Science in Christian Perspective
The Key to Reconcile Modern Science and
JAMES E. HORIGAN
5100 Bow Mar Drive
Littleton, Colorado 80123
From: JASA 35 December 1983): 209-216.
In the view of the late C. P. Snow, the prevailing theory in science of the "big bang" origin of the universe presents the strongest objective argument yet made in support of a theistic creation.1 The theory holds that all of the "things" of the universe, of whatsoever kind and nature, are re-traceable to a single explosive event of colossal proportions occurring some 16-20 billion years ago.
A strong inference thought to arise from such a theorized specific beginning is that of an incomprehensible organizing intelligence; i .e., a God, capable of designing and setting into motion that concatenation of energy, materials, and associated forces having the inherent potential capacity to produce the remarkable results in observation today. Those countering the inference would assert the lack of necessity of an intelligent cause of it all: that "ordinary" physics and chemistry, in a space-time continuum, sufficiently explain the origin and development of the universe; that life, as we know it, is merely the by-product of random evolution in accordance with modified Darwinian principles.
It is not to be expected that meaningful progress may be made toward the implementation of a reconciliation between religious thought and science simply from an inference arising out of any one major phenomenal event (the "big bang"), or even by calling attention to a broad spectrum of other phenomena in nature that may be argued to infer intelligent design.Evidence for Design
This is evident in that an acceptable basis for such a reconciliation has not been recognized to date even though very impressive "design-appearing" inferences of an empirical nature have been advanced by gifted writers over the centuries to appeal to the existence of a Designer of the universe. Cumulatively, these inferences are substantial, especially when one takes cognizance of a bewildering growth in what may be claimed as inferential evidence of design arising out of the information explosion we have witnessed over the past quarter-century or more. The following should be included among seemingly countless examples from the past and present:
- the variety and beauty of nature, rather than mere multiplicity and sterility;
- the existence of few basic kinds of self-constructing atomic elements which, when slightly rearranged, can readily transform into widely differing substances of meaningful aggregation in relation to life in general, and to conscious and creative man, in particular;
- the inherent selectivity and "goal-seeking" qualities of both animate and inanimate nature;
- the very existence of life and of fit, diverse, and complex features of living organisms, such as the human brain (with its computer-like qualities), the cognitive nature of the protein molecule, the coded mechanism of DNA, the eye, etc., that in intricacy and character resemble by analogy the workings of what we ordinarily attribute from experience to an intelligent cause;
- the coherent fitness and function between inanimate nature in and of the Earth's environment and the needs and abilities of living things in general, and of creative man, in particular;
- the occasion and rarity in our solar system of the properties of an Earth-shielding ozone screen for the protection and survival of life;
- the optimal size of the Earth as to have permitted the escape of hydrogen and retention of a life-sustaining atmosphere;
- the multitude and diversity of mechanized-like systems and operative processes with respect to the surface and within the crust of the Earth to accommodate quite different life-oriented needs and requirements.
- the countless eventful changes in the Earth environment over evolutionary time as in a special and meaningful preparation for the later arrival Of conscious man;
- the existence of light to complement the existence of sigbt in living organisms;
- the unique shape, rotation, and elliptical angle of the Earth in reference to the Sun as to permit, among other things, the change of the seasons;
- the existence of our Sun with its many complex functions and interactions with on-going processes on the Earth, in addition to being the basic source of life-sustaining energy;
- the multiple characteristics of our Moon that are uniquely beneficial to life on Earth, including surface materials that enhance luminosity and reflection, its beneficial effect on the ocean tides, and the existence of soft basins (only on the side permanently facing the Earth) as though designed for landings by space explorers;
- the relative volume and distribution of land and sea on the Earth;
- the amazingly diverse and fit properties of ordinary water as related to the existence and survival of life;
- the existence and distribution of wind, clouds, lakes, rivers, mountains, subterranean waters, minerals, metals, and energy storage supplies in the form of wood, coal, petroleum, and other fuels of nature;
- the wonderous nature and composition of soil on the Earth's surface so as to permit, among many beneficial uses, agriculture by man, and water penetration to roots of plant life;
- the fact that life is reproductive and cyclical rather than being non-reproductive, non-cyclical, or spontaneous (as another al"native), thereby permitting coherence, meaningful adaptive change and survival, and progressive evolution in the context of: (1) the circumstances under which the first life is thought to have arisen on Earth and thereafter continued, (2) the major physico-chernical, geological, and other environmental changes that have been historically associated with the Earth, and (3) the selective processes of biological evolution acting on the qualities of life;
- the half-dozen present-day implications that life may exist elsewhere in the universe, including some hints of a possible system overall for the production of life;
- the so-called "spin," "thermonuclear," and certain other "hang-ups" referred to by Prof. Freeman J. Dyson as being naturally inexplicable, yet apparently essential to the existence and tranquility of life, anywhere in the universe;2
- the regulatory-control aspects of gravitation, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics as to permit a meaningful assemblage of what appears to be an increasingly coherent universe.
