Denying the Obvious

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Boeing 747 Intercontinental

Those who can’t see the design behind clearly designed things such as a 747 or a human cell are denying the obvious.

In his critique of Stephen Hawking’s “Grand Design”, John Lennox writes:

“…after disparaging philosophy, he then proceeds to engage in it. For, insofar as he is interpreting and applying science to ultimate questions  like the existence of God, Hawking is doing metaphysics. Now, let us be clear, I do not fault him for doing that; I shall be engaging in metaphysics  all through this book. My concern is that he does not seem to recognize this.”1

Stephen Hawking is not the only atheist who doesn’t realize he’s engaging in metaphysics by dealing with questions of God. And  that is not the only truth atheists fail to recognize. As I demonstrate below, many have a problem acknowledging that they are working not from scientific  fact, but from deeply held belief. Lennox is not the first to point out obvious errors to someone who refuses to acknowledge it.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Mat 7:3 NIV)    

With these words Jesus advises careful and close self examination to avoid not only the charge of  hypocrisy, but this current  issue of self denial. After all one can hardly miss a “plank” or “beam” in the eye unless one is  intentionally refusing to acknowledge it. That’s denial. And while some may find it questionable to poke the bear by  appealing to a historical figure that some atheists deny, what is undeniable is the logic and wisdom of the advice.  I mention it because one of the  reasons for this blog is to point out errors, blind spots and logical inconsistencies that atheists tend to be either unaware of, or attempt to avoid by refusing to address. As a creationist attempting to point out such errors and inconsistencies,  I find I keep running into the same kinds of  invalid (and often irrational) arguments from atheists, such as:

  • – Intentionally missing the point, or avoidance of the point being made
  • – Factual errors in their arguments which they refuse to acknowledge or address
  • – Engaging in illicit arguments – based on their beliefs

Often, when you point out these errors, they are not addressed, not because the objection is not understood, but because there  simply is no  reasonable answer to the objection. So instead of acknowledging a problem with their world view, typically the response from atheists or agnostics will be show their inability to address the issue by to changing the subject and/or  launching ad hominem attacks. But in refusing to address a glaring problem in their argument or logic by attempting to side step it, it leads one to an inescapable conclusion:

Many who hold to an atheistic world view and belief system are in denial about the fact that what they consider a “scientific” rational for supporting a “scientific theory” is  actually nothing more than a deeply held, but irrational belief.

By irrational I mean untrue, or in the case of an argument, invalid for any of a number of reasons. By refusing to acknowledge or address such blatant errors what they are actually communicating is – “this is a deeply held religious belief for which I have no reasonable explanation, but I refuse to give it up – even in the face of contradictory evidence or demonstration of invalid reasoning – because I strongly believe it.” The irony, of course, is that is precisely what they accuse Christians of.

These errors are made by atheists at all levels, from those tweeting on Twitter, to those publishing books and recognized as spokesmen for the cause. Lest you doubt this to be the case, let me give you some examples, starting with a two examples based on the well known comment by astronomer Fred Hoyle:

“…that the probability of life originating on Earth is no greater than the chance that a hurricane, sweeping through a scrap yard, would have the luck to assemble a Boeing 747.”2

Boeing 747 in Assembly

Boeing 747-8 Test Planes in Assembly Jeff McNeill from Chiang Mai, Thailand, Wikipedia

In commenting on Hoyle’s statement, atheist cheerleader and spokesman Richard Dawkins goes on to try to prove God does not exist because (as he claims) God is improbable, and the question of who designed the designer is unanswered. In  response philosopher and author David Berlinski writes:

“The inference Dawkins champions cannot prove anything about God’s existence, and if it cannot prove anything about God’s existence, it cannot  come close to proving anything either.”3 (emphasis his)

Berlinski points out that Dawkins’ conclusion (it is likely that God does not exist) does not follow from his assumption that “God is improbable.”  The error in this argument is readily seen as Berlinski points out:

 “by parity of reasoning he could well have concluded that the existence of the universe is  unlikely in virtue of its improbability.”4 (emphasis his) 

The obvious corollary conclusion would then be the universe likely does not exist, but clearly here  we are – a part of the universe – a universe that by Dawkin’s logic doesn’t exist. Or consider atheist, author and evolution defender Niles Eldredge who also takes a turn at the 747 analogy, stating:

“Now, as a scientist, I’ll grant that a Boeing 747 implies a creator. I’ve seen pictures of the assembly line, and more to the point, I am aware that the  aluminum of which the airplane is made is extracted (with great difficulty and expenditure of energy) from its complex ore-a process known only, insofar as  I am aware, to human beings. I will further stipulate that, in the absence of a cogent alternative like evolution, the analogy with organisms (that they,  too, bespeak a knowledgeable, conscious intelligence behind them) was a plausible argument-for the 1820s. But how compelling is the analogy today? The argument boils down simply to this: we can invoke a naturalistic process, evolution, for which there is a great deal of evidence, but which we still have  some difficulties in fully comprehending.”5

