What with Stephen Hawking’s show “Curiosity” on full display, I too would like to express my curiosity about something in the Universe. And that something, is “order.” We are told by scientists that the universe seems to have exploded into being almost 14 billion years ago. And this explosion is still flying outward at almost 100 million miles an hour at the edges. The sparks and embers, and gas clouds of this fiery explosion are visible in the universe all about us. Fine, seems plausible enough and the evidence seems substantial.
But explosions do not usually lead to order, they more usually lead to chaos and disorder. Yet, as we observe the created world, we observe extensive order, galaxies, planetary systems, and the like. And, here on earth there is on display an extensive and exquisite amount of order all the way from the macro world of geophysical forces and weather, to micro world of the cell and atom. Order is evident everywhere, and not just within isolated systems, but also among and between them, as they act together in a marvelous harmony and unity of purpose. Consider how every cell and atom of your body, ordered systems in themselves, act together in harmony, forming ever more complex and ordered systems, to ultimately be the complex and ordered system that is you.
How such order? It is a great curiosity to me, if we were to keep God, or at least some controlling intelligence, out of the picture, how such order has come about, not just once by chance, but repeatedly.
Shazam! What if I were to tell you, that a tornado recently went through junk yard. As you can imagine there was a horrible amount of junk whirling around in the air. But here’s where the story really gets interesting. It seems that the tornado swirled that junk together just right because as the wind died down all those banana peals, cans, broken pieces of pottery, stuffing from old mattresses springs, car parts etc all swirled together into a fully functioning 747 jumbo jet airliner with a filled fuel tank and fully equipped cockpit. There was even a logo emblazoned on the tail fin: “Tall Tales Airlines.”
“Ah,” you say, ” The story’s touching but it sounds like a lie!” And sure enough, it is a tall tale. But how different is it really from what some atheists, and also certain evolutionists want us to believe about creation? I say some evolutionists because there are some forms of evolution that a Catholic may accept. For example a mitigated form of evolution that holds that things have evolved but God has guided the process.
But what many atheists and evolutionists want you to accept is that evolution, in fact everything that happened after the big bang is a chance happening, that evolution is “blind,” and that no intelligence guides it. It just happened by a chance coming together of certain forces and processes that has produced everything we see including ourselves. It all just happened on its own. Now if that seems plausible to you, then I have a 747 to sell you.
And this world, even our own bodies, are far more complex than a 747 Jumbo liner. And just as a mindless tornado can’t likely whip out a fully functioning 747 neither would a mindless explosion produce a fully functioning and orderly universe or even a fully functioning human person.
The existence of these orderly and complex systems surely bespeaks an intelligent designer. If you landed on a planet in some distant galaxy and found in the sand a functioning watch it is not “unreasonable” to conclude that some one with intelligence designed and made this for a purpose. You may not see any life on the planet now, but at some point there was intelligent life either living here or that visited here. But the point is that you would be on good grounds to conclude that the watch pointed to an intelligent designer.
Now I know that Science can’t formally call this designer “God.” We who believe do that. But it does not seem unreasonable to me that, within its own discipline, science can at least theorize an intelligence, a designer, is indicated by the evidence. At least scientists could allow the theory to coexist with other proposed explanations of the order and design we obviously encounter. The stubborn refusal by many in the scientific world to do this seems more ideological than scientific. And they hold it with the kind of “religious” zeal they claim to be above. They call us the fanatics but I wonder who really is more fanatical. Who really is ignoring the evidence here? To a large extent I think that it takes more “faith” to “believe” that all this happened by chance or due to blind evolution than simply to believe that an intelligent designer set all this forth.
I’d like to give two examples from creation to illustrate just how intricate and multi-layered creation is and then pose the ask the question “Dumb Luck or Design?”
MAGNIFICENCE OF LIFE– Consider the awesomeness of the human body. Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos. Our world on both sides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder. Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes. These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia. And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function. And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Dumb Luck or Design?
RARE EARTH ! The earth on which we live and which, by God’s grace sustains our life is surely miraculous. Consider the following facts. The life support system we call the solar system has just the correct distribution of large and medium sized planets to have swept clean most of the space through which Earth must travel. There are thus few asteroids anywhere near our path! Further, large gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, “catch” comets in their gravitational fields and keep these comets from targeting earth. Our star, the Sun, is just the right size to consume its supply of hydrogen and produce energy at a rate that provided the time and conditions for life to form. Our orbit through space, at 93 million miles from the Sun, departs from a true circle by only 3 percent. Were it as elliptical as is the orbit of Mars, the next planet out, we would alternate between baking when closer to the Sun and freezing when distant. Earth contains just enough internal radioactivity to maintain its iron core in a molten state. This produces the magnetic umbrella that deflects an otherwise lethal dose of solar radiation. The volcanic activity driven by this internal heating is just adequate to have released previously stored subterranean waters into our biosphere, making them available for life processes, but not so much volcanism as to shroud our planet in dust. Earth’s gravity is strong enough to hold the needed gases of our atmosphere but weak enough to allow lighter noxious gases to escape into space. All this is balanced at just the correct distance from our star so that our biosphere is warm enough to maintain water in its liquid, life-supporting, state, but not so warm that it evaporates away into space. A just-right Earth with just the needed gravity, radioactivity, magnetic field, and volcanic activity to support life is located at just the correct distance from the Sun to nurture the inception and development of life…all the ingredients come together in just the way. Dumb Luck or Design?