(Published in GralsWelt 40/2006)
In the Grail World 32/28 we have under the heading "The big bang as proof of God”(Under“ Science ”), spoken of the anthropic principle and also mentioned that some natural processes suggest the idea that a more comprehensive guideline can be expected behind the diverse forms of nature; that chance as a development principle - i.e. the Darwinian approach of mutation and selection - cannot be sufficient to understand the development of the universe or of life on earth.
“Today we are pretty much in agreement and on the physical side of science almost completely in agreement that the flow of knowledge flows towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe is starting to look more like a big thought than a big machine. "
The English mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans (1877-1946).
The world - intelligently constructed?
From such considerations a scientific dispute has developed in which two camps face each other:
On the one hand, the representatives of the theory of "Intelligent Design" (ID), on the other hand, the majority of the scientific authorities who still adhere to the neo-Darwinian development model as the only plausible explanation for the development of life.
The theory of “Intelligent Design” is published, for example, in the USA by the “Discovery Institute” (DI). It emphasizes that it is not religiously bound, and neither committed to the Bible nor to creationism.
According to this institute
"Includes the theory of intelligent design that various properties of the universe and of living beings can best be explained by an intelligent cause, not by indirect processes such as natural selection"(6).
It is said about evolution:
“If evolution is understood to mean 'change over time', or even that living things descend from common ancestors, then there is no fundamental conflict between the theory of evolution and the 'intelligent design' theory. The dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which says that evolution comes about through natural selection and random mutations; a pointless process with no particular direction or goal ... It is this specific requirement of neo-Darwinism that the 'intelligent design' theory contradicts. " (7).
The arguments of the advocates of “intelligent design” are partially taken over by Christian fundamentalists, who still cling to the biblical creation story as a reliable source. B. call for a change in the curricula of state schools.
In the United States, this dispute has reached a considerable level. Conservative parties support the believers in the Bible, in some states Darwinian evolutionary theory may no longer be taught unreservedly, and school book publishers are concerned about how they can avoid or at least defuse this topic in their books. One feels almost transported back to the year 1925, when the infamous Scopes Trial took place, in which a teacher who taught Darwinian principles was convicted.
Unexpected, presumably undesirable allies in this new edition of the struggle between science and book religion are found by Bible-believing Christians in anti-evolutionist movements of fundamentalist Muslims, who also reject the Darwinist approach.
What are the arguments in favor of the theory of “intelligent design”?
Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leigh University, coined the term “irreductible complex”. He understands it
“A single system of different, coordinated and interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, the removal of one of these parts renders the system inoperative”.
To make this idea clear to laypeople as well, he uses the example of a mousetrap to show that even this simple device only works if all components are coordinated with one another and assembled in the right way. Even the failure or inadequate execution of a single part impairs the function and makes the entire construction useless.
If all parts of a device as simple as a mousetrap have to fit together exactly, what about the innumerable, far more complex functions that run precisely on each other even in the simplest living being?
Behe points out that Darwin could not yet know anything about biochemistry, and gives examples from his area of expertise, such as human blood coagulation, which cannot have originated from blood coagulation systems of a simpler kind, or the cilium (hair-like structures on the cell surface for metabolism), and the like (1 and 5).
Behe is well aware that
“The proof that a system is irreducibly complex does not yet prove that it cannot have come into being in a step-by-step, gradual way. Although an irreducibly complex system cannot arise directly, the possibility of an indirect, extensive development cannot be ruled out.
However, as the complexity of an interacting system increases, the likelihood of an indirect path decreases profoundly. And since the number of as yet unexplained, irreducible complex systems is increasing, our trust that Darwin's criteria are sufficient is far above the maximum that the natural sciences allow. " (5).
Behe's conclusion is:
“For a person who does not feel obliged to limit their research to non-intelligent causes, the most obvious conclusion is that many biochemical systems are constructed ... The assumption of 'intelligent design' follows naturally from the measurement results themselves not from holy books or sectarian beliefs. The conclusion that biochemical systems must be designed by an intelligently acting force is an everyday process that does not require any new principles of logic or science. It comes quite simply from the hard work of the biochemists over the past forty years, together with the consideration of the method by which we come to constructive solutions every day ”. (5).
The Darwinists do not give up
With his conclusion, Behe violates "Paragraph 1" of the "scientific beliefs", which strictly demands that no "extra-scientific", "immaterial", i.e. no causes that cannot be proven by scientific means may be taken into account.
Therefore, the theory of “intelligent design” will hardly find recognition as a scientific theory, since it seems impossible to prove or disprove it. Unlike Darwin's theory of evolution, for which a lot of evidence has been collected, which shows that mutation and selection occur in living nature and are at least responsible for small variations in living things.
Evolutionists like the biologist Kenneth Miller of Brown University accordingly strongly reject the theory of "intelligent construction" and try to refute the examples given by Behe. These are complicated biochemical considerations that are primarily accessible to experts.
Miller comes to the view that the biological systems cited by Behe as evidence for the theory of “intelligent design” are very well composed of subsystems that may have arisen on evolutionary paths. Nature would then assemble these subsystems into higher-order systems in a way that is well explained by the neo-Darwinian approach. (3 & 8).
Construction or function?
For the time being, the scientific debate about the theory of “intelligent design” seems to be undecided, especially since so far there have only been outsiders who admit to this approach. The support of religious fundamentalists and sectarians is likely to make it more difficult for these researchers to get their ideas across.
Both groups - evolutionists and representatives of ID - see the wonders of life. When asked how these miracles came about, however, they provide different answers:
The theory of "intelligent design" assumes that something had to be constructed (mousetrap) that was supposed to fulfill a certain function. The focus here is on construction, which, according to general experience, requires an intelligent being, a constructor, and ultimately a creator.
For Darwinists, on the other hand, there must be no “constructor” of the universe. Although they also recognize the need for a certain function (e.g. blood coagulation), they assume that building blocks that have already been developed in the course of evolution put themselves together "by themselves" in such a way that they were able to fulfill the required function, or that they themselves Function then "resulted". Based on the prevailing scientific doctrine, it is considered so unlikely that an intelligence unknown to us will contribute to this process that one rejects this idea from the outset.
The question that remains, for the time being, is unanswerable: Were (and are there) development goals? Or did everything come about purely by chance - as Darwinists believe - and the conditions with which the evolution of life had to cope were solely the laws of physics and the environment on our planet (which has changed in the course of evolution)?
The longed-for proof of God
Probably none of these approaches is suitable for a (positive or negative) proof of God.
In the 19th century bitter disputes repeatedly pointed out gaps in knowledge in the scientific worldview in order to prove the necessity or correctness of religious belief. Then you had to realize that knowledge gaps could be closed.
When the scope for religious miracles became ever narrower, the word of “God's housing shortage” came up, and finally the conviction largely prevailed that there is no such thing as a “scientific proof of God” and possibly never will. The “Creator of heaven and earth” is too powerful, seems too far removed from our ideas and our thinking, for us to be able to prove or disprove his work with scientific methods.
Also read under "History of religion" the article "Is there God?“
(1) Behe, Michael J., Darwin's Black Box, Free Press, 1996
(2) Focus No. 35, dated August 23, 2004.
(3) Miller, Kenneth R., Finding Darwins God, Harper-Collins, 1999.