In Part Thirteen we discussed developmental phenotypic plasticity and saw how it provides observable phenotypic change in organisms within relatively short periods of time.  We saw this change to occur as a result of non-random genetic response.  This response is non-random in so much as it is generated by environmental triggers and so does not occur fortuitously. 

       Phenotypic plasticity provides us with an observable alternative to the non-observable neo-Darwinian concept of random genetic mutation being responsible for the evolution of life forms over millions of years.  As already discussed in this series, genetic mutation is seldom advantages to an organism and therefore it is highly problematic that it could be the primary mechanism whereby organisms have evolved. Not only are mutations disadvantages to an organism, they are in most cases outright destructive.  They do not increase useful genetic information but are often seem to diminish useful genetic information. I use the word “useful” as it could be argued that any change in genetic information results in there being information that was not there before and therefore it is new information.   

     Genetic information: 

       Genetic information is seen as arrangements of the letters of the genetic code. These letters are called nucleotides or nucleotide bases and are represented by the letters A, T, C and G. It is the various combinations of these letters that make up the genetic code which is found in the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) which is largely found in the nucleus of cells. Here is where all the information necessary to build, maintain and reproduce an organism is found. Strands of DNA are called chromosomes. In most cells, humans have 22 pairs of these chromosomes plus the two sex chromosomes (XX in females and XY in males) for a total of 46.

       It is the various arrangements of the four nucleotides that carry all the information necessary to build cellular machinery.  The nucleotides are not the information but are the carriers of the information.  This is analogous to a fax.  Information is typed unto a piece of paper and sent via a fax machine to another person. The paper, ink, fax machine, etc. is not the information.  It is what carries the information from one place to another. Similarly, when human thought generates information and such information is transferred to an audio tape, the tape is not the information but the carrier of the information.  Likewise, the nucleotide is not the message but the medium carrying the message.     

       Does the information containing genetic code develop from the fortuitous arrangement of physical chemicals that make up the nucleotides or is there a non-physical component involved?  Is there a non physical intelligence involved and at what point can a distinction be made between such non-physical intelligence and the physical components that appear in the information system called the genetic code.  We know that all humanly constructed information systems result from the application of human intelligence. 

       It would logically follow that intelligence is also behind the information systems found in the genome. Most evolutionary biologists, however, reject this conclusion.  While often admitting that biological organisms have the appearance of intelligent design, it’s concluded that such design is only illusory. They conclude life only looks designed but really results from fortuitous arrangements of chemicals that have always existed in space and time. 

       This conclusion rests on the foundation of Darwinian and modern Neo-Darwinian belief that natural selection acting on random variation (classical Darwinism) or random mutations (Neo-Darwinism) can mimic the effects of intelligence and produce replicating living organisms devoid of  conscious intelligent design.

       We see man using his intelligence to breed faster horses by simply mating faster males with faster females. Evolutionists point out that the same thing can happen naturally in nature without intelligent direction. Faster horses can out run predators while slower horses cannot.  Therefore, slower horses diminish in number while faster horses increase in number.  It’s called survival of the fittest and seemingly has nothing to do with intelligent direction or design. 

       Darwin taught that given enough time, all life forms gradually came to be through this process. Darwin saw environment naturally selecting variations in organisms and therefore being the driving force behind the occurrence (evolution) of the great diversification of life forms. Upon discovery of genetics, evolutionists concluded genetic mutation is responsible for the random variation postulated by Darwin and it is this mutation produced variation that is acted upon by natural selection.  Thus Darwinism became known as Neo-Darwinism.

       Darwin readily admitted to not knowing how life began.  His focus was on how life developed after having begun.  Many early evolutionists believed life began through intelligent design with there being a variety of perspectives as to who/what was the source of such intelligent design.  It was believed that mind or intelligence preceded matter.  However, with the advancement of chemistry and the discovery that organic chemical compounds found in living organisms could be synthesized from inorganic elements, it began to be believed that science could experiment with combining various chemical elements and ultimately produce self replicating life. 

       The science community began to believe that matter preceded mind rather than mind preceding matter. It came to be believed that everything that exists has come about as a result of chemical elements fortuitously coming together.  Intelligence came to be seen as the interaction of chemical elements as well. This view is often called scientific materialism as it is believed to be supported by scientific evidence. This view postulates it is matter, and not a supernatural intelligence, that has always existed and is eternal. Under this view, all existence, including the existence of intelligence, is the result of the fortuitous activity of chemical elements that exist independent of a supernatural intelligence. 

       A 1998 survey based on a self-selected sample of biological and physical scientists of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States found that 7% believed in the existence of God, 72.2% did not, and 20.8% were agnostic or had doubts.

