Let’s think BIG—as in UNIVERSE BIG. How did it start? When and how did life begin? Where did thinking come from?
Two major science wars are going on today—Evolution, built on ideas advanced by Charles Darwin, is the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms, through the process of natural selection. Materialism is the only legitimate source of information.
Intelligent Design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not the undirected process of natural selection. Micro-evolution within species does happen. Macro-evolution, developing new species, does not.
One camp says that only an outside designer can account for design. The other camp acknowledges “apparent design” in nature but says it can be explained through scientific research.
Thus, the war.
It’s not hard to guess which side I’m on. Here are a few of my reasons:
The Big Bang: A universe that is still expanding burst into existence—out of nothing. Who or what caused it?
Irreducible complexity: A single cell-—a fully functioning “factory,” if you will-—must have ALL its parts, right from the start, for the cell to reproduce. Parts cannot be added, one by one, over thousands of years.
The Cambrian explosion: The sudden appearance of complex animals in the fossil record, approximately 530 million years ago.
Intelligent design includes a belief in God; Darwinism includes a belief in materialism. Both are “religious” or philosophical assumptions.
What’s my point here?
Science studies the universe. Christians study it and see an even bigger REALITY—beyond our planet, solar system, or galaxy—as hinted in scripture. Think creatures of great power who function like a gyroscope (read Ezekiel 1); angelic beings appearing at odd times; unexplainable miracles—the greatest being Jesus’ resurrection. There’s terrible evil, as well as astonishing good. The God of grace who loves and forgives also vows vengeance on those who despise Him.
I don’t understand the mysteries of the universe—quarks, quasars, black holes—but the Designer’s fingerprints are everywhere, and He has spoken—clearly—in every tongue and language.
This is a thin description of a very thick subject. I would love your input. Comment below, or email email@example.com
Well, “thin” gets us well on our way, Ellie. Where did you get that incredible photo of the night sky w/the saguaro? The night sky in Arizona amazes me when we’re there in winter…SO MANY stars! What do you think it is about people that renders us either touched or untouched by the order and beauty of the universe?
I think you did a good job explaining and summarizing both sides well, Ellie. Thank you! The only fact I would add is that the age of the universe is a speculative matter, not something you can state definitively from a scientific point of view. From a biblical point of view, the earth is much younger than any of us grew up hearing about.
It was exciting for me as a Christian to see Dr Francis Collins standing alongside the White House Corona Virus Task Force, working on Operation Warp Speed to a vaccine. A converted believer, Dr Collins is credited with unraveling the human genome, discovering the genes that cause cystic fibrosis and other diseases, and is currently the Director of the National Institutes of Health – Dr Anthony Fauci’s boss. His book, THE LANGUAGE OF GOD, is fascinating and helps us with these great questions of the compatibility of faith and science. Highly recommended! Thank you for always nudging us along, Ellie, with your strong and curious mind.
Just because science lacks complete understanding of all aspects of cosmology and evolutionary biology does not, by any means, support a conclusion that “God did it.”
Scientists deal with conclusions drawn from observation, repeatable experiments, predictable results and, most of all, development of theories that are subject to falsification (i.e., which are capable of being disproved by other scientists’ observations and experimentation).
Religion, on the other hand, is based on faith rather than on hard evidence or scientific methodology.
Creationism, especially the “young earth” variety, is not a science; it is a belief that flies in the face of established, albeit incomplete, scientific evidence. As such, not only does it warrant a place in a theology, rather than a science curriculum; it has no business at all being taught in public schools.
Granted we all look up at the night sky with a sense of wonderous awe, there is still no evidence that biology, physics, chemistry and human anatomy and physiology are the products of any “creator.”
Thanks much, Denis, for interacting with my blog. I fully understand where you’re coming from and have read much of the literature on both sides. I too have a problem with young-earth creationism but not with the God who designed and brought it about–in His timetable. There is solid science behind the ID premise, and I would suggest you read some of the literature. A Discovery Institute website, concerning an upcoming seminar, presents a good statement about the purpose of the organization and some of the leading scientists doing research. https://www.discovery.org/e/id-seminar/ Thanks again for you comment, Denis! We need this sort of discussion.
Here’s just a couple additional thoughts , Denis, to add to the conversation.
