Then there's the issue of sentience…

The Little Red Wagon

Steve Coerper        

Preserving original information, and creating new information, are two problems for which Darwinism has no answers.

Dr. David Stone recently posted an item on his blog entitled What's In Your Genetic Future? in which he discusses work done by John C. Sanford.  The specific issue discussed is called genetic entropy which is the precise term for the fact that genetic information deteriorates over time.  Darwinists must insist on the opposite:  that genetic information actually improves over time because harmful mutations are refined out of the gene pool by natural selection, and the quality of the information remaining is preserved.  Based on what we know of cellular biology and the real world, is this either reasonable or demonstrable?

Dr. Stone writes:

Sanford poses an analogy of the evolution of vehicles, starting with a little red wagon, built from a manual with detailed assembly instructions.  Each wagon exiting the manufacturing plant has its own manual taped to the bottom, a manual generated by a myopic scribe who copied the previous version.

But the scribe makes mistakes.  If the quality control inspector (natural selection) finds the wagon functional, he authorizes another wagon, built from the slightly erroneous manual attached.  The myopic scribe makes another copy of the manual, adding a few more typos, to attach to the new wagon.  Over time, and many generations of wagons built by increasingly erroneous manuals, what do you expect?

The errors – mutations – are random and cannot be fixed individually.  The inspector selects only at the wagon (organism) level.  Will the process produce better wagons?  Some biological mutations are not just nucleotide substitutions (point mutations).  Mutations can include duplication of DNA segments or even whole genes, analogous to lines of text or whole pages in the wagon’s manual.  Does a duplicate page imply more information?

Sanford argues that the overwhelmingly likely outcome is dysfunctional little red wagons.  Misspellings, substitutions, and duplications – typographical errors – will not turn wagons into automobiles, planes, Space Shuttles, or Star Ships.  Analogously, the complexity difference between wagon and Star Ship is far, far less than between microbe and man.  And from raw materials to that first microbe – there is no analogy because even a microbe’s biotechnology far surpasses that of any supercomputer or any construct of man.

I think this analogy is both fair and clarifying.  If there really were such a thing as evolution — based on blind chance and random, undirected mutations — we would not expect that any "working model" would deteriorate.  Rather, we would expect to see new information or new features, or improvements.  But here in the real world where evolution is supposedly taking place, that is not the case.  This is because entropy is what it is, and because entropy — the tendency toward randomness, deterioration, or decay — is a characteristic of the world as it really is.  One need not "believe in entropy" as some sort of abstract principle or article of faith.  The evidence of its reality is clearly manifest.  As Paul Simon sang many years ago, "everything put together sooner or later falls apart."

One would think that the evolutionists would at least concede that, though they might offer the conjecture that, at some time in the past, entropy was the exception rather than the rule, and the tendency of the natural world was toward order, increasing functional complexity, and genetic preservation.  But to argue that things just appear to be designed, but really are simply accidents of a purposeless process that cannot be observed certainly seems to be a fool's errand, to be charitable.

This, however, is where at least some evolutionists are willing to take a stand for Darwinism.  Richard Dawkins wrote in The Blind Watchmaker (1996) that "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." (page 1) and repeated it 35 pages later: "Animals give the appearance of having been designed by a theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious physicist or engineer…"

They aren't really designed; they just look like it.  It would be almost funny if the results weren't so tragic.

But supposing, for the sake of the discussion, that the little red wagon actually became more mechanically sophisticated through the accumulated errors of the myopic scribes who replicate the plans.  At what point of development does the little red wagon become self-aware?  This is a huge problem for evolutionists, and it at least is helpful in moving the argument from the area of "science" (which it isn't) to the proper arena:  philosophy.  A sentient living thing arising through some long process that depends totally on physics, chemistry, replication (more-or-less), the unguided "selection" of those products of the process that are the most "fit" — and then voilà — at some point a threshold is crossed, and the little red wagon has self-awareness.  If this is solely a result of biology and chemistry, one would have to ask:  what's the formula for self-awareness?  What is its chemical composition?  How much do you need?  How much does it weigh?  And where in the little red wagon is it located?

Silly?  Perhaps, but this is where evolutionism necessarily leads.  At some point in the evolutionary process, the life-form "evolving" into homo sapiens must have become self-aware.  Amoebas don't appreciate good music.  It's been argued that plants respond to music, and that the response is more favorable to classic music than it is to acid rock.  But it's an unwarranted stretch to say trees have self-awareness or that they APPRECIATE good music.  And that begs the question anyway:  if we're totally the result of chemistry and physics, what's the chemistry for self-awareness?  We can't really know if plants have self-awareness, but we know that WE DO.  How and from what does it "evolve"?

It doesn't. 



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