Can Evolution Explain the Appearance of Design in Biology?

evolutionThe “appearance of design” in biological organisms is rather uncontroversial, even amongst atheists who reject the existence of a Designer. Richard Dawkins would be the first to agree: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Many other scientists affirm this observation and extend it to include the larger ecosystems in which many symbiotic organisms are dependent on one another for their survival. Smith College professor of biological sciences, Robert Dorit says, “The apparent fit between organisms seems to suggest some higher intelligence at work, some supervisory gardener bringing harmony and color to the garden.” For scientists looking for an explanation within the “garden” to avoid the inference of an external “supervisory gardener,” this appearance of design is difficult to explain.

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Can We Eliminate the Problem of Free Will By Redefining It?

Free agency presents a problem for atheistic naturalists who try to explain it from “inside the room” of the natural universe. In my book, God’s Crime Scene, I examine eight pieces of evidence in the universe to determine if the best explanation for these evidences are found “inside” or “outside” the “room”. Free agency is one of the eight evidences I investigate. Materialistic atheists must address an important dilemma: according to their worldview, we live in a physical universe in which natural laws act on matter over time, yet we have the persistent, practical experience of making what appear to be free choices as we love, reason and make moral judgments. We also condemn or praise each other as though our choices and decisions are our own. How are we to reconcile the material, deterministic nature of the universe with our own experience of free will and responsibility?
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What Does God Look Like?

I’ve been thinking about God lately, but not like I usually do. Normally I think about who God is, what He does, what He has written, that kind of stuff. But lately I’ve been thinking about what God looks like. I know, you’re not supposed to do that.

Besides that commandment about not making an image of God in any form, the Bible tells us God is spirit, so there’s no physicality to Him. All of the talk in Scripture about God’s eyes, feet, hands, arms, etc. are anthropomorphisms. It’s the writers applying human traits to God so we better understand Him. But in no way is that to suggest that God has a physical body. Still, we humans can’t help but try to imagine what God looks like. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Artists have been portraying God for centuries, the most famous being Michelangelo’s gigantic creation painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where God’s finger is touching Adam’s finger. God is old and white-haired and pretty buff.

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Yet Another Way the Existence of Consciousness Demonstrates the Existence of God

Can atheistic naturalism explain the existence of consciousness? I don’t think so, and in my book, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold Case Detective Examines the Evidence for A Divinely Created Universe, I illustrate the problem naturalism has trying to account for the mind from “inside the room” of the natural universe. There’s a reason why atheist philosophers have labeled the topic, “The Problem of Mind” or “The Mind / Body Problem”. Atheistic materialism simply cannot offer an adequate explanation for the existence of consciousness, even though this single feature of our existence is perhaps the most obvious and commonly experienced. How does immaterial consciousness emerge in an entirely material universe governed by nothing more than space, time, matter and the laws of physics and chemistry?

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The Problem of Evil Is Often A Problem of Understanding

In God’s Crime Scene, I make a robust cumulative case for the existence of God from eight pieces of evidence in the universe. Evidence that points toward a particular conclusion (or suspect) is described as inculpating evidence, and evidence that points away from the same conclusion (or suspect) is called exculpating evidence. Given the abundance of inculpating evidence pointing to a Divine Creator (as described in God’s Crime Scene), it’s reasonable to conclude this is the best explanation for the first cause of the universe. But many believe the existence of evil presents a problem for our case. While evil is only a single piece of exculpating evidence relative to the many other inculpating evidences we’ve discovered, it is not an insignificant piece of data. Professor of Metaphysics, Robin Le Poidevin, describes the problem in the following way:

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Yet Another Reason to Believe Our Finite Universe Points to the Existence of God

If our universe had a beginning (if all space, time and matter came into existence from nothing), it is a finite universe. If our universe is finite (if it isn’t eternally old), we are obligated to look for its first cause, given the Principle of Causality (which affirms the fact that every effect, everything that begins, everything that is finite, and everything that is limited has a cause). But what kind of cause could account for the beginning of all space, time and matter? This kind of cause would, by necessity and definition, be an uncaused, non-spatial, a-temporal and non-material first cause. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it?
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Why the Information in Our DNA Points to the Existence of God

