Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cellular Choreography

In my classes we've been looking at the design argument for the existence of God. One aspect of the argument is based on the amazing fact that each cell in living organisms is a factory consisting of thousands of biological machines directed and choreographed by information-rich instructions. Since we have a uniform experience of information (specified complexity) being produced only by intelligent agents, and no experience of information being generated by blind, impersonal forces, it's not unreasonable to conclude that the information in the biosphere is also the product of an intelligent agent.

The following excerpt from a longer video provides an example of the astonishing goings-on in the interiors of every cell in your body. The quality of the you tube version of the video is not good, but it's good enough.
Some questions we might ask about this include these: How do these molecular structures "know" what operation to perform and where to go to perform it? Where do the instructions (information) come from that direct and coordinate these operations, and how does such a system arise from a blind, mindless process like evolution? Indeed, how did these processes ever arise in the first cells before cells "learned" to reproduce? After all, natural selection, and thus evolution, doesn't kick in until cells can make copies of themselves. Yet many of these basic processes must already have been in place in the earliest cells or they wouldn't have survived to develop the ability to reproduce.

It's all very mysterious, but it certainly seems plausible to believe that this whole system was somehow designed. In fact, the only way to avoid that conclusion is to rule out design a priori, but why do that unless one's metaphysical commitment to naturalism is so strong that no rival hypothesis can be allowed to creep into one's thinking? If that's the case, though, one should give up any pretense of being open-minded.