Can Evolution Explain Software? 2.0

The guys at Stuff You Should Know Podcast released a recent episode called Dragons: As Real as Mermaids. They always have interesting topics, and I thought this episode would be a good topic for listening during a lunchtime walk around the neighborhood with the family dog, Diego

Following is a near-quote from one of the hosts. If you don’t like that “near-quote” qualification, feel free to listen to the podcast, put in what you think I was missing, and quibble at the edges of this presentation rather than bringing an argument against the REAL substance of this article, but your protestations will be swept aside as nitpicking.

Humans evolved and primates evolved with the fear of 3 predators basically: snakes, big cats & eagles. It sorta makes sense that every culture sorta has a dragon myth because you might combine the 3 scariest things into 1 super scary thing: a dragon….David Jones: His premise is that we have these ancient fears of these things & as we evolved & became humans we told each other stories, these things combined into this 1 big mythological monster which is basically the sum of our most primal fears

Having recently completed a post entitled Can Evolution Explain Software? that quote above left me with even MORE questions about a process that is claimed to be able to explain all of biology and that nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.

  • What evolutionary mechanism produces heritable code for “primal fears” and “learned behaviors”?
  • What is the proof of this mechanism?

A note about proof – Sufficient proof would be:

  1. DNA and/or epigenetic code in a creature that does not have fear of snakes, big cats, and eagles
  2. DNA and/or epigenetic code in a creature that is an immediate descendant of the creature above that does have fear of snakes, big cats, and eagles
  3. Comparison of the DNA/epigenetic code that is quantifiable
  4. Repeatable proof of the mechanism that produces the quantifiable changes to the heritable material
  5. Repeat for as many creatures as possible to avoid the idea of a one-time miracle. This will validate a patterned process in nature.

As always, the disclaimer: This site maintains the presupposition that God is the Creator and that revelation in creation, in the Bible, and through the incarnation are the only sufficient justifications for all of reality. Because God revealed in the Bible that animals (including the code for their behavior “software” was preprogrammed by the Almighty Engineer) are a product of his direct creation according to their kinds. God’s revelation is in direct conflict with the claims made by evolutionists that gradual and rare accumulation of information through a process of death and suffering (evolution) prior to the sin of mankind are false. But we (as Christian apologists) are encouraged to “Answer the fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs 26:5. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I will do a very brief skeptical analysis of the claims of the evolutionist in conjuring up the answers to the questions above

As noted above, the podcast hosts got much of their opening thoughts from an author named David Jones. Following the sourced and linked materials to this wiki page only raises more questions and inconsistencies. Words & phrases like “claims”, “argues”, “hypothesis”, “proposes”, “suggests”, “lack of evidence” and “it cannot be demonstrated that the fears of ancestral hominids are coded in the human brain” litter the article. But perhaps the links included within the article will shed more light on the claims of the evolutionists…

In the wiki page for instinct, we find only hypotheses and post hoc fallacies attempted explanations. As we continue in the chain of sources to find the elusive mechanism and proof, I followed the link to Genetic Memory

This wiki page left us with this gem:

It is based on the idea that common experiences of a species become incorporated into its genetic code, not by a Lamarckian process that encodes specific memories but by a much vaguer tendency to encode a readiness to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli

No explanation. No mechanism. No proof. Just a big “vaguer” claim. Maybe the included link to Epigenetics would solve the mystery

Nothing here, except the realization that (at best) epigenetics has control over only physiological phenotypic traits. They also seem unaware the epigenetics eviscerated evolutionary theory when it was discovered a few years ago. Might the link to Behavioral Genetics answer our questions?

Here we find some correlations between some behaviors and epigenetic markers, but no mechanisms or proofs. Surely, THIS next one is the one!!!


