EVIDENCE OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN IN NATURE

By O. R. Adams Jr.

O. R. Adams Jr., 2006  

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The evidence of intelligent design in nature and in the universe is as infinite as the universe. My purpose in this article is to briefly explain a very few of the things indicating design in nature.  Some of these relate to propagation of species of plant life and animals; and others relate to mathematics. The methods and designs by which both plants and animals reproduce are far too great in number for a person to start to describe or even know.

Let us first consider some common definitions of evidence and design in the current American Heritage Dictionary.   A definition of evidence is: "A thing or things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment." Design is: "The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details;" or "A basic scheme or pattern that affects and controls function or development."

We see that the word, design, itself, carries an implication that the design is intelligent.

We see from logic and common sense that evidence of intelligent design is merely a set of facts or circumstances from which a reasonable inference can be drawn that a part or an object is for the purpose of accomplishing something; or that elements work together in or are a part of a controlled functional scheme or pattern.  

With this in mind I would list some things which alone or together could indicate design. The following are a few, but I am sure that most anyone could think of many more:

Parts or procedures that work together for a purpose

Balance and symmetry

Orderliness

Discernable pattern

Predictability and consistency

Effectiveness

Trying to precisely define intelligent design in all possible instances, or even evidence of it, is probably a hopeless task. It reminds me of a statement of Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 in regard to the difficulty in defining pornography that could be constitutionally prohibited. He said: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it ... ." (Emphasis supplied) Ultimately, what matters most is logic and common sense.

Reproduction of Plants and Trees

Devil's Claw.  Here in the Southwest, we have a very unusual plant called Devil's Claw. It blooms with a beautiful flower that then turns into a seed pod. The seed pod has two halves, and on the upper end of each half is grown a thin, long, hard, and very tough claw, each of which terminate with a sharp hook on the end. I have read that these claws get up to 15 inches long, although I don't believe I have seen any more than around ten or 12 inches long. They are spread apart, some more than others, like a pair of horns. This is indeed a unique plant, and I have seen no other with such characteristics.

Below is a picture of one.

devil's claw seed pod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The ones I have seen, after full maturity, usually had the ends of the claws further apart, making them look more like a pair of horns.  The above seems to be a picture of a fairly green pod. The following appears to be one that is getting toward maturity:

 

In northern Texas, I have had Devil's Claws hang onto my boots and my pants, onto the legs of horses I was riding, and onto the legs of cows. There is no doubt that they also hang onto wild animals and onto passing things such as tumble weeds. Often, on a person or an animal, one claw will be hung on them, and the other will be grasping at any other thing with which it comes in contact.

This design and action of the Devil's Claws serve two purposes. The seed pod is moved to a different place, thereby spreading it around. It also helps to open the seed pod quicker than without such contact. If you grasp the two claws of a dried pod and pull them apart, the pod will open and the seed will fall out.

The design of this method of propagation is obviously effective, and must have been for a long time. From what I have read about this plant, it has been in existence for thousands, and perhaps millions of years.

That the design is for the purpose continually accomplished is quite obvious from the standpoint of logic and common sense. It certainly fits the definitions stated above.

Rather than theoretical and speculative statements, I would like some evolutionist to present evidence as to how this plant evolved, and how it got its design for propagation from any accident of evolution.   

Grass Burs and Cockleburs. Grass burs are small sticky burs that grow on certain grasses, and contain their seeds. They are very sticky and painful. Cockleburs grow on weeds. They are much larger than grass burs and are also very sticky and painful. Both stick on people and animals, and are difficult to remove from the fur or hair of animals. They are a real nuisance to people and animals, but, like the Devil's Claw, the interaction is certainly effective in spreading the seed. The design and purpose of the method of propagation is clear.

Berries. Blackberries and similar berries present another interesting interaction between plant and animal life in the reproduction cycle. When the berries ripen, birds and other animals eat them. The seeds are indigestible, and the birds and animals pass them and spread them around to different places. Along the coast of northern Washington , when the blackberries ripen in the summer, the seagulls and other birds really make a mess of things. There is purple poop everywhere.

