When we were kids, my brother and I used to go hunting for fossils. He was good or lucky or both. The trick to finding good specimens is to know where to look, the kind of rock strata, the color of the rock, and knowing how to
split rock to observe its interior. Surface fossils are trickier as they lay on the surface of crumbled mountain sides and every pebble in the rubble has the same color. But shapes of unusual smoothness or geometric design give fossil remnants away. Dave always seemed to come back with rocks of shell imprints, leaf prints, trilobites and such. He was particularly good at hunting archeological remnants as well – arrow heads. These he found by the score. The skill and techniques were the same. Look in the right place. Look for design. Fossil forms and arrowheads have peculiar features that give them away. They have specific design patterns. In the case of
arrowheads the shape of the stone was obviously designed. In the case of plant or animal fossils the shapes were… well, obviously designed.
While theoretical evolutionists like to say that plants and animals and their fossils have only the appearance of design, anyone who has seen life in action knows intuitively this is false. Trees are designed to capture light using leaves and to absorb minerals and water using roots. Their fruit is grown to aid in the dispersal of seed
or spores and plants capitalize on birds and insects for sexual reproduction and dispersal of their progeny. Animals have the ability to move, find shelter, eat, reproduce in season, defend and social animals have a hierarchy of structure to improve survival and success in life. And humans can take advantage of every resource on the planet, which fortuitously yields renewable resources for food, building habitats, making clothing and much more.
Ecosystems involve very complex biological relationships. Forests have varying communities of plants and each community houses a variety of animal, fungal and bacterial life that interact to create a healthy environment for continuation and development of the ecosystem. In some places one ecosystem yields to another as in the case of succession of
communities after a fire. Grasslands grow to give rise to scrub bush and these yield to softwood trees. Ultimately, in deciduous regions, hardwood forests appear to be the apex community in the series of successive ecosystems. Each ecosystem possesses well defined animal species. Ecosystems from Africa, Australia and North and South America share the communal succession of plant and animal life in the development of climax communities. They don’t share the same species of plants or animals or fungi but the development of primary and secondary community growth patterns are very much similar.
That humans can study and comprehend an order to life and its interaction with the planet, be it an ocean community or pine forest, is not artificial. Ecosystems are real and the design that plants and animals are codependent is real. Design is found in everything that lives. This is true from the life of the simplest cell and the perfection of its many biochemical pathways to
human beings with our well define biological systems such as the nervous system, digestive system, immune system, circulatory system, integumentary system and so on. We look as though we were made with precision and with forethought though evolutionary biology does not accept this position.
Many cosmologists are willing to admit that our universe is uniquely fitted for carbon-based biological life to thrive. The laws of physics governing atoms, gravity, electromagnetic radiation and magnetism are far too finely tuned to be the result of chance occurrence. Some argue that these laws are real but they only give the “appearance” of design. Most, however, admit
there is something special about the obvious prefabrication of the laws that govern our cosmos. Few dabble in the metaphysics of the cosmos and this is well enough; scientists typically do a botched job at investigating this unique domain. (Frankly so do theologians but that is another topic). Years ago during my PhD studies I heard Richard Dawkins speak to biologists in a special forum opened for Q & A on his views of biology and cosmology. Dawkins was so adamant that evolution is a fact of nature that he said if life existed on other planets, even if it was silicone based (instead of carbon based) it had to have risen from a process of evolution. This caught me off guard as silicone life forms were once the fantastic speculation of fiction writers. I asked him if he believed silicone life forms existed to which he replied that if they did exist, they evolved. His facetious approach to magnifying his claim for evolution as a process still disturbed me. My studies made it pretty clear that if life existed anywhere it had to be carbon based.
In his book, “Nature’s Destiny”, Michael Denton presents the scientific laws that govern chemistry and specifically organic chemistry to the exclusion of such exotic hyperbole as silicone based biochemistry. While others have
defended the uniqueness of the universe for life to exist, Denton’s approach is one step nearer to the heart of the matter. “To defend the postulate that the cosmos is specifically fit for biological life as it exists on earth necessarily involves consideration of a vast number of natural laws, phenomena, and processes which are quite outside of the areas of physics and cosmology and pertain uniquely to the biological realm, phenomena such as thermal properties of water, the characteristics of the carbon atom, the solubility of carbon dioxide, that self-assembling properties of proteins, the nature of the cell, and so forth. Although from the evidence of physics we may be able to infer that the cosmos is uniquely fit for chemistry, stars, and planets, or even intelligent beings, we cannot infer that it is specifically fit for large, air-breathing terrestrial mammals,. Only through biology can our unique type of carbon-based life and especially
advanced forms like ourselves lay claim to a central place in the cosmic scheme.” (page xiii).
In other words, isn’t it fortunate that when water freezes it floats? Otherwise all life in lakes and ponds and even the ocean would be exterminated in several winter cycles. Isn’t it fortunate that the element carbon is light
enough and has four free electrons to allow chemical bonding to create the backbone structures for highly reactive biochemical
molecules; not so reactive so as to allow metabolic reactions to run uncontrolled? Isn’t it fortunate that the atmosphere is 21% oxygen and that oxygen dissolves in water? This way respiration can take place in large beings possessing a circulatory system which allows existence on land or in water. Isn’t it fortunate that trees are composed almost entirely of sugar molecules and these are assembled by molecular bonds that only a very few organisms have the ability to degrade to
food? Otherwise trees would not last long enough for the construction of homes, framing of foundations or creating scaffold to build sky scrapers. Is it not very convenient that trees produce oxygen while making sugar and that animals respire oxygen and consume sugars in order to live? How convenient is the necessity of plants to absorb carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, and use it to make sugar? Isn’t it wondrously amazing that there exist calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, sodium, chloride, potassium along with phosphorous, sulfur, nitrogen,
oxygen, carbon, hydrogen elements so that the cells, tissues, organs and organ systems of the body can regulate nervous transmission, create memory, move muscles, digest food, regulate metabolism, promote healing, communicate cellular activity to the nucleus of the cell and allow glands and cells from the brain, or gonads, or kidneys or the pancreas, gall bladder, liver, lungs, heart and gut to coordinate animal life activities – and this without conscious thought?
Evolution has no means or laws or principles that we can use to discern these facts. Do these wonders of the universe just happen to be available to allow biology to exist? Is it apparent design or is there deliberation in the existence of the universe? Do, as Denton says, the laws of biology reveal purpose in the cosmos? Is there any room for randamonium? In light of what we
understand of our existence we were not only a purposely designed creation but the pinnacle of that creation. The ancient pagan ignorance that attributed life to fortunate, freakish accidents of nature must be over ruled by reason. Science says that there is a designer. Only scientists deny this fact
Now it’s time to seek out the author of life. This is another direction other than science though some hard sciences point to the credibility of revealed knowledge. Discerning which “revelation” holds credibility is the study of theology. It is a necessary business for those who desire to know truth though it is an exhausting effort and often leads to questionable results. Ultimately the facts of design and the sufficiency of revelation can lead one to that point of understanding where both science and theology make sense.