The more we learn about the origin of life in our universe, the more reasonable the case for God’s existence. The building blocks of life (proteins, ribosomes, enzymes etc.) are formed at the direction of specific nucleotide sequencing in DNA, the largest molecule known. In humans, DNA contains as many as 10 billion atoms. The adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine bases in DNA are linked in a particular order to form the genetic code containing the master plan for every organism. The information in DNA guides and instructs the formation of proteins; without it, protein formation would be a haphazard, hit-or-miss proposal. The nucleic sequence in DNA is informational.
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A 7 Day Bible Reading Plan to Help You Study the Evidence for God

When I first began investigating the reliability of the New Testament Gospels, I found myself at an important philosophical crossroads. As I employed my skills as a cold-case detective to the claims of the gospel eyewitnesses, I grew increasingly confident in their trustworthy nature. The four-part template I typically used to assess eyewitnesses was particularly helpful in this regard. The gospels passed in every aspect of my testing (this investigative journey is chronicled in Cold-Case Christianity). But I still had a problem. Although I was convinced the authors were truly present to see what they reported (or like Luke and Mark, had access to those who were truly present), could be corroborated by outside evidence, hadn’t been altered over the years and were free of bias, I was still dismissive of the supernatural elements present in the accounts. I rejected the claims of miraculous healings and deeds, and I certainly denied the Resurrection of Jesus. As an atheist and philosophical naturalist, I believed the Gospels were a form of historical fiction; a fanciful work rooted in a few historical truths. At this point in my investigation, I decided to take one last additional step. I decided to investigate my own philosophical naturalism.

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Why the Beginning of the Universe Cannot Be Explained from “Inside the Room” (FREE Bible Insert)

I’ve learned something important in the many homicide trials I’ve worked over the years: There’s always more than one way to explain evidence. Jurors are asked to evaluate two different interpretations of the evidence they’ve been presented, and they’re usually asked to assess two completely different theories related to the crime. While the Standard Cosmological Model (describing a universe with a beginning) is still the dominant theory among cosmologists and physicists, a number of competing ideas have been offered to describe the origin of the universe. Some of these explanations would allow us to stay “inside the room” of the universe to explain its existence, others would not. Do any of these alternatives disprove the reasonable inference the universe had a beginning, however? No. Sitting in criminal trials over the years, I’ve come to recognize three critical liabilities common to faulty arguments: They are either (1) unsupported by the evidence, (2) have erroneously redefined critical aspects of the data, or (3) suffer from logical contradictions. In an effort to explain the evidence we’ve described in the universe, scientists looking for an alternative to the Standard Cosmological Argument have considered a number of possibilities over the years. They’ve asked some important questions, but their answers and explanations suffer from the liabilities I’ve observed in my criminal trials:
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The End of the World?

Throughout history there have been different “signs” that pointed to the end of the world. At least that’s how people (and by “people” we mean wacky futurists) have often interpreted them. For example:
  • In 1774, the Shakers came to America from England because they believed the thousand-year reign of Christ (called the millennium) was imminent. The Shakers were “fanatically anti-sex “ (no matter they built such great furniture), which was consistent with their end-of-the-world beliefs. After all, procreation doesn’t mean all that much if the world is coming to an end.
  • In 1970 Hal Lindsey’s prophetic guide to end times, The Late Great Planet Earth, was first published. Lindsey never actually set a date for the end of the world, but his book suggested it would take place before 1988, or forty years after Israel became a nation. The book sold ten million copies in the 1970s alone.
  • In 1978, Jim Jones ordered members of his cult to commit suicide because “it was time.” Tragically, more than 900 hundred people drank the Kool Aid.
  • In 1988 thousands of people bough a booklet entitled 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. The book went out of print on January 1, 1989, and the author hasn’t been heard from since (big surprise).
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