In this new book supporting Intelligent Design, Douglas Axe is asking the eternal question: “to what or to whom do we owe our existence?”, and then he goes on disputing the materialist hypothesis. Too bad his arguments are not the strongest, his explanations are convoluted and unclear, and the chosen supporting examples are uninspired. Still, Douglas Axe makes some good points.
The Design Intuition (tasks we would need knowledge to accomplish can be accomplished only by someone who has the knowledge) is just that – an intuition – and therefore cannot be used as irrefutable argument. Related observations not quite amounting to good arguments include “harm comes to science not by people hoping to find a particular result but by people trying to suppress results that go against their hope” and “people that lack scientific credentials are nonetheless qualified to speak with authority on matters of common science”.
The arguments against chance are more solid. Apparently, the probability of a random functional protein is 1 in 10^40, so chance is not the answer. The author observes that “nothing evolves unless it already exists … because selection can only home in on the fitness signal from an invention after that invention already exists” and “only by improbable coincidence can accidental causes do the work of insight”, and that “each new form of life amounts to a new high-level invention, [hence] the origin of the thousandth new life form is no more explicable in Darwinian terms than the origin of the first. This is all good, but materialists dispute all these calculated probabilities and push it all under the rug of “millions of years” and “large populations”. A simpler and to the point argument is that randomness never changes into information or purpose as we see in all living organisms. Randomness is in fact constantly abused by Darwinists.
“Chicken or the egg” arguments make sense without being truly “Undeniable”. Examples include:
- Unlike human inventions, living inventions are all-or-nothing wholes. Every cell in the body both sustains the body and is sustained by the body. Life is never anything but whole.
- The claim that evolution did invent proteins, cell types, organs, and life forms is scientifically legitimate only if we know evolution can invent these things.
- Functional coherence: the hierarchical arrangement of parts needed for anything to produce a high level function – each part contributing in a coordinated way to the whole. Functional coherence makes accidental invention fantastically improbable and therefore physically impossible.
- Evolutionary theory ascribes inventive power to natural selection alone. However, because selection can only home in on the fitness signal from an invention after that invention already exists, it can’t actually invent.
The ever-increasing functionality requirement is a well known problem of Darwinian evolution. The author uses the example of Stepping Stones that evolution is supposed to use to go higher and higher. In reality, local peaks cannot be descended to climb the actual highest peak. As an example, he suggests a football fan robot in search of a stadium being distracted by all similar noises from other places. Darwin’s idea that life wanders is incompatible with life which is an expressions of something deeper, immovable, and perfect. A better example would have been chosen from biology. The Darwinists’ reply is usually that evolution does not mandate ever increasing functionality although this is what we observe and it is logic that you can only build complex only by first building lower levels of functionality. This topic could have been a “gold mine” had it been better explored.
The magical hat of evolution: beings “arise” from a magical “primordial soup”; light + random atoms + time + magical hat = living plant; thinkers and thought somehow are an extension of matter, but without any proper explanation. This is a very good point and successfully presented in this book.
Other ideas partially explored in this book include:
- Can human testing of human ideas be simple considering how complicated humans are? Utopian science and authoritarian science.
- Whole project, busy whole.
- Science can’t give us anything more certain than faith and faith has always been more fundamental to knowledge than science. In fact, Dr. Axe is unaware that Faith is actually part of Science together with the Observable.
- Selective optimization proves valuable only by being cleverly employed by someone who knows what it can and cannot do.
- A dialog with Thomas Nagel’s book, Mind & Cosmos is only partially clear unless perhaps one has read Thomas Nagel prior to this book.
- The gene concept is currently in crisis as is the concept of “species”
- Proof of the Inventor/Creator.
Overall the book is a net positive that adds to the few but rising voices of those that use the scientific method to identify Darwinian evolution for what it is: a scam.