In the Beginning God: A Creation RPM–Rhodopsin, Pixels, and Mousetraps

Tachometers? In T&T?! With a quick apology for the attention-grabber, kindly allow the switch to Rhodopsin, Pixels, and Mousetraps. And since most of us know more about mousetraps than we’d like to know, let’s start here in our job of explaining RPM.

The angered woodsman who discharged a shotgun blast to stop the nibbling sound in the wall, only to hear it again in the eerie quiet that ensued, would agree with you and me: mousetraps are important. That’s because they work. And they only work because each part that composes a mousetrap works. So next time you’re determined to lower the mouse population, count the parts (don’t forget the cheese). Now mentally try to omit or rearrange the parts: and you’ll see your imagined mouse splitting with the cheese (if that’s still on your list).

So the mousetrap works: that’s functionality. And it won’t work if you remove or rearrange any of the parts: that’s irreducible complexity.

Now, can you imagine the parts: the hammer, spring, catch, platform, and holding bar (oh, yes, and the cheese) co-evolving to form a mousetrap? After all, it’s a “survival of the fittest” world out there and an evolving hammer can’t reproduce or, in our case, catch mice; much less survive without some function. And simple folk (at least, like the author) know a tornado sweeping through a junkyard of these parts won’t arrange just the right parts and the right number of parts in the right order to produce a mousetrap, or much less a mouse trap that procreates more mouse traps. So allow one more expression: specified complexity. Out of the universe of possibilities deriving from wood and metal (the big word is contingency), one distinct combination produced the mousetrap. So what is specified complexity? Somebody made the mousetrap.

Now suppose your mousetrap slipped from your pocket while hiking the outback and some Aborigines chanced to find it. After thoughtful experimentation (possibly trying it on a wombat), they may have quickly mastered the mousetrap. And now if you chanced to meet them and began to explain to them the nuances of functionality, contingency, irreducible and specified complexity, you might be met with a blank stare. But no matter, really, because they’d have already grasped the concept even if it came from the “gods,” somebody made the mousetrap. You see, understanding in detail how something works has a great deal to do with understanding how it came to be. And we could wish evolutionary-minded thinkers could be so perceptive! In the twentieth century Darwin’s “Black Box,” as Michael Behe describes it, was opened to reveal biochemical systems of bewildering complexity infinitely beyond the reach of chance. As these complexities came to light, a mental leap inevitably followed: understanding how something works equates to understanding how it came to be. That understanding today is a clear and resounding message: design.

But before moving from mousetraps, please pause for this parody:

Another confirmation of the evolutionary process is observed in the co-emergence of mousetraps and cutting boards having radiated from a common protoboard. Phylogenetic tracing buttresses the thesis derived from commonly observed homologues. Clearly the bauplan of both confirms commonality of transitional morphologies. Convergence is observed in both the catch in the mousetrap and the metal clamp on the cutting board radiating from common preadaptation to immobilization of prey.

So there you have it: cutting boards and mousetraps evolved from the same piece of wood and metal. To quote David Berlinski, author of A Tour of the Calculus, “This (referring to a similar scenario) is not a parody of evolutionary thinking; it isevolutionary thinking.” So what’s wrong? Let’s add one more expression: conceptual circularity. It’s a little like confirming a story in the New York Times by reading it twice. It goes like this: Evolution is a fact. Spin a (non-falsifiable) story that fits the fact. You see? Evolution is a fact. This process is a hallmark of myth, not science.

Now before signing off from this job, we better pick up the tools: functionality, irreducible complexity, contingency, specified complexity, and conceptual circularity. And they all fit nicely into the tool box labeled Intelligent Design: all, that is, except conceptual circularity. That’s because Intelligent Design derives not from faulty logic but from a recognized mathematical discipline described as Information Theory.

And while carefully reasoned logic and theory should point to the truth, shouldn’t we pause to thank God we’ve come to knowabsolute, inviolate truth? That truth is the Word of God. In fact, that truth is the Truth: the Son of God “Who has come and given us an understanding that we may know Him that is True.” Consequently, we should exercise complete faith in the Word of God and in the Person of the Son. Not a faith deriving from conceptual circularity but Scriptural faith. For, let’s remind ourselves, “faith is the substantiating of things hoped for; the evidence of the unseen.” Substance and evidence? Equated to faith? Aren’t they mutually exclusive? No! The tangible does confirm the intangible: faith. The known is to be extended into the unknown. That’s Scriptural faith.

You’re a young Christian? Try some homework. Compare Luke 19:32 and 22:13 with 24:6. In the last reference, scriptural faith is AWOL. What’s wrong?

We’ve just touched on the message of Intelligent Design. Keep the tool box handy. Lord willing, we’ll have a look at pixels and rhodopsin. You won’t find Neo-Darwinian Theory’s explanatory power remotely adequate to explain the complexity we’ll discuss. Using our tools to detect design, you will find Intelligent Design, as a discipline, rises to meet that challenge. That’s because it recognizes a Designer. And, thank God, by grace we’ve come to personally know The Designer: the Lord Jesus Christ by Whom “all things were made that are made.”