Friday, May 16, 2008

Whence the Badger's Senses?

In my last post, I said,
Badgers possess good hearing and an excellent sense of smell, but fairly poor eyesight.
An anonymous comment then asked...
Did God make them with good hearing, smell, and bad eyesight or did they evolve this way?
I'd like to take a couple or more posts to answer this question.

And let me start by asserting that badgers are extremely well-adapted to their ecological role--that their combination of senses serves them very well in the environment in which they live. Moreover, both evolutionists and creationists (to use very general terms) agree upon this. So the question is, Is this adaptiveness designed or not? Or, to put it another way, Are the badger's nose and ears purposed for smelling and hearing, or do they just happen to function (at the long end of a purposeless evolutionary history) to gather smells and sound waves in such a way as to make the badger so adapted for his environment?

I, like the vast majority of thinkers and scientists who have ever lived, come down firmly on the side of teleology--the belief that these things are the way they are by design and purpose. Indeed, so overwhelming are both the intuition and the evidence that this is so, that it boggles my mind that a few modern-day biologists have hoodwinked so much of the public into thinking that this position has somehow been disproven.

You see, the true evolutionist must daily remind himself that everything--the universe, the galaxy and solar system, individual life forms and whole ecologies--only appears to be designed. The evolutionist cannot even use words like "purpose" or "design," because his naturalism cannot condone such concepts. The badger's nose was not produced "in order to smell." Smelling was not the goal or telos of the cells that today make up the badger's olfactory system (nose and associated nervous and circulatory systems and such). Rather, incremental evolutionary changes in some (undiscovered) pre-olfactory cells of some (unfossilized) proto-mammal allowed that hypothetical creature to out-reproduce those members of his cohort whose pre-olfactory cells didn't have those small changes in place. The fact that today the badger's nose gives it sufficient information about his environment--to successfully survive, reproduce, and pass along the genetic blueprint for his fully-functional (but purposeless) nose--has no bearing on the very interesting question posed by anonymous. And that's because Natural Selection is so much more powerful than any purposeful designer could possibly be.

And yet, in the 160 years since Darwin posited Natural Selection as a driving force in biological diversity, the actual evidence has served to refute Darwin's claims at every significant step. We now can say with great certainty that there is no evidence (read 'zero,' 'nada,' 'zippo') that natural selection has any ability to cause any genetic, morphological, or physiological advance. Instead, natural selection's only role is to maintain the integrity of an organism's existing morphology and physiology. In short, natural selection works to ensure that a well-adapted species remains much as it always has been.

Despite overwhelming claims to the contrary, evolutionary theory and its many outspoken proponents have singularly failed to explain the apparent design that surrounds us at every moment and at whatever scale of the universe we might consider. In regards to the question of design or chance, you can bet that the most primitive tribesman is much closer to the truth than the 'New Atheists' produced by some of our modern university systems. The evidence and common sense are still all on the side of the position that has predominated throughout the history of Western civilization--that things in this universe appear designed because they are in fact designed.

In coming posts... "What about theistic evolution?" and "Is there then no evolution occurring?"

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