Certainly the modern cellular machinery, the apparatus of DNA
replication and protein synthesis, has all the hallmarks of a highly
evolved, specially fashioned machine. We have seen how staggeringly
impressive it is as an accurate data storage device. At its own level of
ultra-miniaturization, it is of the same order of elaborateness and
complexity of design as the human eye is at a grosser level. All who
have given thought to the matter agree that an apparatus as complex as
the human eye could not possibly come into existence through
single-step selection. Unfortunately, the same seems to be true of at
least parts of the apparatus of cellular machinery whereby DNA replicates
itself, and this applies not just to the cells of advanced
creatures like ourselves and amoebas, but also to relatively more
primitive creatures like bacteria and blue-green algae.
So, cumulative selection can manufacture complexity while
single-step selection cannot. But cumulative selection cannot work
unless there is some minimal machinery of replication and replicator
power, and the only machinery of replication that we know seems too
complicated to have come into existence by means of anything less
than many generations of cumulative selection! Some people see this
as a fundamental flaw in the whole theory of the blind watchmaker.
They see it as the ultimate proof that there must originally have been a
designer, not a blind watchmaker but a far-sighted supernatural
watchmaker. Maybe, it is argued, the Creator does not control the
day-to-day succession of evolutionary events; maybe he did not frame
the tiger and the lamb, maybe he did not make a tree, but he did set up
the original machinery of replication and replicator power, the original
machinery of DNA and protein that made cumulative selection, and
hence all of evolution, possible.
This is a transparently feeble argument, indeed it is obviously selfdefeating.
Organized complexity is the thing that we are having
difficulty in explaining. Once we are allowed simply to postulate
organized complexity, if only the organized complexity of the DNA/
protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a
generator of yet more organized complexity. That, indeed, is what
most of this book is about. But of course any God capable of intelligently
designing something as complex as the DNA/protein replicating
machine must have been at least as complex and organized as
that machine itself. Far more so if we suppose him additionally
capable of such advanced functions as listening to prayers and forgiving
sins. To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by
invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it
leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something
like ‚God was always there’, and if you allow yourself that kind
of lazy way out, you might as well just say ‚DNA was always there’, or
‚Life was always there’, and be done with it.
Reprennez du dessert !