To say these results could just as well have occurred through pure randomness, given eons of time in a vast universe, seems to completely ignore an essential precondition that the initiating phenomena at the "beginning" had to be precisely appropriate to such results.
In a dead and accidental universe, there is no reason of course for the existence, much less co-existence, of phenomena of the nature mentioned. Interestingly, only a relatively small portion of the above exampled "design" phenomena bears a casual relationship to biological evolution or selective processes thought to be active in that sphere. Yet it was the publication of the Origin of Species (suggesting a "natural" means to account for design in living things) that largely served to discredit on empirical grounds the argument from design and gave impetus to the science-religion debate of the late 19th century.
If one compares the available "design-appearing" inferences of an earlier time with those of today, the results are quite surprising. in the book, Chance or Design?,3 I endeavored to set forth not only a comprehensive overview and up-dating of the indirect evidence, but to show a significant advancement in the inductive proofs, and a progressive trend of significant directionality towards intentional design. This latter effort was aided by our much better understanding today of the processes active in nature, and by developments in the means with which we may perceive "design" as compared to earlier times.Inferences for "Non-Design" and Their Response
Yet, over the centuries, inferences of "non-design" have been pointed to by critics of design arguments to seek to counterbalance inferences of the nature described. These have included reference to such things as earthquakes, floods, and other catastrophic events, the occurrence of disease and death, the extinction of species, the occurrence of and desert wastelands, human evil and its consequences, i.e., wars, acts of violence, and so on.
Modern discovery appears to have brought about a marked lessening of the effect of these negative arguments. They are, in any event, to be seen as overwhelmingly disproportionate to the positive inferences. A half-dozen examples may suffice to reflect a reduction in the negative inferences.
1. As expressed by Fred Hoyle, it is quite incorrect to say that earthquakes and vulcanism, despite their sometimes fatal consequences, are the disasters they have been made out to be. He said: "There would otherwise probably be no mineral deposits in the Earth's crust and, without the system of plate movements, the surface of the Earth would almost certainly be far more inhospitable to man if, indeed, the absence of such a system would not leave the continents so eroded that water would completely cover the surface of the Earth."4 There is also a growing expertise in the area of predictability of catastrophies of this nature.
2. Concerning floods, leading experts in the management of water resources, such as Robert P. Ambroggi, make the point that unusually heavy rainfall is absolutely essential to the recharging of life-beneficial underground reservoirs making up some two-thirds of the Earth's fresh water.5
3. Arid desert areas around the Earth are not to be seen as forever wastelands. Not only do they play a role in the global weather machine, but have been found (as in Arizona, Morocco, and Tunesia) to be highly fertile under irrigation, to say nothing of the fact that they frequently turn out to be useful in the sub-surface storage of large quantities of petroleum and mineral supplies.
4. The extinction of species argument is frivolous if indeed man is an evolutionary end-result and shaped in both physical and character values by all that has gone before him; thereby possibly indicating some worthwhile purpose was served by even short-lived admixtures of the genes in the make-up of a finely-crafted human recipe. Perhaps less speculative is the modern theory that species of dinosaurs did not become extinct after all-they largely transformed into birds.
