5. Doesn’t Intelligent Design contradict itself?

Given enough time, Hydrogen will begin to wonder where it came from.

As a faithful proponent of Intelligent Design (ID), I once believed in its tenets and shared them with others. ID, I believed, was the best evidence we had to prove the existence of a designer, and believing in ID greatly increased my faith. Well, that is, until I realized ID contradicted its own hypothesis, and in a big way.

Put simply, intelligent design argues that certain forms of complexity (sometimes referred to as “specified complexity”) require a designer. And while ID proponents don’t care to discuss exactly who they think the designer is, it’s no secret that most of them believe it’s God.

One reason they don’t care to admit this is because it forces them to confess that God did not require a designer, which flies right in the face of the theory they are attempting to sell (it is also a logical fallacy known as “special pleading”).

ID proponents will attempt to claim there’s no problem with this special exemption, because God is eternal! And since God is eternal, they reason, there is no need to explain where his complexity came from… it just exists. (Which is like saying, “This complex laptop has always existed, and therefore requires no explanation!”)

Even if this is true, what a great curiosity is God, who exists without cause, and has advanced knowledge about everything without being taught. How does this work, exactly?

Nature, you say, is totally inexplicable without a God. That is to say, to explain what you understand very little, you have need of a cause which you understand not at all.
–Baron d’Holbach, Good Sense

How ironic is it that ID proponents should argue that specified complexity cannot exist without a designer, while simultaneously maintaining that complexity can exist without a cause or designer.

The ID proponent is in the awkward position of having to argue that extremely complex designs (e.g. God) can come about without cause, while far less complex designs (e.g. humans) require a designer. Isn’t it more reasonable to assume that the less complex thing would come about first? In much the same way that an amoeba is more likely to arise than a man?

And more importantly, if complexity can “just happen,” as it did in the rather mysterious case of God, then the ID proponent has no choice to but to admit that this mysterious event could’ve also “just happened” with humans — without cause or explanation.

Top-Down Creation vs. Bottom-Up Creation

The ID proponent essentially believes in a top-down creation, where a huge amount of complex and highly organized information (i.e. God’s “brain”) “just exists,” and then goes about creating less complex things.

Meanwhile, the materialist believes in more of a bottom-up approach, where unintelligent matter and energy “just exist,” and complexity and information gradually arise from these simpler elements.

(For a more detailed analysis, see the following question.)

No one is saying life isn’t complex, but while man’s complexity has a lot of requirements, a God will always have far more. Cells exist from active elements that exist throughout the Universe; man is built from cells, and acquires knowledge gradually. God is built of a mysterious supernatural substance that has never been observed, made of elements that are invisible, and somehow receives his knowledge magically.


If Intelligent Design proponents are willing to accept that an extremely complex entity (God) can exist free of any intelligent forces, then they must also logically conclude that less complex entities (the Universe, atoms, man, etc.) could also exist free of any intelligent agents.

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41 Responses to 5. Doesn’t Intelligent Design contradict itself?

  1. What a great post. Well argued and intelligent. Keep up the good work!

  2. Brian says:

    Excellent, well reasoned post.

  3. anna says:

    Intelligent design isn’t a valid argument in favor of a christian god. Millions of unlikely, random events took place over the course of billions of years in order for us to evolve into what we are today. Religion tells us that god is all knowing and all powerful. ID tells us that the “creator” was either not smart enough to form a less convoluted plan or not powerful enough to implement a better plan.

  4. SlimChaney says:

    I really enjoy your thought provoking questions. Clearly you’ve put in a lot of time and effort forth, and it shows. I will attempt to answer your question, but please pardon me if it is unclear or confusing at any point.

    • The definition of the Law of Non-contradiction: Contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time.
    • The definition of the Law of Causality: Every effect must have a preceding cause.
    • The definition of the Law of Conservation of energy: It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time.
    • The definition of Newton’s Law of Inertia: A body at rest remains at rest and a body in motion continues to move at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force.

    If at any point in there was nothing in this universe, there would be nothing now. Simply put, you can’t get something from nothing. This would be a clear violation of the Law of Conservation of energy (matter is energy). So at least we call all agree that SOMETHING had to have always existed.

