TO HUME IT MAY CONCERN…
It is primarily due to the arguments of 18th-century English philosopher David Hume that science has largely dismissed any argument for design in the universe.
As a materialist, Hume argued that the universe was a result of chance rather than of intentional design. He believed miracles were impossible because they couldn’t be subjected to scientific verification.
Hume’s arguments refuting intelligent design have been extremely effective in persuading scientists that all events in the world are from chance alone. Hume’s basic logic is as follows:
1. The world is ordered.
2. This is due to either chance or design.
3. It is very possible that the world came about by chance.
Hume had several other arguments against design, but according to mathematician William Dembski, he used faulty logic. “Hume incorrectly analyzed the logic of the design argument, for the design argument is, properly speaking, neither an argument from analogy nor an argument from induction but an inference to the best explanation.”13
Although Hume’s influence on science has been pervasive, he lived in a day when astronomy was in its infancy and the prevalent theory favored an eternal universe. He wasn’t aware of the big bang theory that points to a beginner, or the design implications of fine-tuning.
The recently discovered fine-tuning of the cosmos has compelled even the most ardent materialists to consider the possibility of intelligent design. What is the best explanation for the fine-tuning? When Hawking first realized that the universe couldn’t be a mere coincidence, he related to a reporter, “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like a big bang, are enormous. … I think clearly there are religious implications whenever you start to discuss the origins of the universe.”14
Davies concurs. “It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. … The impression of design is overwhelming.”15
Some scientists, such as Hawking, are uncomfortable with the obvious religious implications. But cosmologist Edward Harrison speaks for others who respond to the evidence for the fine-tuning by clearly stating the obvious:
Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God. … The fine-tuning of the universe
provides prima facie evidence of deistic design.
Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one. …
Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the … design argument.16
Few scientists believe the precise fine-tuning is merely a coincidence. While some hold to the multi-universe theory, most scientists believe such a speculative theory is beyond the boundaries of science. Many credible scientists have been persuaded by the evidence that our universe is not here by accident but rather is the intentional plan of a super-intelligent being.
Dr. Robert Jastrow is a theoretical physicist who joined NASA when it was formed in 1958. Jastrow helped establish the scientific goals for the exploration of the moon during the Apollo lunar landings. He set up and directed NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which conducts research in astronomy and planetary science. Jastrow wrote these thoughts that summarize the view of many scientists.
For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.
He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.17
Continue reading page 7 of 7 of “Is the Universe a Product of Design or Chance?”