If The Universe Seems Designed.... It Probably Is Designed

by PastorErick | 8/15/17, 11:00 AM

A while back I was having one of those rare days where I get to sit around just watching things on Netflix. One of those things I watched was a documentary put together by the BBC about Atheist’s answers to Theist’s challenges (I don’t remember the name of the documentary now; sorry.). Anyhow, I remember having two impressions after the show was over:

  1. These Atheists were very intelligent and had come up with some pretty decent responses to a Believer’s typical arguments for the existence of God. However….
  2. The response to the “Argument from Design” or as some would call it, “The Argument from Fine Tuning” was atrocious. Essentially, the guy that was being interviewed said something like this: The argument from design seems very persuasive. Yes, it seems that everything in our universe was made just right for human existence, but guys, there’s no evidence for a Divine Being, so it just simply cannot be.“ The end. In my research I have found that consistently the kind of response noted above is a fairly standard one. Simply put, the argument from fine tuning may be the most persuasive argument we believers have. So persuasive is this particular clue for God’s existence that even well known, highly respected Atheists like Antony Flew ended up becoming Theists because of it.

So then, the argument from design (as formulated by Norman Geisler):

  1. All designs imply a Designer
  2. There is great design in the universe
  3. Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe.

The first premise is intuitive and need not much explanation. William Paley, in his famous argument from design used this analogy: He said that if someone was walking along and happened to find a watch on the ground, the person would naturally assume (rightly) that somebody actually MADE THE WATCH (that it didn’t just happen to coincidentally form into a fully functioning watch on it’s own). Nature is VASTLY more complex than a simple watch, yet it is so tightly wound, so intricately woven that it is mathematically absurd to believe that it could all form just by happenstance.

That leads to the second part of the argument which actually says "there is great design in the universe”. But is there? The more and more we discover, the more and more our answer is a resounding, “Yes!"

Frances Collins explains:

When you look from the perspective of a scientist at the universe, it looks as if it knew we were coming. There are 15 constants- the gravitational constant, various constants about the strong and weak nuclear force, etc. - that have precise values. If any one of those constants was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, by one part in a million million, the universe could not have actually come to the point where we see it. Matter would not have been able to coalesce, there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people.
(Quoted in Timothy Keller’s "Reason For God”, pg. 130)

It is not merely believers that acknowledge this fine tuning of the universe. Stephen Hawking said of all these constants, “The remarkable fact is that the value of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” Yes, the reason they “seem to have been finely adjusted” is because, well, they were.

But you know what? We don’t even have to look to all those constants to determine that design exists. We can simply look to our own bodies to see the intricacy of design in the universe. Norman Geisler and Ron Brooks in their book “When Skeptics Ask” describewhat’s going on in just our DNA

A single DNA molecule, the building block of all life, carries the same amount of information as one volume of an encyclopedia. No one seeing an encyclopedia lying in the forest would hesitate to think that it had an intelligent cause; so when we find a living creature composed of millions of DNA-based cells, we ought to assume that it likewise has an intelligent cause Even clearer is the fact that some of these living creatures are intelligent themselves. Even Carl Sagan (avowed Atheist) admitted:
The information content of the human brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among neurons- about a hundred trillion. If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries. The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us. The brain is a very big place in a very small space. The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans.

Absolutely incredible!

That leads us to the last part of our argument: “Therefore there must be a Great Designer of the universe.” Now again, we must acknowledge that this argument doesn’t tell us much about the Great Designer (Antony Flew, the atheist who converted to Theism by the end of his life, simply became something of a Deist), but it does strongly lead us to believe in an extraordinarily powerful Being outside of space/time that has some sort of purpose for His creation.

So, what are the arguments against Design? There are basically three I’m aware of (once again, there could be more that I haven’t heard):

  1. It all happened by chance- The mathematical probability of something as complex as the universe, let alone an intelligent creature simply coming into being by chance is to state it mildly, mathematically impossible.
  2. But…. the multiverse- Again, the multiverse theory is brought in to save the day. The idea proposed by some is of some sort of universe generator constantly spewing out universes. Eventually, after enough time and chance, there had to be one that produced life. But this doesn’t solve the problem really. For the “universe generator” would need amazing design in order to function!
  3. There are some things that don’t appear to be designed- Sure, there are things like my appendix that don’t appear to have any particular point, but that does not negate the reality of the billions of things in the universe that do have strong evidence of fine tuning. Besides, just because we don’t know why my appendix is there right now, doesn’t mean that someday we won’t.

Alright, that’s a basic rundown of the argument from design. May it cause you to worship the Designer!

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