    If that ‘something’ were the Big Bang’s Singularity we would not exist today. All that exists would still be in a single point in the universe in the form of energy. Perfectly organized, and perfectly motionless since eternity past. The Big Bang could not have happened on its own without an external force being applied, it’s a clear violation of Newton’s Law of Inertia (remember: bodys at rest, stay at rest). If memory serves, all Big Bang models attribute the ‘Bang’ to an external force being applied (gravitational fields with source and without a source). So the Big Bang Theory points to something else existing, and that ‘something’ cannot be of the universe as that would a violation of the law of non-contradiction (all energy in the universe is already at a single point)

    However if that ‘something’ was Aristotle’s Unmoved mover as the primary ‘cause’ for all motion in the universe, then we would be doing exactly what we are doing right now… existing.

    Just my two cents. Thanks again for your blog. It really makes me think, and I really enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work!

    Your brother in Christ,

    • Hi Christopher,

      All very good points.

      I think there are things about the physical universe that we haven’t even begun to understand. For example, quantum mechanics shows that particles can seemingly pop in and out of existence. Other things like dark energy, anti-matter, and space itself (which appears to be nothing, but is still something,) continue to challenge our definition of “nothing.”

      It may be naive of us to assume that we are the only universe, just as it was naive of us to assume we were the only earth, or the only galaxy. Some scientists believe there are many other universes, and there seems to be multiple lines of evidence consistent with that theory.

      The unmoved mover is a fascinating argument, and I’d like to explore that one further in a future question. But it does seem to assume there was once a state of non-movement. Even in a singular state, tiny atomic particles are always moving. The physics of the micro-world are different from those of the macro-world. If the default state of all particles is movement, then this Universe (and any others) may have always existed in a state of motion, making a unmoved mover unnecessary. But I’ll see if I can hit this one up in the future. 😉


    • DanD says:

      Applying the law of conservation of energy to the universe is incorrect, because we don’t know what existed prior to the big bang, and we have no particular reason to assume that our universe exists in isolation.

      It’s possible that it does, that there was simply a quantum fluctuation on a massive scale. (Which, even inside our universe does allow for the local and brief violation of the law of conservation of energy).

      It’s possible that two universes were spawned, and the other one has a time vector opposite ours (and thus negative energy and entropy, resulting in a balance when the two are taken together). This would be the equivalent of particle and antiparticle creation within our universe.

      It’s probably something else entirely, but to argue that god must exist because we can’t explain how it could happen otherwise is an argument from silence at best.

      • Amay says:

        By your reasoning, there is no law of conservation of energy. Really, the law of conservation of energy (matter and energy, really) applies to any isolated system which cannot exchange matter or energy outside of itself. The universe is all matter, energy, time and space. There is actually no reason to believe that any matter or energy exist outside of the universe. Therefore, the universe is known as the only truly isolated system. Some think it’s possible that there is more, citing Multiverse Hypothesis, but there is zero evidence that even one alternative universe exists.

        • DanD says:

          Um, Quantum fluctuation does allow for the localized violation of conservation of energy (sort of). It allows the creation of matter out of a spot in the universe that was at “zero” energy before. Admittedly, that location now has a negative energy, which is eliminated when the created particle and anti-particle annihilate, and the duration is brief, and in a very small area.

          That being said, if you have infinite (proto)time and (proto)space, both brief and small are relative terms.

          And I threw this concept out as a single possible explanation. While most likely not correct, it makes just as much sense as a creator god (in general) and a lot more sense than a creator god who cares if we eat pork or not. My primary point is that we don’t know what conditions were before the big bang. We can’t. But there are numerous possible scientific explanations, including ones that allow for something to occur from nothing.

  5. the billster says:

    Hello 500Q. I have one question. Why, as you seem to do above, assume that God is “extremely complex”? It seems to me that much medieval philosophy was devoted to proving the simplicity of God.

