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Intelligent Design Goes Mainstream

Science Can and Does Point to God    

06/7/24

Shane Morris

Does science give evidence for the existence of God? It’s a touchy question because many people today are convinced that science can’t give evidence for God as a rule. But this rule itself isn’t scientific. It’s a naturalistic philosophy or worldview. And few people have done more to refute this worldview in recent years than philosopher of science and bestselling author Dr. Stephen Meyer.  

Meyer has been taking intelligent design discourse mainstream lately. Last year, he appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience to make the case that science can and does point to a Designer. And last month, he got a surprisingly warm reception on Piers Morgan Uncensored, where he laid out the case for intelligent design and argued that three of the greatest discoveries of the twentieth century point convincingly to the existence of God. 

First, the fact that the universe had a beginning demands a non-naturalistic cause for everything. Meyer explained how, at the beginning of the twentieth century, materialist scientists believed that the universe was eternal, and therefore uncaused. Yet as astronomers and physicists peered into the heavens with increasingly advanced tools, they came to the inescapable conclusion that the universe did have a beginning. This had huge implications.  

As Meyer put it: “Prior to the origin of matter, there is no matter to do the causing.… You need to invoke something that is external to the universe and is not bounded by time and space.” An immaterial cause outside of time and space sounds a lot like the classical Christian idea of God. 

Meyer also pointed Morgan to the mind-boggling “fine-tuning” scientists observe within our universe, and how without this, life would not be possible. Whether we’re talking about the nuclear forces that hold atoms together, the strength of gravity, the speed of light, or the initial distribution of mass and energy at the universe’s beginning, each variable is precisely calibrated to make life and even basic chemistry possible.  

A slight deviation in any of these values, and we would not be here. Yet it turns out there’s no naturalistic reason for such fine-tuning. As atheist astronomer Fred Hoyle once admitted, it appears that “a superintellect has monkeyed with physics.” 

Finally, Meyer argued that Darwinian evolution has failed at explaining the two biggest mysteries in biology. One is the origin of the first living cell, which could not have evolved gradually but must have sprung, fully formed into existence. The other is the origin of the information in DNA that accounts for “major innovations in the history of life”—what Meyer calls the “Signature in the Cell.”  

Both, he argues, are best explained as the work of an intelligent agent, because it’s the only source we know of capable of producing functional information and irreducibly complex structures.  

Taken together, these three discoveries cry out for what Meyer calls a “God hypothesis”—something it turns out the founders of modern science weren’t at all shy about invoking. But today’s scientists and commentators on science are shy about it. And that’s the real battle.    

You see, since “intelligent design” became a recognizable concept, critics have made the same accusations against it: that it’s just a “God-of-the-gap”’ argument, and that it’s unscientific because you can’t invoke supernatural causes to explain natural phenomena. 

These criticisms were at the heart of the famous 2005 Dover case in which a federal judge ruled that a Pennsylvania school district had violated the First Amendment by introducing intelligent design into the classroom alongside Darwinian evolution. Teaching intelligent design was unconstitutional, the judge wrote, because it invokes God and is therefore “not a scientific theory.” 

But as Meyer has argued in media appearances and in his book The Return of the God Hypothesis, this belief that the only allowable explanations for material effects are material causes is not scientific. It is a worldview commitment many modern people assume in order to rule out God and evidence for God. As C.S. Lewis put it in his book Miracles, it is the belief that matter and energy are “the whole show,” and that if God exists, His world tells us nothing about Him.  

Scripture tells a very different story, one in which “the heavens declare the glory of God,” and in which God’s invisible attributes “have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”  

Science studies the material world, but if proponents of intelligent design are correct (and I think they are) the material world points emphatically beyond itself to an immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and intelligent Creator. Observing and admitting this fact should no longer be treated as unscientific. And that’s why I’m glad voices like Dr. Stephen Meyer are making this case so persuasively and increasingly getting a mainstream audience. It’s high time science rejected naturalistic philosophy and welcomed the return of the “God hypothesis.”   

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Shane Morris. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org. 

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