5. Death is not to be seen as an imperfection if one takes note of the very strong argument that living things appear to have been well-designed in the first place to be reproductive and to exist in accord with life cycles, rather than to be non-terminable entities.6 On disease and the like, and quite apart from the advancements in medicine to either retard or eliminate all sorts of disease, there is a strong implication of design in the yet unexplained reason for the existence of specific antibodies for specific disease strains, particularly noted in the human body.
6. On evil and its consequences-a peculiarity of the unique human condition. This writer has no real difficulty in assigning to it an empirical mark of "design and purpose." it simply stands out too much in enigmatic isolation in what may be otherwise seen as a well-designed world. Further, it is a by-product of the remarkable thought processes and freedom of choice in man, itself inferential of design.
Those who find fault in still other non-exampled "imperfections" in the natural world should be challenged to suggest a superior wav to engineer entire Earth systems, forces, construction materials, and the like, for the better existence and maintenance of life; that is, without introducing, at the same time, overall negative or detrimental effects. In general, it may be said that faults do not lie with the environment, but with conscious man himself. An observation of William G. Pollard that man may use his creativity "as a blessing or as a curse"7 has special meaning here.Chance and Randomness
The idea that "anything" is possible in the universe or that all results are unpredictable, except perhaps through statistical aggregating probabilities, requires some brief attention here. Whether one relates to the indeterminacy principle or to the theme of the late Jacques Monod in Chance or Necessity'8 who perceived a total randomness in the DNA coded mechanism, the observation of the late C. F. A. Pantin is significant in that the rigid limitation of the properties of matter demand that only a limited number of classes of chemical machinery may exist, and that the concept of randomness does not involve by any means the freedom to make anything possible.9 From a probability standpoint, the statistical alternative should achieve in practical application much the same results in time either under a deterministic or indeterministic concept.10 If this be so, there is no reason in science, according to William G. Pollard, why a Designer of the universe should not have chosen such a means to an end.11
The reader may be aware of the considerable criticism of
Monod, such as that of the distinguished biologist, Sir Alister
Hardy of England, who calls it a fallacy for Monod to have
expressed the view that chance variation of the DNA code
really governs the course and direction of evolution: "It is
selection that guides the process, and selection is far from
random."12 His point is that the course of evolution is
selectivity guided by external environmental factors, including behavioral selection in his view and that of a growing
number of biologists, and acts upon a range of variations
provided by the shuffling processes through apparently random DNA mutations and re-combinations of the genes. The
genes determine the potentialities or limits of variability of
the characters. The basic job of the genes of DNA according
to C. H. Waddington, "is to remain as stable as possible, with
as little change as may be, while they are passed on from cell
to cell, or from individual to individual, through many
This view is consistent with the relatively new
discovery of George Pieezenik that there are certain constraints in the genetic message of DNA in that the sequences
seem to exist to protect themselves and their coded information from recoding.14
Hints to Intelligence Design
It may be that the time has come to challenge (on threshold empirical grounds) the view held by some that events transpiring in the universe have been the mere consequence of statistical probabilities. The end-results of atomic and genetic behavior in evidence today are far too remarkable, appropriate, and tend to fortify (in my view) Albert Einstein's belief that concepts of pure randomness arising under the uncertainty principle could be the product of our own ignorance; that, somehow, cosmic nature acts in accordance with a
James E. Horigan holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma. His undergraduate work was at the University of Oklahoma and Northwestern University. He is a science-oriented lawyer, in practice and as author, with an international reputation in the area of energy and natural resources. While this legal specialization has for many years closely paralleled technical and scientific applications, his keen interest in philosophy in relation to scientific theory reverts to an even earlier time. Through research and analysis, he proposes in this essay that religious thought is today well-grounded empirically and should not be looked upon as simply a matter of faith.
certain order. This seems to be in accord with what increasingly reflects a "wonderful" programmed complexity of things at the molecular level in living organisms.15 and at the atomic and even sub-atomic levels in inanimate nature. The universe itself, as our limited knowledge increases, is beginning to display in various ways the kind of hints to intelligent design that is reminiscent of primitive hints to intelligent design in the limited background knowledge of design arguments of many centuries ago pertaining alone to the Earth environment.
