There’s the old story of if you were to find a watch on a beach, would you conclude that it assembled itself? Did it cause its existence? While we know a watch is manufactured, engineered and designed by humans, the rest of God’s glorious perfection gets overlooked. Intelligent Design in Biology is the search for a conscious mind in the design of life. Irreducible complexity is another facet of this search which poses the question; how did complex components of life develop whose function is dependent on ALL of its parts? Here are some premises and conclusions on organic life’s origins.
Design in Biology: Origin of Organic Life
1) Given what we know, complex organic life in the universe could not have originated naturalistically.
2) If, given what we know complex organic life in the universe could not have originated naturalistically, it’s reasonable to believe it originated supernaturalistically.
3) So, it’s reasonable to believe that complex organic life originated supernaturalistically.
● Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Lewis & Stanley, 1992).
● Stephen Meyer, The Signature in the Cell (HarperOne, 2010).
Chandler’s Divine Intervention Argument
1) Given that God intervenes to produce life of Earth, there is no chance at all that there will be no life on earth (the probability of the conjunct “God intervenes to produce life on Earth” and “Life does not occur on Earth” is zero).
2) If God does not intervene to produce life on Earth, the probability that life will occur here is very low.
3) It is just as reasonable to bet that God will intervene to produce life on Earth as that he won’t (the subjective probability is around 50/50).
4) But there will be life on Earth.
5) So, it is very likely that God will intervene to produce life on Earth.
● Hugh Chandler, “Divine Intervention and the Origin of Life,” Faith and Philosophy 10/2 (1993), pp. 170-180.
Intelligent Design in Biology: Organic Structures
Vulgar version of Paley:
1) Some things in nature resemble human artifacts.
2) Human artifacts are the product of intentional design.
3) So, we should infer that things in nature that resemble human artifacts are also products of intentional design.
4) If there are things in nature that are products of intentional design, God exists.
5) So, God exists.
More faithful version of Paley:
1) If x is design-like, then x can only be the product of intentional design.
2) Some things in nature are design-like.
3) So, some things in nature are products of intentional design.
Pruss’ Analogical DNA
1) DNA is like an intentionally designed computer program.
2) Intentionally designed computer programs have intelligent designers.
3) If DNA is like an intentionally designed computer program, it, too probably has an intelligent designer.
4) So DNA probably has an intelligent designer.
● Alexander Pruss, “Programs, Bugs, DNA, and a Design Argument” in Nagasawa and Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave, 2009).
Intelligent Design in Biology: Information
1) Information is inherent to the building blocks of life.
2) Information is the product of intelligence.
3) If information is inherent to the building blocks of life, then the building blocks of life themselves are the byproduct of intelligence.
4) So, the building blocks of life are the byproduct of intelligence.
Tennant’s Argument From Cosmic Teleology
1) The universe is conspicuously suitable for intelligent, moral beings in many ways.
a) There is just one universe with the necessary ingredients for life.
b) Those ingredients have come together (at least in one place) to make an environment not just habitable, but conducive to the ﬂourishing of organic life.
c) Some of those world’s ﬂourishing inhabitants ﬁnd the world intelligible (namely, us).
d) Being intelligible, they also ﬁnd it beautiful.
e) All of these facts together suggest the unfolding of a plan, behind which is“purposive intelligence.”
2) If the universe is conspicuously suitable for intelligent, moral in many ways, then it should be regarded as a theater for the lives of intelligent, moral agents designed by God.
3) So, the universe should be regarded as a theater for the lives of intelligent, moral beings
designed by God.
The fact that humans can observe and appreciate beauty is another pointer to an absolute standard of the existence of the transcendental. The three transcendentals, truth, beauty and goodness are considered by Christians to be evidence of God’s attributes. Beauty and goodness allude to truth.
● F. R. Tennant, Philosophical Theology Vol. II (Cambridge, 1930), pp. 78-120.
see also: Why Does the Universe Exist?