The 'Blind Watchmaker' Who Is Also Deaf and Dumb (continued)
NIMALS other than bats, owls and dolphins are also provided with a highly sophisticated mechanism to hear and see in total darkness. Apart from that, the following are some examples of mechanisms of awareness which in their narrow field far exceed that of humans and man-made machines.
A most fascinating example is that of some snakes which are entirely guided by ultraviolet heat rays providing them with an extremely sensitive awareness, albeit narrowly confined to a specific task. They are fully equipped with the most advanced ultrasonic and infrared devices. A certain species of snakes is provided with an extremely sensitive receptacle between his eyes and nostrils which transmit to it infrared stimuli through an opening like a pinhole camera. This opening—only a few millimetres in size—transmits
infrared rays to the receptacle which is so sensitive as it can
detect changes in temperature as small as 0.003°C. To such changes
the snake can respond as rapidly as within thirty-five milliseconds,
a speed which is hundreds of times faster than any similar device
made by humans with modern technology.11
Cockroaches are so sensitive to vibration that they can detect movements so small that they can only be measured in units appropriate to gauge molecular distances. They can detect movement a mere two thousand times the size of a hydrogen atom.12 For a mere cockroach to detect a movement so infinitesimally small is absolutely mind-boggling. The human eye can only detect the size of a hydrogen atom if it is enlarged by a factor of approximately 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Any reader who would like to read this figure is reminded that a trillion is only one, with eighteen zeroes on its right side. Anyone who attempts to read this figure is reminded that this would be an exercise in futility.
Scientists have now accomplished the gigantic and most complicated task of mapping and charting the magnetic variations which naturally occur across oceans. Whales employ them for correctly navigating their movements in the sea. So far the scientists have not understood how whales can detect and employ these variations to their advantage. Perhaps Dawkins could explain to them how elementary the solution would become if the Darwinian principle of natural selection could be employed. But the scientists will have to be patient with him because his bit by bit explanation may take as long as a lifetime, yet most probably it will remain as unsatisfactory at the end as it was in the beginning.
A duck-billed platypus is so sensitive to electricity that it can detect field strengths of five hundred millionth of a volt per centimetre—a performance that can outpace by a large margin the most sophisticated electrical devices. For it to detect a mere one thousandth of a volt per centimetre generated by the flick of a shrimp's tail is no problem at all. Sharks and rays are known to even detect stationary prey as they can detect the electricity made by the preys muscles as it breathes, even if it's hiding in sediments on the ocean floor.13
Birds of prey have two circular fovea and a strip in each eye. Its structure and positioning enables it to function as a telephoto lens, magnifying images by an amazing number. Vultures can reach heights of 2000m or more and can survey the land for many kilometres around it for prey—which is often camouflaged!14
The crustacean Copilia possesses a pair of the most fabulous eyes. It forms an image using its lens, which is scanned by a second mobile lens and retina.
'The retina contains only nine light detectors, but by scanning the image up to ten times each second it is able to build up some kind of picture.' 15
'The tail of the electric eel contains 10,000 tiny electric organs, arranged in 70 columns, and over half of the fish is given over to electricity production. This allows it to generate an incredible 550 volts. In fact, such voltages can even kill a person.' 16
E most respectfully draw the scholarly attention of Dawkins to these realities which are just a few among thousands so far known to the scientists. We beg him not to waste his time and that of the reader by fiddling with childish computer games. Why does he not apply his theories to real life? It would have been far more sensible and convincing if he had taken up the case of all these freaks of nature as mentioned above with reference to their most complex mechanism. He does not have to search for the fossil records or the sequence of living animals which may have preceded them. We spare him that onerous task and require him only to concentrate his attention upon the eight living wonders quoted above and the amazing tasks they perform.
Let him demonstrate to the world how their complicated components and parts were assembled in such a complex sequence. Every step has to be justified with reference to the application of blind Darwinian principles. Having done that he would still have quite a task ahead. Each component would demand a similar treatment because each would be further subdivided into a variety of sub-parts and the material they are made of—each playing a collective and individual role in the making of the finished product.
