One of the storms raging in the sciences right now is the confrontation of evolution with the growing popularity of what has been dubbed the “Intelligent Design” movement. Headed by such men as William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, and Stephen Meyer, the ID movement is gaining steam as long-time followers of evolution are beginning to ask the questions that were in the back of all our brains.

That is, there are many things that are wrong with Darwinian theory, yet it is touted as being the savior of all our questions for the origins of life. The problem is, as mentioned in my last post, there is no answer to where did all the matter come from. The Darwinian does not seem to care about this question. The theory fails to answer the deepest longings of the human psyche.

Michael Behe has written a book that has received critical acclaim, Darwin’s Black Box. Rather than reading the book, I found it beneficial to read his essay in Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe entitled “Evidence for Design at the Foundation of Life”.

Behe’s argument boils down to this: Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down” (Behe, Science and Evidence, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000, 119).

Behe believes he has found the daddy to do the job. He says that if there could be shown an organ that is “irreducibly complex” then Darwin’s theory would utterly be destroyed. An “irreducibly complex” structure would be like a mousetrap. You need the spring, the hammer, the trip, and hold for the hammer. If any single one of these elements were missing from the trap it would cease to work as it was designed. Without a hold, the hammer would not stay up. Without the trip, the mouse would be able to eat all day. Without the hammer, no dead mouse.

The same can be seen in the flagellum of bacteria as well as cilium in the lungs. They are irreducibly complex. More specifically, the human eye is irreducibly complex. You can see this when someone loses a cornea. The eye ceases to be useful. When there is no retina, no light, no sight. There is no way that the eye could have just evolved.

Although Darwin claims there were successive movements from photo-sensitive cells evolving into a depression then into a cup shape and so on. However, he never answers where the light-sensitive cells came from. He knew the question was lingering in the dark, but dodged it by saying: “How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light hardly concerns us more than how life itself originated” (Behe, Science and Evidence, 116). This is ridiculous. The whole theory rests on the haunches of this question. He is trying to explain the origins of life but is incapable of reaching back any further than the fact that matter just exists…shouldn’t he be concerned with where this matter came from? Even more, how does this matter is structured in such a way as to point to a designer?

So if you’re taking a Biology class now or have taken one or will take one in the future. Don’t let evolution win the day with its tautology. It is nothing more than a question-dodging theory. It cannot answer how matter came into being? This should be the starting point, but it is avoided totally! The innate sense in mankind to ask the question “Why?” exudes with this fact. People want to know the purpose of life…Darwinian theory cannot and will never answer this question.

If you have 30 minutes and want to get a good feel for the idea of “irreducible complexity” read Behe’s essay. If you want to go deeper, buy the book, Signs of Intelligence .

Some other resources:
Web Sites
Dembski’s Web Site – Design Inference
Intelligent Design the Future
Access Research Network
Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center

Dembski’s Blog – Uncommon Descent
Telic Thoughts
ID in the UK
Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture
International Society for Complexity Information and Design
Intelligent Design Network
Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center

Jonathan Wells’ Articles
Behe Articles
More Behe Articles
Evolution, Neutrality, and Antecedent Probability

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

God’s Broad Shoulders

One of the fascinating aspects of my profession is that I come in contact with a lot of Christians who want to engage with their faith in a deep way. Rather than being content with showing up on Sunday or being CINO (Christian In Name Only), these folks want to understand the Bible better and tease out the implications for their lives.

On the flipside of this, many of these same people are afraid to engage with their doubts in a deep way. It’s almost as if, doubts and questions are treated from a distance–“I don’t struggle with this, but…”

The biggest breakthrough in my own journey of faith came through (and continues to come through) engaging my doubts and questions as my own. They are not theoretical. They are honest struggles: problem of evil is the perennial one. I was in the throes of one of these bouts several years ago when a friend told me, “God can handle your doubts.”

I have used this same bit of advice for my struggling friends and self. If truth is not relative. If God is truth. Your doubts and questions will not overthrow this objective, transcendent truth. It’s not as though you are the first to struggle with doubts and fears and pain. The heavens will not collapse under the weight of your doubts. You won’t come up with a question that will cause God to close up shop. You can honestly engage with your doubts and fears and pain and suffering without having to be quick to give the typical and trite answers to matters of faith.

