Does God Exist? Pt.4

In order to make this the final post in this series, I’m going to be covering Intelligent Design, and skipping some of the other ways that have been used to defend the existence of God, otherwise this series could go on forever!

The basic idea behind this category of evidence is similar to the ideas we’ve already covered. It looks at particular things in nature and makes an inference to the best explanation. In other words, there are things that we see in nature that can only be explained if there is an Intelligent Designer that created everything. Officially, the movement chooses to not speculate on the identity of said Creator, however many of the key figures in the movement are Christians, and I think the evidence they provide are very useful tools to have in our toolbox.

The three big names in this scientific movement are Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Stephen Meyer. This is a big field, but I’ll try and mention at least one key idea for each individual, which help build the case for the existence of God.

Michael Behe, a biochemist, produced the argument of Irreducible Complexity. This is the idea that there are certain, biological, structures that are far too complex and intricate to have been assembled by the process of natural selection (evolution). His workhorse for this argument is the bacterial flagellum.

William Dembski, a mathematician, came up with an idea that supports Behe’s, known as Specified Complexity as well as a framework for which we can determine whether something is designed or not, known as the Explanatory Filter. The Explanatory Filter is a simple, 3-step process for determining whether something arose from chance, necessity, or design, by looking at probability. It looks like this:

So let’s send something through the filter. Suppose Bob is given a license plate for his birthday, and it has on it “CHT 4271”. Is this a highly probable combination of letters and numbers? No, so it can’t be some Law of Physics or Law of License Plates that forces this combination, so we move to the next step. Is it intermediately probable? Given the amount of characters, we can either say that it is intermediately probable, or that it is very improbable (math isn’t my strong suit), but it does not contain what Dembski calls Specified Complexity, so we can safely assume that this plate came about by a chance combination. However, what if Bob were born on August 8th, 1949, and the license plate he was given has “BOB 8849”? Technically, this has the same probability as the other assortment of characters, but this one conveys particular information. It is complex (highly improbable) and it is specific (name/date). Therefore, if we run that through the filter, we have good reason to assume that the plate has come about due to design.

Stephen Meyer, a geophysicist and philosopher of science, has done extensive work on the information within DNA. He builds on the concepts laid by Behe and Dembski, and gives the ultimate example.

Most recently, he has done work on what is known as the Cambrian Explosion. If you look at the fossil record, there is a massive increase in a relatively short time of fossils found during the Cambrian period.

These are some of the basic ideas behind Intelligent Design. As you can see, they not only provide a serious challenger to Darwinian Evolution, but they also provide powerful evidence for the existence of God, from nature. If you would like a bit more on this topic, here is Stephen Meyer giving a lecture on Intelligent Design.

As a bit of a fun extra, here is the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It’s a documentary starring Ben Stein about the controversy surrounding the Intelligent Design movement.

I haven’t covered all the different classes of evidence that can be used to prove the existence of God, but hopefully what I have covered will both strengthen your faith, and give you confidence when questioned by an unbeliever to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

– Jesse