Jan 052006

Author : Benjii
The case for a creator is a book that makes a cogent case for intelligent design. It
puts forth evidence from disparate fields such as biochemistry, biology, physics, cosmology, cognitive science and the like. Although, the book takes a religious stance, it does focus on a lot of science, especially with respect to ID. For ID purposes, this essay will discuss the science behind design as put forth by the book, not the religious aspects.

Nonetheless, the book is written by Christian apologist Lee Strobel. Strobel, a former atheist, explains how the theory of evolution undermined his belief in a universal creator. He explains all the technicalities to Jonathan Wells. Wells, relates significantly to Strobel. Moreover, since Jonathan Wells authored the iconoclast book ‘Icons of Evolution’, Strobel proceeds by asking questions pertaining to each icon. They begin by discussing the miller experiment. The former experiment was once thought to finally answer the question of life’s origin. However, Wells explicitly states how “Miller(the scientist) chose a hydrogen-rich mixture of methane, ammonia and water vapor, which was consistent with what many scientists thought back then.” However, Miller used the erroneous mixture of elements. In order for life to be created naturalistically it would have to go through numerous and insurmountable steps. First, how could the complexity of DNA come to be? DNA, the building block of life, is analogous to a human language. Natural selection has never been shown to contrive such complexity. This is where intelligent design comes in! Wells, makes a reasonable analogy. He explains how such design and intricacy can only come through a designer.

Furthermore, Wells’ discusses Darwin’s tree of life. In 1859, Darwin predicted that the history of life changed incrementally. However, the fossil record has been shown to be impervious to Darwin’s prediction. Most fossils appear fully formed, and within their tenure on earth they change relatively little, this would be called stasis. For example, the Cambrian explosion. Once again, such sudden phenomenons can only be explained by a designer because the genetic infusion of all phylums was relatively quick and short. Unfortunately, such prehistoric events are rarely mentioned among high school biology text books. Yet, half truths and inconclusive evidences are abundantly mentioned. These would include Haeckel’s embryos, Archaeopteryx and the myth of human evolution. Overall, Wells’ section is very strong and convincing.

Strobel, later goes on to interview astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and philosopher Jay Richards. Nevertheless, the evidence for design is wide spread in astronomy. So, biology isn’t the only realm in which design is present. Gonzalez and Richards, come at a time where scientific materialism pervades the mind of most astronomers(i.e. the Copernican principle). The former principle states that there is nothing special about earth. The late Carl Sagan lived by this principle, in which the earth was just “a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark” Thus, we should expect a plethora of life forms in the cosmos. However, Gonzalez and Richards challenge this principle. In the book, the Privileged Planet, both Gonzalez and Richards state the earth is very unique among all planets in the universe. For example, the earth is carefully distanced from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. If it were in the middle it would be destroyed by supernovas or black holes. Nonetheless, we also happen to be in the right galaxy that has the right shape. Furthermore, the earth has an immense bulwark, such as Jupiter, that protects it from dangerous asteroids. Worthy of mention is also the fact that Jupiter holds most of Earth’s gravitational force. Without Jupiter, the Earth would drift errant in the universe. Thus, killing all life forms on the planet. The sun and moon can also act as a buttress for the Earth. They both exhibit the right size and distance in order for life on earth to flourish. We surely do live in a privileged planet.

Moreover, Strobel goes on to interview Michael Behe. Behe’s discovery of irreducible complexity is the most discussed topic in biology. According to Behe, a Darwinian or self-assembling mechanism is insufficient to account for biological design that is evident in microorganisms. These organisms are highly complex and specified. If one of it’s parts were to be removed it would be rendered useless. Nonetheless, this idea of irreducible complexity has been contested over the years by many critics. One critic, Kenneth Miller, believes that if you reduce some parts of a putative irreducibly complex structure, it still might function, only with a different role. Behe, responds by saying “But the issue remains– can you use numerous, slight, successive modifications to get from those other functions to where we are?” How could natural selection build each structure incrementally? Such a Darwinian process is absent from the scientific literature. Miller’s objection is the strongest to date. However, it fails to account for the irreducibly complex structures that are seen in nature.

In conclusion, one would have to read the book in it’s entirety to really understand what it’s arguing. Nonetheless, the arguments put forth in this book are valuable insofar as they show the scientific bankruptcy of Darwinism. I would recommend the reader to read and analyze William Dembski’s ‘No Free Lunch’ and ‘The Design Inference’ for further explanatory power. Many of his arguments correspond fruitfully to the data in this book.

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16 years ago

Over at Andy Rowell’s blog. He asks, what would an ideal atheist society look like?

I respond:

An Ideal Atheist state

Well, for one, religion would be banned from every aspect of life. The only form of spirituality would be a self-worship or the overall worship of nature and reason. Groups would get together and preach about reason and truth. There would be evangelists, preachers and ministers who get together to save a lost world-a world fraught with religion. The code of reason would be based on purely subjective thought. For example, what feels right, must be right. So do it! However, what’s the point of being alive in a world that is purposeless and devoid of meaning. Why not murder, rape and do everything banned in the good book? People are free to do what they want. I mean, they’re just the by-product of an accidental whim of nature. Meaning and purpose are all evolutionary outcomes.

In conclusion, you ask what is the ideal atheist state? The ideal atheist state is a state where people do whatever they’re subjective inclinations demand. Yet again, aren’t they just accidents? You get the picture! Atheism is as boring as any other religion.

16 years ago

omment by Benjii — January 6, 2006 @ 11:51 am

Over at Andy Rowell’s blog. He asks, what would an ideal atheist society look like?

Actually, there is no way to respond to the question because there’s no way to determine what ideal is in this context.
If atheists took their worldview all the way through to its logical conclusion, then they would have to admit that if atheism is true and there is no God or gods or supernatural beings of any sort, then everything, absolutely everything in the cosmos, every event throughout cosmic history, every bit of matter that exists, is the end product of the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy acting through chance and necessity (or their combination), over eons of time.

On that view, how does one define the word “ideal”? Any notion that anyone would have of what is “ideal” would itself be the end product of those very same blind, purposeless forces and thus be utterly subjective. For the atheist, there is no escaping this dilemma. One cannot commit to some objective standard that defines “ideal” and at the same time commit to a world where everything, absolutely everything, is the end product of the blind, purposeless process.

There is no such thing as an “ideal” atheist society, because no atheist can tell us what “ideal” means.

16 years ago

Strobel’s journalism is so bad that even friendly posters change the topic!

Sometimes God gives messages in subtle ways. (Lee? You listening yet?)