    One might think that there is an inherent contradiction in a simple being generating a complex universe, but that does not seem necessarily to be the case. In fact, if we consider a tree in comparison to the seed it once was we see that a complex actuality is derived from a mere simple potentiality. Is not the big bang somewhat similar, at least analogously? So, it seems that a complex universe can arise, indeed has arisen from a relatively simple source (the big bang). If we do not characterize God as “complex” then it seems that we do not run into the “inherent contradiction” characterized above. Aquinas seems to argue [in article 11, Q 13, Pt. 1 of the Summa Theologica] that the best name for God is “He who is”, that is, God is existence itself. This notion of God seems to me to be an extremely simple one. Perhaps one could argue that a “designer” of a complex universe must have some sort of complex thought process but I think that this is too much of an anthropomorphic attribution of the way our mental faculties work, and it is, thus, unfair to project and impute such human faculties of thought to the divine nature.

    The Judeo-Christian conception of God in fact begins with an even lower level of complexity than the natural model. It does not begin with “materials” that are known to exist but from mere existence itself.

    In conclusion, if the simplicity of God is maintained, the ID defender’s argument does not have to “go out the window”.

    • Hi billster, thanks for commenting, I’d be happy to address the question.

      I recently wrote about God’s intelligence under question #44, saying: “The mind of God (assuming such a thing exists) is a truly incredible and incomprehensible thing. Not only is it able to keep tabs on the sins and actions of billions of people, but it also maintains a massive database of even the most seemingly irrelevant details, like how many hairs are on each person’s head (Luke 12:7, Matt 10:30). What’s more, the mind of God is constantly monitoring the prayers of billions of people…” It’s exactly these traits that infer a high level of structure, organization and complexity.

      I don’t believe it’s really “unfair to project and impute such human faculties of thought to the divine nature,” because we’re really talking about the ordering of information. Ordered information in itself is considered complex according to Intelligent Design proponents, but add to that the ability to process that information and make use of it, and we have a highly ordered and complex mind, regardless of whether it’s physical or supernatural (assuming such a thing is possible).

      To say this complexity does not require a designer is special pleading, so some try to back out of this problem by saying God is exempt because He’s eternal — His information just somehow always existed. But we could just as easily suggest that, “the Universe is what it is,” or “the Universe is existence itself.” And doing so would actually make much more sense, since the elements that make up the Universe lack the complexity and organization that is claimed to occupy the mind of God, and the Universe is not required to mysteriously exist in a supernatural realm, and it is not required to think, or somehow store complex information eternally without any known source or origin.

      Now, it IS true that its simplicity CAN give rise to complexity, however, this is different from the Biblical God… unless we want to assume the Universe IS the simple God that gives rise to complexity, but I think most people prefer their God to be a little more intelligent. God operates with intent, the Universe does not.

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe that something more complex than me has created me. Just as a mind greater than the computer had to create the computer. Or a mind more complex than the automobile had to create the automobile. No matter how many roles of the proverbial dice, I have a hard time believing at any point that an automobile would just come together of its own volition.

        • Warren Johnson says:

          As a scientist, I “believe” that you were created by your mother (with some minor but crucial help from your father). To be more explicit, I have attended two births, and observed that the infant humans were born from a woman and that there was no sign of God in the delivery room. I have read the biology textbooks that say that this is how all humans have been born. None of the doctors I have ever talked to have ever suggested anything else. So I am very confidant that all living humans have been created in this same way. In my opinion, a person has be delusional to
          “believe” anything else.

          Or, perhaps you misspoke when you said: “I believe that something more complex than me has created me.”

          • amay says:

            Sarcasm hardly qualifies as a valid argument. I highly doubt the commenter disagrees with your “scientific” conclusion that humans are born from their mothers (no disrespect intended, I’m sure you’re smarter than that).

            I disagree with his statement as well, but not on the irrelevant ground that mothers give birth. I understand the thought, but there is no law or objective reason I am aware of that something must be more complex than what it produces.

            • amay says:

              Furthermore, you are not created by your mother with help from your father. Your chromosomes come from both father an mother (one of every pair comes from each parent). The fact that the mother has to endure the hardship of incubating, carrying and birthing the child does not mean she is the creator of the child.

              And beyond that, mother and father engaging in the ritualistic behavior that kicked off the natural proccesses of conception and development isn’t the same as actually creating the child. For example, if you were to take preexisting coffee grounds and water, then put them into a coffee pot with a filter and turn it on… Did you really brew the coffee? Or was it the coffee pot that brewed it, only requiring you to engage in the ritual of adding the coffee, the water and turning the pot on?