     Genetic mutation:

       Nucleotides appear in a particular sequence in the DNA and when that sequence is in some manner rearranged, it is said a mutation has occurred. Mutations are analogous to word processing errors that may occur when copying a text.  In copying a text, words are sometimes misspelled, left out, substituted with other words, etc.  Depending on the extent of such copying errors, the text could end up saying something different from what was originally intended.  Mutations are substitutions, deletions, insertions, duplications and inversions of the nucleotides as they are being copied to create new cells.

       As discussed in Part Thirteen, when cells divide, they make a duplicate set of their chromosomes which are passed on to the newly created daughter cells. When the chromosomes duplicate, they don’t always do a perfect job copying the encoded information (nucleotides) on the DNA. Therefore, errors are produced. These are called point mutations as they involve rearrangement of specific nucleotides in the DNA. It is believed by Neo-Darwinists that it is these copying errors (point mutations) that are responsible for evolutionary development of organisms. Is this the case?  Is this even possible?

       There are over three billion nucleotides in the human genome. It has been experimentally shown that each nucleotide contributes in a tiny way to the overall construction of the genome. Every letter plays some role in genetic construction. At the beginning of genetic research, it was believed that much DNA was neutral because no identifiable function could be found and therefore no contribution to the viability of the cell could be identified. It was even given the name, “junk DNA.”  As genetic research has continued, more and more DNA has been identified as having specific function and therefore not neutral.       

       Evolutionists have often criticized creationists by pointing to “junk DNA” as an example of a very imperfect genome which is filled with useless information, mistakes and fragmentation's and therefore reflects millions of years of random genetic activity rather than the product of intelligent design. It is asked why an intelligent designer would produce such an imperfect product. 

       In June of 2007, a group of geneticists concluded the human genome is more complex than previously thought and most nucleotides not only have specific function but are poly-functional in that they play multiple functional roles. For example, non-protein coding DNA that was previously thought to be “junk DNA” has since been found to direct the production of RNA that regulates the activity of protein coding DNA, controls RNA processing editing and splicing, regulates DNA replication, repairs DNA and provides a host of other functions. There doesn’t appear to be any such thing as “junk DNA.”  I highly recommend reading the 2009 published book entitled Signature in the Cell, by Stephen C Mayer for much greater elucidation of this issue. 

       In 2003 the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project was initiated.  This project was designed to examine the function of the billions of letters that make up human DNA. By 2012 they had determined that 80% of the letters making up the human genome had significant levels of biochemical function and were not useless non-functional remnants of our evolutionary past as evolutionists had originally claimed.  In view of these findings, the head of ENCODE has predicted that the human genome will prove to be 100% functional.   

       Geneticists are coming to believe there is no such thing as an entirely neutral DNA where nucleotides have no specific function.  Every nucleotide interacts with some other nucleotide in the formation of code.  This would be akin to every letter of the essays you are reading having function in the overall production of this fifteen part series. 

       We humans learn language which we then use to express thought. The language is not the thought itself but is the vehicle whereby thought is expressed.  Darwinists conclude that human thought is simply generated by physical elements behaving in a certain manner in the physical brain and nothing more. Thought is seen as brain chemistry in action. Now it is true that brain chemistry is necessary to experience and express thought. When brain chemistry is altered through injury or disease the thought process can be greatly altered. Alzheimer’s disease is an example of this. We physical Beings use brain chemistry to experience and facilitate thought.

       But from where is thought generated? From where does thought come from? How are ideas generated that lead to the design and creation of countless material objects, events and procedures?  Darwinists would say ideas are generated by the physical components of brain chemistry.  But is this the case?  Is there a non physical component present in humans that is the source of thought?  Let's look at what Biblical Scriptures reveal about this issue.

       Job 32:8: But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.

       Ecclesiastes 12:7: and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

       Acts 7:59: While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

       Zechariah 12:1: This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him.

       Romans 8:16: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

      1 Corinthians 2:11: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  

       2 Timothy 4:22: The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

       It is apparent Biblical Scripture teaches that we have a non physical component called spirit and it is this non physical component facilitated by the physical components of brain chemistry that express thought that results in ideas that result in the design and creation of material things. 

       Getting back to mutations, it is apparent all mutations have some impact on an organism regardless of how close to neutral such mutations may be. Since most mutations are deleterious to an organism, even the relatively neutral detrimental mutations will have some negative impact, though most will be very slight.  The further a detrimental mutation is from close to neutral, the greater its negative impact on the organism.  To repeat, the vast majority of mutations are deleterious.  They harm the organism. They do not contribute to survival of the organism and do not lead to a higher level of development. 

