*NOTE: I love apologetics! It makes me excited to be able to research, read, and think about why I believe what I believe. As a young teenager, I realized that my faith had to become my own (not my parents’, friends’, or anyone else’s). It had to be real to me. I could not put my faith into something and live my life for something that other people said was right, but I did not know intimately myself. Throughout the years and through seeing God’s unmistakable presence in my life, research, reading, and pondering I have only become more convinced in my belief in a Creator God. I see His signature of design everywhere. Are you willing to look at the evidence?
This paper I wrote in college in 2011 looking at God’s signature of design in creation: the evidence of science pointing toward an Intelligent Designer of the universe.
*Extra resources: One of my favorite books I read on evolution vs. intelligent design was A Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. Lee at one time was a strong atheist, but when confronted by the evidence of God, he became a follower of Jesus. In his words, “In the end, after I had thoroughly investigated the matter, I reached an unexpected conclusion: it would actually take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a follower of Jesus.”
October 19th, 2011
Signature of Design
Did you know that the information your body needs to function properly travels through your body at up to 330 miles per hour (King, 2011)? Did you know that the mimic octopus can imitate, with amazing similarity, up to 17 species as a defense mechanism (Kerby, 2004)? Have you ever thought about how you can remember (sometimes) where you put your TV remote last night or reminisce about past experiences? According to a well-known mathematician, our long-term memory can hold 280 quintillion bits, meaning that the ability of our brains is practically limitless when it comes to holding memories (King, 2011). Look around you. Can you see the beauty of the brilliant blue sky or the wonder of the canopy above filled with twinkling stars? What about the majesty of standing on the top of a mountain or the fragrant smell of spring when the flowers begin to bloom? Did this all come about by chance, a product of evolution? Or does this all point to intelligent design?
Since Charles Darwin produced the idea of evolution, creationism and evolution have fought in the battlefield of our world. In many ways evolution has won. We now see evolutionary concepts scattered all throughout our school textbooks, being taught as fact to children and adults alike around the world. Since this theory is so established, do we really have reason to question it? Is creationism, the theory that life and the universe were designed by a Creator, really a plausible belief anyway?
With the similarity between species, evolutionary theory says that we all came from a single species that has become more complex and diversified over time. Contained in Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, is a picture demonstrating this concept and is one of the most famous representations of evolution. If this idea is true, scientists have realized that the fossils of many cross links between species should be revealed in the fossil record. Many scientists and archeologists have searched for such a link. Although some possible links have been found, they have been either discarded or are questionable as to their authenticity (Wile, 2000). For example, Java Man was made up of a skullcap, femur, and three teeth and was said to be this sought-after missing link. However, researchers discovered that the femur did not even go with the skullcap, and the skullcap was actually a man’s (Strobel, 2004, pp. 60-62). Two additional “links,” that have been found, are Australopithecus and Archaeopteryx. Australopithecus is a supposed link between man and ape. The problem is: the features of this creature are almost precisely that of an ape’s with only a few special characteristics. Most likely it is an ape that is slightly different from today’s apes. Archaeopteyx is considered a cross between reptiles and birds. Some of the features of Archaeopteryx are unlike that of modern birds, but as with Australopithecus, if you saw this creature today you would identify it as a bird (Wile, 2000, pp. 212-213). While the similarity between species may be evidence for evolution to the evolutionist, it could instead point to an all-wise Creator. An Intelligent Designer would have known that we all needed eyes to take in sights, ears to hear the world around us, mouths to taste, and brains to navigate life.
Many modern textbooks include the evidence of the Galapagos Finches to demonstrate the theory of evolution. Finches were observed on the Galapagos Islands and were seen to have different sizing and characteristics of beaks. After research it was discovered that most likely the changes between the finches’ beaks were a result of adapting to their home environment and the best way to get food: thin, sharp beaks for insects and grubs and large, hardy beaks for buds, fruit, and nuts (Truth in Science, 2005). This is considered confirmation that mutation in a species can cause different characteristics in that species and could, over time, produce completely different species. A modern psychology book (2011) states,
Darwin noted that the members of any species are often locked in competition for scarce resources such as food and shelter. Natural selection is the process by which the environment determines who wins that competition. Darwin asserted that organisms with biological features that led to survival and reproduction would be better represented in subsequent generations. Over many generations, organisms with these characteristics would constitute a larger percentage of the population. Eventually, this process could change an entire species. (pp. 10-11)
The Science of Psychology further goes on to give examples of this, such as pouring antibacterial cleaner down a sink. When doing this, you are destroying the bacteria that cannot survive the cleaner, and thus allowing the antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive (King, 2011). While both the finches and antibacterial cleaner are excellent examples of natural selection leading to micro-evolution (small changes over time), where are the examples of macro-evolution (large changes over time) that would need to be evidenced if evolution is correct? Though natural selection holds true in many ways (as in species adapting and better surviving), we do not have any substantiation that species leap from one to another.
