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Khalid Chraibi - Is There Design in Nature 281110

Khalid Chraibi - Is There Design in Nature 281110

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Published by tariqamin5978
Are living beings the product of random processes, or were they designed?
Are living beings the product of random processes, or were they designed?

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Published by: tariqamin5978 on Nov 28, 2010
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11/28/2010

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Is there design in Nature?
Khalid Chraibi
28 November 2010Is there design in nature?I became interested in this question after reading Jacques Monod who explicitly anddetailedly raised the issue of design in living beings, in his book « Chance and Necessity. »(Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1971). He said that it was a fact which one could not overlook, but had to confront in order to explain its existence in a scientific way. To this end, he wentinto a lengthy discussion grounded in genetics and molecular biology (which most readers caneasily understand, because the book was written to be read by non-biologists as well asspecialists). He then presented his conclusion, which was that this design was the mere product of chance and necessity, as explained by the theory of evolution (i.e. geneticmutations, natural selection, genetic drift and the like), and was not attributable to a designer.If Monod had stopped his explanations at this point, he would have said nothing original. Hewould merely have repeated what the paradigm stated. He would not even have confirmed the paradigm, because his developments in genetics and molecular biology, interesting as theywere, did not provide any corroborating evidence for this conclusion, which was expressedrather like a Truth which required no supporting evidence.But, Monod did not stop at this conclusion. He put great emphasis on the fact that living beings had a unique property, which he called teleonomy (a novel concept introduced a fewyears earlier by other writers). According to him, teleonomy was the built-in capacity of living beings to evolve along more and more complex life forms and systems. They had all theappearances of design, but were not, in fact, the product of a pre-conceived blueprint. Theywere only the products of chance and necessity.This explanation is not satisfactory, within the framework of a scientific discussion."Teleonomy" appears in Monod's explanations suddenly, like a « deus ex machina » in aGreek play, (the God suddenly coming out of a « machine », on stage, at the end of the play,to settle all the intricate issues raised in the play). Monod doesn't explain the specifics of teleonomy, and how living beings come into possession of this extraordinary faculty. He usesit like a magical wand, to provide a pseudo-explanation of something which he obviouslyneither understands nor can explain. The teleonomical explanation has thus as much scientificstanding as the explanation that, say, « God did it ».So, where did Monod go wrong?
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Monod relied on the explanations provided by the official paradigm of ToE (geneticmutations, natural selection...). So, the central point of the discussion has to do withmutations. Monod, and the paradigm, say they take place according to random processes. Thisis true of many verified cases of mutations.
But, what if mutations also took place, in somespecific situations, not in a random way, but in an organized way, according toinstructions which exist in the genome, and which come into play when some factorsappear
(in the same way that adaptation to a new environment takes place, according toaccepted scientific explanations of ToE)?If that were the case, there would be no need, anymore, for a magical explanation like« teleonomy ».
Design would exist in Nature, in living beings, not as the product of random mutations, but as the result of organized mutations, based on the geneticinstructions in the genome, which come into play when some specific factors exist in theenvironment which activate some specific set of instructions.
 This would be in line with Monod's intuition that
« living beings have a built-in capacity toevolve along more and more complex life forms and systems. »
 As can be seen, this explanation is not very different from the official explanation of the paradigm, since both are centered on the instructions in the genome. But,
I substitute"organized mutations" to "random mutations" to explain the appearance of design,because it makes more sense, when one takes all the relevant data and explanations intoaccount.
 In theory, this explanation could be analyzed, tested and verified by bona fide researchers inthis field. If it is wrong, it should be easy to demonstrate its fallacy. This would reinforce theexisting paradigm with regard to this alternative.On the other hand,
if it can be scientifically established that mutations take place, in somesituations, in an organized way, and and in other situations in a random way, this wouldmodify in a significant way our understanding of what evolution is, and how it works.The ToE paradigm would then accept the two processes as equally valid, equally atwork, depending on the context.
 When I wrote the preceding ideas, I was not aware of the existence of cases of very rapidevolution, which would confort my approach. I have since read the following article in National Geographic, about the rapid evolution of some Croatian lizards, whose specificschanged considerably over a period of four decades:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html 
Should we attribute the rapid evolution of these lizards to chance and necessity, randommutations, natural selection, genetic drift and the like? Or should we explain this rapidevolution by a rapid adaptation of these lizards to a new set of conditions in theirenvironment, thanks to the existence in their genome of a built-in capacity to adapt tosuch a change?
That's the question. The answer is easy to obtain, based on the thoroughanalysis by biologists and researchers of this concrete case of evolution.
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