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Thread: Return of the God Hypothesis: Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Mind of God Behind the Universe

  1. #1

    Return of the God Hypothesis: Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Mind of God Behind the Universe

    Return of the God Hypothesis: Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Mind of God Behind the Universe
    An artist's rendering of DNA's double-helix structure.
    By Stephen Meyer Published on April 2, 2021
    Return of the God Hypothesis: Scientific Discoveries Reveal the Mind of God Behind the Universe | The Stream

    Throughout history, many prominent scientists have believed in God. Far from seeing their faith in God as incompatible with scientific investigation, most have found the two things complementary. Seventeenth-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, for example, believed that science was only possible because God made the world to be "intelligible" to the human mind. In his view, the same God who designed the world in a rational and orderly way also gave human beings rationality so they could understand the world He made. Thus, Kepler described scientists as having the high calling of "thinking God's thoughts after Him."

    Many early scientists were not only inspired to do science because they believed in God; they also thought that the natural world revealed the attributes and reality of God. The English naturalist John Ray, a founder of modern biology, wrote a book called The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation, in which he affirmed that the power and wisdom of God could be understood "from the things that are made," as the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:20. Sir Isaac Newton argued that the delicate balance of forces at work in our solar system revealed "an intelligent and powerful Being."

    So how did we get from these great founders of modern science — with their conviction that science reveals the handiwork of God — to the modern New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Victor Stenger who think that science properly understood renders belief in God untenable?

    No Evidence for Design?

    Answering this question requires understanding the critical issue of design. According to Dawkins and others, the argument for design in the universe long provided the strongest argument for the existence of God because it was based upon publicly accessible evidence. Yet, Dawkins insists that since Darwin, scientists have known that there is no evidence of actual design, only the illusion or "appearance of design" in nature.

    But is there really no evidence of actual, intelligent design in the universe?

    DNA: The "Computer Program" More Advanced Than Software, Says Gates

    Hardly. When James Watson and Francis Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotide bases store and transmit the assembly instructions — the information — for building the crucial protein molecules and "machines" that cells need to survive.

    Crick later developed this idea with his famous "sequence hypothesis" according to which the chemical constituents in DNA function like letters in a written language or digital symbols in a section of computer code. Just as English letters may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, certain sequences of chemical bases along the spine of a DNA molecule convey precise instructions for building proteins. Thus, the DNA molecule has the same property of "sequence specificity" that characterizes written text and computer code. Dawkins himself has acknowledged, "The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like." And Bill Gates has noted, "DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created."

    Since the 1960s, further discoveries made clear that the digital information in DNA and its cellular neighbor RNA is only part of a complex information processing system — an advanced form of nanotechnology that both mirrors and exceeds our own in its complexity, design logic and information storage density.

    Only Intelligence Does This

    Yet scientists arguing for intelligent design do not do so merely because materialistic evolutionary theories have failed to explain the origin of the information necessary to build new forms of life. Instead, we argue for design because living systems possess features that we know from our experience invariably arise only from intelligent causes.

    DNA contains information in a digital form and functions much like a software program. We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know generally that information — whether stored in a computer program, inscribed in hieroglyphics or written in a book — always arises from an intelligent source. So the discovery of information in the DNA molecule provides strong grounds for inferring that a designing intelligence played a role in the origin and history of life.

    But if life in the universe displays evidence of intelligent design, can science tell us anything about the identity of the designing intelligence responsible for life? In my book Return of the God Hypothesis, I address this question by showing that there are two basic options: (1) The intelligence responsible for life is an intelligent being either (1) within the cosmos or (2) beyond it. In other words, the designer is either an immanent intelligence or a transcendent one — basically, either an alien or God. There are good reasons for thinking that the latter option provides a better explanation.

    Is the Designer an Alien or God?

    First, an intelligence operating merely within the universe does not actually solve the problem of how biological information came to be. Purely undirected chemical processes have not been able to account for the origin of life because they have not been able to explain the functionally specified information in DNA — the key signature of intelligence. How then does invoking similar undirected processes in outer space solve the problem of life's ultimate origin? It doesn't. It only begs the question of the ultimate origin of life and biological information.

    Second, physics has now revealed evidence of design in the very fabric of the universe. Since the 1960s physicists have recognized that many physical parameters are finely tuned, against all odds, to make life possible. Even very slight alterations in the values of many independent factors such as the force that determines the expansion rate of the universe, the speed of light, the strength of gravitational or electromagnetic attraction, as well as the masses of elementary particles, would render life impossible.

    Much of this fine-tuning, moreover, has been present from the very beginning of the universe itself and, thus, cannot be explained by any agent arising from within the cosmos after the beginning. Instead, the fine-tuning of the universe is better explained by an intelligent agent that transcends the universe, one that has the attributes that we associate with God.

