And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

A murder mystery fiction novel has a precise combination of letters comprising words, spaces between the words, paragraph indentations, commas, semi-colons, periods, good grammar, and artistic compliance with the general rules for characterization, pace, and suspense…for the literary genre of a murder mystery novel.

Any final editing and revisions that occur during the writing of a murder mystery fiction novel…are done through the work of intelligent agency…through the creative good-sense and judgment of the book author and the book publishing editors.

These minor editing changes that are made may involve spelling error corrections…or the replacement of a few words here and there with other words that are better…or some improvements in sentence structure in a few locations.

But major changes to the plotline that alter the essence of the story…such as a new ending to the book as to who committed the murder(s)…requires a rewrite of the text that involves new paragraphs, entire new pages, and possibly the replacement and addition of whole new chapters.

The nonsensical idea of introducing blind, unguided, trial-and-error, accidental changes to the text in the form of random individual letters and words inserted within the final three chapters in-progress…of an Agatha Christie murder mystery novel…as an alternative method to intelligent literary creative design…in the hopes of arriving at the best possible story ending…is not feasible in terms of the time investment required for potential continued failure.

Any purely mechanical approach of blind editing using individual letters and words…one at a time…in an unguided series of random-chance, accidental changes…would introduce a near infinite possible combinatorial space of nonsensical gibberish…a sea of meaningless letters and spaces…of failed attempts…surrounding the one best island of meaningfully arranged words and punctuation comprising a functional ending to the story…lost in this sea of chaos.

The absurdity of Agatha Christie sitting down at her laptop computer (or typewriter) with eyes closed…randomly hitting keys for several hours each day in the blind-chance of producing an ending to one of her books…is immediately apparent to us as a fruitless search strategy that would never result in a brilliant ending to a murder mystery fiction novel.

What is instantly clear to us…in this example…is that nothing replaces the intelligence factor of human writers as the means to creatively write a murder mystery book.

What is instantly clear to us is that the ending to a murder mystery fiction novel…has an extremely narrow target…in both the storyline itself, but also in the high skill-level the book author utilizes in their arrangement of words and sentences…that tells the optimum story.

What is also apparent after reflection…is that a purely random search strategy of blindly hitting computer keystrokes…along the way toward completing the final two chapters to the murder mystery book…might instead pop-out an unwanted comedy ending…or the ending to an American western…or a romance…or a historical biography…or the ending to a cold-war spy novel.

A search strategy based upon random-chance by definition has no pre-determined or premeditated end-point goal…and cannot use foresight to direct the process to get there.

This has a huge and fundamental application to an understanding of a popular defense of the Bible and Christianity…of the real truth about God…for our modern culture today.

Charles Darwin proposed an entirely naturalistic explanation for the origin of species and the vast diversity of life…requiring no guidance, foresight, or premeditated end-point targets coming by way of the aid of an intelligent designer God.

By choosing this route…Darwin created an extremely narrow tightrope to walk for the boldly innovative, theoretical extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution.

The bottom-line here is that Darwinian macroevolution is many times more improbable than writing a fiction novel using blind random keystrokes at a computer.

In the theory of macroevolution, Darwin said that the genetic changes that produced variant traits that could be chosen by natural selection…to enhance reproduction, survivability, and to push forward the diversification of living things…that these genetic changes had to be very small and numerous…accumulated and coherently integrated through the power of natural selection…over long periods of time.

The changes that generated the origin of new species and created the vast diversity of life…according to Darwinism…had to be micro in size and enumerable in number…because large physical changes…single big leaps forward in development…called saltations…would be tantamount to miracles…thus inviting an intelligent designer God back into the mix…the opposite of the purely naturalistic explanation for the origin of new species that Darwin was proposing.

To have a purely naturalistic explanation for the origin of new species and the diversity of life…to bring the field of biology into the realm of empirically accessible, modern scientific study…the theory of macroevolution must walk the narrow tightrope between small enough changes…micro bite-sized so that some naturalistic mechanism could produce them through chance or necessity rather than through theistic intelligent creation…yet not so large in noticeably physical variant traits…traits being put-out for natural selection to choose from…that would require miraculous assemblages of genetic variations…that would fall outside of chance or some other chance-necessity based mechanism to produce.

Darwin’s method…his naturalistic mechanism of accidental mutations of genetic variations putting-out variant traits chosen by natural selection…to produce the vast diversity we observe in the living world…must in essence remove the intelligent designer element altogether of the murder mystery book author Agatha Christie…and instead place our book writing and editing hopes entirely upon the capacity of blind, unguided, random-chance, accidental insertions of non-sequenced, incoherent, and meaningless letters and spaces…to eventually through trial-and-error produce a brilliant and captivating ending to the murder mystery book.

