DNA Origin of Life

How many Nobel-prize winning scientists support intelligent design?

I think a lot of young people give up on design in the universe because they 1) don’t know the evidence for design and 2) don’t want to be considered to be stupid when confronted with intelligent atheists. For those people, it can be useful to point them to smart people who have worked through the evidence for design, and concluded that the universe (and life) is the product of design.

Here’s the story from Evolution News:

Earlier this week, John West reported on a major new exhibition on faith and science in Washington, DC, tackling the question of whether the Bible impeded or inspired the rise of modern science. (Judging from the historical record, “inspired” is clearly the correct answer.) In the article, he mentioned another Nobel Prize-winning scientist who endorsed the idea of an intelligent design behind the universe, using that phrase explicitly. This was news to me. He is physicist Arthur Holly Compton — see the slide above, which Dr. West shared from the exhibition.

Compton’s remark was, “The chance of a world such as ours occurring without intelligent design becomes more and more remote as we learn of its wonders.” Interesting. He said that in 1940.

[…]Compton joins fellow Nobel Prize-winning physicists Charles Townes (UC Berkeley) and Brian Josephson (Cambridge University) who have likewise come out for ID as a legitimate interpretation of the scientific evidence. (Townes passed away in 2015.) To those names you could add two more, Sir John B. Gurdon (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) and Gerhard Ertl (Nobel Prize in Chemistry) who, along with Dr. Josephson, endorsed the Discovery Institute Press book by chemist and ID proponent Marcos Eberlin, Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose (2019).

In case you’re wondering what intelligent design is, this simple article is pretty good:

Intelligent design — often called “ID” — is a scientific theory which holds that some features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that intelligent design can be inferred by finding in nature the type of information and complexity which in our experience arises from an intelligent cause.

Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution contend that the information in life arose via blind, mechanistic processes that show no scientific evidence of guidance by intelligent design. ID proponents contend that the information in life does not appear to have an unguided origin, but arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using the standard methods of science. But ID theorists say that when we use the scientific method to explore nature, the evidence points away from blind material causes, and reveals intelligent design.

The cell confirms our expectations from design. Our DNA contains incredible amounts of encoded information. Living cells transform this encoded chemical message into machines which are engineered to perform necessary biochemical functions. The conversion of DNA into protein relies upon a software-like system of commands and biochemical codes.  This is an information processing system which Bill Gates has described as “like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.”

This short video is a good introduction for those who prefer to watch rather than read:

By the way, about that conversation with Josephson. I was walking in the hall with him, and discussing intelligent design. He said “it’s easy to explain complexes sequences that conform to a pattern. I could write a program that would generate the first 100 prime numbers in 3 lines of code.” I told him that I was a software engineer, and that I was familiar with what it takes to “write a simple program”. I said that he would need computer hardware, firmware, an operating system, a compiler, and something to run the program. “And that’s where you’re smuggling in your specified complexity”, I said. I don’t remember what he said, but I’m delighted that he came around eventually.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s