Creation/evolution Physics Science

Illusion of design in living things?

…that’s one of the most interesting things about living creatures; that they do carry this overwhelmingly strong illusion of design….living things really do. ”  [emphasis added]

—Richard Dawkins,atheist and anti-creationist.

He called it an illusion. Why? Because he is a follower of scientism2 (‘science’ is the only way of knowing) with its atheistic belief in ‘goo-to-you’ evolution via the zoo. The belief that over millions to billions of years specific complex coded information has been added to the genomes causing them to appear intelligently designed when in fact they are not. They were ‘just shaped’ by their environment under the action of mutations and natural selection, so he says. But just look at this ‘illusion.’

The bacterial flagellum


This is well-known but it deserves repeating; a fully rotary proton-powered motor that drives the whip-like tail or flagellum of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). It rotates up to 270 cycles per second or 16,200 rpm.3  Evolutionists claim co-option from other components in nature was used to construct the motor of about 40 different parts. But take away only a quarter of these components and nothing works.  For evolution to be true, the motor had to have evolved where at every stage it was fully functional. But if only one-quarter of the parts were removed the rest would disadvantage the bacterium and it would be ‘out-survived’ by its neighbours who are not weakened with any defective function.4

Therefore Richard Dawkins (or his fellow evolutionists) must be able to construct a step-wise Darwinian sequence how an organism can develop such a structure, where at every step the structure is functional and adds a survival advantage to the organism.

This type of structure is what is called ‘irreducibly complex.’ Practically all pieces must be there for it to function or it is absolutely useless.

Issus nymph

Or how about this Issus nymph?


Fully functioning ‘mechanical gears’ seen in nature for the first time:5

“…a plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe – has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing ‘teeth’ that intermesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronise the animal’s legs when it launches into a jump.”

This is the only known instance of mechanical gears found in nature. The article describing this mechanism also said,

“…gear mechanisms previously thought to be solely man-made have an evolutionary precedent.”

There is the scientism. Their beliefs dominate over the obvious design here. But Dawkins calls it an illusion.

Where would the nymph be if one part had not yet evolved? Certainly it would not be jumping around—it is like a ratchet system on its hind legs. The gear teeth on the opposing hind-legs lock together like those in a car gear-box, ensuring almost perfect synchronisation of leg movement.  The legs always move within 30 millionth of a second of each other.

Issus nymph. Credit: Malcolm Burrows

And if those mechanical gears are what allow it to evade predators through jumping, it speaks of design, not illusion of design. If the synchronicity of the leg movement was off it would cause the nymph trajectory to be uncontrolled—and it would spin helplessly. The supposed force of natural selection would have eliminated the little guy millions of years ago.

It is only in the nymph (the juvenile stage of the insect) that the gears are found. They are lost in a molt as it grows to adulthood. Gears get broken and so this also has a design feature. As adults they must be more capable of evading death without this feature. But the evolutionist claim,6

“These gears are not designed; they are evolved – representing high speed and precision machinery evolved for synchronisation in the animal world.”

More story telling…..more illusion!

Richard Dawkins you are the one who is under an illusion—I’d call it a delusion.

As a physicist I really can appreciate a related issue here—genetic entropy—the loss of information from the genomes over time, due to mostly just copying errors that occur when the DNA is copied from generation to generation in organisms. These, mostly only slightly deleterious mutations, are not eliminated by natural selection because in themselves they are not individually damaging enough to the host, but over time they accumulate.

Genetic EntropyThis results in an increase of disorder in the genomes of organisms, generation after generation. This means a net loss of information, not an accumulation of new information. This work has been particularly pioneered by John Sanford (plant geneticist of Cornell University and inventor of the ‘Gene Gun’). He describes this process in his book “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome”.7 This could be said to describe a process of ‘de-volution’ instead of ‘e-volution’, where the former may be described as ‘you-to-goo’ as compared to the latter as claimed ‘goo-to-you’.

One is a stepwise increase (evolution) and the other a systematic decrease in functional information (devolution). The real world science observes an increase in disorder or entropy. This is the most well established law in the universe with which we are all familiar. Systems left to themselves increase in disorder.

Interestingly, Dawkins implicitly concedes the impact of Sanford’s work on genetic engineering, when he said,8

“I think it well may be that we’re living in a time when evolution is suddenly starting to become intelligently designed.” [emphasis added]

Dawkins can recognise design; so can we. The Creator designed us to recognise design and to also see that there must be a Designer. Only the fool has said in his heart there is no God.



  1. COSMOS magazine interview,, 23 May 2012,
  2. Why is a 6000-year-old universe so hard to believe?
  3. C.V. Gabel and H.C. Berg, The speed of the flagellar rotary motor of Escherichia coli varies linearly with protonmotive force, PNAS 100(15):8748–8751, 2003.
  4. The amazing motorized germ,
  5. Burrows M. and Sutton, G., Interacting Gears Synchronize Propulsive Leg Movements in a Jumping Insect, Science, Vol. 341, 1264, 2013. Read more at:
  6. Ref. 3.
  7. Sanford, J.C. ,Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. Elim Publications. Elim, NY, 2006.
  8. The Atheist, May 1st, 2005; (last sentence)

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

2 replies on “Illusion of design in living things?”

Excellent article. It is a pity more scientists didn’t read it and think through the issues. It is a pity more weren’t bold enough to publically acknowledge the sensibility of these conclusions.


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