Alexander Nussbaum vs Intelligent Design

The debate over the design of a watch in relationship to a design in nature has been quite fascinating. Bacteria for example, is the simplest form of life known to man with it’s own highly specialized complexities which include having a ticking clock inside of it.

The biochemical machinery underlying a circadian oscillator can be reconstituted in vitro with just three cyanobacterial proteins, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC.  These proteins interact to promote conformational changes and phosphorylation events that determine the phase of the in vitro oscillation. The high-resolution structures of these proteins suggest a ratcheting mechanism by which the KaiABC oscillator ticks unidirectionally.

Nussbaum attempts to refute that nature was intelligently designed by stating the following…

“Watches are a poor analogue for living systems, as they bear one characteristic that is common in products of intelligent design but absent from the products of biological evolution. Watches tend to be engineered for performance far beyond what is needed in use. Evolved living systems never display this kind of overdesign except, arguably, in certain characteristics used for sexual selection.”

I agree with Nussbaum with his equivocation of the watch. By isolating the argument with just one characteristic is not the greatest analogue rather one can point to not only the watch but other characteristics that resemble intelligent design. Bacteria like E. Coli is able to perform calculus when its sensors for the chemotaxis detect changes in attractant/repellent concentrations! Interesting to note, Newton invented calculus a few hundred years ago which continues to be taught to students all over the world and here we  observe many years later, bacteria performing it in nature! Wow, it’s simply amazing!

So the cell’s machinery is capable of conducting calculus operations which clearly comes from intelligence not by a mindless process.  Claiming that a mindless process is responsible is like saying Newton didn’t have to think about inventing calculus, rather the math would just appear in his brain for him to write down because the bacteria in his body already knew how to do it.

Nussbaum then tries then to predict what a designer would or would not design despite the fact he doesn’t believe in God’s existence nor does he even know God.  In the Watchmaker analogy there are unrecognized elements in the design due to current technology but later could be revealed through future advancements in operational science (not evolution) that shows human technology which mirrors the cell’s existing technology.

The bacterial flagellum is the “poster child” for the modern intelligent design movement. The proteins of the flagellum form a literal rotary motor which again resemble intelligently designed motors. The similarity is striking and not surprising because both come from minds! God has a vastly superior intellect than any human which is why nature is so very complex and why scientists are just scratching the surface on how it works.

Nussbaum’s argument on whether or not how a designer would create nature goes back to Darwin where he tried to rationalized that if designs were created by God in nature they would be purely unique rather than like an assembly line which contain some similarities. However, there are similarities with such intelligent designs such as cars, the type of car can be different but generally you can tell if it’s a Ford or a Buick, or an Oldsmobile. If evolutionists didn’t know cars of different brands were made by people would they consider them evolved by natural processes?

So the debate over the design of a watch in relationship to a design in nature has been quite fascinating and with advancements in operational science (not evolution) the watch maker analogy is stronger than ever but even stronger when you include other characteristics!