Way back in his first book, Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe put forward the following example: We come to a scene where it appears that there has been a car accident, with a smashed up car or two, and victims lying on the ground. We stop and get out to help, only to find out that the whole scene had been staged as a sociological experiment. The cars had been smashed on purpose, and there were no real victims, just actors.
The point is that it is possible that there are no real accidents. It could be that God has purposely arranged each and every event in the world. Thus, it could be every breaking and blunting of genes that seems to be the result of merely random, unguided events was actually arranged by God. If a whale’s fin was produced by the breaking and blunting of genes that had originally served to produce paws of land mammals, it is possible that God arranged the breaking and blunting of those genes. And if our theology does not allow for random, unguided events in God’s creation, it seems we would have to say that yes, indeed, the breaking and blunting of those genes was arranged by God.
But let’s go back to the car “accident.” We may not know whether the accident really is an accident or a purposely designed sociology experiment. However, we do know that the cars involved were not merely the result of accidents. Someone purposely designed them and produced them.
When it comes to Michael Behe’s point about biological organisms, we may not know whether God purposely arranged the breaking and blunting of genes, but, Behe argues, we know that somebody purposely designed certain aspects of the biological organism. And for the theist, that somebody is most likely God.
Is Behe correct in saying that we can know, in an empirical sense of knowing* (as opposed to a theological sense of knowing**), that certain aspects of biological organisms were purposely designed? It looks like it to me. But I’m certainly no expert.
*knowing in the same way that the characters in the movie “Contact” knew that the radio signal was purposely designed.
**knowing in the same way that we know that God is good, despite all the evil we see in the world.