Science atheists like Richard Dawkins have admitted the possibility of intelligent design — the hypothesis that an alien intelligence, not God, designed and seeded the first life on Earth. What’s wrong with this idea of “panspermia”? Stephen Meyer goes into much more detail in his new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, but he summarizes at The Stream.
[I]f life in the universe displays evidence of intelligent design, can science tell us anything about the identity of the designing intelligence responsible for life? In my book Return of the God Hypothesis, I address this question by showing that there are two basic options: (1) The intelligence responsible for life is an intelligent being either (1) within the cosmos or (2) beyond it. In other words, the designer is either an immanent intelligence or a transcendent one — basically, either an alien or God. There are good reasons for thinking that the latter option provides a better explanation.
First, an intelligence operating merely within the universe does not actually solve the problem of how biological information came to be. Purely undirected chemical processes have not been able to account for the origin of life because they have not been able to explain the functionally specified information in DNA — the key signature of intelligence. How then does invoking similar undirected processes in outer space solve the problem of life’s ultimate origin? It doesn’t. It only begs the question of the ultimate origin of life and biological information.
Second, physics has now revealed evidence of design in the very fabric of the universe. Since the 1960s physicists have recognized that many physical parameters are finely tuned, against all odds, to make life possible. Even very slight alterations in the values of many independent factors such as the force that determines the expansion rate of the universe, the speed of light, the strength of gravitational or electromagnetic attraction, as well as the masses of elementary particles, would render life impossible.
Much of this fine-tuning, moreover, has been present from the very beginning of the universe itself and, thus, cannot be explained by any agent arising from within the cosmos after the beginning. Instead, the fine-tuning of the universe is better explained by an intelligent agent that transcends the universe, one that has the attributes that we associate with God.
Read the rest at The Stream. Return of the God Hypothesis is out now from HarperOne. Brian Keating, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics at U.C. San Diego, calls it, “A meticulously researched, lavishly illustrated, and thoroughly argued case against the New Atheism.” More plaudits from top scientists are here.