googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Explaining Away Design

Friday, December 28, 2012

Explaining Away Design

Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?
Mark 8:18

There's an old, 70's song that says, “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.” I think the evidence for creation is kind of like that song; everywhere we look, we see evidence of design. It's blatantly obvious. The complex and orderly universe seems far more likely the consequence of an intelligent mind and purpose rather than the purposeless, random origin offered by secular science.

Organization is always evidence for design. If I found a small pile of stones stacked in the shape of a pyramid, I do not need to have seen it built to know that it's the product of design. The organized arrangement of stones is all the evidence I need to know there was a builder because organization always implies purpose and intent. Always! When we look at nature, we see design everywhere and design always implies a designer.

Have you ever heard an expression like, “Cheetahs are built for speed” or “Bird wings are remarkably well designed for flying”? Most of the time, when evolutionists use these words, they don't really mean to say these things are actually designed. Yet intended or unintended, they are admitting there is an apparent design in nature. A tired complaint I hear from evolutionists is that there is no evidence for creation. Evidence for design is everywhere but evolutionists refuse to see it because of their circular reasoning. That is, they've interpreted evidence according to their theory and now they can only see their theory in the evidence. To them, a fossil can't be evidence for creation because it's evidence for evolution. As a consequence, they refuse to see some of the most compelling evidence for creation even when it is right before their eyes.

Note that I said, “they refuse to see it” and not that they can't see it. Richard Dawkins, wrote about this very thing in his book, The Blind Watchmaker. In the book, he said, “The complexity of living organisms is matched by the elegant efficiency of their apparent design. If anyone doesn’t agree that this amount of complex design cries out for an explanation, I give up.”

It's been my experience that the most obvious answer to nearly any question is usually the correct one. You may have heard the old joke, “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?” The answer is, “To keep their pants up” but what makes the joke funny is that people will sometimes look for an answer other than the obvious one. That's what's going on here.

Question: Why does everything look designed?
Answer: Because it's designed!

Evolutionists may be blind and foolish, but most of them aren't stupid. They know the obvious implication of design. Yet not only do they refuse to accept design as evidence for creation, they also go to great lengths to explain to others why they too should not make that reasonable conclusion.

Julian Huxley said, Organisms are built as if purposefully designed, and work as if in purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim. But the truth lies in those two words 'as if.' As the genius of Darwin showed, the purpose is only an apparent one.”

That's just a fancy way of telling people, “I know everything looks designed but it only looks that way. It really isn't.” Huxley could see design. He knew that the most reasonable implication of design is the “purposeful pursuit of a conscious aim.” Nevertheless, he boldly denounced the obvious and correct answer.

Another shameless example of explaining away design comes from Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA. Crick said, Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see is not designed, but rather evolved.”

Gee. How more conspicuous can anyone be? Crick is overtly saying, “I know it looks designed but keep telling yourself everything evolved!”

Evolutionists go to great lengths to explain away design but the more they explain, the more they prove my point. They would not put in such effort if they didn't grasp the clear implication of design is that there is a Designer. It's almost funny to see how they reject the most reasonable answer for such an unlikely one. It's like they're saying, “No! The red suspenders do NOT keep their pants up!” 


Anonymous said...

Well said, as always. I visit your blog almost every day, always learning something new (on a old post, or new.)

Keep the good work brother. God Bless! From Brasil.

RKBentley said...

Thanks again, brother, for your kinds words and encouragement. I love knowing that my blog is being read in places that I could never reach any other way.

By the way, your English seems to be coming along wonderfully. I'm sometimes jealous of how well other people seem to learn languages when I consider how long it has taken me to learn the little bit of Greek I can read.

Please keep visiting and commenting. God bless!!


Anonymous said...

Well, Portuguese is very hard, even for brazilians. That helps to learn other languages, like english and spanish. I learn english watching sitcons and listining to audio books.

Anyway, your blog also helps, since is difficult to find appropriate things to read when you are a Christian.

"Please keep visiting and commenting. God bless!!"

I will, for sure. Could you write something about Penn Gillete? He is an atheist with horrible arguments for it. But somehow atheists love him. Would be interesting if you could point it out some of his falecies.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I got the name wrong, is Penn Jillette. Sorry.

Steven J. said...

