Marks of Divine Wisdom BSD 
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» Outboard Motor
» The Amazing Cell
» Nature's Game
» Horrendous Complexity
» The Humble Eyelid
» the Chessmaster
» the Origin of Life
» Search for Alien Life
» Elephant in the Room
» Greetings from The Cosmos
» The Atom
» Center of the Universe
» the Light is Good
» the Mask of Nature
» Divine wisdom vs Human Wisdom
» the Nature of Reality
» Mysterious World of PLants
» Almost a Miracle
» The Bite of Rationalism
» The March of Science
» Afterword
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** the Chessmaster **
Let us now examine a bit the "design" method of random mutations coupled with natural selection. How powerful is it? How plausible of an explanation is it for the kind of engineering complexity we find in nature. Here is an excerpt from an article by a British philosopher at the which sheds some light on this [1]:
"A few very eminent and very serious scientists, including Nobel Prize winners are arguing that Darwin's Theory just doesn't work (ex. Roger Penrose, probably the world's top scientific mind today). These scientists are not necessarily saying that this proves the existence of G-d, they are just saying scientists have absolutely no idea what caused life on Earth to originate, evolve, and develop consciousness. While Richard Dawkins is still selling a record number of pro-Darwinian books to the public, in the upper echelons of the scientific community support for evolution is undoubtedly in decline...
At the heart of Darwin's Theory is random change and natural selection. Computer Scientists have been experimenting with "Genetic Algorithms" for a long time now, and its clear they have enormous limitations. A computer program to play chess, for example, looks several moves ahead and chooses the move that will lead to the strongest position in the future. The power of a chess playing computer is determined by the number of moves it can look ahead. Any modern computer can beat the average human chess player, but it took a massive supercomputer to beat Kasparov in 1997. As the computer looks further into the future the number of combinations it must analyse increases exponentially. Chess playing algorithms regularly make short term sacrifices for longer term goals. Genetic Algorithms, however, can not do this because they are concerned only with the strength of the next generation. It does not matter how large the population or the length of time, Genetic Algorithms just can not solve Chess problems. Genetic Algorithms are also unable to build a structure such as a bridge which is only useful once it is complete and requires a complex series of meanwhile wasteful steps...
The genetic algorithms get stuck in local maxima/minima. They reach a point where all small changes have a negative impact. If that makes no sense: Try to imagine a bridge developing under Darwin's Theory. Until you can walk across the bridge the wasted structure detracts rather than adds to its success, yet the bridge is far too complex to be built in a single generation. Now if Genetic Algorithms can't even build a simple bridge how could they possibly build the human eye? Biologists sometimes struggle with this argument, but for hard core scientists with mental discipline it completely undermines the entire theory...

...Since the discovery of DNA Biologists have been gradually learning that the basic cellular unit underlying all known life on Earth is enormously complex. Far more complex than the latest Intel CPU for example. It's so highly mechanised with concepts such as hardware and software that many at the forefront of microbiology believe a genetic algorithm could not possibly have produced it. Time does not help, its technical structure, they say, simply exceeds what genetic algorithms are capable of ever producing. So the realization of the microscopic complexity of the cellular unit, which began dawning in the 1950s, is building toward a sort of Copernican revolution in biological science, and the revolutionaries tend to be theoretical physicists and microbiologists, and the defenders of the status quo tend to be ordinary biologists specialising in the habitat and lifestyle of chimps and chimpanzees etc...

There is no explanation of how such a hugely complex 'device' could have come into existence. No simpler forms of life have ever been found but they would have had to exist. This argument is currently getting a lot of attention because in the past biologists just waved the original cell into existence with stories about some lightning and some soup, but now they are really marvelling at how absolutely mind bogglingly complex cells really are. Forget all the rest, many say, how on earth could a random gradual change have ever produced a device like this even in a zillion years? It's so highly mechanised with concepts such as hardware and software that many find it impossible to believe that it has not been 'designed'. You have to do a bit of studying to appreciate the scale of this problem, but it's huge." (see there for more)
(parenthetically, even if infinite universes existed for infinite time as some atheists want to claim, it would still not help to explain life since the level of complexity in cells exceeds what a random gradual change (Genetic algorithm) can ever produce as explained above.)

Note that it is beyond the scope of this piece to discuss the pros and cons of evolution. Let's just say it is certainly not the sort of situation where a rational person should be confidently asserting that there was no intelligence involved. It is also surprising when so many won't even allow for the obvious. The answer, of course, is that it is really a debate about G-d. This is the real issue. Thus it's better not to waste one's time debating with atheists as the conversation will quickly flare up and get emotional.

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