INERRANCY INSTALLMENT TEN

Chapter Four (Continued)

Instead of being on the defensive about evolution, we have reason to go on the offense, turning science’s exclusion of Scripture on its ear and scoffing at the scoffers. The reason for this cheerful outlook is the proliferation of well-reasoned books authored by experts in the fields of logic and microbiology that give intellectual substance to the viewpoint that while microevolution is a viable process, macroevolution is not. These new thinkers include microbiologists William Dembke and Michael Behe, legal scholar Phillip Johnson, and long-time science teacher- turned evangelist Kent Hovind.

Behe is the pioneering scientist who, in his Darwin’s Black Box, coined the term ‘irreducible complexity’ that describes a system for which all its components must be in their proper relationship to each other and fully functional for the device to function at all. The idea is that an irreducibly complex system could not have come about by the incremental process described as evolutionary, because it involved a set of changes that are so numerous and so lacking in utility until the very end that the assignment of chance led to numbers so astronomically high as to equate to the impossible, vividly demonstrating the inability of chance to have played a part even with the presumption of the enormous time periods that natural science has been fond of using. Instead, what was required was a Designer who had a vision of both the finished product and its purpose. Behe gave as one simple example a mousetrap with a wooden base upon which are mounted a number of parts including a trigger, spring, connecting lever and attachment staples, all of which have to be present in the proper form, fully functional, and mounted in the proper relationship to each other for the device to function. Another example in Behe’s list is a remarkable and much more complex bacterium which moves about by means of a rotating paddle called a flagellum.

At one time the opposition mounted a campaign based on the flagellum to discredit Behe’s concept. See here, they said. We can show that a key component of the flagellum is also present in another biological system whose function is entirely different than that of the flagellum. To which, if one thinks about it for more than a microsecond, the obvious answer is ‘so what?’ , because the concept of irreducible complexity has nothing to do with multiple utilization of components, but rather the manner in which in a specific system the components fit together to perform a useful function. It is like crying foul because the spring in Behe’s mousetrap can also be used to close a screen door. The false argument is recounted here as an example of the kind of shallow thinking that some people attempt to pass off as logical thought. It is nothing but a red herring, an attempt to bypass the fundamental issue with pointless arm-waving. As Paul said, it amounts to babbling, just as can be said of fossil dating by use of the nonexistent geological column, which itself had dates applied to it on the basis of embedded fossils, or of the host of other ultimately vain and useless arguments that our pseudosciences have trotted out in their attempts to separate science from Scripture. How interesting it is to find that two thousand years ago, the Holy Spirit informed the apostles in such detailed fashion of these very errors that we would encounter. How much more interesting it is to find that after the passage of these two thousand years, the Holy Spirit is equipping Christians with an abundance of knowledge to reassure ourselves of the validity those apostles’ comments.

Among Dembke’s books is his Intelligent Design, which he followed, along with co-author James Kushiner, with Signs of Intelligence. These highly important works place the intricate biological systems with which we are becoming increasingly familiar on the solid footing of information theory. By means of this tool, they have been able to quantify to some extent the relative utilities of chance vs. design in creating the systems under examination. Behe has authored another book, entitled The Edge of Evolution, based on his detailed examination of the mutation capacity of the malaria bacterium and the human body’s history of mutational response to it. This work also quantifies the observed ability of evolution over a very large number of generations and sets limits on its ultimate capacity to create change. What he found was that as a process evolution does indeed work, but never to the extent that new information is generated. The kind of change that is possible with evolution, he says, is on the order of environmentally-influenced skin coloration, or the creation of all the numerous breeds of dogs and horses that we see today from an initial pair of animals, such as may have populated Noah’s ark. Yet all of these breeding changes involved not the creation of information, but a loss. A short-haired dog cannot revert back to a long-haired one in a colder environment, because it has lost the information in its DNA to do so. It will die instead, along with its shivering mate and unfortunate offspring. While Behe’s findings have demonstrated the evolution-based efficiency of putting only the basic proto-animals on the ark, they have completely ruled out the ability of evolution to change a fish into a bird, an ape into a man, or, especially, life from non-life.

Thanks to these dedicated scientists, the largest wall constructed to date by Satan to block the readiness of thinking individuals to accept Scripture as inerrant is starting to show some massive cracks. As well it should: if God is indeed real, and if this ultimate Reality is represented by Holy Scripture, then the issue of intellectual limitation does not apply to the Word of God as the secular world would have us believe.

By what right does the arrogant skeptic think that science, metaphysics, and religion must be mutually exclusive domains? The truly exciting thing about the Word of God is that, if it is indeed given to us by Divine Inspiration by the Lord of creation, it will necessarily contain knowledge and wisdom about that creation. It will teach of things that we usually allocate to science and metaphysics rather than to the presently-assigned domain of the purely theological. We have noted a number of items presented in Scripture that serve not only to demonstrate its divine origin, but to give us understanding of the world about us that we usually attribute to the domain of science. Impressive as these numerous factors are, they represent but a tiny fraction of the information with which God has provided man to substantiate the truth of His Book. Furthermore, the accumulated knowledge of mankind over the millenia since our history began has opened but a tiny foothold in our ability to understand the depth of wisdom and knowledge contained in that Book, for even to our best and most devoted, godliest minds the unsearchable riches of Scripture remain largely untapped. Is it not the ultimate objective of the scientist and the metaphysician to comprehend the universe that God created? Does this universe not include even the mind that was made to comprehend it and its interaction with the world that it sees? And does it not also include the tools, both mathematical and physical, that man develops to facilitate that comprehension?

Yet, as we have said, we believe what we want to believe.

[to be continued]

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