Menu Close

The Plausibility of Life4 min read

Listen to this article

plausibilityoflifeA new book from Yale University press, called The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin’s Dilemma is trying to explain one of the main weaknesses of Darwinian theory:

The real problem facing neo-Darwinism [is], namely, the mystery of the origin of novelty — how new structures arise and succeed in real environments. “What is striking about these recent books that air revisionist views of evolution,” he writes (p. 179), “is that they fail to adequately address the success of phenotypic novelty.”

But in presenting his theory of facilitated variation, the authors merely seem to be trying to develop a more complex (convoluted) theory of evolution that seems to point to intelligent design, while relying on the same old arguments that they apply to natural selection – that this natural process is the working mechanism for macroevolution (which creationists deny, saying that it is merely part of the built-in adaptation mechanism).

In the OnPoint interview (audio) with author Kirschner admits (though he doesn’t feel he is making a creationist admission) by his use of the word “built” that there is still some miraculous component that we must marvel at:

Now we know that the way the animal is constructed is like Lego blocks – these are common, rigid, non-interconvertable pieces, but they have amazing capacity to be linked together in new forms … so you can make a soccer ball or Eiffel tower out of Lego blocks … and the components of our cells are built in such a way that although they are not malleable, they can be readily assembled into various shapes….

The whole system is built to be retooled and to produce functional outcomes.

The idea he presents is that the organism has an “amazing ability” to adapt – i.e.  he is saying that the cells are “built” (read “designed”) to adapt and support mutation when it occurs in order to move evolution forward.

But what he is really admitting is that the design of the organism is amazingly able to adapt, and he is hoping that this will enable it to evolve based on random mutations. 

This is the same argument that evolutionists use when mentioning natural selection – even creationists agree that it occurs, but creationists attribute this to adaptation and variation within the kind, while evolutionists (vainly) hope that this mechanism will preserve genetic mutations which have some advantage (which we almost NEVER see in nature – i.e. it goes against all practical science) and lead to macro-evolution beyond mere adaptation.

Creationists (rightly) contend that the organism is conserving and repairing its genome, not incorporating these changes (since most are bad and at the cellular level, I doubt the repair mechanism can tell if a mutation will give a phenotypic advantage).

The author’s interview reveals something – not that evolution is more likely, but that life is even more complex and intelligently designed than we previously thought. 

The more I consider the battle over evolution, the more I think that, as a theory of science, it is harmless, if not fairly useless (see Why Do We Invoke Darwin from The Scientist).  However, as a philosophy or origins, and as a world view, it is important because if it is wrong, it is hindering science, and more importantly, many people reject biblical faith because they believe that the bible is wrong, and that evolution can explain our origins without God.

Sure, there are theistic evolutionists, even Christian ones.  But I don’t think you can maintain a consistent, integrated xian theology and believe in evolution, except in the most liberal sense.