A friend of mine pointed me to this article this morning where it was revealed that a new imaging technology makes it possible to ‘see’ the inner workings of the brain to such an extent that it can be said:
A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
When presented with a level of complexity that the scientist who laid it bare himself suggests is ‘almost beyond belief’ the obvious conclusion is that you are in the presence of overwhelming evidence for intelligent design, and not just mediocre design, but intelligent design that is off the scales. As can be expected, in the comment section on the article, a debate broke out.
A certain fellah named tipoo_ felt compelled to argue, “it was well designed by random chance and natural selection.”
Thus proving that just because a single brain can contain processing power surpassing every computer in the entire world, a person can still be an idiot.
Now, this I already knew. I have engaged in my own share of idiocy, for example. I’ve sometimes gone days without being able to remember where I put my coffee. I’ve said things at inopportune times and in ways I instantly knew was foolish. I’m not the only genius to fall into stupidity on occasion, either. Hospitals are stocked with these special pencils that are used to write on the location where a surgery is supposed to happen for a reason! In my local hospital, there is a sign in just about every room that reads: “Right patient? Right procedure? Right location?” That’s because even brilliant doctors can make mistakes. Having interacted with lots of brilliant doctors on account of my daughter’s special conditions, let me just assure the reader that this is true… but if further evidence is needed, look here. Or here.
My problem with the ‘new atheists’ and their hyper-faith in evolutionary theory is that they tend to be, to the man, unaware that they are (even occasionally) idiots and supremely confident that the dolts are all religionists.
Tipoo appears to be a case in point.
My question to tipoo is the one that he, being the stellar thinker that he is, should have thought of himself: Just how were these synapses selected for by ‘random chance’ and ‘natural selection’ anyway? Where did they come from? How did they get refined over the eons? Do you have any actual evidence for any of that except a pile of fossils that you think have been arranged in some coherent order? Think, man, think!
In retort, Tipoo proceeds to say, “Cervical spines, knees problems, eye problems…Some incompetent designer, I say!”
Over the years I have encountered this line of argument over and over again and have tried to avoid replying because it exhibits an irrationality, arrogance, and general stupidity that indicates that there is no way to reason with the person stating it. The best you can do is oppose them when they try to take power and try to persuade them to avoid operating heavy machinery.
But, I suppose as an apologist I am called not only to tackle the hard issues but also the inane.
Let us first consider this specific instance. We are told that a single, healthy, human brain has more computing power than every computer, router, and switching device in the world… combined… and Tipoo shoots down the obvious inference to design because of what he thinks are examples of incompetent design.
Do we all agree that each of the computers, servers, routers, and switches that are being used on this planet were designed? Let us ask the painfully obvious question: have they ever on occasion exhibited bad design? Do they still do so?
Obviously, the answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes.”
By Tipoo’s logic, we must now conclude that all these computational devices were not designed.
The foolishness of the argument is so easy that a ten year old could instantly grasp it. If only Tipoo and those like him could think like a ten year old, they would grasp it, too. But they are too busy thinking that they are the ones with the superior intellect. Their supreme faith in the ‘fact’ of unguided evolution derived from simplistic, trivial cases (antibiotic resistance and variations in beak size and fossils found in layers of rock) prevents them from even caring whether or not evolutionary theory can plausibly (let alone demonstrably) account for really tricky biological facts- like, how exactly did Nature manage to select for a neuron or synapse to begin with? Like, the first one?
Tipoo’s comment betrays another common new atheist mental deficiency: the inability to re-interpret data according to first assumptions. Again using this instance to illustrate, simply put, the moment the design hypothesis is on the table as an explanation the data that follows must be interpreted within that framework. It will not do to insert an unguided evolutionary explanation of data that comes further down the chain, as this is the very explanation rejected by the hypothesis.
Or, to put it another way, Tipoo rejects the Design inference because he already knows that Unguided Evolution is true. And obviously, if you already know that Unguided Evolution is true, and interpret all evidence from that perspective, then you will never encounter any evidence to the contrary. I mean, duh.
How is Tipoo engaging in this sort of logical madness? Well, first of all, as I already pointed out, even instances of inefficiency or ineffectiveness or even ‘bad’ design does not at all mean we conclude there was no design. But secondly, the intelligent design inference- and even young earth creationism- does not contend, or require, that current manifestations of designed organisms will be presently flawless.
Both of these alternatives already coherently handle ‘bad design.’ Neither of them reject what has been termed ‘micro-evolution.’ Thus, it follows that both hypothesis can allow for breakdowns in the genetic code to be compounded through ‘breeding’ through time. As such, no instance of ‘bad design’ can be automatically taken as a prima facie refutation of the explanatory systems, since both of them already allow for such things! But Tipoo, like so many others, is unaware of this, presenting the ‘bad design’ instances as only explainable, and fully explained, within his evolutionary scheme.
Is this because he is, despite being confident that his view is self-evidently correct, actually ignorant about the other systems? Or is he just a bad reasoner? Or… well, there comes a point where the evidence for one solution is so overwhelmingly obvious that when someone rejects it, you know there is something else going on. Something much deeper. A spiritual problem, if you will.
But when you don’t even think you have a spirit, such possibilities are of course excluded. When one introspects, the possibility that you are (like Richard Dawkins) just a stubborn jerk, never arises. That your problem is attitude, not evidence, will never occur to you.
And that, my new atheist friend, is the real crux of the issue. If you were really a sincere seeker of truth you would acknowledge that you can be just as dumb as the rest of us. You would also be able to admit the patently obvious: the fact that any single, healthy, human brain is vastly superior to every computer on the globe, combined, is an overwhelming piece of evidence pointing to the brain being, in fact, designed.
The kind of demonstration required to show it is the product of ‘random chance and natural selection’ is “almost beyond belief.” A sincere seeker of truth would demand that kind of demonstration, and until such a demonstration is in hand should humbly accept, even if provisionally, the more likely conclusion… even if that meant the unthinkable: conceding that there is a ‘magical sky wizard” after all.
Note: this post cannot be construed as offensive in anyway as it is the product of random chance and natural selection. It just popped here on this blog as a whim of the universe. The blog, of course itself being a whim of the universe. So, if you are angry at this analysis, you should wonder why. You may as well be angry with a pile of rocks for being in the configuration that they are in.
It’s true that I have picked on Tipoo, a complete stranger, based on scant background on him and his positions. But on the evolutionary viewpoint there is no real standard of morality, so it cannot be said that this was really wrong.
At any rate, the truth is that I have seen a thousand ‘Tipoos’ of which he was merely representative and when I read it this time I was just in the right mood to take issue with the ‘new atheist’ manner he seems to be exuding.