The Alternative
(C) Darel Rex Finley, January 24, 1999

"What is your alternative?"

The trump-card question from evolutionists, when confronted with empirical complaints to their theory, is to demand an alternative. Without this alternative, they say, the theory must stand, and be taught as verified and correct.

I cannot emphasize enough that a confession of ignorance is a scientific alternative to an empirically refuted theory, and I believe that the no-negative-evidence-without-a-new-theory rule was invented primarily to protect Darwinian evolution from refutation.

That said, I must admit that the "alternative" question is generally legitimate; that is, it is only human to wonder: If Darwinism is false, then what is (or might be) true? What explanation might there be for the existing state of life and the genetic code?

Probably the crown jewel of support for Darwinian evolution is the observation of vestigial features in organisms, and the even more uncanny traces of common ancestry which are found in the genetic code. These traces include apparently vestigial segments of DNA code which are similar to those that serve a useful purpose in lower organisms, sections of code which serve a purpose in humans and have closely analogous code in lower organisms, and mutations in neutral amino acid positions of shared proteins, which strongly indicate that men came from chimps, birds came from reptiles, etc. Also, certain aspects of embryology show apparently unnecessary similarities between species; similarities that seem to defy non-ancestral explanation.

The evidence looks compelling, but for what hypothesis is it evidence? Evolutionists would have us believe that this is evidence of variation/selection evolution, but actually it is evidence of common ancestry. Darwinists loathe to consider common ancestry as a separate thesis from variation/selection evolution, because to do so could be disastrous to their position.

Several years ago I wrote a little arcade-style game for my home computer, which I called "Grid Warrior." It didn't make much money, but it was fun to write. Later, I wrote another arcade game called "Lunar Commando." When I wrote Lunar Commando, I did not start from scratch, but instead made a duplicate of the Grid Warrior source code and then heavily modified it into a new game. In this process of modification, some sections of code were excised, others were deactivated, still others were modified and adapted to the demands of a new game. And whole new sections of code were added.

Suppose an observer from the far future were to examine my executables (not source code) and compare Grid Warrior to Lunar Commando. What might he find? He would notice that certain subroutines in Lunar Commando were obviously inherited from Grid Warrior; sometimes with no change, or sometimes with small modifications that made them more suitable to Lunar Commando. He would find that Lunar Commando contained at least a few entirely vestigial subroutines which are not used at all, but which are found in Grid Warrior in a useful capacity. He would also find that certain variables and data structures from Grid Warrior are carried over to Lunar Commando, but serve no purpose there. And he would find that some things in Lunar Commando might have been done a little more efficiently if it had been written from scratch instead of being adapted from Grid Warrior.

All of this would make compelling evidence that Grid Warrior is ancestral to Lunar Commando, and in fact the historical record would show that Lunar Commando appeared a few years after Grid Warrior. But the historical record would not show a series of intermediate games, gradually transforming Grid Warrior into Lunar Commando. Lunar Commando would appear suddenly, ancestral traces and all.

This transformation did not take place "in the field" as it were, but in my lab. The transformation included many stages during which the program was not in a playable state, and would not have earned a single dollar on the market. But under my protective wing, and with my vision of what the new game would be like, the transformation took place — by intelligent design.

In summation, we have countless real-world examples of how processes of intelligent design can produce all the same kinds of relics of common ancestry which are revealed in the genetic code of living organisms. So here we have a thesis which fits the evidence, and fits it better than Darwinian evolution. The relics of common ancestry are explained, as well as the sudden appearance and stasis in the fossil record, and the irreducible complexity of cellular chemistry, and even the existence of odd mosaics such as the platypus. By comparison, Darwinism explains only relics of ancestry, and falls embarassingly short on other empirical topics.

The generic proposition of intelligent design raises many unanswered questions (Who is the designer? Why did he design us? Etc.), but since when has a scientific explanation not raised new questions which took time to answer? Unanswered questions of curiosity are one thing; unanswered empirical anomolies are quite another.

There are those — some of whom I have personally debated — who find the thesis of intelligent design with relics of common ancestry simply "too ridiculous" to believe. "What kind of God would need to re-use code? What kind of God would take so much time to invent new species? What kind of God would need to tinker and experiment with new lifeforms?" But in making these sorts of arguments, evolutionists are joining the Biblical literalists — they are making scriptural demands of what God must be.

Others I have encountered argue that I am on the same grounds as those who claim that the world was created 10,000 years ago with fake fossils and fake radiocarbon evidence in place. But there is a huge difference — the young-Earth scenario posits a conniving God who intends to deliberately deceive us, and who must possess fabulous powers of fabrication to construct the phony evidence. By contrast, my proposition requires no deceit, nor wildly unrealistic powers of fabrication — but merely the patience to write a lot of DNA code, and whatever power was required to initiate a physical universe capable of supporting life in the first place. Is God omnipotent? If that means "all-powerful," then I would consider it an appropriate title for the being that made the universe. But I would be very hesitant to acribe to God all powers the human imagination can conceive. Biblical fundamentalists are not hesitant in this regard, and all too many evolutionists are eager to follow their example.

From Huxley to the present, Darwinists have always rhetorically demanded an alternative to naturalistic evolution. Now they have one. And as we observe their reaction to it, we must ask ourselves: Did they really want one?