Evolution II: Complexity of Biological Systems
The extreme complexity and interdependency of biological systems can sometimes sideline explanatory mechanisms of evolutionary theory to the realm of vagueness. Thompson wonders if the practitioners of the exact sciences such as physics, would tolerate some of the “just so” stories that certain theorists can appear to utilize promoting authoritative historical analyses.
TRANSCRIPT: Evolution II: Complexity of Biological Systems, Origins Magazine Seminar 7: San Diego - c. 1986 / (007)
Today we're dealing with the subject of evolution here, and the question is how did bodies of living organisms come into being in the first place. So bodies of living organisms can be compared with complicated machines. In fact the Bhagavad-gita even makes that comparison: yantrarudhani mayaya [verse 18.61]. The word yantra means a machine, and actually in the old days in India, there were rather complicated machines, not just bullock carts necessarily. I have an interesting little article written by some King Bhojadeva in the medieval period, in Sanskrit. It is not a sastra, just a secular piece of writing. He is describing how the kings would have various automata in their palaces. These are robots. But these weren't the purpose for modern industrial development – they were mainly just for show and enjoyment. So it is described that they would have such a thing as a robot door opener. Of course we have these in supermarkets today, but this was fancier, as is befitting for a king. So you’d have this uniformed soldier standing next to the door, at least it would look like a soldier, but actually it wasn’t a real soldier. As you walked towards the door, he would lean over and open the door for you, and close it after you. But actually the whole thing was a machine. And it was run, apparently, hydraulically. There was a tank of water over head, and as you approached the door you’d step on a certain stone slab that would slightly move down and open a valve, and then through the action of water flowing through the apparatus the whole thing would operate.
So, actually one can build machines like that. You know, with a bit of engineering skill you can see how to do it. So apparently, well, there are documents describing such things in India, I don't know exactly what period, but a long time ago. So the idea of machines was not so novel. So the Bhagavad-gita describes the body as a machine. But of course it describes that there is also the soul and Supersoul. And of course there is the subtle body as well as the gross body. The subtle body however is also mechanical in nature. It’s not living, so it is also a kind of machine. But the scientists of course only know about the gross machinery. So they are very preoccupied with studying the machinery of the gross body. And they think that's the all in all. They believe that life is simply that machinery, and that’s all is there. Now as it turns out, the machinery in the living body is exceedingly complex. We were talking about that previously. I will just explain what this picture is, by the way.
See this picture here, of a protein molecule, in the “Beginning of Life from Chemicals” article. Well this is a simplified diagram of a protein molecule. We show in here a scientist is looking a little lost. But, actually this looks like a ribbon, like a sort of Christmas ribbon, coiling around. But actually this stands for a sequence of amino acids that are certain types of molecules that are linked together in a chain. And the chain, the ribbon, follows some sort of path along the chain. So you can imagine these rather odd shaped objects arranged in a chain fashion going around following this path. So that’s what the whole thing is. So it has a very complicated structure, as you can see from the picture. If you can imagine, actually this picture is a great simplification of what it really is. And even in a bacterial cell there are thousands of different kinds of structures like this. And for each one there's maybe thousands of copies – but there are thousands of different types. The small inset shows the different kinds of structures that exist.
And actually for the sake of the artist we just chose some that were simple. If we chose the complicated ones, then the picture would be too complicated, and it wouldn't be good artistically. So we didn’t even show the really complex ones. So the machinery of the living body is exceedingly complicated. And the fact is that no one can really even make a model of how it works, what to speak of explaining how it came into being. So I was just talking to this scientist yesterday, who came to visit me here, about the whole question about making models of how organisms actually work. We were also discussing the question of whether we can actually get funding for that from different scientific agencies that are run by the government and which determine the flow of government funds for scientific research. So we were discussing whether the people who were investigating on the origin of life would approve such funding, because what happens is, that when you make a request for funding it’s sent out to prominent scientists in the field of research that you are interested in, and they say whether it’s a good proposal or not. If they approve of it you can get funding, and otherwise you can’t. So the point that came up though was that they would never, or be highly unlikely to, approve of investigations in which you are trying to make models of how organisms work.
