The apostle Paul told the Romans, "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20, NIV). The prophet Alma explained this a little clearer when he wrote, "All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44). However the Psalmist also explained, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalms 14:1).
One of the great mysteries of science is understanding where life came from. Christians believe that life comes only from God but most scientists look for a more natural explanation.
It is the prevailing view among most scientists today that life as we know it can be traced back 3.8 billion years but exactly how something live came from something without life is still the subject of much debate. One theory is that "amino acids, often called the building blocks of life, formed via natural chemical reactions… In all living things these amino acids are organized into proteins and the construction of these proteins is mediated by the nucleic acids" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis).
According to this theory, it is from the natural chemical reactions of amino acids found in nature that formed molecules into proteins which eventually were able to react with one another in such a way as to create the first living single cell creature. It is generally believed that this life form was first born in the sea, thereby making the ocean the womb of the earth.
Once this event had happened, it is taught by nearly all scientists that as this cell began to divide and replicate itself and, over millions of years, it first developed into algae and other plant-like forms which eventually started growing on land where it evolved into grass, plants, and trees.
At the same time, other cells evolved into more complex forms, eventually producing the first animal, which evolved into a wide variety of fish. According to one study done by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, some of these sea creatures, such as the crab, shrimp, and lobster, eventually walked up onto the land and were the ancestors to "all the insects, crustaceans, millipedes, centipedes, spiders, and a host of other animals, all united by having a hard external shell and jointed legs." Millions of years later, soft skinned fish evolved to the point where they too were able to walk out of the water and eventually evolved into the millions of different kinds of animals we have today.
What all of this suggests is that life is nothing more than the result of natural physical laws and if that is true then the idea that there is an invisible God who is the giver of life must be false. Since the prophets have said that all things in creation denote there is a God then it should be a simple matter to look for signs in nature that show evidence of an invisible intelligence that cannot be explained by the laws of natural physics. If this cannot be found then that might give added weight to the argument that what the prophets taught is wrong.
All living matter is made up of cells and inside the nucleus of every cell is something scientists call DNA, which is a stringy looking substance that resembles a twisted ladder. The sides of the DNA ladder are made of a compound of sugar and phosphate and the rungs of the ladder are made of four chemicals: adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine which are designated by the first letter of their names - A, T, G, and C.
Each rung is made up of two of these chemicals , either A and T together or G and C together and we can think of them as letters in an alphabet. If we put alphabetic letters in a certain order they can spell words. If we put those words in a specific order they can make a meaningful sentence and if we put those sentences together in the right sequence they can give us a paragraph of highly intelligent information.
The sequence in which the chemical rungs of the DNA in all living things are formed actually makes a code that the cell is able to read. More than that, these codes give instruction to the body on how to grow. If we think of the rungs of the DNA ladder as letters then we can think of genes as paragraphs of instruction, telling the body how to do certain things. For example, some genes contain the DNA instruction that tells the body what color to make the eyes while other genes contain instructions that tell the body how to make white blood cells to help fight off infection.
A person arbitrarily putting letters together stands a fairly good chance of having at least some of those combinations make a word but it is highly improbably that they could haphazardly put a group of letters together and have them make an intelligent sounding sentence. It is just about impossible to randomly put a group of letters together and expect they would make a paragraph that made any kind of sense.
On the other hand, the code found within each gene provides the body with a highly complex, intricate and very specific set of instructions. To say that these chemicals came together to form these codes by sheer chance is to believe that several boxes of type used in a printing press accidently spilled onto the floor and just happened to fall in such a way that they properly spelled out each word in their proper sequence found in one of the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
But not every rung of the DNA string contains instruction. Those parts that do are called genes but there are other parts of the DNA ladder that don't seem to have any function while other non-gene segments of DNA act as switches, telling the genes when they are to become active and when their instruction are to be ignored.
We can think of these switches like those in a railway yard, that allow the trains to move from one place to another, switching from one track to another, so that the material they are carrying gets to the right place without running into other trains who are taking their load to a different location. More than that, the timing of when those switches turn on and the length of time they are on effect the development of the body.
Scientists have known for some time that the DNA of nearly all living things are remarkably similar, with very few differences. Because of this, evolutionists have been trying to understand exactly what causes one animal to be different from another but the more geneticists study how DNA works the more they are coming to the conclusion that the variety of life on earth has a lot to do with these switches.
For example, there is one gene that is responsible for producing the thumb. Although all primates, such as apes, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, etc., have thumbs, they are not able to hold things as well as humans. What geneticists are discovering is that during the growing stage of a primate's embryo it is the timing and length of time that the "thumb gene" is switched on and off that causes their hand to develop slightly differently than that of a human, thereby giving us more dexterity than primates.
If this gene wasn't turned on or if it stayed on too long or too short of a time during our embryonic growth, our hands would not look as they do today and wouldn't be able to do what they can. Therefore the timing and length of time a DNA switch turns a particular gene on and off is critical to the proper development of our bodies. It has to be just right or the results could produce a very deformed looking creature.