Evolutionary Neuroscience! That sounds like a solution to most any problem. But…nothing to see here either except:

  • “the evolution & function of the human cerebral cortex is still shrouded in mystery”
  • “the organization of the brain cannot be ascertained only by analyzing fossilized skulls”
  • “Visual cues & motoric pathways developed millions of years earlier in our evolution”

They’ve inadvertently “hidden” their inability to answer with the vague and ambiguous terms: “developed” “millions of years ago” and “evolution”. Large on claims. Short on substance

Clearly, this exercise was a brief introduction into the murky waters of testing the claims of the evolutionists. But a pattern is emerging – Keep digging because SURELY SOMEONE has this whole thing figured out. SURELY someone has ironclad proof of the claims that at one point, there was no coded information for primal fears in creatures…and then there WAS coded information for primal fears within creatures. And this heritable information was produced by some naturalistic mechanism. Right?

I predict that one kind lazy evolutionist will post a reply to this article saying “You didn’t research deep enough, [insert relevant epithet]”

The other kind of lazy evolutionist will say, “just because evolution doesn’t have the answer to your questions today, doesn’t mean your preferred deity did it.”

To which I would reply, then why do you propose that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”? And I’ve already told you that my God did it…I’m just showing you why your naturalistic “deity” (evolution) is short on actual answers.

A more robust evolutionist will post a peer reviewed article behind a paywall and say “See, proof” without going into details or revealing the answers to the questions…and once actually read, that article will be devoid of the answers requested

A last brand of evolutionist might say, “but some Christians believe in evolution. Are they wrong too.”

To which I would reply, why would a Christian espouse a godless mechanism that invokes death & suffering for biology in place of the miracle that God ACTUALLY revealed?

God is worthy of praise because He is good. We can clearly see his eternal power and divine nature in what He has made, and because we can trust what He has revealed about the past – we can trust Him with our future!

Can Evolution Explain Software?

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Bear with me as I build the framework for my analogy in these 1st two short paragraphs.

You may or may not be familiar with the way computers work. Computers have both hardware and software. The part of the computer that you can touch (keyboard/mouse/printer), see (monitor), and hear (speakers) is referred to as the hardware. The hardware also includes the internal workings of the computer like the CPU, the memory/RAM, the motherboard, and power supply. Computers don’t work without software. Software is the code (the instructions) for making the computer work. Sometimes, the software is referred to as programs/drivers and/or applications (apps). Programs are written by software engineers with the purpose of controlling the hardware to do very specific tasks.

My daily job involves writing and working with software for computers. At my place of employment, there’s a pretty sharp distinction between the hardware and software departments. Those who work with hardware don’t do much with the software and visa-versa. There are some computer geniuses who are very skilled at working with both hardware and software.

All analogies eventually break down, but there’s a reasonable comparison in the biological realm with the hardware of living things being the part of the creature that is made of cells (skin, bones, organs, blood, hair, and muscles). The software of biology might be best described as the instructions that cause the organs, muscles, and systems to perform their specific purpose.

Evolutionists have proposed an explanation for the hardware of biological life. Now I strongly disagree with their explanation that natural selection has acted on random mutations to form all of life is a legitimate explanation, but for purposes of this article we’ll let the assumption that accidental accumulations of mutations could actually form a wing, flying muscles, attachment points for a wing, corresponding tendons, ligaments, bones (specifically wishbone) or symmetrical & corresponding wing.

How do evolutionists propose to solve the huge problem of the necessary software needed to control any newly evolved hardware traits like wings? As computer scientists are finding as they write software to control biomimetics hardware, it takes intelligent coding to control the hardware that will produce purposeful movements.

Take the human hand for instance; it has the sensitivity control to maneuver & insert a soft contact lens…

…and the human hand is also capable of gripping and lifting 500 pounds of steel

ApoloJedi lifting 500 pounds of steel with the force…of his back/hamstring muscles

So, can evolution explain the software of biology? As we reported in the article, Can Evolution Explain Altruism? evolution is described as:

The unguided process of natural selection acting on random mutations through numerous, slight, successive modifications intended to perpetuate genetic material in the competition for limited resources. And the process of evolution is taught has having been responsible for producing all of the various/complex species of ALL life for all time from a single common ancestor. Natural selection preserves functional traits that maintain/increase fitness and destroys creatures that are unfit in a particular environment. Simultaneous complimentary mutations of both the hardware (bones/muscle/organ/skin) and the software (control code for corresponding hardware) would be necessary for natural selection to preserve both the hardware and software. This is important because if just the hardware were to evolve without the software, then natural selection would not preserve it. And if the control code for non-existent hardware were to evolve, then natural selection could not preserve it since it had no purpose.

