Intelligent Design 

LogoThe argument that design reveals a designer meets with opposition from the atheists:

"It has invariably happened that the works which they have made have been, in some degree, the proofs of the character of the workmen; for who is there who, when he looks upon statues or pictures, does not at once form an idea of the statuary or painter himself? And who, when he beholds a garment, or a ship, or a house, does not in a moment conceive a notion of the weaver, or shipbuilder, or architect, who has made them?

"And if any one comes into a well-ordered city, in which all parts of the constitution are exceedingly well arranged and regulated, what other idea will he entertain but that this city is governed by wise and virtuous rulers? He, therefore, who comes into that which is truly the greatest of cities, namely, this world, and who beholds all the land, both the mountain and the champaign district full of animals, and plants, and the streams of rivers, both overflowing and depending on the wintry floods, and the steady flow of the sea, and the admirable temperature of the air, and the varieties and regular revolutions of the seasons of the year; and then too the sun and moon, the rulers of day and night, and the revolutions and regular motions of all the other planets and fixed stars, and of the whole heaven; would he not naturally, or I should rather say, of necessity, conceive a notion of the Father, and creator, and governor of all this system; for there is no artificial work whatever which exists of its own accord? And the world is the most artificial and skillfully made of all works, as if it had been put together by some one who was altogether accomplished and most perfect in knowledge.

"It is in this way that we have received an idea of the existence of God." (Philo Judaeus, The Special Laws, Book I, Section 32-35, Chapter VI).

Is Philo an accurate observer, or is he reading something into the world which is not there?

The Whale's Pelvis Useless Excrescences
Periodic Table Rewind Button
The Author of Life

LogoThe Whale's Pelvis

One wag, on being informed that Antonio Vivaldi wrote upwards of 300 concertos, replied, 'He did not write 300 concertos. He wrote one concerto 300 times.' Vivaldi would not be the first intelligent designer who has recycled and reused a favored platform. Is serving up the same dish again, reheated, a lame, discreditable thing, or something God also might also do?

Some people insist that, if an intelligent designer had formed the animals, each new creature would be designed de novo, from scratch, from a completely blank slate; thus they would tend not to resemble one another. To some extent, the natural world does show a preference for bold and utterly new floor plans, as seen in the explosion of life in the Burgess Shale. However, there is plenty of recycling as well. It is not clear whether design from scratch in every instance would be diagnostic for design, when the 'intelligent designers' conceded by all, whose track record is open to examination, namely human designers, do not tend to do it this way. If all living things are first conceived in One Mind, then their similarities are self-explanatory, inasmuch an artist's present work always derives from his prior work.

"We know a lot about how intelligent designers do their work. Intelligent designers use many established design strategies (or 'design patterns,' as engineers would say)." (Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin's Doubt, p. 399).

In some cases conservative design is motivated by economy. For instance when Jobs and Wozniak built the first Apple computers, they used off-the-shelf components supplied by companies like Hewlett-Packard, because designing the whole thing from the ground up was not financially feasible. Some of the motives impelling these conservative human designers, who move forward step-by-step, by inches, instead of in giant leaps, cannot be ascribed to God, who is not lazy, slothful, nor unimaginative. However, other motives, such as the desire to put a design platform through its paces, to perform a suite of variations on a theme, might very well be motivating factors for Him as well. It could be that Vivaldi just really liked that concerto. The critics are doing theology rather than biology, when they posit a minimum threshold for 'design' which is much higher than, and very different from, what is discovered by common observation.

It is not accurate to say that the whale's pelvis performs no function; it serves as a base for muscle attachment, remove it and he cannot reproduce. And it's true in general that the atheists who bet against function are in a race against time: the function of that structure has not been discovered. . .yet. It might be true, however, that a designer given the task of producing a large sea creature would not take that design route, if he were starting from scratch; he might find a different way of fastening the tail. If someone says, 'any intelligent designer must approach each new design problem as if he had never designed any animal before,' then the whale's pelvis tells against intelligent design. However, the truth of this maxim is not obvious.