The point here is that the immense difficulty in achieving a plausible explanation for the diversity of life…using small enough changes to be able to stay within non-theistic, naturalistic mechanisms…from the origins of the first life on earth around 3.5-billion years ago to the present day…mechanisms being diligently sought after by scientists now for 160 years without success…is actually equal to or more difficult in terms of mathematical improbability than the nonsensical example of the author Agatha Christie sitting at her computer with eyes closed…randomly hitting keystrokes in the hope of producing an ending to one of her murder mystery fiction novels. [1]

By not being able to foresee into the future the discoveries of Einstein, Hubble, Watson and Crick, and a host of Nobel Prize winners…elucidating the complexity, specificity, and coherent integration of systems of information comprising living and non-living things in nature… Charles Darwin in essence…by choosing the naturalistic route of micro-sized changes only…is allowing no major rewrites or alterations to the story…but only the smallest additions or changes to single letters or individual words…through the process of blind, unguided random-chance…which is clearly a nonsensical approach when viewed in the context of book writing…a context easily understandable for everyone.

The random alteration of some amino acids around the outside perimeter of a medium-sized protein molecule…performed in controlled scientific experiments in laboratories to determine how difficult it is to produce a new functional protein by chance…results in a finding…that due to the unimaginably complex properties of attraction and repulsion of amino acids that produces the highly specified folding into the correct three-dimensional shapes of functional proteins…prohibits any easy exchange of one amino acid for another in a medium-sized 150-amino acid protein.

An easy exchange of perimeter amino acids in a functionally folded, three-dimensionally shaped protein…is crucial to the plausibility of a chemical evolution process in support of the notion of genetic mutations putting-out variant traits to generate the vast diversity of life…of being the engine behind the creative origin of new species.

This difficulty of producing new functional proteins through the chance substitution of amino acids…in a scientific laboratory…is mathematically equal to or more improbable than Agatha Christie successfully using blind and unguided one-letter revisions to the final two or three chapters in her murder mystery book And Then There Were None…with eyes closed typing random keystrokes on her computer keyboard.

The exceedingly low probability chance…of making a random transition from one functional protein to another functional protein…by replacing a few amino acids with other amino acids at the outside perimeter of one successfully folded, functional protein to create a new protein…is one successful chance out of failed attempts.[2]

If the Darwinian explanation falls apart at the level of the difficulty of protein folding inside living cells…in an area of study that we can empirically test unequivocally in a scientific laboratory…then the entire program of macroevolution falls apart at this crucial lynch-pin of connection…in the sequential explanatory mechanism of how macroevolution supposedly puts-out enough genetic variation to produce the vast diversity of life we observe today.

When some modern scientists confidently assert that Darwinian evolution is a fact…in their books…they are doing so not as a result of the empirically factual evidence…but as a product of their worldview.

Darwinian evolution must be split into two parts…microevolution and macroevolution.

At the time of the writing of Darwin’s book The Origin of Species in 1859…microevolution was then and still is today a non-controversial fact…demonstrated in the artificial selection by humans of the variant traits put-out in a host of living things…from dogs, horses, cattle, and sheep…to agricultural crops of corn or wheat…to rose bush flowers of different shapes and colors…that can thus be intentionally altered to produce radically exotic varieties…far exceeding what nature produces that can successfully survive in the wild.

When scientists confidently assert that evolution is a fact…if they mean by this that microevolution alone is a fact…then they are entirely correct.

Macroevolution…on the other hand…is the idea that the concept of microevolution can be extended and extrapolated into the existence of genetically open borders in ancestral and current living things…putting-out variant traits extreme enough over long periods of time…to be able to turn a fish into a bird…without foresight or a premeditated end-point in mind.

Without foresight or direction…the concept of macroevolution producing the vast diversity of life…arriving at well-defined architectural body plans and lifestyle habits…in essence…is equivalent to the book writer’s random-chance search for a meaningful story through an eyes-closed approach while hitting keystrokes on their laptop computer keyboard.

This cannot be repeated or articulated enough times in our modern culture.

What is also not clearly explained or articulated by Darwinists is that this macroevolutionary program of a random-chance search strategy…of genetic accidents putting out variant traits chosen by natural selection…could by mere random chancetype-out for the final two or three chapters a comedy, American western, romance, biographical history, cookbook, or cold-war spy-novel ending…rather than the sought-after, suspense-filled, who-done-it murder mystery book ending.

Yet in the natural world we see living things that have incredibly fine-tuned end-points of unique definition…possessing the essential capacities for survival and reproduction…within enormously varied ecological environments.

We do not see living things that have made a momentary wrong turn in their development…requiring a course correction that is obvious…from deleting the chapter ending to the book that was erroneously comedic…to get back into the correct groove toward producing by a random-chance search for the murder mystery ending to match the first four-fifths of the book.

Not only do we not have libraries full of books having their final two or three chapters consisting of nonsensical gibberish…we do not see in our current natural world even the slightest hint of living things part-way in development or in transition toward something else.

And like the murder mystery story having the wrong comedic ending…of having a failed attempt at achieving function…we do not see inconsistent monstrosities in nature like grizzly bears having lion heads, or leopards having wings that can fly, or the top-half of humans having two arms connected to the bottom-half bodies of horses having four legs…as we might plausibly expect in a program of common descent.

Darwinists assert that the genetic changes of macroevolution are too small for us to be able to detect within one human life-time.