And one might wonder why they don’t want to look into that? Of course I can provide an intuitive reason as to why they don’t want to look into that – because the moment you try to do it you will see that organisms are really so complicated that the whole idea of evolution would become ludicrous. So in order to have a theory of evolution it is better to keep things vague. As long as an organism is a sort of vague, nebulous thing you imagine in a fuzzy sort of way, then you can imagine how it can evolve. Because anyone can imagine a cloud of fuzz gradually changing shape from one thing into another. But if you have an actual machine with moving parts that interact with one another then how can you change that into something else, gradually step-by-step?
You know, you can take a wristwatch or a sewing machine or an automobile engine, and imagine changing that step-by-step to something else. For example, let’s say we want to turn a sewing machine into an automobile engine. Well, they’re two organized structures, so how could you do it? Now the requirement is that at each step along the way as you change the sewing machine into the automobile engine, you have to have a machine that works and does something. So could you do it? That’s a homework problem. You see, one thing that scientists don't like are negative criticisms in which you just challenge them to do something. They would say, "Well, prove to me that I can't do it!" So they’ll try and turn the tables on you, by saying, “You can’t prove that you can't turn a sewing machine into an automobile step by step. So therefore maybe it’s possible. There might be intermediate stages you could go through.” So they’ll make that challenge. But actually though, where does the burden of proof lie in this matter? Because actually we have no basis in experience to think you can make a transformation like that. There is no particular reason to think you can do it. So surely if someone says you can do it, then they’re obliged to show how you can do it.
In courts, they have this idea of the burden of proof – who has to prove the given proposition? If you have a given proposition, then there are two positions that can be taken. One person can try and prove that it is true, and another person can try to prove that it’s false. Then the question comes as to which kind of proof should we require here? That decision always has to be made. So we would argue: Certainly if someone wants to say that you want to make such a transformation from one machine to another, then the person saying “you can do that” should provide proof of that. It’s only reasonable. So you can give many examples of transformation. So the picture we have in the beginning of this article illustrates this basic point.
So we have two things here. One is we have a series of skulls from an ape-like skull here, to a regular human skull here, and then in between we have various intermediates. Now you can imagine gradually changing the ape skull into a human skull. All you do is gradually make the cranium a bit larger and you shrink the jaws in, and make the bones less heavy, and less thick, gradually, and you can go from the ape skull to the human skull. So people will say, "Well that’s how evolutions works. That’s simple. No problem." But there’s more involved in changing an ape into a human being than that. Now the trouble here is that people don't know how apes and human beings work as machines. So one can think of an ape or human being as some sort of amorphous thing like a clay model, which you mold and it gradually changes shape, and you go from one to the other. But is it that simple?
Take the brain for example. So we have here a picture of a brain. So it looks pretty amorphous; if you look at it in a gross way, it looks kind of like a cloud floating in the sky. And you can imagine the cloud growing. In fact some clouds do that; if you look at them, you’ll see it’s gradually growing, and changing shape. So you can think of the brain similarly, changing from an ape brain into a human brain. But then, if you ask "how does the brain work," you stop and think, well, the brain is supposed to be like a computer, so they say. Now nobody really knows this, by the way. Because nobody can observe the functioning of the brain at the level of cellular interactions on a large scale and show how it actually works as a computer. So it’s just an idea that people have. But let’s say it does work as a computer. So next to the brain we show here a computer circuit of the kind you’ll find in your apple computer or something. So the nature of such a circuit is that many little things have to link together in just the right order. And the functioning of the circuit depends on how they’re linked together.
