The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1
Since God created the heavens and the earth, not only have they continued to declare the glory of God, but recently, they have also been pointing the scientific community back towards intelligent design. Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, University of Cambridge graduate and Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, explains in his recent article, A Scientific History and Philosophical Defense of the Theory of Intelligent Design, that there is a growing consensus of the idea of intelligent design among scientist, or ID. This, according to Dr. Meyer, is not to be confused with the religious belief of creationism which the US Supreme Court outlawed in public schools in 1987. No, the idea of intelligent design is a term used among scientist who arrived at this conclusion through purely empirical methods. Dr. Meyer traces the recent return to ID well beyond the Supreme Court decision.
In recent years, DNA has decoded old court cases, released wrongly-accused prisoners, and provided iron-clad proof of who the real father was in countless cases. The unveiling of the intricacies of the genome has shaken up a lot more than just criminal and civil cases though. For many, it has provided proof-positive of a Grand Architect of the Universe. And according to Dr. Meyer, the modern theory of intelligent design can be traced all the way back to the beginning of the molecular biological revolution.
Let’s review briefly how the shift away from ID got started. From before the time of Christ through the modern scientific revolution, philosophers assumed they could understand the world around them because it was “designed by a rational mind.” By the end of the eighteenth century, some enlightenment philosophers started to express their skepticism with the idea of a designer. Perhaps the loudest voice of all, was that of philosopher David Hume. Even though Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) rejected the idea, many enlightenment thinkers held various part of the design argument. It was not until Charles Darwin’s publication in 1859, The Origin of Species, that departure from an intelligent designer began to take hold among scientist. In his bombshell publication, Darwin argued that living organisms “only appeared to be designed.” He proposed that “natural selection acting on random variations” could explain an organism’s adaptations without having to invoke a designer. Not long afterwards, other fields of study such as astronomy, cosmology, and geology began to follow suit and look to naturalistic causes without appealing to the “supernatural” to explain the existence of the universe.
Darwin’s theory did not go uncontested though. During the first century since its introduction there were still those who found flaws with the evolution theory and looked to a designer to explain the complexities of nature. By the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin’s theory had undergone some evolution of its own. It evolved into Neo-Darwinism synthesis with natural selection still as the engine driving the evolutionary changes. As one Harvard biologist put it: natural selection is the core of Darwinism and “is so important for the Darwinian because it permits the explanation of adaptation, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means.” Again, this allowed them to explain the universe without the need of the Almighty. Soon Darwinism became the prevailing view, and by its centennial anniversary, “it was assumed by many scientists that natural selection could fully explain the appearance of design and that, consequently, the design argument in biology was dead.”
In 1953, Watson and Crick discovered that the structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code” much like the code in a computer program or words in a language. Since the late 1960s, however, new developments in molecular biology, genetics and developmental biology began to shake the assumptions of new-Darwinism at its core, so much so that prominent spokespersons for the theory started having to periodically assure the public that just because they did not know how evolution occurred, “does not justify doubt about whether it occurred.” Soon as the dissenting voices grew so that one evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor, Stephen Gould, reported that Neo-Darwinism was “effectively dead, despite its continued presence as textbook orthodoxy.”
By the late 70s, a group of scientist observed encoded digital information in the DNA molecule and concluded that the “information bearing properties of DNA provided strong evidence of a prior but unspecified designing intelligence.” Mathematicians, engineers and physicists soon joined in to express their doubts. They doubted that “random mutations could generate the genetic information needed to produce crucial evolutionary transitions in the time available to the evolutionary process” because of the overwhelming amount of specific information contain in the DNA structures. Given large amount of possible sequences, an “undirected search” would not have a realistic chance of finding a working sequence in the amount of time allotted. Many of the mathematicians and physicists thought that even if the time were billions of years, it just would not be possible for these random variations to produce anything as functional as the information discovered in the DNA.
In the twentieth century, there was a remarkable return toward ID in the heavenlies as well. Probably the most famous physicist of our time, Albert Einstein, originally believed that the universe was static and that it always existed in the early days as he sought to solve his famous equation for general relativity. As was said, the naturalistic view was the order of the day among most academics, and he too seemed to have had a philosophical disagreements with the implications of an expanding universe. It is said that at first his equation showed the universe expanding, but disliking the outcome, he added his cosmological constant to compensate for the force of gravity. Two of his contemporaries tried to convince him otherwise, Russian physicist Alexander Friedman and Belgian astrophysicist Georges Lemaitre, but he wouldn’t listen. In the early 1900s, Edwin Hubble observed from his large doomed telescope at the Palomar Observatories that there were many more galaxies than just our own and that the universe was expanding. He invited Einstein to come out and take a look. As Einstein peered into deep space, he said, “There is a necessity of a beginning.” Later, in 1931, he submitted to the Prussian Academy of Sciences a model of an expanding universe, and also, he later admitted his cosmological constant was his “greatest blunder.”
As early as the 60s and 70s, some physicists became open to the idea of an intelligent designer again and were impressed that the laws and constants of physics were “finely-tuned” for the possibility of life to even exist. As one British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, put it, this “fine-tuning” physics suggest an intelligent designer “had monkeyed with physics” in our order for life to take place. In other words, if the precise settings in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, Cosmology, and Physics, to name a few, had have been off, even a fraction of a percent, life as we know it would not have been possible.
Stephen Hawking, the famed physicist, recently announce to Neil deGrasse Tyson and his Star Talk audience, just before his death that he knew what was around before the “Big Bang.” “Nothing was around,” claimed Hawking. He explained used the analogy of the earth’s South Pole to explain his thoughts about space and time. He said, “There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang.” Dr. Meyer on The John Ankerberg Show explained that what Hawking’s finding meant was that if you reversed the expansion of the universe back to the beginning, the curvature of space time would be so infinitely tight to a point having a spacial volume of zero. Putting it simply, according to Dr. Meyer, “no stuff can go into no space.” He also said that what this shows was that there was no matter in the early phase of the universe, and that matter came into existence suddenly from nothing physical.
That is not to say that Hawking became a believer, but his discoveries do, however, totally refute the naturalistic, materialistic views of the universe held by so many in scientific community which claims that matter always existed. To say that there was a definite beginning of the universe and that matter came from nothing physical, calls for a transcendent cause. In other words, Somebody bigger than you and I, from outside of time and space, had to step into time and space and cause matter to form! And as a minister, I must say that this calls us all to get back to Genesis which says, and has been saying all along, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1).”
1. Meyer, Stephen C. “1. A Scientific History and Philosophical Defense of the Theory of Intelligent Design.” http://www.discovery.org/a/7471/.
2. Springer. “5. Einstein’s Conversion from a Static to an Expanding Universe.” https://phys.org/news/2014-02-einstein-conversion-static-universe.html.
3. Meyer, Stephen C. “Questioning the Source of Life’s Origin.” Interview. The John Ankerberg Show.
4. Rossman, Sean. “Stephen Hawking Knows What Happened before the Big Bang.” http://www.usatoday.com.