Disclaimer: Before I share, I would like to establish that there is other evidence for God through science that will not be mentioned here (possibly in a later post). Many of these arguments are not conclusive to the existence of God on their own, rather together they make a reasonable and compelling argument for God’s existence. If you are eager for more information, then search Intelligent Design (ID); also on my book page I have a review of a book by Sean McDowell and William Dembski “Understanding Intelligent Design.”
I had the privilege of speaking to high schoolers and answering the question “Is there scientific evidence for God?” in a series called Hard Questions. The students spent time handing out cards at school for students to write down any question they might have about Christianity. After several weeks, the most common questions were addressed on a Wednesday night and anyone was invited.
The obstacle in answering this question is time and information. I mention time because there is so much to be said about the topic that one short session is not long enough. Also, the information that can be gathered through articles, books, podcasts, etc. are so overwhelming that it would be too much to throw upon anyone one person.
In light of the above statements, I decided to make the answer to the question succinct and memorable. I chose four arguments, simplified them, and put it into a mnemonic device.
The dictionary defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” As you can see science relies upon the observation of the physical world. Many might say since God is supernatural, then He is not part of the scientific realm. However, Romans 1:18-21 declares, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” God may be “unseen”, but since He is the Creator of the world in which we do our science, then obviously His creation reflects Him. (However, I must say this does not mean I believe empirical evidence is the only means by which we can know something. I believe that there are many aspects of life that can not be known through the five sense that are equally as valid.)
The acronym is FLIC: Fine Tuning, Laws of Thermodynamics, Irreducible Complexity, and the Cosmological Argument.
As Stephen Hawking has noted, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. […] The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” Many scientists, including Stephen Hawking, will openly admit that many aspects of our world is finely tuned (or adjusted) so that we can have life on Earth. The probability of these finely tuned aspects of our Earth occurring by chance is astronomically unlikely. This is the case for even just a couple of the finely tuned aspects of our Earth, let alone many. For example:
1. Robin Collins, in Case for a Creator, mentions that the fine-tuning of cosmological constant, the energy density of empty space (part of Einstein’s equation for General Relativity), has conservatively been estimated to be one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion, or a ten with fifty-three zeroes. Collins also gives an illustration of how finely tuned it is: “Put it this way… Let’s say you were way out in space and were going to throw a dart at random toward the Earth. It would be like successfully hitting a bull’s eye that’s one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter. That’s less than the size of one solitary atom.”
2. Calculations indicate that if the strong nuclear force, the force that binds
protons and neutrons together in an atom, had been stronger or weaker by as little as 5%, life would be impossible. (Leslie, 1989, pp. 4, 35; Barrow and Tipler, p. 322.)
3. Calculations by Brandon Carter show that if gravity had been stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, then life-sustaining stars like the sun could not exist. This would most likely make life impossible. (Davies, 1984, p. 242.)
Counter-Argument: Those who are against Intelligent Design would make the argument for the multiverse theory. The argument is that if there are many universes, then it is likely that at some point there would be a planet that would suit life from an evolutionary stand point (again probability; unlikely probability).
Rebuttal: Science is based on empirical evidence, and there is no evidence -only speculation- that there are multiple universes. Until that is proven there is not validity in the argument; the burden of proof is on the one who claims multiverse.
Laws of Thermodynamics
Cengel and Boles say, “[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe.”
The First Law of Thermodynamics says energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another. This principle, also known as the “conservation of energy principle” can be demonstrated by the burning of a piece of wood. When the wood is burned, it is transformed into a different state. The original amount of energy present before the burning is still present. However, much of that energy was transformed into a different state, namely, heat. No energy disappeared from the Universe, and no energy was brought into the Universe through burning the wood. Knowing this law, which is accepted by scientists, for the Universe to come out of nothing (Big Bang), breaks the First Law. If this is the case, then an Outside Force must have brought it into existence, and God is the most reasonable.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics builds on the first, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable or the world is constantly getting more disorderly. We call it entropy. The Universe cannot exist forever. This shows that matter and energy are not eternal; rather there was a beginning. Meaning there had to be a First Cause (See Cosmological Argument).
Irreducible complexity can be defined as, “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” This an argument originated from a Biochemist professor, Michael Behe.
Michael Behe uses the bacterial flagellum as an example. It contains a molecular motor that requires each of the 40 complex protein parts. Behe says that the absence of any one of these proteins would cause the function of the flagella to fail. If the flagellum engine were to be reduced in its complexity to earlier and simpler stages of its evolutionary development, then the organism functions improperly.
On the other hand, these complex systems in biological organisms (like the motor in a bacterial flagellum) would not survive in a Darwinian evolutionary process. Darwinian natural selection preserves things that perform a function, or help the organism survive (survival of the fittest). The problem at hand is that irreducibly complex systems perform no function until all the parts are present and working together. Natural selection can only preserve these complex organisms once they’ve been built, and it is highly unlikely by mere chance that evolution could take such a huge leap as to create the whole system at once. Anyways, evolution claims gradual change over time.
It seems a logical conclusion would be these complex biological organisms point to an Intelligent Designer, and I would like to prepose that the most reasonable canidate would be the God of the Bible.
The Cosmological Argument is connected to the discussion from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It showed that energy is not eternal, which means the cause of the beginning of the Universe could not have occurred by energy that was eternal. The Cosmological Argument (by William Lane Craig) suggests that there must have been a cause for the Universe.
Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
The Universe began to exist.
Therefore, the Universe had a cause.
In the case of the Universe, it must be an uncaused cause or we would have an infinite regression of causes. Many scientists agree that there had to be an uncaused cause or at least a cause for the Universe. However, many would say they do not know “yet” and often don’t see it as an essential issue (Dawkins says this in the documentary Expelled). I, on the other hand, see the beginning of all that we know as extremely important. A reasonable answer to the uncaused cause is God, who needs no cause, and also has the power and ability to create the Universe. Alongside of that, much of what we know about the world around us points toward an Intelligent Designer.
I hope that the information above sheds new light on a difficult topic for you. Even if this is not something you readily accept, I do hope that it is thought provoking and you will consider it with an open mind. Feel free to put your comments, but please make sure they are not rude or crude. I want intellectually stimulating conversation and not a full out “fist fight” argument. Below are some resources for anyone who wants to read more about some of the arguments from above and others.
Lee Strobel “Case for a Creator”
Articles by Michael Behe (Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University)
Science Articles at Stand to Reason
Design Inference (William Dembski)
If God Made The World, Then Who Made God?
Intelligent Design Podcast
Apologetics and Intelligent Design
or go to my link section and anyone of the given sites will have more information about science and God, Intelligent Design, or any of the arguments I mentioned.