From an empirical threshold standpoint, albeit speculative, there are some interesting clues today that the atoms, in their aggregating combinations, may have been pre-programmed in advance to respond to the conscious activation of creative intelligence: in effect, a mental or atomis mentis (rather than a random statistical) degree of selectivity over time, engaging an initiating creative power, the elements and forces, and the ultimate end-products in nature. Such a speculation may be reasonable due to increasing evidence of precisely coordinated and meaningful end-results in both animate and inanimate nature, as well as to other hints arising from other concepts suggesting a mental order in near proximity to the atomic level of things. In Hardy's view, a creative element must be linked with the mental or psychic side of life and " playing its part within the Darwinian system of evolution."16 Both J.B.S. Haldane and Sewell Wright speculated that an element of mind may be universally present in atoms, elementary particles, and the like. 17 Empirically, in addition to the remarkable end-results of themselves implying a sense of direction, Hardy and others point to a kind of consciousness or "awareness" in animal behavior (identifiable at higher levels but possibly re-traceable someday to more basic levels of existence) having a steering effect in achieving remarkably fit results from selection in biological evolution. Apart from the reasons given by them, this may be supported by a relatively recent discovery (mentioned above) that the genes in DNA seem to be self-protective in a sense which might infer an "awareness" activity only slightly removed from the atomic level. Even parapsychological phenomena may suggest, if believable, the possibility of a connecting linkage between the mental and the material world and, hence, failing within the broad scope. of the speculation. As this writer has previously noted, if we are to contend that the universe was intelligently designed from the beginning, it best appeals to our common sense that there would be a continuing linkage between the initiating creative intelligence, the elements and forces, and the ultimate creations. 18
Such is the posture of the design argument as it should be seen today. Nevertheless, for reasons to be mentioned later on, it still fails to convince many in philosophy and science. Even theologians, as with F. R. Tennant some years ago, have been apologetic in reference to design arguments unless advanced in combination with still other arguments based on religious experience, revelation and faith, or on the basis oi ontological and cosmological arguments that appeal primarily to logic and pure reason.
There are many who look upon any sort of thought with a religious connotation as being simply a matter of pure subjective "belief." This view, however, is inapplicable to the general composition of design arguments that are grounded in actual observation through reasonably developed hypotheses, and theories of science. To an extent, it is question of the degree of separation today between reason and a "leap of faith." It is more a question of the extent In which we may place trust in science and its methods as related to both established "facts" from direct observation and to natural phenomena that have been the object of continued investigation. Even the critical philosophers like David Hume and Immanuel Kant, had great respect for the argument from design because of its observational character, even though challenging the then sufficiency of inferential evidence and the reliability and logical conclusiveness of the argument. Our present-day observation of the phenomena of nature is surely not fool-proof or conclusive in a final sense of meaning any more than present "well-established" theories in science so qualify, but we do know there are degrees of reliability and trustworthiness of the evidence in support of most theories. It is an acknowledged weakness in inductive reasoning processes where one is seeking to provide evidence for an "unseen" cause from observation of effects. In this, the philosophers are correct in the logic which holds that to establish that "B" is caused by "A," one needs to actually observe both "A" and "B" in conjunction,19 and there are few persons around who would claim they have actually seen God.
Yet, for reasons to be considered below, design arguments are entitled to great new importance and influence in the evidence for causation-contrary to present criticism and modern philosophical thought on the subject. We are, in my view, closing in on the "loose-ends" and one of the aims of this essay is to show that science, by virtue of its own method, rather than being viewed as contributing little or nothing to religious conviction, vis A vis the design argument, should be seen as having moved significantly closer to a convergence with religious thought in this late 20th Century.