On the one hand he acknowledges the power of the analogy, granting the very existence of a Boeing 747 demands a creator.  In his affirmation he goes on to note the difficulty in building a 747 – that it in fact can not come about by natural processes. On the other hand, having just conceded that a 747 must have a creator,  he then denies the  principle applies to organisms which, when speaking of humans at least – scientist would agree are more complex than a 747. (Dawkins states the brain is arguably the most complicated thing in the universe.6

In denying the latest scientific knowledge such as the information in cells (featured in Windtalkers and DNA) and molecular machines in cells (featured in Science by Fiat) he either thinks us ignorant of these facts or else apparently thinks a sleight of hand trick – redirecting us from the cogent complexity argument to a  flimsy  “that’s an old argument” sleight of hand misdirection – will distract us from the power of the analogy.  Does he really expect us to believe that because William Paley popularized the argument from design nearly 200 years ago when organisms were believed to be less complex – that  it somehow makes less sense now that we know organisms are complex  beyond their wildest imaginings? The  complexity of  DNA and micro-machines in cells strengthens the argument, not weakens it. Interestingly enough while doing his redirection he himself acknowledges evolution is not well understood, by which he apparently means to say they have no undisputed, persuasive evidence of how any complex object could evolve. Clearly he is in denial about what he has just  acknowledged about the difficulty in making complex objects like a 747 (or a human) – yet doesn’t want us to see that. In affirming the “naturalistic process, evolution” for organisms, and denying the analogy applies today, he implies there is a naturalistic  (not man-man) process that can create complex objects – like a 747s – by breaking them down into very simple steps, and letting time and chance operate – like a  hurricane in  a junkyard. Otherwise if he doesn’t believe time and chance can create a 747, his objection misses the point and does not address the root problem of complexity. Such a tactic (missing the point) is another logical fallacy (which as I stated earlier is common to atheistic objections). As Michael Behe has demonstrated7  neither he nor any other evolutionist can show how such “naturalistic processes” actually work – either for  biological processes and certainly not for mechanical processes; Nor does he explain why – if his analogy is correct – we don’t have Boeing 747s being created by nature – even after billions of years;  Nor has he shown any other process for creating a 747 other than the carefully planned and designed processes built by intelligent designers who have created a  fabrication process.

 

If your response is – of course 747’s don’t come from nature – it’s obvious they are carefully designed and manufactured – then you understand my point: Eldredge has missed the point of the analogy (as do all others who try to dismiss the powerful argument from design) and has not adequately addressed it. In the same way 747’s could never come about by naturalistic processes, neither could the information and molecular machines that are the basis of  life come about by naturalistic processes.  His evasion  “this analogy doesn’t apply today” is just that – an evasion – trying to side step the argument without addressing it. Because the fact is,  evolutionists have no answer for such complexity. Let me give a final example that applies complexity to real life. Celebrated, late evolutionist J.B.S. Haldane predicted:

“…that we would find no wheels or magnets in living creatures. This is because these would not work unless fully formed. Thus natural selection could  not have produced them step by small step, each an improvement over the previous one. Such motors thus falsify evolution by Haldane’s own words.”8

That’s quoted from an article published by Creation Ministries (Germ 7 motors in 1) in January of 2013 about  the marine bacterium MO-1 which sports seven flagella, tightly bundled in a sheath. The article goes on to talk about motors, gear wheels, and wheels that act  as a bearing;  and also the ability the MO-1 has to detect magnetism – all found in this one micro-organism. Once again, clearly motors (which contain wheels), gears and  wheels – by Haldan’es own admission – do not come about by natural processes. And while this was discovered after Haldane’s time, do we have any evolutionists  even questioning the theory – much less acknowledging the overwhelming evidence against it? No, they don’t question it because that is not what faithful  believers do. Faithful believers – believe – which is what evolutionists do with evolutionary theory. Which leads us back to my original premise: atheists and evolutionists are in denial about what’s clear to anyone who doesn’t  believe 747’s come about by accident: That the molecular machines and information in cells also did not come about by accident. Likewise they are in denial that  evolution is a religious faith. Not only is it a religious faith, it is an irrational religious faith. Irrational because the element of design is so clearly  seen in all of creation – from the cell to the universe. True believers in evolution can not afford to acknowledge design – however obvious it may be; to do so  and continue to believe would clearly mark them as irrational. But for those who do not want to blindly follow an irrational faith – the rational alternative is  the historical, evidence based truth  of Christianity founded on the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Duane Caldwell  | Posted 6-10-2014 | Print format


1 Lennox, John C.  God and Stephen Hawking Whose Design Is It Anyway  (Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2011)  p. 21

2 Dawkins, Richard The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006) p. 113

3 Berlinski, David The Devil’s Delusion – Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (New York: Basic Books, 2009) p. 145

4 Berlinski, p.146

5 Eldredge, Niles  The Triumph of Evolution – and The Failure of Creationism (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2000) p. 141

6 Richard Dawkins in the opening sequence of  Brave New World with Stephen Hawking, TV Series documentary, 2011

7 See Behe, Michael Darwin’s Black Box (New York, Free Press, 1996)

8 Sarfati, Jonathan Germ with Seven Motors in one!  article – Published 1/15/2013 Creation Ministries International http://creation.com/germ-7-motors-in-1

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