            • Sarah says:

              i was so disappointed by Warren Johnson’s response as well. i thought it was going to be intelligent. unbelievable

      • Anonymous says:

        glad you almost get id. we have only seen language come from intelligence. we see language in dna.

        science now supports the universe began after many tried to discount that to accommodate their atheistic bias. our laws and rules are within creation and don’t contradict that which is outside creation. your id strawman is not id.

  6. the billster says:

    Hello again Oh 500 Questions. You stated “Ordered information in itself is considered complex according to Intelligent Design proponents”. I am not sure what Intelligent Design proponents consider complex since I have never read any Intelligent Design literature. I also would not venture to speak for all of them (nor do I think that you were in fact being so bold).

    I think you have built a reasonable case about ID adherents who posit a complex God having no recourse but to “special plead” their case. (Of course, as we know, a mere logical fallacy is not enough to negate the truth value of a conclusion of an argument, merely its validity.)

    The trick when speaking about metaphysics is in the assumption that the simplest metaphysics must be the correct one or at least the one that has the most epistemic value. Ockham’s so called razor is no safeguard of truth. (It is perhaps a shout out for cogency, but a complex metaphysical system can be coherent as well).

    I, however, just want to go where the argument goes. If an ID adherent was comfortable with God as simple (this does not seem to me necessarily unbiblical, except perhaps from certain understandings of the Bible, but I am not here interested in Biblical exegesis), then it seems their argument is not “pleading a special case”. So, is it possible to posit a simple God? You seem to reject such a notion outright by appealing to information and computing systems as inherently complex. If these systems are complex and God is the proud owner of such a system (mind) then you might be onto something.

    Yet, I remain unconvinced that “the ability to process…information and make use of it” yields a complex mind. Especially in the case of God. If God is eternal, and somehow outside or above time as many theists posit, then speaking of processing information would seem inexact. If God is simple and unchanging then there is no processing to speak about. That would leave mere information existent in a mind. This information would seem to be always present in the divine mind, maybe along the lines that our sense-experience is present to us (at least at the present moment anyway). Furthermore characterizing “how many hairs are on a person’s head” as irrelevant seems to be a mere opinion. Irrelevant to who? I myself am a bald man and have found in the past that the existence (in my case the non-existence) of my hair to be terribly and painfully pertinent.

    Also, I think it almost goes without saying, that such a mind as I have (minimally) described does not have to keep tabs on sins or prayers. It simply knows them much as we know things factually. Now such a mind that can merely perceive (very roughly speaking) and know all this information is definitely amazing but not outside the concept of the theists. Nor do I believe that the mere multiplication of data points itself entails the characterization of the entity that knows them as a complex entity.

    Does this make the simple God unintelligent? On the contrary it seems it is an argument for God’s omniscience. Intention itself does not seem to me a complex phenomena either (especially when you factor out the processing of information) and to insist so in such a case would seem a sort of ad hoc characterization. But I would like to see why you characterize intent as complex, is it merely because of the processing that often proceeds the will to action? What if you picture the information as already processed?

    Incidentally, Aristotle (and I am no expert by any means) often ascribes a teleology to nature. While this may not be a conscious, rational intent I do not think that we should rule out that the Universe might operate according to an endgame. In fact this is exactly how many of the “lower” animals seem to act. (Oh, and please do not mistake me to be arguing that the theist conception of God is equivalent to a non-sentient Universe, but perhaps if the Universe itself has a teleological “motivation” that could be ascribed as a reflection of the divine mind.)

    • First of all, let me apologize for your hair loss. As a guy who’s losing his as well, nothing makes me question the existence of a benevolent God more… but I digress.

      I should point out that most ID proponents seem to advocate for an eternal (complex) God, and not a simple one (if you can get them to talk about God).

      For example, ID proponent William Dembski’s 3rd “Law of conservation of information” states that: “The specified complexity in a closed system of natural causes either has been in the system eternally or was at some point added exogenously.” In other words, God is complex, but allowed this complexity because He’s eternal. He doesn’t have to explain where He got His mind and information from, He just ALWAYS had it. Dembski does not imagine a simple God, but one who’s mind contains and processes ordered and complex information.

      So we can continue down this road of complex ideas originating from a simple mind, but I don’t know of any ID proponents that are advocating for this kind of God.