So obviously ape brains function in a different way than human brains. Obviously, as you can see from the different behavior between humans and apes. For example, humans can learn to speak, which is a fairly remarkable thing if you think about it, because a child about 1-2 years old, who doesn’t know anything about language, can figure out how to speak a language just by hearing other people doing it. That’s pretty remarkable. If you consider that even as an adult, if you hear somebody else speaking a language, it is hard to speak it even if someone’s there to teach you the grammar. But a child can figure it out without anyone explaining grammar to him, because of course they can’t explain grammar to a child since he can’t speak. So the human, let's say this is due to the functioning of the brain, that’s what the biologists would say, so that means the brain has to have a built-in program that allows one to learn how to speak a language just by hearing the sounds coming in. And this involves many remarkable features. For example we take it for granted that when somebody speaks English words, that it is easy to distinguish between the words, and tell one word from another. But actually that requires subtle discriminations.
For example I was just visiting Japan, so I was hearing these people speak Japanese, and I asked somebody, how do you say this? And he said blablabla, or whatever it is. Actually it was more like, mashka gwaska, kawashka or something. And the fact is that I couldn't even begin to try to say it because I didn’t know what the sounds were that you had to make. Because you obviously had to make certain sounds in a certain way. and I had no idea what sounds you are supposed to make, because they weren’t like English sounds at all. But the infant who doesn’t know how to speak at all, can figure out what sounds you’re supposed to make.
So if you think of programming a computer to do that, it would be very difficult. Now, it's worthwhile of thinking about how you would actually do it, because as I was saying, as long as the organism remains something vague and fuzzy, you can easily imagine that it would evolve – just like the idea of the cloud changing shape. But if you think of actually doing it, then you run into problems. So you may ask, what does it take to program a computer that will recognize sounds and so on, and so forth? Well this is very difficult. In fact, people are working on building computers that will respond to spoken commands. Very complicated programs are needed. Now in a computer program, what you find is that the structure you build is sensitive to errors. In a computer program these are called bugs. So what you find is that you can have a computer program that really works nicely, but there can be one little bug in it, one little error. And because of that, the whole thing breaks down. Errors can multiply, for example, you know if you do arithmetic, and add up and multiply numbers, if you make one little mistake somewhere, you can be way off in your final calculation, because mistakes can just multiply through the calculation. Well it’s exactly like that in computer programs. If one little thing goes wrong, then there can be a reaction that causes something else, and that causes something else, so the whole thing can go off. So computer programs are very complicated arrangements of interacting parts so to speak, and they have to be made just right.
So how can you change one computer program to another? Well it’s not easy. It requires rewriting, essentially. So let's say the brain of the ape is like a computer program and it’s wired in such a way that the connections of the cells represent the logical structure of the program, which is what people are thinking. Let's say the human brain is another program, it’s wired differently. So you’d have to go from the ape wiring to the human wiring. And you'll have to introduce a whole new set of functions, namely language comprehension, which just aren't there in the ape. By the way, they try to teach apes language, and it’s interesting. Chimpanzees can learn to use signs in various remarkable ways, but it’s been observed that they never actually learned language. The idea of grammar never occurs to the ape. You can present it with examples of grammar for years and it never begins to speak grammatically. It can barely make signs in a sort of one-for-one fashion, like this stands for banana, or this stands for something.
Comment: It understands sign language?
Yeah, it can use sign language like they use sign language for the deaf, they’ve done this. Apes also cannot produce sounds like humans can. This is interesting. They can't produce words. They say it's due to the structure of their throats. But the thing is that if you can’t produce words in one way, then you can produce them in another way. And they have a tongue, a throat, and so on, so they could make some kind of patterned sounds. But they never learned to do that either. But they can make hand symbols like the language for the deaf – and make symbols for banana and want. So the ape will make something like want, want want, banana, banana, banana. And you know what it wants. It can do that. But it can’t say something like, “I would have wanted a banana if I were hungry.” You know, it wouldn’t come up with anything like that.
Actually, efforts have been made to program computers to use language, and just to give you an idea, somebody programmed a computer once to make statements about stacks of toy blocks. And you can actually type in on a typewriter a question like, “Is there a red block on top of a green block?” And the computer would analyze the scene of blocks and say yes or no correctly, depending on what the situation was. So this was considered to be a great triumph of programming when it first came out.
