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When Catholics Argue for Intelligent Design

Photo: Vatican, by Luc Mercelis, via Flickr (cropped).

As I mentioned here on Monday, I am proud about the release of a new book I edited, called God’s Grandeur: The Catholic Case for Intelligent Design (Sophia Institute Press). Here is some more information about it. The volume brings together in one place arguments from some of the best minds in Catholicism, arguments against materialism and in support of God’s intentional design in all created things, in a form that anyone can read and appreciate. The clarity brought by viewing each subject through the lens of design is bracing. The evidence from science is clear, but with the discussion of philosophical questions, the necessity of a Creator becomes overwhelming. 

You can order the book or download a free chapter here. As you will see, we have made an explicit decision to name the designer as God, because when arguments from philosophy are included, He is the only one capable of such universal, thorough-going creation. What follows is a brief description of each chapter, with the name of the authors attached. They may be unfamiliar to some of you, but their biographies are impressive and the contents of the book will be of interest to all Christians.

Chapters in the Book

  1. God’s Grandeur. The poem from which the title is drawn, and a preface that explains why this book is needed. Ann Gauger
  2. Intelligent design. What we mean by the term, and what we don’t mean. All too often people think they know what ID is, and what it claims, and they are wrong. Logan Gage
  3. Cosmology. The universe had a beginning, before which there was nothing — no time, no space, no matter, no energy, no sub-atomic particles or forces, nothing. Then it came into being so finely tuned for galaxies and stars, for a planet like earth, and for beings like us, that it boggles the mind. Brian Miller
  4. Origin of life. A pure thermodynamic miracle. Brian Miller
  5. How our understanding of biology has grown, and how it reveals intelligent design. Michael Behe
  6. Biology. Codes, information, molecular machines, causal circularity, and homeostasis, all things that require all the parts to be there and fine-tuned for each other before anything can work. Ann Gauger
  7. Paleontology. How the fossils indicate jumps, sometimes very large ones, over very short time intervals. There may be no intermediates, or even where it looks like there are intermediates, there isn’t enough time. Günter Bechly
  8. Human origins. What the science tells us, and what our faith tells us, and whether or not they can be reconciled. Ann Gauger
  9. The intelligibility of the universe. Why our minds are capable of understanding more and more about the way the universe works in physics, chemistry, and biology, and how this understanding conforms so well to mathematical abstract systems discovered by human minds. Benjamin Wiker
  10. Teleology and the universe. Why everything has a purpose, often multiple purposes, that affect the environment for the good of others, not just themselves. These purposes work together to permit the functioning of the whole of life. Rob Koons
  11. Consciousness. Somehow mind emerged from matter, mind capable of knowing itself and others, and communicating with them; capable of imagining and creating new things, and organizing its environment in a variety of ways; capable of a sense of the Other and of our immortality. Michael Egnor
  12. The uniqueness of the human person. Scott Ventureyra
  13. Natural law. How science supports and accounts for our natures. Benjamin Wiker
  14. Natural moral law. The law that is in us, that tells us what is wrong or right, that is the basis of morality. J. Budziszewski           
  15. Beauty. The world is full of beautiful things, things that are gratuitously beautiful. They don’t have to be beautiful to fulfill their purpose, but they are. And we are built to see that beauty, whether it is natural, or man-made art, music, dance, etc. Logan Gage
  16. The language of design in the Bible. John Bergsma
  17. How the glory of God is revealed in creation. Fr. Pedro Barrajon, LC
  18. Is evolution a problem for the Church? Fr. Michael Chaberek, OP
  19. Aristotle and Design. Richard Sternberg
  20. Aquinas and design. Fr. Michael Chaberek, OP
  21. Can Thomist philosophers claim God acts only through secondary causes? Does God hide behind the apparent randomness of mutations? Jay Richards
  22. Why it is important for ID and evolution to be openly discussed in the Church. Bruce Chapman
  23. A closing chapter on creation as a living and symphonic order, not deterministic, but also not random, and full of beauty. Anthony Esolen