I think, and truth is I can't be arsed to check, that it was my e-pal, Bob, who a couple of weeks ago raised the dread subject of Darwinism - yeeeees, quite! Anyway, it brought back fond memories of old, hard-fought battles of yesteryear that raged across 'Blogdom'. Actually, now I think about it, it might have been me who raised the subject by mentioning a man I much admire (without totally agreeing with his theory), Prof. Michael J. Behe, the author of Darwin's Black Box. I described his book as a hand-grenade tossed into the 'All Saints Church of Darwinism' whose leader and prophet is 'Archbishop' Richard Dawkins.
At this point I will pause and confess. I really do not like Dawkins for a variety of reasons but perhaps the main one is the fact that he fooled me, not just a bit, but totally. The truth is that I read his books and swallowed them whole. No-one likes to be fooled, least of all a bad-tempered, old grump like me with an over-exaggerated sense of my own intelligence! Mind you, since those earlier days I have seen and heard a great deal more of Dawkins on the media and really it was his waspish arrogance that began to grate to the extent that I rather enjoyed one or two later books that took him and his 'religion' apart.
The first was Behe's book on evolution which also comes with a 'religious health warning' in that the author postulates the hand of God, albeit, camouflaged as an 'intelligent designer'. However, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of cellular biochemistry, Prof. Behe leaves Dawkins, a mere biologist, standing alone in his ignorance. And it is at the incredibly complex level of biochemistry that evolution takes place. Poor old Darwin (like Dawkins) had next to no knowledge of the subject and based his theory on the living things that surrounded him. But change/mutation, when it occurs, begins at the sub-cellular level of chemistry in which, of course, mathematics (dread word - for me, at any rate) rules supreme.
To assist the general reader, Behe poses what he calls 'irreducible complexity', by which he means that for any system to function properly it requires all its sub-systems to be equally productive. Rather than losing us all in the infinite complexity of, say, the eye, he uses the mundane example of a mouse-trap.
As you can see, this little device is made up of various components, the base, a holding bar, a catch, a spring and a hammer which when released catches the mouse. The first important thing to realise about this device is that all the components must be there and in working order for it to operate. Their equivalents in the human body, according to strict Darwinism, must have developed independently before, so to speak, they came together. But then the question arises as to what use, or what benefit, are any of these components on their own, let alone when they are evolving slowly and incrementally on their own? The main point of Darwinism is that forms arise because they are made up of characteristics that provide an advantage to the owner. But in the mousetrap analogy, none of the constituent parts are of the slightest use, let alone advantage, to the 'owner'.
Perhaps the most widely discussed example of Darwinian evolution provides a huge advantage to its owners is the eye. Typically, Dawkins in his book The Blind Watchmaker skims over this like a skater but seems to be unaware of the thin ice supporting him. He writes, glibly, of some animals having "a light sensitive spot with a little pigment behind it" and suggests that this is situated "in a little cup ... and if you make a cup very deep and turn the sides over, you eventually make a lensless pinhole camera." Not a word on how this "light sensitive spot" or its attendant "pigment" arose, nor how or why it happened to be rather usefully in "a cup" which was all ready and waiting. What a happy coincidence!
[I'm running out of time so, alas, you will have to wait for the next part - or parts!]