      To that end, I’m struggling to wrap my mind around the idea of a simple God who’s mind stores and manages complex information, it seems to be a kind of oxymoron. It’s like saying He’s a stupid genius. But even if we go ahead and allow that simple things CAN produce complexity, why not just cut out God and give credit to a simple Universe? What necessitates that God play a role? Why not simplify the equation and rule Him out?

      The simplest answer may not always be the correct one, but if we’re going to demand that God be part of the equation, we should at least have a very good reason for doing so. God not only adds to the complexity of the equation, but also requires us to assume supernatural entities can and do exist, and that they are capable of extraordinary things, such as eternally existing outside of time and space, and able to call forth matter and energy out of nothing… and these are no small assumptions. An eternal Universe, on the other hand, does not require any such fanciful thinking.

      I think an unguided Universe is where the data leads — a Universe of meaningless stars, planets and galaxies all going about their business with no endgame in mind. Galaxies collide, nature consumes itself, innocent children die, evil are allowed to prosper, and good men go bald. 😦

  7. Ben Roos says:

    As far as we know all that exist is Energy vibrating at different frequencies manifesting as different ‘things’. The sumtotal of this Energy/things.can be called God.This God is all of what we know there is. Therefore God is an intelligent designer ….and more ( of which we know little, if anything ). There is no reason we know of why God could not have been created by/emanated from an even higher intelligent designer and so on, ad infinitum. Why should anything have a beginning and an end ? A circle does not.

  8. Amay says:

    Who says that the creator (designer) has to be a complex being? If it is his complex thoughts and ideas that you refer to, that is quite different. He creates his own thoughts and ideas. There is no scientific law that states “a designer or creator must be physically as complex as his designs or creations”.

    • Hey Amay,

      Are you suggesting there was once a time when God was much simpler? And that his complex, organized thoughts only came later?

      It’s an interesting thought, to skirt around the problem of a complex designer (who doesn’t himself need a designer), by saying he wasn’t ALWAYS so complex, but I see a few problems with that theory:

      1) Merely having the ability to think about ANYTHING represents a certain amount of complexity, because you have the ability to organize and understand information, and you can’t do that without a certain amount of infrastructure already in place.

      2) If God is eternal and all knowing, then there was presumably never a time when he didn’t know everything. Are you saying that God is not all knowing? Or that he doesn’t know the future?

      3) If we’re willing to accept that some things can naturally exist and start out simple, and become more complex over time, why not simply say this is what happened with us?

      God doesn’t have to be physically complex, or even exist physically at all (if such a thing were even possible); the ability to organize information alone represents complexity.

      500Q 🙂

      • Amay says:

        Thanks for taking the time to respond as I appreciate a good open discussion. Sorry that it took me so long to get back. I have been working quite a bit and discussing things on other forums as well. Unfortunately, you seem to not be understanding my reply.

        First, I am not “suggesting there was one time when God was simpler.” I never stated anything like that. I am simply stating that there is no scientific law, evidence, or anything else which demands that a creator must be more complex than that which they create. The thought that a creator must be more complex than his or her creation is only an assumption with no basis.

        1) What is your scientific basis for this? Any evidence to support that claim?

        2) You said: “If God is eternal and all knowing, then there was presumably never a time when he didn’t know everything.” <— Okay. I agree. But I don't understand why you brought that up.
        You also asked: "Are you saying that God is not all knowing? Or that he doesn’t know the future?" <— You read my comment. Why would you think I said any of that?

        3) I never said anything like that. Therefore, why would I accept it happened with us.

        You reitterated that "the ability to organize information alone represents complexity." What is your basis for drawing that conclusion?

