What You Have to Believe to Not Believe in Intelligent Design

Source: The Poached Egg

Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from the new expanded edition of Granville Sewell’s book In the Beginning: And Other Essays on Intelligent Design(Discovery Institute Press). ENV contributor Dr. Sewell is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas El Paso. He has written three books on numerical analysis, and is the author of a widely used finite element computer program.

The recent success of Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt is evidence that the scientific theory of intelligent design continues to gain momentum. Since critics often misrepresent ID, painting its advocates as a fanatical fringe group, it is important to understand what intelligent design is, and what it is not.

Until Charles Darwin, almost everyone everywhere believed in some form of intelligent design. The majority still do. Not just Christians, Jews, and Muslims, but almost every tribesman in every remote corner of the world drew the obvious conclusion from observing animals and plants that there must have been a mind behind the creation of living things. Darwin thought he could explain all of this apparent design through natural selection of random variations. In spite of the fact that there is no direct evidence that natural selection can explain anything other than very minor adaptations, his theory has gained widespread popularity in the scientific world, simply because no one can come up with a more plausible theory to explain evolution,other than intelligent design, which is dismissed by most scientists as “unscientific.”

But, in recent years, as scientific research has continually revealed the astonishing dimensions of the complexity of life, especially at the microscopic level, support for Darwin’s implausible theory has continued to weaken. Since the publication in 1996 of Darwin’s Black Box by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a growing minority of scientists have concluded, with Behe, that there is no possible explanation for the complexity of life other than intelligent design.

But what exactly do these “ID scientists” believe?

There is no general agreement among advocates of intelligent design as to exactly where, when, or how design was manifested in the history of life. Most, but not quite all, accept the standard timeline for the beginning of the universe, of life, and of the major animal groups. Meyer’s book focuses on the sudden appearance of most of the animal phyla in the “Cambrian explosion,” more than 500 million years ago. Many, including Michael Behe, accept common descent. Probably all reject natural selection as an adequate explanation for the complexity of life, but so do many other scientists who are not ID proponents. So what exactly do you have to believe to be an ID proponent?

Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to state clearly what you have to believe to not believe in intelligent design. Peter Urone in his 2001 physics text College Physics writes, “One of the most remarkable simplifications in physics is that only four distinct forces account for all known phenomena.” The prevailing view in science today is that physics explains all of chemistry, chemistry explains all of biology, and biology completely explains the human mind; thus physics alone explains the human mind and all it does.

This is what you have to believe to not believe in intelligent design: that the origin and evolution of life, and the evolution of human consciousness and intelligence, are due entirely to a few unintelligent forces of physics. Thus you must believe that a few unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into computers and science texts and jet airplanes.

Contrary to popular belief, to be an ID proponent you do not have to believe that all species were created simultaneously a few thousand years ago, or that humans are unrelated to earlier primates, or that natural selection cannot cause bacteria to develop a resistance to antibiotics. If you believe that a few fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the basic particles of physics into Apple iPhones, you are probably not an ID proponent, even if you believe in God. But if you believe there must have been more than unintelligent forces at work somewhere, somehow, in the whole process: congratulations, you are one of us after all!

Non-Biblical Witness to God

But what about people who lived before the Bible was written, what about people who have never heard the Word of God from the Bible?

These are valid questions. Actually there are two external witnesses to God’s existence outside of the Bible and they are Nature itself (all that we can see in our world and universe) and the conscience that every person inherently has within, the basic knowing of right and wrong.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) reads: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

And Romans 2:13-16 (NIV) which reads:

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

I ran across an excellent PDF on this subject authored by PETER GUIRGUIS who runs the http://notashamedofthegospel.com/ website. If you have a few minutes, take a look at it, it is very well done. Just click on the link below to view it or you can download it yourself from Peter’s website.

proof-that-god-exists-pdf

A Christian’s Response to Homosexuality

There has been a lot of discussion about this topic as of late, but in my estimation, my opinion, the following link more than adequately indicates my personal position on this topic. There are a large number of links  on the Internet that echo what this Christian (Alex Crain) is saying, this particular one appears to me to be well balanced.To view it just click on The Rainbow Flag link directly below.

The Rainbow Flag

American percentage that is gay: American % that is gay

Canadian percentage that is gay: Canadian % that is gay and The True North

I’m a Pretty Good Guy

I had an opportunity to speak with an acquaintance of mine the other day and I had previously asked him to read through the Gospel of John. I asked him what he got out of it and his response was that it made him understand that he (my acquaintance) was a pretty good guy. Of course, I found this difficult to comprehend considering that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins is that we are not pretty good guys. It turns out that he actually hadn’t read it. I had to back off because he became defensive and I could tell he was very uncomfortable. He’s on my prayer list and God will open another door.