Cappadocian Cave Art

  • “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.”

  • (Psalm 50:21).

LogoUseless Excrescences

Observers of old-time Darwinian evolution are accustomed to hearing 'just-so' stories about how a feature or reality that seems really, really bad is actually good. For example, sickle-cell anemia, a dreadful disease that cuts short life. Do you say, dear Christian reader, that this tragedy comes from the fall? No, all is for the good; rather, look for the silver lining. A genetic disorder that cuts short life and thus decreases reproductive success ought to be weeded out by natural selection, but it is not; this genetic trait is prevalent in some populations. So they must scramble about to come up with a narrative explaining why it is really a good thing, and here it is: although the possessor of two copies of the sickle-cell gene, inherited from both parents, is doomed to an early exit, those who possess only one copy receive a benefit, namely, partial immunity to the effects of malaria. Therefore it is actually a good thing, natural selection brings it to the fore, the hypothesis is saved, and all is right with the world. This is how they used to do it.

This was the original Darwinian paradigm:

  • “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.”

  • (Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (p. 100). Public Domain Books.).

LogoSo initially both contending parties are trying to explain good design which is conceded to be such; this was not initially a point of controversy between the postulates of design or unordered evolution. However, anyone who follows the internet has become aware of a major devolution in evolution: the atheists are now arguing in favor of bad design, even atrocious design, even lethal design. Why 'natural selection' has failed to weed out these purported defects, resulting in needless death and thus disproportionately poor reproductive success, they do not say. Are they conceding their system doesn't work? It is, after all, supposed to 'optimize' design: "It is clear that here on Earth we are dealing with a generalized process for optimizing biological species, a process that works all over the planet, on all continents and islands, and at all times." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 167). Funny thing, it turns out sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't; you get good design, you get bad design, there's just no telling, not even to mention 'predicting.'

The people of God should stand back and let these evolutionists self-destruct, because in arguing on behalf of 'bad design,' they are really arguing more on behalf of design not yet understood. When I was a young person, I had my tonsils surgically removed, as they used to do back then. Why? Because these were vestigial organs devoid of function, which only served as a locus of infection. Or so they told my parents. And the surgeons were happy to remove these useless excrescences, for a fee, of course. At that time the immune system was not well understood. But then they discovered the function. Oops. So as the 'poorly understood' list grows shorter, the atheists will sink into extinction alongside.

When the atheists tell you, 'this organ is poorly designed,' they are saying, 'I have a better design,— I can build you a better esophagus, fully functional, without prodigal waste of resources, that will not be subject to the disadvantages of the present design.' Ask them to show it to you: tell them to draw a picture. If they can even do that much, their creation is likely no improvement, if it would even work at all. Of course, the vast majority of these people cannot produce a picture of anything, above the level of a stick figure.

Darwinian evolution has often been criticized for its lack of any independent criterion of fitness. Evolution proclaims the 'survival of the fittest.' And who is fit? Why, he who survives! "George Gaylord Simpson (1964): 'Natural selection favors fitness only if you define fitness as leaving more descendants. In fact geneticists do define it that way, which may be confusing to others.'" (Darwin on Trial, Phillip E. Johnson, Kindle location 402). So this once-popular catch-phrase means, 'he will survive who survives.' In fact this 'scientific theory' makes no prediction as to what animals or plants will be found in the world; it makes no testable predictions at all. Moliere, in his play 'The Imaginary Invalid,' raises the question why opium puts people to sleep. His budding doctor explains that opium puts people to sleep owing to its dormitive virtue. Asked and answered. We can go one better: “. . .Gould himself explains the survival of species as due to their possessing the quality of 'resistance to extinction.'” (Johnson, Phillip E. (2015-12-01). Darwin on Trial (Kindle Locations 3114-3115).)