        Thank you,

  9. Maroo says:

    I also used to think that the odds of life forming were extremely unlikely. Well, it’s probably better to say that I just accepted the idea that the odds of life forming were extremely unlikely because that’s what pretty much everybody said. But after reading a bunch of stuff, and watching a bunch of lectures on the YouTube and some off-and-on active reflecting and thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that the odds of life forming were not extremely unlikely, it was actually inevitable that life started up on the Earth. Maybe largely just because of, as you said above, the sheer numbers involved. At this point, this is really nothing more than a “gut feeling” for me. I mean, yes, we are discovering a bunch of exoplanets now and maybe Kepler-186f is Earth-like so, yeah, someone might say, “Of course a planet like the Earth happened, it was inevitable” and given the characteristics of the Earth, life beginning was inevitable. I’m just beginning to see the question of life starting on Earth in an entirely different way 🙂

    • Hi Maroo,

      Indeed. All we know for certain is that it has happened at least once. If all the matter that exists in the Universe (and possibly beyond) is in some sort of infinite flux, then life may have had an infinite number of rolls of the dice to get started. If you think about it, it doesn’t seem all that odd that — if we are a random-chance creation — we might wake to find ourselves in exactly the kind of situation we find ourselves in.

      Take care,

      • Maroo says:

        I think what I’m trying to say is more along the lines of, yes, I’m with you on the infinite number of dice rolls when it comes to the Earth accreting the way it did, and orbiting around the Sun that accreted the way it did and then the Moon doing it’s thing (and so on and so on) but, given how the Earth did actually accrete in relationship to the Sun and the Moon and all the other things, life starting on the Earth, given what the Earth was, was inevitable. It simply had to happen.

        At any rate, it’s fun to think about and it’s fun to finally put some of my thinking in writing to see which of it seems reasonable and which seems “oh Hells no”. 😉

        • Anonymous says:

          oh hells no here. 10 to the 80th atoms in the universe. one in 10 to 600th odds of life these days. nothing is infinite in this universe so it is mathematically impossible to be chance. science of the gaps for what the leading atheist science can’t answer is getting old.

  10. Kathy says:

    I’m so glad I found your site. These words jumped off the screen at me:

    “However, there is still an incredibly serious problem: We cannot simultaneously reason that an extremely complex God can exist without cause, while a less complex Universe cannot.”

    Thank you Thank you Thank you
    I’ve been struggling for a long, long time because I wasn’t able to put all of my questions aside and just “believe” because that’s what “good” people do. I’ve been told that there are answers that I’m just not privy to YET and that I am just supposed to have faith. I’ve never been able to do that despite the fact that I WANT to.

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air for me! I feel better about myself already and I have only read a few pages.

  11. ftbond says:

    “…but given a potentially infinite amount of time, and innumerable sets of dice, the improbable suddenly becomes probable”

    Given an infinite amount of time, any given system will fail. If we live in some type of “self-replicating universe” – one that re-creates itself every umpteen billion years or so, it should have failed by now. I mean, after all, it’s already gone on for an eternity.

    what’s left out of the “dice” thing is this: given an infinite amount of time, the dice-rolling itself will have found a means to fail; hence, no more dice-rolling. This thing called “probablilities” flies out the window at that point, doesn’t it?

    It would appear to me that either the universe has a beginning and an end – else – we are left with the ever-self-reproducing universe, which over an eternity, should have failed to reproduce by now. In other words, we shouldn’t be here at all…

    This may seem like foolishness, but let’s face it: quantum physics, which deals largely with probability, is just sciences way of reminding us that “anything is possible”. Multiverses, parallel universes, whatever.

    It’s SCIENTISTS (some of them), and Scientist-Wanna-Be’s – not science itself – that seem to wish to persuade us that “anything is possible – except, of course, the existence of God”.

  12. joe says:

    Hi 500Q,

    In your theory here, doesn’t it feel like you left out the variable of three dimensional space? top down only requires a Being with no origin. Bottom up requires an organism with no origin + an incomprehensible amount of 3D space that also has no origin. To me, the latter seems to require more faith.

    also, how can I be expected to believe that organism can be infinite in one direction but not in the other?

    Joe M

  13. Wendell says:

    FYI, Interesting ID reading or YouTube debates on ID: google, Steven C Myers intelligent design. He wrote some interesting books, Signature In the Cell and Darwins Dillima… He hits hard on DNA mutations required to form correct proteins to “Build” a new species in the evolutionary process. Actually he gives the odds of randomly coding the correct sequence in DNA at 10 to the 77th power for one protein. Consider factoring in multitude of other proteins required to build phila at the Cambrian Explosion, at those odds it would take more time than 13.5 Billion years, the age of the our universe. Arguing coding species with features we see in those animals in such a short time (relative to those odds) infers a probable programmer or designer. Trial and error mutations (which would normally be bad) to find correct DNA sequence would be improbable. He doesn’t discount evolution per say, but believes DNA changes injected by a designer in the evolutionary process. Another interesting article I have read, where viruses may have been an important part of that delivery. As to an intelligent designer, we have been playing “God” with genes for several years now. On thing is for sure, our current evolutionary process is most definitely in the hands of designers from here on out.