A dear Christian brother of mine, who is now with the Lord, used to say that the closer we get to God, the more we come to realize how our human nature is so different from God’s nature. Understanding the nature of God is so vitally important. By nature I mean who God really is, the essence of God as compared to who we really are, our own natural essence.

I just finished reading through Hebrews again (talk about a compelling and inspirational sermon!) and I was reminded of the whole path that God chose to declare His nature and intent throughout the Old Testament.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) reads:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

In a previous post I mentioned where a number of years ago for a brief period of two or three minutes I had been ushered into the presence of God and that instantaneously I was made aware of three things: God is Holy, my nature or person was definitely not and that God loved me. Being in the presence of God made me want to kneel in my spirit to Him because Holy was not a word, God’s Holiness emulated from Him. Written words cannot explain what I felt.

Isaiah 5:16 (NIV) reads:

16 But the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice,
    and the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts.

The word “Holy” is state of character that is personified by justice and righteousness. God’s nature per sec is absolute with no deviation.

As humans, our judgement can be influenced by circumstances, example our son or daughter or even ourself is the offender. God can’t do that and rightly so. Injustice is injustice and unrighteousness is unrighteousness.  Just because someone may think it is alright or acceptable for them to violate a marriage and sleep with someone else’s wife, in God’s eyes both parties have committed a sin. The violation is not acceptable because it involves your son or daughter or even yourself.

Hebrews 6:17 (NIV)

17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

Hebrews 6:18 (NIV)

18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

James 1:17 (NIV)

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Motive on what we think,  do or say is always the key factor with God. And our own heart or mind can be very deceptive when it comes to explaining or justifying what we have done. When we use our own worldly yardstick to evaluate our deeds we can easily end up with the opinion that all things considered, we really are not a bad guy. The problem being,  God doesn’t use our yardstick, He uses his own and it is much more decisive.

Adultery is a good example. God’s righteousness in the Old Testament declares that adultery is not acceptable behaviour.

Exodus 20:14 (NIV) “You shall not commit adultery.

Note what Jesus said about adultery.

Matthew 5:28 (NIV) “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

The Apostle Paul came to grips with the reality of his own human nature when he said:

Rom 7: 21-25 NIV “ So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Romans 10:4 (NIV) “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Our righteousness does not come from our own worldly good deeds but rather from the righteousness that we have obtained in Christ through faith in the accomplished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf on the cross. We are righteous in God the Father’s eyes because Jesus was and is righteous and because of our faith in Christ, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) “ God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Romans 5:17 (NIV) “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) “ For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

And what did the Apostle Paul have to say about his own righteousness, Paul states:

1 Timothy 1:15-17  (NIV)

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

So no, I categorically am NOT a good guy and those who reject the accomplished work of the Son of God on the cross on their behalf will stand at the Judgement and give response with their own righteousness. That is not a good thing.

Intelligent Design: Slapped on the Wrist

If you read my previous posting entitled “An Informed Decision” there are some informative Comments that have been submitted wherein I was admonished (and rightly so) for misinformation and misrepresentation.

While my intent was honourable (question and investigate), the amount of information and knowledge that I had was not sufficient to author the posting.

The lesson that I learned (again) is that if one is going to speak authoritatively on a given subject, first ensure that you have adequate understanding in the subject matter. Darwin and Evolution plus Intelligent Design, are not light subjects. Over the years I have read a number of books that have been critical of the Theory of Evolution and I have viewed a number of videos where the logic of Intelligent Design (which I personally adhere to)  has been expounded upon. However, due to my preferential interests, I have not spent an inordinate amount of time looking into the oppositional viewpoints of Intelligent Design.

To get a basic understanding of the Intelligent Design viewpoint one would do well to be aware of and conversant with the opposing viewpoints.

For a basic worldview of the Intelligent Design movement I would recommend:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design_movement

For a basic overview of opposition to Intelligent Design I would recommend:

http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/articles

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/design_yes_intelligent_no_a_critique_of_intelligent_design_theory_and_neocr

https://www.pandasthumb.org/

http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/

(there are many other links available)

The short story is that you need to be aware of the scientific environment that you are working in when advocating Intelligent Design.

