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“We Hold These Truths”: On Design of the Cosmos, Science Uprising Updates Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

On Independence Day, Evolution News traditionally republishes a wonderful post by Stephen Meyer. Dr. Meyer, the author of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, explains how the philosophy of human rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence is grounded in recognizing intelligent design. Regarding the “sources of our rights as citizens”:

There is one source that is more basic than any other, yet that receives less than the attention it deserves. I refer to the idea that there is an intelligent creator who can be known by reason from nature, a key tenet underlying the Declaration of Independence — as well as, curiously, the modern theory of intelligent design.

The birth of our republic was announced in the Declaration through the pen of Thomas Jefferson. He and the other Founders based their vision on a belief in an intrinsic human dignity, bestowed by virtue of our having been made according to the design and in the image of a purposeful creator.

As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” If we had received our rights only from the government, then the government could justifiably take them away.

Read the rest of Dr. Meyer’s post here. And note Thomas Jefferson’s own words, penned in 1823:

I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in its parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition.

Jefferson is always thought to be the “secular” Founding Father. These, however, are not the words of an atheist but, rather, of a scientific proponent of what we today call intelligent design.

Truths Forever, But in Need of Updating

Truths like the ones Jefferson articulated are truths forever, but we need to update the idiom to suit the times. Dr. Meyer’s work, including his upcoming book, The Return of the God Hypothesis, powerfully details the current scientific evidence that supports what Jefferson called the “conviction of design” in biology and cosmology. A serious volume like that is written to nail down the science conclusively. But a related purpose is served, using a different, punchier idiom, by the new Science Uprising series, and in particular Episode 4. At just 8 minutes in length, it’s concise and provocative:

The episode’s subject is the “design of the universe,” shown in the evidence for cosmic fine-tuning. But Jefferson was wrong about one thing: He said “it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel” the reality of that design. It’s not impossible at all. Many of the most influential voices in our culture, science celebrities like Bill Nye and Lawrence Krauss, loudly deny that design. So do many rank-and-file scientists. Today their view is the standard one you hear from the mainstream media, and on college and university campuses. As Science Uprising conveys, it spreads a mind-fog over us, exercising a numbing, hypnotic power. 

Could the Declaration Be Written Today?

It was no arbitrary choice by the creators of the series to echo the 2005 film V for Vendetta, with its Guy Fawkes mask and scenes of TV and video feeds pirated by a rebel against an imagined future tyranny. We live under a tyranny of our own. It’s that mind-fog I mentioned. Given its influence, the Declaration of Independence could hardly be written today, not if it had to pass muster with our dominant woke corporate-media-political culture, whether Nike or CNN, Harvard University or the State of California. After all, invoking a “Creator” excludes those who don’t believe in a Creator. And what happened to the “unalienable Rights” of non-men — like chimps and trees, rivers and glaciers?

The revolution fought for American independence was only possible because the citizens of Britain’s North American colonies recognized the most fundamental “source of our rights,” as Meyer puts it. In Science Uprising, he and others scholars — in Episode 4, physicists Frank Tipler and Bijan Nemati — seek to acquaint a new generation with that source. They want to dispel the mind-fog and spark a revolution in thinking. Enjoy your Fourth of July, and please take the occasion to share Science Uprising!