Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More on Dawkins...and some Bryson

I find Richard Dawkins’ enthusiasm for Evolution to be overwhelmingly evangelistic. He admits he’s a bit of an evangelist, but more in a negative way, trying to draw people away from mainstream religion into ‘belief’ in there not being any sort of supernatural world, or any God.
But Evolution seems to me to be full of holes. Okay, if I quote the difficulty of the eye, we’ll have scientists coming forward and telling us that the eye isn’t perfect in the way it’s formed, so therefore it couldn’t have had a designer. I could counter with the (rather weak, I admit) argument that perhaps these same scientists haven’t yet discovered why the eye has those apparent faults in its design.
I like what Bill Bryson says in his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything (pg 255 in the hardback edition): "We have a paradoxical situation. Proteins can’t exist without DNA and DNA has no purpose without proteins. Are we to assume, then, that they arose simultaneously with the purpose of supporting each other? If so: wow."
The same argument, it seems to me, relates to the whole sexual function of 99% of creatures on the planet. If, in the very earliest of times, the smallest unit of life split happily in two and kept on doing so, then why was there ever some mutation that caused one of these units to require another unit in order for a third unit to arise? (And anyway, doesn’t mutation give you the idea of something irregular in a regular system, rather than the other way around?)
At what point did two identical creatures (for want of a better description) mutate to the degree that one couldn’t do without the other? Even more extraordinary, surely, is that eventually one formed a penis and the other a vagina, and from then on they needed each other. Doesn’t this strike you as a belief system that requires more faith than one that requires you to believe in a God?
As Paul Davies writes – he’s quoted by Bill Bryson on the same page of the book – ‘If everything needs everything else, how did the community of molecules ever arise in the first place?’ I don’t think Evolution has ever answered this question. Instead, it by passes it with the idea that things happened over a very long time.
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