Intelligent Design for Dummies, Part 2

Part 1 tries to establish that GOD’s Word is perfect and holy. We find, moreover, that GOD’s creation, the Universe, speaks to us continually and without words. It pours forth wordless speech night after night. How, then, should we “listen” to the skies?

And for that matter, how should we “listen” to the astounding riches of this one tiny “third rock from the sun” which Abraham knew as “heavens and earth” in terms of mountains, hills, valleys, plains, streams, lakes, and ocean. The bright, hot sun traverses the sky each day, then hides in a tent at night, made by GOD’s hands to shield it in the vastness of the starry sky.

Today Creation itself tells us that we live on a “thin flaky crust” atop thousands of miles of lava, itself surrounding a fifteen hundred mile sphere of iron. The iron’s internal flux generates a magnetic field that protects the  biosphere, and atmosphere, from the sun’s constant emission of charged particles. The thin places on this crust hold a soupcon of ocean. There are separate, unconnected thicker flakes (continents) which move. Every few hundred million years they collide into one great land mass, then diverge and form new continents that differ from the ones we know today.

GOD revealed Himself to Abraham as a loving parent, a commanding parent, who made the heaven and the earth to have a place for His children, we humans, to live and expand. Being Holy, GOD is beyond all human attempts to reconstruct, understand, or reverse engineer. The trinity? No explanation suffices to illustrate the internal workings of a Triune GOD. We know what GOD has said, and from this infer the Trinity. Period.

The sun does not, however, hide in a tent built by GOD’s hands. It is a star, just like the twinkling tiny lights that populate the night sky.  But it is eleven billion times closer than the closest night time star. It’s a “daytime” star, a million times the volume of this planet. It only appears to go around, because earth rotates. In addition, earth goes around the sun and that path defines our year.

No one can plumb GOD’s thinking here; but He is perfect and Holy. He does not lie, and the Universe that He created does not lie. We know these as perfectly true. Part 3 will address the consequences of these two great truths.

Intelligent Design for Dummies, part 1

The Bible has storehouses no one will ever exhaust. Thus it deserves concomitant respect. Each word, individually and collectively, has the Divine touch of GOD’s hand. Hear this, from various passages in the Psalms:

Psalm 119
v. 89 Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
Psalm 19
v.1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
v.2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
v.3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
v.4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

Or in other words, GOD’s Word (this is a very multi-faceted term–see how John uses it in his Gospel, Chapter 1 vv 1, 3, and 14)–GOD’s Word includes speech from the heavens which does not use words as we know them. And, in particular, it awaits us in the heavens, which are vast (pitching a tent for the sun connects them with a wilderness of sorts. This suggests to us that, if earth is vast, and the sun goes all the way around and back (perhaps hiding in that tent when it’s nighttime here) the sky is vaster. All this will come back in later parts of this blog.

Psalm 119
v. 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Scripture begins with the Book of Genesis. To some, this means that the light to my path begins with history and science. Both guide our material decisions. We decide to honor GOD’s Word by taking no exception to anything we read there, for indeed GOD said it.
GOD Created the heavens and the earth. GOD Created a place for His children to live. We are children of GOD, even though that truth has been hidden, and many deny it when they hear it now. Even so, because it is true, GOD’s Word deserves full reverence, and tender, respectful treatment.

If everything is made from an atom, why can’t we create life by assembling them?

Cells being vast with respect to the nucleus inside them, we’re looking at somewhere between all day and all week to make one cell. While the nucleus is very complex, the cell’s simpler but more massive parts also have to be handled that same old slow billion atoms per second.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to make the machine that plants a new atom every nanosecond (one billion atoms per second) and can hold the vulnerable cell it’s working on in a benign environment (can’t let it dry out!) – –

Call me when you have that working.

Is it true that the white throne judgement, God’s final judgement, occurs right before the new heavens and the new Earth are created?

Did you know that in 1054, 12 years before William the Conqueror came to Britain, there were two popes at the same time, one in the west and one in Constantinople. Guess, if you want to, how to reverse-engineer that split. We do know that it happened, ‘nuf sed.

They formalized the split by excommunicating each other, and the surface details had to do with the order of arrival of the Holy Spirit and the Son, the third and second persons of the Trinity, at the beginning of the Universe.

That, friends, is reverse engineering.

(( NOTE: Foes of the whole idea of the trinity pooh-pooh that idea because it evades human logic and comprehension. Hmmmm – we are talking about GOD, aren’t we? Our doctrine of the Trinity is as close as we need to come when trying to reverse-engineer GOD. We find the ‘what’ useful; the ‘how’ is well above our pay grade. ))

Early conversations around evolution and creation focused on a non-literal interpretation of Genesis. What led this to shift in America?

Now consider theology. It took 66 years from publication of Darwin’s book on the divergence of species (1859) to the Scopes Trial in 1925, regarding a man (Scopes) who tested the state of Tennessee’s Butler Act (made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school) by teaching evolution. Over that 66 year span we saw terms coined like “monkey’s uncle.”

The not-quite-fluid flow of ideas managed to dig claws into the way people read Scripture, and the notion that Scripture’s description of how the world came to be might have skipped a few details was, to deeply conservative Bible students, like fingernails on a blackboard. And that shock wave has been causing slow snarls in discussion groups ever since.

As a reference, “Taliban” translates as “Bible Students” – you might dwell on the peril of absolutist thinking.

GOD made this world, but told us over and over that we would never figure it all out. Yet we have folks whose need to reverse-engineer the process leaves them feeling put-upon by “uppity science-religionists” who simply want to understand the data on the ground.