I would now like to describe a couple of propagation methods that use interactions of nature other than animals.

Cottonwood Trees. Their seeds are inside a very light downy white material, somewhat like cotton, from which they get their name. They are so light that they can travel great distances on the wind, or even a breeze. We see here another independent element of nature, working with the design of the seed to complete the intended method of reproduction.

Pine Trees. Here we have an odd thing in nature. Fire from lightning or other causes can be very destructive and can destroy substantial parts of a forest. But the cones that contain the seeds of some pine trees need the intense heat of a forest fire for them to open up and release their seeds. So we see that in this instance an act of nature may destroy a tree, but at the same time help produce its replacement and progeny.  There is another interesting aspect to this interplay of nature. The pine cone does not fall far from the tree, they do not travel on the wind, and the trees are often already as thick as they should be. They are often too thick when people have interfered with their planting of trees. In such a situation, there is no need for the sprouting of a new tree, unless the existing one is being destroyed. This is but one more example of the intelligent design prevalent in all of nature.

Certainly the winds and lightning have no minds by which they intend the interaction with plant propagation. Likewise, even though they have minds, people and animals do not get caught up in devil's claws and burs to spread the seeds, and birds are not eating the berries for that purpose. It is clear that the plants and trees did not design themselves and consciously carry out their plan of continuing their species. Moreover, it is equally clear that there is a purposeful and successful design of nature here that is being carried to fruition.

However, after all of this interaction of nature, to complete the process of plant propagation there is one further thing that nature must supply, and without which the complete process fails. The final ingredient that nature must supply is water. All of the seeds of plants and all other methods of plant propagation require the life-giving final addition of water. This is their design. In addition, most all plant life, after it comes into existence is designed to require water for survival, and nature provides it through rain and snow.  In this we see all of these different aspects of nature working together in symmetry and balance. It is a beautiful and harmonious arrangement.

Other Interaction of Plants and Animals in Reproduction

The instances of the reproductive interaction between plants and animal life, such as insects, birds, and bats, are far too numerous to try to cover in this short paper. Also, I am convinced that people do not start to even know all of them.

Just the methods of pollinating flowers and blossoms would fill a book. Also, many insects, such as wasps use plants or fruits as hosts for their nests and their young. Many insects use other living things as hosts in which they lay their eggs. 

The methods are many and varied, but they all reflect the working together of different elements of nature in the reproductive design. That the design is intelligent is best shown by its success in accomplishing the intended reproduction.

Reproduction of Animal Life

Reproduction Using Eggs. Generally speaking, this kind of reproduction requires a number of elements all working together for the purpose of propagation.

First, the female of the species must form one or more eggs in her body. Next, both the male and female involved must have the needed reproductive or sexual urge. Then they engage in the use of organs that clearly were designed to accomplish the act of fertilization of the eggs; and there must have been designed in the male the mechanism to make the necessary male substance for fertilization. 

The female's body has to have been designed so that the egg will be fertilized, and will be nourished and grow to maturity. After, the egg is hatched, many of the kinds of young need the care of one or more of their parents. In these cases, the parents have an innate desire to provide the needed care and nourishment.

Here we see an intricate design of nature that requires the working together of many elements to accomplish the reproductive purpose. 

Another oddity in life is that many reptiles that develop from eggs receive no further care from a parent after the eggs are deposited. From then on the young are on their own. In these cases, something further is needed. The young must be born with the knowledge (some call it instinct) to eat, care for themselves, and survive.

These necessary elements are all passed on from generation to generation by their DNA, genes, or methods by which such characteristics may be passed on to progeny. 

I do not believe that an evolutionist has or can present evidence (not speculation and theory) as to how, when, and in what these characteristics commenced. And how did the ability arise to pass on the needed genes to progeny?

Sea turtles are one of the oddities of life where the mother lays the eggs and then the young are on their own. There is one additional element needed by the baby turtle. Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand of a shoreline, often quite far from the water, so that they will not be washed out by the tide. When the young hatch, they are born with a knowledge of what they must then do to survive. They then head straight for the sea, with no living thing to guide them. I have seen a number of nature shows showing this migration, and it is amazing to see them run the gauntlet of seagulls and other birds, which eat all of the little turtles that they can. But many of the little turtles make it to the water, and their species is continued.

