Intelligent Design of the Universe


The search for knowledge about the origin of humanity is as
old as its inhabitants. Since the early 1800's mankind has
narrowed the debate to creation by a Supreme Being and the
theory of evolution. Ever since then, science has been at
odds against religion. Now it appears that science is
returning to religion. Scientists are finding proof that
the universe was created by a Supreme Being. The word
evolution refers to the change of something over a period
of time(Webster's 634). In biology, the theory of evolution
is "the complex of processes by which living organisms
originated on earth and have been diversified and modified
through sustained changes in form and function"(Valentine).
This theory proposes that between 4 million and 10 million
years ago, all organisms on earth had a common ancestor and
that through a process of evolution, all living organisms
descended from this common ancestor(Coyne). Chevalier de
Lamarck, a French naturalist proposed a theory of evolution
in 1809. His idea did not get much scientific consideration
until Charles R. Darwin announced his theory of
evolution(Coyne). Darwin published "his most famous book,
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural
Selection"(Valentine) in 1859. Darwin stated that offspring
resemble their parents, yet they are not exactly identical
to them. He also noted that some of these differences were
not effects of their environment, but actually were passed
down from parents to children(Valentine). 

Darwin is the most well known scientist to write on
evolution. There are many different variations on the
theory of evolution. Darwin states that natural selection
is the main reason for the evolution of life. The fight for
food, water and other necessities benefits those creatures
who are well adapted for the struggle. Those that cannot
survive, die with no offspring to continue their genetic
line. Natural selection is also called survival of the
fittest. Another related idea to evolution is gradualism.
"Gradualism is the idea that evolutionary changes do not
occur suddenly but over large amounts of time, ranging from
decades to millions of years"(Coyne). Genetic drift is
another way that scientists define evolution. When two of a
species mate, their offspring gets 23 chromosomes from both
parents. When a gene does not split and combine correctly,
a mutation occurs. This mutation will get passed down from
the creature to its offspring. In this way a species can
permanently be changed(Coyne). 

Scientists who have accepted the general theory of
evolution as fact disagree among themselves about the ratio
of importance between natural selection and genetic drift.
They also disagree about what caused the apparent gaps in
fossil layers. New species "abruptly"(Valentine) appear in
the fossil record with no apparent mutation from another
species, then remain unchanged for long periods of time.
They do not seem to exhibit the gradual changes that would
be expected by modern evolutionists(Valentine). 

Many people, including those in the scientific community,
do not accept the theory of evolution as fact. When Darwin
was alive, his theory was attacked by many scientists and
religious leaders(Coyne). In the 1900's, United States
public high schools began teaching evolution in science
classes. By the 1920's, laws in twenty states to ban the
teaching of evolution in public schools had been proposed
by people who did not want their children being
indoctrinated. "They considered the teaching of the theory
to be part of a dangerous trend toward the separation of
religious beliefs from everyday life"(Coyne). Several of
the proposed laws were passed into effect in states
including Arkansas and Tennessee. "The ACLU challenged the
Tennessee law in 1925 by defending a teacher named John T.
Scopes, who had volunteered to stand trial on the charge of
teaching evolution"(Coyne). The ACLU lost the case but
because of bad press, creationists appeared ignorant to
science. However, in 1968 the Supreme Court of the United
States "ruled that laws banning the teaching of evolution
were unconstitutional because they made religious
considerations part of the curriculum"(Coyne). The courts
continue to give rulings on creation and evolution in
schools, some have come as recently as 1987(Coyne). The
fight to keep evolution out of the classroom is still
persevering. Those who are pushing to keep evolution out of
the public schools are primarily creationists. Creation is
the belief that a Supreme Being created the universe and
all its contents from nothing (Vawter). Many different
people have believed different stories of how and why this
was accomplished. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are a few
of the major faiths that teach Creation.
There are many differences in what different people
believe. Many Jews and Christians with a literal
interpretation of the Bible or the Pentateuch, the first
five books of the Bible, believe that God created the
universe and all that is in it in six 24 hour days. They
believe that each species on earth has remained relatively
the same since the Creation. These people "base their
beliefs on the Bible"(Eve) and some use fossil evidence of
long consistencies and abrupt changes(Valentine). Others
believe that God created everything, but not in six days.
Still others believe that God created the universe by
lighting the fuse: the big bang was God's way of creating
the universe. Many people have gone in search for proof
that the universe was created by a Supreme Being. The case
for Intelligent Design was argued by Reverend William Paley
of Carlisle, England in his 1802 book, "Natural Theology".
Take, for instance, a rock and a watch. How old are the two
objects? The rock has "remained more or less the same
perhaps since the earth was formed"(Miller 24). The watch
is different because of the intricate gears, springs and
parts. It was produced with a specific design and knowledge
of the watchmaker, and watchmakers have not been around
forever. Paley knew "there cannot be design without a
designer; contrivance without a contriver.... The marks of
design are too strong to be disregarded. Design must have
had a designer. That designer must have been a being. That
being is God"(Miller). 

Paley's examples are understandable examples that form "a
line of reasoning known as the 'argument from
design'"(Miller). Even some evolutionists have come to
realize that humanity is not an accident, even if they
disagree with the six, 24 hour days belief. The Anthropic
Principle is based on so called "technical observations
about the evolution of the universe since the Big
Bang"(Glynn 28). This principle has concluded that not only
was the creation of the universe not an accident, but "the
existence of human life is something for which the entire
universe appears to have been intricately fine-tuned from
the start"(28). This principle is based on universal
constants such as Planck's constant and the gravitational
constant. It started out as a list of coincidences, but as
the list grew the more it appeared as if the universe had
been designed for humanity to exist(29). 