A hypothetical scenario might go something like this: a wingless insect has a mutation that produces a proto-wing appendage (hardware). To make the proto-wing appendage (PWA) useful for flying, it must produce (within the population) a reproductive advantage such that those with the mutation produce more offspring than those without the mutation. If the appendage does not have corresponding control code (software) that controls the PWA (for future flight), then the mutation that produces the PWA will not be preserved through natural selection. It has been proposed by evolutionists that a PWA might produce some other reproductive advantage (other than flight), so a PWA need not immediately provide flight in order to be preserved. Perhaps the PWA was useful for ground locomotion, digging, or sensing changes in barometric pressure (or some-such other fable). This only complicates the problem for the evolutionist. Because now, the PWA must have corresponding control code (software) that enables the PWA (hardware) to be useful for ground locomotion, digging, or sensing changes in barometric pressure – and then as the PWA gradually becomes an instrument for flying, the controlling code must simultaneously be COMPLETELY rewritten randomly re-aggregated to move the newly-evolved winged appendage as an instrument of flight.

For those who claim that evolution provides a sufficient explanation for biological software, they need to demonstrate (not assume) all of the following

  • An unguided process that can produce coded information through the accumulation of random mutations
  • Simultaneous complimentary mutations of controlling code (software) for biological traits (hardware).
  • Step by step preservation of controlling code (software) with step by step growth of biological traits (hardware). A sufficient demonstration of this process would be to take a species of beetle like Allomyrina dichotoma and reverse engineer…I mean track it’s evolution in reverse to it’s last common ancestor with the flightless Bristletail bug (Leposma saccharina). This reverse evolution should include the instruction set of both the hardware and software changes of this hypothetical common ancestor to show the numerous, small, successive modifications that allow the Rhinoceros Beetle to fly. Feel free to use a very amazing tool that shows assumed common ancestry. NOTE: While the onezoom tool is amazing, it is only good for the leaf nodes and is devoid of information on the common ancestors – therefore, it is just as much evidence of the common Designer.
  • For the intrepid evolutionist, demonstrating the evolution of software to control, not just a single trait, but an entire system like the digestive system would be an above average quest.
  • For the genius-level evolutionist, demonstrating the evolution of software to control, not just a single system, but an entire organism complete with interdependent systems (like how the digestive system provides energy for the circulatory system & muscular system while the respiratory system provides oxygen for the digestive system & muscular system to properly convert mass to energy and the muscular system provides locomotion to bring mass into the digestive system…) would go a long ways toward confirming the theory of evolution rather than just assuming it.

Doubtless, in their effort to answer the problems raised in this article, some evolutionists will link to articles thinking they have done everything to sufficiently demonstrate the ability of evolution to explain the software of biology. Inevitably, the headline of the article they link will over-commit, and the article itself will under-perform.

And to be clear, this blog regards presuppositional apologetics as the correct & biblical way to share the gospel of Jesus. So, since evolution is against God’s revealed word, there is NO sufficient evolutionary explanation for software. God is the author of both biological traits (hardware) and the corresponding control code (software). Because the Great Engineer put all life together for a purpose, there is a fascinating and God-glorifying science called biology. Human scientists can de-construct God’s amazing creatures with purpose and expectation of learning. Were the theory of evolution true, purpose would be meaningless and discovery fruitless. Therefore, this article is meant to expose the emptiness of the principle pillar of naturalistic worldviews.

Because we can trust God’s revelation about the past, we can trust Him with his revelation about the future.

NOTES: This blog post has its origin in a book titled Nature’s IQ by Hornyanszky/Tasi. In their book, they raise valid/irrefutable questions regarding the teaching of the Grand Theory of Evolution as having any real explanatory power for behaviors/instincts. I really enjoyed the book but was disappointed to get to the end and discover their conclusion to be Hinduism.

However, with a correct understanding that only the God of the Bible can sufficiently ground knowledge, logic, science, beauty, math, induction, and morality one cannot help but to cry out to God for the gift of repentance and abundant life