Saturday, October 08, 2005

Darwin Revisited

In one of my previous posts I mentioned a thing or two about Intelligent Design (ID) Theory of Origin of Life. The ads displayed by Google on my blog had links to many sites on ID theory. Although being an ardent believer of Darwinism, I thought why not have a look at the views of the other side. And so I clicked on one of these links displayed by Google.

The arguments against Darwinism on that site are fun to read. They represent the height of stupidity and misinterpretation and above all it looks like those guys are so desperate to convince people about ID theory. To my surprise, that one single click on the Google ad earned me a lot more that all the clicks in the past month. Perhaps the site owner so desperately wants people to click at his site link and that's why he is paying so much to Google. Good for me.

After reading their arguments I thought it would be proper to visit Darwin again on my blog. The argument begins with the evolution of "eye". The author is bewildered by the fact that brain is able to process the data generated by millions of rods and cones in the eye in a few nanoseconds and thinks that this cannot be possible without some divine intervention.

The first problem with this argument is that it talks about the capacity of brain and not about that of eye. The job of eye is not difficult (mainly forming an image using lens) and the evolution of eye from no eye has been explained in great detail by Dawkins in "Climbing Mount Improbable". Moreover, vision is not accomplished in a matter of nanoseconds as the author says (in fact, it is much slower), otherwise we could see individual blades of rotating fan. The process of visual interpretation by the brain is very complicated and, frankly speaking, is not understood in great detail. But instead of explaining this process, just saying that it is done by God is not a good idea at all. If Darwinism does not have a very strong explanation about evolution of brain, then surely Creationism has no explanation at all.

There is another problem with the argument in that website, and that is about misinterpretation. To quote from the website, "Evolution's explanation for this [eye] is essentially that we have eyes today because all of the animals that didn't develop them died." What evolution actually says is that having an eye helped in better survival and not that organisms who did not have eye died. The conclusion drawn by the author is obviously false, and highly ridiculous and above all is a perversion of logic. In fact there are many eyeless species today coexisting with species having an eye. Survival is possible in many ways. Having eyes is one of the better ways of surviving. But this way might be unnecessary (and too much of a burden) for species like bacteria and other microbes.

Another argument which is provided goes like this: "This complex organ (substitute any organ you wish) is made up of so many intricate small parts, so many proteins and enzymes are involved in its working that any small part is useless without the other". Thus losing one small intricate part or enzyme would render the whole organ useless.

To beat this argument is very simple. Since I am a software engineer let me provide you an analogy from this area of human endeavor. A computer is all concerned with zeros and ones, and a software program is a large sequence of zeros and ones to be interpreted by the computer. If any single bit goes wrong in this sequence, the whole software fails. No need to mention that if this ever happened in practice, we software engineers would have a hard time writing perfect code. Every software program has bugs (leave the learning exercise when you begin programming) and the entire software does not crash just because of a bug.

Translating it into language of biology, a complex organ will work even if some suborgan (or a protein) gets damaged (or is missing), but with somewhat less efficiency. Sometimes it may not work altogether (very rare). If this were not the case we would all have to be perfect without any allowance of any disease or disability.

The reason why people like this author are desperate to seize any opportunity of disproving Darwinism is that they think that Darwinism undermines their faith. And believe me, faith is a much much more powerful motivator than logic or rationale. That's why people need to have faith. In fact the power of faith over logic has an evolutionary explanation which I won't go into here (check my future posts for that). The point which I wish to make here is that if you have faiths which contradict with reality of nature then you might get into trouble sometime or the other because reality is absolute and cannot be changed by your faiths.


Anonymous Captain Jack Sparrow said...

Nice blog.

You talk about Darwinism and reality, but what if Darwin hadn't come up with his theory, or for that matter no one else came up with this theory; so wouldn't "Creationism" be the reality.

I like the theory that our universe is an experiment by the "Creator" - (very science fictionish). You haven't stated explicitly in your blog, but do mean that there is no "Creator"?

I think it is because of the the way we have been educated, we believe (almost in a fanatical way) that faith cannot be reality, and on similar lines religion cannot be science. Most importantly faith gives HOPE which science or realistic theories can't provide.

3:09 PM  

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