Given its lack of falsifiability, it is not properly categorized as 'science' but as a non-scientific world-view. However, at this late date it seems they have, at long last, found an independent criterion of good design: and it is not fitness! It has, in fact, nothing to do with survivability or reproductive success, because those organisms which have successfully leaped these hurdles are nevertheless declared poorly designed. It is an aesthetic criterion, it would appear, though questioners who try to pin the atheists down on what it is or where it comes from will find themselves spinning in circles.

Long experience in this area shows that the speaker who says, 'this organ is useless,'— whatever it may be, the tonsils, 'junk' DNA, or the appendix,— can express himself more accurately and more modestly by saying, 'we don't yet know the function of this organ.' When it comes to the claims made by his opponents, Richard Dawkins is capable of understanding this distinction:

"The logic turns out to be no more convincing than this: 'I [insert own name] am personally unable to think of any way in which [insert biological phenomenon] could have been built up step by step. Therefore it is irreducibly complex. That means it is designed.' Put it like that, and you immediately see that it is vulnerable to some scientist coming along and finding an intermediate, or at least imagining a plausible intermediate." (The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, pp. 154-155).

To be sure, these people are gifted with great imaginative powers. But it would be better for them to say, 'I [insert own name] am personally unable to think of any function performed by the appendix.' That way, when the function of the appendix is at long last discovered, they will not look like fools. This dispute has been going on for centuries, millenia even. The early atomists, while they had some good ideas, were so incapable of explaining the evident design in biological organisms that they would outright deny that large, important organs like the kidneys had any function at all:

"Instead of listening, as they ought, to the reason why liquid can enter the bladder through the ureters, but is unable to go back again the same way,—instead of admiring Nature's artistic skill—they refuse to learn; they even go so far as to scoff, and maintain that the kidneys, as well as many other things, have been made by Nature for no purpose! And some of them who had allowed themselves to be shown the ureters coming from the kidneys and becoming implanted in the bladder, even had the audacity to say that these also existed for no purpose; and others said that they were spermatic ducts, and that this was why they were inserted into the neck of the bladder and not into its cavity." (Galen, On the Natural Faculties, Book I, Chapter XIII, p. 57 Loeb edition).

Try telling someone suffering from kidney failure that the kidneys perform no useful function! No one argues this today, not that the atheists didn't try it, because the debate was won long ago by the design side. A betting person, if prudent, would go with the odds, given the long and lop-sided track record, and declare for design in cases still unclear.

On the one hand, the Darwinian evolutionist fearlessly predicts natural selection will produce good design, or rather the illusion of good design:

"Or, to choose an example that doesn't involve advertising, there is 'anting:' the odd habit of birds, such as jays, of 'bathing' in an ants' nest or otherwise applying ants to the feathers. Nobody is sure what the benefit of anting is — perhaps some kind of hygiene, cleaning out parasites from the feathers; there are various other hypotheses, none of them strongly supported by evidence. But uncertainty as to details doesn't — nor should it —stop Darwinians from presuming, with great confidence, that anting must be 'for' something. . .If there is a one-sentence manifesto of this 'adaptationist' principle, it was expressed — admittedly in somewhat extreme and exaggerated terms — by the distinguished Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin: 'That is the one point which I think all evolutionists are agreed upon, that it is virtually impossible to do a better job than an organism is doing in its own environment.' If anting wasn't positively useful for survival and reproduction, natural selection would long ago have favored individuals who refrained from it." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 191-192)

. . .On the other, bad design, even lethal design. So, dear reader, put on your thinking cap and let's test your ability to simultaneously believe contradictory things: namely, that the human appendix is so badly designed as to cause needless death, and yet natural selection doesn't eliminate it, whereas 'anting' must be beneficial, or else natural selection would eliminate it. You see if you cannot simultaneously believe contradictory things about the world, you are just plain not cut out to be an atheist.

