Today I want to look at one of my personal favorite proofs for the existence of God, the Teleological proof or proof from design. One of the reasons this proof is a favorite is that it was the apparent design of the universe that finally convinced the late Antony Flew that God existed. Flew was not ready to accept the God of the Bible but he recognized that there was a designer of the universe. I guess that he could have been described a Deist. Something I admired about Flew is that he went public with his change of mind in the book “There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.” Overnight he went from the darling of the atheists to a senile old man. But he had already accepted the design conclusion in 2004 four years before the book was published and six years before his death.
So what is the teleological argument?
1. Everything that is designed has a designer
2. The universe shows the hallmarks of design
3. Therefore the universe is designed
Our universe seems designed specifically for life and not just life but intelligent life to develop not just on a large scale but in minute details. In fact if any one of a number of things is changed in just a small amount, I would not be here writing this today. So, what is it about the universe that caused one of the leading atheist philosophers to go from atheism to deism?
There have been books written on this subject so I will only look at a few examples of the fine tuning of the universe. Also, I will leave Intelligent Design as it pertains to biology for a later post. First, ff the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as 1 part in 10^60; the universe would have either collapsed back on itself, or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case we would not be here. Next, if the strong nuclear force had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would not be possible. The strong nuclear force is what binds protons and neutrons together. If gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10^40, then stars like the sun could not exist. Once again this could lead to a universe without life.
The planet earth has an orbit that is change slightly would put us out of the so called Goldie locks zone in which life as we know it can exist. That is a planet with liquid water. We live on a planet that has a moon almost as big as our planet that without it life might not be possible. If the tilt of the earth’s axis was different the earth could be too hot or too cold.
If any of these and many other fundamental values in physics or the makeup of the solar system or universe were altered in the smallest amounts life would not be possible. It really looks like everything has been fine not only for life but intelligent life. It is as if we won the lottery. Now the naturalist will say, just because something is highly improbable does not mean it is impossible. They will then bring up how someone always wins a lottery no matter the odds. The problem with the lottery analogy is that there are millions playing the lottery so with multimillion players someone does always will. But in the case of the fine tuned universe it is as if you were the only one playing and bought a single ticket and won on the first drawing.
So how does the naturalist answer, by bringing up the multiverse theories. They theorize that there is not a single universe but millions or billions or an infinite number of universes and we just happen to be in one that supports life while all the others do not. There is a problem with these theories; there is not conceivable way to detect all these other universes. We just have to accept on faith that they are there. Sounds a bit like what they accuse believers in God of doing.
If you are interested in further reading I would recommend Why the Universe Is the Way It Is and More Than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation (Reasons to Believe) both by Hugh Ross or The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies. Also check out the Reasons to Believe web site using the link on the right side of this page or this ling to the Discovery Institute web page here.
I guess it comes down to believing in one God with all the evidence to His existence or believing in infinite universes all with no evidence and no way to get any. Next time I will look at the Moral argument for God. This is the argument that convinced atheist C.S. Lewis to turn from atheism to Christianity.
Have a blessed day,