Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Intelligent Design theory, held by a rapidly increasing number of scientists, says an intelligent cause is detectable through use of scientific methods.
God seems to be popping up everywhere in laboratories. It’s enough to make an atheist have nightmares.
Jastrow, an agnostic, writes in his book “God and the Astronomers,” “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact . . . For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
People always assume a sequence of meaningful symbols is the handiwork of intelligence. If we saw written in the sand at Destin beach, “John loves Ruth,” we would all believe someone wrote it. No one would dream it happened by accident.
If design (i.e. God’s hand) is seen anywhere, it is seen in DNA, the Universe’s most efficient storage/retrieval system for information.
Every human cell has the information capacity to store the Encyclopedia Britannica, all thirty volumes of it, three or four times over. No one believes an encyclopedia originated without intelligence, yet many believe the even more complex cell did. This is illogical.
The encyclopedia quantity of complex, specific information coded in DNA in precisely the criterion that would prove a signal from outer space has an intelligent source.
Radio telescopes are scanning the heavens, looking for artificial radio signals that differ from random signals generated by natural objects in space. This was portrayed in the movie “Contact.”
If the same evidence applied to determine intelligence in outer space were applied to cells, intelligent design would be proved.
Intelligent design proponents say major groups of organisms had separate origins. The genome were created with instructions that harbored variation and limit, resilience and stability. This helps a species survive by allowing it to remain stable or to adjust to changing environments.
Darwin first wrote in 1859. Louis Agassiz wrote in 1860 a rebuttal still valid. “Darwin lost sight of the most striking of the features, and the one which pervades the whole, namely, that there runs throughout nature unmistakable evidence of thought, corresponding to the mental operations of our own mind, and therefore intelligible to us as thinking beings, and unaccountable on any other basis than that they owe their existence to the working of intelligence; and no theory that overlooks this element can be true to nature.”
Some scientists object to belief in intelligent design, saying it would give up on science. Would belief in God lead to a scientific dead end?
It is ironic modern science textbooks are blatantly and one-sidedly pro-evolution. Most key discoveries of science were made by creationists.
Opponents of creationism say belief in God stifles scientific study and research. Don’t tell that to the creationists who founded these modern fields of science: Kepler astronomy, Pascal hydrostatics, Boyle chemistry, Newton physics, Steno stratigraphy, Faraday magnetic theory, Babbage computers, Agassiz ichthyology, Simpson gynecology, Mendel genetics, Pasteur bacteriology, Kelvin thermodynamics, Lister antiseptic surgery, Maxwell electrodynamics, Ramsay isotropic chemistry.
Modern science was born, not stifled, in Christian Europe. The scientific method never got off the ground in non-Judeo-Christian cultures. The basis of modern science is rooted in the Biblical assumption our universe was created by a rational creator. Astronomer Johannes Kepler claimed to be thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Newton felt he was following the trail of an orderly God. If Zeus and his gang were in charge, why expect order at all? If God is Nature, as some religions teach, then to delve into it is to commit sacrilege.
Blackballing God is unfortunate from a scientific view because He keeps showing up in the evidence. He obviously doesn’t like being excluded from the laboratory. The Creator left His footprints, handprints, and fingerprints on every square inch of the Creation.
Some scientists say considering God is unscientific, but the recent surge of interest in intelligent design is a direct result of scientific research. The modern theory has grown out of discoveries demonstrating irreducibly complex cells and organs.
Science cannot say who the Designer might be, but should at least be allowed to say evidence points to the possibility of a Designer. There is ample scientific rationale for the concept of intelligent design.
It is tragic creationism is unacceptable to evolutionists because they decide in advance God must be eliminated from their considerations, no matter how much evidence they find to the contrary. Evidence should be followed, wherever it leads. (Xerox Gish, p. 122 ***).
The same holds for creationists. Christianity should fear no truth. All truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found.
The Bible and scientific theories may contradict each other, but the Bible and science facts totally agree.
Scientific theories change. The Bible does not. It remains the anvil on which hammers are broken on. This is not a negative statement against science. Uncertainty and delving into the unknown are the lifeblood of science.
Ultimately, creationism and evolutionism both combine science and faith. Many wrongly try to reduce the debate to faith (creation) versus fact (evolution). This is not the case. Both are faith-based.
This is why I like to use the term creationism and evolutionism. Both are belief systems. Theists and atheists always have, and always will, have to argue from facts to faith.
Facts do not always speak for themselves. They are often interpreted by a framework adopted in advance. Arguments favoring and opposing creationism hinge on one’s concept of God. Arguments favoring and opposing evolutionism also hinge on one’s concept of God.
Both systems of thought build on supposed facts from which conjectures are made. The question is, which faith-system has better evidence to back up what it considers fact and conjecture?
Neither creationism nor evolutionionism is more or less “religious,” or more or less scientific, than the other. Both accept observable facts and then take steps based on faith. Each side tends to present its own faith as facts and its opponent’s faith as fancy.
Both sides could be kinder. Creationists often disagree disgreeably. Evolutionists do the same. Richard Dawkins wrote that anyone who denies evolution is “ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked ( but I’d rather not consider that),” and then says creationists are bigoted. Philosopher Daniel Dennett rejoices in evolutionary thought being a “universal acid” to corrode spirituality.
Being humans, scientists and theologians are subject to prejudice and pride. Both should be cautious about broad pronouncements regarding conjectures extrapolated from facts.
Scientists can be as wrong and as hardheaded as dogmatic theologians can be. The doctor who first taught the need for physicians to wash their hands after seeing each patient was so ridiculed that he went insane. In early anatomy classes, as a lecturer droned on describing human organs, if a student investigating a cadaver saw an exception or contradiction to what the teacher was saying, he was quickly told he misunderstood or the corpse was deformed.
Even the famed Copernicus and Galileo battles were arguments as much scientific as theological. The church leaders were defending not a Bible position, but the Ptolemaic framework, which presented the sun and planets as orbiting Earth.
Theologians had embraced a scientific theory, and then interpreted the Bible accordingly, a totally backward approach. Secular scientific leaders convinced church leaders Galileo was contradicting the Bible, which of course was not the case.
Creationists believe it is very rational and logical to embrace intelligent design. Why should minds have to reject the possibility that a Mind is behind the creation? Sir John Templeton said, “Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose?”