Below is an email I just received from a reader of Evolution 2.0. I loved the insights in his email and at the end of it, he asked a great question about unchanged organisms and Evolutionary Creation.
So instead of responding privately, I thought I’d make this a public conversation for the rest of the community to enjoy.
Here’s the Letter:
Greetings from Europe!
Please forgive my grammar if there are any mistakes -English is not my first language.
Let me briefly introduce myself:
I am a mechanical engineer, and funny enough, you and I are the same age! I graduated from a technical university and currently, I work a lot with web design, IT / SEO, etc. My father was an injection molds designer (now retired), and I worked with him quite a bite, working with 3D CAD/CAM modeling and so on.
Three years ago, I started studying biology, at home -in the beginning, there was a lot of bad information and liars I had to filter through, but now, biology is has become a true passion of mine.
Among others, I have also purchased your Evolution 2.0 book and I must say, I like your approach! Sure, we engineers see things much differently than biologists and other the “logists” out there, because we engineers know what it takes to actually make something work!
I wish more engineers would study biology so that they have more of an idea of what is going on. By the way, thank you for mentioning the Salem Hypothesis in your book! I feel much more confident now that I know I’m not the only engineer out there exploring this stuff.
My dream would be to see a public debate, where engineers and biologists talk to each other and discuss specific engineering challenges which are so “perfectly” solved by the allegedly “unguided natural process” of biology (engineering topics like RGB image processing, Autofocusing, etc).
I’m curious to see how many design flaws would they actually find in biology? There are like 10,000,000 species out there, and each species has hundreds of parts which work all in harmony with one another -how many design flaws would they find? Ten maybe? I doubt even that! This is SCI-FI engineering!
It’s such an irony, that still, even in the 21st century, biologists and other ‘logists’ research and review such sophisticated technology. I don’t think these guys will ever understand what they are looking at, and talking with some engineers would really help them get a grip.
In the 21st century, we design autonomous cars, smartphones, we fly to Mars, but we are unable to design a miniature, autonomous, self-navigating flying drone the size of a fruit fly.
This, even in the 21st century, is engineering SCI-FI … not to mention, the fact that the fruit fly self-replicates! Self-replication is another level of SCI-FI engineering!
By the way, I know how you feel when it comes to debating atheists.
I’ve been debating evolution theory for our local paper for a long time now and I’ve gotten a lot of personal attacks from atheists over the years… it’s very rough!
Fortunately, I am thick skinned, and I can fight back, very effectively, so most of these guys never come back and debate me again. If you have the right arguments like you and I do, it’s not hard.
I think, most of these guys already know that they are wrong, anyway. They can’t all be that stupid! I think even Richard Dawkins knows that he is wrong (I assume you watched his ‘expelled’-movie confession).
Perry, you have a pretty straightforward DNA code argument. It’s very clear and easy to grasp… but I think I have one easier still.
I have found a killer article on the first mechanical gear found in nature. When I argue with this, most of these guys just shut up and disappear, or they get frustrated and come up with the classic “Who designed the designer?” question.
Here is the article below:
Perry, I would like to discuss a few things with you.. here is my first question:
I know you think that God used evolution to create all the species in existence (evolutionary creation).
So my question is, what do you think of so-called ‘evolutionary stasis’, where we see a lot of organisms unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, fishes, insects, snakes, etc.?
I am aware of what the evolutionary biologists think, but I would like to know what you think.
What do you think of so-called ‘evolutionary stasis’, where we see a lot of organisms unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, fishes, insects, snakes, etc.?
Evolutionary stasis is an inevitable consequence of sexual reproduction. If you stop and think about it, there is no such thing as a “fit” single creature. There are only pairs of parents who are fit, because it takes two to tango.
So for a significant evolutionary change to occur, it must occur in both males and females at the same time.
So think of the difference between dogs vs cats, or giraffes vs. horses, the requirement that coding instructions for a longer neck come through both mother and father presents a stiff barrier for change.
Sexual reproduction is a very “conservative” mechanisms that generates a great deal of minor variation (height, eye color etc) but resists major variations.
So it is no surprise to me that species stay the same for millions of years. What else could you expect?
Please notice that non-sexual organisms like bacteria are very fluid by comparison.
Which brings us to the question: What DOES produce a new species? How do you get something as different as a dog vs. a cat at all?
First I need to confess that my understanding of this is very limited. But as far as I can tell you only get major changes via hybridization events. Emmer wheats + goat grass = modern wheat for example. Or donkey + horse = mule (and it is possible in rare circumstances for a mule to be female as well as male, and be fertile not sterile.)
James Shapiro points out that hybridizations seem much more likely to occur in periods of extreme duress. When are two different species likely to mate? When circumstances are dire and there are no other choices, of course.
It is also very unclear how much of a role epigenetics plays in this. We have barely begun to unravel those mysteries. I suspect it plays a major part.
I see analogous situations in business all the time. It is very hard for businesses or products or music to make significant evolutions without disruptive interjections from the outside.
Bill Gates was a complete outsider to the computer business. Larry and Sergey, founders of Google, were newcomers to the search engine game.
Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express, was a virgin in the shipping industry. Ray Kroc of McDonald’s wasn’t a restaurant veteran; he was a milkshake machine salesman. Lou Gerstner, who engineered a turnaround at IBM, had come from Nabisco and American Express. Before Jack Welch transformed GE, he was a chemical engineer.
Uber = Taxi + Smart Phone + GPS + App. It was a hybrid merger, it was not an incremental result of gradually trying to improve the taxi industry. So this is really a pattern you see across the entire spectrum.
The failure rate of all such mergers is high but once in awhile they famously succeed.
And please notice that until an outside force comes and disrupts, products and industries tend to stay largely the same for long periods of time. Stasis vs. Punctuated Equilibrium happens in all aspects of life not just biology.