It's been my experience that the most obvious answer to nearly any question is usually the correct one.

Ah, but that "nearly" is the crucial point. The obvious answer, the the ancients, of why a stone accelerated as it fell was that it was joyful to be approaching its proper place with other rocks on the Earth. For that matter, snowflakes notoriously look designed, but this appearance is the result of the laws of chemistry and physics at work in freezing water droplets.

For that matter, the obvious answer may change as one looks more closely. The explanation for the complexity and organization of living things ought also explain such features as, e.g. the teeth and hind limb buds that grow and are resorbed in embryonic baleen whales, or why the wings of flightless birds are built along the same lines as the wings of flying birds, even though they are not used for flight.

Indeed, a striking feature of the organization of living nature is that it falls into a "nested hierarchy" -- groups united by common features unique to that group, which form parts of larger groups united by a somewhat smaller number of common features unique to the entire larger group, and so forth. Designed and manufactured artifacts don't do this: we find nothing odd, for example, in identical GPS units or radios being shared between a sedan and a sports coupe but not between two sedans.

Observed processes of nature -- reproduction, inheritance, mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift -- can account for these features. In that sense, evolution is the "obvious" explanation for them.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Thanks for your comments. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a happy New Year!

I try to choose my words carefully but I'm still the occasional victim of poor judgment. However, when I used the words “nearly” and “usually,” I was very deliberate. The obvious answer may usually be the correct one but I know too that first appearances can be deceiving.

I believe the quotes I cited sufficiently prove that many renown evolutionists agree that there is at least an appearance of design in nature. Correct? I believe they also demonstrate that these same evolutionists recognize that the appearance of design implies purpose and intent which is why they're so quick to explain away the reasonable conclusion that design suggests there is a Designer.

Like I said in my post, evolutionists may be blind and foolish but they're not stupid. Certainly they have invented a theory that potentially explains how we have the appearance of design without an intelligent Designer. If ToE didn't at least address these things, it could not have survived as a theory. Yet a semi-plausible sounding alternative is not necessarily the correct alternative. Your alternative explanation doesn't necessarily rebut the reasonable conclusion that things look designed because they were designed.

By the way, you've heard me before say that creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence but have different theories to explain the evidence. I remind you that is still true. Design in nature is evidence for a Designer so I can say there is evidence for creation. You may have a different theory to explain the same evidence but the evidence for creation exists not withstanding.

Finally, I concede there are things about creation I still have trouble understanding (though the items you've mentioned are not among them). Yet I know that creation is true and I won't abandon what is true on the flimsy grounds that I don't understand everything about it. Do evolutionists do less? Consider ants. In an ant colony, worker ants are sterile. Sterility plays an important role in the social structure of the ant. Now tell me, how could the trait of sterility have evolved? Sterile animals don't pass on any traits since they have no offspring. Evolutionists invent fanciful stories to explain how such a thing can be but I don't see them chucking their whole theory over it.

Thanks again for you comments. God bless!!


RKBentley said...


I think I remember you using JJS as your signature in a previous comment. Is that right? I would rather address you as something a little more personal than, “Mr. Anonymous.” Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you'll be a frequent reader to my blog. Keep in mind that I don't worry about copyright so please feel free to copy and paste anything you find here and share it in other forums. I need help getting the Word out!

I normally don't correct people's spelling when they leave comments because I know my own blog is rife with typos. But since you're learning English, I thought I might point out a few just to help you as you learn. Please know that I offer this in love.

“Sitcom” is an abbreviation for “situation comedy.” Sometimes an English “m” sounds like an “n.”

“English,” “Spanish,” and “Brazilians” are proper names so they should be capitalized.

The other misspellings were “listening” and “fallacies.”

I'm impressed by your grasp of English grammar. I'm not sure how different English sentence structure is from Portuguese but you've made the transition well. You also place your commas better than some native English speakers. Like I said, I'm jealous!

Concerning Penn Jillette, I think part of his appeal may by due to the simple fact that he's just a likable guy – unlike someone like Dawkins who just oozes snobbery. The comedy team of Penn and Teller has been very successful. I also watched Penn compete in the most recent season of Celebrity Apprentice and was more impressed by him than most of the other celebrities on the show. Penn sort of reminds me of the Amazing Randi. I actually like hearing them both debunk things like psychics, but they make the mistake of lumping Christianity in with the paranormal.

