Evidence to Support Creation/Intelligent Design



                During my post concerning education, I made comments over how evolution can be taught in a classroom without affecting the worldview of the students. Thanks to the comment from someone on the article, I got to thinking about the opposite side, creationism/intelligent design. How could one introduce these theories and ideas without imposing a worldview on your students? Now unfortunately I cannot think of a way to introduce these views without introducing some sort of God, but they can be introduced by using the Deistic God, who is an impersonal being that started the universe and then left everything alone within this creation.  A deistic god does not push a specific worldview per say, but it does point toward a supernatural being that cannot be scientifically proven in the classical sense, so some people may already be throwing up their hands and claim multiple problems with teaching these ideas in school. The two big objections that pop into my head are by using a supernatural being that I am calling God, I am permitting non-science to be taught as science. The second objection would be that since I have to use a god in these ideas, I am mixing religion and state, at least in the United States. To answer the first objection, a lot of the theories we use in science, the big bang theory, origin of life with respect to evolution, and other theories, cannot be tested in the classical sense. If the evidence presented points toward the supernatural, is it not rational to follow the evidence where it leads or should we toss out this conclusion because we don’t like where it goes? For the second objection, I am using God as a theory or a possible explanation here. I am not advocating any religious view of God, just his consideration as an agent in the creation of the world. Now, after this longer-than-normal introduction, I would like to introduce a list of evidence that I think could be taught on the side of creation/intelligent design, without advocating any individual religion.
1.       The Big Bang: This is certainly a good starting point for this list, if you will pardon the pun. William Lane Craig and other philosophers have written much on the defense of a supernatural being responsible for the beginning of the universe. A basic exercise in showing this would be the kalam cosmological argument. Premise 1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Premise 2: The universe began to exist. Premise 3: The universe had a cause.
2.       The Cambrian Explosion: This is an event about 550 million years ago where most of the animal phyla came into existence. This goes against one of the evolutionary views that species emerged over many thousands of generations with gradual genetic change between each generation.  This can be evidence toward a rapid creation event perpetrated by a supernatural being.
3.       The improbability of chance and necessity: This argument points toward the probability of the right elements coming together to make the right amino acids and those amino acids coming together the right way to make the first protein and so on. The probability of all of this happening without intelligence behind it requires more time than the universe has existed.
4.       The fine-tuning of the universe: this argument looks at the values of the fundamental constants in chemistry and physics and questions why each constant has that value and why isn’t it more or less than what it is? The conclusion of the argument is that the universe must have been “fine-tuned” for life.
5.       Junk DNA?: One of the primary arguments used for evolution is descent with modification. This was also used by Francis Collins to support Theistic Evolution. Junk DNA is essentially the fragments of DNA that our ancestors passed on to us, but through evolution and modification this DNA became broken and non-functioning. According to a report from September of 2012, this “junk DNA” actually serves a purpose, so the term has become misleading. This would seem to point toward an intelligent designer that had a plan for every piece of DNA within the human body.
6.       Irreducible Complexity: This is a key idea in the intelligent design movement. This idea states that there are certain aspects of organisms that cannot work if all of the correct parts are not there. An example of this that has been used are the flagellum in certain cells or the way the blood clotting mechanism occurs in humans.
This list is definitely not all of the theories and ideas that point toward a creator, but it is enough to get started. If you have any additions to this list, feel free to comment and add to this list. God bless you and have a good rest of your day.

Comments

  1. 1. The Big Bang - I think it's more than reasonable to take issue with every single premise in this argument. It's intuitively pleasing, but seeing as how nobody has ever seen anything truly "begin to exist", I don't think there's reason to say that that which begins to exist must have a cause. Moreoever, cosmologists don't really agree that the universe began to exist. Some do, some don't.

    2. This is a fascinating open problem in theoretical evolutionary biology. Positing a creator does nothing to solve it. What would that imply? How could we test this hypothesis? Naturalistic explanations tend to beget more interesting questions. Even if you do think that God Did It, wouldn't you be interested in how?

    3. I think I recently sent you a paper about simulations of the chemical environments of deep sea vents written by a chemist at the Santa Fe Institute. Again, an interesting open problem. If I were you and I really wanted to make a case for the existence of God, I'd stop using open problems in science as arguments. Those have a tendency to get solved.

    4. The physicist Victor Stenger has run simulations showing that the universe is not as fine tuned as previously thought. In any case, cosmologists usually don't really buy this line of reasoning.