In the end, the availability and the nature of the material necessary for their making has to be attended to in its own right. Who manufactured that material aimlessly? How was it manufactured without an appropriate factory? Who created that complicated factory with extremely delicate know-how? How did such factories survive uninterrupted and undisturbed in the wide open nature of winds and sea storms? How did that material offer itself at the right moment to be pressed into service? It is a very plain and realistic exercise which Dawkins is requested to perform. He should confront the realities of biological mysteries which are so real yet far more mysterious than any biomorphic world can be. Dawkins will be well-advised to resolve the riddles of life with reference to life itself as it exists. We suggest he should begin this exercise with the electric fish, which we briefly listed as the eighth wonder.
LECTRIC FISH make use of their electric fields as navigation aids. These fish have an invisible, continuous field of electricity which surrounds the entire fish. On approaching an object, changes occur in its surrounding current which alters its voltage and aids direction. With this amazing navigation system the fish can distinguish between obstacles, predator or prey. As long as it does not confront any object its voltage is in a relaxed state. No extra burden causes any waste of energy. The moment it confronts an object, somehow a signal is sent to its voltmeters to immediately increase its voltage to such a high intensity that it can kill a man, or knock out a horse, in shallow waters.
|Electric Eel |
(click to enlarge)
Dawkins fails to realize that it is impossibe for this complex, intricate system to arise from natural selection or the bit by bit development theory that he is so fond of. Does he not stop to think where these bits originate from? How could alien minor changes survive in an organism which has not the facilities to cater for it? A study of electric fishes provides an excellent proof of the existence of a Conscious Creator. Such a Creator must possess a profound knowledge of how electricity is generated and works. We ask where would the first change occur to accommodate the idea of electric currents in water and more intriguingly, how? How do the muscles of the fish, arrayed in series, suddenly become tense, each generating electricity like a highly sophisticated electrical device joining their currents at the ends to a level of very high voltage? Incidentally, this saves every muscle the damage which may have been caused by high voltage electricity if they had been connected in parallel. According to Dawkins:
'It is very important that the fish's own body is kept absolutely rigid. The computer in the head couldn't cope with the extra distortions that would be introduced if the fish's body were bending and twisting like an ordinary fish.' 17
Logic and common sense raise a key question here, that if the fish couldn't cope with the changes then why was it making the change in the first place? However he goes on to add:
'. . . but they have had to pay a price: they have had to give up the normal, highly efficient, fish method of swimming, throwing the whole body into serpentine waves. They have solved the problem by keeping the body stiff as a poker...' 18
Who 'they' are, who have solved the problem, Dawkins has avoided to mention. Did the fish do it themselves? If not, who did it for them? As we envision the initial making of the electric fish, in accordance with the bit by bit theory, the entire system seems to begin with the portholes.
'The fish has what amounts to a tiny voltmeter monitoring the voltage at each "porthole"... if some obstacle appears in the vicinity, say a rock or an item of food, the lines of current that happen to hit the obstacle will be changed. This will change the voltage at any porthole whose current line is affected, and the appropriate voltmeter will register the fact. So in theory a computer, by comparing the pattern of voltages registered by the voltmeters at all the portholes, could calculate the pattern of obstacles around the fish. This is apparently what the fish brain does.' 19
Why should the fish brain appear to perform this unique feat of electronic engineering? If one is totally convinced that the fish brain has no real wilfully created organization or complexity of design nor has it any capability of conscious operation itself as Dawkins asserts, then to allude to it as a masterpiece of electronic engineering is either extreme naivety or an inadvertent attempt to mislead others. In answer to this evident problem he immediately has this to say:
'Once again, this doesn't have to mean that the fish are clever mathematicians. They have an apparatus that solves the necessary equations, just as our brains unconsciously solve equations every time we catch a ball.' 19
Thus, inadvertently, he has added another problem to the one he is already confronted with. Let alone the human brain and how it manages to compute the catching of a ball, turn back to the brain of that fish which unconsciously and automatically resolves a highly complicated mathematical problem. After this admission, we naturally expected him to turn to his cumulative bit by bit theory and show us how it applies to the electric fish he has described. He should have explained how these electrical portholes evolved piecemeal. How the issue of befitting voltage required by every specific situation was resolved, how this most fascinating electrical machine with all its portholes and their precisely controlled voltage automatically evolved, faultlessly following the unconscious bidding of the electric fish, remain the questions unresolved!
