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No. 103: Jan-Feb 1996

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I Hiss Therefore I Am

E.R. Moliner, a neurologist, has written a curious yet provocative article for New Scientist. It is really a not-too-subtle attack on the Anthropic Principle, Darwinism, and science's insistence that the universe must be purposeless.

He notes first that most proponents of the Anthropic Principle postulate that, in the beginning (whatever that was!), many different universes may have been created. The only one we observe is the one offering just the right combination of properties for evolving life and, especially, humankind. If this or that physical constant had been a tad different, humans would not have evolved. Even though humans obviously did evolve, it was all purposeless -- just the way atoms and molecules happened to combine.

This outlook fits right in with Darwinism, for almost all Darwinists also see evolution as purposeless. It was blind chance that gave us the capabilities to build aircraft and tunnel into opposite sides of a mountain and meet in the middle. Moliner is highly skeptical that such amazing, "cooperative, adaptive" talents could have come about in an unbiased, purposeless universe.

Suppose, he asks, vipers were philosophically minded. They might look at their marvelously complex fangs with the canals inside, a nearby poison gland, a poison storage reservoir with special ducts leading to the fangs, a fang-erection mechanism, a set of muscles to squeeze the poison reservoir, and a nervous system to control the whole system, and conclude that there must be an Ophidian Principle at work in the universe for vipers to end up with all these neatly interconnected biological components!

Using the foregoing musings for a launch pad, Moliner assails Darwinism head on, employing the "what-good-is half-a-wing" and "complexity" arguments:

"It is easy to visualise how random mutations followed by natural selection could lead to the right curvature of the fangs for better grasping of prey. But what would have been the selective advantage of the rest of the poison system if just one of its components had failed to evolve? To claim that it can be achieved through unbiased evolution is like expecting that nine independent miners can attack the core of Mount Everest from various points at the foot of the Himalayas and meet exactly in the middle without the guidance of a surveyor."

(Moliner, E. Ramon; "'I Hiss Therefore I Am'," New Scientist, p. 48, November 11, 1995)

Comments. We will enjoy reading the inevitable letters to New Scientist from evolutionists. Probably, too, creationists will now be quoting Moliner.

Even so, we see much discussion of "adaptive" or "directed" evolution in the scientific literature these days. See SF#96. This subject is also mentioned frequently in all catalog volumes in the Biology Series (BH, BM, etc.) The volumes in print are described here.

From Science Frontiers #103, JAN-FEB 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss