The Teleological argument – the argument from Design - for the existence of God is the most common theistic argument. We find thousands of examples of teleology (purpose): life, consciousness, freewill, the fine-tuning of the laws of the universe (gravity, etc.), the cell, and the genetic code, all of which defy any natural explanation.
The argument goes something like this: Intelligent design requires an intelligent Designer!
Against the many evidences of teleology or design, the atheistic naturalist has countered with "dysteleology." The naturalist believes that natural processes can explain all of the evidences of design. Dysteleology contends that there are many examples that defy intelligent, purposeful design like barren mountainsides, bad design (my bad back), and evil design (earthquakes, bacteria, tsunamis). As intimidating as these examples are, they are little more than mere distractions. Let me try to illustrate.
Imagine that you are part of a space probe to find any evidences of intelligent design on Mars. For a month you battle against the inhospitable Martian weather, and you find absolutely no evidence of intelligent design among the endless rocks and mountainsides. However, on the last day of the probe, you move a rock aside to find a tiny entranceway into the mountainside. There, you find a room containing what looks like book shelves. Upon closer inspection, you find rectangular objects, bound and containing pages upon which you find symbols. They are so regular, you understandably conclude that this is a form of Martian writing.
You run to tell your captain of your find, and he responds:
· "Don't get excited about your finding. This can't prove the existence of intelligent life in the face of all the evidence against intelligent design that we've found during our one month search. In short, we have so much more evidence against intelligent design, that what you've found is of no consequence in comparison."
I hope that this reasoning sounds ridiculous It is! All the evidence that failed to show intelligent design doesn't negate the one piece of evidence in favor of intelligent design. That one piece of evidence must still be naturally explained! Similarly, if you find just one witness who saw John Wilkes Booth shoot Lincoln, this witness shouldn't be invalidated by a thousand who didn't see anything! The testimony of the one witness remains valid even in the face of a million who saw nothing. So too the evidence for intelligent design continues to speak even in the face of many things that fail to show signs of design!
The dysteleology argument for non-design faces other challenges. For one thing, it is difficult to impossible to prove that anything is purposeless and lacks intelligent design. For example, let’s take the human eye. Richard Kleiss was written that:
· In order for our eyes to see, many chemical and electrical must take place in the proper sequence. Even more importantly, these reactions must happen almost simultaneously for us to see what is happening, while it is still happening… Biologists have found that the eye’s photochemistry is so fast that the first reaction in the sequence takes place in approximately 1/5,000,000,000 of a second. This is 500,000 times faster than our best film capabilities. (A Closer Look at the Evidence)
However, this marvel hasn’t stopped naturalists from pointing to a problem with a blind spot in the eye, claiming that a designer God wouldn’t have created such an imperfection. However, to convincingly make the claim that the eye doesn’t represent intelligent design, they have to demonstrate:
- That this “blind spot” is truly faulty and impedes vision. (I’m fine with it!)
- That this “blind spot” could have been eliminated with a better design.
- That the “better design” wouldn’t have come with its own set of prohibitive costs.
Of course, they cannot do this. Besides, dismissing the incredible design found in the eye is nothing short of callous. It would be like a caveman walking past an airplane taking off without batting an eye. However, the eye is a far greater marvel. Kleiss also writes:
· Our eye processes 1.5 million bits of information simultaneously… They receive light images traveling 186,000 miles per second through the iris, which opens or closes to let in just the right amount of light. These images travel through a lens, made of transparent cells… The retina covers less than one square inch of surface, yet this square inch contains approximately 137 million light-sensitive receptor cells… Finally, the image is sent at the rate of 300 miles per hour to the brain for processing.
It is also ironic that naturalist can only resort to using God to disprove God. The number one argument of dysteleology is the problem of needless suffering, a repudiation of design.
Apart from the problem of determining that suffering is needless, the naturalist faces an even more formidable problem. He has to prove that there is something the matter with needless suffering. However, in order to do this, he needs to establish that there is an objective good which needless suffering violates. However, the naturalist can only offer his own subjective feelings about what is right and wrong. Logically, he can say no more than:
· I don’t like what seems to me to be needless suffering. I can’t think of a good reason for it. Therefore, there cannot be a God.
If you are not laughing, be sure that God is!