I will list some of the websites that are devoted to or have resources for the Intelligent Design community:

http://www.intelligentdesign.org/

http://www.discovery.org

http://www.evolutionnews.org/

http://www.uncommondescent.com/

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/

http://thepoachedegg.net

http://biologos.org/

http://network.asa3.org/

Additional Informative websites:

http://web.archive.org/web/20071009235856/http://www.origins.org/menus/evolution.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20071009231256/http://www.arn.org/

Summary: To say that the subject matter is complex would be an understatement. While I subscribe to and follow a number of the Intelligent Design community websites, my personal lesson learned from this particular exposure is that I will continue to follow and investigate but I will leave the ongoing controversy to those who are qualified to comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Informed Decision

Most people would agree that before you can make an informed decision on something of relative importance, it is necessary to get at least a basic understanding of the subject matter so that the decision you make has a realistic chance of being the correct or best decision available, to give you the desired result. Most people in my neck of the woods would call this “common sense”.

C. S. Lewis observed that the most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones argued, but the ones assumed. And there’s little doubt that in most of our educational facilities across our country, the secularist worldview, in one form or another, is the assumed and unquestioned perspective from which most subjects are understood and taught. The scary part is that this mentality has worked it’s way into our homes and our fabric of life.

The Secular Worldview is a comprehensive view of the world from a materialistic, naturalistic standpoint. Therefore, the Secular Humanist sees no place for the supernatural or immaterial.
Secular Humanists believe that there is no God, that science and the scientific process have made God obsolete. Humanists believe that only matter – things we can touch, feel, prove, or study – exists and has always existed. Man is only matter (no soul or spirit). No supernatural explanation is needed for the existence of this matter. The Humanist trusts the scientific method as the only sure way of knowing anything, so if something cannot be observed, tested, and experimented on, it doesn’t exist.
Humanists believe that science, reason, and historical experience are sufficient guides for figuring out what is right or wrong in any situation. These standards will not always be the same, as each person has a different background and reasoning. Therefore, the standards and values – ethics – are relative. The Humanist Manifesto II states, “We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing not theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest.”
The theory of Neo-Darwinism purports that natural selection acts on genetic variations within individuals in populations and that mutations (especially random copying errors in DNA) provide the main source of these variations. Because positive mutations seem to be rare, Neo-Darwinism contends that evolution will be a slow, gradual process. Secular Humanists believe that science has proven the theory of evolution to the extent that it is no longer a theory but a scientific fact. According to this “fact,” man is the most highly evolved of all creatures, and is now responsible for directing and aiding the evolutionary process. The secular humanists believe that the entire universe and life are simply an incredible coincidence. They believe that the universe created itself 13.7 billion years ago, and lucky for us, some combination of chemicals combined to make a single-celled life form that mutated over billions of years into the incredible array of life we see today on planet earth.
The Secular Worldview focuses on man’s inherent goodness and predicts that every individual can achieve mental health through the fulfillment of physical or material needs. They say civilization and culture shape the individual. Thus, man is evil primarily because his cultural and social environments are evil, not through any fault of his own – society and culture have influenced man’s actions and have therefore stifled this inherent goodness.
According to the Secular Worldview, Humanists believe that the world government is the next logical step on man’s evolutionary road to utopia, as man is now conscious of his evolution and is responsible to direct it. Also, a goal of Humanism is world peace, and a global state can best achieve it. The state, directed properly, plays a central role in guiding man. As Julian Huxley said, “To have any success in fulfilling his destiny as the controller or agent of future evolution on earth, [man] must become one single inter-thinking group with one general framework of ideas…”
The Secular Worldview sees earth’s history from a strictly naturalistic vantage point, meaning there has been no supernatural influence. The history of man and the universe is the history of evolutionary activity. Propelled without design by “blind natural selection,” history has moved in an upward direction from simplicity to complexity. Some Humanists view Artificial Intelligence – the computer – as the next step in historical evolution.
While the history of Secular Humanism could and has filled volumes, this is a basic overview of what our society has bought into. In fact, it is what most societies within our world have bought into. It’s what we confirm and demonstrate to our children. And I believe, it is a major reason why we are experiencing the destruction of our environment and societies today.
But are there opposing viewpoints? Yes there are. In order to make an informed decision about secular humanism and the world that we live in, one needs to look at the opposing viewpoints. Here are some interesting facts that you may not be aware of:

1. Do scientists believe in God? 

Ecklund’s 2010 book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think is a systematic study of what scientists actually think and feel about religion. In the course of her research, Ecklund surveyed nearly 1,700 scientists and interviewed 275 of them. Ecklund concluded that “Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. The ‘insurmountable hostility’ between science and religion is a caricature, a thought-cliche, perhaps useful as a satire on groupthink, but hardly representative of reality.”
About two-thirds of scientists believe in God, according to a new survey that uncovered stark differences based on the type of research they do. The study, along with another one released in June, would appear to debunk the oft-held notion that science is incompatible with religion. Those in the social sciences are more likely to believe in God and attend religious services than researchers in the natural sciences, the study found.
The opposite had been expected.

