Is there design and purpose to the universe, or is all we just a random extraordinary occurrence?
We have no answers to this question, but how we go about getting the answers is greatly inter-weaved with world view and ideology. If one is closed minded and dogmatic about the universe, one is closed off to possibilities outside the totality of knowledge the worlds greatest minds currently contain.
- Intelligence played or plays a part in life and the cosmos
- the universe and life are only a products of undirected physical phenomena
The science of Intelligent Design Theory, holds that the universe and life itself exhibits indicators suggesting intelligent agency. The backbone of ID theory is information. Where did the information to build systems and structures come from. How did the digital DNA coding, self-correcting, regulatory, self-replicating and manufacturing algorithms contained within living cells get there? ID theory suggests that where there is programming, there is a programmer. There is currently in science no explanation, theory, hypothesis or even a suggestion of where and how the information to build living things originated. If an eyeless organism is going to grow eyes, at some point the instructions on how to accomplish that is going to have to be added to the creatures programming to get it done. How much extra genetic information is required to change a reptile into a bird?
Materialists believe that all that is seen is the result of natural processes such as Neo-Darwinian theory, or evolution theory. It has been clear to everyone for thousands of years that through husbandry, mutations and selection, plant and animal species can exhibit minor change. For example the myriad of breeds of dogs cats and horses. But, where it gets more difficult is when science tries to extrapolate those small changes within a species, to changes that can transform a deer to a whale, or a primate to a human.
In regard to the origin of the universe, Darwin had no opinion. Evolution does not address the origins of life or the universe. For that, we enter the realm of theoretical physics.
The Big Bang
Lets start at the beginning, the BIG BANG! There is currently no explanation or working model of what caused the BB.
It was not long ago that the consensus of scientists was that the universe was eternal, always was and had no beginning. That is until the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964 by a couple of Americans. This discovery, along with Hubble’s previous discovery in 1929 of the expanding universe, solidified the Big Bang theory. The scientific consensus is now that the universe has a beginning, a finite point in which it began.
This theory did not gain acceptance easily as some thought it resonated to closely with biblical text, but, the science was strong so most had to acquiesce.
- I don’t know which is easier for science to accept or explain in a material sense, eternal universe or one with a beginning
The big question is, what was before the Big Bang? You see, the Big Bang is not a causation, it is a reaction to a causation. So it is a misnomer to say the Big Bang caused the universe to leap into existence, as many mistakenly believe.
What Caused the Big Bang?
The easy answer is, no one knows. Ok next! Alright, lets speculate.
The materialist who believes everything is the result of natural processes has a problem. Before the BB there were no natural processes as the laws of physics breakdown the closer you get to the event itself. No time, no space, no matter, no laws for anything to work with or on. Let that sink in, no space, no time, no matter. It was not like there was empty space and the BB expanded into it, there WAS NO SPACE.
No answer. There just isn’t any way to test this scientifically. So for now, there isn’t even a hypothesis to explain the pre-BB environment. Scientists are throwing around suggestions such as multi-dimensional universes that can create themselves. That doesn’t help though, just pushes the question further away, what caused the first of the multi-verses?
Stephen Hawking-CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, eminent scientists and Herolded as one of the worlds most brilliant minds said in his book, The Grand Design;
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,”
- Remember, prior to the BB there were no laws of physics because there was no mass, time or space. As noted by Hawking in one of his lectures;
“The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition.”
Material scientists are embracing highly speculative concepts to try and explain how the universe came into existence. It takes some faith to adhere to the idea that the universe can spontaneously create itself? Or that there are infinite universes in infinite dimensions to explain how one suitability for life could exist?
Conversely, the (ID) Intelligent Design theorist, explains the origin of the universe by an intelligent agent acting outside of time. This inference is derived from evidence in living systems that research scientists postulate show the earmarks of intelligent agency. Systems and networks that evolution has not and cannot explain though a slow undirected process.
As it is with life on earth, the universe also seems to be finely tuned for complex life. No longer do scientists believe there are infinite numbers of planets which could support complex life. Many scientists now believe the earth is unique in the galaxy. This fine tuning for some, suggests design and purpose. Others dismiss it saying, complex life is inevitable with infinite numbers of universes, a posit without any scientific foundation at all, but it is preferred anyway to intelligent agency. Why, ideology.
Here is what Stephen Hawking said in “A Brief History of Time” about the apparent fine tuning of the universe;
“The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life … For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life.”
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was scoffed at and dismissed from his job at a maternity hospital for suggesting doctors were causing death by not washing between patients. He was ridiculed by other doctors for suspecting something unseen was at the root of death rates his maternity hospital, germs.
If you dismiss an idea based only on the premise it doesn’t fit with your ideology, great harm is done to the institute of science. If you consider the scientific method of Multiple Competing Hypotheses, and inference to the best explanation as used by Charles Darwin, design theorists have a more reasonable inference than many.
Intelligence leaves specificity, patterns of complexity, finger prints if you will. If it didn’t SETI would not have received $100 million dollars last year to find it in the universe. If intelligent agency can be found in patterns of radio waves, why is it so outrageous to think it cannot be found in genetic programming, or the multitude of complex inter-dependent systems and co-dependent networks at work within living creatures on earth? Why is it ridiculous to infer the exquisite, irreducibly complex micro-machines within living cells are evidence of intelligent agency?
When you consider the mounting evidence in biology that intelligence may have been involved with the rise of living systems on earth, and the fine tuning of the universe itself, an inference to intelligent agency as a causation for the BB is at least as good an explanation as other baseless posits and beyond ideological ridicule.
I will be posting more on the subject of Design vs Evolution so if you are interested, follow my blog and share it.
Below is a clip from an excellent series.