A book written by evolutionary biologist Conway Morris, called The Runes of Evolution, argues that life on other planets would evolve similarly to those found on earth. He expects that alien life would evolve limbs, heads, brains, eyes and intelligence, and they’d resemble organisms we’re familiar with. In fact he suggests that intelligence is “an inevitable consequence of evolution”, and that we should expect to find human-like organisms on other planets, as well as things like mushrooms, plants and trees.
Morris argues for a “map of life” that dictates the development of all life and provides an evolutionary framework. To make his case he presents convergent evolution. Convergent evolution is a theory accepted by some scientists that says different organisms will independently evolve traits that are similar; they evolve similar solutions to a problem by a different path. Evolutionists believe, for example, that birds and bats (which are not directly related) have evolved the ability to fly independently. Another example Morris points to is the octopus- an organism that evolved a camera eye similar to that of humans, even though we’re not in their evolutionary lineage. This is such a wide-spread phenomenon that Morris concludes that life on other planets is inevitable. Once life emerges, it would follow the same evolutionary path as life on earth.
Another point he makes is that evolution isn’t random; he says it’s a predictable process operating by rigid rules, and it just takes the right conditions on the right planet to get things going in that direction. This “predictive biology”, as he calls it, follows all living organisms and ends up “at much the same destination”, and he expects this process to work the same way on other planets.
I’m actually pleasantly surprised at some of the points he made because they’re similar to arguments I’ve made against evolution. I’ve been told by evolutionists time and time again that evolution isn’t inevitable, it’s not directional or random, and doesn’t have to happen at all. I’ve argued that, even though they make these claims, evolution, if it is true, is inevitable and directional because that’s exactly what we observe.I don’t believe in evolution, but if we assume that all life on earth is the result of evolution and not God, then it stands to reason that life has evolved in a direction towards what we see today- eyes, limbs, flight, brains, sex, intelligence, and such. This is so obvious that it’s inarguable. Nonetheless that hasn’t stopped evolutionists from arguing the opposite. Professor Morris- a leading evolutionary biologist- does a fine job articulating that evolution, if it is true, does advance in a particular direction, is inevitable and predictable, is not random, and follows an evolutionary path.
But I’d go further and suggest that his point actually argues against evolution. You see, one of the properties of a scientific principle is its ability to make predictions. And if what he says is true, then that topples over the predictions of other evolutionary scientists, thus nullifying evolution as a real scientific principle. Evolution can’t be random and non-random, directional and non-directional, inevitable and evitable. Evolutionists can’t have it both ways.
Another problem for evolutionists is Morris’s acknowledgment that life should have evolved on other earth-like planets. He says this is a paradox; according to his claims, we should already have found evidence of intelligent life elsewhere, so it’s not only surprising to him that we appear to be alone in the universe, but extraordinary.
As for his claims on convergence, the issue I take is with the lack of randomness. Evolution is supposed to be random in the sense that mutations are one of the driving forces. Mutations are random mistakes in the genome, and it’s difficult to imagine how mistakes that prevent cells and proteins from functioning optimally would somehow lead to an improvement in an organism’s ability to survive, and then for this to happen across the board in other organisms… all by chance. But when I observe the world around me, I don’t see chance. What I see is a well-organized planet designed for humans.
Another argument I’ve made against evolution is the amount of surprise and astonishment from evolutionists about evolution. Such surprise goes against the predictive nature of evolution and places it outside the realm of real science. If the predictability of science is adhered to, then scientists shouldn’t be astonished by their observations; their predictions should be confirmed rather than falsified. But their surprise underscores the failed predictions of evolution, and precludes it from being science.
Morris seems to have stumbled onto this, but now he’s claiming just the opposite of what other evolutionary scientists have been claiming for years- namely that evolution is predictable and inevitable. He even claims that it’s “almost guaranteed” that extraterrestrial organisms will develop limbs, brains and intelligence.
Now Morris does admit that, just because scientists believe there are a huge number of earth-like planets, doesn’t mean that any of them have life. He acknowledges that scientists don’t understand how life originates, but he insists that “life is going to evolve wherever it can.” And he goes on to claim that intelligent life will emerge on planets within a habitable zone, and that the likelihood of a humanlike organism evolving is “really pretty high.”
Therefore Morris is perplexed at why we haven’t been contacted or found evidence of intelligent life. One of my favorite quotes comes when he addresses this paradox. He says, “The almost-certainty of ET being out there means that something does not add up, and badly. We should not be alone, but we are.”
This is a great argument against evolution, and that’s because, to a certain degree, he’s right. If evolution is real, then we should have found evidence of intelligent life elsewhere. But, as Morris admits, we haven’t, and that doesn’t compute. This is a real problem for evolutionists, and his admission underscores that.
Unfortunately he doesn’t go on to consider the logical conclusion that perhaps evolution is false, which should be considered in light of his claims. If God does exist, then this would explain why organisms have similarities- and that’s because God made these similarities a good design feature so that organisms would thrive in a given environment, or they’re features that allow organisms to adapt to new environments. Further, if God only created life on earth, then that would explain why we haven’t detected life elsewhere in the universe.
Another fascinating quote by Morris was when he said, “It makes people slightly uneasy that evolution can end up reaching the same solutions to questions about how to catch something, how to digest something, and how to work”. But why should this make anyone uneasy? Again, I think that has to do with the belief that evolution is supposed to be random, and that there’s not supposed to be evidence of intelligent design. And if evolution isn’t random, then that’s almost an admission that God exists, and that he has control over his creation, just as the Bible claims, and that’s what makes them uneasy. Many scientists really don’t want to allow God into the equation; they only want naturalistic explanations, and introducing God into the picture would go against the rules they’ve imposed upon themselves.
But I’d argue that, if God does exist, then we should consider how his creation of the universe fits into our cosmology. Morris makes some great points, and I conclude that God provides a perfect explanation to these observations, including why we haven’t found extraterrestrial life.