2. Do scientists all agree that our universe was created by change?

3. Is Darwin’s Theory of Evolution accepted as fact?

a. Science says yes

b. Scientists say no  and the-scientist-and-his-theory-and-the-christian-creationist-and-his-science

Summary: The point that I am making is that a lot of the time we make assumptions without really taking the time to thoroughly investigate the information that is available. We base our conclusions on what others tell us or what they say they believe. If God really exists (He does), and if He has revealed to us His love and purpose (He has), then this is a subject of utmost importance. If common sense tells you that there is order in the universe, that what matters in life goes beyond the material,  you owe it to yourself and those you care for to look further.

Matthew 7:7-8  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really Consider It, Seriously

When I talk to people who aren’t Christians, about God, the vast majority haven’t actually taken the time to read through the Bible. Most of what they know about the Bible and Jesus in particular is second and third hand information. And there is a lot of garbage information out there about the Bible and about Jesus.

When I became a Christian in my early twenties, I was just the same. And quite frankly, when you first start seriously looking, it can be a bit overwhelming. My introduction to Christianity came through a small group of about 15 young people in their early twenties who met at the Chapel on the military base I was on.  Our leaders were a young serviceman who later became an Anglican priest and an older, very patient, Senior Non Commissioned Officer. I can remember saying to myself, even if this isn’t true, it really wouldn’t be a bad way to live. Quite seriously, as I look back on that period of my life, I didn’t have a clue.

There are of course, the seemingly endless questions that need to be answered and actually taking the time to read what the Bible does say. Most new Christians start with the New Testament and then later on look at the Old Testament. You can’t really appreciate the New Testament unless you are aware of what the Old Testament says but that is another posting.

I remember focusing on what Jesus actually said and tried to envision myself as one of His 12 disciples. They were common people and I was definitely common. So I looked at what they saw, listened to what Jesus said to them and tried to put myself in their shoes ….. and my journey began.

Long story, short, the Jews who Jesus chose as his disciples were looking for a coming Messiah that the Old Testament spoke about. Four hundred years had gone by since God had given them a Prophet and they were living under Roman occupation. But they were in for a bit of a surprise because even though the Old Testament clearly foretold (Prophecies) about what Jesus would do and accomplish, they were expecting a conquering Messiah that would free them from the Roman occupation.

When Jesus began His ministry, it only lasted about three years. So His disciples were with Him, watching, asking questions and learning. In the military we call that On The Job training and that is exactly what the disciples experienced. But you have to remember that Jesus said He was the Son of God, we are talking divine, one with the Father. If I was one of the disciples I would need to see some pretty strong evidence to convince me that Jesus was who He said He was. So what did the disciples experience? 

  • witnessed Jesus change water into wine
  • witnessed multiple healings
  • witnessed large catch of fish (twice)
  • witnessed multiple raising the dead
  • witnessed feeding 5000 men and their families
  • witnessed walking on water
  • witnessed calming a storm
  • witnessed feeding 4000 men and their families
  • witnessed catching a fish with coin in it’s mouth (for taxes)
  • witnessed fig tree cursed – no fruit
  • witnessed transfiguration (Moses- Elijah-Jesus)
  • witnessed the resurrection of Jesus
  • witnessed ascension of Jesus

Please note that I haven’t even touched upon what Jesus said to His disciples.

John 6:67-69 reads ” So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

How often have I repeated those words.

And the rest is history. The disciples knew what they saw, they heard the words that Jesus spoke to them explaining about the Messiah, His sacrifice and the Kingdom of God and they experienced His love.

And what did the disciples do (excluding Judas)? They turned the world upside down. And with the exception of the Apostle John, it cost them their lives.

And bare in mind that I am just scratching the surface. There is so much more!

God is real, He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.

The Bible is trustworthy and it contains God’s message to mankind. Jesus is the Son of God and He declared and displayed the love and will of the Father. Jesus did die on the cross to open the gateway back to God for us and Jesus did rise from the dead to authenticate who He said He was. The Apostles saw it, they believed it, so much so that they gave their lives to get this Good News out to all mankind. It really is as simple as that.

Don’t take my word for it, check it out. Really consider it, seriously.