Q. WHAT IS INTELLIGENT DESIGN?
A. Scientists have discovered a universe that is brimming with intelligence. Einstein observed that behind mathematics and physics is what he called „an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.š When Stephen Hawking saw the evidence for a finely-tuned universe he remarked, "There must be religious overtones, but I think most scientists prefer to shy away from the religious side of it."
In fact, many leading scientists, regardless of their religious persuasion, have made similar observations about apparent intelligence behind the laws of our universe. Thus, intelligent design is merely drawing the best inferences from scientific observation as it applies to our origins. (See Articles 1-5).
Q. IS THE ARGUMENT FOR DESIGN BASED ON SCIENTIFIC IGNORANCE?
A. On the contrary. If you‚ve ever watched Disney's Fantasia, you may recall a god casting thunderbolts down from the clouds. Lightning bolts, rainbows, and many other natural phenomena were once explained as divine intervention. Such thinking is referred to as god-of-the-gaps reasoningųattributing the mysterious to a divine hand.
But, today‚s intelligent design arguments are based upon a growing body of scientific evidence concerning everything from DNA to the laws of physics; and upon our uniform and repeated experience.
Design theorists offer extensive evidence that blind, material causes are incapable of building irreducibly complex and information-rich systems. They then point out that whenever we know how such systems aroseųsuch as with an integrated circuit, a car engine, or a software programųinvariably a designing engineer played a role.
Design theorists then extend this uniform experience to things like molecular machines and the sophisticated code needed to build even the first and simplest of cells. An increasing number of leading scholars attest that increased scientific knowledge about such things has greatly strengthened the argument for design (See Articles 1-5).
Q. ARE INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND BIBLICAL CREATIONISM THE SAME?
A. Although materialists and the media often lump them together, their premise is so different that it‚s like comparing apples and oranges. Biblical creationism looks at science through the lens of Genesis, whereas intelligent design draws its logical inferences about our origins from scientific discoveries without any such filter. It is actually the scientific discoveries that have led many scientists, such as Einstein, to believe in a super-intelligence behind the universe. Intelligent design advocates vary in their religious beliefs, and leave the identity of the designer to theologians. Biblical creationists specify the designer as the Judeo-Christian God (See Article 8).
Q. WHAT IS FINE TUNING AND WHY DOES IT HAVE SO MANY SCIENTISTS ALLUDING TO A "DESIGNER"?
A. Scientists have calculated that an impressive and growing number of conditions had to be fine-tuned to a razor‚s edge in order for the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and planet to accommodate human life. The „coincidenceš is so overwhelming that scientists bent on avoiding evidence of design have proposed the idea of countless unseen universes, with us being in an extraordinarily lucky part of one of the lucky universes, one that allows for advanced life. Such an explanation is not only far-fetched but unscientific and logically fallacious (See Article 2 & Article 3).
Q. IS THE ARGUMENT FOR INTELLIGENT DESIGN ANTI-DARWIN?
A. Not actually. But it does evaluate his theory on the basis of the evidence. Darwin was correct about natural selection resulting in life’s many variations within species. For example, dogs, cats, birds, and humans come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Thus his theory of microevolution (variation within a species) is indisputable. But the forensic fossil evidence does not support his theory of macroevolution, that life evolved by random chance all the way from a murky pond to human beings (See Article 6).
Q. IS THERE EVIDENCE MAN EVOLVED FROM APES?
A. Leading paleoanthropologists admit that museum and textbook drawings depicting our ape ancestry are speculative. All that fossil hunters have been able to uncover are a few extinct species of hominids, creatures vastly inferior to humans in their intellectual capacities. What archeology tells us, and that even the most ardent evolutionist is agreed upon, is that the uniquely human activities of art, language, and civilization emerged suddenly just a few thousand years ago. Renowned evolutionists acknowledge that Homo sapiens are a distinct species who suddenly appeared with a large brain from a single origin (See Article 7).
Q. COULD INTRICATE ORGANS LIKE THE EYE HAVE EVOLVED BY CHANCE AND NATURAL SELECTION?
A. New discoveries in microbiology suggest that the answer is no. Darwin hypothesized how the eye and other „organs of extreme perfectionš could have evolved through natural selection. However, in his later years he admitted that the eye still gave him a „cold shudderš (See Article 4).
Q. WHAT CONVINCED LEADING ATHEIST ANTONY FLEW THAT AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER EXISTS?
A. Flew was so impressed by the incredible genius behind even the simplest cell that he renounced 50 years of atheistic philosophy, stating that such an intricate system could not have arisen without a designer (See Article 5).
Q. HAS A DESIGNER GIVEN US CLUES THAT REVEAL WHAT HE IS LIKE?
A. Since the discovery that the universe had a beginning, scientists have been wrestling with the questions of who started it all, and why. Many of them believe that a designer not only exists, but has revealed himself to us in specific ways (See Article 8).
Q. WHAT EVIDENCE HAS CONVINCED MANY SCIENTISTS THAT AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER EXISTS?
(More detailed answers are available in articles found in Y-Origins magazine.)
- The discovery that the universe had a beginning points to a beginner (Article 1).
- The fine-tuning of earth and the universe for life (Articles 2 & Article 3).
- The biochemistry of irreducibly complex systems like the eye (Article 4).
- The intricacy and genius of DNA (Article 5).
- The incredible human brain with its network of 100 trillion connections and its extraordinary capacities (Article 7).
- The uniquely human traits of an inner conscience that intuits a moral law, as well as our intrinsic desire for meaning and purpose (Article 7).