Atheistic scientists like Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion present specious arguments to disprove the existence of God. Let’s see how those arguments fall apart on proper scrutiny.
I. The designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. If the object in nature is complex and so improbable, the designer must be at least equally, if not more, complex and hence improbable. It is obviously no solution to the problem of improbability to postulate something even more improbable.
In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as practiced in the philosophy of science. If archaeologists digging in the earth were to discover things looking like arrowheads and hatchet heads and pottery shards, they would be justified in inferring that these artifacts are not the chance result of sedimentation and metamorphosis, but products of some unknown group of people, even though they had no explanation of who these people were or where they came from. Similarly, if astronauts were to come upon a pile of machinery on the back side of the moon, they would be justified in inferring that it was the product of intelligent, extra-terrestrial agents, even if they had no idea whatsoever who these extra-terrestrial agents were or how they got there. In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t be able to explain the explanation. In fact, so requiring would lead to an infinite regress of explanations, so that nothing could ever be explained and science would be destroyed. So in the case at hand, in order to recognize that intelligent design is the best explanation of the appearance of design in the universe, one needn’t be able to explain the designer.
From the point of view of everyday logic, the origin of everything is a problem, for both science and religion. To start with a complex being may seem against the scientific principle of explaining complex things with simpler things, but science doesn’t have any easy way out. Firstly, it’s unscientific to say that everything came from nothing. And the alternative of a singularity as a source of everything doesn’t make things any better for science. To propose as the origin of everything a singularity having infinite density, infinite temperature, infinitesimal mass, beyond all conceptions of space and time, beyond mathematical description and physical realization, begs several questions
1. Where did that singularity come from?
Some scientists propose eternally crunching and expanding universes to get around the problem of the origin of the singularity. But this is just an unproven and unprovable speculation to solve a self-created problem.
2. Something with infinite temperature and density – how simple is that? And how probable?
3. How scientific is it to talk about something beyond space and time, and beyond ‘mathematical description and physical realization’?
Stephen Hawking has stated, “Any theory that predicts a singularity can be said to have broken down.” So, if science necessitates postulating something beyond the realm of science, then an intelligent being is a much more logical candidate for creating the complex world we see around us than a singularity. Both are non-scientific, in the conventional sense of the word ‘scientific’, but we at least have experience of an intelligent being designing something, but we have no experience of a singularity and its explosion leading to design.
II. Saying that a God has designed everything is the ultimate abdication of scientific responsibility to investigate.
Scientific responsibility to investigate means the responsibility to investigate all possibilities – including the possibility that God has designed everything. To be close-minded about that possibility is also an abdication of scientific responsibility.
III. If past scientists had been satisfied with saying that God had designed everything, we would never have made all the scientific progress that we have made.
Scientific research doesn’t have to be stunted by the acknowledgement of God as the ultimate designer. Science can still investigate the mechanisms by which God has designed things and utilize that knowledge for beneficial purposes. What needs to be changed is the a priori atheistic framework in which scientific research is performed.
IV. The argument for a designer stems from lack of knowledge and imagination. Just because we cannot visualize how natural selection could have led to a particular organ doesn’t meant that it could never have happened. It just means that we haven’t had our consciousness raised to assimilate the power of natural selection.
All of us have the knowledge that well-designed things have a designer. And all of us can imagine, if we want to, that even those well-designed things for which we never saw a designer in action must also have a designer.
There is no demonstrable proof that natural selection has led any new design at all, what to speak of any complex designs. All that has been demonstrated is that natural selection leads to variation within pre-existing designs. A dog can become bigger or smaller by breeding or perhaps by natural selection, but it remains a dog; it never becomes an elephant, as far as human observation has seen. To say that it has happened in the past when there were no humans is also not proven by the fossil record. To claim unseen evidence to prove an unproven thory; that destroys science.
And even if somebody could imagine some mechanism involving natural selection by which certain complex features in some organisms came up, that doesn’t at all prove that it happened that day. That is imagination at work, not science at work.
And to say that “we haven’t had our consciousness raised to assimilate the power of natural selection” is just a demand for blind faith phrased in pseudo-scientific language. When a religionist says “you haven’t had your consciousness raised to assimilate the power of God,” that’s considered unscientific. But when a scientist says more or less the same thing, that’s “scientific.” Simply self-serving double standards.
There are millions of examples of designer leading to design, but none of natural selection leading to a new design.
V. To bring in God to explain the design of what science can’t explain is the classic “god-of-the-gaps” fallacy. As science progresses, the place for God decreases, till ultimately he has no place left for him.
God is needed not just to explain what science cannot explain, but also to explain what science claims to have explained. For example, scientists say that earlier people thought that God moved the planets, but now we know it’s gravity that moves them. But gravity is not the explanation of a phenomenon; it is just the name given to an observed phenomenon.
Newton himself stressed that his theory was only a numerical description of observable effects, and he deliberately made no hypotheses about underlying causes. He spoke of gravitation as “action at a distance,” but the idea of a force acting mysteriously across empty space seemed abhorrent to Newton and other scientists, both in his day and the present. Thus the history of physics in the 18th and 19th centuries was marked by many attempts to explain gravitation through some kind of interaction of substances or particles moving through space. Unfortunately, all of these attempts were unsuccessful (Jaki, S., The Relevance of Physics (Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 77-78).
So, God is the God-of-everything, and the god-of-the-gaps argument is based on misrepresenting scientific explanatory power.