    "Follow the Evidence Wherever It Leads"

    Of course, many still dismiss evidence of design in life and the universe because it seems to support a belief in God. They attempt to stigmatize the design hypothesis as "religion masquerading as science."

    Yet the distasteful implications of the evidence for intelligent design (from an atheistic point of view) are not grounds for dismissing it. Many scientists initially rejected the Big Bang theory because it challenged the idea of an eternally self-existent universe and pointed to a beginning. But scientists eventually accepted the theory despite these implications because the evidence strongly supported it. As Antony Flew — the atheistic philosopher who later came to accept the scientific evidence for both intelligent design and God — insisted, we must "follow the evidence wherever it leads." That's good advice for all of us, and perhaps especially good advice for the New Atheists who have prematurely concluded that science has "buried God." Just the opposite now seems to be the case, just as the founders of modern science believed and the Apostle Paul long ago affirmed.

    This article is reprinted by permission from Decision magazine and appears in a slightly abridged form in their April, 2021 issue.

    Stephen C. Meyer directs Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. His new book Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe was published by HarperOne on March 30th.

    This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (futility) of their mind, having the understanding darkened...
    (Ephesians 4:17-18)

    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly...
    (Psalm 1)

  2. #2

    Three Scientific Discoveries that Call for a God Hypothesis
    John Stonestreet
    Shane Morris
    Three Scientific Discoveries that Call for a God Hypothesis - BreakPoint

    In the book River Out of Eden, Oxford biologist and atheist superstar Richard Dawkins famously wrote:

    "The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."

    Dawkins and other "new atheists" have long insisted that science has excluded the possibility of a creator or has, at least, rendered it unnecessary. Turns out this belief may be scientifically out of date. According to a new book, the biggest discoveries of the last century challenge a materialistic worldview and call science back to its theistic roots.

    Cambridge-educated philosopher of science Stephen Meyer wrote two books, Signature in the Cell and Darwin's Doubt, that both argue against materialist accounts of biology. His latest book, The Return of the God Hypothesis, makes an even more ambitious claim.

    Three key twentieth century discoveries, argues Meyer, challenge materialist assumptions and point, not just to an intelligent designer, but to a transcendent God. He recently joined my colleague Shane Morris on the Upstream podcast to talk about the book.

    Not only were most of the founders of modern science devout Christians, the scientific method itself emerged from assumptions found only in a Christian worldview, such as the intelligibility of nature and the need to constantly test our fallen intuitions against the facts. Tracing science from its theistic beginnings, Meyer shows how it gradually lost its way and became tethered to materialism.

    Famed scientists like Laplace, Hume, and Darwin came to believe that the "God hypothesis" was no longer necessary to explain the natural world, that the universe required no cause beyond itself. Given the opportunity and enough time, living things could arise and evolve on their own. Since the conditions for life were simple and the universe had existed from eternity, here we are.

    These assumptions went largely unchallenged until the twentieth century. However, breakthroughs in astronomy, physics, and biology began to undermine materialism. For example, telescopes began to challenge the proponents (Einstein being one) of a steady-state universe. More and more evidence mounted that the universe was, in fact, not eternal, as many scientists had long assumed. If instead the universe came into being at some point in time, it must have had a cause outside of itself, To be clear, there must be a cause outside of space, time, matter, and energy.

    Another discovery was how finely tuned the universe is.
    The very laws that govern the cosmos, such as gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear forces, and the cosmological constant, are precisely calibrated in such a way that makes life possible. There's not a compelling way to explain this "Goldilocks universe," one "just right" that could have been otherwise, within a naturalistic worldview. As English astronomer and former atheist Fred Hoyle put it, "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics..."

    And then, there's the discovery Meyer has already devoted two other books to exploring: Materialists long thought that Darwin's theory was a silver bullet against design arguments. Darwin, however, knew nothing about DNA, the inner structure of the cell, or the crucial role information plays in the existence and propagation of life. The more we learn about them, the more outdated this "God is no longer necessary" hypothesis seems to be.

    Simply put, Dawkins got it wrong. The universe we live in has properties one would expect if it were, in fact, designed by a God who had us in mind when He made the place.

    As Meyer's book shows, this assumption was an original conviction of many who launched and drove the scientific revolution.

    It's the conviction of a growing number of scientists today who are willing to challenge the powers that be and admit the design they see in the heavens, the laws of nature, and under the microscope. As Meyer puts it, "The evidence is crying out for a God hypothesis."

    Come to and we'll tell you how to get a copy of Stephen Meyer's The Return of the God Hypothesis. We'll also link you to his conversation with Shane Morris on the Upstream podcast.

    This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (futility) of their mind, having the understanding darkened...
    (Ephesians 4:17-18)

    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly...
    (Psalm 1)

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