Once again, we spare Dawkins the laborious problem of tracing a long line of less competent fish which gradually evolved into this perfect machine. Evidently they have disappeared from the plan of existence. Let them be gone. What he has before him to support his theory of bit by bit construction is this fish, with all its complicated mechanisms which he has to admit excels all similar man-made devices. Dawkins should have leapt upon this opportunity to prove the point that the fish's brain could have created this fish unconsciously, directed only by the genes it carried. The genes themselves, Dawkins should not forget, are mindless unconscious things. Forget the fish for a while, let him explain how he himself could have devised and constructed such a fish with all the modern scientific know-how at his service!
Visualizing how this highly sophisticated electrical device was constructed in the sea, without purpose, without design and without a knowledge of how electricity works, one is only left with the scenario that one day in the remote past, an ordinary fish might have been surprised with the bizarre chance appearance of some portholes in its belly. All we can do is to sympathize at its exasperation while waiting for this most complicated electronic generative system to evolve into a meaningful device. Some internal disturbance indeed for the fish because as yet it could not have understood any useful purpose for this rigmarole. How long it could have taken in terms of Darwinian time, Dawkins understands better. Then, somewhere else in the body, the voltmeter began to appear with connecting wires to the tiny brain of the fish, and some fantastic physical changes were followed by a new arrangement of each muscle with special alignment and phenomenal qualities. The unknown maker, whoever it was, had thus created a masterpiece of an electric generator. Was it the know-nothing formless mindless principle of natural selection? Was it the brain of the fish which was not even aware of its own functional abilities? Was it the almighty gene which without possessing a conscious brain occupied the command centre to perfectly operate a system which had to be operated by a highly competent scientist?
Dawkins also avoids many other key issues. He provides no clear logical solution for the question as to why two such electric fish species, the South American and African weakly electric fish, are quite unrelated to each other and how both could be developing independently in different geographical locations, with a similar functional design.
|South American and African Weakly Electric Fish |
(click to enlarge)
He further elaborates this separated yet convergent evolution in the following words,
'Electric fish have, at least twice independently, hit upon this ingenious method of navigation...' 20
'Fascinatingly, the South American electric fish have hit upon almost exactly the same solution as the African ones...' 21
How these fish unanimously 'hit upon the same idea' is a most intriguing question. Moreover, how could they have hit upon an idea so complicated and problematic which they could not even contemplate, let alone resolve. This would also imply that different animals all over the world are hitting upon ideas to simultaneously develop bit by bit. The polar bear has hit upon the idea of being white in the Arctic whereas the polar bear in Canada hit upon the idea of being brown—all independently! This positively indicates purpose and design. The fact is that fish do not hit upon ideas nor does any other animal for that matter. Though Dawkins himself has provided all the necessary data for proof of a Great Conscious Designer, he fails to make the correct analysis of his hard labour. It is because of his greatly flawed theory that he has resorted to giving up and claiming that:
'The physical principle that they exploit— electric fields in water—is even more alien to our consciousness than that of bats and dolphins.' 22
On this point of wonderment, which he is emphasising, we have made preceding observations previously in this chapter. The purpose of the preceding passage is to prove that Dawkins is definitely wrong in his previous assertions that the living do not present any purpose. All the paths of evolution which he describes, though having no relationship with each other, arrive at the same point of culmination independently. What made them converge to that point while pursuing a completely different and alien journey which had no destination? If different people begin their journey, without purpose and without aim, in directions which they do not choose, how can they meet exactly at the same spot which invariably suits them individually and collectively? Let Dawkins think this over calmly. Let him reconsider his theory of purposelessness in view of the testimony of his own scholarly writings.