       The Neo-Darwinian concept of random mutation and natural selection predicts that deleterious mutations will be eliminated as they do not benefit organisms or contribute to their fitness.  Since the overwhelming majority of mutations are detrimental, natural selection eliminates them or their impact on the organism is so minor that natural selection has no bearing on them.  Only selected beneficial mutations contribute to evolution. But, beneficial mutations are extremely rare. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the majority of these rare beneficial mutations are close to neutral and have little impact on the organism and therefore would not be selected and simple drift out of the population.  Therefore, it is extremely problematical that natural selection of the relatively few occurring significant beneficial mutations is responsible for the evolution of life. 

       Some researchers have estimated the ratio of deleterious to beneficial mutations to be one million to one and one researcher concluded the rate of beneficial mutations to be so low as to prevent any meaningful measurement. Even when a mutation is positive, it must become "fixed" in a population to be of any value in providing for evolutionary change. However, it has been shown that the majority of mutations do not "fix." 

      A glaring witness to the improbability of mutations generating evolution of life forms is found in the area of breeding plants.  For decades, plant breeders purposely created mutations in plants in hopes of producing beneficial mutations that would lead to improved varieties and better crops.  Large numbers of mutant plants were produced which were largely sterile, deformed and dwarfed.  Most telling is that there was virtually no significant crop improvement.  Very few beneficial mutations were observed that led to plant improvement.  Even where plant development was accomplished to produce a specific end result, it came at the expense of the plant losing or having a previous viable function reduced.

       Let’s look at low phytate corn as an example.  Corn, as is true of many grains and legumes, contains a compound called phytate.  Phytate is a salt or ester of phytic acid and is capable of forming insoluble complexes with certain minerals such as calcium, zinc and iron and thus can interfere with their absorption by the body.  Plant breeders, by mutanizing corn, were able to select for strains where the genetic code directing the production of phytic aid is damaged with the result that less phytic acid is produced. This has resulted in animal’s better absorbing minerals from animal feeds.

       What we have here is certain nucleotides in the genome being rearranged to produce loss of information leading to an altered phenotype within corn.  While this altered phenotype may be beneficial to animal digestion, at the same time it removes a benefit of phytic acid which has ability, in conjunction with other nutrients, to protect against disease by increasing the activity of killer lymphocytes in the body. There are phytic acid based supplements sold in health food stores as cancer fighters because of the enhancing effect of phytic acid on the immune system. 

       This is not the kind of mutation driven genetic change that leads to evolutionary development of simple to complex organisms.  As previously discussed, mutations do not increase information. Some may argue that a change in genetic information is the same as increasing information since you are seeing a different arrangement of nucleotides leading to a change in phenotype. It must be remembered, however, that the great majority of such rearrangement is deleterious to the organism and therefore could not be the engine by which evolution occurs.  While there certainly are beneficial mutations in nature, their rarity makes it extremely problematical they are the mechanism responsible for the great variety of life forms both extinct and extant.

       Even where mutation is seen as beneficial such as with low phytic corn, one must be aware of where the benefit occurs.  In the case of the corn, the benefit is not to the corn but to the animals eating the corn. The corn has actually taken a step backwards in losing the capacity to produce phytic acid.  Since phytic acid has demonstrated benefit to an organism, its removal is deleterious to the corn as it removes a beneficial component. This mutation is not beneficial to the corn and while lack of phytic acid may improve mineral absorption in animals eating the corn; it may also lead to less immune protection for the animals.

     Mutation and natural selection: 

       Neo-Darwinism postulates there are enough beneficial mutations occurring over time to facilitate evolution.  Since beneficial mutations are rare, Darwinians must conclude it has taken multiple millions of years for beneficial mutations to manifest themselves through a process called natural selection. Mutations occur at the molecular DNA level of an organism and result in a change in the genotype of such organism. This change in genotype manifests itself as a change in the phenotypes of such organism.  Phenotypes are all the characteristics that are manifested in an organism. Natural selection is seen as the environment determining whether change in a particular phenotype survives and is passed along to succeeding generations.  It is believed the environment accommodates phenotypic change that enhances survival of the organism relative to its environment and does not accommodate phenotypic change that does not. 

       As already discussed, the vast majority of mutations are deleterious and lead to non-beneficial genomic change and loss of genetic information.  Phenotypic change derived from such genomic change is detrimental to the organism and does not contribute to its survival.  We see this in various genetically caused diseases.  Natural selection is seen as weeding out such non-beneficial phenotypes over time and eliminating them from the population. Since most genomic change is non-beneficial, most genomic change leads to non-beneficial phenotypic change if it leads to any change at all.