I once asked a man at MIT how big the program was? And he gave me a figure in man hours of programing time. It took thousands of man hours or something. In other words, several people worked for a couple years on the system or something like that. So it was exceedingly complicated. But what it could do was very rudimentary. And I also asked him, suppose they were dealing with blocks, we want the program to answer similar questions about say, items in a kitchen, like pots, glasses, spoons, salt shakers, things like that. And he said, “That’s completely impractical at the present stage. We have no idea how to do that.” Because then you’d have to analyze all kinds of curved shapes, and it’s not easy. For example, we could look at a salt shaker and immediately, just in a flash, without any observable time lag we can say, “Well, that’s a salt shaker.” We can see a salt shaker amidst various spoons, rolling pins, and things like that, and say, “Oh, there’s the salt shaker.” But try to program a computer to do that, at present, nobody could do it. It’s completely out of the question. But yet a young child can do that without any difficulty. So the kind of programming that must exist in the brain, if indeed the brain is what’s entirely doing this, is of incredible sophistication. So they’re just speculating when they say that the programming of the brain is doing these things. As a matter of fact, nobody has ever demonstrated that. But let’s suppose it is. Well, here we gave an example of a much simpler problem, of evolution.
So you can ask, "Could we change the ape brain to the human brain by evolutionary steps?" Well, let’s try a simpler problem. Here we have two radio circuits, like Heathkit circuits, which you can put together. So there’s one, and there’s another. So could you change one radio circuit into another by gradual step-by-step changes? What would be involved in that? And mind you, at each stage the circuit has to work. That is, you'll make a little change, and it’s a working circuit. Another little change, and it’s still a working circuit. And in this way, you go from the first circuit all the way to the second circuit. That’s the thing that’s required, because in evolution that’s what you have to do to change, because the animals have to be viable. Generation by generation, the organisms have to be able to function in their environment. It’s not like you could take the ape brain and sort of partially disassemble it into something in which the parts are laid out on a table, and then reassemble it in a completely new way. No, at each step it has to be workable.
Well I would suggest if you would try to do that with, say, some radio circuits as we show in this picture here you won’t be able to do it step-by-step. If you want to actually change one circuit into another, what you’ll have to do is take apart the first circuit into its components and then rearrange the components in a completely new way. To make a completely new circuit you’ll have to change many things at once. And the reason you'll have to change many things at once is that in the circuit things are interdependent. One part depends on what many other parts are doing. So if you change the one part, you’ll also have to change many other parts, in order to get something that works. This is the way machines are. And it’s especially true for complicated machines.
For example, if you want to change a computer program to make some minor modifications in what the program does, typically you’d have to change in a number of different places, because one change here requires a change there and it requires a change over here, and so on. So you’d have to rewrite quite a few things in order to make even a minor change. And to introduce a completely new function, then you’ll have to do extensive writing of whole new routines and so forth. So this is the problem of evolution: If you try and actually specify what happens in an exact way, then you’ll find out it is very difficult to evolve one thing into another.
Now evolutionists are always going to be fond of pointing to things where it would not be so difficult to make change. Take for example color patterns on the back of beetles. I was talking to a paleontologist at the British Museum, and we were talking about evolution. And so he mentioned that it used to be that when people knew about a few hundred species of beetles, they would see that there were quite a number of distinct color patterns. And he said, “Well you can say, how can one of these color patterns change to another? But in more recent years we have studied beetles in greater depth, and we have discovered literally thousand of species of beetles.” I think they may have about 400,000 species of beetles now they’ve recorded. Actually there are people who do this, believe it or not. But actually there are persons – usually you’ll find them in museums – who can actually say that they have personally looked at 4,000, but I don't think one person can look at 100,000 species of beetles. But maybe a person has specialized in certain sub-grouping, and he has personally looked at a thousand different types of beetles. And he can make drawings of all of them.
