Common Descent through Directed Processes

            In this essay, I want to clarify and expand upon a concept that eliminates the small-step, incremental, progressive development of Darwinian macroevolution as a consideration in explaining the vast diversity of life on earth.

            The logic is as follows.

            We observe at present that living organisms all universally exhibit architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits that are at the mature, end-point essence of their capacity to survive and reproduce.

            And we know that living cells contain between 3.1 to 3.5-billion bits of coded information in the double-helix strand of DNA in the form of a chemical alphabet represented by the four letters A, C, T, and G…which are common to all 10-million living species on earth.

            And we observe through high-powered microscopes that varied arrangements of these chemical letters are used by the molecular machinery inside living cells to produce such different life-forms as elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, water buffalo, zebras, Thompson’s gazelles, and wildebeest…to name a few of the large mammals of the African savanna plains.

            This reality in the natural living world is easily extended to the analogy of millions of books of different genres found in university and big-city libraries.

            Many of these books in English speaking countries share the common feature of having the same English language…and commonly use repetitive words such as “the, is, of, a, as, or, and and”…while being distinct and different as histories, biographies, murder mysteries, spy-thrillers, romance novels, college textbooks, and cookbooks.

            And like living organisms, these books are fully mature and completed works at the end-points of development.

            This line of reasoning is catastrophic for Darwinian macroevolution because it tells us that living organisms, books, human manufactured products, and the lasagna ordered in our favorite Italian restaurant all “arrive on the scene” in their finished form.

            The numbers of differing cell-types skip from around 10 in support of the architectural body-plans of the jellyfish in the Precambrian oceans…to the 30 to 40 different cell-types needed to support the new and novel architectural body-plans of the complex creatures of the Cambrian Explosion.[1]

            An unbroken, numerical sequence in this case from 10 different cell-types to 30 different cell-types would produce functionally incoherent creatures caught part-way from one well-defined essence of the architectural body-plan of a Precambrian jellyfish…in nonsensically incremental steps leading up to the well-defined essences of the body-plans of the Cambrian Wiwaxia, Hallucigenia, Opabinia, Marrella, or Anomolocaris for examples.

            The imperative to be able to immediately survive and to reproduce within the challenging environments of biodiversity and ecological niches…requires that the ensemble of DNA, developmental gene regulatory networks (DGRNs), and epigenetic factors…put-out every time well-orchestrated arrangements of cell-types at their end-point definitional essences.    

            Common descent is not erased in this scenario, no more than the element of the commonality of the English language is not erased by the sharing of letters and words in the varied genres of the books in a library.

            Functionally coherent new and novel life-forms require architectural body-plans and lifestyle-habits that are supported by the exact number and arrangement of different cell-types all placed at their specified xyz-coordinate points…being bones, muscles, tendons, organs, skin, blood, hair, etcetera…all governed by an overriding instinctual program of predator/prey relationships that differentiates lions from zebras, and cheetahs from Thompson’s gazelles.

            The bottom-line here is that this requires jumps forward in the number of different cell-types in support of architectural body-plans that are functional and ready to go “right out of the box…no instructions or tools required.”

            This eliminates from consideration the random and undirected processes of naturalistic materialism that logically require the “nature makes no sudden leaps” of historical Darwinian macroevolution…that must by necessity be built upon small-step, incremental, trial-and-error, progressive development.

            Elephants, lions, hawks, salmon fish, and humans share the same DNA chemical alphabet letters of A, C, T, and G…but clearly exhibit different architectural body-plans, lifestyle-habits, and predator/prey relationships.

            Again, this is similar to books that share the same English language but vary radically in their distinctive genres.

            Books have letters and words arranged differently to produce different outcomes, but books in libraries are functionally complete and are not in transition part-way towards another genre.

            Living organisms that make leaps forward in the number of their cell-types…skipping an intermediate number of cell-types to arrive suddenly on the scene fully capable of survival and reproduction…cannot plausibly explained through the random happenstance of trial-and-error experimentation.

            In Egypt in 3,000 B.C. a stone tablet must be inscribed using Egyptian hieroglyphics.

            Egyptians in 3,000 B.C. could not read modern English.

            Leo Tolstoy can write his classic novel War and Peace taking the first 50-100 pages to leisurely introduce his main characters…not having to compete with modern radio, television, and motion-picture movies.

            But Robert Ludlum amazingly grabs our attention and interest in the first two pages of The Bourne Identity…using the modern writing techniques of the fictional spy-thriller…because the imperative of literary survival in the jungle of modern-day fiction-writing requires this singular skill.

            Without hitting this nail on the head too many times, living organisms must have cell-types, architectural body-plans, and lifestyle-habits that immediately adapt to their geological time-period.

            In order to be able to survive and reproduce, living organisms must be able to interface with the contemporary biodiversity and ecosystems during their respective geological settings.

            The random happenstance of undirected processes will not get us there as a valid skeletal explanatory framework.

            This eliminates historical Darwinian macroevolution and “theistic evolution” as plausible options.

            The sequential linear trajectory of increasing cell-types that connects the single-cell bacteria of 3.8-billion years ago to the roughly 215 cell-types in human beings (not including brain cells that number around 100)…does not demonstrate in the fossil record or in the 10-million living species today the prolific number of transitional intermediate life-forms that would be the empirical evidence for a one-by-one linear expansion of differing cell-types.

            Developmental progression producing functional coherence in living organisms must incorporate jumps in the number of new cell-types to support innovative life-forms “arriving on the scene” in their end-point, completed definitional essence.  

            The point here is that the common descent element we observe in biology derives from the ever-increasing number of differing cell-types producing expanding complexity…but the creative arrangement of these cell-types to produce new architectural body-plans derives from intelligent agency.

            This is analogous to the author Agatha Christie creatively arranging the letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in her books to produce a brilliant who-done-it murder mystery.

From the book Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] On the Origin of Phyla—Interviews with Dr. James Valentine, by Access Research Network, published on Oct. 22, 2014, on You Tube.

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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