       Natural selection is seen as eliminating non-beneficial mutations by eliminating the phenotypic changes such mutations create.  Such elimination takes place as the phenotype interacts with the environment surrounding the whole organism.  Since most phenotypic change is due to non-beneficial mutations, most phenotypic change is eliminated.  Evolution requires an increase in and survival of phenotypic change.  Since beneficial phenotypic change is rare due to beneficial genotypic change being rare, natural selection, as the mechanism for phenotypic advancement into more and more complex organisms is very problematical.

       By postulating that natural selection determines what phenotypes survive and which ones don’t, the evolutionist is saying natural selection is determining the survival or demise of mutations that occur within the genome. The external environment of organisms ultimately determines which arrangements of nucleotides survive and which do not.  Some evolutionists believe this process takes place at the environmental level of the genome itself where non-beneficial mutations are largely eliminated before they lead to non-beneficial phenotypes.  It is believed this leaves mostly beneficial mutations to be selected at the molecular level and it is these mutations that then lead to survivable phenotypes. 

       However you choose to define the role of random mutation and natural selection; it doesn’t remove the fact that most mutations are harmful to the organism and will not lead to evolution of survivable phenotypes. Since beneficial mutations are rare, it is only by postulating multiple millions of years of gradual, minute, incremental phenotypic development, can the Neo-Darwinian promote the evolutionary conclusions so largely accepted by the scientific community. 

       Unfortunately for the Neo-Darwinist, postulating multiple millions of years of gradual, minute, incremental phenotypic development doesn’t square with the facts.  The Cambrian strata at the bottom of the geologic column shows completely formed organisms with no evidence of incremental transitional stages.  This is also true of all the strata above the Cambrian. We have seen that sedimentary rock can be formed rather quickly and fossils are mainly formed by rapid disposition of sediment. Then there is the evidence that genomes respond to environmental triggers resulting in phenotypic change and such change can and does occur in relatively short periods of time and becomes heritable.      

       We simply cannot ignore the evidence of the sudden appearance of millions of developed organisms which were in some manner suddenly entrapped in rapidly formed vertical strata of horizontal layers of sedimentary rock.  Since we know from experience and experiment that such sedimentary rock strata generally forms from the action of water and can be formed rapidly, the evidence is strong for a massive flood being responsible for not only the Cambrian strata but the geological column in general. 

       It is apparent developmental phenotypic plasticity plays a major role in the development of organisms and the changes seen in phenotypes should be looked at within the context of such development.  Therefore, it may be appropriate for the scientific community to see evolution of life forms within the framework of genetic response to the environment more so than in it being environmental response to genetic mutation. While mutational activity plays some role in phenotypic change, it should be evident such role is small in view of most mutations being deleterious to an organism.          

      Intelligent design (ID):

       Intelligent design has become an acronym for the teaching that there is conscious, cognitive intelligence behind the existence of the material universe and life.  This teaching does not attempt to define the nature of this intelligence but simply postulates there is sufficient evidence that such intelligence exists and therefore this approach should be equally considered along with other postulations as to origins. 

      The scientific community, by and large, dismisses intelligent design as not testable and therefore unscientific. While most evolutionary biologists admit to the appearance of design in living organisms, it is concluded that such appearance of design is illusionary.  It is believed that variations caused by genetic mutations combined with natural selection can produce the same result as that of an intelligent designer.  Darwin wrote that "there seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course in which the wind blows."

       It is interesting that theistic evolutionists tend to malign intelligent design and yet believe God initiated the evolutionary process which would require at least an initial intelligent design by God to produce this process. Those who admit to such initial  intelligent design creating the evolutionary process also believe this is as far as such design goes and that subsequent to such design, all life forms have come about through random mutation/natural selection.

       A common criticism of ID is that it is a "God of the gaps" theory.  For example, when an observation is made of the appearance or function of a body part that can't readily be explained by any natural process, it is concluded that God must have made the part. This conclusion is seen as inserting God into the process when it simply may be that we haven't yet discovered a natural explanation for the body part.  The gap is seen in our present level of understanding and not in a gap that needs to be filled by the insertion of a supernatural Being. All gaps are seen as gaps in our understanding of natural processes.      

       A corollary criticism of ID is that proponents of ID see an intelligent designer making some things but not other things. ID proponents will readily admit that natural selection working on random variations does create evolutionary change. Yet these same ID proponents believe that a supernatural agent exercising intelligent design is involved where a naturalistic explanation is questionable. Here again ID proponents are charged with implementing a "God of the gaps" approach. It is questioned that if evolution is believed to be responsible for the existence of some organisms why can’t it be seen as being responsible for all organisms?  This is a reasonable argument.        