So actually when we were doing research for this magazine we once took out a book on lizards. There was a book about this thick, and it was about a particular kind of lizard, mind you. And the whole book was on these lizards. And after reading that, your mind would be deeply immersed in lizard consciousness. Actually you would begin to intuitively feel what it’s like to be a lizard. But anyway, he was saying when you look at so many different beetles then you will see the patterns merge into one another in a continuum. And we can see easily how one can change to another. Well, as a matter of fact, that’s all well and good – as far as such patterns are concerned maybe you can change gradually one pattern into another. After all they are only a bunch of color markings on the back of the beetle's shell. But what about the other features of the beetle such as the multi-jointed legs, or the eyes that are made of thousands of lenses with special little photoreceptors that are linked together in some kind of special little neuron network so that the beetle can recognize different things and walk around and so forth – what about all that?
So the evolutionist points to the color patterns, and you can easily see how you can merge one color pattern to another. That’s just like the clouds of the sky gradually changing shape. So conceivably that can even happen by an evolutionary process. Maybe it did, or maybe it didn’t. It’s conceivable. But what about the machinery of the beetle itself? That’s another thing. So the idea is that they would emphasise these things that could change gradually – not that they necessarily did –but they leave out of the discussion of all the machinery, because nobody has any idea how that could change gradually.
So these are some of the problems involved with evolution. Now the whole discussion on evolution involves many different claims and counterclaims. The discussion is generally carried out within this realm of vagueness. And the evolutionists within this realm will try to make a plausible case. And they will make some rather astonishing assertions.
For example, I was just reading, well actually it’s in this newspaper article Badrinarayan gave me, this fellow named Dr. Root-Bernstein, who spent 3 years at the Salk Institute here studying creationism versus evolution. It is interesting you could study that here at the Salk institute. This was for the purpose of refuting the creationists. So he made the claim that, “You couldn’t even conduct modern research without the theory of evolution, because in modern medical research, we test drugs on animals like rats. And the reason we are able to do this is because we know the rats respond to drugs the same way human beings do. And we couldn't even understand things without the theory of evolution that explains how the rats have a common ancestry with human beings, therefore they’re very similar to human beings.” So he actually gave this argument. But actually this argument is completely wrong, because as a matter of fact the theory of evolution does not tell you that rats should respond to drugs the same way humans do. In fact it would suggest that it shouldn’t respond to drugs the same way as human beings do, because evolution means change. That’s what evolution actually means basically. So why then should the rats have the same response to drugs as human beings do? They should change in the course of millions of years and respond differently. After all, they look different. They are different in many ways. So why they should respond to drugs the same way? So the fact is that if they do respond to drugs the same way, that means it’s an empirical observation.
[30:40] – glitch in recording
...and you’ll see that the most ludicrous arguments are being put forward. So there are many different arguments. But basically the evolutionists don't know what’s going on. And we give some examples here to illustrate this. I’ll just indicate some of them. For example, some evolutionists will say that given time, human beings will definitely evolve. And they will even say that if mammals had not been given their chance to evolve by the extinction of the dinosaurs, then some dinosaurs would have evolved into human beings by now. So this is what they would look like – we have a picture.
Question: This may not be appropriate to ask, but I always wondered why don't we see evolution, if it’s an ongoing process, why don't we see it happen? Why don't we see the intermediate steps?
Answer: Well, the answer they’ll give to that, you see, is competition. The half-evolved person cannot compete with the fully evolved person.
A: Well in the argument that will be made that we do see them. [unclear]... Well, in the subways of New York….Well, the argument will be made that we do see them actually. Except that now, nowadays we are in the age of liberalism in human society, and one isn’t supposed to refer to inferior races anymore. But if we were having this conversation a 100 years ago, then the immediate answer would be, well there are the inferior races. And even now they are in the process of being eliminated by natural selection. That’s exactly what people would have said. But in more recent times it’s considered to be socially just not acceptable to say things like that, even though a lot of people are still thinking that way. Because you see, what happened after Darwin came up with his theory, there was something called social Darwinism, and in the early part of the 20th century it became very prominent. And the whole idea of social Darwinism was, well look, let's eliminate the inferior human beings. This is the natural process of evolution. So this was used as justification for all kinds of things, including, moving into a country where you have greater military power and taking over,because the people there are inferior, after all. It’s survival of the fittest, and the fact that we are the fittest is proven by the fact that we beat them. So this kind of thing was used. So more recently it has become more unpopular to use that kind of argument. But in any case that’s the argument they’ll give: We don’t see the intermediate forms because they didn’t survive. They weren’t fit. So yeah.
