May Have, Might Have, Could Have. The “Scientific Answer” to Design

Posted by on Mar 20, 2009 in Think & Believe Newsletter | 0 comments

“The final evolution of the flagellum might then have involved only the novel recombination of sophisticated parts that initially evolved for other purposes.”

– Scientific American’s attempt to discredit design

It is interesting how many evolutionary “explanations” are hedged by the words, “may have, might have, or could have.” This is quite acceptable if the words are used to indicate a hypothesis, or an educated guess to be tested. However, what often happens is that these “may have, might have, could have” statements become adopted by students, the media, or even scientists themselves as statements of truth and reality, or as answers to the objections of creationists.

At the universities, we notice if someone can come up with any good sounding “might have,” it gives justification for students to use that as an excuse to cling to their atheist beliefs. A good example of a “might have” scenario is the evolutionary answer to the molecular motor argument for design. 

Certain types of bacteria have fascinating mechanisms of locomotion. One of these systems involves a “molecular motor” which propels a whiplike “flagellum.” [See T&B, Nov/Dec 1998] This motor resembles a complete electric motor, with a bearing, shaft, and propeller all working together in coordinated fashion – but all on a molecular/cellular level! If one part is missing or not functioning, none of it works. Since the whole assembly has to be fully functional for there to be any selective advantage for the cell, Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents have pointed to this as an example of a highly designed system that defies evolution.

Evolutionists have an answer, though. They suggest that the molecular motor may have developed by “co-opting” (appropriating and modifying) a system called a molecular pump. This really begs a question, though. First, it does not explain how the complex molecular pump (comprised of at least 10 proteins) could have developed by evolutionary processes to begin with.Second, there is no actual evidence that the motor has “evolved” from the pump. Third, it does nothing to explain the 30 additional complex proteins that work in concert with everything else or how the whole organization occurred. 

The “evolutionary explanation” is one of those “may have, could have, might have” explanations. It offers only speculation and imagination, but not actual evidence. As such, it may qualify as evolutionary “faith”, but not as science. Remember, science is based upon observation and experimentation – what we can see and what we do know, not on mere speculation. We encourage you not to be fooled by technical-sounding “explanations” that lack sound, scientific evidence. Don’t forget that in our everyday experience, we all recognize that design requires a Designer.

By Dave and Mary Jo Nutting

Originally published in the March/April 2009 issue of Think & Believe

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