       As I wrote at the beginning of this series, I will not be arguing that evolution doesn't occur. Evolution, as a mechanism whereby various life forms come to be is a demonstrated fact. There are multiple millions of differing plants and animals extant on planet earth. There are millions more that have previously inhabited the earth and have become extinct. These differing life forms weren't all created during the six days of creation week. Various dynamics of evolution such as natural selection working on variations caused by genetic mutation, phenotypic plasticity and hybridization have all played a role and continue to play a role in the development of the tremendous variety of different life forms historically and presently seen on our planet.

       The debate is not whether evolution has occurred and is occurring. The debate is whether evolution occurs devoid of supernatural involvement as believed by atheistic evolutionists.  The debate is whether evolution occurs with only minimal supernatural involvement as believed by theistic evolutionists. The debate is whether evolution occurs with a lot of supernatural involvement as is believed by progressive creationists and others in the creationist community. This is where the issue of intelligent design comes into play.

       Atheistic evolution is based on an a priori assumption that only unguided natural processes are responsible for life and the physical universal. A priori knowledge is knowledge that is acquired independently of any particular experience.  This a priori approach to origins arbitrarily sets limits on what kinds of explanations are allowed. Explanations postulating ID are dismissed outright on the basis they cannot be empirically demonstrated to be true. It is assumed ID cannot be scientifically validated.  As I will demonstrate below, this is a bogus argument. I will show that the proper approach to origins should be based on posterior knowledge which is knowledge based on experience. 

       It is believed that postulation of intelligent design runs contrary to the scientific method. Since it is assumed the scientific method is the only way to arrive at the truth of a matter and since it is assumed the concept of intelligent design cannot be supported by the scientific method, it is concluded intelligent design is an un-provable concept and should be discarded as an explanation of origins.  Is this a valid conclusion?  Let’s examine the scientific method and see if the concept of intelligent design is as disconnected from this method as claimed and let us see if evolutionary theory is supported by the scientific method as claimed.

   The scientific method:

      The scientific method involves a basic approach to determining the truth of something.  It begins by making an observation of some phenomenon and, based on the dynamics associated with such phenomenon, proceeds to draw tentative conclusions about the cause of that phenomenon.  This is usually called a hypothesis.  This hypothesis is then used to make certain predictions as to how the phenomenon functions or comes to be.  These predictions are then tested through experiment or observation and the hypothesis is modified or left as is based on the results of the experiments or observation.  Experiments and observation are often repeated many times to insure the results are the same.  When such experimentation and/or observation consistently produce the same result, the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain the particular phenomena being investigated. If repeated testing and observation continues to support the theory, it is accepted as being valid beyond reasonable doubt and is used as a framework whereby other observations are explained and predictions are made.

      Here is a simple example of applying the scientific method:  Say you have an electric toaster. You place a slice of bread into the toaster and drop the bread down into the toaster basket and nothing happens.  You then notice the toaster isn’t plugged into an electrical outlet. You proceed to plug the toaster into an electrical outlet and in a minute or so you observe that the slice of bread pops up toasted.  You have made the observation that placing a slice of bread in a toaster connected to an electrical outlet results in that slice of bread being toasted. 

       You now form a tentative conclusion, called a hypothesis, that when you plug in the toaster to an electrical outlet, your slice of bread gets toasted.  You now need to test your hypothesis.  Will you get a toasted slice of bread the next time you place such bread into a plugged in toaster and every time thereafter?  If you do, you now can theorize that you will get a piece of toasted bread every time you perform this procedure.  If you see this happening on a consistent basis over a period of time, your theory is seen as valid beyond reasonable doubt and can be used as a framework whereby other observations are explained and predicted.

  The scientific method and intelligent design:

      The scientific community often accuses intelligent design advocates of being unscientific because it is believed intelligent design does not meet the standards of the scientific method. Therefore, it is believed intelligent design should not be taught as science in our public schools. Furthermore, it is believed the concept of intelligent design is intrinsically associated with the supernatural and therefore is a faith based concept that cannot be scientifically demonstrated to be true.  Therefore, it is believed intelligent design should not be taught in public educational institutions.  

       The scientific method is used to establish a level of probability that something is true.  Using the scientific method as outlined above, let’s consider intelligent design at the human level.  We observe material objects and events coming into existence on a constant basis. By observing the dynamics of their existence, we see material things are designed and manufactured (created) as a result of intelligent activity performed by living, cognitive human agents. Therefore, we can develop the hypothesis that intelligent design is responsible for the existence of material objects and events.