Can you explain how the various mechanisms of evolution coordinate so that some new feature, like a finger, has all of the systems needed to be of benefit, for example skeleton, vascular network, nervous system, including the brain programming?

DNA is like that. So if you have a complex structure on one end of the spine, a surprisingly modest change might plop an analog at the other end. From there to real functionality, hind limbs changing size to bigger / smaller, and the like, often hinges on nigglish changes in parameters.

Development of nerves, muscles, ligaments, bones, etc. probably built the same way. A bone that grows longer usually “prompts” the surrounding structures to accommodate its size. Can you visualize how cumbersome it would be for these things to “find” a working arrangement blindly? Evolution solves that one very elegantly, by “stumbling across” ways for adjoining structures to co-ordinate their growth. There is no plan and no purpose – – – this is, for me the most enormous proof of Intelligent Design – to make a Universe where DNA can happen.

Does anyone believe that it may be to soon to know how GM meat might affect our physical appearance since the modification makes the animal large and bulging in their body and look as if they have mental and functional difficulties?

Even then, any small stretches of DNA that make it past the gut into the bloodstream are ineffective. DNA has to reside in a cell’s nucleus in order to have an effect. Viruses do this: they consist of highly organized bundles of DNA which include things like augur-shaped bits that allow the virus to get inside a cell, where it hijacks the cell’s machinery to step aside from its ordinary function and simply churn out millions of copies of the virus. It isn’t pretty.

The only DNA you need to worry about is a virus; DNA from snake meat, for instance, doesn’t make you grow fangs.

Why didn’t other species like penguins or felines evolve to be sentient?

Nothing in their environment has made intelligence worth the candle. Brains require a lot more metabolic input that brawn. Survival in the wild requires optimizing cost-benefit tradeoffs, so brains never get much of a chance.

SO – why did hominids get brainy?

Two reinforcing factors.

First, before brains were very big, some hominid ancestor learned to cook food over whatever fire there was; lightning strikes, that sort of thing. That food was more easily digested, so getting more nutrients was simple. After that, maintaining fire paid off. The access to better food meant a metabolic boost, one effect of which was to reduce the relative cost of a bigger brain.

Second, over the past two million years the area in northern Africa where hominids were prominent underwent a series of about ten violent weather changes. New predators, new prey, different food plants, different strategies for staying safe and well fed, different strategies for surviving the annual period where food was hard to find. Ten of these, about every 200 thousand years. Each one favored cleverness and mental flexibility. Since brains weren’t as expensive as before, they could grow. So they did.

The above is a layman’s recollection from reading and reflecting. The real reason, though, that homo sapiens managed to grow a bigger brain was that it *could*.

Give the three key factors of the modern synthetic theory of evolution for very short Answer?

Fact one: there is no “theory” of evolution, but there is massive evidence that it has been happening, starting at least 3.6 billion years ago.


Fact two: the fellow who had the nerve to state in public that new species rise up on a continuing basis was Charles Darwin. In his day it may have been called a “theory” but, in today’s dictionary, the correct term is conjecture. References to “Darwinian evolution” miss the point completely. There is the fellow who first put the idea on public view, and there is the current sun-bright understanding of its history and the life-mechanisms, e.g. ever-changing DNA, that enable it.

Fact three: “synthetic” evolution imagines a future in which computer-aided researchers learn enough to the intricacies and hidden gotcha’s of DNA to begin writing their own species from scratch. DATAPOINT: the human genome contains more that 6 billion nucleotides, hence more than 2 billion codons. (A codon is a triplet of the letters A, C, G, and T, which provide 64 possible combinations.)

Skipping the math, the human genome compares directly, in terms of information content, with two thousand beach-read novels, each with somewhere in excess of 150,000 words. TWO THOUSAND! In other words humans must use enough computer power to write a couple of thousand beach-read novels. Trust me, the actual beach-read novels are a far simpler endeavor.

Why would a good God create species that seems to be designed to hunt and kill? Why would he create animals that needs to kill others to survive? How is this part of some plan?

Instead, GOD invented a universe in which life was possible. Getting life to kick-start is a huge discussion, but by making the universe this vast, He improved the odds (if you will) that life might actually spontaneously form. And once formed, the way He fine-tuned the Table of Elements resulted in the bits (lipids, amino acids, etc.) which appear to behave like “smart LEGOs.” They leap together.

From one cell to multiple cells and so forth, the need to metabolize something went where evolution provided the means. Evolution is blind and “uncaring” in that when something achieves breeding success (including metabolic success) its progeny multiply.

Vegetarians prey on plants. Plants “prey on” the decay products of any formerly living thing. Molds, yeasts, etc. etc. – “red in tooth and claw” as the saying goes. The hidden perfection of predators is that they prey on the ill, the malformed, the ones which fail to thrive, and at end assist the prey species by keeping the less-able from breeding.

That looks pretty cruel, but like beauty, cruelty is in the eye of the beholder. As sinful creatures, we understand that living in a world which makes every single living thing succeed through predation shows us the fallen nature of mankind. We sin because we, too, are predators. We prey on other nations, other tribes, and each other.

This is the only bliss the godless will ever experience, and the only agony that god-believers will ever endure. Christ endured the climax of agony on the cross in our place. Without agony, there would be no sin. But without sin, there would be no salvation. Precisely because GOD is love He created a universe which would evolve mankind, wherein His perfect love would flourish.

Writing this I sense that people who find belief in GOD offensive will find many places to attack. So be it; GOD made a world that was, if you will, organic not mechanical. Organic also means predation. Self-sacrifice on the Cross was GOD’s way, through the Word his Son, to endure the ultimate pain in our place, and thus have purified souls enter into His permanent love.