This assertion is not valid.

Every living thing in the natural world appears at this present time to be at their functional end-point of development…beyond which even our imaginations cannot carry us further.

To suggest that we cannot find anything amongst the billions of life-forms on earth…that would be caught mid-stream in our current snap-shot in time…part-way along a pathway of continued development toward some easily discernable final end-point culmination…simply points-out the extremely difficult tightrope that Charles Darwin postulated…in attempting to come up with an explanation for the origin of species and the resulting diversity of life…through a wholly naturalistic process.

An analogy might be helpful here.

Suppose there are billions of major league baseball games to match the billions of life-forms in our natural world.

Some of these billions of baseball games have not started yet, some are in various stages of completion, and some have finished.

Now suppose there is a still-photographic snap-shot of a shortstop having received the throw from the second baseman…having stepped on second base…caught in mid-air above the incoming runner from first-base sliding into second base…with the photograph showing the baseball about five feet out of the shortstop’s hand…heading on its way toward first-base.

We might have the additional information that this baseball game is tied-up two-to-two in the fourth inning…and that this is a double-play attempt with one out and a runner on first-base.

But the still-photographic snap-shot alone would give us enough information to recognize a major league baseball game in progress.

There are two large problems with asserting that evolutionary change occurs too slowly to be observable.

First, of the billions of life-forms on the earth…a large number would have to be clearly in transition at any given point in time…including the present-day.

Second, a baseball game is functional from start to finish…from the first inning to the ninth inning.  View any still- photographic snap-shot in the middle of a baseball game in progress…and the remaining future innings are equally as functional as the innings already played.

This is not the case for the living world.

Over the entire range of the development of a hypothetical prototype life-form transitioning from a reptile to a bird…for example…every phase from the first inning to the ninth inning must be able to survive and reproduce…thus removing the supposed “survival of the fittest” driving force needed to propel massive change…to create vast diversity.

Not only do we not see reptiles…or any other creature…putting out the variant trait of feathered wings for flight that produce a benefit for survival and enhanced reproductive advantage…but such intermediate transitionals from the first to the ninth inning…are inconceivable even as imaginative creations.

When contemporary scientists look at the obvious design in the natural world…and come away with only a materialistic, non-theistic conclusion…in my opinion…they fall within the same category as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden choosing going our own way…and stand foursquare alongside the Pharisees and scribes in first-century Jerusalem…that upon hearing the evidence for Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead…were not influenced or deterred in the slightest from proceeding within the status quo of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

Going our own way (Isa. 53:6) cannot be imported into God’s kingdom of heaven…upsetting and plaguing peace and harmony…for all eternity.

When scientists look at the natural world…then confidently write in their books that evolution is a fact…not only is this a semantics error in not differentiating between micro and macro evolution…but this is a conclusion that originates from their overriding worldview of going our own way…and not as a result of scientific fact-based evidence.

The atheistic philosophy of naturalistic materialism allows us to remain in the worldview of going our own way…of attempting to figure-out the natural world through scientific investigation…on our own…without God.

Starting in 1859, with the publishing of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, of course the going our own way mindset would latch onto the humanistic component of macroevolution.

This would be the obvious result.

Before 1859, the concept of design permeates our thinking.  After 1859, common descent takes over.

But this change in worldviews is not a result of the discovery of new scientific fact-based evidence…but rather a broad philosophical opening for going our own way to predominate.

Macroevolution today, to borrow the subtitle of the 1985 book by molecular biologist Michael Denton…is “a theory in crisis.”

The negative exposure of the worldview of going our own way…in the Garden of Eden…in first-century Jerusalem…and in our modern-day culture in the scientific investigation into the natural world using naturalistic materialism as the operative worldview…that this exposure is offensive to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…is a fundamental problem for our modern  world.

The fundamental problem here…as big as it can possibly get…is that this element of extremely divisive offense to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…of critically exposing the negative downside of going our own way…comes to us by the deliberate intention of God (Rom. 9:33; Gal. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:7-8)…lovingly for our benefit…taking place at the highest pinnacle of moral character.

The tragic scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the hill of Calvary is a divinely surgical separation of self-sovereignty versus God-sovereignty…into two violently opposing camps…that only God could and would orchestrate…playing the central acting role…for our benefit for the highest reasons imaginable.

Some scientists will hang-on to the Darwinist model of small genetic changes producing variant traits that natural selection will choose to produce the vast diversity we see in the living world…as their guiding worldview for as long as they can…because of the underlying reason…that this approach on a fundamental level…enables the self-sovereignty of going our own way to be our free-will choice…as opposed to God-sovereignty as our worldview…along with the recognition of design included in our scientific investigations.

But everyone should understand that the macroevolutionary explanation for the complexity, specificity, and functional coherence of the living world…is as improbable as Agatha Christie composing her murder mystery books through blind random keystrokes…with eyes closed sitting at her computer keyboard.

[1] Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (New York: HarperOne, 2009): 215-228, esp. 215-219.

[2] Douglas Axe, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed (New York: HarperOne, 2016): 57-59.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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