Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Thought Experiment on Descent, Design, and Creation

Suppose that scientists have managed to create life in a laboratory from non-living chemicals. This is not as far-fetched as many people today may believe in light of scientist Craig Venter's construction of a synthetic bacterium using a genome contained in a computer program. Now suppose further that this life thrives and establishes itself as a new species, Species X. Now suppose all records of this scientific creation are lost, and in the far distant future, scientists discover this Species X. If neo-Darwinism is still the reigning paradigm, as it is today, these scientists will inevitably argue that Species X is related to all other life by an uninterrupted naturalistic evolutionary process. They would be wrong though would they not? The relationship of Species X to other species involves a special and discrete input of information by intelligence. What is even more, is that this intervention of human intelligence is, by definition, invisible to neo-Darwinism - just as invisible as is the special creation of humans by God to neo-Darwinism today (if in deed God did create man in his own image as Genesis would have one believe).

I hope you found this short illustration interesting. Though the wording is slightly different, the thought experiment comes from the mind of John Lennox, author of God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? and Seven Days That Divide the World.

For an interesting discussion on the possible interpretations of the Genesis creation account I would highly recommend Seven Days That Divide the World.


  1. That's a great thought-experiment... but we're still left with the issue of whether or not it's reasonable to believe in something when there's no evidence. Yes, it's possible there's a creator god, which is exactly what the illustration is attempting to assert. But until we have evidence to say there was one, it seems unreasonable to believe it existed even if it did. As in... it can be a hypothesis, but not much more - and any argument for its existence would have to be purely speculative and highly agnostic.

    Out of all of Lennox' books, which would you most highly recommend?

  2. Thanks for the thoughts Chad. I think that is are main disagreement, whether or not there actually is any evidence. But yes I agree from our point of view any hypothesis does have to be speculative and highly agnostic, as it does for any current theories of naturalistic origins, but I think that's ok.

    I would recommend them all. I hear God's Undertaker is the best one of his but it's interesting that is the only one I haven't read yet. I'm planning on reading it this summer though, so I'm going to hold off on the recommendation of my number 1 choice until after I read that. Though knowing you and your interests I think of the three I've read you would enjoy Lennox's perspective in God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it Anyway? It's the shortest of his books (only 95 pages and only 5 or 6 dollars so you can basically read it in a day or two) but he addresses many of the points of The Grand Design and Krause's A Universe From Nothing so it was definitely worth the read.