Connoisseurs of atheist science are very familiar with the pattern by which these bold pioneers fearlessly predict, either one thing, or its opposite, or some intermediate. They 'box the compass,' so to speak, predicting all possible outcomes. Take Sigmund Freud, for example, a redoubtable atheist. Let's say a man loves his mother; that's one thing. Or he might hate his mother; but this is 'reaction formation,' the magic box by which the result supposed to be produced by a given process is transmuted into its opposite. The two tendencies might battle each other to stasis, with the result that the man views his mother with indifference, or oscillate, alternate, or combine in all possible quantitative mixtures. So what does Freudian 'science' actually predict? Everything that could possibly happen! Will the man love his mother or hate her? Both! Either/or! Neither! In a similar vein, atheist evolutionary biology predicts, no specific organisms of course, perish the thought, but neither any stable or reliable global characterization of the outcome. Will evolution produce good design? Yes! Will evolution produce bad design? Yes! So-so design? But of course! So you see, whatever happens in the world, no matter what it might be, is fully and completely predicted by atheist science! Isn't atheist science wonderful! It can never, ever, be disconfirmed, because it has been made,— by design, you might almost say,— to be bullet-proof to reality.


Logo Periodic Table

Those who look for order in nature find what they seek; it is everywhere. Scientists used to seek it, for example during the classical era of physics, but no more: now they seek disorder and randomness and are content when they find it. Of course, Sir Isaac Newton could have 'found' it too, had he been so inclined: 'The planets move around, yes they do, they are here, then they are there. What, you think it's possible to reduce this all to a schedule? What, you crazy?' 'Science' of this sort, in particular modern evolutionary biology, has become a comforting bed-time tale for atheists. This popular myth has had a stultifying effect on the science, because it says, 'animals are alike in that they are of common descent. They are unlike in that new forms derive from random, chance variations.' That's it. Look for a periodic table of the animals, and you're a crank according to this paradigm.

Originally 'random' simply denied any 'feed-back' mechanism whereby the environment communicated a need to the organism, as had been posited by Lamarck and others. But the idea of random chance was so attractive to those so inclined that they have doubled down on it, to the point where now it means 'without rhyme or reason:'

"Thus, all three architects of the Burgess revision began with the conventional view that winners conquered by dint of superior adaptation, but eventually concluded that we have no evidence at all to link success with predictably better design. On the contrary, all three developed a strong intuition that Burgess observers would not have been able to pick the winners. The Burgess decimation may have been a true lottery. . .We do not know for sure that the Burgess decimation was a lottery. But we have no evidence that the winners enjoyed adaptive superiority, or that a contemporary handicapper could have designated the survivors. . .The idea of decimation as a lottery converts the new iconography of the Burgess Shale into a radical view about the pathways of life and the nature of history." ('Wonderful Life,' by Stephen Jay Gould, pp. 238-239).

This is not science, which is an endeavor to find order in the world, but the arrogant denial that there is any order to be found. We start with the myth of the infinite plasticity of organisms:

"Breeders habitually speak of an animal's organisation as something quite plastic, which they can model almost as they please." (Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (p. 16). Public Domain Books.)

This is not an observed fact of nature; in fact it is contradicted by observation. Any of the dog breeders or pigeon breeders who so impressed Darwin could tell you, there are variants they would dearly love to have but can't produce. What are the limitations on this suite of themes and variations? Once the sequence has been run through, why assume that there is more to come?

When D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, in his 'On Growth and Form,' put fossil rhinoceros skulls in sequence, the reader could see a theme and variations. Trace that out, and you have a periodic table of the animals. This would be the best way to get rid of Darwin's pestilential error: leap-frog it, leave it to the dust-bin of history.