       This hypothesis can then be tested by observing humans exercising intelligent design leading to the creation of objects and events.  Based on the observed relationship between intelligent design and the production of various objects and events, we can purpose the theory that human intelligent design is responsible for the coming into existence of material objects and events.  If repeated testing and observation continues to support the theory, it is accepted as being valid beyond reasonable doubt and can be used as a framework whereby other observations are explained and predictions are made. This last tenet of the scientific method is very important as you will see.     

       As should be obvious, our theory of human intelligent design becomes an obvious truth based on the mammoth amount of evidence available. The evidence for intelligent design at the human level is ubiquitous.  It is found everywhere in the human experience.

       Since the evidence is overwhelming as to the connection between human intelligent design and the existence of material objects and events, a prediction can be made that the agents of such intelligence, and the materials they use in design and creation, were themselves produced by intelligent design and creation. This is in keeping with the scientific method which allows for a theory accepted as being valid beyond reasonable doubt used as a framework wherein observations are explained and predictions are made about other things. In view of the evidence seen at the human level, it is reasonable to infer that intelligent design is the mechanism at work throughout the universe.  It is a universally observed phenomenon that information arises from conscious intellectual activity.

       Therefore, it should be considered scientific to postulate that living intelligent cognitive agents called humans were designed and created by a living, intelligent cognitive source.  Humans, expressing cognitive intelligence have designed and created countless objects using materials found on and in the earth.  Why should it be considered unscientific to postulate human intelligence which produces design and creation of what is designed were not themselves designed and created by a conscious, cognitive intelligence? 

       In our technological age humans have designed information systems that are truly extraordinary. Some of these systems appear to virtually think for themselves. But we all know this isn’t the case.  Their appearing to think for themselves is illusionary. All such information systems have been designed by human intelligence to do what they do. They not only have the appearance of design but are indeed designed.

       It has been readily admitted by evolutionary biologists from Darwin to Dawkins that biological organisms have the appearance of design.  Yet these same biologists insist the appearance of design in biological organisms is illusionary because they believe natural selection acting on random mutation of chemical elements can fully account for the appearance of design without direction from an intelligent source. The massive evidence of intelligence design associated with the creation of physical things is totality ignored as predictive of intelligent design being a dynamic in the appearance and development of life forms or the existence of the physical universe.      

       It seems indeed odd that the scientific community is so inflexible in their refusal to admit to the possibility of intelligent design being behind the existence of the physical universe and life forms when the whole of human experience is one of intelligent design producing countless objects and events including massive and complicated information systems as seen in our generation.  Yet something as complicated and complex as life forms is seen as coming into existence devoid of a cognitive intelligent agent being responsible for such complicated and complex life forms.   

       Evolutionists often argue that genetic similarities between living organisms is evidence of their having common ancestry with other organisms. Organisms having similar parts are seen as proof of one organism evolving from another organism. Shared biological similarity is seen as indicative of inherited traits from a common ancestor.

       However, shard traits are a much greater evidence for common design, not common ancestry. Humans frequently use the same parts to meet functional requirements of different devices. Cars, Trucks, airplanes and bicycles all have wheels. Wheels are common to all such vehicles. No one would conclude these vehicles evolved from a common ancestor that had wheels. Why should it be seen as difficult to conclude that a supernatural agent used the same or similar components in the design of different classes of living organisms?

      Furthermore, the concept of common ancestry for living organisms must show a close structural relationship between the body parts of one organism and organisms from which such organism is believed to have descended.  Yet this is often not the case. For example, the construction of the human eye is very similar to the construction of the eye of a squid. Yet squids and humans are not anywhere close to being seen as being of similar construction in any other way. These short of anomalies are frequently found among biological organisms.

       Rather than admit to the very strong possibility of such "anomalies' resulting from a intelligent designer using the same or very similar design in the creation of different classes of organisms, Darwinists call this "convergent evolution" where two very different organisms independently evolved the same biological structure. 

       However, the concept of "convergent evolution" runs contrary to Darwinian evolution which requires a reasonably close structural similarity between evolving organisms. This concept also runs contrary to the belief that evolution runs in a straightforward liner line where it is believed to be highly improbable that the same evolutionary pathway would repeat itself.  Yet we find such repetition to be frequent among organisms.  