Reproduction of Humans and Other Mammals. There are many similarities between humans and other mammals and those which hatch eggs. But in this case the female body of the species needs some additional elements.

There is a womb in which the fertilized egg develops, and there are body elements that supply nutrition to the growing baby. There are mammary glands that begin producing milk when the new life begins. The breasts are designed so that the young can be suckled giving the food needed by the young to survive and grow.

From any intelligent observation of the sex glands, alone, of male and female, no reasonable inference can be drawn other than that they were designed for the primary purpose of reproduction. It should be just as clear to a person using objective reasoning, as it is that our eyes were designed for us to see with. And when we look at all of the various things working together with sexual drives, the evidence that it is all a part of an intelligent design for reproduction and propagation of the species is overwhelming. No reasonable evidence can be presented to the contrary.

Mathematics and Nature

When I use the terms bases or basis of mathematics, I am speaking of the facts of nature that various kinds of mathematics are designed to determine.

People with their intelligent minds are unique in the animal world when it comes to such things as inventing mathematical procedures, vehicles of transportation, complex music, paintings that accurately reflect people and things, and many other such things. Incidentally, although evolutionists have presented many unsupported theories as to why this is, they have never been able to present any real evidence to support their evolutionary ideas.

Although, people have invented many mathematical processes and procedures, the bases of all mathematics are immutable facts of nature which people can neither invent nor change.

First, let us examine the most fundamental part of simple arithmetic, 2 + 2 = 4. This simple equation represents a basic and balanced fact of nature that was not invented by a person and which no one can change. If you take two apples or other objects and place them with two more objects of the same kind, you necessarily have four. It is a simple natural fact. The same thing holds true, as to all multiplication and division, and to all of mathematics.

In the eighteenth century, Leonhard Euler, one of the greatest mathematical geniuses of all time, developed several direct formulas for determining pi. But no one invented pi. It is merely an immutable physical relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle, as well as the relationship between the area of a circle and its other parts.

Trigonometry is a mathematical process by which the unchangeable relationships of the angles, lengths of sides, and other dimensions of right triangles may be determined.  

Geometry is a process by which the elements of area, volume, dimensions, and lengths of the parts of geometrical objects may be determined. These include such things as rectangles, squares, cubes, cones, circles, spheres, and all geometrically shaped objects. The physical relationships of these variously shaped objects are unchangeable elements of nature.

With calculus we can determine the shape of a curve, and its slope at different points; the area under a defined curve; and the length of a curve between particular points.  All of these relationships existed before there were any people.

All of the bases of mathematics have existed, insofar as the human mind is capable of determining, forever. Man cannot invent any such bases, nor can he change any of them.

Is there evidence that these laws of nature are of intelligent design? They are balanced and symmetrical. They are unchangeable and completely predictable. Their effectiveness and usefulness is unmatched. The knowledge of these relationships is immensely useful to us. Without the knowledge of these mathematical laws of nature, we could not navigate with instruments, or even make the instruments. The engineering by which our modern world exists would be impossible.

To me, the evidence is clear that the bases of mathematics include designs that reflect more intelligence than even the mathematical geniuses possessed that have learned how to successfully use them.

All astronomy, physics, biology, and other sciences of this nature are studies of our world, its inhabitants, and the universe. They deal with the study of laws of nature and the basic elements of nature, all of which, I believe, contain the same balance, symmetry, and intelligent design as the mathematics and other things specifically covered in this article. 

Conclusion

In summary, I agree with the significance and reasoning of the statement of one of the greatest scientists of our modern time, if not the greatest scientist, Albert Einstein. He said:

 You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a peculiar religious feeling of his own . . . .His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. ("Einstein and God," Thomas Torrance, 2002-2004, http://www.ctinquiry.org/publications/reflections_volume_1/torrance.htm; citing Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, New York , 1954, p. 40.)

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