A Child Primed to be a Defender

A few nights ago I was driving home with my eight year old son. As I drove along all of the sudden the entire city went dark. It was a power outage. Fortunately, the power was restored a few seconds later and the city became bright again. My son loves to ask lots of questions, so naturally he wanted to know why the outage occurred. I told him the possibilities and then the following exchange happened.

My son: “Daddy, when the power went off, why didn’t the lights in our car go off too?”

Me: “That’s a great question. Our lights stayed on because our car is not attached to the power grid. Our car produces its own power. It sort of has its own power plant under the hood.”

My son: “Tell me how it works, Daddy.”

I explained to my son that the flammable gas in the gas tank interacts with a spark plug which causes the engine to fire up. I told him how the parts in the engine begin to spin which in turn causes a belt and pulley system to circulate. I taught him that the belt turns the alternator and the energy created by the alternator keeps the battery charged and the power in the battery causes the lights in our car to function.

My son’s next statement is what caused my to smile. He said, “Yeah Daddy, and if one of those parts are missing, our car will not work.”

I was stunned to realize that my eight year old son understood what scientists refer to as Irreducible Complexity. This is something that was introduced by the Lehigh University biochemist, Michael Behe. In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Behe argues that certain systems are irreducibly complex. The example he uses is the bacteria flagellum.

behe_and_book
Michael Behe

To put it simply, he contends that there are necessary parts that interact with other necessary parts and if just one of the parts are missing, the organism could not live or survive. Just as my son pointed out, the functionality of a car is an easy to understand example. There are certain necessary parts (spark plugs, ignitor, coolant, etc.) in which all of them must be present in order for the car to function. If one part is missing, the car will not operate.

What are the implications as it relates to a balanced, logical worldview? Irreducible Complexity creates a world of problems for Darwinian Evolutionary Theory. All living things are irreducibly complex, even at the cellular level. This means that living organisms likely cannot evolve from less complex organisms through slight, successive changes over a long period of time. Take the human body for example. The human body must, in all cases, have a heart, a liver, kidneys, and other essential organs in order to function. Under Darwinian macro-evolution, human bodies apparently evolved these parts at different times over eons of time. This is just nonsense in my opinion. We have absolutely no evidence to show this and we certainly cannot repeat it.

All of this apparent design and dependent functionality points toward some kind of intelligent design. Just as John Lennox points out, a car does not exist based solely on the existence of natural laws. Clearly there is design at play when one looks at a car. There are parts that must function together for the machine to work. Based on our experience and repeatable trials, we know these parts and their corresponding functionality did not arise from natural forces. So the car’s existence and functionality not only depends on natural laws (internal combustion, etc.) but clearly there is some kind of intelligent design involved. Frank Turek summarizes it nicely. He says, “No matter how much you learn about [natural laws], the need for a designing engineer will never change. In other words, learning more about how [a car] works should never cause you to conclude there was no designing engineer.”

We can learn all we want about natural laws and we should never cease to do that. But we also should not toss out the other obvious elephant in the room. Irreducible Complexity is a strong argument for the existence of some kind of intelligent designer.

As we drove along, I told my son that he had a clear understanding of Irreducible Complexity. His eyes got big and he said, “Daddy, that’s a big word. I don’t even know what that means.” I told him that he just explained to me what it means and to not be intimidated by big words. Then we reviewed it and now he is very clear about what it means. Because of his age, I did not relate it apologetically, but you can be sure that I will be building on this foundation as he grows.

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6 thoughts on “A Child Primed to be a Defender”

    1. No, you are short sighted in your thinking here because that merely begs the question of who designed the mind of God’s designer? And then, who designed the mind of the designer of the designer of God? This is a ridiculous infinite regression which answers nothing and is intellectually lazy.

      You seem to have misunderstood the law of causality. It does not say that everything has a cause. It says everything that “begins to exist” has a cause. Since we cannot logically have an infinite regression, there must be an uncaused, first cause. Since God created time, he is timeless which means he does not “begin to exist.” He has eternally existed.

      So as far as his mind, he is not bound by physical complexities. He transcends them.

