Foresight – Fresh Examples of Intelligent Design
Marcos Eberlin, 2019. Discovery Press. ISBN-13: 978-1936599653
Foresight is the provision for a necessity before it is needed, in other words, planning ahead. In this book, Brazilian chemist Marcos Eberlin provides many and varied examples of living systems that had to be in place before they were needed by living organisms. Some of the most powerful examples relate to the origin of life, discussed in chapters 1-4. For example, a membrane is not something that could be added by evolution, because there can be no evolution until there is life, and there can be no life without membranes. In the first chapter, Eberlin describes three components of a cell membrane necessary for life: phospholipids to form the membrane; channels for cross-membrane transport of ions and nutrients; and aquaporins for regulation of water movement. Some aspects of the fine-tuning of the environment, including water and the atmosphere, are described in chapter 2. In chapter 3, he discusses the structure of DNA, and the fitness of the four nucleotide bases for stable information storage, as well as the need to substitute uracil for thymine in RNA. Chapter 4 describes the importance of enzymes, folding, chaperonins, and the flagellar filament cap.
The second half of the book shifts from the cell to various types of organisms. Chapter 5 discusses the need for foresight in the ability of microbes to maintain the nitrogen cycle, the mechanisms of movement in a jumping planthopper and the forceful strike of the mantis shrimp. Birds are the subject of chapter 6, focusing on migration and survival of the embryo inside a shelled egg. Human reproduction and the function of the human appendix are discussed in chapter 7. Vision and other senses are discussed in chapter 8, noting the need for complex systems to be in place at the beginning of existence, with no possibility of waiting long ages for evolutionary development.
The concluding chapter, number 9, is more philosophical. Eberlin compares the evolutionary attempt to explain away the evidence for design with a game of blind man’s bluff. For many features of living organisms, it is foresight or death. Foresight implies intelligence, something evolution theory cannot provide. Near the end of the chapter, he makes this optimistic statement:
“After a long night of naturalism clamping down on scientific inquiry, the windows have been thrown open, questions new and old are being asked, and many of us find ourselves involved in a vigorous debate.” Not surprisingly, naturalists disagree.
This book will be of interest to those favorable to the idea of intelligent design. Some of the examples are familiar, but many are new, and some of the familiar examples are discussed in new ways. Priced attractively and very readable, this book is well worth the price and recommended to those who retain a sense of wonder at the marvels of living organisms.