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Monday, February 13, 2006

The Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel, part 4

It's been a while since I posted on The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. (Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.) Strobel is really presenting a case for Intelligent Design (ID). The most thorough criticism of the book (almost entirely negative) is here.

I agree with some of the criticism. Strobel is making a case, not examining the evidence in an unbiased manner. The most glaring evidence of that is that he interviews a number of experts (he's a journalist by training) all of them ID advocates. Surprise! They think ID is the explanation for how the universe began, and how life began.

This is my position on ID, quoted from my post of September 26, 2005: "Lest there be any doubt, I believe that there is an omnipotent God, and that He was directly involved in the origin of the universe, of living things, and of humans, and that at least some attributes of the way things are were designed by God. If that makes me an IDer, then I am one." Most IDers, including, I am confident, Strobel, would go further, and say two things I am not so sure of. The first is that ID is subject to scientific proof. The second is that it should be taught in public school science classes.

(I also refer you to a series of posts, entitled "I believe in evolution. So do you!." The first is here, the second here, and the third here. In this series, I ask that "evolution" be defined carefully. I indicate that some meanings of what is called evolution should be uncontroversial, and that some meanings are not scientific at all, and should be considered as philosophical or theological, and that the most important content of Genesis 1:1 is Who created, not when, how, or why.)

The middle part of the book consists of interviews on cosmology, physics and astronomy. Here, if anything, the case for design is stronger than it is for the existence of life. One of the experts that Strobel calls for an interview is Robin Collins. Among other things, Strobel quotes Collins as mentioning Martin Rees, interviewed about his book Why is There Life, in Discover Magazine (hardly a bastion of ID doctrine) who said that "The universe is unlikely. Very unlikely. Deeply, shockingly unlikely." (emphasis in original) Rees, an astronomer, says that there are six fundamental constants with values that allow for life to exist as we know it. If their values were just a little different, we wouldn't be here to write and read this.

But, of course, that's the rub. I think the universe was designed. Strobel certainly does. But, to me, the seeming unlikelihood of us being here, or, to put it another way, does not prove design. For one thing, you could postulate that, if the constants Rees mentions were somewhat different, there would be different kinds of beings considering such cosmic questions. Perhaps beings not based on Carbon, for example. Perhaps beings tolerant of much more heat than we can take, or of extreme cold, or high or low gravity. They, too, might see the properties of their universe as pointing toward design.

My late father probably produced billions of sperm during his lifetime. All of them were probably different genetically. I am here because one particular sperm fertilized an egg from my mother. There were the many kinds of eggs my mother could have produced, and the small chance of my parents, who were from different states, meeting and falling in love. If someone could have sensibly asked the question, say in 1920, before my parents met: "what is the probability that a person with the genetic qualities of Martin LaBar will exist?" the answer would have been extremely small. Yet here I am. I'm trying to say that we must be very careful of arguments from probability. Belief in God as creator comes by faith (Hebrews 11:3).

Even is we can't scientifically prove God's activity, we who believe should rejoice in God's ability and choice to design the universe as he did.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Julana said...

Maybe he's not talking about proving, but about probability, or at least consistency with belief in ID.