    • Hi Wendell,

      Stephen Meyer is one of the primary ringleaders for the ID movement, and I used to read a lot of his work.

      The crux of the ID argument is that life, cells, or individual proteins are too complex to have formed by chance. ID proponents cite seemingly impossible odds that should lead any rational person to conclude that the formation of these thing would be impossible without a designer.

      But consider how all the atoms that currently make up you existed before you were born. BEFORE you were born, the odds that these individual atoms would one day combine to make up you are astronomical. So astronomical as to be considered impossible. And yet, here you are. Just because something is extremely improbable doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Extremely improbable things happen every moment of every day.

      One mistake here is in thinking there is a “correct sequence.” A correct sequence implies that evolution was shooting for a particular goal, and this is no more true than your atoms shooting for the goal of creating you. There is never a goal, there is only what results, and the result is always extremely improbable at some level.

      And even if it were TRUE that the cell’s “specified complexity” required design, it still begs the question, “How did God’s complexity come to exist without a designer?”

      Obviously, all the phyla of the Cambrian Explosion did come to exist, so either Meyer’s numbers are off, or our planet has been around for a lot longer than scientists think. But I see no reason to inject an even more complex entity into the equation.

      Like most sincere believers, Meyer’s is secretly driven to prove Christianity true. Intelligent people find intelligent ways to try and defend their faith, and that’s all that Stephen is doing.


      • Anonymous says:

        Why assume that God is complex? There is plenty of Scholastic philosophy/theology that advocates for an understanding of God as a being of sublime simplicity.

        • Perhaps that depends on one’s definition of “complex.”

          If (as some ID proponents propose) the cell contains information that is both specified and complex, than it stands to reason that the mind that created it must be equally complex, if not more so.

          The mind of the creator would not only need to store information about how to build a cell, but it would also need to be able to retrieve it, organize it in a meaningful way, and execute its creation. And if we’re talking about the God of the Bible, then his mind also contains countless volumes of complex information, down to how many hairs are on each person’s head. Every book on earth could not contain the knowledge in God’s mind.

          The more meaningful information something carries, the more complex it becomes. To say that a cell is somehow more complex than the mind of God is like saying a painting is more complex than it’s painter. It just doesn’t compute for me.


          • Alan May says:

            \\”The mind of the creator would not only need to store information…” \\

            I hear this allot as an assertion of fact, and assertions of fact require substantiation. I don’t see why that’s necessarily the case, and I have yet to see anyone present any kind of logical deduction leading to that conclusion.

            I see no reason “the creator” would have to be more complex than it’s creation. Or at least if he/she/it does, just saying so isn’t very convincing. There must be some reason or logical deduction leading to that conclusion. Could you elaborate on that?

            \\”It just doesn’t compute for me. “\\

            I haven’t seen a deduction laid out to draw a certain conclusion one way or the other.

            \\”The mind of the creator would not only need to store information about how to build a cell, but it would also need to be able to retrieve it, organize it in a meaningful way, and execute its creation.”\\

            I’m not asserting the following as fact, but rather presenting it as a possibility that should be entertained:

            Storage, I think, deals with placing the physical. I think information is abstract like numbers or laws, and doesn’t physically exist. It is communicated via physical mechanisms like codes and languages, and that code and language is stored on physical mechanisms (such as hard drives), but the information isn’t physical itself. The same applies to receiving and organizing said codes and languages.

            Much like computers communicating through a code of ones and zeroes, which is a series of on and off electrical current traveling through wires translating from one device to another via processors, memory, and other hardware as well as other types of coding that make up the Operating Systems, etc. The electrical current and hardware relaying the code is physical. The information itself, not so much. The only thing that we can inductively conclude needs to be complex is the PHYSICAL relay of information. To translate and communicate what is abstract into the physical world.