       It is instructive that a 2007 study entitled "Mapping Human Genetic Ancestry” revealed that 23% of the human genome contradicted the standard association made between humans and apes.  In a 2012 study entitled "Insights into Hominid evolution from the Gorilla genome Sequence," it was revealed that 30% of the gorilla genome contradicts the standard ape to human ancestry. Recent genome sequencing has revealed thousands of so-called "orphan genes," a term that describes genes that show no sequence similarity to other known genes. This should not be the case if universal common descent is the manner in which life forms have come to be.

       The Darwinists can't have it both ways. The concept of "convergent evolution" and the findings of significant divergence in genomes between organisms thought to be related pretty much destroys the Darwinian "tree of life" concept which is to say it destroys the concept of universal common ancestry.  

        The scientific community claims proponents of intelligent design have not published peer reviewed articles supporting their theory and therefore their theory is unscientific. When articles are published in scientific journals in support of intelligent design, the editors of such journals are taken to task for publishing such material because it is claimed intelligent design is unscientific. The circular reasoning here should be apparent.

       Furthermore, it should be understood that establishing the truth of something should not be based on artificially determined parameters of investigation such as the scientific method or whether there are peer reviewed articles published that are based on such method.  Determination of truth should be based on dispassionate and objective examination of all dynamics associated with an issue and allowance of the evidence to determine level of belief.  Truth should always be considered as provisional in so much that one should always be open to an objective reexamination of an established paradigm when challenged to do so.

       It is sometimes argued that science must be based on the assumption there exists no powers that cannot be defined in naturalist terms.  It is believed science must be based on natural law and natural law must be defined as what can be observed and tested.  It is believed anything outside of this approach is only speculation and should not be considered scientific.

       This position is problematic in so much as it fails to recognize that, although natural law can be observed and tested, its origin cannot be identified through such observation and testing. One can observe and test the law of gravity. Such observation does not identify where the law of gravity came from or how it is sustained. While the testing of a proposition is vital to establishing its validity, test results can be used to infer the validity of additional propositions which may not be able to be tested in like manner.  If science truly seeks to understand reality, it must not set arbitrary limits on investigation.  

       Science establishes validity on the basis of demonstrating that a phenomenon can be repeated over and over again, producing the same result.  The phenomenon of human intelligence producing design is constantly being repeated and constantly producing the same result which is creation of material objects and events. The repeated occurrence of the appearance of objects and events due to the exercise of human intelligent design provides overwhelming evidence to this being a mechanism whereby things come to be. All of human experience demonstrates information is generated by conscious cognitive human agents exercising intelligence.  Why then is it considered unscientific to seriously consider that intelligent design is necessary to produce the material universe and life?

   Evidence beyond reasonable doubt:

       The establishment of the truth of something should be based on a preponderance of evidence and evidence beyond reasonable doubt. The preponderance of evidence is that conscious intelligent humans are responsible for the design and creation of objects and events.  This is an overwhelming and undeniable truth of human history. Therefore, it is extremely likely that conscious intelligence of some kind is the source for the design and creation of human intelligence and the physical elements used by humans. In reality, intelligent design, as an explanation for the existence of the physical universe and life, is based on a much more sound scientific footing than is the Big Bang Theory or Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian evolution. 

       Neo-Darwinism postulates life arose from non-living sources and gradually developed over many millions of years through random mutation and natural selection.  Because of the great amount of time required, this process cannot be repeated in a laboratory setting nor can it be observed.  It can only be hypothesized on the basis of mutational/natural selection theory, conjecture as to how fossil containing sedimentary strata came to be and disputed dating methods of fossils and the rocks they are found in.

       When all the challenges to evolutionary theory discussed in this series are taken into consideration, to conclude that evolution devoid of any supernatural involvement is the sole explanation of origins becomes highly problematical and a virtual absurdity.

       On the other hand, intelligent design of life and the material universe is a highly probable truth based on the observation that intelligent design is a readily observed phenomenon and is at work on a continuous basis throughout the entirety of human history. While this does not provide absolute prove this process was responsible for the origin of life and the physical universe, it provides a very high level of probability that this is the case. In this respect, intelligent design is more scientific than evolution as an explanation of the origin of life and the material universe.

       In view of the discussions presented in this series, it is reasonable to conclude intelligent design is responsible for the creation of a number of body types having informational systems enabling them to replicate and expand into a variety of organisms within established parameters of reproduction.  It is likewise reasonable to conclude the constituents of the physical world that are used by human intelligence to design and create were themselves designed and created by a powerful intelligence.  

Intelligent design and theistic evolution:

       For the theistic evolutionist, an intelligence designer is seen as initially designing the evolutionary process by creating matter and the laws of nature that regulate matter. This matter and the natural laws associated with matter is seen as being created with innate ability to create the material universe and life.  Once having created this process, God is seen as allowing it to operate in an unguided and undirected manner, devoid of further supernatural involvement other then the supernatural sustaining of the continuation of this process.