But this is just one of 35,000 genes in the human body and there are different switches that control different genes. All these switches must work together in a precise sequence in order to produce a perfectly formed living animal. Evolutionists say that all of this has happened by purely natural means rather than because of some superior intelligence who deliberately created genes to function this way. But to believe that one would also have to believe that a pile of wires, metal, and plastic could interacted with one other in such a natural way that they could form themselves into a functioning super computer.
One sting of DNA is known as a chromosome which is located in the nucleus of each cell and there are twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in each cell nucleus. Since each string of DNA has its own code that is different from all the other strings of DNA, not all chromosomes are the same length or have the same number of genes. If DNA looks like a ladder, the largest chromosome in our cells has a string of DNA that is made up of 220 million rungs. That is the same as saying there are 220 million letters that make up the instruction code of that particular strand of DNA, which would be the equivalent of a 50 million word book.
Since DNA is mostly made up of chemicals, evolutionists think of its coding as merely being the result of chemical reactions that follow the natural laws of physics in much the same way that combining two atoms of hydrogen with one atom of oxygen will always produce water. But if that were true, then all living life would look the same.
However, DNA is much more than just chemical reactions. It is a highly sophisticated and intricately made set of instructions that has to be precisely written and then accurately read in order for all living plants and animals to grown, develop and reproduce. Geneticists have discovered that if even one of the letters on the DNA strand is not in the right sequence then there will be a part of the body that doesn't develop properly.
A computer is a very sophisticated piece of machinery that is lifeless yet it is able to perform many amazing feats of computation all by reading a series of zeros and ones. And, embedded within most computer codes are commands that turn on or off certain functions at certain times in order to get the correct answer to a problem or to have a particular program work in a particular manner. Yet, no one who understands how a computer works would ever believe that such an intricate code just came into existence by sheer coincidence or pure happenstance because of the natural laws of electrical interaction within its wires.
The DNA code itself is evidence that there had to be some sort of intelligence behind its design. In the same way as a computer, the code embedded within each strand of DNA, along with its switches and the body's ability to properly read and then follow its instructions is clear evidence that this could not be the result of the random selection of chemicals coming together. To say that DNA is nothing more than the result of chemical reactions due to chance is to believe that a computer learned how to write its own program with no intelligent thought process behind it.
But there's another aspect of DNA that must be considered. Evolutionists claim that all of nature has evolved through trial and error over millions of years because of a random change in the DNA of genes. The way this happens is that when a cell splits in two, it makes an exact duplicate of itself. That is to say the genes in the new cell are an exact copy of those found in the old cell. However, evolutionists say that every so often, by sheer chance, something goes wrong with this process and one or more of the genes in the new cell are slightly different in some way than those of its parent cell. When this new cell divides it makes an exact duplicate of itself, thereby recreating the same errors in its genes.
Evolutionists say that when these changes take place in animals they often times make them less able to survive which eventually causes their breed to die off completely. However, scientists also say that once in a while these random changes in genetic code have a beneficial effect that actually helps the animal to survive better than its parents. When this happens, they are able to grow and flourish better than other animals. But, according to the teachings of evolution, these changes take place gradually over millions of years.
However, without DNA there could be no life because there would be no means for even the most elementary life form - the single cell - to know how to reproduce itself. For life to have started on earth, within that very first life form DNA had to exist with a perfectly written code, even if it was very simple. It is impossible for DNA to have evolved through trial and error because if the DNA within that very first form of life wasn't correctly formed when the spark of life first happened, then the cell wouldn't have been able to reproduce itself and life on this planet would have ceased to exist the moment that single cell died.
But there is another problem of intelligence that confronts the evolutionists. Although there is the evidence of intelligence in the design of life, there is also the inherent quality of intelligence within all animal life.
One of the definitions of intelligence is the ability to think and to reason and it is a fact that not everyone is able to think and reason as well as everyone else. Some people are better at doing that than others and the same is true throughout the entire animal world. Cats and dogs are able to think and reason but not as well as humans, but they can do that better than a bird, who has more ability to think than does a spider. And we can extend this process all the way down to the simplest animal.
To think involves the ability to make a decision. Plants are not able to move on their own and therefore have no need to make decisions. On the other hand, since animals have the ability to go wherever they want they have to decide where they want to go, whether it is to go right, left, straight, or back from where they came. They also know they need food to remain alive and actively seek to find nourishment when they are in need of it. But to make those kinds of decisions is more than just chemicals reacting to one another. It takes a certain amount of intelligence, even if it is extremely rudimentary.
Most animals have some sort of a "brain" which is what gives them the ability to think and therefore have intelligence. Without a brain, all developed animals would exist in a vegetative state. Therefore the evolutionists say that what gives us intelligence is our brain and, as the brain has evolved over millions of years, so has intelligence in the same way that computers have evolved and are now able to perform better, faster, and more complex functions. Similarly, they say the reason why humans are more intelligent than other animals is because our brain has evolved into a better thinking machine.