Historically, science has tried to assess all the evidence available and then do the testing, etc. that you mentioned. Many of the early scientists—Newton, Galileo, etc—were strong Christians, and they insisted in looking at all the evidence, not what the Church at that time wanted them to see. Today, the ID people are pushing to include ALL the evidence, not just physical matter, in assessing the universe. Those who would limit the conversation to just material factors are largely scientists who, pro forma, rule out evidence that points to some non-material designer, largely because the alternative is untenable. “God does not exist; ergo, there can be no outside designer. Religion is not science and cannot be employed as scientific evidence.”
This gets back to evidence for the existence of God. IF God is real and the Bible his Word to us, then consideration of creation evidence IS scientifically legitimate. One of the strong evidences for the existence of God is, in fact, the Big Bang—Something out of Nothing. Science has come up with theories of other universes, yo-yo universes, etc, but there is no evidence to hang those hopes on.
The other major evidence for a designer is Irreducible Complexity. Common sense would rule out evolution for, say, a computer. Yes, computers micro-evolved over the years, but the “original” had to have been designed with a specific purpose in mind. The probability factor is important here: What are the chances of a light-sensitive cell evolving into a functioning eye over millennia of purposeless trial and error—with entropy factored in? That takes a lot more faith than believing in the existence of God!
ID scientists are highly trained and respected in their fields, and they are committed to following the evidence, wherever it leads. As Psalm 19 says, “The heavens DECLARE the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Well, Eleanor (Bright as the Sun, Kindhearted), the blog and the responses got me pondering, again! 🤩 One of my goals during this time is to move away from “dualistic (black/white, either/or, my side/ your side) thinking.” It’s easier to think that way, but it closes the door to open thoughtful discussion that can lead to understanding and respect. Jesus, show me how to look & be like You: eyes to see, ears to hear, heart to understand 💙
The most marvelous book I have ever read aside from the Bible is Hugh Ross’ book “Improbable Planet”. It is a masterpiece. Heavy on science you’ll be lucky to retain a tenth of its content. I finished it recently and was awed by the “proof” that the earth’s creation has to be designed from the very beginning of the Big Bang. This book is crammed with an almost endless portrait of ‘just right’ scenarios that had to be created to bring humans into existence. My reading of this book coincided with my teaching a course on probability to honor students and consequently the implications of what the author was trying to communicate hit me with incredible force. To mention just a few of these, we have the earth/moon system, gravity, the twenty four hour rotation period, the tilt of the earth’s; axis, the amount of solar radiation, our distance from the sun, the amount of UV, etc., etc. For each one of these the band of just right conditions is very narrow and hence the probability of any one of these situations happening is one in a billion. Now consider a pair of dice. You roll a dice and you have one chance in six of rolling a ‘1’. So the probability is 1/6. Now if you roll two dice to get snake eyes, or two ones, you multiply the two probabilities, 1/6 X 1/6 and you have 1/36. And so on. Imagine hundreds of processes each having a probability of say 1/1 billion or 1/1,000,000,000,000. Now imagine taking that fraction and putting parentheses around it and adding an exponent of say 100. You are looking at a one chance in a number too large to write. In other words the earth’s creation was impossible by just random and a chaotic series of events. For years I have been pondering the question “Why haven’t we heard from anyone out there with all this technology monitoring the heavens?” After all we’ve spent millions of dollars on SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial intelligence). Now I have the answer and Carl Sagan, an atheist, was wrong. Indeed, WE ARE ALONE!
Nancy and I have read Hugh Ross’ book “Improbable Planet”. Incredible. Certainly the basis for an honest discussion. My simple answer as to why there must be a Creator God (apart from Revelation) is “music”.
Yup–music is one, laughter is another. Thanks, Bob!
Thanks so much, Dick, for your thoughtful comment. The law of Probability aptly applies to the issue of Irreducible Complexity: The probability of ALL elements of a complex organism being added one by one over thousands of years—by pure chance and without any mismatches—is indeed incomprehensible, If Jesus could rise from the dead–and there’s good evidence that it actually did happen–then He, the Creator, could form a universe–out of NOTHING.
What a small part of the universe is our tiny earth and all us human beings!!
AMEN, Dinah! We have a GREAT God.
“The unbelieving mind would not be convinced by any proof, and the worshiping heart needs none.” A. W. Tozer
Excellent blog post Ellie, and an excellent follow-up discussion! One of the positive side-effects of this pandemic , whether from lockdown boredom or virus fear, or combination of both, is an increased curiosity about some of the “more important” aspects of our life here on this planet!
Tozer and I have the same thought, he just says it better