Last year, William Dembski who is one of the key figures in the modern intelligent design movement recently debated Lewis Wolpert who is a developmental biologist. It was an interesting debate, but they were not the only ones butting heads, there was another ID proponent who reviewed the debate and found it to be not that impressive, he states…
“I am afraid I will have to disagree with the impression of the debate. While I give Wolpert a failing grade or at best a D, I cannot give Bill Dembski’s responses better than a C…”
“One glaring example was when Bill was asked whether Chemistry was designed. There was hesitation and then an attempt to get into the design of the universe. The better answer would have been that the laws of Chemistry flow from the characteristics of the elements and that these flowed from the basic laws of physics. To try to move it immediately to the design of the laws of physics left the impression that there was a designer behind every door.”
Dembrski takes issue with a fellow contributor of ID…
“Jerry, We have some history in which you find fault with my presentations, and in which you cite your Duke and Stanford degrees and experience in business communications as qualifications for offering up your criticisms.
As I point out in the debate, the arrangement of stones can signify design even if the stones themselves can’t be said to be designed. The same point can be made for chemistry — basic chemistry may be undesigned (I don’t believe this) but chemical arrangements might be. Thus there are nuances to the design question in chemistry and physics that I was not willing to slide over in my discussion with Wolpert.”
Obviously, Dembski went into is comfort zone which is physics rather than chemistry. Most likely Stephen Meyer could have addressed the chemical aspect. But this brings up the “Genetics First” hypothesis (chance formation of nucleic acids) verses metabolism coming into existence first. The later has been rising in popularity in certain camps. Evolutionists believe replication of chemicals must be in play before natural selection can pick the best material so it can build it into elephants, sharks, humans, you name it.
Two Darwinian schools of thought on origins butting heads and falsifying each other. Three European scientists who published a paper in PNAS, said stated the following…
“A basic property of life is its capacity to experience Darwinian evolution. The replicator concept is at the core of genetics-first theories of the origin of life, which suggest that self-replicating oligonucleotides or their similar ancestors may have been the first “living” systems and may have led to the evolution of an RNA world.”
“But problems with the nonenzymatic synthesis of biopolymers and the origin of template replication have spurred the alternative metabolism-first scenario, where self-reproducing and evolving proto-metabolic networks are assumed to have predated self-replicating genes. Recent theoretical work shows that “compositional genomes” (i.e., the counts of different molecular species in an assembly) are able to propagate compositional information and can provide a setup on which natural selection acts.”
“Accordingly, if we stick to the notion of replicator as an entity that passes on its structure largely intact in successive replications, those macromolecular aggregates could be dubbed “ensemble replicators” (composomes) and quite different from the more familiar genes and memes.”
We know metabolism-first scenario is plagued with many problems of its own as indicated in this paper. Anyone can generalize the notion of a replicator up to a system or network of molecules instead of requiring a genetic code but replication has to be accurate! In a designed world we live in, there is not much room for error, in the story of evolution there is plenty room for errors which supposedly result in updates or upgrades.
The “Genetics First” hypothesis have it’s problems as well. Leslie E. Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies who has spent a lifetime studying origins from an evolutionary framework. His final paper published in 2007 in PLOS, was not very encouraging for evolutionists, it was called; “The Implausibility of Metabolic Cycles on the Prebiotic Earth.”
The caption reads like this…“In this essay, the final contribution of his scientific career, Leslie Orgel explores the severe difficulties that arise when these proposals are scrutinized from the standpoint of chemical plausibility.”
Their hope is fading, the story of complex polymers to arise naturally. Rather, they are starting to settle for more on untested ideas such as simple compounds arising instead. Orgel in his final criticisms of the field are so broad and so damaging to the ability of natural processes to produce life at all by any method. He states…
“It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility.”
Does this sound familiar? I have repeated this theme many times in various topics when it comes to the scientific method concerning data. Just because there is a claim that it could happen, doesn’t mean it ever will. For example, some might believe O2 levels increased sizes of animals and could test O2 levels in tanks to see if it had effects on smaller animals. Then say well we haven’t found it yet, but we believe it will show results. This doesn’t mean certain O2 levels can evolve by a million-fold.
“Whatever the original input, one would finish with an equilibrium mixture, the composition of which is determined by thermodynamics.” Equilibrium means you are at a standstill and nothing more will happen.
Back to the ID debate which I opened up with. Even though Jerry was vague in his assertion that the laws of chemistry should have been included in the debate for ID, it’s certainly in the debate for creationism. Science has said “no” countless times to evolutionary prediction, assumptions, and other stories. But science has said “yes” to a creator, an intelligent designer, namely God!