IS LACK OF DESIGN THEORY is also strongly rebutted by the coordinated development of animals and plants. There are thousands of such examples some of which we have already discussed in our book. Here we quote just one such example with reference to Darwin himself. Darwin has discussed the coexistence of many species of animal and vegetative life evolving together complementarily. Worms, insects and birds, on the one hand, go on evolving exactly in accordance with the evolution of plants. The nature and shape of the flowers and fruits on the other hand, remain exactly harmonized with animals which evolve separately. We can quote hundreds of such examples where it is impossible to suggest a blind mutual cooperation of the two entirely governed by natural selection.
|Angracecum and Moth |
(click to enlarge)
Here we refer to the discovery of Madagascan orchid, Angracecum. The biologists refer to an episode in relation to this plant which had a star-shaped snow-white flower from which descended a foot long curved tubular structure into the ovarian chamber. Only a half-inch of this chamber was filled with nectar. When it was enquired from Darwin how this plant could have been pollinated, he suggested that there must exist a counterpart of this plant in the form of a moth which should have a corresponding foot long curved proboscis which could reach the nectar along this path. This is exactly what was discovered later on. It paid a tribute to Darwin's genius but not to his principle of natural selection. By the mere operation of natural selection, both the plant and the moth could not have evolved separately, yet together, in perfect harmony.
The question arose as to how this flower could have survived without its reproductive system being operative. If there was a bit by bit evolutionary process involved, why did it begin to evolve into an impossible situation? Why grow an exceptionally long curved tube and hide its nectar beneath it? Why obstruct any bird or insect from reaching the nectar at the bottom for the sake of pollination so that its reproductive organs could be activated? Two separate, yet simultaneous courses of evolution, one occurring in the plant and the other in the animal, are impossible to explain away by the mere factor of chance.
|The Hummingbird |
(click to enlarge)
Can Professor Dawkins suggest some solution applicable to the problem quoted above? How did that flower evolve bit by bit simultaneously with the hawk-moth possessing that extraordinary proboscis? Do moths ever have such a long curved proboscis? How many varieties of moths must have been created and destroyed before natural selection could begin its work upon them. Both must have started their beginnings from a most trivial state. They had to remain constantly aware of what was happening on the other side so that they could precisely correspond to each other's shape and design perfectly. They both must have been interlocked into a single entity as though their separate identities as an animal and a vegetable had ceased to exist. Having done that, Dawkins is required to throw light on the forces which throughout governed this separate, yet powerful development. What hand of blind selection could have achieved it? At each of millions of little steps they must have separately taken, the number of steps which must have gone wrong would be enormous, in accordance with the mathematics of chance. The blind hand of natural selection had a prodigal task of choosing and rejecting from among them. Yet the ultimate choice of natural selection went absolutely wrong. A flower was created which was almost impossible to be pollinated—a moth evolved which could only survive on the ultimate completion of that particular flower.
Here at least Dawkins must admit that natural selection worked against itself in creating enormous difficulties for the survival of species. The evolution of the two depended entirely on the coordinated moves of the species we have mentioned above. This by itself is impossible without a conscious and an extremely knowledgeable mind to govern it—a mind which natural selection does not possess. Neither of the two parallel evolutions should have survived to reach their culmination if there were no controller guiding their separate steps to remain exactly complimentary to each other. There are many other factors in the grand scheme of things as created by God which are beyond the dominion of natural selection. If those specifically designed factors were not brought into play, and evolution of the living were left entirely at the mercy of natural selection, life would have completely lost its bearing.
The list of the many specific measures taken by God during the evolution of life, which had nothing to do with natural selection, is too long to be reproduced here. One of them, for instance, relates to the extinction of dinosaurs and the profound objective this served in the scheme of creation. Why a massive meteorite should have brought about the end of the age of the dinosaurs precisely at the time when this end was needed? If predesigned by God, as we believe, one purpose it could and did serve was to give other forms of life a chance to develop their evolutionary potentials to the maximum limits, undeterred by dinosaurs. The second highly essential purpose it served, but was understood much later in time, was to bury dinosaurs deep down by the sea shore to gradually convert them to oil, which man of that age would have so direly needed. Such is the work of an All-Knowing Creator. None can attribute this perfect exercise to mere chance. It is impossible for it to have happened accidentally, while now we can clearly read a perfect well-coordinated design in this entire exercise, serving at least two essential purposes in the scheme of things. How on earth could this be the work of natural selection!
