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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Miracle of the 747.

A common creationist argument against evolution is that order doesn't come from disorder - that a tornado cannot come through a junkyard and create a 747.

On its face, this sounds so unreasonable it is a reasonable argument. There are a number of factors we are missing here -

Point 1) If a Tornado DID create a 747, that wouldn't be considered a miracle of science by the same people making this argument, but rather divine intervention by a higher power. It would be called a miracle, largely because it seems so impossible.

I say "seems" because of the fact is that it isn't impossible, it's just VERY improbable. For example - there is absolutely nothing keeping all of the air molecules in the room into my coffee cup except probability. It is very improbable that air would collect in one space, but it doesn't keep it from happening (and if it did happen, the next moment it'd be at a different area of the room anyway).

Likewise, there is nothing stopping a tornado putting a 747 together, save probability. There's a lot more work to do there - rivetting steel, getting a perfect airfoil, arranging the seats - but, again, it's merely improbable.

That being said, it is also highly improbable that anyone would ever design and build a 747. Most anything one can point to today is highly improbable to happen - I'll go there later.

Point 2) The tornado itself is an example of disorder coming from order and vice versa. High air pressure mixes with high winds and voila - a vortex tunnel. How? Entropy spirals out of control, exponentially adding more and more force until the vortex dissipates its energy and all is "orderly" again.

"Order" spontaneously comes from disorder all of the time. Even at its most entropic, everything appears to head toward stability - from a chemical level to the macrolevel (the exception is the quantum level, but no one I know lives in that level day to day so it's not applicable here). However, the reason we're not all perfect squares is because of the randomness.

Another common argument by creationists is that life is "irreducibly complex". A good designer knows that simplicity is always the most efficient. If we were intelligently designed, we would be a poor design for humanity. Still, we have all of the parts, and those parts work moderately well. We have some unnecessary parts, and parts that show up from generation to generation - such as webbed toes, tails, and the like. We got poor plumbing, poor wiring, and, some of the time, break down early. The reason? We were either designed by a poor designer, or we are the amalgamation of random mutation.

Point 3) - The tornado has no method for "selection".

If mutation is a driver in evolutionary theory, selection is the road. As stated before, the 747 itself is a pretty improbable design. However, it is here. Why? Well, someone designed it. Someone selected the parts and figured out how it would work together to fly and transport large amounts of cargo and people. Why? He was asked to.

Life and creation have no such directions.

The 747 represents not only the original blueprint, but all the designs before. Each one scrapped for inefficiency or improved upon for better efficiency. An Engineer is given specs and a budget, and from these limiting pressures, he comes up with the best design for it. Limiting pressure would be the borders of the road of Evolution.

Furthering that, the 747 is based on centuries of human design and innovation. It has a history. The first jet engines. The biplane. The Wright Brothers. The concept of the "airfoil". The internal combustion engine. The steam engine. The engine. The wheel. Fire. All of these other innovations had to happen BEFORE the 747.

Considering how many different possible flying machines showed up around the time the Wright brothers finally flew in Kitty Hawk also demonstrates how competition plays a factor in limiting pressures.

The truth is, everything, scaling the factor of time back far enough, is improbable, including nature. The very fact that I exist took generations and generations of humans (even by young earth standards) to produce a dark haired, dark eyed, half caucasian half asian 6' tall human being. In a different timeline, the probability that I'm not here is quite large.

And finally, Point 4) Improbable things happening are heralded as miracles.

While Evolution is an attempt to explain speciation, it demonstrates how improbable our existence is. However, selective pressures and competition really did create the 747 from random chance.

The 747, therefore, is indeed a miracle.

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