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In Summary: Presenting the Evidence for Intelligent Design

Photo: Necklace Nebula, by ESA/Hubble & NASA, K. Noll.

This summer I taught a five-week class on intelligent design. My host was Faith Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM, and the class was based on the video “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design,” which physicist Brian Miller has said “provides a quick and easy introduction to intelligent design that I would recommend to anyone new to the topic.” We spent about half of our time watching other videos, including three of Discovery Institute’s Science Uprising series as well as Fire-MakerPrivileged Planet, Why Evolution Is Different, and a German TV interview with geneticist W. E. Lӧnnig. 

The five classes were filmed by Nancy Wang, who also edited the session recordings and merged the videos we watched into these recordings. Since the sessions covered a wide range of ID topics, I thought these five recordings might be of general interest for those “new to the topic” of intelligent design. So, after a little further editing, here are the session videos. The study guide we used, which includes links to the other videos and some recent Evolution News articles by David Klinghoffer, Casey Luskin, and myself, is here.

In Summary: Four Points about ID

Below is a summary of the main points we discussed in the class.

First, the only way to avoid concluding that the laws and constants of physics and the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned to make life possible is to assume there must be “countless” other universes with different conditions and invoke the anthropic principle: “the conditions had to be just right, because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to wonder about them.” 

Second, the conditions on Earth and the laws of our universe are not only fine-tuned for our existence, but apparently also for scientific discovery and technological progress. The anthropic principle cannot explain this fine-tuning.

Third, if you accept that an intelligent agent designed the laws of nature to make life possible, why exclude a priori the possibility that he was still somehow involved after that in directing the evolution of humans, especially when the alternative forces you to believe that the four unintelligent forces of physics alone could have reorganized the fundamental particles of physics on Earth into nuclear power plants, cars, airplanes, and smart phones? These forces are very cleverly designed, and probably are clever enough to explain chemistry and stars and everything that has happened on other planets. But here are the three problems science must solve to explain how human civilization came to exist on Earth without intelligent design:

The origin of life: Science cannot yet explain the origin of life. According to mainstream thinking, the first life must have formed by chance chemical processes. But even with all our advanced technology we are still not close to creating human-engineered self-replicating machines.

Evolution from the first life form to complex animals: Darwin’s implausible explanation for evolution becomes even more implausible with each new biological and biochemical discovery. It is still popular today only because of Le Conte’s axiom and the fact that evolution doesn’t look the way we think a designer should have done things…though it does look a lot like how humans design things. Major advances appear suddenly in the fossil record and gradual development of new orders, classes, and phyla would require the development of new but not yet useful features. So Darwinism, which excludes foresight in nature, cannot explain the development of these new features even if they did appear gradually.

The origin of intelligent, conscious humans: If you believe that humans are the result of a purely mechanical process such as natural selection of random mutations, you are forced to believe we are just machines. So even if unintelligent forces could explain the appearance of complex animals, these forces cannot explain how I got inside one of those animals.

There Was a Beginning

And fourth and finally, the universe had a beginning. Since there were no natural causes before nature came into existence, science cannot ever hope to explain this beginning. That is, if intelligent design is arbitrarily excluded.