The philosophical criticisms seem to be equally applicable to both the scientists and theologicans in their common quest for truth. Both have found it appropriate to their respective undertakings to rely upon inductive reasoning processes in the search for ultimate causation in the absence of direct and actual observation. The scientist, however, is not normally prepared to rely entirely on hypotheses or theories as having any lasting validity, and the pure objectivity sought in scientific method to verify cause from effect in establishing a theory is seldom realistically achieved.A Common Ground for Science and Religion
We are here searching for a common ground between modern science and religious thought. It is not as elusive as many would have us believe. The design argument, being based on empirical observation, more closely identifies with the process of scientific method than other appeals on which religious conviction is based, but there seem to be several steps required of any undertaking to bridge the long-standing chasm between the two processes of thought: (1) a satisfactory accommodation is required by which the theories of science are once again to be seen in a generally religious context; that is, a context in which there exists a mutual respect or recognition of one for the other; (2) the erroneous view that any sort of religious conviction is a matter of pure "belief," non-objective, and with no means of verification comparable to the scientific method in the formulation of a theory must be overcome; and (3) as a critical step to a reconciliation, one needs to accept that the design-appearing inferences (in the nature of the examples described above) must not only be regarded as essentially empirical in nature, but to also fit into a better mold-one allowing for a reasonable verification of "cause" extrapolated from differing bases or kinds of observational reference, and under circumstances reflecting a reliable pattern. In other words, a model with which scientists are familiar in fashioning an acceptable theory on the basis of observation.
If, therefore, a credible model may be constructed on which both scientists and theologians alike could agree, considerable progress could be made in the direction of a meaningful convergence of science and religious thought.
This is not merely a possibility for the future-it is now very much at hand. This is a well-supportable proposition not
"Design-appearing" inferences are substantial, especially when one takes cognizance of a bewildering growth in what may be claimed as inferential evidence of design arising out of the information explosion of the past quarter-century.
Three Empirical Pathways
There now appear to be three differing pathways of an empirical nature in the evidence of a designing God of the universe, each arising from the design argument and each verifying the others with such regularity over the course of informational events and theory that scientists, philosophers, and theologians alike should take cognizance of the developments. It is now reasonable to present a design argument in which the overall inferential evidence may be divided into three distinct groups of cross-confirming observations. Only two discriminating classifications were sufficiently evident as to be prominently noted in the literature of the early and middle part of this century with some degree of emphasis, enough to be generally termed a "re-structuring" of the old argument from design. While both of these were much in evidence in an even more distant time, they were far less complete than they are today in terms of available descriptive references.
These related groupings separately comprise identifiable lines of indirect evidence to show intentional design by way of (1) analogies to intelligence from the appearance of things, (2) the remarkable "fitness" of the environment to permit the existence and support of life as we know it, and (3) the encompassing evidence of the past quarter-century of a unique and special relationship between man, his mind and conscious creative thought, and the environment. It is by and through man that the whole of inanimate nature, at least in our small domain in the universe, comes together into a workable system.
It is unfortunate if we fail to sense the individual and combined significance of all three dimensions that may now be clearly discerned in an empirical way. While there is some commonality or overlap between them, they are each separately oriented in differing contexts of actual observation. The inferences in respect to each are to be seen as directional in the sense that they suggest to our reason and experience an origin of intelligent design rather than that of "non-design." Such a claim is reasonable if one gives serious thought to the list of examples set forth above. If there were only a handful of examples attributable to each of the differing bases of evidence, less of an impression would be made, as with the scientist who draws a conclusion on the basis of very scant observation in the formulation of a theory from three differing bases of empirical observation. We now have available, however, an almost countless number of descriptive references to attribute to each of the categories of evidence as mentioned.Analogies to Intelligence
As concerns analogies (group (1) above), a main element in the reference phenomena used in the earlier arguments from design was to demonstrate from analogy that nature required an intelligent Designer. To appreciate the extent of our progression simply from the use of analogies as a primary kind of evidence, we should first focus our attention on the precise nature of this kind of argument.