The second law of thermodynamics has been extensively
studied by scientists and people as another proof of
creation. The second law of thermodynamics can be stated:
"The thermodynamic principle which governs the behavior of
systems is that, as they are moved away from equilibrium,
they will utilize all avenues available to counter the
applied gradients. As the applied gradients increase, so
does the system's ability to oppose further movement from
equilibrium" (Schneider 30). In every system, the entropy,
or disorder, will increase, not decrease. The following is
one of a number of different analogies to simplify this
law. There is a box with ten equal compartments. Ten
thousand marbles are released into one compartment. If the
box is randomly shaken, it is expected that the marbles
would pass through the open doors in each compartment and
there would be approximately 1000 marbles in each
compartment. It is highly improbable, yet not impossible
that if the box continued to be shaken randomly, that all
the marbles would go back into the same compartment they
started in(28). The second law of thermodynamics is an
excellent argument for creation. Creationists stand in "awe
of the perfection of the earth... If it were a little
farther away from the sun the entire planet would be one
gigantic Antarctica; if it were a little closer, it would
be one continuous Sahara Desert. Earth's placement is
precise; and that, my friends, is not a result of
chance"(Limbaugh 154). There are infinite numbers of
variables. If one were changed just slightly, like the
distance from the sun, Earth would be uninhabitable and
humans would not exist. This preciseness leads these people
to use the second law of thermodynamics as an argument. An
ordered world like Earth could not exist in a universe that
was created by an explosion. Humanity itself is a good
example for creation. The differences between other animals
in nature and humans are vast. However, many evolutionists
claim that we are animals ourselves. Jonathan Swift shows
the absurdity of this comparison in the fourth book of
Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver is living between two
extremes: the reason based Houyhnhms and the savage Yahoos.
Gulliver tries so hard to fit in with the Houyhnhms, or
horses. They "conclude that Gulliver 'must be a perfect
Yahoo'"(Suits 116), yet Gulliver believes that he is more
Houyhnhm. This struggle can represent the origin struggle.
The evolutionists say that humans were once like the
Yahoos, but by saying that humanity evolved because of a
haphazard accident, they are claiming that humans are now
the superior being in the universe. They claim we are like
the Houyhnhms(Sagan). Humans are not like that. The
Houyhnhms are divorced of passion. "They have no shame, no
temptations, no conception of sin"(Williams 62). Marriage
is "'one of the necessary actions in a reasonable
being'"(63). These definitely do not identify humanity.
Gulliver "understands none of this"(72). Humans have the
ability to use reason and humans have certain inherent
desires that cannot be reasonably explained: love,
marriage, and a sense of right and wrong. Still the debate
continues. It seems "the double standard at work here is
breathtaking"(Glynn 32). Scientists who believe in
evolution are free to use detailed accounts of what
happened 4 billion years ago and base it on Darwin(Sagan).
"But the moment scientists begin marshaling rather
considerable and persuasive evidence for the opposite case,
their speculation risks being branded by colleagues as
'unscientific'"(Glynn 32). This parallels the third book of
Gulliver's Travels. The ways of the respected Laputan
people were very precise, according to Gulliver. All their
wise men reject what seems obviously the best way to
perform a task(Williams 49). Members of the Academy are
seen trying to weave with spider web and make ice into
gunpowder(Swift 196). Such acts of stupidity are Swift's
attack on the Royal Society of England in Swift's time;
however they apply perfectly to many of the scientists who
reject what they do not want to see. 

The argument about the origin of the universe will
definitely continue. There will be those who argue both
sides until this world comes to its end. To what extent
people believe the Biblical teachings or what some
scientists teach is a personal decision. Darwin concluded
his book: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its
several powers, having been originally breathed by the
Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this
planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of
gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most
beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being
evolved"(Miller 32). The more science seems to dig and
research about the origins of humanity, the less likely it
is that Earth and all the creatures on it were an accident.
All the precision, consistency and detail point to a
universal architect, a Supreme Being, God.
Coyne, Jerry A. "Evolution." World Book. CD-ROM
Eve, Raymond A. "Creationism" World Book. CD-ROM
Glynn, Patrick. "Beyond The Death of God." National Review
May 6,1996:28-32.
Limbaugh, Rush. The Way Things Ought to Be. New York:Pocket
Books, 1992.
Miller, Kenneth R. "Life's Grand Design." Technology
Review. Feb./March 1994:24-32
CD-ROM. 1996 SIRS. SIRS 1994 Life Science. Article 59
Sagan, Carl. "Snowflakes Fallen on the Hearth: The
Evolution of the Earth." Planetary Report. Jan./Feb.
CD-ROM. 1996 SIRS. SIRS 1994 Earth Science. Article 53
Schneider, E.D, Kay, J.J. "Life as a Manifestation of the
Second Law of Thermodynamics." Mathematical and Computer
Modeling 1994: 25-48.
Suits, Conrad. "The Role of the Horsesin 'A Voyage to the
Houyhnhnms.'" Modern Critical Interpretations, Jonathan
Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Ed. Harold Bloom. New
York:Chelsea. 116-125
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. New York:Penguin,1960.
Valentine, James W. "Evolution." Encarta. CD-ROM. Microsoft
Vawter, Rev. Bruce. "Creation." Encarta. CD-ROM. Microsoft
Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary. Second Edition.
Williams, Kathleen. "Animal Rationis Capax." Modern
Critical Interpretations, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's
Travels. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York:Chelsea. 37-82

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