Is there scientific evidence for a universe by intelligent design? Some people find it difficult to answer the question. In The New York Review of Books, Steven Weinberg contributed a piece titled: “A Designer Universe?”*(October 1999). Weinberg had been invited to “comment on whether the universe showed signs of having been designed.” Instead of addressing the assigned subject, he immediately shifted to a discussion about the nature of deity. In the end, Weinberg offers little serious consideration of the subject he was invited to address. He appeared unable to deal directly with the issue. His thinly veiled bias against theism and religion is finally unveiled at the conclusion of the article. Yet, if Weinberg is so intelligent, why doesn’t he address the question of design based on scientific evidence? Why does he resort to rambling ad hominem? Is it possible that Weinberg knows that the scientific evidence is not with him? That it builds a better case for intelligent design? Is he afraid to admit that on the question of the ultimate origin of the universe, the faith of naturalism has very little (if any) scientific evidence to support it?
Equally able scholars have been willing to honestly investigate the question of design.
Owen Gingerich, professor of astronomy and the history of science at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge said, “there are so many wonderful details which, if they were changed only slightly, would make it impossible for us to be here, that one just has to feel, somehow, that there is a design in the universe and, therefore, a designer to have worked it out so magnificently.”
The famous astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle, acknowledged that the choice is between “deliberate design” and “a monstrous sequence of accidents.”
Theoretical physicist Paul Davies wrote, “The very fact that the universe is creative and that the laws have permitted complex structures to emerge and develop to the point of consciousness … is for me powerful evidence that there is ‘something going on’ behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming.”
Biochemist Michael Behe, wrote that four decades of intensive research into life at the molecular level has “sounded a loud, piercing cry for intelligent design” (Darwin’s Black Box).
George Ellis (British astrophysicist): "Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word."
Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy): "I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing."
John O'Keefe (astronomer at NASA): "We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.. .. If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in."
George Greenstein (astronomer): "As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?"
Arthur Eddington (astrophysicist): "The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory."
Arno Penzias (Nobel prize in physics): "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan."
Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."
Tony Rothman (physicist): "When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it's very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it."
Vera Kistiakowsky (MIT physicist): "The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine."
Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Stephen Hawking (British astrophysicist): "Then we shall… be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God."
Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics." Note: Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, hence his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.
Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."
Ed Harrison (cosmologist): "Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument."
Edward Milne (British cosmologist): "As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God]."
Barry Parker (cosmologist): "Who created these laws? There is no question but that a God will always be needed."
Drs. Zehavi, and Dekel (cosmologists): "This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with 'common wisdom'."
Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): "It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life."
Henry "Fritz" Schaefer (Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia): "The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it.' My goal is to understand a little corner of God's plan."
Wernher von Braun (Pioneer rocket engineer) "I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science."
Carl Woese (microbiologist from the University of Illinois) "Life in Universe - rare or unique? I walk both sides of that street. One day I can say that given the 100 billion stars in our galaxy and the 100 billion or more galaxies, there have to be some planets that formed and evolved in ways very, very like the Earth has, and so would contain microbial life at least. There are other days when I say that the anthropic principal, which makes this universe a special one out of an uncountably large number of universes, may not apply only to that aspect of nature we define in the realm of physics, but may extend to chemistry and biology. In that case life on Earth could be entirely unique."
Antony Flew (Professor of Philosophy, former atheist, author, and debater) "It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of Deoxyribonucleic acid: the chemical inside the nucleus of a cell that carries the genetic instructions for making living organisms. DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."
Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science."
Why does Weinberg treat those who suggest intelligent design with such disrespect, while a host of others exhibit at least a measure of humility in acknowledgment of the possibility or even probability?
I would agree with that part of your statement as concerns "religions", but would disagree on the fundamental Biblical doctrines, which to me, and many millions more I'm sure, are obvious;All dogmatic religions are harmful and should be rejected.
1. Man has sinned and is in need of salvation
2. God has provided a solution
3. The solution is in the atoning sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ
4. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
5. The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses us from all sin
6. God's plan is redemptive and certain
7. Those whom Christ receives shall dwell with Him in His Kingdom for all eternity.
These to me, are the essential Biblical Truths and the promises, Certain. Does God's plan, purpose and abilities exceed and/or expand on these basic Biblical teachings, I am confident that it does.
God's Peace and Light be upon you Richard.