Why We Care about Design
An interesting new book has appeared which features questions and answers and discussion on design in nature. The author informs us that there are two ways to interpret the amazing details of how creatures survive and reproduce in their environments. Firstly, we can consider if the component parts of the organism, or even a whole organism itself, actually fulfill a purpose. If the characteristics promote the success of the creature, then the answer is yes. Next we can ask ourselves what might be the best explanation for the fit of the creature with its environment. It is the case that people intuitively link such purpose with intelligence planning, declares the author. Thus we can conclude that the creature was designed for its role in nature. Here we see an inescapable example of God`s work of design since design flows from a real designer.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this. He declared that God`s invisible attributes are “clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” (Romans 1:20) Thus this book argues that the multitude of examples of design which we observe, are clearly seen as testimony to God`s work as creator and designer.
There is another approach to design that certain prominent evolutionists promote. These people declare that there is no design to be seen in nature, only apparent design. That means that while characteristics may appear to be designed, they really came about without any intelligent input at all. Rather, the features just happened to appear through the agency of chance processes.
The author of Clearly Seen has set about to help people understand these contrasting views and why the idea of design is important to a Christian worldview. Evolutionists, of course, deny that anything was designed, because otherwise a designer would have been required. The author uses engineering concepts to demonstrate that certain features of organisms (like molecular machines in living cells), did not just appear, but they were carefully chosen to fill a need. And he declares concerning the evolutionary view: “… how do words like ‘appeared’ explain design? Just like magic, the use of this word invokes mysterious power within unseen universes that are capable of leaping over enormous scientific obstacles without having to provide any scientific consideration for how a particular physical result was achieved.” This is not intellectually satisfying.
In this book the discussion of design, broken up into short chapters, concludes that the doctrine of who God is, is based on His work of creation. There then follow questions which go with each chapter, along with detailed answers. The author hopes that the book will be used as a supplement in the classroom or as the basis for a discussion group.
The actual examples of design which were included, such as the bones of the middle ear, conferred more interest and zip to the discussion. I would have liked to have seen more such examples provided. Since the ideas are somewhat abstract, and are best understood when one has some background knowledge in biology, this book is perhaps best suited to high school and adult reading audiences.
Randy J. Guliuzza. (2012). Clearly Seen: Constructing Solid Arguments for Design. Institute for Creation Research. Paperback, full colour.
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