The brain is made of living tissue that has the ability to receive information, store it and retrieve it upon demand but that isn't intelligence. A computer can do the same thing but it can't think. It can only do what it was programmed to do by someone else. We have designed robots that can do amazing things that seem almost human but for all their highly sophisticated actions they can't do the one that even a worm can do and that is to think for itself.
Scientists have been able to map the brain and determine what parts performs what function and they've also studied the effects upon thinking that occur when certain parts of the brain are damaged. Geneticists have also discovered a gene that gives instructions for the development of the brain during the growing phase of the fetus that is responsible for thinking. For this reason, scientists have concluded that intelligence is simply the product of an advance brain's ability to receive and process information that comes from our genetic makeup working according to the natural laws of physics.
However, if this were truly the case then it would be a simple matter for today's scientists to create intelligence themselves in a lab.
Modern medicine has been able to make an artificial heart, kidney, legs, arms, and other parts of the body to keep the body functioning, but they haven't been able to devise a mechanical device that will artificially give a brain-dead person the ability to voluntarily move even so much as an eyelid, let along to think.
For all practical purposes, if the brain stops functioning the person is dead, even though their body may be artificially kept alive. If the brain is nothing more than a sophisticated computer that receives and stores information received by nerves carrying electrical impulses, doctors could simply hook a computer to a brain-dead person and bring them back to life again. However, no computer is able to do that because there is more to the brain than just the physical living tissue, nerves, neurons, synapses and electrical messages. There is also something else called intelligence.
To illustrate this principle, in a computer program, there can be a mathematical code that says "If a number is equal to or is greater than zero then add it to the figure in column A but if a number is less than zero add it to the figure in column B." This will happen exactly the same way every time a number is put in because there is no reasoning involved. The machine has no choice but to do exactly as it has been instructed.
On the other hand, in our society as most children are growing up they are repeatedly instructed by their parents not to lie and often are told the consequences of lying yet one child may choose to obey that instruction while someone else may choose not to obey. Or a person may have several routes they could use to get from one place to another and it is their decision alone that determines which way they will go. And for no reason at all that decision could be different each time it is made depending on the mood of the person. By comparison, a machine will always take the same route it was programmed to follow because it has no will. It has to follow the instructions it was given.
Humans are free to choose for themselves what they want to do based on their own desires rather than following a rigid, inflexible set of rules. One person may like broccoli and another person may hate it, That is not something that is determined by a chemical reaction or a mathematical program contained in the genes. It is a decision based strictly on desire. Since a machine is incapable of feeling or desiring anything it cannot choose for itself what it wants to do.
Machines most generally behave in a highly predicable manner because of their precisely written code of instructions but despite the precisely written code found in DNA, humans often behave in an illogical and unreasonable manner. This demonstrates that there is something else at work in the human mind than just the physical laws of nature.
However, scientists argue that they have been able to identify different regions of the brain that are responsible for performing certain tasks related to thinking. They have also been able to demonstrate that when a certain part of the brain is damaged, it impairs a person's ability to think. To them, these facts strongly suggest that the brain itself is the source of all intelligence.
The brain has often been compared to a computer but a computer is merely a mindless tool that is used by someone who has intelligence. For example, a calculator is capable of making very complex scientific and engineering calculations but no one would say that a calculator has intelligence. It is merely a machine that has a sophisticated program that allows the operator to get the mathematical answers they need to help them make an informed decision.
In the same way, a computer is an advanced form of a calculator. To illustrate this point, meteorologists have weather models programmed into their computers that takes information supplied by the weatherman which then plots the most likely scenario of what the weather will be like in the near future. However, it is the weatherman who then uses the computer generated information to make his own decision of what they feel will happen in the future. As such, it is the human who does the thinking, not the computer. The computer is only giving information based on the mathematical formula it was given to follow.
But if the computer is having hard drive problems or has a virus that is corrupting its operation, the human operator cannot receive the information they need to make an informed decision. In that case, the human will have a hard time making an intelligent judgment.
In the same way, the brain is a piece of machinery that receive, stores, and retrieves information but if the brain is defective in some way or its ability to process information is impaired, this then limits a person's ability to think and to reason. But it isn't the brain alone that's doing the thinking. It is only the mechanism that allows intelligence to operate.
Intelligence is not something that can be created in a lab nor can it be seen under a microscope because it is not something that is physical. Instead, it has almost a metaphysical property to it, meaning that it seems to be beyond the realm that physical science can work with.
Most religions teach that man has a soul or spirit essence that gives him life but because science is unable to see, touch, measure, or test it they say it is beyond the scientist's ability to either confirm or deny its existence. Many scientists go so far as to say that because they cannot see, touch, or test it that it therefore must not exist.
However, we know that intelligence does exist and yet it too cannot be seen, touched, or its properties tested. What exactly is intelligence, where does it come from, and what physical properties causes it to exist, even within the design of our genes, is a complete mystery even to this day. For all that man has learned about biology and physiology and all that science has uncovered to support the theory of evolution, they still haven't been able to overcome the problem of intelligence.