Rewind Button

Classical science posits an orderly world and ventures to make predictions. Modern Darwinian 'science' ventures no predictions, assuring us our world is a bottomless chaos in which nothing ever happens the same way twice. Whatever this is, it isn't science. Instead they present "a 'pageant' of evolution as a staggeringly improbable series of events, sensible enough in retrospect and subject to rigorous explanation, but utterly unpredictable and quite unrepeatable." (Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, p. 14). That's nice, but we'd rather have science:

  • “The good news is that we can specify an experiment to decide between the conventional and the radical interpretations of extinction. . .The bad news is that we can't possibly perform the experiment.
  • “I call this experiment 'replaying life's tape.' You press the rewind button and, making sure you thoroughly erase everything that actually happened, go back to any time and place in the past — say, to the seas of the Burgess Shale. Then let the tape run again and see if the repetition looks at all like the original. . .”
  • “I believe that the reconstructed Burgess fauna, interpreted by the theme of replaying life's tape, offers powerful support for this different view of life: any replay of the tape would lead evolution down a pathway radically different from the road actually taken. . .But the diversity of possible itineraries does demonstrate that eventual results cannot be predicted at the outset. Each step proceeds for cause, but no finale can be specified at the start, and none would ever occur a second time in the same way, because any pathway proceeds through thousands of improbable stages. Alter any early event, ever so slightly and without apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into a radically different channel.”
  • (Stephen Jay Gould, A Wonderful Life, pp. 48-51).

Logo This abandonment of the cause-and-effect scheme that powered traditional science is only one of the problems the fossil record presents to Darwinian evolution. If the theory were correct, either in its gradualist or punctuated versions, we would expect to see snowballing differentiation, as small changes accumulate to produce new species. That's just what we don't see:

"Instead, the first Cambrian animal forms are different enough from each other to justify classifying them as separate classes, subphyla, and phyla from their first appearance in the fossil record." (Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin's Doubt, p. 142).

This theory did not arise from an effort to explain the fossil record, but rather from the start necessitated an effort to explain away the fossil record. No one should sell Darwinian evolution by claiming it predicts the animal and plant species we actually do have. It does not predict these, nor indeed make any specific predictions at all. The only predictions the theory ventures are ex post facto. The great triad of atheist science, Marxist economics, Freudian psychology, and Darwinian evolution, all have this feature in common: they predict, without fail, whatever happens. Whatever happens, it was predicted by the theory. This does not mean they are incredible powerful theories, but rather, they are not falsifiable. Therefore, they are not science.


LogoThe Author of Life

Even kings know life is not in their hands:

"And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, 'Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.'" (2 Kings 5:7).

The Messiah is the King of Israel, but He is so much more. The apostle Peter makes a remarkable claim about the identity of his master:

  • “The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God our our fathers, glorified his son Jesus, whom you betrayed and denied before Pilate, when Pilate judged that he should be released; but you denied the holy and righteous man, and demanded that a murderer be given you as your gift; and you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.”
  • (Acts 3:13-15, Richmond Lattimore translation).

LogoThere is one law-giver, and our world is a world under law: "If you accept the fact that there are laws, then something must impose that regularity on the universe. What agent (or agents) brings this about? He [author John Foster] contends that the theistic option is the only serious option as the source, so that 'we shall be rationally warranted in concluding that it is God — the God of the theistic account — who creates the laws by imposing the regularities on the world as regularities.'" (Anthony Flew, There is a God, p. 109).

Another word for gratuitous order is 'beauty.' The natural world mutely testifies to its Creator by this silent sign-language:

  • “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.”
  • (Psalm 98:4-9).

Gratuitous Order Definition
Design and Tracery Tiny World
Picture-Book Unknown God
Pearl of Great Price

LogoThe apostle John said that he had not only seen, but even touched, the "word of life:"

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:1-3).

Of Jesus it is said that "in him was life:"

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • “The same was in the beginning with God.
  • “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

  • (John 1:1-4)

LogoAs the Logos, or eternal Word of God, Jesus was in the beginning, and gave life to all things. His name is "the Word of God"; His other name is 'Reason;' this, too, is a legitimate translation of 'Logos:'