A: Well, the answer to that is they’re many niches in nature. The explanation they’ll give is that if two beings are similar in form, then there tends to be a strong chance of competition between them, and the inferior one will be quickly eliminated. But if large differences have arisen, then there is not so much competition, because the organisms are acting in different spheres. For example, how is it that you can have gorillas and human beings at the same time? Well, the gorillas live way out in the jungle somewhere, where the human beings don't go. So therefore there is not much competition between humans and gorillas, and you can have both. So that’s the explanation. And if you say, "What about when the human beings weren’t so different from the semi-gorillas, and they were competing?" Well, the answer would be, "Well, in those days when there wasn’t so much population, people in groups just wound up in different parts of Africa. And they didn't compete with one another, and they have all evolved in their separate ways, and only recently we have come into contact again because the human population has expanded so much. But in due time, maybe the gorillas will die out in a few years because they are in competition with the human beings. And in fact unless they are protected by legislation and so on, they will be exterminated." So that's the kind of argument that will be made. So if someone says, if you give the argument, “Then why are the monkeys still here?” Well, the answer is, "Well, the monkeys are living out in the treetops, and the other primates that evolved into human beings are living on the ground. And therefore there isn’t so much competition between them." So this kind of argument is given. Yeah?
A: Well that was the point that I was just about to make. To get back to the dinosaur-man, this illustrates what the evolutionists don't know because, you see, some evolutionists will say, “Given a set of circumstances, human-like beings will evolve even if you start with dinosaurs, a dinosaur-man will evolve – here he is.” Now by the way, we made this model, but actually we copied the model made by some scientists. We asked permission to use their model but they wouldn’t give it, so we just made another one ourselves. But this is what it looked like basically. So they were saying, “Yeah sure, given the same circumstances, a man-like being will evolve.” But then we quote in here some other scientists who say, “Given the circumstances a man-like being will not evolve, because it's so improbable it just won't happen again in the same way." Which means that they have the faintest idea. So the real answer to your question is they don't have the faintest idea of what circumstances would cause apes to evolve into a man, or cause whatever it was – insectivores to evolve into a monkey or anything like that. This is an area of sheer speculation, and it’s in the realm of total vagueness. So it's anybody's guess. So the evolutionists will make all kinds of guesses continuously. For example, their guess concerning how it is that mammals came along with milk glands: They will say, well, there were some lizards that tended to sweat and the young lizards would lick the body of their mother. And they would get a little nutrient benefit there. But then gradually changes occurred so that more nutrients went into the sweat, right? And so in this way gradually... So what is the scientific validity of that? Well, that is what is called a 'just so' story. And anybody can make up such stories.
Actually that's the situation of the theory of evolution – no one has any idea why these things should happen. And they speculate like anything. So there’re many examples. Evolutionists will make various arguments though. Some evolutionists will say because organisms can be classified in hierarchical groups, this indicates that they came from common ancestors. Like you could find big large groups like birds, mammals, reptiles. Then within the birds there are say finches, birds of prey, and so on. And within that there are other groups and so on. And they will say that this shows descent from common ancestors. But not necessarily. We showed here with automobiles we can make similar classifications according to descent, but this didn't happen by common ancestry. It happened by design because it's natural in designing machines to divide them into classifications, and then modify designs with certain classifications, and so on. It’s a natural way to organize things. Even when you write essays you divide them into something like 1, 2, and 3, and under 2 you’ll have A, B, and C, and under that you have subdivisions and so on. So that is an argument.
