Non-believers, at least non-believers in Judeo-Christian mythologies (Christians, Muslims and Jews of various descriptions) argue that evolution does not show intelligent design because of the many imperfections that all lifeforms exhibit. The non-believers question why any deity, with the powers of creation at its disposal, would have built-in such imperfections in nearly every species on earth at the time that each species was created by the deity. Why not simply make each unit (each species, genome and individual) perfect from the outset? Why bother to include imperfections during the initial design and creation of each species? Once a species-specific template was established, would it not be easier to replicate additional individuals without such imperfections? Why bother with imperfections at all?
Theists claim that abiogenesis, the process whereby inorganic substances undergo transformation from non-life to life, is caused by pure chance. Theists claim that abiogenesis is untenable because of the immense improbability of its occurrence.
Thus, a divide has opened up between non-believers and theists, with the former claiming abiogenesis as the original process leading to life forms and the latter claiming that only a deity with supernatural creative abilities could have created life forms. One or the other must have the correct assumption and these explanations are mutually exclusive.
For theists, the term “irreducible complexity” also means “irreducibly impossible” odds that life could have formed without supernatural intervention. The complexity of biological life forms is unfathomable for theists. They cannot imagine how anything with the complexity of life forms could have evolved, even over billions of years. Instead of examining such complexity, theists take the short route, preferring to believe that complex life forms suddenly “appeared” at a certain defined time, as the innovations of a divine creator. Complex life forms simply appeared, with their imperfections, all at once. For theists, there is no need to explain biological complexity because the “irreducible complexity” was built in at the point when each life form was created. Why look for explanations for such complexity when a ready-made explanation is available? Theists do not want to ‘dig deeper’ into this complexity for fear of discovering that the atheists may be correct.
For atheists, the term “irreducible complexity” is misleading. Complex life forms can be reduced to biochemical algorithms. All life forms are reducible, however complex they may have become. Algorithms can produce enormously complex systems through the process of evolution, provided that there is some potential for errors in replication.
Theists pretend that there are certain traits and features in life forms that cannot be explained by evolutionary processes. Whenever theists encounter complexity, they make no further efforts toward explanation. Complexity is just too much for them. Rather than question how life forms have such complexity and look for explanations, theists throw up their hands and claim that complex life forms are too complex to analyze, that such complexity could not have arisen without some ‘external’ intervention and that, wherever excessive complexity is discovered and explanations for it involve an onerous task of disambiguation, only a deity (or god) can be invoked to explain it. When things get to be too complex for the minds of deists, they abandon science, research and explanations, and the scientific process and “insert” god where it suits them. Many theists abandon scientific explanations even when such scientific explanations are readily available and easy to apply. Theists claim that “gaps” in scientific understanding of evolutionary processes point to a “god” as the only possible explanation for the “gaps” in human understanding. This is the “god of the gaps” philosophy. For theists, when the going gets tough and complex life forms require complex explanations, they prefer to abandon scientific explanation altogether and take the easier route of invoking the workings of an invisible hand. Theists falsely assume that the “gaps” are too large and complex to overcome. Some theists even believe that certain forms of knowledge are beyond human comprehension, again invoking the intervention of their preferred deity, and these theists also believe that the “gaps” in human understanding are real.
Let’s create a “gedanken experiment”. Bear with me. A “gedanken experiment” is a German phrase for the concept of a “though experiment.”
A stool with 3 legs in a triangle does not usually wobble. We can reproduce the same stool 1000 times. Each stool would be able to stand on its own and serve an identical purpose with other 3-legged stools of the same design. Does that mean that each stool is identical to all other stools, when we consider the “anti-wobble” feature? It seems to be the case but when we look a little closer at the stools we discover that, despite their apparent uniformity, individual stools have subtle differences that make them unique. The stools might have approximately the same leg length and, for practical purposes involving their use and application, they are the same. But each stool will vary from others by a micrometer. Do all of the stools all have exactly the same number of molecules? Not likely. They are not 100% identical. In real life we can see the same diversity. Even identical twins are not exactly alike although their differences might be miniscule. We use fingerprints to identify individuals because no fingerprint is the same although we are all products of the same life process.
Another example is that, because of the myriad of ways that ice crystals connect, no snowflake is the same. We can also imagine that this diversity exists on all scales, including at the levels of molecules, atoms or even quarks. We quickly learn that not all stools are created equal. No two stools are “exactly” 100% the same. The mass of each neutron could also vary. Even amino acid molecules are either right- or left-handed. Small differences in every fundamental particle in existence in the universe mean that no two particles are exactly alike. Atheists point out that, if even fundamental particles are each unique, then what purpose would be served by making all individual humans identical? Why do theists insist on uniformity of the human form? What purpose is served by uniformity? What is the point of desiring uniformity of form (what theists really want) when the fundamental particles are themselves unique?
If natural physical laws dictate that nothing is exactly 100% identical, then anything is possible. In nature, evolution has ensured that uniqueness of form is the norm and that apparent uniformity is an illusion. With so many possibilities, atheists assert that this is evidence that the universe is likely teeming with life. Wherever the environment is suitable, abiogenesis is inevitable rather than a chance event. Did abiogenesis arise via physical differences in replication? Is abiogenesis the domain of an intelligent designer? Is abiogenesis inevitable? So we have more than a T/F question. Abiogenesis is caused by 1-Pure Chance, 2- Intelligent Designer or 3-inevitable. Which one seems more logical?