc. Each of these structures performs specific functions that support other structures and also support the overall functionality of the computer. No one would ever imagine that a computer could have been the result of random, accidental processes or that it could have been designed and built without intelligent input. Living organisms are no different. Humans have a heart to pump blood, kidneys to remove wastes, lungs to exchange gases, and a brain to direct all of these activities, each of which supports the other functions and also the overall maintenance of the living state. The design and assembly of such a machine could not have occurred without intelligent input anymore than your computer could have built itself.
Intelligent Design in the Peer-reviewed Literature
Evolutionists continually disparage intelligent design, saying that it's not science and chiding ID theorists for not publishing their work in "peer-reviewed" scientific journals. This is not true. There are hundreds, if not thousands of peer-reviewed articles that appear each year in highly regarded scientific journals that support intelligent design. The support is not in the interpretation or the 'spin" but in the data itself. There are a large number of papers published each year that provide prima facie evidence that there is more to what we see than can be explained by random processes and accidental mutations such as are described by neo-darwinian theory. Unfortunately, when interpretations of the data are offered, they invariable frame their conclusions in terms of the darwinian paradigm of common descent and selection, ignoring any suggestion that these results might have intelligent or purposeful components.