I will just indicate some of the arguments that we illustrate here in the pictures. We have this picture showing the development of the embryo. So once again, if you're going to say how something evolved, then you should at least be able to say how it actually develops in its ordinary functioning. So the human body, or the body of an animal and so on, evolves from the embryo, from the fertilized egg, and so on. They don't know how that works. They know a few things about it, but basically they don't know. So how then can you say how the thing came to be if you don't know how it works now? That's just one argument. And yet to figure out how it works would take a tremendous development in knowledge. Then we give simple examples like: this is the E. coli motor which maybe I have talked about before. So give intermediate steps leading up to that. It's a fairly simple mechanism. So please explain how it evolved by showing the intermediate steps.
A: No, that's wrong. Your reasoning is wrong. Because if you have successful ones and then some duds come, then the successful ones that are there at the time simply dominate everything and they remain the same. And ok, you have some duds that appear and then they die off, well and good, but where is the progressive change from one step to another? You have one kind...
A: So let's say that you change something from A to B and you had to go through 10 steps. And let's say during each generation you can have one step. And let’s say that until you get to the 10th step it’s a dud.
Q: But why does it have to be so extreme? Why can’t it be small successes?
A: That's precisely what we're talking about. Can you go by small steps in which each one is successful? Look you can just consider what the possibilities are. Either you go by one big change, and produce your, let's take this little motor problem here. You go by one big change and get the whole motor all in one step. Fine, then it works and you’ve got a new organism that’s successful. However you have to put all these different parts together. The chances of that are exceedingly small. So practically no scientist is even going to advocate that idea. That's the hopeful monster theory. The lizard gives birth to a bird with wings and feathers and so on, that flies. That’s really extreme, but here’s this little motor: the bacterium without one day, which doesn’t have a motor, gives birth to one that has a motor. In other words, it starts building motors all of a sudden. So one can explore that. So I propose that’s going to be too improbable.
Okay, so let's say we had to go through the motor in 10 steps. Ten isn’t such a big number. I don't think that ten would be enough. You would need more probably – but let’s say 10 steps. So if each step produces something that works, then fine, you can go step by step. So I ask you, “Show me 10 steps in which each step produces something that works and that gives you a motor at the end. And it starts with the bacteria without the motor.”
Q: What I say is take the ten steps but allow in each step there are 100 alterations, a 100 variations, 99 of which don’t work but one of them works.
A: The point is if you got, never mind what other alterations there are which don’t work, we all know they're always plenty of those. But if there is a chain of 10 steps in which each successful step does work, then you can argue that you can go through that sequence. But I am asking you, “Is there such a thing as a chain of 10 steps where each step does work? Is there any pathway?” There can be billions of other things that don't work. We know that's true anyway. But can you find me 1 pathway in which each of the 10 steps does work?
A: Okay, now what you're saying is, “Okay, we're going to do the following thing: we're going to take two steps – the first one is dud and the second one is building on the positive. Okay, show me an example of that. Build this motor that way. Okay, every other step is allowed to be a dud. Try it. But even there you're going to have problems with evolution because as I already explained, if one step is a dud, that means that bacterium is in a disadvantage. It's using its energy to produce something which isn't viable for it. So another bacterium, which is using its energy more efficiently, is going to reproduce faster. Let's just say, though, that maybe due to some chance arrangement you have a group of those in the dud from. And they are isolated from the other kind so they don't have to compete with them. But I still ask you find me a sequence in which every other one is a dud and every other one is viable, and you can go from a motor not being there to motor being there. Or for that matter find, me a sequence in which you have three in a row are duds and something is better, and three in a row are duds, and something is better, and so on. In other words, actually build models and show this. Actually show such a sequence.
Q: In theory is it possible or not possible?
