Meditation 399: "Intelligent Design" Versus Evolution - Another Factor
by Dan Shanefield
Could life on earth have been created by random actions and evolution, or did it logically have to be "intelligent design" by a god (or several gods)? People who believe in the need for a divine creation of complex animals, instead of accepting the possibility of Darwinian evolution, are saying that (for example) the human eye could not have evolved via random mutations. The lens offers no competitive advantage without the properly curved retina, and vice versa. Therefore both would have to be created by random mutations at the same time, which has a very low probability, with such complex things. (And the same goes for other complex living structures.)
Yes, but a "low probability" event (such as a thousand tails in a row when tossing a coin) can actually occur, if you have an INFINITE number of trials.
Because of the newly-discovered "dark matter," suppose the expansion of our universe slows down, as we get farther from the "big bang," and it later starts to collapse again, back to the starting condition. There could then be another big-bang type expansion, and maybe the cycle keeps repeating forever. Maybe it has already been repeated a nearly-infinite number of times, with slightly different results of random mutations, each time. All sorts of extremely unlikely things would occur, eventually. Quite possibly we are now in one of those expansions where our eyes (and brains) just happened to be created by mutations, followed by "natural selection."
Maybe the laws of physics (or even mathematics) were (and will be) different in each expansion. If you ever took a good physics course, you already know that some extremely weird things are true this time around --- is there anything farther removed from our ordinary macro-scale experience than the "tunnel effect" of quantum mechanics? Or the entanglement of diffracted photon pairs? Nowadays you can do those experiments yourself, in a decent high school physics lab, in case you are doubtful about any of this stuff. (I have demonstrated the tunnel effect myself, in my home amateur electronics lab --- it's weird, but true. The electron disappears and then appears somewhere else, without having existed anywhere in between.) This discussion doesn't really prove anything, except that evolution COULD HAVE happened without divine intervention, --- if there were enough repeated trials, and there's no way we can know how many there already were. (Or ARE NOW, in parallel universes, for that matter --- but that's another discussion, invoking all that "string theory" stuff).