APOLOGETICS – Teleological Evidence
Teleology, when it is applied to Christianity, refers to the study of the evidence of intelligent design in nature. Broadly, the evidence for intelligent design falls into two categories; irreducible complexity and the fine tuning of the universe.
Irreducible complexity refers to the fact that even the simplest components of life comprise a number of staggeringly complex and interdependent components. A single cell, for instance, is an incredibly complex biological factory containing hundreds of intricate, inter-dependent molecular machines, each one of which isindispensable to the viability of the cell. For a single cell to come into existence originally, each of these hundreds of molecular machines would have had to spring into existence simultaneously in a fully functioning state. There is no known natural process by which this could occur! The irreducibly complex single cell cries out for an intelligent designer.
Dr. John D. Morris states, “Any living thing gives such strong evidence for design by an intelligent designer that only a willful ignorance of the data could lead one to assign such intricacy to chance”.
The human genome is another example of irreducible complexity. Almost every cell of the human body has a complete set of DNA, with 3.2 billion base pairs of information. The entire coding for the development and functioning of the whole human body is present in every cell – an amount of information which, if translated into words on print, would equate to 1,800 volumes each containing 500 pages! Those who deny an intelligent designer are left clinging to the belief that this vast amount of genetic information developed by chance through positive mutations. There are two significant problems with attributing the development of the human genome to chance: Firstly, probabilistic calculations indicate that the universe hasn’t been in existence long enough for even one billionth of the genome to develop by chance alone (see the resources below for a full discussion of this argument). Secondly, positive genetic mutations simply never occur. All genetic mutations involve either the loss of genetic information or the corruption of information. There is no known natural process whereby new genetic information is created from nothing. Dr. Ken Ham states, “If they had known about genetics in Darwin’s day, the theory of evolution would never have gotten off the ground.”
The fine tuning of the universe is the second category of evidence for intelligent design. This argument posits that the fundamental forces or constants of the universe are so extraordinarily fine-tuned for life that they could not have occurred by chance. The 34 recognised universal constants are so finely tuned that altering one by even one thousandth of one percent would render life and, in the case of some of the constants, the existence of matter itself, impossible. Dr. Robin Collins, Professor of Theoretical Physics, North Western University, states, “The chance of just two of these cosmological constants developing by sheer chance, is one in 100 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That’s more than the number of atoms in the universe! And that’s just TWO of the constants!”. Dr Paul Davies, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Adelaide University, states, “The physical universe is put together with an ingenuity that is so astonishing, with physical constants that are so impossibly perfect, that I can no longer accept it as the product of brute chance”.
The teleological argument for the existence of God is extremely convincing. Dr. Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist and mathematician, Cambridge University, states, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
Charles Darwin stated, “The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed…. Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe as the result of blind chance or necessity. I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind, and I deserve to be called a Theist.”
For a more detailed discussion of the teleological argument, refer to the resources below:
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