If you’re part of the international audience that enjoys the BBC’s long-running motor show, Top Gear, you’ll be familiar with Richard Hammond. Well known on the small screen, Hammond presents other BBC shows, and among them was a popular-level science show that caught my attention. The program highlighted the fact so much human design is merely a copy-cat of the wonders of the natural world. So credit where credit is due: Mother Nature (note the capitalisation) is the greatest designer of all.
However, there is a problem. On this (BBC) view, as popular atheist Richard Dawkins points out, Mother Nature is simply “blind physical forces and genetic replication” and “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” But how does blind, pitiless indifference explain the wonders of the natural world?
Another popular atheist, Ricky Gervais was asked to provide the answer, and he defaulted to the text book example: the modern giraffe. “Everyone uses the modern giraffe. A creature like the giraffe was born with a slightly longer neck, it could reach more leaves, it could pass on its genetic material for longer, it was more successful…”
So the reason for the genius of the giraffe was a mutated, slightly elongated animal? Simple. Or is it?
- If being short was the problem, how did female giraffes survive (they are significantly shorter than the males)?
- If being short was the problem, how did young adults survive (for the same reason)?
- Why assume a slightly longer neck confers reproductive advantage (without assuming the facts to fit the theory)? Why would a shorter neck not be an advantage, e.g., during dry season or drought.
- If giraffes could not reach the higher leaves, they would spend more time grazing on the ground - like other animals, and migrating in search of food - like other animals.
- The modern giraffe’s long neck is not simply the result of one mutation - followed by natural selection. It needs an entire biological, chemical and structural mechanism to develop simultaneously in order to support it, literally.
Does the genius of the giraffe really suggest it’s the product of no purpose and no design? It seems far more reasonable to conclude this animal points us in the direction of an intelligent designer. In other words, the genius of the giraffe points us in the direction of God, the greatest designer of them all.
Now that’s a top-tip you won’t hear on Top Gear!
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.
 The Telegraph, 30 October 2012