Here’s Part Three of this series, and not only was it my favorite, but the most eye-opening. Engineering in biology was the topic, and Brian Miller delivered a welcomed message that’s worth checking out.
Brian Miller has degrees in physics (Duke) and engineering (MIT), and he presented evidence for a creator in nature. What really impressed me was learning how cutting edge science is confirming intelligent design in some unexpected ways.
We can see tell-tale signs of God’s design in everything he has made, which is not surprising to those who believe in him. The Bible speaks of this in Romans 1:20, which was written almost 2,000 years ago. So people have been able to see design in nature for a long time, and Christians attribute that design to God. But what I find most interesting is that there’s been a shift in secular thinking, away from blind naturalism to intelligent design, and this is being done in an effort to advance science.
As we shall see, science has been stalled by a secular worldview, and it’s only by accepting design that science can progress. I’ve made this argument for many years- as have many creationists and intelligent design proponents- but only now has the secular world started coming to terms with it.
William Paley’s watch argument serves as a fine analogy; logically, when we examine man-made objects, like a watch, we know it took intelligence to make… there are numerous crafted parts, carefully put together for a specific purpose- to tell time. And when we observe living organisms, we see that same concept of design, logically suggesting an intelligent designer was responsible.
But when Darwin came along, he argued that what we refer to as design is really the product of natural processes. So natural selection became a God-substitute for him, as he gave glory to nature rather than God (this explains the religious nature of atheism).
And even today we see this same kind of thinking; atheists claim that what we think is design in nature is just an illusion, and they ask us to convince ourselves that it’s natural. Further, if we do look for design in nature, they say, we’ll be misled because evolutionary predictions have shown that what we really get is a “clumsy” design, like our ‘backwards-wired’ eyes. Even our wrist bones, throats, ankles and knees are poorly designed, or suboptimal, and our DNA is loaded with leftover ‘junk’ from our evolutionary past. Humans, they claim, could have done a better job designing living organisms, and that means God is a lousy designer. Evolutionists have also claimed that, since nature had no goal in mind, those natural processes leading to new structures came together haphazardly, with existing structures being coopted as a response to environmental conditions.
Evolutionist Jerry Coyne explains: “Indeed, the uniform experience of scientists who work on these systems is that they embody an absurd, Rube Goldberg-like complexity that makes no sense as the handwork of an engineer but makes perfect sense as a product of a long and unguided historical process.”
But now these evolutionary predictions have been thoroughly refuted thanks to a revolution taking place in biology. Now engineers and biologists are working together in the field of Assistance Biology to understand life, and all these predictions in evolutionary theory have been falsified, while intelligent design has been affirmed. Miller says the underlying assumptions in this field are shifting from an evolutionary perspective to design. Evolutionists may still pay “lip-service” to evolution, but they’re shifting to a design-based model in biology.
According to the secular book, System Modeling in Cellular Biology, “A hope for understanding complexity in biology then organized is to uncover operational principles through a ‘calculus of purpose’- by asking teleological questions such as why cellular networks are as observed, given their known or assumed function.”
In other words, now it’s necessary to assume design and purpose in biology in order to make progress, to understand biological systems and to make successful predictions. Even if the engineers don’t believe in God, they must resort to design theory to make sense of things.
And because of this shift in biology, biologists are finally recognizing that living things are highly optimized with the best possible design- just the opposite of what evolutionary theory predicted. This change allows biologists to make successful predictions rather than just explain their observations in evolutionary terms.
We’ve also learned there’s no ‘junk’ in our DNA as evolutionists claimed. Instead, there’s essential information necessary for gene regulation. In fact, evolutionary biologists like Dan Graur are now saying that, “if ENCODE is true, then evolution is wrong.” I wholeheartedly agree!
According to Miller, as engineers examine biology, they recognize the very same design logic used in human engineering- such as feedback controls, feedforward controls and remote advanced warning sensing. The only difference between human design and that which we see in nature, is that God’s design is better, more efficient and more advanced. In fact, God’s design even shows a ‘big-picture’ design, meaning that there’s purpose behind it, not some fortunate kind of Rude-Goldberg assembly of available parts as Jerry Coyne claimed.
The idea of purposeless is no longer useful in biology. Now engineers must assume that a mind planned these structures in advance in order for them to be useful and fit together within the overall system. Every component must be designed to fit with every other component like a symphonic orchestra.
As creationists have long known, engineers have confirmed there are blueprints within the genome with a purpose-driven, top-down approach to make the system work like an embedded computing system. Knowing that living systems are designed greatly furthers our understanding of biology.
Lastly, while evolutionists point to environmental conditions causing change- such as the size and shape of a bird’s beak- design concepts have shown there are limits to things, like bone structure, that can’t be altered any further than designed. Such systems can only change within set, but flexible parameters. So when the environment changes, biological systems adapt to those conditions. But it’s important to note that the environment does not dictate how organisms adapt (as Darwin proposed). Instead, organisms have built-in, preprogrammed responses to the environment. The engineering logic dictates how an organism responds to the environment based on a range of parameters.
This is exciting new research, and Miller presented many case studies from the academic literature for reference. Atheists may never admit that God is the architect and designer of life, but for Christians and those who follow the evidence, this is a logical conclusion.