The November 2004 National Geographic article titled “Was Darwin Wrong?” was a rather feeble attempt to bolster a decaying belief in the theory of evolution. A major refutation of the various pieces of “evidence” presented in the article was posted on our Web site soon after the article was published (see Thompson and Harrub, 2004). Yet, just one page before the article defending Darwin, National Geographic dealt an unintentional blow to the theory of evolution, although it seems the editors completely missed the logical implication of the research presented.
In an article titled “Who’s Driving?,” Joel Achenbach, a Washington Post staff writer, reported on a race that took place in March of 2004. The winner of this unusual race was to receive one million dollars in prize money. The race course consisted of a 142-mile trek through the Mojave Desert that had to be completed in ten hours.
Reporting the results of the vehicles’ performances would at first appear catastrophic. “One had its brake lock up in the starting area. Another began by slamming into a wall.... One flipped.... One went a little more than a mile and plunged through a fence” (Achenbach, 2004, p. 1). Yet, when it is understood that there were no drivers in these robotic vehicles, the race results appear almost humorous. In fact, the vehicle that successfully maneuvered the farthest went a whopping 7.4 miles “before it ran into a berm, and the front wheels caught on fire.” Obviously, the ability to send an unmanned device across the desert proved much more difficult than at first anticipated.
One of the men who helped build two of the vehicles commented: “You get a lot of respect for natural biological systems.... Even ants do all these functions effortlessly. It’s very hard for us to imitate that and put it into our machines.” The author of the article then contrasted the vehicles to a two-year-old toddler, explaining that the “autonomous vehicles, despite being loaded with lasers, radar, stereoscopic cameras, gyroscopes, advanced computers, and GPS guidance, had trouble figuring out fast enough the significance of obstacles that a two-year-old human recognizes immediately.” Achenbauch then concluded that the toddler “is more advanced, even in diapers, than any machine humans have devised.”
Let’s put this into perspective. Several extremely intelligent individuals put their heads together to design thirteen vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets and gismos that cost thousands of dollars, and which are feats of intellectual genius in and of themselves. These intelligently designed vehicles were given the challenge of traversing the Mojave Desert, and the best-performing vehicle made it a mere 7.4 miles. The author of the article then concluded that a two-year-old toddler is more advanced than any “machine humans have devised.” And yet the article on the next page purports to explain that this toddler arose via no intelligence, by a series of random mutations and chance processes over millions of years.
Is not the implication of Achenbach’s statement about the toddler obvious? If intelligent humans cannot design a machine that even begins to approach the abilities of a toddler, what does that imply? It implies that whoever designed the toddler maintains an intellect that is far superior to the combined total of all human intellect.
The psalmist wrote, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth” (139:14-15). In a poetic description of God’s creation of the psalmist in the womb, the phrase “skillfully wrought” brings to light the ingenuity and design of God’s creative process in the formation of every individual human ever born. It is no wonder that humans outstrip every humanly designed machine that will ever be produced. What else would one expect from the Master Builder whose thoughts are higher than human thought as the heavens are higher than the Earth (Isaiah 55:9)? Yes, Darwin was woefully wrong, as was the article attempting to defend his position. And, ironically, one of the major pieces of evidence disproving Darwin’s theory was presented just one page before the lengthy article that attempted to prove it.
Achenbach, Joel (2004), “Who’s Driving?” National Geographic, 206:1, November.
Thompson, Bert and Brad Harrub (2004), “National Geographic Shoots Itself in the Foot—Again!”, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2644.