Changing the way we look at the world
The appearance of design

 Richard Dawkins, a tireless defender of evolution, once said something to the effect of: “when biologists see a living thing which appears to be designed they have to remind themselves that it only appears to be designed”. 

 One of the reasons behind this statement is that it is very easy for us to see design in living things. The natural world is full things that “appear to be designed”. Many evolutionary biologists resist the idea of design because design implies a designer.  
We see things which are the result of human design all around us. Some of which are well designed and some are badly designed. But we all understand that human made objects are designed and that human designed objects are the result of a purposeful arrangement of parts to produce something which is useful or even just beautiful. Human made objects appear to be designed because they are designed. The fact that they may be badly designed doesn’t mean that they were not designed. Design is evidence of a designer. 

 When it comes to living things we see design and we also see beauty. Die-hard evolutionary biologists will tell us that this is an illusion because they are not designed and they are not beautiful. Living things, we are told, are the result of evolution and evolution is an impassive force and has no purpose. Everything is the result of adaptive forces acting on random mutations. 

 Sometimes there seems to be a bit of contradiction when evolutionary biologists point to what they think is poor design and state that this is just what we would expect from the process of evolution which produces things which are good enough. At the same time we are told that natural selection is a process by which only adaptive changes are preserved. If this is true that we should expect poor design to be eliminated. Nevertheless, it seems that both poor design and good design is evidence for evolution. Although the existence of stuff that is good enough and not perfect is not proof of the non-existence of a designer. Just think about the last time you had to take your car to the garage! 

 But is it right to say that some living things or parts of living things are poorly designed? Interestingly there are a few evolutionary biologists who think that the
argument that living things are poorly designed is in fact often false. For example, Simon Conway-Morris talks about the myth of “Well, it will do” and goes on to say; “Organisms are not cobbled together as a series of adequate compromises but are close to optimality. Examples of supposedly ‘poor design’ often turn out to be ‘very well engineered indeed”. 

 Creationary biologists do not have any problem with the appearance of design, because we expect to find design in the natural world. This is because we believe that there is an intelligent designer who originally designed living things for a purpose. Our starting point is that living things are designed. The appearance of bad design could be for one of two reasons. Firstly, it might be because we do not understand the function of a particular part. Careful research later reveals that what we thought of as bad design is in fact well designed and fit for purpose. This might involve a feature that compensates for what would otherwise be a design flaw. The blind spot in the eye is a good example. The fact that we have two eyes each with an off-centre blind spot compensates for the fact that the nerves of the eye have to travel through the blind spot. This is consistent with the purposeful arrangement of parts. The reason why the nerves are in front of the light sensitive cells is also not a design flaw but that is a whole other story. The second reason for apparently poor design is that things are not as they should be. Biblical creationists believe that bad things happen because we live in a broken world which is the result of the fall which was caused by our first parents’ sinful rebellion. So things that once worked perfectly are now broken and function poorly.  

 In conclusion, the existence of design in the natural world is exactly what creationary biologists expect to find.