By reference to the workings of human intelligence and its creations, phenomena in nature that give the appearance of intelligent design provide the basis for analogy. The eye of a living being, for instance, so resembles in complexity and utility a machine of human construction, that an intelligence must have been (by analogy) the cause of its origin and existence. It is interesting that analogies to intelligence formed the major backbone of design arguments in preDarwin times, and these referred in large measure to the biology of living things, or parts or functions of living things, thereby suggesting a Designer. A number of books were written on design that included one analogy after another. These included the significant work in the late 17th Century of John Ray, 20 and that of William Paley,21 in the early 19th Century, and the volumes comprising the so-called Bridgewater Treatises published in 1936,22 written by some of the leading British scientists of the day. Since then, a number of other writings-too numerous to mention here-have carried forward the appeal to analogy, but more in combination with other appeals to design.Fitness of the Environment
An important empirical step-forward beyond analogies (group (2) above), came forth in a book published in 1913 by the distinguished biochemist, L. J. Henderson, entitled, Fitness of the Endronment.23 its basic theme arose out of an enlarged comprehension of inanimate nature from what had been envisaged in the earlier design arguments. Many of the so-called "restructured" design arguments of the present century, as by F. R. Tennant for example, were inspired to fresh new thought on the subject by Henderson's work. This is not to say that earlier arguments to design had overlooked many points of the then-known linkages between animate (including man) and the world of inanimate nature, but that post-Darwin materialistic thought went far afield in condemning the old arguments from design simply because of processes active only with respect to animate nature. Henderson observed that biologists since Darwin had been "in the habit" of considering only adaptations of living things to the environment. "Yet," he said, "fitness in the environment must be as fit as the organism" for the existence and survival of life. He argued that the real and unique fitness of the environment is only one part of a reciprocal relationship indivisibly linked with the process of cosmic evolution and that, "one fitness is not less important than the other. " Of this unique animate to inanimate appearance of design, the late C. F. A. Pantin, commented as follows
Can we discern design in the properties of the units which make a living organism possible? These properties of the units are not the result of selection in any Darwinian sense.24
Henderson's contribution to this line of argument related primarily to the physico-chemical characteristics of three chemical elements, i.e., carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and of the compounds water and carbonic acid. He said:
... they constitute an ensemble of fitness among all possible chemical substances, for a living organism, which must be complex, regulated, and engaged in active metabolism; that there are no other compounds which share more than a small part of the qualities of fitness of water and carbonic acid, and no other elements which share those of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.25
Modern critics of Henderson, such as Sagan, Matson, and Lack, point to "other possible worlds" based on different possible biochemistries. Perhaps this may be so, but of little significance in terms of the real scope of the "fitness" that is apparent today between the environment overall and the existence and maintenance of life, particularly as its theme applies to almost countless inter-related animate to inanimate phenomena. This observation applies as well to a related criticism to the effect that we cannot say this world is designed if we do not know what "other" worlds are like. Yet, the opportunities for design elsewhere should serve to upgrade the view of design in the whole of the universe, as well as in our part of it. In a purely random universe, would be no need for elemental conditions that would remarkably portray design here or anywhere else.
