Saturday, 28 February 2015

THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? CREATION OR EVOLUTION?


If we read the biblical account it starts with the chicken,  And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23
Every bird reproduced after its own kind, which is still true today.  Only same kinds can interbreed.
When God creates, the matter doesn’t need any further explanation or dialogue, it simply ends there.  God created the chicken [and birds, fish and reptiles] with the innate ability to reproduce through egg-bearing or laying.  God designed and created a finished, closed system of reproduction with all necessary components in place.  

It almost seems a copout to  simply leave it there, but there it is. In math we know, indisputably, that two plus two equals four.  It's a simple statement of fact.  So it is with Creation... God created.  It's a simple statement of fact that needs no further embellishment.  How He created no one knows.  He just did.
From an evolutionary perspective the question of the chicken or egg coming first is very much more complicated.  As I scoured the internet I found many articles and commentaries with their varied opinions, but, I could not find one, single article on how the first egg came to be.
The dilemma for evolutionists is that egg-laying is a very complicated and closed process.

1. First, you need a male and female chicken with functioning reproductive systems; the female chicken to produce the unfertilized ‘egg’ and the male chicken with the sperm necessary to fertilize the ‘egg’.  This means that before the first egg ever appeared on the scene someone, or something must have considered the end result - the egg.  Once the rooster deposits sperm in the hen, she keeps it in a little internal pouch. As a new egg passes by, still without a shell, it is fertilized by that sperm. This now fertilized ‘egg’ is the entity that will eventually be encapsulated in the outer shell.

2. Next you need an egg producing system.  A system that will envelope the fertilized egg, a single cell, in the yolk and sequentially wrapping the yolk in a membrane.  This is followed by the creation of the albumen, the ‘egg white’ that surrounds the yolk.   In turn the albumen is enveloped in a second membrane which is then enveloped by the shell, a mineralization and calcification process.  The chalazae are the two opaque strands of egg white that keep the yolk suspended in the middle of the egg.  Astoundingly, this whole process takes approximately 24-hours.  The chicken lays the egg.  

3. The complexity doesn’t stop there.  The whole system needs to carry the highly complex DNA, not only encoded with all the information for the chicken to grow but also carry the process information, the blueprint, for the cycle to carry on infinitely from generation to generation.

4. During the course of the next 20-days an even more impressive process takes place as the young chicken is formed.  Of course, the process includes a temperature control system (the brooding chicken), ventilation (porosity of the shell and membrane), etc.

5. Take any single element out of the process and you don’t have an egg or the life-cycle it produces.  The entire system must be in place from the very beginning for the very first egg to be produced.  This limitation is known as irreducible complexity.
Evolutionists have long taken issue with the idea of irreducible complexity.  In his 2008 book Only A Theory, biologist Kenneth R. Miller challenges the claim that a mousetrap is irreducibly complex. Miller observes that various subsets of the five components can be devised to form cooperative units, ones that have different functions from the mousetrap and so, in biological terms, could form functional spandrels before being adapted to the new function of catching mice. In an example taken from his high school experience, Miller recalls that one of his classmates

...struck upon the brilliant idea of using an old, broken mousetrap as a spitball catapult, and it worked brilliantly....It had worked perfectly as something other than a mousetrap....my rowdy friend had pulled a couple of parts --probably the hold-down bar and catch-- off the trap to make it easier to conceal and more effective as a catapult...[leaving] the base, the spring, and the hammer. Not much of a mousetrap, but a helluva spitball launcher....I realized why [Behe's] mousetrap analogy had bothered me. It was wrong. The mousetrap is not irreducibly complex after all.
Other systems identified by Miller that include mousetrap components include the following:
  • use the spitball launcher as a tie clip (same three-part system with different function)
  • remove the spring from the spitball launcher/tie clip to create a two-part key chain (base + hammer)
  • glue the spitball launcher/tie clip to a sheet of wood to create a clipboard (launcher + glue + wood)
  • remove the hold-down bar for use as a toothpick (single element system)
The point of the reduction is that - in biology - most or all of the components were already at hand, by the time it became necessary to build a mousetrap. As such it required far fewer steps to develop a mousetrap than to design all the components from scratch.
Thus the development of the mousetrap, said to consist of five different parts which had no function on their own, has been reduced to one step: the assembly from parts that are already present, performing other functions.
The Intelligent Design argument focusses on the functionality to catch mice. It skips over the case that many, if not all, parts are already available in their own right, at the time that the need for a mousetrap arises.  From Wikipedia.
The Achilles Heel’s of Keneth Millers argument, that the irreducibly complex mousetrap had been reduced to a "single step", are eleven-fold: 
  1. The mousetrap needs a purpose to exist (to catch mice);
  2. The mousetrap needs a design or blueprint [a very specific arrangement of all the parts] in order to function (see illustration above);
  3. The mousetrap, to be a mousetrap, still requires all five components (eight if you include the three fasteners - you can't make it without them);
  4. All five components must be readily available;
  5. All five components must themselves be of a specific design, dimension, suitable material, etc. E.g. The spring is made from heat-treated, specially formulated steel, of a specific diameter, wound around a form with ends  for creating a fulcrum, and trimmed to an exact length to mate with the other parts;
  6. The mousetrap needs a process (sequence) for assembly of the parts;
  7. Someone, or something, is needed to assemble the parts;
  8. Someone, or something, needs to follow the assembly instructions as all the parts have to be assembled in a specific order, starting with the base;
  9. You need a bait to attract the mouse;
  10. Someone is needed to set the trap and, finally,
  11. A mouse is needed to activate the trap, in order for the trap to carry out its function.
For Miller to argue that the individual components can be reutilized for other purposes, or other gadgets can be assembled from the parts, is simply a red herring of the worst kind.

Besides which, chickens, eggs and life are exceedingly more complicated that a mousetrap.

David Harrison © 2014