Perfection and Whale Hips

One so-called “scientific” argument against the existence of God is that there are organs or features that appear unnecessary or imperfect. The argument is that this somehow shows that species evolved through a purely unguided process. Darwin wrote:

“On the view of each organism with all its separate parts having been specially created, how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility … should so frequently occur.”

This is nonsense. To borrow a phrase from a friend who teaches physics at MIT, this argument “is so bad it’s not even wrong.” It makes no sense on several levels. First, we are not able to judge God. What we think of as useless or imperfect may make sense in God’s plan. Second, who says everything has to be perfect or even useful? You don’t have to show that everything is perfect to have a scientific basis for belief; all you have to show is clear evidence of design in the universe and in life. (My book shows overwhelming evidence for that in seven areas of science.)

That’s all old news. What’s new, and amazing, is that organ-by-organ, feature-by-feature, scientists are discovering that items once thought useless are absolutely necessary. Take the appendix, cited by Darwin himself as useless. We now know the appendix is a “safe house” for helpful bacteria that may be otherwise destroyed in our stomachs, and serves other critical functions. About fifty species of mammals have an appendix, and those species are so diverse that, to quote one scientist, the appendix “must have evolved separately at least 32 times, and perhaps as many as 38 times.” Wow! So some blind, unguided, and ultimately chance-based process produced the same organ dozens of times in different species – or a common designer placed it there for a reason. Draw your own conclusion.

Take the myth of junk DNA – the argument that human beings were not designed because the majority of our DNA code was thought to be useless “junk.” This myth was destroyed in 2012 by 450 scientists worldwide as part of the ENCODE project.

And now whale hips. Whale hips were said to be the “marquee example” of a useless feature. Guess what? A recent scientific article explains why they are still necessary. Details aside, without whale hips you’re not likely to get baby whales.

I think baby whales are cute. Perhaps they’re perfect.

Thanks for reading.