While earlier design arguments, in addition to expressing analogies, had enumerated the known fit and suitable in relationships between animate nature and the surrounding environment of inanimate nature, Henderson may be today as having brought home the point that the harmony, or "fitness" of animate to cosmic phenomena something quite different from the argument to intelligent cause through analogies. Phenomena or things that together and are appropriate to each other more often not fall outside, or beyond usual description by anal appeal to intelligence. While many analogies used in d arguments may involve a "fitness' aspect, it is clear phenomena or things showing a harmonious suitability aspect to other phenomena or things have a distinct and independent basis of their own on which to separately appeal as an entire grouping of inferential evidence to an intelligent cause. For one simple example, we think in terms of the suitability and fitness of nature, rather than analogy, if we contemplate design in the potential for man's space exploration. In an accidental universe, the probability of having a suitable set of environmental and other conditions for man's venture into space against gravity would be next to nothing: hence, an inference to intelligent design not grounded in analogy merely from the appearance of things.Man and the Environment
As concerns group (3) above, relating to the special relationship between inanimate nature on the whole and man's creative thought in the manifestation of a well-designed and completely workable system, this is an important and relatively new empirical dimension to design arguments. While broadly extending the "fitness" grouping as considered above, it stands distinctly on its own in comprising a separate chain of seemingly endless observational facts which, by scope in subject matter and descriptive reference, closes old gaps, reflects a positive directional aspect in nature, and extends the picture of design full circle in relation to the physical aspect of our planetary environment, and perhaps beyond. Note should be made of the fact that the "fitness" argument of Henderson related the environment of inanimate nature to the existence and survival of life (including man), rather than to the prime specialty of man, his mind and consciousness, to the environment. While the uniqueness of man to his environment has been recognized in various examples interspersed throughout design arguments, both before and after Henderson, it has only been in recent times and in consequence of modern discovery, that we can now picture his existence in a very special manner apart from all other known phenomena.
If we have learned anything in recent years, it is that there exists a complete harmony between man, his mind and conscious activity, and the environment on the whole. Through discoveries into the very nature of things, man has opened up an entire new spectrum to the picture of a well-designed world. We may now observe that the very intrinsic nature of things, in and of the environment, reveal a mutual reciprocity that goes exceedingly far beyond mere compatibility in the usual evolutionary sense of adaption, as with other life forms. In whatever course or direction man's creative thought and ingenuity chooses to carry him, the world is a complementary and well-prepared "stage" for his uses and purposes in a truly progressive sense, having not yet been found wanting in the provision of a physical environment containing all of the necessary elements, forces, and conditions-severally and in combination-to the attainment of his ever-enlarging objectives. The potential for this most meaningful and unique mind-matter relationship, it should be emphasized, was latent in material substance, forces, and other phenomena before the advent of man.
These observations are quite separate and apart from the question of "how" man is to maintain his environment-"as a blessing or as a curse," or "what" the future may hold for him in relation to the finite character of the environment. Present and future events could well affect the long-range results.
It could be wrong to equate the uniqueness of man's special relationship to the Earth's environment as a singularily isolated phenomenon. One of the most respected of the hypotheses of modern science is that the potential for such a reciprocity is latent elsewhere in the wide expanse of the universe, that is, wherever suitable environmental conditions may coincide with consciousness and intelligence.
Examples of this special relationship abound. In Chance or Design?, the following summary is set forth:
In the early days following his arrival on the scene, man's needs were met at first from nature with the more simple and basic raw materials for his development that were roughly attuned to his then limited, yet developing knowledge. His progressive anthropological story reflects the use or availability of materials for fire and shelter, tools for hunting, soil for agriculture, cooking and storage devices, textiles, beasts of burden for transportation, and so on ...
A seemingly endless stream of new and different inter-relationships has come to be revealed in step with man's creative advancement. These new linkages have enabled man, for example, to: (1) move about on sea, land, and in the air with great facility thus bringing the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and indeed perhaps distant galaxies much closer together in present or projected meaningful ways, (2) communicate, as well as to see, at great distances incredibly far beyond normal range of ordinary hearing and sight, (3) escape gravity with yet untold promising future consequences, (4) harness a host of diverse energy sources to a variety of needed and purposeful uses, including the power and energy of the Sun, the atom, fossil fuels, wind, water, geothermal steam, etc., (5) transform elemental matter into an almost countless and "bewildering" array of useful materials and substances, (6) convert, increasingly, so-called inhospitable areas of the Earth, such as deserts, jungles, polar areas, and the like, to