I've written before that the only rational worldview is a biblical one. All other worldviews are like houses built on sand – they cannot stand up to scrutiny. Penn's arguments against God and the Bible are indeed just as fallacious as any other atheist's. I have posted atheist's videos on my blog before and discussed them. I'll definitely review a couple of his videos and comment on them. Thanks for the suggestion.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I'm looking forward to hearing more of your comments.

God bless!!


Steven J. said...

Consider ants. In an ant colony, worker ants are sterile. Sterility plays an important role in the social structure of the ant. Now tell me, how could the trait of sterility have evolved?

In a way, it's just an extension of multicellularity: most of the cells in your body don't pass their own genes on to the next generation; they aid in passing on copies of those genes that are in cells in your gonads. In the case of an ant colony, the worker ants work to assist the queen in passing on copies of her (or their -- some ant species have multiple, identical twin queens per colony, and some have a minority of breeding workers), which are also copies of their own genes. For most ant species, this is readily accounted for by "kin selection:" if a particular behavior increases the number of copies of your genes in the next generation, it doesn't matter whether those genes come from your body or near kin.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

I hope you had a wonderful New Year.

Like I said, evolutionists invent fanciful stories to try to explain away the more thorny issues of their theory. Your response is one example of that. Is there observable, repeatable, testable evidence for what you've told me?

Also, you've kind of told me how it works but you haven't really told me how it evolved. That supposed first, sterile ant ancestor could not have passed along the trait of sterility.

God bless!!


Todd Williams said...

Thanks for the post, Robert. I read a lot of what I believe is nonsense about nested hierarchies and how they are evidence against a designer. Here is one excerpt I read today:

"The big point is that the nested hierarchical structure supports common descent, and is evidence against design, because a designer would have a far larger repertory of modules to swap in as needed. For instance, why doesn't man have the eyes of an owl, the speed of a cheetah, the hearing of a dog?"

When believers in evolution (yes, believers) assert that they know how God SHOULD have created were He to exist, they always end up sounding naive (to put it nicely). I could ask the same silly question of evolution, "If humans are the most highly evolved of all mammals, why don't we have the most effective sight, hearing, etc?" There are always answers from evolutionists for questions like this...answers that, like you say, are really only telling a story since the phenomenon has not been observed.

Answers such as:

1. We are still evolving, so we haven't arrived there yet.
2. Or maybe we won't evolve to have an owl's night vision because we're not required to hunt for food at night to survive...and if we had to, we could still use flashlights or oil lamps which would throw a wrench into our ability to evolve in this way.
3. We might have evolved to have better night vision if not for our ancestors' ability to make fire.

It's really easy to storytell when all you have to do is fit the fable within the contructs of natural selection and mutation.

I also hear a lot about how the nested hierarchy cannot be a human creation, and that it cannot be compared to a similar hierarchy for automobiles, for example. Steven J. has done this a few comments earlier, and I'm not exactly following what he's saying about GPS units in respect to coupes and sedans. This from EvoWiki:

"An animal that produces milk (Mammals), will also have hair, have four limbs, be endothermic (warmblooded) plus possess many other characteristics."

I could easily say in the nested hierarchy of automobiles:

"A sedan that produces carbon monoxide, will also have paint, have four wheels, and have an internal combustion engine plus possess many other characteristics."

RKBentley said...


The nested hierarchy is way overrated. It only proves that animals can be grouped into a nested hierarchy. Nothing more.

When I was in about the 7th grade, we had a science project (published in the text book) where there was a drawing of several mythical creatures like harpies, pegasi (the plural of Pegasus), sphinxes, and several others that I think were invented. The object was to create a classification system that would group the animals by their characteristics (i.e. “has wings,” “four legged,” etc). We had to have enough groups to include every creature but it had to be narrow enough so that one creature couldn't be placed in several groups. Everyone in the class was able to do it even though we all made different groups.

I think what the exercise proved wasn't what it intended. Here's what I take away from the exercise 1) either these mythical creatures are evolved or 2) evolutionary relatedness isn't necessary for animals to be grouped into a hierarchy.

You've made great points, as always. Please keep them coming!

God bless!!