OW WE WISH Dawkins had applied his all-pervasive theory to the real mysteries of nature which he so competently describes instead of the phantom games his mind creates. Incidentally, we draw his attention to figure 5 on page 61 of his book, which he has presented to justify his theory of accumulating small change. Each figure shown there, starting with the one resembling a swallowtail, could have at random created any other figure shown in this group of seventeen. This is a deliberate attempt to mislead the innocent computer which is only attuned to his master's voice. What concept of genes was fed into that will ever remain a mystery because the behaviour of genes is unpredictable and they do not work in a two-dimensional world of lines and figures. The world of genes is far more complex than the land of biomorphs where evidently the figures at every generation are doctored by a brain which genes do not possess. Again the figures are concocted by a brain which operated the computer, while it can never claim to know all the intracacies of the world of genes. The childlike figures which his computer has drawn could as well have been sketched by a toddler on a piece of paper, lacking meaning and reality as much as the figures produced by his computer do. Could figures such as these ever be the creation of genes? Genes do not possess minds but the complex work they produce cannot be created by a mindless thing. They work as though they possess the most advanced mind and are capable of implementing their intricate decisions. No comparison whatsoever can be drawn between these computer figures and real living things. But let us suppose for a while that this model is really representative. If so, any figure among the seventeen could give birth to any other figure by cellular development or random mutations of genes.
If such computations as Dawkins has done could be found in nature, a swallowtail could give birth to a 'man in hat', or an extremely surprised 'man in hat' could give birth to a scorpion. A frog could be born out of a spitfire giving birth to a fox which could lay a litter of beautiful lamps, out of which emerge jumping spiders or bats rapidly fluttering away to their caves of darkness. This is how his computer game works in a single plane of straight or twisted lines. Why not start an analytical study of a real man wearing a hat and show us how natural selection could have built such a person, with or without the hat? Why pull a bat out of the hat of his computer images? Why not turn to the bats whom he has so aptly described and begin to show how they could have evolved bit by bit. There he should have paused and demonstrated how natural selection could have created even the wing of the bat.
Incidentally, talking of wings, we are amazed to read his suggestion that amphibians could have turned into flying birds bit by bit just by flapping their arms. If anyone knows, he should have known that wings cannot be created by the flapping or twisting of arms. Such flapping or twisting could go on for billions of years yet would fail to create a wing.
The anatomy of a flying bird is far more complex. If moving arms up and down could create the internal and anatomical changes which could carve the breast bone of a bird, only then perhaps could we entertain this absurd suggestion. But the entire frame of the light hollow bones which a bird possesses are a prerequisite for the possibility of flight. Again feathers are not born with the up and down physical exercise of arms. They may go on till eternity but not the ghost of a feather would grow out of their movements. We have yet to see a physical trainer with his arms covered with tiny feather-like growth which could bit by bit turn into feathers. A naturalist could object to this suggestion by reminding us that the lifetime of a physical instructor is too short to produce such anatomical changes. He should remember that the class of mammals have been in existence for around three hundred million years. All mammals move their limbs, all try to scale as much height as they can by jumping, but feathers they never grow! Is that a prerogative of amphibians alone? But feathers or no feathers, the amphibians could never have built their internal mechanism into that of even the most rudimentary of birds. We know Darwin has suggested this but his suggestions can never alter the realities of life. Amphibians or no amphibians, Dawkins must project his mind five hundred million years into the past when the entire earth was buzzing with flying insects. How did they develop their wings bit by bit with all the cellular and anatomical features which go into the making of a flying insect?
Turning once again to the computer images of Dawkins, which seem to be so popular with him, he has taken only twenty-nine steps, while for a realistic vision of what happens within the genes and how they work, enormously large number of computations were required. Moreover genes according to his admission have no mind and no computer to work upon—while he has a mind and a computer and the know-how to manipulate the computer to his own advantage. Not only this, he also admits that he selected some specific figures out of every generation of computer images to be re-fed into the computer for creating the next generation. He has also disregarded the important factor that no human can visualize when genes should mutate or should not mutate. No scientist's brain, no matter how clever he might be, can project itself into the cellular universe. Thus any computer model proposed by the most knowledgeable scientist based on his estimation of when and how the genes should spurt into activity, interplaying with a myriad of other internal factors, is fiction not reality.
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, pp.12–13
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, p.16
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, p.29
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, pp.48–49
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, p.64
- DOWNER, J. (1988) Supersense. Perception In The Animal World. BBC Books, London, p.32
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, p.98
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, p.99
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, p.98
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, pp.98–99
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, p.99
- DAWKINS, R. (1986) The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books Ltd, England, p.97