By Tom Quiner
It seems we need to embrace three disciplines to understand reality. They are science, religion, and philosophy.
We live in an era that leans on science alone to explain reality. And yet increasing numbers of scientists are being drawn to the notion of an Intelligent Designer due to the exquisite design of the universe.
Dr. Peter Kreeft explains that a scientist’s embrace of Intelligent Design depends upon the field the scientist is in:
“There are relatively few atheists among neurologists and brain surgeons and among astrophysicists, but many among psychologists, sociologists, and historians. The reason seems obvious: the first study divine design, the second study human undesign.”
Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist, is in a field that can accept the concept of Intelligent Design:
“Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth – the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient “coincidences” and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if “a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics”.
To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.
Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn’t exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear’s porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.”
Many scientists believe that the concept of evolution can explain creation without the need for an Intelligent Designer. Dr. Kreeft has great respect for evolution as an example of design. Rather than disproving Intelligent Design, he believes it gives us a clue to God:
“But doesn’t evolution explain everything without a divine Designer? Just the opposite; evolution is a beautiful example of design, a great clue to God. There is very good scientific evidence for the evolving, ordered appearance of species, from simple to complex. But there is no scientific proof of natural selection as the mechanism of evolution, Natural selection “explains” the emergence of higher forms without intelligent design by the survival-of-the-fittest principle. But this is sheer theory. There is no evidence that abstract, theoretical thinking or altruistic love make it easier for man to survive. How did they evolve then?
Furthermore, could the design that obviously now exists in man and in the human brain come from something with less or no design? Such an explanation violates the principle of causality, which states that you can’t get more in the effect than you had in the cause. If there is intelligence in the effect (man), there must be intelligence in the cause. But a universe ruled by blind chance has no intelligence. Therefore there must be a cause for human intelligence that transcends the universe: a mind behind the physical universe. (Most great scientists have believed in such a mind, by the way, even those who did not accept any revealed religion.)”
Did the universe happen by chance? Logic suggests that is unlikely. Scientists are joining theologians and philosophers in unraveling the mysteries of reality.