      You may believe that God does not exist. If you believe that, then you must believe that the universe created you. So I can turn the question around on you and demand you to answer, “who created the universe that made you?” You see, we both have the same question, I just think my answer makes more sense than the answers of the atheists.

      1. You have made some interesting claims in this comment, but I am yet in doubt whether you will be able to defend them or not. Yes, your logic leads to infinite regress, and you are like “Well, my reasoning is leading to that far, so I will stop right here with the first God.” That is actually lazy, that is called special pleading. You are committing special pleading to avoid infinite regress. And you may know, special pleading is a logical fallacy.

        Your argument from design state nothing about causation. You just claimed that because something is irreducibly complex, it requires a designer, now if you’re gonna whim down from that Kalam argument, then it is a bit of red herring.

        That is a bit of contradiction. Some mind which is transcendent of space time, is bound to be more and more complex than physical things.

        I don’t ‘believe’ that God does not exist, I just don’t believe he does. And you are actually throwing up some loaded questions, ‘Who created the universe’, you are assmuming that somebody created the universe, so I hope you to provide some jusitification for it.

  1. Behe’s pseudoscience was debunked two decades ago, both by the entire scientific community and even by the courts in the Dover case a decade later where IC/ID was soundly defeated and exposed as religious creationism.

    Behe’s paragon of Irreducible Complexity, the bacterial flagellum, which was supposed to be non-functional if you took away ANY of the 50 or so genes coded for function was completely and totally annihilated by Dr Kenneth Miller. Miller demonstrated that you could remove 40 genes and the organism still had function.

    It gets worse, each of the 50 genes had independent function of their own and contributed to a greater function of the organism which is what one would expect with neo Darwinian evolution.

    But it gets even worse yet still for IC. Behe completely caricatures evolution by implying that the flagellum is some sort of end goal and ignores that evolution does not just add traits to organisms through successive adaptations in descendants but often removes them. It’s a bit like looking at nylon eating bacteria and taking away the genes that allowed its metabolism to break down nylon and saying AHA!!! It’s irreducibly complex and therefore designed!!

    But we KNOW how it developed those genes and how genes that metabolized other food sources were weaned off. There was no designer.

    Adding insult to injury Behe’s University Lehigh doesn’t even support his work.

    And to dissuade any political bias poo flinging the judge in the Dover case is a Republican, a Christian and appointed by George W. Bush. Kenneth Miller is also a Christian who accepts evolution and last I heard Behe himself supported common descent.

    1. Jimi, I would encourage you to follow the Discovery Institutes 10 myths articles about the Dover case as we approach the 10 year anniversary of the ruling. I think in only three articles they debunk nearly everything you have posted.

      I’ve not read Miller’s work, but I know for a fact that Behe clearly acknowledges that evolution removes traits. In fact, he bases much of his work on the fact that revolution is FAR more likely to delete traits rather than add them. That’s a scientific fact. In fact, I can’t recall off the top of my head, but it may be Miller himself that showed this to be the case with his work on evolution and bacteria. I could be wrong that it was Miller. I would have to look it up. Here is an interesting and short podcast of Behe talking about this.

      http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2015/03/michael-behe-challenging-darwin-one-peer-reviewed-paper-at-a-time/#more-10081

      1. That’s funny, I read their “10 points” a few days ago. The only thing they demonstrated is that they have movie producers, lawyers and haven’t published jack on IC in a reputable scientific journal.

        I have actually read Behe’s paper and it doesn’t say bupkis about ID/IC and demonstrates how bankrupt and devoid of empirical evidence on every level IC was. This paper completely erases the caricature of evolution he constructed to prop up his idea of IC in the 90’s. Interesting that Behe writes a book on IC but what reputable scientific journal did he publish IC in?

        The DI and Casey Luskin Have been misrepresenting the facts of Dover for sometime, as Kenneth Miller outlines here:

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/01/02/smoke-and-mirrors-whales-and-lampreys-a-guest-post-by-ken-miller/#.Vm-CO688KK0

        This is the hubris of ID and the DI on display. In science when ideas are falsified, scientists move on and don’t spend decades and millions constructing spin and misdirection in an attempt to keep pet ideas alive.

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