            • I’m pretty sure the complex operating system is required in order to process the complex INFORMATION. Otherwise we wouldn’t need to advance our technology, would we? Seems to me these two things go hand in hand.

              And anyway, why are we comparing living things to hardware? Is god’s intelligence artificial, or is it natural? Also, what makes you think artificial intelligence can produce natural things? Is it not the other way around?

              No wonder some people believe that life on Earth is just an extremely complex video game being played by aliens in a different dimension, with this line of thinking. If this were true (hardly!) one would of course have to wonder about the duration of this game…

              I am really struggling to see where you are coming from. Human brains are more complex than those of other animals, and thus we are able to process more complex information and perform more complex tasks. This, of course, is the product of a lengthy, evolutionary process, for which we DO have plenty of evidence. Creationists have to work really hard these days to keep their “theories” afloat. In many ways, I feel sorry for them. It must be exhausting. And which one is it? Are the “Old-Earth” creationists right in saying that fossils are there because god has spent millions of years creating in a trial and error sort of process? Are the “Young-Earth” creationists right when they argue that fossils have been scattered around our planet by god in order to test our faith somehow? (Bizarre waste of time!) OR, is god, like you suggest, just a simple storage system that deals merely with input, with no output whatsoever? If so, can you point to an example in the Bible that suggests this to be the case? Because my impression is that god pretty much runs the show as far as the authors of the Bible are concerned.

              Or are you some sort of deist, perhaps?

  14. Wendell says:

    Hmm… it would seem to be a logical path after the big bang, enough Hydrogen mass and gravity would cause stars to form, creating more elements, to supernova creating more elements, so on and so on. The physics of it simply followed a natural law to galaxies hosting innumerable amount of planets over billions of years. All matter we see consist of “exploding star stuff”.

    During that time, events had to happen to create a framework for life as we know it. That framework probability becomes more and more narrow in a time window, meaning x number of strikes to hit a home run or you’re out by destruction.

    Perfect proportion of gravity,
    Perfect galaxy,
    Perfect spot in the galaxy,
    Perfect star
    Perfect planetary positioning in solar system,
    Perfect planet with perfect moon,
    so on and so on, (you get the point, I’m boring you with details you well know already)…

    So to get a fertile water planet capable of starting life, considering billions of galaxies, still very somewhat probable.

    So then chemical reactions in logical steps required to build a simple replicating cell in a window of probable destruction, hmm… success becomes a moving target, that appears and disappears very quickly.
    The probability narrows so much that it’s estimated by some that the odds of an Earth like planet with any life form are 2 per galaxy. I think those odds are very liberal.

    From the big bang to us the complexity like doubles exponentially in every step…

    “But here we are” to the evolutionist is about equal in logic as “God did it” to the Christian … there’s missing links either way.

    IF life happened because it is the result of billions*x of events being satisfied, it will be very very very rare anywhere else, if anywhere else. We might find it visible back in time when it was advanced enough then to be detected using telescopes, somewhere in another galaxy.

    IF we in the future propagate life by expanding into this galaxy, we will do so by our intelligent design. (or AI that came by our design, which is a troubling topic in itself)

    IF we were not the first high intelligent life in the universe and high intelligence can design life, probability is there… that life was started here by design, by a previous designer or designers.

    OR by some bacteria left behind from the bottom of a shoe during a visit… ha ha..

    IF we start detecting life inside our galaxy close by expecially on more than one planet, I would think the theory of panspermia starts getting a very big boost.. It still will not answer the ID question until the designer is found, finds us, or reveals himself.

    Evolution on this planet is still a hard pill to swallow. Evolving monkeys aren’t the problem, it’s the first cell/DNA origins spontaneous poof in a short time after the earth’s formation that bugs me… jokingly, bacteria on a shoe sounds more probable having more time somewhere else to evolve… it just got here by unintentional design 🙂

  15. lotboy says:

    No, the matter, being material, had to be created, it could not have just always existed. Physics will not hold that something that can be perceived was not caused by something prior. The only explanation is that first in the chain had to be put there by something that was non material. You just found God.

    • Hi lotboy,

      Please see the next question, as it covers this very issue.

      There are more problems with the idea of an etetnal, immaterial, intelligent being that exists without cause, than there are with the idea that matter exists without cause.


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