A: In theory anything is possible, if the theory is vague enough. And that’s the point. Evolution theory thrives on vagueness. As long as you can keep things vague by saying, “Maybe it could be thing, maybe it could be that,” and ultimately you say to the person, “If you doubt it, you religious fanatic, then you prove that it couldn’t be.” Always the answer will be, “There could be some intermediates, it could happen somehow, and you can’t prove that it couldn’t be. Therefore we go on accepting that it is, and teaching it to all the children that this is what happened. That it happened by evolution.” So the strategy of evolutionary theory is to keep everything vague, and say it could be, and force the person who wants to disagree to prove that it couldn’t be. And if you’re keeping everything vague while dealing with very complicated things, then you can’t prove that it couldn’t be. Because how can you prove anything where everything is vague and the reality is so complex nobody knows how it works anyway? So that's the strategy. If you want to advocate evolution keep it vague, and force the person who challenges you to prove that it couldn’t happen that way. And then say it must have happened that way. Otherwise you’ll have to postulate some idiotic things like miracles or god, or something completely unscientific. So the only reasonable course of scientific research is to search for a material explanation. The whole basis of science is searching for a material explanation.
For years religionists have said, “No, God does it, God does it,” but the scientists have gone on patiently seeking material explanations, and look at all the discoveries that have been made. One discovery after another, and these religious people never discovered anything. They just stayed in their churches and died of smallpox and the black plague and so forth. You know, they never really did anything. We would still be in the dark ages if we left it up to them. So by looking for material explanations science has made so much advancement. So we’re saying here, “In the area of life, sure, everything is complicated. Of course we don't understand everything yet, but that's the nature of science. We push forward into the unknown seeking material explanations. We don't concern ourselves with these occult, vitalistic explanations that are completely fruitless and never proved anything. So therefore we may not have it completely worked out yet, but the obvious program of scientific progress is to search for material explanations of evolution in terms of physical processes. So unless you can prove that it couldn't happen, we should certainly go on with this scientific program. And of course, if we listen to you, we all will just go away somewhere, give up science, and spend our time praying or something. And what's the use of that? If we do that all the advanced nations that stick to the material path will beat us completely and we'll just have to become slaves of them. So therefore the theory of evolution is the only way.”
Yeah but what does this argument have to do with the truth anyway? What does it really have to do with science because this hype that I just gave you completely overlooks the fact that science is supposedly looking for the truth, and if you can't actually find the truth, then what have you got? Just a lot of baloney. And they complain about the religionists producing all kinds of superstitious gobbledygook, that no one can verify and so forth. But what are they doing? They are using the smoke screen that I just gave you to back up this whole scheme that they have erected out of their imagination with no solid foundation. And they're saying, yeah, either remain sitting or leave permanently. One or the other. Clear cut decision. So this is the thing that they are doing. They’re creating a bluff, and saying all kinds of unverifiable things or this is not the way of science. In science what you're supposed to do is to show something that really works. And it has to be evaluated on the spot as to whether it really works or not. And if it doesn't really work then that's no good. That's the way you deal with things in science.
If a chemist gives you some vague theory about what chemical reactions might do and tells you to prove that this is wrong if you're not going to believe in it, but he cannot give you any evidence to show that is true, then you are certainly not going to accept that in chemistry. But then the evolutionists have gotten people to accept this in this area of the explanations of the origin of life. And they’re various other points to make here. There many examples of things, by the way, that are hard to explain by evolution: like we give this little shrimp example here. There are thousands of examples like this, but I will just tell you what this one is. Well, that's the trouble, this thing tends to go on for some time...
Well there are a lot of details and it's good to understand the basic arguments here because basically the evolutionary position is quite weak. But they can throw so many different things at you. Like they will throw at you the embryonic teeth of the Baleen whales. This is something we have illustrated here. Adult whales, or whales that are just swimming around and eating and so on, of this kind don't have teeth. They have some sort of strainer in their mouths. What they do is they swallow a huge volume of water with very large mouths which contains a lot of little swimming things. Then they squirt the water out from their sieves and the little creatures are caught in that and they swallow them and that's how they eat. It’s an interesting way to eat. But they don't have teeth. But the embryo partly develops teeth. Then they are reabsorbed in the body of the embryo, before the whale is born. So the evolutionist will say, “This is the proof of evolution. It shows that these whales came from ancestors that had teeth. And so that's proof of evolution.” So next time I will explain why that is not necessarily proof of evolution.