    5. Which paper do you mean? Also, it's a very large logical leap between "a biological feature that was previously thought to be useless turned out to not be useless" and "God has a purpose for all of our DNA".

    6. "This idea states that there are certain aspects of organisms that cannot work if all of the correct parts are not there." Engineers often put failsafes on their devices so that they work even if an individual part fails. The computer you typed this on, for instance, almost certainly has a blown transistor or two, but it still works. The solution to the problem of how to make a reliable computer out of unreliable parts was one of the great engineering feats of the twentieth century. Assuming what you're saying about the blood clotting mechanism in humans is true, wouldn't this be a point against intelligent design and not for it? The Greatest Engineer would surely provide a failsafe for a mechanism as important as blood clotting.

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  2. You make some good points. I would like to address what you brought up as the God of the gaps argument. I am definitely interested in the mechanism as to how the universe and life came into existence, and I am not trying to be lazy by saying that God did it. What gets confused in this argument is the explanatory power of an agent. God himself is not a mechanism, but a being taking advantage of the natural laws that He made to bring about entities such as the universe and lifeforms. I believe that both agent and mechanism are needed to bring about such entities. John Lennox brought up the example of the automobile to demonstrate. "It's like taking a Ford Model T and positing Henry Ford and the Laws of Thermodynamics and Internal Combustion. Please choose between Henry Ford and these physical laws to explain how the Model T came into existence." I do not believe in a God of the gaps, but of a God of the whole show. I gain more admiration for the designer of the universe the more I learn about it and how elegant it all is.
    I guess I will address the Irreducible Complexity bit as well. You make an excellent point, this one I kind of just threw on there because it is a main idea behind the intelligent design movement. Thanks for your input Mike.

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  3. One point that has been bugging me, though, is your comment on something truly beginning to exist. Didn't your parents see you "begin to exist"? Doesn't a building made by a builder "begin to exist"? I would just like some clarification on what you mean here.

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  4. "What gets confused in this argument is the explanatory power of an agent."

    A theory with only explanatory power is not as good as one with explanatory and predictive power, don't you agree?


    "It's like taking a Ford Model T and positing Henry Ford and the Laws of Thermodynamics and Internal Combustion. Please choose between Henry Ford and these physical laws to explain how the Model T came into existence."

    I've been over this before. This is a bad analogy because engineered systems:
    1) Do not in general self-replicate.
    2) Do not have any sort of phylogeny we can infer.
    3) Do not have DNA or cells.
    4) Do not respond to selective pressures.

    It turns out that engineers have been able to make use of evolutionary principles to (roughly) solve optimization problems precisely because biological systems are different than designed ones. Look up genetic algorithms and biologically inspired design on Wikipedia to learn more.

    As for beginning to exist: all of the things that people think of when they think about beginning to exist involve a change of form or emergence of a pattern. Energy appears to be conserved; mass and energy are related by Einstein's theory; the arrangements change. Nothing need "begin to exist". Many prominent cosmologists think the universe may be eternal.

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  5. What cosmologists believe this? I am having a hard time finding any names on any cosmologists that believe in an eternal universe. Unfortunately I am not as versed in the popular names in this field as I would like to be, the only name that pops out to me is Alexander Vilenkin, who holds the view of a universe that had a finite beginning.

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    Replies
    1. It is thought (Vilenkin himself sees this as plausible) that a quantum theory of gravity will show spacetime to be emergent -- not fundamental -- and in such a case the assumptions of the BGV theorem may be violated. You are free to read what Sean Carroll and Alexander Vilenkin have written on the matter.

      In any case, I take issue with every single one of the steps of the KCA. Even assuming it were entirely valid, it's a long way to go from "the universe was caused" to "the universe was deliberately caused" and farther yet to "the first cause of the universe is primarily concerned about some cleverer-than-average mammals that emerged some 13.8 billion years into the history of the universe on a small planet orbiting a very average star in a very average galaxy and to provide proof of this the creator staged a human sacrifice and resurrection (the only of its kind in history) 2,000 years ago in one of the less literate parts of the middle east where the people were particularly ill-equipped to keep accurate historical records".

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    2. The Kalam Cosmological Argument doesn't directly point to the existence of the Christian God, just the existence of a god. I made note in the beginning of this post that the arguments can only point toward the existence of this type of anonymous deistic god.

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