Go ahead, roll your burdens on God. He’s got broad shoulders.

Blow the Roof Off

Reading through Os Guiness’ new book, Fool’s Talk, for an Honors Seminar I’m leading on the art of persuasion. It is EXCELLENT.

I find that too many apologists take the defensive in explaining the Christian worldview. That has a place, but I would recommend that after you listen and listen and listen some more to the person you are engaging in dialogue, that you take the offensive. Of course, this is not being offensive, but taking the offense in showing the foolishness of the worldview. At some point the team has to score. If they only have defense, they will not score (okay, for the nay-sayers, the defense can score on a take-away…but even then there was an aggression to get the ball and not merely to prevent…BTW, prevent defense is such a great way to lose a ballgame, isn’t it?).

Here’s a juicy quote that I have underlined in the book:

From Jesus onward, the dynamic is crystal clear in Christian proclamation. “The tree is known by its fruit,” Jesus said–not by its seed (Mt. 12.33). If you had tried to persuade the prodigal son to return home the day he left home, would he have listened? If you had spoken to him the day he hit the pigsty, would you have needed to persuade him? Always “see where it leads to,” St. Augustine advised when dealing with false ideas. Follow it out to the “absolutely ruddy end,” C. S. Lewis remarked with characteristic Englishness. “Push them to the logic of their presuppositions,” Francis Schaeffer used to say. Too many varieties of unbelief are halfway houses. Too many unbelievers have not had the courage or the consistency to follow their thoughts all the way home –Fool’s Talk, p.118 (emphasis added)

Modern-day Power Encounters

I remember reading in my Perspectives Class on world mission a phenomenon called “power encounters” whereby a missionary would directly confront the idols of the day in some bombastic way to show the futility of such idols. For example, tearing down a totem pole or cutting down a tree (if these were the items of worship) in an area. While the confrontationalist in me loves the idea, I wonder how much was missed in these opportunities to really get to the heart of idolatry–namely, through teaching that idols are nothing (1Cor 8.4). Yet for those who worship an idol, it is very much a real thing.

I am currently reading Roland Allen’s formative text on mission, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours, and have been immensely helped (in tandem with Lesslie Newbigin’s The Open Secret). Regarding the moral and social condition in which Paul preached, Allen makes this side comment:

Incidentally I should like to remark that in heathen lands it might still perhaps be the wiser course to preach constantly the supremacy of Christ over all things spiritual and material, than to deny or deride the very notion of these spirits. Some of our missionaries know, and it were well for others if they did know, that it is much easier to make a man hide from us his belief in devils than it is to eradicate the belief from his heart. By denying their existence or by scoffing at those who believe in them we do not help our converts to overcome them, but only to conceal their fears from us. By preaching the supremacy of Christ we give them a real antidote, we take them a real Saviour who helps them in their dark hours” (pp.28-29)

Allen brings balance. Too often preachers can assume they are preaching the supremacy of Christ, but they never pinpoint what exactly he is supreme over. Put another way, we preachers can preach rather generically. “Jesus is Lord over all!” We declare full throttle. Yet those listening have not been helped.

What is he supreme over?

He is supreme over your doubts of salvation. Your incessant anger. Your slavery to lust and pornography. Your boring and romantic-less marriage. Your bad parenting. Your disobedient children. Your greed. Your self-doubt. Your self-aggrandizement. Your obedient children. Your good parenting. Your healthy marriage. Your pure eyes. Your self-control.

He owns you. Therefore, the world doesn’t revolve around you anymore. Instead, he sets you free to think of others. Even more, he empowers you by his Spirit to think of other more highly than yourself. Your fears that you will be passed over for the job promotion. Your self-righteousness toward your unbelieving neighbor is set under his lordship in such a way that you no longer possess the answers, but are possessed by One who does. You cannot gloat that you understand the world en esse. Rather, you are saddened by the way the world actually is.

So, Christian, we need a modern-day power encounter. Not where we smash totems. But by understanding the world around us and helping others see our need for a Savior. We limp forward together. We bind up wounds together. We use the splint our arm is wrapped in to bind our neighbors’ arms. Thereby we see that instead of hiding the idol in shame, our neighbor is free to admit the idol and know that he will not be condemned but helped.