present and potential use-an exercise of man's dominion not unlike that over plant and animal matter, (7) modify life processes in the physical and chemical sense, and (8) make almost countless practical and useful applications of discoveries arising from a great many of the applied fields of science. The latter would certainly include such things as the creation of artificial light and the harnessing of tremendous energy in the form of laser beams, as well as to use the mysterious substance of light in a variety of other beneficial ways; the penetration of opaque objects through the discovery of X-rays and other more recent and sophisticated scanning mechanisms; the preservation of food through the use of refrigeration and the stimulation of food production by use of fertilizers and by other means; the development of technologies to survey the Earth's potential for new resources, including agricultural, mineral and the like, as well as to locate soils of adequate fertility, the existence of crop diseases, etc.; the enlargement of the scope of mental retention capacities through computerized mechanisms, the modification of climatic temperature ranges as related to immediate environmental conditions; and such a variety of additional and useful discoveries that are actually quite overwhelming.26
The many analogies to intelligence and the innumerable examples of remarkable inter-relationships in nature to further the origin, existence, and survival of life, as set forth in design arguments of the past, fell short of explaining a great deal which still appeared to be random, disordered, and non-designed. It required the creative thought and activity of man, his mind and consciousness, to tie it all together and to demonstrate that what may ostensibly appear to reflect disorder, irregularity, and imperfection is not that at all intrinsically, at least in the Earth's environment. The function, utility, fitness, and accommodation of inanimate and related phenomena in relation to life in general and to man, his mind and consciousness, in particular, has changed most of this around to now present a more total picture of design. There is little indeed that was formerly non-descriptive of design that may not now qualify as inferential evidence of intended design-all of which reflects on the significance of man and his intelligence as a special object of creation.
Those who would argue that all of this is simply a manifestation of our subjective and collective point of view or that we have ourselves "ordered up" the appearance of design, fail to face the fact that what shows design today, when applied to our unique mentality, exists quite independently of it.
Even though we have much yet to understand of nature and some of what we believe to be understood may be illusory or unreal, yet, on the record as a whole, a panoramic view of an intended and well-engineered creation is much closer in observation than ever before, just as work on a jigsaw puzzle reaches a certain point toward completion where the picture becomes recognizable. This may be achieved even though a great deal of the "unknown" remains beyond our present-day understanding.
The multiplicity of different evidences should serve to weaken the long-standing influence of philosophical criticisms. While certainly one may not quarrel with the basic logic of criticisms arising from an absence of direct observation, yet Hume, Kant, Voltaire, and their progeny, were never confronted with a triad of differing kinds of probability bases from which to "triangulate" the identity of an unseen "source." In this, the general fitness inferences so grouped serve to confirm the innumerable analogies to an intelligence, and the special relation of man to the environment to produce a workable system, confirm the other two and they, in turn, support the latter, all in a way of cross-verification of intelligent design. We can thus relate to human experience in an objective way of verification to demonstrate "cause from effect" with a much higher level of reliability than ever before. It is doubtful whether any present-day theory of science, predicated upon inductive reasoning, whether it be that of biological evolution, black holes, or sub-atomic particle theory, is so well under-pinned by confirmatory and observed phenomena as that which points to a Creator of the universe.Conclusion
I conclude this essay by returning to its initial theme-that a basis now exists for a timely reconciliation between modern science and religious thought. The key to this rests firmly upon the common empirical ground I have described. While it is quite true that scientists themselves question and do not uniformly accept even "well-accepted" theories out of hand, they do tend to go forward and build new discoveries upon a standing theory unless and until some replacement should come along. Why not this one, especially since an alertness to "design" may well aid in the making of future discoveries?REFERENCES
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Despite the new rhetoric and the fact that the world has managed to survive for several decades with nuclear weapons, the danger of a global conflagration remains a very real possibility. A clash between the superpowers would cause so much horror that there is no issue which could be solved in this way. if another worldwide conflict should occur, the earth would be in such horrible shape that it would have been better not to fight. It would seem that at this point the just war tradition would simply fade away. Yet the teaching continues among many Christians. . . . . In the minds of some individuals who might call theirs a just war position, the present military policies are absolutely necessary for self-defense. . . . A heroic defeat is better than a disgraceful surrender, and the lands which have defended right are likened to martyrs whose influence continues through the centuries. The basic weakness of such arguments is that if thermonuclear war is allowed to occur there may not be any future generations to appreciate the present attempts to preserve Western "cidlized" values.