       However, it has been pointed out that natural law does not have innate ability to create anything. Natural law does not generate information as seen in the genetic code but simply identifies/defines regular and repetitive activities such as gravity and inertia.  Activity such as gravity and inertia does not generate information but simply regulates how matter behaves.

       Theistic evolutionists believe evolutionary science has correctly identified that life forms have come into existence through random mutation and natural selection. Intelligent design is not seen in this random process. Intelligent design is only seen in the creation of this process.

       The only difference between a classical/atheistic evolutionist and a theistic evolutionist is that the classical/atheistic evolutionist doesn't believe there is divine involvement or design at any stage of the creation of the universe or life forms whereas the theistic evolutionist believes that God initiated the process.

      For the Christian who believes the Genesis account of creation is an accurate account of origins, the approach of theistic evolutionists is unacceptable.  The Genesis account of creation is seen as being facilitated in a much different manner from that believed by theistic evolutionists.  There simply is no compatibility between the Scriptural accounts of creation and what is believed by theistic evolutionists. Theistic evolutionists have created their own story of creation based on their belief that evolutionary science has got it right.  Yet they also believe there to be sufficient evidence for the existence of the Judeo/Christian God whom they believe designed the evolutionary process. However, their ideas as to how this God operates are foreign to Biblical Scripture. In essence, they have created their own "god" to accommodate their conception of creation. 

      As pointed out in Part One of this series, some theistic evolutionists believe God guides the genetic mutation and natural selection process it is believed creates life forms. Under this approach, the evolutionary process would not be fortuitous in nature but the result of supernatural design. Yet, interestingly enough, those who take this approach embrace the Neo Darwinian belief that the evolutionary mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection are random and devoid of design.  There appears to be a contradiction in thinking here.  If indeed God is directing genetic mutation and natural selection, He is determining the outcome of this process which is to say He is designing such outcome.

       Most theistic evolutionists simply see God as designing evolution to act fortuitously in facilitating creation and not being at all involved with what evolution produces. Here there would be no contradiction.  However, a major problem with this approach is that it places God in the position of not controlling but only reacting to what evolution produces, a position seen as totally contrary to how Biblical Scripture reveals God relative to creation.

    In this multi-part series I have presented a lot of data that I believe points to there being an intelligent designer behind the origin of physical life and the physical universe. It was/is not my purpose in this series to identify the nature of this intelligent designer.  The nature of the designing intelligence behind the material universe and life forms involves historical, philosophical and theological dynamics which I discuss in many others essays that appear on this website.

       By postulating intelligence is responsible for life and the material universe, we raise the obvious questions as to the nature of such intelligence. For Christians and Jews this intelligence is the God identified in the Biblical Scriptures.  For Islam, it is the God identified in the Koran. Other religious systems have other understandings as to the nature of this intelligence. Diversity of perspective as to the nature of this intelligence should not, however, prevent its consideration as an explanation of origins. 

       If the scientific method is to be the criterion for what is permissible for discussion in a school system, intelligent design actually meets such criterion better than classical evolution and should be part of any discussion of origins. Why not allow students to hear all sides of this issue and make up their own minds?  Such allowance does not have to involve discussion as to the nature of a possible intelligent designer. Intelligent design theory does not purport to identify the nature of the intelligence. 

      This theory is simply based on our experience that human intelligence produces complex and functionally specific information systems and many other arrangements of matter. Therefore, human intelligence can be seen as the causal agent in the production of such arrangements of matter.  Humans and all other biological organisms are themselves complex informational systems.  Based on our knowledge that complex information systems result from application of intelligence in the physical world, it is reasonable to conclude intelligent is the dynamic involved in the creation of the physical elements of the universe and biological organisms. Such a conclusion constitutes the best available explanation for the existence of the universe and biological organisms.  No other explanation has produced sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt as to the origin of the physical universe and life forms. 

       Discussion of the nature of such intelligent is another matter and one that should be taken up in the study of religion and philosophy.  I personally believe students, beginning at the High School level, should have access to comparative religion and philosophy courses where the various philosophical and religious systems of the world can be taught in a comprehensive matter of fact manner allowing students to examine the evidence and make up their own mind as to what is valid beyond reasonable doubt. 

       I personally believe our educational system is sadly lacking in teaching students critical thinking. Students are taught to parrot back what others believe to be true and are not taught to question and critically examine and evaluate what others believe.  This often leads to blind acceptance of social, political, scientific and religious doctrine.  This is very unfortunate.