Forms of Design and the Nature of God
There are many kinds of scientific evidence for the existence of God. One of the most diverse kinds of evidence is the evidence that comes from design which is seen in numerous areas of scientific endeavor. It is the contention of this journal that chance is an invalid mechanism to explain the complexities seen in the creation, and throughout the thirty years that we have been involved in this work we have given literally hundreds of examples. Readers not familiar with the examples we have given may wish to secure our two volumes of what we call Dandy Designs. This can be done by purchasing one book for $3.00 or both books for $5.00 (ppd), or you can borrow them by returning them to us for a full refund
It is important to understand that when a person looks at evidence of design in the creation, there are three forms that the evidence falls into--or three kinds of arguments that are being made. In this article we would like to review these three forms of design.
Intuitive design is a form of design that simply asks if what we are examining can realistically be explained on a chance basis. For most of us observing the birth of a new baby will convince us that chance is a difficult explanation to accept. Looking at that perfect new human form which has been produced in less than 10 months is incredible. When we study the migratory processes of monarch butterflies, Arctic terns, or countless other creatures that travel incredible distances using a variety of navigational tools we see complexity that defies a chance explanation. The operation of the human body is a process that is so complex that mankind is still left with massive numbers of mysteries that are unsolved. The human brain is a computer-like device that we still have microscopic knowledge of, and human behavior and its connection to the brain and to our genetic makeup is an area of study that changes daily.
Evolutionists have attempted to formulate models to suggest how some of these things could in fact develop by chance. Their models are clever and can sound convincing, especially when couched in language that makes it sound as though the model was observed happening instead of being proposed as a possibility. When you realize that there are a large number of events that would have had to have taken place at the same time and in the same place, the probability of that actually happening becomes significantly lower. That realization has led to the anthropic arguments discussed later in the article.
Nature is full of beauty. Many times this incredible beauty has no survival value or strength value at all, and in fact may be a liability to the individual. An example of this is the Fibonacci spiral seen over and over in the creation. This spiral has a very specific shape and is controlled by a mathematical precision that has prompted literally hundreds of scientific and mathematical papers over the years. There is even a Fibonacci Quarterly and a society that explores and promotes the applications of the Fibonacci sequence and its applications. The Fibonacci spiral is seen in a bewildering number of applications in nature. Examples include the curving arms of galaxies, the curl of a water wave, the curve of water going down the drain, the curl of the teeth of everything from a groundhog to a grizzly bear, the curl of the beaks of most birds, the curl of a spider web, a finger print, the tubers of hundreds of plant species, the curl of the flowers of a sunflower or magnolia, the curl of the cochlea of the inner ear, the proboscis of many insects, and the curve of subatomic particles.
As you read through this very abbreviated list, there are several things that should jump out at you. First of all the Fibonacci spiral is not confined to one area of the physical world. It is seen in physics, chemistry, ornithology, entomology, anatomy, and so forth. Most of these things do not offer a survival value or strength. The shape of the curves of your finger print or the way water goes down the drain is not a matter of strength, and even if it were there is no special advantage strength-wise to the spiral. The fact that this common shape appears across diverse members of the plant and animal kingdom makes it difficult to propose an evolutionary advantage or to offer something that natural selection can operate on.
Every person reading this article has an area of creativity that you have expertise in. Some of you can look at a painting and know instantly who the artist was that created it. Some of you can listen to two bars of a musical piece and know instantly who the performer is or perhaps who composed the piece. Some of you can look at a piece of architecture and recognize who the architect was, who created it, or you may recognize a particular make or style of furniture, or house construction. We all know in some area or another what the intelligence was that designed and produced the thing we like.
Creative design in the natural world is almost identical. A creative mind created the beautiful, graceful sweeping lines of the Fibonacci spiral. The beautiful color that occurs in animals who are color blind themselves speaks of an aesthetic appreciation of the color that is shown. The incredible artistic forms seen everywhere in the creation that offer no special strength or camouflage speak of a creative architectural force. One can not say "Nature prefers beauty," one can only, "God prefers beauty."
Mathematical Design --
The Anthropic Principle
When we discussed intuitive design we pointed out that in the natural world there are large numbers of variables which all have to be "right" for a given event or entity to exist. In order for a planet to exist which can support any kind of life, a wide range of physical conditions have to exist. These conditions come from a wide range of unrelated causes--to have the right temperatures, one must be in the right kind of star system, the right distance from that star, be rotating at a certain rate, have the right gaseous combination, and be free of large energy heat sources or sinks. To have the right chemical basis for life one must be in the right type of galaxy, be in the right place in the galaxy, be in the right type of star group, have the right type and size of planet, and be free of a variety of damaging environmental variables. To have the right type of atmosphere a similar set of conditions exist. In fact every parameter essential to life has a large number of controlling agents to cause it, sustain it, and protect it. In the past fifty years science has vastly expanded its understandings of how many variables there are, and how vital each of those variables is. Even the physical variables that allow atoms and molecules to exist have been discovered to be far more in number and in effect than was previously thought.
The huge number of variables that have been discovered to exist pose a major problem for those who wish to believe that chance is the cause of all we see. The problem lies in the nature of probability. When you flip a coin, the odds of getting a "heads" is one in two or 50/50. If you flip a coin twice and want to get a "heads" each time, the probability is 1/2 x 1/2, or 1/4. That means if you flipped the coins twice, four times in a row, you would get back-to-back heads only once. If you wanted to get "heads" three times in a row, it would be 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 or one chance out of eight tries. The total probability is calculated by multiplying the individual probabilities that make up the total. To get a "heads" ten times in a row, the odds would be one in 1,024.
When we start considering highly complex things like life, atomic structure, chemical processes, or galactic events, the individual odds are not nice and simple like one out of two. Not only are the numbers not as simple, but there are far more variables involved. When scientists do these kinds of calculations they end up with probabilities that are so astronomical that chance becomes a clearly untenable explanation. Numbers like 1 in 10160 are common (that would be one chance out of 1 with 160 zeros after it). This kind of a number exceeds the number of possible stars in the cosmos, or even the number of possible baryons (building blocks of an atom). One cannot argue that given a certain amount of time, the event has to occur; but the event is unlikely to occur in any amount of possible time. On top of that, the event is only one step in a long line of steps to get to a desired final objective.
Chance is an invalid mechanism to explain the complexities seen in all parts of the cosmos. If there is an intelligence who used purpose and design to accomplish the creation then the odds no longer are relevant. A tornado will not go through an aircraft assembly factory and produce a 747, but human intelligence and creativity will.
Not only do the three forms of design in the cosmos demonstrate to us that we are the product of design, purpose, and intelligence, but the same design defines the properties of God. Power, intelligence, creativity, consistency, adaptability, and an incredible love and concern for man are all displayed. The lessons we can learn by studying God's design and planning are many and can draw us to our creator and His design for our own lives .
--John N. Clayton
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun98.