In the 1950s, Stanley Miller conducted an experiment to show that complex life forms could result from chemical reactions. Using the substances that scientists believed to have been present before our world began and electricity, he observed carefully if those elements would form life. He did indeed discover amino acids (the basic building blocks of life) forming from the chemical reactions. Evolution proven…Or was it? After further research, scientists came to a better understanding of what substances most likely filled the “earth” before it began. Multiple experiments with these substances have been conducted but have produced nothing (Bueno, Frenzel, & Allen, 2006).
Even if you could come up with amino acids from some kind of chemical reaction, what would it take to make a complex life form? It would take a definite miracle. From skyscraper to airplane, Monopoly to Chess, everything that we use in our daily lives was thought out and constructed by someone. We marvel at the functions of our bodies and the world around us, and yet we believe that nature formed all this as a result of random chemical processes. Is this really any more plausible than saying that an ornate puzzle put itself together in just the right way as someone randomly threw the pieces on the floor? The order and precision of the universe shows us the handiwork of a great Creator. If one part of the cell was missing it could not carry out the processes that cause us to be living beings. If the strength that fastens atoms together would be reduced by one part in ten thousand billion billion billion billion, the only element left in our universe would be hydrogen (a substance that cannot support life). If just one of the laws of our universe (gravity, electromagnetic force, etc.) were missing or tweaked to a different degree, life would be impossible on earth. According to research, the odds that all elements needed to sustain life would appear at one place and one time (such as would have had to happen to form our world) is one chance to the negative fifteenth, or one one thousandth of one one trillionth (Beuno, Frenzel, Allen, 2006). Could such complexity and exactitude could just happen? If so many aspects of our world are fine-tuned, could it not be that there is a Fine-Tuner?
Stephen C. Meyer (Bueno, Fenzel, & Allen, 2006), philosopher of science, demonstrates that creationism is in fact based on the evidence of science and is not just a “faith-based idea,”
According to a lot of mainstream media the theory of intelligent design is a faith-based idea and in saying that they want to dismiss it as something that has no basis in science. But the media has confused a fundamental issue. They’re confusing the evidence for the theory, with the implications of the theory. The theory of intelligent design may well have implications that are supportive of theistic belief, but the theory is not based on theistic belief. It’s based on the discovery of digital code in cells, miniature machines in cells, the fine tuning of the laws of physics and chemistry, and standard ways of scientific reasoning about the remote past in the history of life. (“The Evidence of Biological Information”)
Lee Strobel (Bueno, Fenzel & Allen, 2006), former atheist and expert in journalism, law, and science, after realizing the substantial evidence behind creationism said,
You don’t have to commit intellectual suicide to come to the conclusion that there is an Intelligent Designer, because today science is pointing more directly and more powerfully toward a creator than any other time in the history of the world. (“The Evidence of Biological Information”)
In Strobel’s research he interviewed professionals from many fields of science. The research in cosmology, physics, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, and consciousness point to a complexity and order that is unexplainable by evolutionary theory. Previously in science, scientists did not have the advanced technology that we have today with which we have discovered extensively the complexity of life. Darwin (Bueno, Frenzel, & Allen, 2006) himself said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications my theory would absolutely breakdown.” (“The Evidence of Biological Machines”)
Darwin may not have intended to, but he did away with God in his theory of evolution (Strobel, 2004). The basis of evolution to this day is that that the universe was self-produced and is self-sustained. It is an explanation of the origin of life that leaves God out of the picture. The very implications of evolution are that He is irrelevant, unneeded, and most likely not even there. Creationism, the belief in a creator, cannot coexist with such a theory.
Everyone has faith in something. As you are reading this paper, you are having faith that whatever you are sitting or standing on will hold you. Actually, almost everything you do, takes faith. Life is too weighty to take a blind leap of faith. Intelligent design is a plausible basis for faith that is authenticated by solid evidence. Stephen Meyer (as cited in Stobel, 2004) says,
I look at the stars in the night sky or reflect on the structure and information-bearing properties of the DNA molecule, and these are occasions for me to worship the Creator who brought them into existence. I think of the wry smile that might be on the lips of God as in the last few years all sorts of evidence for the reliability of the Bible and for his creation of the universe and life have come to light. I believe he has caused them to be unveiled in his providence and that he delights when we discover his finger prints in the vastness of the universe, in the dusty relics of paleontology, and in the complexity of the cell. (p. 91)
When you look around you and are willing to delve into the evidence of science wherever it leads, you will see God’s “Signature of Design” in everything around you.
Bueno, C., Frenzel, L. (Producers), & Allen, L. (Writer/Director). (2006). The case for a creator: A journalist investigates scientific evidence that point toward God [Motion picture]. United States: Illustra Media
Kerby, C. (2004). What is the “best” evidence that God created? United States: Answers in Genesis
King, L. (2011). The science of psychology. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill
Strobel, L. (2004). The case for a creator: A journalist investigates scientific evidence toward God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Truth in Science. (2005). Darwin’s Finches. Retrieved from http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/tis2/index.php/component/content/article/53.html
Wile, J. L. (2000). Exploring creation with general science. Anderson, IN: Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.