Is Someone Out There?

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(2 of 11 in a series)

Let’s start our journey of discovery with some observations about the world as we know it.  Our first observation is that we inhabit an extremely complex yet orderly universe.  Many explanations for why this is so have been offered ranging from intelligent design to supernatural creation to the unguided march of evolution.  The detailed analysis of competing theories of origins has been written about in many places.  For our purposes, I ask you to trust me with this simple observation.

Just as a wedding cake implies a baker and a watch implies a watchmaker, there is nothing in my geophysical training or practice that dissuades me from the straightforward conclusion that the incredibly complex and orderly world in which we dwell implies a creator.  Call this creator “intelligent design”, or a “first cause”, or the God of the Bible.  Allow this creator the flexibility of creating over long periods of geologic time or instantaneously.  Time is not the issue here.  The issue is who made us and the world we inhabit.  The existence of a creator based on observing his creation does not require any intellectual gymnastics or a leap of faith.  To this scientist, it appears the most reasonable explanation for why we are here.

Many scientists have reached the same conclusion.  Intelligent Design advocate, John Calvert writes, “…the values assigned to the four fundamental forces of the universe, its initial conditions and many other constants that dictate its structure appear to be finely tuned for life.  Thus, life itself appears to be a purpose of the universe.  Secondly, these values all appear to be arbitrary and not dictated by any known material or natural cause.  Thirdly, the combination of all the values being set by chance to precisely the settings necessary to achieve life is considered by many to be completely implausible.”

Dr. Francis Collins says basically the same thing from an evolutionary perspective in his best-seller The Language of God.  “Altogether there are fifteen physical constants whose values current theory is unable to predict.  They are givens:  they simply have the value they have.  This list includes the speed of light, the strength of the weak and strong nuclear forces, various parameters associated with electromagnetism, and the force of gravity.  The chance that all of these constants would take on the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of complex life forms is almost infinitesimal.  And yet those are exactly the parameters that we observe.  In sum, our universe is wildly improbable.”  Dr. Collins goes on to conclude that, “It is not a long leap to suggest that the Creator might have established the parameters (physical constants, physical laws, and so on) in order to accomplish a particular goal.”  In Dr. Collins view, the Big Bang and subsequent evolution of life on earth require a creator.

Professor Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University is the world’s leading authority on Convergent Evolution.  He writes in The Map of Life, “Inherency refers to the extent to which features of the evolving world were effectively pre-ordained at an earlier time.  This question obviously implies an indefinite regress: if not in terms of crystallin proteins, then perhaps back to amino acids and the genetic code, or even pre-biotic processes in interstellar clouds.  But if so, why stop there?  Maybe we need to go back to the exploding stars from which carbon and the other elements necessary for life were derived.  Or back to the actual process of nucleosynthesis.  And if that is not far enough back, then what about the Big Bang?  So precise are the initial conditions necessary to produce a habitable universe that it seems perfectly sensible to argue that the emergence of intelligence (which is convergent) was inevitable from the instant of the Big Bang.  That at least is one view, and convergence certainly argues for a far greater degree of determinism in the evolutionary process than has previously been acknowledged.”

I believe the question of the existence of a creator based on examining his creation can be safely answered in the positive.  We are focusing on the big picture here, not the details.  But the more penetrating question for us is, “Does this creator have a particular interest in us, the man he has created?”

One Comment

  • Stephanie

    good synopsis, Jay.
    A really good book to read is “It Couldn’t Just Happen”….geared to students, but applicable for anyone interested in the subject.

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